Story-day is for cultural exploration, puraanas and parables and finding out about leading lights in spiritual philosophy.
Some folk wonder at the point of contemplation. There can be a tendency to think that those who favour the contemplative life are, in fact, lazy, or avoiding life in some way. Those who have a strong drive to be active (rajas), struggle to appreciate the activity within contemplation (sattva); those who are genuinely of a lazy temperament (tamas) also struggle in the contemplative life, for they discover there is work to do after all!
Within every philosophical discipline, secular or religious, there are a few folk who can genuinely apply themselves in the purely contemplative activity. Withdrawal is required. Those who are this way in the academic world are often accused of sitting 'in ivory towers'. Perhaps. However, many of the great understandings and advancements for society come from those very towers! Some religious structures do not encourage (or actively discourage) monasticism, but will still have their advanced scholars who need to contemplate and eulogise upon the words of their scriptures and teachings and make sense of them for the rest of society. Those who follow the inner urge to understand more deeply, to see more keenly, and to connect more profoundly with the meaning of life are said, in Sanskrit, to be of Brahmin temperament. This applies to everyone in the world who leans towards the academic and contemplative… not just in India and not according to family lines. It is a great injustice that the description of personality types, abilities and talents became so mutated and abused within India's history. We will look at 'varna' more closely in due course. What it is important to understand today, is that we all have to find the key talent we have and work that to the very best of our ability, for it is given to us to play our part in society. If we are good strategists and organisers, then let us be the soldiers and managers of the world (Kshatriya); if we see the beauty or the sorrow and can express that in words or pictures or other creative way, we can aid others' healing (sub-Brahmin); perhaps we are good at production (farming or manufacture) and sales - very necessary in society (Vaishya); or we may even find that we are excellent at the tasks of life which are avoided by others - the cleaning, the labouring… (Shudra). In Western society, the lines are a little more blurred; sometimes we have to be all these things in one person - but few can truly be so.
Everything that we do, done with conscious awareness and capital 'ell' Love in the heart and mind, contributes to the positive energy of the community. This includes those who withdraw and contemplate on the higher values and the nature of 'God'. Almost without exception, if asked, every successful sadhu, bhikku or monk who takes up the monastic path will say that the life came to them - that there is a sense of being taken there rather than actively making the choice to enter such a life. Being in it, however, they immerse themselves completely, surrendered to the will of a power mysterious. They are not running from, but running to something.
Here is a short film about such a group.