Sancti spiritus


A young man came to a sage one day and asked, "Sire,
what must I do to become wise?" The sage vouchsafed
no answer. The youth after repeating his question a number
of times, with a like result, at last left him, to return
the next day with the same question. Again no answer was
given and the youth returned on the third day, still repeating 
his question, "Sire, what must I do to become wise?"
Finally the 'sage turned and went down to a near-by
river. He entered the water, bidding the youth follow him.
Upon arriving at a sufficient depth the sage took the young
man by the shoulders and held him under the water, despite
his struggles to free himself. At last, however, he released
him and when the youth had regained his breath the sage
questioned him:

"Son, when you were under the water what did you
most desire?"
"The youth answered without hesitation, "Air, air!
I wanted air!"
"Would you not rather have had riches, pleasure, power
or love, my son? Did you not think of any of these?"
queried the sage.
"No, sire! I wanted air and thought only of air," came
the instant response.

"Then," said the sage, "to become wise you must desire
wisdom with as great intensity as you just now desired air.
You must struggle for it, to the exclusion of every other
aim in life. It must be your one and only aspiration, by
day and by night. If you seek wisdom with that fervor,
my son, you will surely become wise."