One of the Brachmacharis wotking in India had been doing his Vedanta teaching work. in the field for some three or four years when he wrote to Swamiji complaining that the workers who were once helping him had left him and that now fewer people came to listen to him. He felt bogged down in a morass of obstacles and felt no longer useful where he was serving.
Swamiji's reply was largely a story:
I have received your letter. Just forget all about it; such things happen now and then. Don't take anything to heart. You will regain your place in time. Now you listen to this story: .
"Once a blind swami was visiting another swami in his kutiya in Uttarkashi. While they were talking, night slowly descended in the valley, but both were unaware of it "By and by the guest got up to leave, but before he parted, the host swami gave him a coconut shell with a lighted candle in it "Naturally, the departing guest protested, , What's the matter with you, Swamiji? You know I'm blind. To me night and day, darkness and light are the same. So why have you given me this lighted candle ? "No,no" explained the host : "This light is not for you, Maharaj. It is for others - that they may not crash into you" Satisfied, the sadhu left, carrying the light.
As the blind swami proceeded in the light of his prodding stick, cautiously moving forward, suddenly someone coming from the opposite direction bumped into him. 'Haven't you eyes, my man? Can't you see the candle light? How careless you are! cried the blind swami. The man merely said, "Your candle has gone out in the breeze. There is no light in your shell" And he walked away.
"Brahmachari, now you retire to a quiet place nearby and live for three weeks in study, japa, meditation, and one meal a day. Keep mauna. Learn again to smile within. The candle has no light now. It is only a shell that cannot help others.