Sant Samarth Ramdas on The Learned Fool

Exclusive to Vedic Management Center by U. Mahesh Prabhu 

Dashabodha is a large volume that is comprised of two hundred chapters which are divided into twenty main chapters called Dashaka, each consisting of ten subchapters called Samasa. Believed to have been written by Sant Samartha Ramdas, Dashabodha is a dialogue between the Guru and his disciples. This is a book of knowledge, and in this book, the path of Devotion or Bhakti is explained in great details. It also speaks about the Nine-faceted Path of Devotion (Navavidha Bhakti), the Path of Knowledge (Gyana), as well as a narration of the characteristics of Desire-less-ness (Vairagya).

Although written in Marathi, this text has its essential origins in various other Gitas like that of Shiva Gita, Rama Gita, Guru Gita, Gharbha Gita, Uttara Gita and Avadhoota Gita as well as knowledge of Vedas and Vedanta. In Chapter 2, Sub-Chapter 10, Samartha Ramdas gives a phenomenal definition on Learned Fools. In a world where everyone takes pride in material wealth, publicity in wooing their personal egos as well as claim ‘high moral grounds’ for their few acts of kindness, these definitions are worthy of recollection since they have the wisdom to guide us through the right path:

  1. Having heard a lot of explanations one becomes knowledgeable and may even speak clearly about his knowledge. However, if he holds on to his ego and groundless hope (s)he is called as a learned fool.
  2. One who advocates unrestrained actions does not believe in good deeds (Sat Karma) and criticizes one’s own Dharma (Duty) as well as perseverance is a learned fool.
  3. Considering oneself to be knowledgeable, criticizes others for defects in other beings, while failing to see the positive. (S)he is the learned fool.
  4. One who asks his students to do something which causes them misfortune, or hurts someone else, is a learned fool.
  5. One who is full of worldliness and ignorance is scheming and cruel within, and who upon seeing wealth and prosperity overly praises it, is a learned fool.
  6. One who gets bored when hearing words and tales of wisdom, who out of jealousy bothers others, and who is arrogant and does not act with morality and justice, is a learned fool.
  7. One who is knowingly stubborn, cannot control his anger, and whose actions are not in accordance with his/her speech, is a learned fool.
  8. One who speaks without being knowledgeable and whose words are harsh is a learned fool.
  9. The listener who has heard a lot of things and argues with the speaker, and insults him by his over-talkativeness, is a learned fool.
  10. One who finds fault with his others, even though (s)he has the same faults that (s)he does not see, is a learned fool.
  11. One who studies and acquires all types of knowledge yet does not use it to console others is a learned fool.
  12. When one is entangled in family matters, like an elephant caught in a spider’s web, (s)he is a learned fool.
  13. One who enjoys lust and engages in satisfying one’s carnal pleasures without any interest in understanding the greater truth is a learned fool.
  14. One who instead of praising universal consciousness praises men and whatever his eye sees is a learned fool.
  15. One who is full of pride due to excessive wealth and prosperity, who consider others lowly and inferior, and is outspoken about one’s own personal faith, is a learned fool.
  16. One who is well educated and detached, or who is a great yogi with knowledge of the ultimate truth yet indulges in fortune telling, is a learned fool.
  17. One, who while listening, constantly analyses the virtues and defects of the speaker and becomes jealous about the virtues of others, is a learned fool.
  18. One who does not practice what he preaches is a learned fool.
  19. One who does not understand the true holiness – that which is within – and goes on pilgrimage as the only path to realizing the ultimate truth is a learned fool.
  20. One who is respected and feels puffed-up about it in the mind, or who praises someone who has no reputation and then turns around and criticizes him, is a learned fool.
  21. One who is a hypocrite, and whose words aren’t consistent with his actions, is a learned fool.
  22. One who willingly holds to ignorance is a learned fool.
  23. One who gives up the real meaning of truth, who only speaks what is liked by the mind, or whose welfare is dependent on others, is a learned fool.
  24. One who puts up a facade on the surface, does what he knows he should not do, and stubbornly follows the wrong path, is a learned fool.
  25. One who listens to explanations day and night yet does not give up undesirable attributes, and who does not know what is in his own best interest, is a learned fool.
  26. One who continues to hold onto hope for the student who is not serious and only insults him, again and again, is a learned fool.
  27. One who develops uneasiness in the body and gets irritated when listening to discourses on wisdom is a learned fool.
  28. One who gets carried away with pride in wealth, and one who ignores the tradition of the Gurus, yet claims the guru’s tradition for himself, is a learned fool.
  29. One who speaks of Dharmic scriptures and yet behaves selfishly, accumulates money like a miser, and takes advantage of spiritual lifestyle to become wealthy, is a learned fool.


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