Most of us when we were younger must have heard about The Lion Who Became a Sheep story that was made famous by either literature or folk tale. For those unfamiliar with the story; I am going to reproduce it below for you to help catch up with the conversation. However, here in the story instead of using the lion I will replace with a tiger.
The tiger Who Became a Sheep *edited
Story credit: https://www.ananda.org/blog/tiger-sheep-yogananda-joy/#:~:text=The%20young%20tiger%20grew%20up,like%20a%20weak%2C%20meek%20lamb.
A flock of sheep discovered a helpless baby tiger crooning in their midst. One of the mother sheep took pity on the baby tiger and adopted it as her own. The young tiger grew up amidst the flock of sheep. Several years passed, and there, with a flock of sheep, roamed a huge tiger with stripes and tail, behaving exactly like a sheep. The sheep-tiger bleated instead of roaring and ate grass instead of meat. This vegetarian tiger acted exactly like a weak, meek lamb.
One day, another tiger strolled out of the nearby forest onto the green pasture, and to his great delight beheld this flock of sheep. Thrilled with joy and whipped by hunger, the great tiger pursued the fleeing flock of sheep, when, with amazement, he saw a huge tiger, with tail high up in the air, fleeing at top speed ahead of the sheep.
The older tiger paused for a moment, scratched his head, and pondered within himself: “I can understand the sheep fleeing away from me, but I cannot imagine why this stalwart tiger should run at the sight of me. This runaway tiger interests me.” Ignoring his hunger, he raced hard and pounced upon the escaping tiger. The sheep-tiger fainted with fear. The big tiger was puzzled more than ever, and slapped the sheep-tiger out of his swoon. In a deep voice he rebuked, “What’s the matter with you?! Why do you, my brother, flee from me?”
The sheep-tiger closed his eyes and bleated out in sheep language, “Please let me go. Don’t kill me. I’m just a sheep brought up with yonder flock.”
“Oh, now I see why you’re bleating.” The big tiger pondered again, and a great idea flashed upon him. He caught the sheep-tiger by the mane with his mighty jaws and dragged him toward a lake at the end of the pasture. When the big tiger reached the shore of the lake, he pushed the sheep-tiger’s head so that it was reflected in the water. He began to shake the sheep-tiger, who still had his eyes tightly closed, saying, “Open your eyes! Look! You are not a sheep.”
“Bleat, bleat, bleat. Please don’t kill me. Let me go. I am not a tiger, but only a poor, meek sheep,” wailed the sheep-tiger.
The big tiger gave the sheep-tiger a terrible shake. The sheep-tiger opened his eyes, and was astonished to find that the reflection of his head was not, as he expected, a sheep’s head but a tiger’s head, like that of the tiger who was shaking him with his paw. Then the big tiger said, “Look at my face and your face reflected in the water. They are the same. My face roars. Now! You must roar instead of bleating!”
The sheep-tiger, convinced, tried to roar, but could only produce bleat-mingled roars. As the older tiger continued to exhort him with slapping paws, the sheep-tiger at last succeeded in roaring. Then both tigers bounded across the pasture, entered the forest, and returned to the den of tigers.
Most of us are like that tiger cub; influenced by the society, our community and our culture. We are so conditioned to live by those morals, vertues and principals and carve them in stone into believing that they are absolutely right to follow to the bone. We lose our individual identity; in persuit of being able to fit into a society that will accept us for what they want us to be, think, beleive and behave. We adapt and change based on what we have learned by observing our surroundings; just like the tiger cub - who was exposed to the sheep and their lifestyle went on to believing it was a sheep. Until one day it dawned on him after an external awakening that it is actually a tiger, not sheep!
Do think this over, how much is your behaviour influenced by your surroundings? Have you conditioned yourself to fit in? Do you have a conditional bias in your decisions and judgement? Do you think you are a Tiger or a sheep?
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