The sage and the scorpion

I don’t remember why this came up, but I remember telling this story to a friend during class, back in RVCE. Might be with reference to the honourable Mr. Krishnappa. The person who heard the story went on to found a company and become its CEO. So it might do you good to hear it out.

But why on the blog? This is a story that’s always been close to my heart. I haven’t exactly looked at it for inspiration or any such thing. It’s just something that pops in once in a while. Mostly when down in the dumps and usually sardonically. Here goes.

There was once a sage bathing in the river, and his disciple was sitting on the bank. While doing his prayers in the river, the sage noticed a scorpion trying to stay afloat in the river. He pulled it up, and cradling it in his palm, started waddling towards the bank. The scorpion, being what it was, stung him, and moved out of his hands and fell into the river. He once again pulled it up and continued nonchalantly.

This process repeated until the venom started taking effect on the Sage and he was really struggling to make it to the shore. But with a lot of difficulty and determination, he made it and before making ground, let the scorpion go into the safety of earth.

His disciple, who had been watching this from the shore asked him why he didn’t let the scorpion go when it was stinging him so much! Why help an ungrateful creature like that?! The sage replied “It was in the scorpion’s nature to sting anyone who came close to it, and it was doing just that. It was in my nature to help it to safety and I was doing just that.”

Have many times felt like calling BS on it. But then, such is life. Sometimes you are the sage with the scorpion in your hands and you just have to get it to safety, unmindful of the cost exacted. I guess sometimes you’re also the scorpion but it’s hard to know when someone is being the sage and how much you’re harming them. I guess it works both ways at times too – you think you’re the sage and someone else is the scorpion, while that someone else actually thinks the converse.

I guess I’ll not ruin a nice story with my own ramblings and just leave it here.


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