A group of young boys go to the old man in the hut. Some of them have their doubts about life, some want to learn new things and others just want to hear a good story. The old man is glad to see them and asks why he gets to see them. One of the boys says we hear that you are the most knowledgeable person in the whole village, we come to you for advice. What it is that’s bothering you, the old man asks. The boy says we are dwindling between two thoughts, one is about getting curious and attaining as much knowledge as we can, another is remaining ignorant and live a blissful life. What should we be doing?
The moment comes for which all boys are waiting, the old man starts with the story of Apasmara: The demon of ignorance. He says “In ancient times there was a demon known as Apasmara. He plagues humans with ignorance. However, he could not be killed as that would mean free knowledge for all, and like all free things, knowledge will also be devalued”. The old man gets drifted on the subject of devaluing free things and says “look at the environment, what human has done to it, just because it was freely available to them”. After a long, awkward pause he returns to the original story.
“It has been said that prayers of Human were answered by Lord Shiva when he attained the form of Nataraja and performed Tandav over Apasmara and oppressed him under his right foot and remain in that pose forever.” All the boys were in the joy that their hero Shiva has won over ignorance. The old man continues “In all the scriptures the story ends here, but seeing the ignorance, greed, and laziness around here, I can safely assume Apasmara got released from his fate and spreading ignorance among humans.” “Why would you say so?” a small boy asks innocently.
Old man says “You see people killing each other over money, religion, fame, and whatnot. It is Apasmara which makes people believe that these stupid things are above love and fraternity. The feeling of achievement is by showing others down not by growing together. Probably that is good, so the few real achievers can feel how better they are compared to those false achievers. That means Apasmara is making a difference in knowledge and ignorance wide and those who don’t fall in his trap are able to achieve the real knowledge.”
A boy asks “What are we supposed to do now?” The old man replies “Shiva would not come this time to oppress the Apasmara, it is the generation of young who have to learn not just to be knowledgeable of worldly things but to come over their emotions of greed and ignorance and do good for each other. The boys hear the stories and promise each other that they will grow good together.