My teacher told me this story.

A young boy received a drum as a birthday gift. Very soon, drumbeats filled the whole neighbourhood. It appeared to have become an obsession with the child.

Elders were brought in to counsel him. A science teacher tried to explain the matter of loud sounds hurting his ear drum, and how this would affect his health. But this involved argument was beyond the child’s comprehension, being neither a scientist nor a scholar, and the drum only beat louder.

The local priest was also requested to talk to the child. “The drum is beaten in the temple,” he told the child, “and it is done only as a sacred activity. You cannot beat the drum in your house or in the street.” But the child did not know understand what was sacred, and saw no reason to cease the noise.

The child was met by another person on the street. “Do not waste your time in making this noise. Instead, practise meditation, and you will hear more wonderful music than the beats of your drum.” But the child did not think that his drumming was noise, and his hands drummed away.

Others also tried to reason with the child. One presented books to distract him, and another helpfully gave earplugs to the parents.

An adept teacher observed the child, and returned with a small hammer, and presented it to the child. “Your drum is making wonderful music. Use the hammer to find what is inside it!”

Life is a gift given to us. We can end up making a lot of noise with this gift, at times to the detriment of our fellow travelers. The wise teacher does not deter us, but just gives us the tools of self-analysis. Guru Granth Sahib says so:

On the anvil of understanding, use the tool of wisdom,

Then mint the true coin—His word.

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