Wicked Man in the Society
“A man living in the society should make a show of tamas to protect himself from evil minded people. But he should not harm anybody in the anticipation of harm likely to be done him.”
Listen to a story. some cowherd boys used to tend their cows in a meadow where a terrible poisonous snake lived. Everyone was on alert for fear of it. One day a brahamachari was going along the meadow. The boys ran to him and said, ‘Revered Sir, Please don’t go that way. A venomous snake lives over there.’ ‘What of it my good children?’, said brahmachari. ‘I am not afraid of the snake. I know some mantras.’ So saying, he continued on his way along the meadow. But the cowherd boys, being afraid, did not accompany him. In the mean time the snake moved swiftly toward him with the upraised hood. As soon as it came near, he recited a mantra and snake lay near his feet as earthworm.The brahmachari said: “Look here why do you go about doing harm? Come, I will give you a holy word. By repeating it you will learn to love God. Ultimately you will realize Him and will get rid of your violent nature’, saying this he taught the snake a holy word and initiated him into spiritual life. The snake bowed before the teacher and said, “Revered Sir how shall I practice the spiritual discipline?” ‘Repeat the sacred word, and do no harm to anybody.’ As he was about to depart, the brahmachari said, ‘I shall see you again’.
Some days passed and the cowherd boys noticed that the snake would not bite. They threw at it. Still it showed no anger; it behaved as if it were a earthworm. One day one boy came close to it and caught it by its tail, whirling it around and round, and then thrashed it on the ground and threw it away. The snake vomited blood and became unconscious. It was stunned. It could not move. So thinking it dead boys went their way.
Late at night the snake regained consciousness. Slowly and with great difficulty it dragged itself into its hole; its bone were broken and it could scarcely move. Many days passed. The snake became mere skeleton covered with a skin. Now and then at night, it would come out in search of food. For the fear of boys it would not leave the hole during day time. Since receiving the sacred word from the teacher, it had given up doing harm to others. It maintained its life on dirt, leaves or the fruit that dropped from the trees.
“About a year later the brahamachari came that way again and asked after the snake. The cowherd boys told him that it was dead. But he could not believed them. He knew that the snake could not die before attaining the fruit of the holy word with which it had been initiated. He found his way to the place and started searching here and there, called it by the name it had given it. Hearing the teacher’s voice it came out of its hole and bowed before him in great reverence. ‘How are you?’ asked the brahamachari. I am well sir replied the snake. But the teacher asked why are you so thin? The snake replied: ‘Revered Sir, you ordered me not to harm anybody . So I have been living on leaves and fruit. Perhaps that has made me thinner.’
The snake had developed the quality of sattva; it could not be angry with anyone. It had totally forgotten that the cowherd had almost killed it. The Brahamchari said, “It can’t be mere want of food that has reduced you to this state. There must be some other reason. Think a little. Then the snake remembered the boy who had almost killed it. It said, “Yes revered Sir, now I remember The boys one day dashed violently against the ground one day. They are ignorant after all. They did not realized that great change had come over my mind. How would they know that I would not bite or harm anyone?’ The brahmachri exclaimed, ‘What a shame. You are such a fool! You don’t know how to protect yourself. I asked you not to bite, but I didn’t forbid you to hiss. Why didn’t you scare them by hissing?”
“So you must hiss at wicked people. You must frighten them lest they should do you any harm. But never inject your venom into them. One must not injure other.”