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


Why do Holy men ‘Suffer’?

Picture of naked Sri Sadasiva Brahmendra

“Weapons do not cleave this self (Atma), fire does not burn him; waters do not make him wet; nor does the wind make him dry; He is uncleavable, He cannot be burnt,  He can neither be wetted nor dried. He is eternal, all pervading, unchanging and immovable. He is the same forever”.

–(Bhagavad Gita 2-23/24)


When devotees see their Master at old age, they wonder how come such a holy soul ‘suffers’ like this. Actually it is our ignorance that makes us think this way. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi ‘’suffered’’ from cancer in the eyes of an ordinary man. But for them,’ it is like casting off worn out garments’. If ink or colour spills on a rich man’s shirt, he is least bothered; he simply wears a new shirt the next minute. But a poor man will react differently. Ramana and Ramakrishna were rich in spiritual wealth, we are poor spiritually. So we see it differently.

Following stories will illustrate this:


Story of Sadasiva Brahmendra—As told by Paramahamsa Yogananda

“On the way we stopped before a little shrine sacred to the memory of Sadasiva Brahman in whose eighteenth century life story miracles cluster thickly. A larger Sadasiva shrine in Nerur, created by the Raja of Pudukottai, is a pilgrimage spot that has witnessed many divine healings.

Many quaint stories of Sadasiva, a lovable and fully illumined master, are still current among South Indian villagers.  Immersed one day in Samadhi on a bank of the Kavery river, Sadasiva was seen to be carried away by a sudden flood. Weeks later he was found buried deep beneath a mound of earth near Kodumudi in Coimbatore District. As the villagers’ shovels struck his body, that saint rose and walked briskly away. (From ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’)

Picture of Sri Ramana Maharishi

Swami Sivananda adds……….

“More than one hundred and fifty years ago there lived a very famous Yogi-Jnani by name Sadasiva Brahmendra Saraswati in Nerur, near Karur, in the district of Trichinopoly, South India. He is the author of Brahma Sutra Vritti and Atma Vidya Vilas and various other books. He has performed innumerable miracles. One day Sadasiva Brahman who was  an Avadhoot  entered the zenana (tent) of a Muslim chief naked. The chief was quite enraged at the sage. He cut off one of his arms. Sadasiva Brahman walked away without uttering a word and without showing any sign of pain. The chief was greatly astonished at this strange condition of the sage. He thought that this man must be a Mahatma, a superhuman being. He repented much and followed the sage to apologize. Sadasiva did not even know that his arm was cut off. When the chief narrated to the sage what had happened in the camp, Sadasiva excused the chief and simply touched his maimed arm. Sadasiva Brahman had a fresh arm.

These incidents in the life of this sage should convince everyone that there is a sublime divine life independent of objects and the play of the mind and the senses. The sage was quite unconscious of the world. He did not feel a bit when his arm was cut off. He ought to have been absorbed in the Divine Consciousness and become one with the Divine. Ordinary people yell out even when there is a pin prick on their body. The above incidents in the life of Sadasiva Brahman amply prove the existence of God and a divine, eternal life, where all sorrows melt, all desires are satisfied and where one gets supreme bliss, peace and knowledge” (From the book GOD EXISTS by Swami Sivananda).

Picture of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa


Story of Epictetus—As told by Swami Ramdas of Anandashram

There was a Greek philosopher. His name was Epictetus. He was a slave under the Roman Emperor and he was harshly punished by his master even for slight mistakes. He was almost every day beaten by his master. One day, for no fault of Epictetus, the master beat him so severely that his leg broke and he became lame. After some time, a friend of Epictetus, who lived far away, came to see him and finding him limping, asked him how he became lame. Then Epictetus gave a characteristic reply, “I am not lame, but my leg is lame”. His detachment from the body was so perfect that whatever happened to it, he never thought it had anything to do with his real Self.

(From Stories As Told By Swami Ramdas)