Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The snake who became a monk

Today my dear readers I'll tell you a story. The story of the snake who had become a monk. I think it is one of the Jataka tales. I however, heard it from my Hubby. So let me tell  it to you as I remember.

Once upon a time in this beautiful little village in India there was a Huge mango tree. Every summer it's branches would be laden with luscious mangoes. But Alas! The mangoes rarely reached the children who sought it. No, most of them rotted away on the ground. This was noticed by a traveling monk who asked the village children.

"My dear children, who do you allow the mangoes to rot. Why don't you eat it?"

And the children replied: how they wish they could. But what to do?; There was a snake hole just below the tree and a meaner snake they have never seen. It would hiss and spit , why it even bit someone.

"Is it so" , the monk replied. "Maybe then I will pay it a visit."

And so the monk went to pay a visit to the snake.

The snake welcomed him with reverence as you see snakes respect holy men too.

"Why my brother, do you not allow children to take the mangoes? Why do you act so mean? They are all so scared of you."

And the snake replied. "But holy sir, I do what I was taught to do. This is what my ancestors did and this is what I do. But, if you teach me how to live, why verily, I will follow you."

And so the holy man taught the snake the truths of life- about compassion and kindness ,about love and forgiveness. And after that he took leave.

Months passed and the monk came once again to the same village during his travels. He saw the children look happy and playful with ripe mangoes in both their hands. And then, he remembered his old friend, the snake, and decided to pay him another visit.

He reached the mango tree and what a sight did he see?

His old friend was thin and bruised. Blood Oozed and skin was parched.

" When I left you were the king , now why are you in this way?" The monk asked so surprised.

"Oh Holy sir, this is because of your teaching."

"My teachings ? How is it so?"

"From the day you left, I dedicated myself to the holy life. I ate fruits and I welcomed the children. But sir, humans are not kind. At first they were wary. But I was kinder . But when they understood that I had changed , they beat me with sticks and trashed me with stones. Yet you see, I have not gone back to my old ways."

The monk smiled and said gently

" Oh my dear friend, I only told you not to bite. Did I tell you not to hiss?"

And hence ends the story....

  What do you think is the moral of the story?  Recently I realized that this story is more important to our interactions in life, than I gave it credit for. I have learnt the lesson from this story. Have you?

1 comment:

  1. I like the story. I think it means that we need to be kind and not harm others, but that we also need to protect ourselves from being too vulnerable to others and not let them take advantage of us.


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