The Eighth Teacher, Guru Harikrishan, was all but eight years in age. One day, he was in congregation when the local priest also arrived. The priest was a great interpreter of the veda texts, and his prowess was well known. On seeing the priest, the Guru said. “Oh look, a camel has arrived!”
The priest was very upset, but some in the congregation calmed him by pointing out that the Guru was only a child. The priest wanted an apology, but the Guru gently repeated his earlier observation. On being asked to explain, he gave a simple answer. If one were to take physically heavy texts of knowledge from one place to another, what would you do? Load them on a donkey, observed the devotees. “If the texts were even heavier, then what is to be done?” asked the Guru. Get a bigger animal, like the camel, the devotees replied.
“The priest carries his knowledge of the vedas just like camel. The books carried in his head are many, but it is more like a great weight on his body. Instead, it is important to distil the knowledge in the vedas, and this important part is missing,” said the Guru. The priest was therefore more of a camel.
My teacher would say that a person who pursues knowledge like a camel can also be seen as somebody chasing their own shadow; the more you run towards your shadow, the further it moves. This endeavor will be never complete, for the more you know, the more there is to know.
If only we could reverse our direction, and start facing the source of all knowledge and light, that great Truth, by whatever name we may call Him. We will not need to chase our shadow; to the contrary, our shadow will now chase us. The Guru Granth guides us:
Those who read the Vedas, and argue and debate without the Lord, lose their honor.
True is the True Guru, and True His Word; in the Guru’s Sanctuary, one is saved. (pg 683)