There lived four young Brahmin boys in a city. They were good friends eager to go out and acquire knowledge. They went to a place called Kanyakubj. They joined a monastery and began studying sciences and scriptures. After twelve years of learning they thought it was time to go home and asked their guru for permission to leave the monastery. After taking his permission, they started their homeward journey.
After a few days of travel, they reached a point where the road forked. They were not sure which road would take them home. Then they saw a funeral procession. One of the boys opened his book of learning and read out "Follow the path taken by great men."
The boy told his other friends, "Let us join and follow these great men leading the funeral procession."
They thus followed the procession to the cremation ground where they met a donkey.
The second Brahmin boy opened his book of shastras and read that who is standing at cremation ground or at king’s gate is our best friend. Then he told his friends that the donkey was, their best friend. At once one of them held on to the neck of the donkey. Another washed his feet. After this ceremony, they looked around and found a camel. The four of them began figuring out what the animal is. The third man opened his book of knowledge and read out, "What moves fast is righteousness" and decided that the camel must be the embodiment of righteousness.
The fourth man referred to his book and found that righteousness and friendship should always be together. They then tied the donkey and the camel together. Informed of this, the donkey’s owner rushed to beat the four Brahmins. But they escaped before he came. They continued to travel till they reached a river and found a big leaf floating over the water.
One of them saw it and, remembering a line from a verse describing how a leaf helped a man cross the river, jumped on it and was being carried down by the current. A second Brahmin saw his friend in distress and remembered a verse that if the whole money is going, we should distribute the half. So, with a view to save half of his friend, the second Brahmin cut off the head of the drowning man.
The remaining three resumed their travel only to stop when three villagers invited them for a feast. When the host served a dish resembling noodles to the first Brahmin, he thought "what is long should be discarded" and left the place without food.
The second man was served pancakes. He thought, "What spreads is not good for health" and refused to eat.
Doughnuts were served to the third Brahmin. He remembered that "There is peril where there is a hole" and left. The three Brahmins later went home.
Learning without commonsense is of no use.