PARABLE OF A LAMB

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

This story is from the seventh chapter of Uttaradhyayan sutra.

 URABHRIYA

The title of this chapter is urabhriya (about lamb).This title given because the first parable in this chapter is that of a lamb. In Samavayanga and Uttaradhyayana Niryukti mentiond as Urabhijjam (urabhriya) while in Anuyogadvara Sutra is finds mention Elaijjam. Even in the first verse of this chapter the word Elayam has been used. The words urabhra and elak are synonyms, bearing the same meaning-the young of a sheep of lamb. As such both the titles carry the same massage.

1.  First Parable-Bitter Consequences of Sensual Indulgence

A rich man had a cow and its calf with neglect. But to lamb he fed rich and nourishing diet, nursed it well and caressed it affectionately. Within a short period the lamb grew fat to the extent of becoming plump and paunchy. The calf watched this partisan behavior of the owner. One it complained sadly to its mother-“Mother! See, how much our owner loves this lamb? How much nourishing diet he feeds it? Within a few days how fat it has become? To us he gives dry fodder. Even though you give him milk, why does he treat us as he does?”

The experienced cow replied fondling its own-“Son! Distress awaits this lamb. Its death is very near. It is waiting for its end. The love and nourishing diet it gets is inspired by petty self-interest of the owner. Within a few days you will see the consequence.”

Some days passed. Some guests at the owner’s house and that very day proved to be the last day of the lamb’s life. The owner slaughtered his lamb and feted with its meat. The owner and his family members also ate the meat of lamb.

The calf was horrified seeing the slaughter of the lamb. Trembling with fear, it slid near its mother and said-“Mother! Today the owner has slaughtered his beloved lamb. Would I face the same fact dome day?”

The cow affectionately comforted the calf-“No, son! Why will you cut to pieces? You eat dry fodder. Those who take bland and ordinary diet, do not suffer such terrible consequences. It is those who eat and enjoy delicious dishes and are obsessed with sensual pleasures, who suffer such terrible consequences. Butcher’s knife is for those who are infatuated with sensual pleasures.”

Getting this assurance from its mother, the calf became clam.

The massage of this parable is to get the aspirant detached from sensual pleasures and mundane indulgence by showing the bitter consequences of the same. Even mere interest mundane pleasers harms spiritual endeavor.

2. Second Parable-Losing for meager

There was a bigger. He went to some other city and with great difficulty accumulated one thousand Karshapanas (silver coins) from his earning. Taking those coins in a bag he started for his village. For necessary expenses during travel he had kept some Kakinis (coins of lesser denomination. one Karshapana has eighty Kakinis) in hand he forgot one Kakini at some place and move ahead. Going a far, he recalled his forgotten Kaakini. How could he leave his wealth? He was passing through a dense forest. He dug out a hole under a tree and buried his bag of thousand Krshapana then returned to collect his lost Kakini.

A hidden bandit saw him burying the bag. He dug out the bag and eloped. Damak, the beggar, came back to the place where he had forgotten his one Kakini but it had disappeared in the mean time. One returning he found the bag of karshapana- to be missing.

This parable reveals the bitter consequences of excessive greed. This is how a greedy person gets deprived. Those who lose plentiful divine pleasures in order to again mundane pleasures also suffer this way.

3. Third Parable­­- Taste buds take Life

A king was very fond of eating mangoes. Daily and over-eating of mangoes made him sick. An experienced physician cured him but gave a warning-“Sir the mango is prohibited for you. If you eat even a piece of mango, you will lose your life. –  Once. the king went out to roam about in the forest with his minister. There he saw a mango tree full of ripe-fruits. He could not control himself. Although the minister tried to check him, he ate one mango. The disease relapsed at once and became severe.  The king died soon.

Man thus loses his invaluable life for ephemeral sensual pleasures.

4. Fourth Parable –­ Three Sons of a Merchant

A merchant sent his three sons to some other country for earning money. To each one of them he gave one thousand Karshapanas as capital amount and said-“Come back after one year and tell how much each one of you earned. The three brothers left home with the money.

The first son thought – “I have money, so let me enjoy life for some time. Earning can come later.”He took to entertainments and enjoyments and squandered all his wealth.

The second son deposited his capital, to earn interest. He met his expenses with the –interest he earned. His capital remained as it was.

The third son invested his capital in business. Wealth comes from business, conforming this saying he earned a lot and increased his capital many folds. After a year, when all the three came back to their father, the first one was in tatters, he had the lost even the capital; the second one had retained the capital he had; and the third one placed the multiplied capital before his father.

The commentator explains that this is a behavioral analogy. In the religious context—

Birth as a human is capital. To gain divine rebirth is to earn profit through good deeds.

To end up in infernal genus or animal genus is to lose capital through bad deeds.

This parable inspires to embrace noble and pure conduct to acquire meritorious karmas as well as destroy karmic bondage, once being born as a human being.

The translation of the original sutra is as follows:

As someone brings up a young lamb, feed it with rice and gram and is tied up in his backyard to provide as food, on arrival of a guest. It is made to grow big and fat with a large belly and plump body, ready for the guest, so long as they do not come, the animal lives, as soon as the guest arrives, its head is cut off and eaten. As this lamb is well treated for the sake of the guest, similarly even so an ignorant being, great sinner, longs for a life of suffering.

An ignorant man tells lies, robs, deceives, always thinking of someone whom he can plunder, he is desirous of pleasures and amusements, he enters on undertakings and business, drinks liquor eats meats and becomes strong. His life is akin to the life of the lamb until the arrival of the guest after having enjoyed the pleasures, committing many sins, he will under the burden of his Karman and believing in the visible world, be grieved in the hour of death, like the lamb at arrival of the guests.

The quote – “Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.”

Share Button

Leave a Reply