Once upon a time outside the village of Rakhigarhi, there lived a snake a.k.a. saap, named Cobra. Cobra was well known for his viciousness nature to the villagers, he had bitten many, hurt many more and killed quite a few. The villagers avoided his nesting area.
One day, a group of boys were playing with a ball. One of the boys missed catching it and it landed near Cobra’s nest under the fallen tree. The boys start crying.
One says to other “You go get it, you dropped the ball.” “It is not my ball, I will not go.” replies the boy who missed it. Another says “It is only a ball, let it go.” A fourth says, “I am going to my dad.”
Soon a few of the fathers gather around to figure out how to get the ball back without getting hurt. A Jain Muni, clad in white with square cloth covering his mouth and nose, was passing by and overheard their dilemma. He came over to talk to the men and said ” I can talk to the snake and recover the ball for you.” The men were astonished that someone was offering to go to Cobra’s nest. They readily agreed and showed him where the nest was located.
The Jain muni walked over to the snake’s nest and started whispering in a strange tongue. The villagers watched from a distance wondering what was going on. They then saw the Jain muni walk back with the ball.
The villagers noticed that the snake was no longer violent, he had stopped biting and being vicious. They then, started bothering the snake to get rid of him. One villager poured hot oil, another started a fire near the tree, the children started throwing stones and sticks.
And so, 6 months passed.
The Jain Muni was passing through Rakhigarhi and he stopped by to ask the villagers how they were doing. All thanked him for taming the snake and went on their merry way.
The Jain Muni walked slowly to Cobra’s nest. There, he saw that Cobra barely breathing, appearing a moment away from death, wounded, burnt in places and bleeding in others. He asked “What happened to you? You look badly hurt.”
Cobra responds with hisses saying “I have kept my vow to you to not hurt any living creature till the end of my days.”
The Muni responds ” I am sorry they have been hurting you. Let me get you some medicine for your wounds. You took a vow not to hurt a single living creature but it does not mean you let them hurt you. You can scare them away by expanding your hood and hissing if they come to hurt you.”
Cobra abides by the Jain muni’s words and starts scaring away the villagers that come to harm him, and so he spends the rest of his life without hurting another living creature, fasting to his death.
“Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion and love.”
By Jane Goodall