The Tricks of the Mind

There was once a lion living in the jungle who would kill for the sake of seeing his victims suffer, often without even bothering to eat his prey.

The animals called a meeting to discuss if there was some way to avoid coming to such a terrifying end. But since the lion was the strongest and fastest of them all, no one could suggest anything constructive. An old fox even suggested that since they didn’t stand a chance anyway, it might cause less suffering if they actually sacrificed themselves to the lion, one after the other. Everyone agreed and the lion was more than happy with the new arrangement.

One day, a wise rabbit arrived in the forest. He had come to speak with the animals.

‘I think I can help you with this cruel lion. I have an idea. Let me be the next to go to his den.’ The animals mocked him, thinking that no rabbit could possibly outwit their tormentor, but when the time came, they gave directions and warned him to be on time.

Instead, the rabbit lingered on the way, and ran the final stretch so that he was gasping for breath by the time he reached the lion. With a menacing roar, the lion demanded, ‘Why are you late? I am hungry.’

‘I am sorry, dear Lion,’ answered the rabbit, ‘but on the way I met another lion. He asked where I was going – and I explained that I was on my way to be the food of another lion. He became very angry and said he was the best and the most powerful in the forest. He wanted to eat me – but I slipped away and managed to come to you instead.’

The lion’s heckles rose when he heard there was a rival in his territory, and he ordered the rabbit to take him to this other lion immediately. Before long, they were standing on the outskirts of the forest, and the rabbit was pointing to a well, saying, ‘he is in there.’

When the lion peered inside and saw his competitor glaring back up at him with the same bristling mane and wide open jaws, he gave a ferocious roar. The other lion copied him which made him angrier still, but he stepped back in surprise as the echo resounded in his ears.

‘Be careful, Mr Lion!’ cried the rabbit. ‘He is strong and it will be difficult to beat him.’

‘No one is greater than me!’ the lion thundered. ‘I will kill him!’

‘Good idea,’ replied the canny rabbit. ‘We animals don’t want to sacrifice ourselves to any other lion.’

When the lion pounced with outstretched claws ready for attack, the echoes of a mighty roar were followed by a crashing, splashing and wailing sound as he fell. When silence returned to the forest a few moments later, the rabbit ran to tell the other animals that they were safe at last.

“It is just an example,” Guruji concluded. “I am talking about mind – about dualism. We are always seeing two. When consciousness is divided, more and more images are coming. Many people are fighting with an image problem like that lion. (Alcohol also creates many problems like this in the brain and causes people to see many images where there is only one!) So I mean to say, when there is dualism, the ego can easily play tricks on the mind. Over the coming weeks I want to tell you more about the nature of the mind.

“Today I want to tell you how important it is to be Self-ish. Of course, there is the superficial meaning: to only think of yourself and to be concerned with materialistic gain. This kind of ego fights for survival. This kind of ego wants to be the greatest and will never surrender, like the lion in the forest.

“But there is also a deep meaning. In Sanskrit, ‘Swarti’ translates as ‘Self’. So the “Self-ish” person I am talking about is someone who understands the meaning of Self.