Arrogance Heights

Arrogance is a mental state and when it will take seed and cause our ruin, no one knows and therefore this story serves us to remain humble or remind ourselves when we land in such situations. The post was written when Basheer a friend and Cabbie in Bahrain was harping on this topic of how arrogance spoils an individual and complemented it with an outline of a simple story that he learnt in school, which I had never come across earlier. I hope on the occasion of Eid, this story makes an interesting read.

Once there was a tiny mouse, who used to live in holes dug by himself, some on the ground, some in the wall of a house where he frequented at night for dishes forgotten to be tightly closed or some left overs lying here and there. There was no issue of food for the mouse, but he always was in awe and fear of an alley cat who used to frequent the place where the mouse lived. The alley cat would try to pounce upon him given the opportunity or whenever they came face to face, but most of the time, he used to give the cat a slip by slipping just in time into one of the burrows dug to handle such situations. There was a tree nearby the house, and it used to be difficult when the cat after his sleeping sessions on the tree would come down in a jiffy when the mouse was just loitering around and our poor guy had to scamper with many a wounds which he would lick in private and think how his world would change..

Once it so happened, that a sage visited the house and its inhabitants on his way and blessed them and was just about to leave when the mouse approached him and told all about the miserable life that he was living because of the alley cat. Sensing what was going in the tiny mind, the Sage asked him, in what form would he like to continue in life, if the cat was giving him so much trouble. I would like to be a cat so that I wont have to dread this alley cat and any others that might come this way, pleaded the mouse. So it be it, said the Sage and walked away.

The little mouse was mighty surprised to see himself as a cat and he ran the whole day in leaps and bounds, climbed the tree and jumped to the window to startle the little boy inside and then back and so forth. He went into the house through the door and nobody saw him nor shrieked when they saw him. He was loving the freedom and came out to enjoy the world in his new form. But to his chagrin, the house dog barked at him and chased him and he had to beat a hasty retreat out of that house for ever. He too became an alley cat living in every street a day based on the street dogs pushing him away and he soon became tired of being on the run, leading the life of a fugitive who could barely rest in peace anywhere.

He chanced upon our Sage one day and asked him if he could change him to a dog and the transformation happened much to his joy. But the happiness was short lived when children and adults alike threw stones at him whenever he went his way looking for food around the houses and shops across the street. To cut a long story short, our guy changed many forms till finally he told the Sage, “let me become a tiger in the forest, so that everybody will respect me for what I am and I can live a peaceful life”. So be it, said a smiling sage and vanished.

The tiger roamed about and was happy to see that nobody came his way or troubled him. He could kill any animal that he liked for his food, be it a nimble footed deer, a lost goat or a troubled buffalo. Days went by and slowly the tiger became more of a trouble maker in the forest. He killed animals with gay abandon even when he was not hungry and hence every animal dreaded him.

The sage thought of making a visit to know how the mouse fared in his newly acquired tiger’s form now that the mouse was not even thinking of him. On the way he saw the forest in disarray as if somebody had created havoc to the eco-system with carcasses of animals lying here and there and rotting. As he walked, some of the gentle animals came to him and said how the tiger had became a menace to the inhabitants and pleaded with the Sage to rescue them from the clutches of an animal gone wild.

The sage said he would talk to the tiger on their behalf and ask him to mend his ways for good and the retinue of animals thanked him but still followed our sage at a safe distance. Sensing some movement, the tiger came out of his dwelling and saw the sage. He just blinked without giving any respect whatsoever now that he was the king of the forest. The sage put forward his proposition and advised the tiger to come to terms and behave himself for the good of all creatures. The tiger got angry telling the Sage it was no business of his and he should beat a hasty retreat before he got hungry. The sage laughed at this, and the tiger could see the animals in the distance watching all this. “How could you laugh at me, when I am ordering you to flee if you value your life. Why are all of you tired of life and in defiance”, he spoke to the Sage and said that there was no need of him visiting him again with silly advice and demanded him to leave immediately as dusk was fast approaching.

The Sun much as he wanted to enjoy the climax of the unfolding drama below, was beating a hasty retreat behind the dense foliage. On the way down, he saw the rising Moon and told him all about what had happened, so that he could tell him all about the unfinished story when they met the next day morning. The moon ever so eager, climbed fast in time to position himself at a vantage position to see what would be the outcome of the conversation between the tiger and his preceptor, the Sage. An eagle flying that way also thought of resting his wings and he landed on one of the branches below which the Sage was standing and lent his ears as did other animals in abeyance.

The Sage seemed hurt at the dialogues from the tiger and he warned the mouse turned wild cat that it would be better to be humble rather that destroying himself with arrogance. Hearing this, the tiger who had had enough sprang at the Sage who was standing at a distance of a few feet. As he took off, he knew the Sage would be a an easy prey but to his surprise the Sage easily dodged him while he was in the air and when he landed on the ground, much to his surprise, he found himself having turned into a mouse. These moments didn’t last long, as to his horror, the eagle had already descended from the branch above to pounce on an easy prey in the darkness lit only by the glow of a smiling crescent Moon…

EID Mubarak to All..

Eid Greetings

48 thoughts on “Arrogance Heights

  1. I LOVED this story… human arrogance will eventually destroy us and the creatures/trees/plants because we think we humans are so much better than those who have inhabited this planet for 450 million years like plants have, or 350 million years like animals have… humans have been around here for 200,000 years – who do you think knows more about what works here?

  2. This is a story which illustrates your point clearly. In whatever position we find ourselves, there is always something to grumble about. Life is not perfect and we must find ways to live as peacefully and respectfully as we can. Never believe that others are always in a better position than yourself. Be grateful for what you have and be cautious when the situation calls for it. Sunith thank you for visiting my site and the number of likes. I am grateful that you took the time to read so many.

  3. Arrogance shoots up to a height from which one can only peer down at others who come across as insignificant ‘lows’. It isolates you and makes you lonely. Thanks fro sharing this story

  4. Sunith, this might be my most absolutely favorite story of all! I LOVED IT. And it interests me greatly because from a naturalists point of view cats of all kind are one of my least favorite animals because they DO kill indiscriminately. torment others and often they kill for pure pleasure. Here in New Mexico the PUMA inhabits the arroyos and I am never anxious to see one… and I have never understood why people are so entranced by big cats. Could it be that on some level this animal’s destructive behavior is attractive to some?

  5. That is life in a nutshell what we would like to be and then see how things unfurled. A beautiful story of Arrogance to ponder over, Sunith and for what reason need we keep Egos and Arrogance, when we know it does not work.

    1. True Kamal; but so powerful is the magnetic force of Maya that it takes an effort to keep these things at bay..but yes, if we practice we can.

      1. Yes absolutely I agree totally, Sunith and that is why this coming and going of our lives till we break this arrogance with listening to spiritual speakers who tell us what our true nature is.

      1. Not really — i have 6 little Gopals and not all of them have new dresses as of yet….so happy and excited getting it all set up. 🙂 Wish you a wonderful Ashtami-Rohini. 🙂

  6. My father termed it ‘ false prestige’. He had once explained that it is a manifestation that is born out of your own belief that you are bigger than the rest of human race and expect to be treated that way. I had recently read this out to my little one from a children’s book called Magic Pot and she had laughed at the very end that the silly tiger mouse had become a mouse again for the true meaning that this tale holds will remain a mystery until she has reached adulthood when one has a choice to enter the gates of Arrogance Heights.

    1. Yes; but these stories like the many found in the Mahabharata ( Nahusha) read in the formative ages does help in moulding ourselves to be better citizens…

  7. Now when I re read this story I think of how the human race believes it is superior to all creatures – and destroys everything with abandon…. love this story.

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