Be a Snake! Paramahamsa and Chanakya Advise! (Post No.4579)

picture by Lalgudi Veda


Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 3 JANUARY 2018


Time uploaded in London- 18-35




Post No. 4579

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.



A snake must be a snake; it must instil fear in others; otherwise it will die. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the great saint and Chanakya , the great philosopher, statesman and astute politician agree on snakes!

Chanakya says,

“Even a snake with no poison should raise its hood. Be there poison or not, the raising of the hood instils fear”—Chanakya Niti, Chapter 9, sloka/verse 10


Here is the verse in Sanskrit:-

nirvishenaani sarpena karthavyaa mahati fanaa

vishamastu na chaapyastu fanaayopo bhayankarah

Sometimes you may be weak or in a weaker position, but yet you can pretend to be strong.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa narrates a story:-

“A serpent dwelt in a certain locality. No one dared to pass by that way; for whoever did so was instantaneously bitten to death by the serpent.


Once a holy man passed by. As usual the serpent pursued the sage with a view to biting him, but when it approached the holy man, it lost all kits ferocity and was over powered by his gentleness. Seeing the snake, the holy man said,

‘Well, friend! Do you want to bite me?’ The snake was abashed and did not reply. At this the sage said again, ‘hearken friend, do not injure anyone in future’. The snake bowed and nodded assent.


After the sage, had hone his own way, the entered its hole, and began to live a life of innocence and purity without even wishing to harm anyone. In a few days, it became a common belief in the neighbourhood that the snake had lost all its venom and was no more dangerous, and so people began to tease it. Some pelted stones at it., and others dragged it mercilessly by the tail. Thus there was no end to its troubles.

Fortunately, sometime after, the sage again passed that way seeing the bruised and battered condition of the poor snake, was very much moved to pity and inquired about the cause of its distress.

At this the snake replied, Sir, I have been reduced to this state, because I Have not been injuring anyone since I received your instruction. But alas! they are so merciless!

The sage smilingly said, ‘Dear friend, I only advised you not to bite anyone, but I never asked you not to hiss and frighten others. Although you should not bite any creature, still you should keep everyone at a considerable distance from you by hissing’.


Similarly, if you live in this world, make yourself feared and respected. Do not injure anyone, but do not at the same time let others injure you.


Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai 600004

Canakyaniti, Satya Vrat Shastri, Bharatiya Vidya Mandir, Kolkata



Snake and Great men

If You see a Snake……………….

“Between a snake and a wicked person, it is the serpent which is better. Serpent bites ever and anon but a wicked person does so at every step”—Chanakya Niti, Chapter 3, Sloka



Three other poets sang about great men and poisonous snakes

Even if poisonous snakes enter an assembly of scholars it will pass through them unscathed. They won’t hurt them, says a Tamil poem in ‘Pazamozi Four Hundred’. Even the Sangam Tamil Literature (Neithal kali, Kali Tokai) gave the same message.

Another poet ( of Tamil book “Aranerisaram” ) viewed the snakes differently. He says, look at this, If you give water to a cow it gives you milk; but if you give milk to a cobra, it produces poison! Likewise, the books read by bad people are interpreted negatively. The same books read by the great people are interpreted positively”.

The best examples for this poem are our Vedas and the Epics. Foreigners who read these books interpreted them negatively. They are like snakes that convert milk into poison. The great Tamil kings Chera, Chola and Pandyas fostered Vedas and Vedic Yajnas for over 2000 years according to Sangam Tamil Literature. In the North, more Asvamedha Yajnas and Rajasuyas were done. Vedas are viewed positively in Kalidasa’s works and Sangam Tamil works. They are like cows that turns water into milk.

Tamil poetess Avvaiyar in her book ‘Vakkundaam’ compared water snake to good people and cobra to bad people. She says that the water snake is not poisonous and it lies openly on the banks of rivers and lakes. But the cobra is poisonous and so it hides in the holes. Good people don’t fear any one, bad people fear others and lead a secret life! They pretend to be good.

Chanakya also agrees,

“Those vile men who disclose each other’s secrets come o naught, for sure, like a snake in an ant-hill” – Chapter 9, Verse 2s


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