Young tiger and a herd of goats

Just the other day I was reading one of Ramakrishna’s parables. I love it. I read it again and again whenever I come across it. It is the whole story of the Master being a catalytic agent.

The story is:

A tigress died while giving birth to a cub, and the cub was brought up by goats. Of course, the tiger believed himself to be a goat also. It was simple, natural; brought up by the goats, living with the goats, he believed that he was a goat. He remained a vegetarian, eating and chewing grass. He had no conception. Not even in his dreams could he dream that he was a tiger, and he was a tiger.

Then one day it happened that an old tiger came across this herd of goats and that old tiger could not believe his eyes. A young tiger was walking amidst the goats! Neither were the goats afraid of the tiger nor were they aware that the tiger was walking amongst them; the tiger was also walking like a goat. The old tiger somehow got hold of the young tiger, because it was difficult to catch hold of him. He escaped – he tried, he cried, he screamed. He was afraid, he was shivering with fear. All the goats escaped and he was also trying to escape with them, but the old tiger got hold of him and pulled him towards the lake. He would not go. He resisted just the way that you are doing with me. He tried his best not to go. He was scared to death, crying and weeping, but the old tiger wouldn’t allow him. The old tiger still pulled him and took him to the lake.

The lake was silent like a mirror. He forced the young tiger to look into the water. He saw, with tearful eyes – the vision was not clear but the vision was there – that he looked just like the old tiger. Tears disappeared and a new sense of being arose; the goat started disappearing from the mind. He was no more a goat, but he could not believe his own enlightenment. Still the body was shivering a little, he was afraid. He was thinking, “Maybe I am imagining. How can a goat turn so suddenly into a tiger? It is not possible, it has never happened. It never happens that way.” He couldn’t believe his own eyes, but now the first spark, the first ray of light had entered into his being. He was no more the same really. He could never be the same again.

The old tiger took him to his cave. Now he was not so resistant, not so reluctant, not so afraid. By and by he was getting bold, gathering courage. He started walking like a tiger as he went to the cave. The old tiger gave him some meat to eat. It is difficult for a vegetarian, almost impossible, nauseating, but the old tiger wouldn’t listen. He forced him to eat. When the nose of the young tiger came near the meat, something happened: from the smell, something deep in his being which had been fast asleep was awakened. He was pulled, attracted towards the meat, and he started eating. Once he tasted the meat, a roar burst through his being. The goat disappeared in that roar, and the tiger was there in his beauty and splendor.

This is the whole process, and an old tiger is needed. That is the trouble: the old tiger is here, and howsoever you try to dodge, this way and that, it is not possible. You are reluctant, you are difficult to bring to the lake, but I will bring you. You have been eating grass your whole life. You have completely forgotten the smell of meat, but I will force you to eat it. Once the taste is there, the roar will burst. In that explosion the goat will disappear and a Buddha will be born. So you need not worry about where I am going to get so many Buddhas to study, I will produce them.

Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4, Ch 8, Q 1

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