The serpent painfully bound with the cord, sighing a little and maintaining its composure with great difficulty, then uttered these words slowly in human voice.
There was an old lady of the name of Gautami who was remarkable for her patience and tranquility of mind. One day she found her son dead in consequence of having been bitten by a serpent. A fowler, by name Arjunaka, bound the serpent with a string, brought it before Gautami and said, “This wicked serpent has been the cause of your son’s death. O blessed lady, tell me quickly how this wretch is to be destroyed! Shall I throw it into the fire or shall I hack it into pieces? This infamous killer of a child does not deserve to live longer.” Continue reading “A fowler and a serpent”
We cannot withdraw from the work of the world without, like Arjuna, being guilty of cowardice. Besides, however eager we may be to retire from a life of action, we cannot, in reality, pass outside the region of activity. If we cease to work with our bodies, our minds still remain active, and our only hope of freedom is in learning the secret of work.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि — To work thou hast the right, but never to the fruits. Be not actuated by thirst for the results of action, nor be thou pleased in inaction. —Bhagavad Gita, Ch.2, 47.
“None verily, even for an instant, ever remain doing no action; for every one is driven helpless to action by the energies born of nature.” Therefore, unable to resist the inner force, we are bound to do that which we are doing. Each of our actions, furthermore, must inevitably produce some result. Every action is followed by a corresponding reaction, which returns to the point from which it started; hence the reaction of each action must come back to the soul itself and influence the doer. Further study also shows that the character of action and reaction must be the same.