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Sunday, October 23, 2011

It is not our own intelligence but the foolishness of others that save us quite often.

It is not our own intelligence but the foolishness of others that save us quite often.

A story from Panchatantram of Vishnu Sharma

In a forest there lived a lion who was more than middle-aged and would prefer to sit at ease somewhere and catch hold of any prey who came nearby by applying whatever physical prowess and ingenuity that was left in him. Of course he had, as usual with people of this age, an inflated estimate of his own talents and wisdom.. What else is left there for old guys than to ruminate and brag about their glorious 
( and often imaginary) past? 

One day, our hero could not find any food in his usual way. When the midday also slipped away as a memory, the acute pangs of hunger started gnawing at his stomach and the digestive juices started eating the fine linings of his innards, he could wait no more, and with reluctance, started walking along in search of food. He really covered a distance which would have fetched him a medal in any solo marathon race, but still no living beings except trees, shrub and grass were in sight. Finally as the sun was withdrawing to his celestial abode after a strenuous day’s duty, the lion saw an isolated cave at the foot of a hill.

The wise lion thought. " The cave may not be occupied now, but surely some animal who owns the cave will return here for its nocturnal repose. I will now enter and take rest in the cave, and the owner can come at his leisure and can have his final rest inside my stomach.. Heavenly it would be, great food and good rest."

Accordingly he occupied the cave and waited for his prey to show up. Indeed the prey came that way. It was a wily jackal named Dadipuchcha.. The jackal was always circumspect and safety of self invariably was his first priority.

How could a jackal like him stay alive if he is not circumspect? He never opened his mouth except to tell a lie(or of course to eat something) . So every time he talked, he has to rewind all his memory of a lifetime, unwind all the yarn he had woven, if he had to survive. This happens to all who thrive on deceit.

Now he saw some unusual disturbances in the flora and fauna of the area surrounding his abode. He could also find some faint pug-marks of a lion. He was sharp enough to see through the plans of the old idiotic lion.

He talked to himself in a loud voice. 

" What is happening today? Why is my beloved cave not happy about my return for the night? Every evening when I come back, she would welcome me in her endearing voice.. Is she sick or angry? Anyway I shall ask her." 

Then he addressed the cave, " My darling cave, why are you so silent? If you do not like my presence, I would immediately leave your lovely company and take rest for the night somewhere else. I always put your happiness ahead of my own.. So, I am just leaving." 

Leave he did not. But the genius of a lion was listening to the jackal’s soliloquy and was really taken in by the latter’s endearing address to the cave. 

He thought.." This treacherous cave is not answering since she knows that her lover is in danger. Let it be so. She cannot beat me, nor this jackal." 

The lion did not lose even a split second. He tried in vain to bring softness to his gruff voice and said.."Do not ever leave my company, my love, I was just engaged in some domestic chores. I did not notice your arrival. You please come in.. I am waiting here eager to embrace you.”

The jackal could now know fully well who was inside the cave and what would have awaited him had he entered the cave without taking precautions . He simply walked off a few feet, then hastened his gait and bolted , deciding not to return that way at least for a few days to come..

The old lion waited, waited and waited

It is not our own intelligence but the foolishness of others that save us quite often

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