Friday, 3 February 2012

An unnecessary action

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"It is better to avoid unnecessary action, than battle unnecessary reaction"

This is a story that I had read a very long time back. The story starts with a sage and his disciple deciding to take rest under a large tree in a village after having a long and tiresome journey. As they relax, they observe a shopkeeper in a nearby shop who had accidentally dipped his finger in a jar of honey idly rubbing it off against the wall of his shop. The sage remarks "That was a rather unnecessary action..." The disciple looks at the sage and gives a look of bewilderment - "What's wrong with it?" he asks.

The sage doesn't reply, and insists on resting a little longer. As time passes, a swarm of flies gather around the honey. After some time, a lizard notices the flies and decides to have a nice meal. As the lizard is busy feeding on the flies, a beautiful brown cat arrives at the scene and decides to poke the lizard. While the cat is busily pawing the lizard and chasing it around, a smart dog appears on the scene and starts chasing the cat down the street. As the frightened cat runs to her master, the master decides to teach the dog a lesson and pelts a stone at the pooch. The dog runs yelping back to his master.

Now the unfortunate part of the story is that the owners of the dog and the cat belonged to families that nursed great hatred for each other. The attack on the dog was deemed as a deliberate act of insolence and there begins a fight. Soon, supporters of both men arrive at the scene and in the ensuing hullabaloo, an over enthusiastic lackey of one of the teams throws a burning stick onto the thatches of the other. And soon a retaliation follows. Within a few minutes, a large number of shops in the busy market area are seen burning down as the men are baying for blood and fighting. As the thick dark smoke rises, the sage and the disciple who were well away from the scene turn to look at each other. The disciple falls at the feet of his preceptor, understanding the great repercussions of an unnecessary action...

***
Note: You may say that this is a great coincidence or that this can never happen - that is not true. However, understand that this is along the lines of the butterfly effect. Some times, an action of no seemingly great consequence can bring about catastrophic results, and also some times good results. Therefore, it is always better to be careful before doing anything...

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