Friday, 16 December 2016

The grim irony of this little fable

Carry with you the lesson of this little fable, told centuries ago to the children of the Hindu race, and passed on from generation to generation—

There is a centuries'-old Hindu fable, in which is told the tale of a caterpillar, who feeling the approach of the languor which betokened the end of the crawling stage of existence and the beginning of the long sleep of the chrysalis stage, called his friends around him. It is sad, he said, to think that I must abandon my life, filled with so many bright promises of future achievement. Cut off by the grim reaper, in my very prime, I am an example of the heartlessness of Nature. Farewell, good friends, farewell forever. Tomorrow I shall be no more. And, accompanied by the tears and lamentations of the friends surrounded his deathbed, he passed away. An old caterpillar remarked sadlyOur brother has left us. His fate is also ours. One by one we shall be cut down by the scythe of the destroyer, like unto the grass of the field. By faith, we hope to rise again, but perhaps this is but the voice inspired by a vain hope. None of us knows anything positively of another life. Let us mourn the common fate of our race. Whereupon, sadly, they departed.

The grim irony of this little fable is clearly perceived by all of us, and we smile at the thought of the ignorance which attended the first stage of the transformation of the lowly crawling thing into the glorious-hued creature, which in time will emerge from the sleep of death into a higher form of life. But, smile not, friends, at the illusion of the caterpillars—they were but even as you and I. For the Hindu storyteller of centuries ago has pictured human ignorance and illusion in this little fable of the lower forms of life. All occultists recognise in the transformation stages of the caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly a picture of the transformation which awaits every mortal man and woman. For death to the human being is no more a termination or cessation than is the death-sleep of the caterpillar. In neither case does life cease for even a single instant—life persists while Nature works her changes.

The Life Beyond Death, Yogi Ramacharaka, Yogi Publication Society, Chicago, 1912