Once there was a sage who lived in a cave in a dense forest. He had developed many miraculous powers through years and years of penance and sadhna. A rat also lived in a hole in the cave. He would frolic around freely and fearlessly in the cave, in the comforting presence of the sage.
Once the rat ventured a little away from the cave, looking around with amazement, the great world outside the cave. Suddenly he was attacked by a cat. Terribly frightened, he ran as fast has legs could carry him and managed to reach the cave. Once his breath normalized, he fell to the feet of the sage.
“Swamiji, I was nearly killed today by the cat. I cannot even venture out of the cave. What a stupid life.” He said.
Not wanting to be disturbed, the sage asked him, “What do you want me to do?”
“Can’t you convert me to a cat? Then I will be able to enjoy life without any fear.”
“Alright, so be it”, said the sage and converted the rat into a cat using his miraculous power.
The rat was happy. “Now, I can move about without any fear”. So he did. Now he would move much farther from the cave, even preying upon other rats.
Once he went a little closer to a village, far away from the cave, where he was confronted by a dog. The dog growled and ran after him. The rat-cat ran with all his might and managed to reach the cave. Trembling with fear, he went to the sage again.
“What is it now? What brings you here?” asked the sage.
“Swamiji, I had thought the cat need not fear anyone, but the dog nearly killed me today. Can’t you turn me into a dog?”
The sage obliged, and the rat-cat was now a big dog. With a new large and strong body, he walked out majestically. Proud of his power, he would now move around, growling at the smaller animals, chasing even cats away.
But the joy lasted only till he was attacked by a wolf in the forest. This time he had a narrow escape, as the wolf nearly caught him. As usual, this time again he went to the sage.
“Swamiji, I had a narrow escape. The wolf nearly ate me. I am afraid to go out now. If I go out again, I will surely be eaten off”, he said. “Can’t you turn me into a wolf?”
The sage felt annoyed this time, but obliged.
The dog was now a hefty wolf. “Now there is no one who can frighten me.”
He stepped out of the cave with confidence. He would now prey upon many animals he was afraid of earlier. After eating to his fill every day he would take a nap fearlessly in the forest.
He was again enjoying a fearless life, until the day he heard a ferocious frightening growl, while he was sleeping. He woke up and found a huge lion running towards him.
It was time to flee. The Rat-cat-dog-wolf ran with all his might and again, as usual, managed to save his life. He reached the safe cave, before the lion could lay his paws on him. Running full speed, he banged into the sage.
“What is it now?” said an irritated sage.
“The lion, Swamiji. It is the lion. Had I not run with all my might, he would have devoured me today. There is no use being a wolf. I should have been a lion. Swamiji, please turn me into a lion. Only then I will be able to live a fearless life.”
Though, extremely annoyed, the sage obliged this time too. The
Rat-cat-dog-wolf was a lion now.
“I am the lion- the king”, said he to himself. “Surely no one can dare to attack me. Now I am truly fearless.”
He celebrated the occasion with hunting other animals. He liked to see other animals – even cats, dogs and wolves- getting afraid of him. He would often hunt, with arrogance, many big animals in the forest. But, his newfound majesty was also short-lived. A group of hunters spotted him and got after his life. Sensing that they were trying to kill him with their deadly weapons, he tried hiding here and there in the forest, but the hunters kept following him. A bullet fired by them just missed him. He was terrified and headed straight to the sage’s cave. Trembling and panting, he fell to the feet of the sage.
“What now? Don’t tell me that even lions are scared”, he said sternly.
“Swamiji, this time I confronted the most treacherous animal- the man. They kill animals even from far away. Please save me.”
“Swamiji was angry. “You rat!” he said rebuking the rat-cat-dog-wolf-lion. “You are frightened in spite of being the powerful king of the forest. Despite being a lion, you have not been able to free yourself of your ‘ratness’. The best course for you is to be a rat again and stay quietly in your hole in the cave. No one would frighten you there.” Saying so, the sage converted the rat-cat-dog-wolf-lion into a rat again.
How surprising. The ‘ratness’ of that rat continued despite his being converted into a lion by the sage. When confronted by the hunters, his conditioning as a rat forced him to flee, instead of using his lion-power. Any other lion would have attacked the hunters, even if he was injured by their bullets.
The great moral of this story is that instead of begging for power of others to make ourselves appear big and powerful, we must strive to transform ourselves, on our own, We must awaken our true powerful self by eliminating fear, vices, and sensual cravings.
No amount of power, authority or fortune derived from others can make us feel free & independent, even in the best of circumstances. For true fearlessness we have to develop our own ability. Other wise we shall always be rats- never lions.
On the other hand if we are equipped with the capability of our own, even the most challenging circumstances will not be able to deter us from achieving power and greatness.
God has created all human beings as his own images, omnipotent and omniscient. But if we dwell in this mortal body with ego centric stance, we will never be able to rise above our ‘ratness’; we will never be able to achieve true fearless liberation even if we are bestowed upon with ruler-ship of the universe. We shall be able to tread the path of liberation only when we transform our own selves, and our sadhna of struggle on the inner path is accompanied with sincere yearning.
Only then shall we acquire the capability of imbibing the Guru kripa, the bounty of abundance.
The true path is found only if instead of begging for it we strive to achieve it ourselves through the sadhana of awakening our own inherent power –the parmeshwari.