नीरक्षीरविवेके हंसालस्यम् त्वमेव तनुषे चेत् | 

विश्र्वस्मिनधुनान्यः कुलव्रतम् पालयिष्यति कः ||

Oh swan, if you are lazy  in doing your duty of recognizing the difference between water and milk, then who else in this world will do this duty instead of you?

Of course the implied answer is that no one else will do it. Indeed, no one else will be able to do it.

It is said that if milk and water are mixed together, the swan is able to separate the two and drink only the milk.  It is only the swan who has the special talent of being able to differentiate between water and milk.

  Not everyone has the special knowledge or abilities needed for special types of work.

We do not all of us have medical knowledge, so we rely on the advice that the doctors give us.

If we are building a house, we depend on architects, builders, engineers and various types of workers.

We cannot all go out and investigate the various events that take place around the world, or even in our city, therefore we rely on the news reports that the daily newspaper or television news channels bring us.

In the public sphere, we rely on the government to formulate and execute policies that are beneficial to us. And we depend on various social organisations and activists to keep a check on these policies.

These are all people who have the knowledge needed to take the proper decisions in their respective fields. They are- so to speak- swans, who have special  knowledge, abilities, or skills.

However, there is one talent which each and every one of us must cultivate. That is the skill to recognize a swan. To be able to differentiate between swans and cranes.

It is impossible for everyone to have the specialized knowledge needed to take decisions in various spheres of life. But it is certainly important to know which specialist to rely on.

 We need to be able to judge who is trustworthy and who is not.

In today’s world not many things really are as they seem to be.  People seem to have qualities that they do not really possess. Those who seem to be ethical turn out to be nothing of the sort. Politicians assure us that they have our best interests at heart when in reality they are just looking out for Number One.

A person who is very popular may prove to be a crook. On the other hand, someone who is not well-known may turn out to be the perfect choice for a post of responsibility.

So every one of us must do some thinking for ourselves and not just blindly ‘go with the flow’.

We must learn to judge people, and if they prove to be unworthy of our trust, we must reject them. And then find others -more suitable ones- in their place.

Chanakya  is said to have stated-

 “For want of discernment the most precious jewels lie in the dust at the feet of men while bits of glass are worn on their heads.

But we should not imagine that the gems have sunk in value, and the bits of glass have risen in importance.

When a person of critical judgement shall appear, each will be given its right position.”

Let us hope the number of persons with such discerning  judgement increases in our society!