Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Scorpion and the Sage


This is a remarkable fable. I heard this when I was very small (... and that means a very long ago) from my uncle. I am not sure of the source of the story. Could be the Mahabharata, the great Indian epic.

Once upon a time ... I love this beginning. "Once upon a time" takes me straight to my childhood days. Ok I am digressing.

Once upon a time, there was a sage who lived next to a river. He was known for his kindness to one and all. Every morning before he started his day he would go for a dip in the river. On one such morning as he emerged from his dip he say a scorpion floating by, struggling for life. The sage scooped the scorpion up with the intention to take it ashore and save its life. The scorpion stung the sage on his palm and the sage dropped the scorpion in the river. But quickly scooped it up again and put it ashore.

His disciple was watching all this. He felt the sage was being stupid. Why help someone who kicks you?

The sage's reply was classic, "If the scorpion cannot forget its nature, how can I?"

Hmmm.... good fable.

Fables are meant to pass on a moral.

What moral do you get from this fable?

I take a lesson from the scorpion. Not the sage. Surprised?

The scorpion obviously was reacting instinctively. The sage was not.
In modern times, when couldn't-care-less attitude dominates, it is good to have people who have good intentions. And there are people who go out of their way to help others. And at times this could lead to irritation, depending upon the context ("Mind your own business, man!" is a normal reaction). It could also lead to snafu. But what I need to do is suppress instinctive reactions.

The stupid scorpion could have lost its life.

Picture courtesy: Andrea Simonato

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1 comment:

Ekawaaz said...

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