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Know Your Limits

During the reign of King Brahmadatta, a wise lion lived in a cave on top of a very tall hill. Each day he would venture out when the sun appeared on top. The whole forest was flooded with the rays of the sun at that time.The lion was able to spot any movement below then. A prey in the form of a deer, buffalo or even an elephant moving there meant that it was lunch time for him. Swiftly and silently he would glide through the bushes and leap on to the prey. After his meal he took a leisurely walk down to a pool to quench his thirst after the ravenous meal.

One day on his return from the pool he noticed a skinny wild dog. It was pulling meat away from the bones of an antelope that the lion had partaken of. The dog looked up at the mighty lion and begged for his life. He did not know that lions never eat right after a meal! "Sir, please let me be your assistant. I shall help you in some way, therefore spare me," he pleaded in this manner. Soon the two made a solid pact.

The dog was posted outside the cave. Each day at noon the dog searched with his eyes to the North. Then he looked to the East, then to the South and finally to the West. He was looking for signs of any animal that the lion would like to feast on. The sight of one would make him rush into the cave and tug at the lion's mane to wake him up right away. The lion would then rush down to the forest below and consume his share of the food. He always left a good portion for his assistant the dog. What a beautiful arrangement this was!

A month or so went by. The wild dog was no longer skinny. His frmae filled out and his muscles grew stronger. So did his vanity! "Hmm. I have strong teeth and muscles. I can run as fast as this lion. I can spot animals very well. I think I am as smart if not smarter than my boss. I think it is time that I became boss and the lion, my assistant." With these thoughts in mind he approached the wise and kind lion and discussed his plans. The lion tried in vain to dissuade him. He said, "Dear friend. I realize how strong and agile you have become. You do not have the natural talents though to seize a prey the way we lions do. We should maintain our relationship without change. This way while you earn your keep you will continue to get good food." The dog had made up his mind to boss and the kind lion allowed him to do so. Next day morning the lion posted himself outside the cave. At noon he saw a large elephant below, swinging his tail while bringing down the tender branches of a young sal tree. The lion called out to the dog, "There is food down below." Out came the dog with his tail up in the air. His fangs spread over his mouth, tongue flapping in excitement. Huffing and puffing he ran down hill. He leaped on to the side of the giant elephant in order to get to his throat. This was a perfect imitation of what he had seen the lion do. Alas as his feet knocked against the pachyderm his right ankle got twisted. He lost his balance and fell to the ground. The huge animal swung around and accidentally stepped on the curled up dog, crushing him to death. On top of the hill the lion who watched the whole show, shook his mane in sorrow.

Om Muni Muni MAHAmuniye Svaha