Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Are You a Decent Person...? A Story for You

A Parable For You  The Snake and The Saint

A decent individual is often thought of as a weak individual.

I have seen this happening throughout my life  in boarding school  in college  and  more so  in the Navy and Armed Forces  where decency is mistaken for weakness  and – decent gentlemanly officers are considered to be soft  whereas bullshitters rule the roost.

Once  a very funny thing happened.

There was a formidable officer with a redoubtable personality  who was a terror  and everyone was terrified of him  especially when he was roaring drunk.

He used to drink heavily  and after a few drinks he became very fearsome and intimidating  sometimes violent too  and fellow officers and sailors were frightened of him  and even his seniors were scared of confronting him when he was inebriated and in high spirits.

One day  this officer changed his ways.

He turned a new leaf.

He gave up drinking  and he became very polite, courteous and decent.

The redoubtable officer had undergone a total metamorphosis.

At first  no one could believe that this brute had undergone such a transformation and become a gentleman.

Then  after a few days  the very same people who were scared of him earlier  they started pushing him around and bullshitting him.

His decency was mistaken for weakness. 

One evening  I narrated to him one of my favourite stories from the parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 

The story is called The Snake and The Saint 


A group of persons from a village went to a holy man  a Saint  who was meditating in a cave in the mountains. 

They were very terrified and complained to the Saint about a large venomous snake who was terrorizing everyone in the village.

The villagers said to the Saint: 

“This terrible snake’s hiss can be heard for miles around. 

This terrible creature mercilessly bites everyone. 

Sir  this snake is extremely dangerous and does not spare anyone. 

The snake attacks even our wives, our children, our cattle, our dogs  the snake viciously bites everyone he sees. 

Even the bravest among us have become afraid to venture out into the fields  which are dry, parched  and uncultivated. 

Our granaries are depleted and empty. 

Our numbers are dwindling from death by the snake – and by starvation. 

Please help us. 

You are a great Guru and you alone can subdue and vanquish him...”

The Saint 
 realizing the gravity of the situation  went to the village  and then  he walked to the place where the snake lived. 

As he approached the snake  the terrible venomous snake moved swiftly toward the saint with upraised hood. 

The terrified villagers ran away  leaving the Saint to deal with the snake. 

The Saint looked at snake 
 slithering and undulating  his scales shimmering in the sunlight – dark and shining in his majesty  awesome in his length and his beauty.

“Come forth 
 O Magnificent One...” the Saint called out to the snake  and the Saint kept looking at the snake with a benign eye.

The snake was mesmerized by the aura and charismatic presence of the Saint – and because of this – the terrible snake suddenly he lost all his ferocity  and – the snake glided towards the Saint and coiled up meekly at the Saint’s feet in obeisance. 

The Saint said to the snake: 

“O you beautiful creature  what is this I hear about you being the scourge of the village...? 

Leave your destructive ways. 

Be good. 

Do not terrorize the poor villagers needlessly. 

Please stop biting them. 

Leave them alone – I request you to stop biting...” 

The snake bowed and nodded assent. 

The snake resolved to leave his evil ways and be good  and the snake promised the Saint that henceforth he would not bite anyone.

The venomous snake turned a new leaf. 

The snake scrupulously kept his promise  and he stopped attacking and biting people. 

The snake began to live a life of innocence  without attempting to harm anyone.

The villagers were very happy 
 they could move around freely without fear – the fields flourished  the cattle grazed peacefully  and the children came out to play fearlessly.

One day 
 several months later  the Saint passed by the village. 

The Saint remembered the snake  and he searched for him everywhere. 

After a long search the Saint found the Snake coiled near the root of a tree – the Snake was lying mangled, wounded and half dead. 

The Snake was utterly transformed. 

With all his scales had fallen off  the snake looked dilapidated, emaciated, innocuous, and badly injured – and the snake had sores all over his body. 

The poor snake seemed to be on the verge of death.

“O My Dear Friend 
 what happened to you…?” the Saint asked the Snake. 

The Snake said to the Saint: 

 O Guru  is the fruit of obedience  of being good. 

I obeyed you  I gave up my evil ways  I let the villagers alone  I stopped biting them  I stopped attacking them. 

And – do you know what happened to me...? 

Now  everyone pelts me with stones  they beat me with sticks  even the children tease and torment me – and they drag me mercilessly by the tail. 

But – O Guru – I have kept my promise that I made to you…”

The Saint smiled 
 and he lovingly said to the Snake: 

“I exhorted you not to attack them  but I did not prohibit you from hissing at them...

The Snake looked at the Saint  feeling a bit confused.

On seeing the Snake’s confusion  the Saint said lovingly to the Snake: 

“My dear friend  I told you not to BITE people. 

But – did I ever tell you not to raise your hood and HISS at them…? 

I told you not to BITE 

I never told you not to HISS...

The snake learned a lesson for life 
 and henceforth  he got on in life quite safely. 

Dear Reader: 

If you are one of those rare decent genteel decent persons – and you do not want to “BITE people – it is fine. 

But – do remember to “HISS – whenever it is required...

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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