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Durable Link to this BlogTuesday, January 4, 2005

"Hiss, Do Not Bite"

Shri Ramamkrisha, venerated guru of Swami Vivekananda had a treasure of parables, stories and anecdotes. He used to convey the divine message through stories, which even an illiterate could follow. Here is one.

A terrible snake lived near a plain where some cowherd boys took their cattle to graze. Everybody was afraid and kept the distance. Once a guru passed by and the cowherds alerted him. He did not mind and went his way when the snake came and with a raised hood, was ready to strike. But as soon as he recited a mantra, the snake lay at his feet like an earthworm. The guru asked the snake "why do you go about doing harm? I will teach a holy word to you. By repeating it, you will learn to love God and realize Him and get rid of your fierce nature." The snake agreed meekly and asked how shall I practice spiritual discipline? Repeat the sacred word (mantra) and do not harm anybody’ the guru said and left.

The cowherds noticed the big change in the snake. It would sit quiet. They started throwing stones. It remained unprovoked. One day one of the boys came closer, caught it by the tail, and whirling it round and round, dashed it against a stone and threw it away. The snake vomited blood and became unconscious. Thinking it dead the boys went their way.

After a long time the snake regained consciousness and dragged itself into its hole with great difficulty. It could not get food and was reduced to a skeleton. At night it came out and made up with some scanty food or leftovers.

After a long time the Guru passed by and asked the cowherd boys about the snake. They told him, it was dead. He did not believe them. He knew the power of the mantra and meditation. He searched round about the place, where the snake had lived. Hearing the Guru’s voice, the snake solely came out and bowed. "Why are you so thin? Are you not well? "

I am fine Sir, the snake replied. It had become so quiet and calm, giving up anger and ferocity that it had forgotten the cruelty of cowherd boys. But the guru persuaded and asked him to recollect what had happened. The snake then said the boy dashed him against a stone, not realizing that the transformed snake would do no any harm to anybody.

What a shame! the Guru said, you do not know how to protect yourself. "I asked you not to bite. I did not tell you not to hiss. You could have just hissed and scared the boys!"

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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