Once there was a sadhu (monk), living on the banks of a river performing his sadhana with great piety and determination. One day, as the holy man went for his bath in the river, he noticed a scorpion struggling in the water. Scorpions, by nature, cannot swim, and the sadhu knew that if he did not save the scorpion, it would drown.Therefore,
carefully picking up the scorpion, the saint lifted it out of the waters
and was just about to set it down gently on the shore when the scorpion stung his finger. In pain, the sadhu instinctively flung his hand,
and the scorpion went flying back into the river.
As soon as the sadhu regained his composure from the sting, he again lifted the scorpion out of the water. Again, before he could set the scorpion safely on the land, the creature stung him. Yet again, as the sadhu shook his hand in response to the pain, the scorpion fell back into the water.
This drama went on for several minutes as the holy man continued to
try to save the life of the drowning scorpion and the scorpion continued to sting his savior’s hand before reaching the freedom of the river bank.
A man who had been out hunting in the forest noticed this drama between the holy man and the scorpion. He watched as the saint carefully
and gingerly lifted the creature out of the water, only to fling it back in as his hand convulsed in pain from each fresh sting.
Finally, the hunter said to the sadhu, “Revered Swamiji, forgive me
for my frankness, but it is clear that the scorpion is simply going to continue to sting you each and every time you try to carry it to safety.
Why don’t you give up and just let it drown?”
The holy man replied, “My dear child, the scorpion is not stinging me out of malice or evil intent. It is simply his nature to sting.
Just as it is the water’s nature to make me wet, so it is the scorpion’s
nature to sting. He doesn’t realize that I am carrying him to safety.
That is a level of conscious comprehension greater than his brain can
achieve. But, just as it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, so it is my
nature to save. Just as he is not leaving his nature, why should I leave
my nature? My dharma is to help any creature of any kind—human
or animal. Why should I let a small scorpion rob me of the divine
nature that I have cultivated through years of Sadhana (purification journey)