How to make a lion…and not die

Read the previous part here…

Education ranks lower than common sense, and so seek intelligence. Senseless Brahmins in their pride of being educated, made a lion, and then they died.

“How did that happen”, said VairāgyaKumar.

TruptaKumar replied…


The story of the foolish Brahmins who made a lion

In a city, not too far away from here, lived four friends. Three of them were well-educated, but were not very intelligent. The fourth was very intelligent, but not very well-educated.

One day, they all decided to travel to the north, to explore a new city where they could make some good money, based on what they had learnt. And so they set out the very next morning.

As they walked through a forest, Vidyādhara (the carrier of knowledge) the eldest among them, said “Buddhimata (one who is intelligent) is the youngest among us, and is also the most foolish. He is only intelligent – he does not have knowledge like we do. If we reach a city and ask work from the king, he will not appreciate a fool working for him, and so will refuse. It is better that he goes home now itself. “

The second friend agreed. “Buddhimata, you are just intelligent, and you do not have any knowledge, So it is best that you return home.”

The third friend said “No, this is not right. We have all grown up together. We also set out together. So we will give him a portion of whatever we earn. It is said…

किं तया क्रियते लक्ष्म्या या वधूर् इव केवला ।
या न वेश्येव सामान्या पथिकैर् उपभुज्यते ॥ ३६ ॥

kiṃ tayā kriyate lakṣmyā yā vadhūr iva kevalā |
yā na veśyeva sāmānyā pathikair upabhujyate || 36 ||

What is the use of having wealth that stays protected in the house like a bride and is enjoyed only by one, rather than being like a prostitute who is available for everybody’s enjoyment?

I would like to interrupt the story here, to discuss the verse above. At first glance, it seems derogatory – in fact, I did not include it in the first draft of the article. But then I read it again, and again, and thought about it. Vishu Sharman speaks of wealth, and the two ways of enjoying it. One is by hoarding – keeping it to yourself, and not sharing it. This wealth is useful only to it’s owner, much like a bride who is for her husband alone (and the husband, who is for his wife alone). 

The second way is by sharing it, by making this wealth available to all, where many can enjoy it’s benefits. Vishnu Sharman speaks of a prostitute here, but not in a derogatory manner. In my opinion, he places her on a high pedestal – by making her a metaphor of the act of sharing. I read it this way, and I would encourage you to consider reading it with this meaning in mind…

Let us continue!

अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघु-चेतसाम् ।
उदार-चरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥ ३७ ॥

ayaṃ nijaḥ paro veti gaṇanā laghu-cetasām |
udāra-caritānāṃ tu vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam || 37 ||

This is mine, and that is yours – such thinking is for lowly minds. Minds that are noble and wise, think of the entire world as one family.

As they kept walking, they came across a pile of bones lying in their path.

Vidyādhara said “Now, here is an opportunity for us to test our knowledge. I will collect these bones…let us then bring this dead animal to life using our skills and learning.”

He then collected the bones, and arranged them in the correct manner.

The second friend used his learning to cover the bones with skin, flesh and blood. The third stood by, ready to breathe “prana”, or life, into it.

Buddhimata looked horrified. “Wait!”, he cried out. “This looks like the dead body of a lion. If you breathe life into it, the lion will kill all of us!”

The third friend laughed out loud. “You are a fool”, he said. “And you are just jealous because you do not possess our skills. I will not allow you to stop me from demonstrating my superior knowledge.”

“In that case”, said Buddhimata. “Give me a minute, let me climb this tree.” And so he quickly climbed up the tree and looked on.

The third friend breathed prana into the dead lion, who sprung to life, and before any of the ‘learned men” could react, killed them all.

Buddhimata, on the other hand, waited for the lion to have his fill and leave, and then returned home, unscathed.

“And this why I said”, concluded TruptaKumar. वरं बुद्धिर् न सा विद्या विद्याया बुद्धिर् उत्तमा ।बुद्धि-हीनो विनश्यन्ति यथा ते सिंह-कारकाः – Education ranks lower than common sense, and so seek intelligence. Senseless Brahmins in their pride of being educated, made a lion, and then they died.

“And also…”

अपि शास्त्रेषु कुशला लोकाचार-विवर्जिताः ।
सर्वे ते हास्यतां यान्ति यथा ते मूर्ख-पण्डिताः ॥ ३८ ॥

api śāstreṣu kuśalā lokācāra-vivarjitāḥ |
sarve te hāsyatāṃ yānti yathā te mūrkha-paṇḍitāḥ || 38 ||

Though well-versed in the sciences, if you have no practical knowledge, you will become the object of ridicule, much like those foolish pundits were ridiculed by everyone, since they had no knowledge of worldly-affairs.

“How did that happen”, said VairāgyaKumar.

TruptaKumar replied…

to be continued…