Monday, 25 March 2013

The snake that learnt to hiss

While the dictionary meaning of metamorphosis goes something like 'the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages',  or perhaps in a more abstract sense it means the change of form of a person into a completely different one either by natural or supernatural means.
There is also a figurative meaning to this word. It denotes the maturity in character of a person due largely to the experiences he/she undergoes. Every experience changes us and then we are not the same person again.

Here is the story of the snake that meets a saints and how his character changes after this fateful meeting.

There was once a snake named Sarpa. He was a dangerous snake and people were very scared of him. Nobody dared come anywhere near him. The very minute that he crawled out the hole that he lived in near a banyan tree, people would run for their lives in fear. Days rolled into months and months rolled into years. One day a sage walked past the Sarpa’s residence boldly. Sarpa was surprised. He sprang his head out in order to scare the sage. The sage ignored Sarpa’s threats and walked ahead.

Sarpa was astonished. He quietly walked ahead of the sage and asked, “Are you not scared of me?” to which the sage calmly said “No, why should I be scared of you?” This answer was not what Sarpa had expected to hear. He began chatting with the sage and soon understood that biting people or scaring them is not the best way to live. He became a calm snake and wanted to be like the sage, good and kind hearted.

After a few days the people living nearby came to know that Sarpa was no longer harmful and were not scared of him. Soon they became brave and some of them wanted to take revenge on Sarpa for his previous wrong doings. They started throwing stones on Sarpa. In sometime Sarpa became wounded badly and weak. He could not even move. It was at this time that the sage came back to the village where Sarpa lived. The sage was shocked to see Sarpa in this condition. Sarpa narrated what had happened and then the sage at once knew that Sarpa had taken his advice verbatim. The sage then told Sarpa that his advice was that Sarpa should not bite or scare others. He had not told him not to hiss for his own self-protection.

Sarpa heard the sage’s words carefully and understood his words in the correct sense. He started hissing at people and eventually the people of the village learnt to leave him alone and mind their business. The sage visited the village sometime later and told the people that he had learnt a wonderful lesson from the happenings. The people listening to the sage were taken aback. They thought the sage had taught Sarpa a lesson initially and then he had taught the villagers a lesson by teaching Sarpa to hiss at them.

They did not expect the sage to say that he had learnt a lesson. Curious, they listened to the sage as they continued. The sage told them that Sarpa had listened to his advice, but he himself did not think of Sarpa’s good while advising him. The sage admitted that he had started giving advice to people considering the good of all concerned. After this incidence Sarpa, the villagers and the sage were all changed people and became more sensitive and reformed!