Of course, this is an old story, but worth reading again and again…
Every day, the ant arrived early and started work immediately.
She produced a lot and was happy.
It surprised the Chief, a lion, to see the ant working without supervision. He thought if the ant can produce so much without supervision, wouldn’t she produce even more if supervised!
So, he hired a supervisor – a cockroach with extensive experience and adept at writing excellent reports.
The cockroach first set up a clocking attendance system. He hired a spider as secretary to help him write and type his reports. The spider managed the archives and attended all phone calls.
The lion, delighted with the cockroach’s reports asked him graphs for production rates. So, the cockroach bought two computers and a laser printer, and he recruited a fly to manage the IT department. The lion used the graphs to analyse work trends, and for presentations at Board meetings.
The ant, who was once productive and relaxed, hated this new plethora of paperwork and meetings which used up most of her time.
Then the lion decided to nominate a person in charge of the department where the ant worked.
The new person appointed to that position was a cicada. His first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for his office. He bought a computer. Then he wanted a Personal Assistant to help him prepare the Work and Budget Control Strategic Optimisation Plan (W&BCSOP). He brought this person from the company he worked before.
Then, in the Department where the ant worked nobody laughed anymore. So, the cicada came up with a bright idea. He convinced the chief, the lion, of the absolute necessity to start a climatic study of the working environment.
The lion reviewed the new study and the cost of running the department. He found the production much less than before.
So, the lion recruited an owl, a prestigious and renowned consultant to carry out an audit and suggest solutions.
The owl spent three months in the department and came up with his report that spanned several volumes. The report concluded: “The department is overstaffed!”
Guess whom the lion fired first?
The ant, of course, because she “showed a lack of motivation and had a negative attitude to work!“
The consort of the king of the Vanga (a seafaring nation, in the eastern part of the Indian Subcontinent, comprising today’s politically divided Bengal region comprising West Bengal and Bangladesh), was Queen Mayavati, a princess from Kalinga. The royal couple had a daughter named Suppadevi, of whom at birth the court astrologers and soothsayers foretold evil falling upon her. They prophesied that the princess would be wilful and would have union with the king of beasts and lead a wild and unbecoming life.
So, princess Suppadevi was jealously guarded. She was very fair and grew up as the loveliest maiden in the Vanga kingdom. However, she was amorous and exuded uncontrollable sexuality. The king and the queen were not able to tolerate her defiance of parental authority and social norms.
One fine day, desiring the joy of an independent life, Princess Suppadevi eluding the vigilant royal attendants left her royal abode. She joined a caravan travelling to the Magadha country.
While camping in the forest of the Lála country the caravan met with disaster.
Scholars identify Lála country with the modern Rarh region of West Bengal, India which is still called Lala/Larh. Sanskrit texts refer to it as Lata-desa. Al-Biruni, a historian, chronologist and linguist of the medieval Islamic era calls it Lardesh at the extreme hilly west of Bengal where Hooghly district and modern Singur is located. Some scholars identify it as modern Gujarat.
According to the Mahavamsa, a lion attacked the caravan. However, the truth seems to be that it was a robber chief named Sinha, who with his men plundered the caravan).
While the other folk fled this way and that, Suppadevi ran along the path by which the lion had come.
After having assuaged its hunger, the lion beheld the libidinous princess from afar. It immediately desired her carnally. Waving its tail and ears laid-back, it approached Suppadevi. Seeing the lion, the princess remembered the prophecy of the astrologers and soothsayers. Without fear, she caressed the lion lustily rousing it to a fiery passion by her sensuous touch.
Suppadevi climbed on to the beast’s back. The lion immediately sped to its cave carrying the princess, and there it united with her. From this union, the princess in time bore twins – a son and a daughter. The son’s limbs were formed like a lion’s and Suppadevi named him Sinhabahu or lion-armed and named the daughter Sinhasivali or lion-maiden.
The lion kept them in a cave and covered the entrance with a huge rock.
When Sinhabahu was about sixteen years old, Suppadevi told him about her ancestry. The youth, longing to know more about the civilized world, wanted to leave the lion’s den.
One day, when the lion left the cave in search of prey, Sinhabahu after rolled off the rocky barrier. He carried his mother and sister on his shoulders and left the cave in haste. They clothed themselves with branches of trees and reached a border-village. There they met a son of Suppadevi’s uncle, a commander in the army of the Vanga king who ruled the border-country.
The commander gave them clothing which transformed into splendid garments. He served them food on leaves and by reason of their merit, the leaves turned into dishes of gold. The amazed commander asked Suppadevi who she was. The princess told him about her family and clan. The commander then took his uncle’s daughter with him and went to the capital of the Vangas and married her.
When the lion, returning to its cave missed those three people it loved most. It grieved after its offsprings. It neither ate nor drank. Seeking its children it went to the villages in the border-country and found them deserted.
The border-folk came to the king and told that a ferocious lion ravaged their land and appealed to him to ward off this danger.
The king offered a thousand gold coins for the person who would kill the lion.
When Sinhabahu expressed his intention to kill the lion, twice did his mother restrain him.
Since no one dared to kill the lion, the king raised the bounty to two thousand and then to three thousand gold coins along with his kingdom for whoever killed the ravaging lion.
Without informing his mother, Sinhabahu presented himself before the aged king and volunteered to kill the lion.
The youth went to his former home, the lion’s den. When the beast saw Sinhabahu from afar it came forward, to greet its lost son. Sinhabahu without any remorse shot an arrow to slay his father, the lion. Due to the paternal love of the beast, the arrow struck its forehead, rebounded, and fell at the son’s feet without causing any harm. Sinhabahu shot another arrow and then a third, but neither harmed the lion. The lion became wrathful and growled. The fourth arrow pierced the lion’s body and killed it.
Sinhabahu cut off the head of the lion along with its majestic mane. When he reached the capital he learned that seven days had passed since the death of the king of the Vangas.
The ministers rejoiced over the youth’s valiant deed. When the ministers saw Suppadevi, they were all happy to learn that Sinhabahu was the grandson of the late king. The ministers in unison requested the valiant young man him to be their king. Sinhabahu accepted the kingship. Later when his mother got married he handed the kingdom to his mother’s husband.
Sinhabahu with his twin-sister Sinhasivali left the capital of the Vangas and went back to Lála country, the land of their birth. There he made his twin-sister Sinhasivali his consort. He built a city, and they called it Sinhapura.
Sinhasivali gave birth to twin sons sixteen times. Altogether there were thirty-two sons. King Sinhabahu named his eldest son Vijaya, and the younger twin-brother Sumitta. Sinhabahu consecrated Vijaya as prince-regent.
The gist of the story, I have retold here, has gone on the rounds over the web for some time. I don’t know who the original author was. However, here we go…
Not long ago at a zoo in Asia there was a young lion that stood erect and proud. He commanded the respect of his fellow cell mates and all other animals in the zoo. Visitors to the zoo admired him for what he was – the king of the jungle. Even so, the dirty living quarters and meager meat just enough for sustenance frustrated him.
One fine day, an offer came from a US Zoo to the lion.
On arrival in the US, the young lion roared with pleasure when he saw his cell with facilities for an all year round environment – centrally air-conditioned to ward off both summer heat, and the chilly winter.
After the lion settled down they brought him food in an attractive sanitized parcel. A new experience for him. In his country, the meat was just thrown on the dirty floor.
The hungry lion opened the parcel in a hurry. He got a shock when he saw that the parcel contained only bananas. He became angry and wanted to roar out his disappointment. Being intelligent, he restrained himself for he thought the US zoo management cared much for his health, and they knew better.
The time for his next meal came. Again they delivered bananas wrapped in an attractive sanitized bag. Day in and day out they gave him only bananas.
After a few days, the lion, now lean and hungry, trembled with fury, lost its wits, and unable to control himself roared constantly at the zoo attendants.
A visitor seeing the lion’s fury and the bananas in front of him, asked the zoo manager, “Don’t you know that he is a lion, king of the jungle? Why don’t you give him meat instead of bananas?”
The manager politely said, “Sir, I know that he is the king of the jungle, but he came here on a monkey’s visa!”
Moral: Better be a Lion in your own country than being a Monkey in US!
I recommend Anil’s article to all people in Asian countries who aspire to come to the US, but have doubts in their mind about their future in this country.
Because, I feel that this story about the lion was originally written, out of frustration by a cynic who was not able to get an entry into US or into any other foreign country.
My wife and I are now here in the US for some time. Though, I love India, I can’t resist endorsing the Anil’s pointof view. Humorously and sarcastically, he has analyzed the way of life in the two countries – US and India. This person has not only stepped on but also has rolled on the grass, here in the US.