XXVIII - Page 277 Home | Index | Previous | Next

The Grand Meeting of all the Animals

The fox resolved to have a very big meeting of all the animals to discuss these points and frame some resolutions on which they could universally agree. The name proposed for this meeting was 'the great gathering of the four-footed ones'. It was decided that on a particular day, at a particular time, all of them would come together in a big open area and assemble for this special meeting.

Initially, three agenda items were agreed upon. The first was that human beings, just like animals, are born from the womb of a mother; therefore there should be only one name, both for humans and animals. Either humans should be called animals or animals should be called humans; but there should not be two different names and two different titles. That was the first resolution they wanted to pass at the meeting. The second agenda item was that animals had been called unwise, while humans claim to be endowed with wisdom. But animals should not accept this. In what way do humans have superior wisdom to the animals? The fox was particularly insistent on this point. He asked, "What is this wisdom that man has, that we do not have? We have to firmly resolve that there is the same wisdom in both humans and animals."

The third agenda item that the fox proposed was, "Humans are considered to be talking animals whereas we are dumb; that is considered to be a very great disadvantage to us, which they claim makes a big difference. But even if we are dumb, what is it that we are lacking? By having learned the ability to talk and by possessing that skill, what is the extraordinary happiness that humans have attained? Let us propose that talking and dumbness be considered more or less the same."

"Then there is also a fourth point we should consider," the fox added. "Human beings think of us as being restless and excitable whereas they consider themselves to be calm and peaceful in nature. But none of us should agree to this. The peaceful nature that we have, even man does not possess. We deserve the reputation and recognition that we are far superior in serenity to human beings." They all agreed that these four points should be discussed in the meeting. But then they wondered whom they should ask to preside over their meeting.

The fox pointed out that there were a number of great sages who had been doing penance in the forest. "We should select a very highly accomplished sage to preside over our meeting," he suggested. They all agreed and resolved to send the fox to find a wise man whom they could trust to be true and just, and request him to chair their meeting. After a long search, the fox came to a cave in which he saw a sage engaged in penance. His instinct told him that he had found the right holy man to chair their gathering. He reverentially approached the sage and prayed to him, "Swami, in the kingdom of animals we have decided to have a very important meeting and we request you to preside over it." The sage, who recognized everything as the living divinity, said, "All right, I will be happy to come and preside over your meeting." So, in a vast open field they arranged to have their gathering.

In that forest, every animal from the smallest to the biggest came with all their children, and many brought their grandchildren also, to attend this important meeting. They were all in very high spirits and extremely happy to take part in such a grand meeting. And they all showed a great deal of respect for their president. A high platform was provided for the president. Just beside the chair for the president, a chair was provided for the lion. The sage presiding over the function was also in very good spirits and was not the least bit afraid of the lion who was sitting next to him. This sage recognized the existence of God in every living being; therefore, he was full of fearlessness. Once all of the animals were seated, there was a need for properly welcoming the august assembly. The secretary for this great meeting was the fox. The fox began his welcoming address.

"Revered president, your excellency the king, honored minister, dear brothers and sisters! This day is a day which will be written in golden letters in the annals of this great forest and all its denizens. This is an unforgettable day which will never be forgotten in the whole animal kingdom, for today we will achieve a grand success in this most important meeting for which we have all assembled here. In coming together here you have all made some notable sacrifices. You have given up a great number of activities and have made time available in your busy lives to participate in this meeting. So, in the very first place, let me express my deepest gratitude to all of you." Then the secretary went on and explained the items on the agenda. As soon as the agenda had been presented, the lion got up and addressed the vast gathering.