One day Buddha came into his assembly of the monks. The monks were puzzled because this was for the first time that Buddha had come with something in his hand – a handkerchief. There must be something special in it. And Buddha sat on the platform and rather than starting speaking to the assembly he looked at the handkerchief, started tying a few knots in it, five knots in all. And then Buddha asked the assembly, “Can anybody tell me: is this handkerchief the same as it was before the knots were tied?”
Sariputta said, “This is a tricky question. In a way the handkerchief is the same because nothing has changed, in a way it is not the same because these five knots have appeared which were not there before.”Buddha said, “Right. Now I want to open these knots.” And he started stretching both ends of the handkerchief farther away from each other. He asked Sariputta. ”What do you think? By stretching farther will I be able to open the knots?”He said, “You will be making knots even more difficult to open because they will become smaller, more tighter. ’
Buddha said, “Then I want to ask the last question: what should I do so that I can open the knots, the tied knots? How I can untie them again?”Sariputta said, “I would like first to come close and see how in the first place the knots have been tied. Unless I know how they have been tied it is difficult for me to suggest any solution.”Buddha said, “Right, Sariputta. You are blessed, because that is the most fundamental question to ask. If you are in a certain fix, the first thing is how you got into it rather than trying to get out of it. Without asking the most fundamental and the primary question, you will make things worse.”
The real question, standing before all the UPSC aspirants, is not how to get succeed and emerge as a winner. The most fundamental and relevant question will be, “How I can equip myself with relevant knowledge and commitment to the effort?” Only with a well-planned approach, guidance and effort, can a success be ensured.