Compassion: A Disappearing Human Trait

by Dr. Pran Rangan

An old man meditating by the riverside opened his eyes to see a scorpion flailing helplessly in the water. The water washed the scorpion nearer to a tree growing on the river bank. Supporting his body on one of the long roots of the tree and stretching into the water, the old man extended his hand out to reach the creature. His fingers barely touched the scorpion, when it stung him.

The old man instinctively withdrew his hand and almost fell into water losing his balance. A moment later, he got back his balance and again supported his body on the roots to rescue the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him hard. The old man lay there in agony, his hand bleeding and swollen.

A traveler, who was passing by, saw the whole incident occur. He shouted, "What's wrong with you?"Only a fool would risk his life trying to save that evil, vicious creature! Do you realize you could have died trying to save that scorpion?"

Still lying there, the old man turned his head to look at the traveler and said calmly, "Dear brother, it is the nature of the scorpion to sting. That does not mean I can change my nature, which is to save."

Then the old man salvaged the scorpion with help of a dry tree branch and placed it on a safe place.

The scorpion behaved true to its nature. So did the old man.

It is rare to find compassion in people these days, though it is one of the basic human traits, denoting divinity.

If we show compassion to someone, there is a selfish motive behind it.

Conversely, some people, though their number is very small, get a sadistic pleasure from the misfortunes of others!

Hopefully, the above story may be able to motivate a few to redeem the disappearing human trait of compassion in them!

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