Tales : Ramakrishna and the scorpion

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (1836 – 1886) was an Indian ecstatic who was deeply inspired by many traditions; he was a devotee of the goddess Kali, but also practiced Tantra, Bhakta, Advaita, Christianity, and was initiated as a Sufi. His most well-known student was Swami Vivekananda, who was active in the United States shortly before Hazrat Inayat Khan first came there.

Once, while walking with some students by a river, Sri Ramakrishna saw a scorpion struggling in the water, unable to reach the shore. Immediately, he waded into the river and lifted the scorpion out of the water, but the agitated creature gave him a painful sting, and he dropped it.

A second time he lifted the scorpion from the water, but receiving another sting, he once again dropped it.

Now, he found a twig with which he could help the scorpion to the bank of the river, and in this way the animal crawled to safety.

“Guru-ji,’ the students said, “why did you lift the scorpion the second time? After it had given you such a painful sting?”

The guru replied, “It is the nature of the scorpion that it will sting us when it is frightened. But it was struggling, it was in distress; it is my nature to help. Should I give up my nature just because it stung me?”

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