Thursday, August 29, 2013


We usually study parables when young - in our teens or pre-teen days. The lessons often are not fully understood as we do not get exposed to different facets of life at that age. That which are supposed to be etched in our memory, often ends up in stories that we can afford to forget. I was told that a management school (not of IIT Kharagpur but one of the IIMs) used parables from Ramakrishna Kathamrita (Gospel of Ramakrishna Link) to educate their management cadre who go for administrative jobs. Here are few parables that I studied in young days. It is always worth revisiting the parables of different families even if we consider ourselves grown-ups now and educate ourselves once more. ... refresher's course?!! :-)

From parables of Sri Ramakrishna (Link), on what we consider as reliable information:

A man said to his friend, "I have just seen a house fall down with a terrific crash." Now, the friend to whom he told this had received an English education. He said: "Just a minute. Let me look it up in the newspaper." He read the paper but could not find the news of a house falling down with a crash. Thereupon he said to his friend: "Well, I don't believe you. It isn't in the paper; so it is all false."

Panchatantra is treasure-house of such wisdom. It used animal characters to drive home the message, perhaps to avoid offending high ego of human species! There are several cartoon films on it which are quite popular. The following story is available as narrative in this youtube video (Link). This shows how a foolish friend can harm more than an enemy.

There lived a king who had a monkey as his pet. He loved him very much. The king gave him all freedom and treated him as his good friend. The monkey used to be with the King wherever he was. One day, the king was taking a walk in the royal garden. As usual the monkey was walking with him. Suddenly the monkey started to jump here and there. 

King: What? What happened? Today his action doesn't look normal. Hey what's the matter?
King: What happened to you today? Why are you doing this? There should be a reason for this weird kind of an act. hmm...
The King looked around and was shocked.
King: AH... snake.
The monkey leaped across and killed the snake.
King: I am alive because of you. Thank you so much.

Next day the king narrated the whole story in the court.
King: Since he has saved my life he is been appointed as my chief guard.
Minister: Oh king! A monkey is a monkey. He cannot think and act. You may kindly think it over and decide.
King: He has saved me once and I believe that he will save me in the future too. 
Since no one could question the king everyone of them remained silent.

One day...
King (to monkey): Hey my dear. I am going to teach you. Say A for apple, B for boy, C for cat, D for dog.... good boy. Ok I am going for some rest. Make sure no one disturbs me. If some one or something disturbs me just say shooo.shooo and get rid of them. Got it.
King: Wow intelligent.
The king was asleep. A little while later a fly came near by. At once the monkey said shoo.. shoo. The fly flew away. After some time the fly sat on the king's hand. Again the monkey said shoo shoo and got rid of the fly. The fly came back and this time it sat on the king's neck. Looking at this the monkey got wild and drew the sword to kill the fly. 
Poor king. The fly escaped from the blow but the king.... 

Aesop's fables find its way to become a must-read for all kids. This fable says why one should be careful about flatterers (Link).

A Crow, having stolen a bit of meat, sat in a tree and held it in her beak. A hungry Fox, seeing this, envied the crow and wished to have the meat for himself. So he came up with a cunning plan.

“How gracious you are,” he exclaimed, “how beautifully your feathers shine! Oh, if only your voice were equal to your beauty, you would deserve to be called the Queen of Birds!”

The Crow was really flattered by these words, so, anxious to be called the Queen of Birds, she gave a loud caw and dropped the meat. The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the Crow: “My dear Crow, you have a nice voice, indeed, but I’m afraid you have no wits.”

I shall end this post with a parable of Jesus. This is the famous story of good Samaritan. It tells who actually is one's neighbour, the one who cares (Link).

 A lawyer stood up to put him (Jesus) to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 

Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

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