Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Story of Krishna and the black sheep

Change makes us reassess our life and sharpen our vision. Surprises test our principles and determination. Setbacks make us wonder if our efforts are worth anything. The stronger our fear of uncertainty, the more desperate our need to cling to the past.

Such were the questions that occupied Krishna's mind one summer morning, when he was meditating under a banyan tree near the river. He heard steps behind his back and the voice of Nadu interrupted his thoughts. "Long live the wise, Krishna," saluted Nadu.

Krishna opened his eyes and saw that Nadu was carrying a black sheep in his arms. When Nadu set the sheep on the ground, the animal stared briefly at Krishna, found him uninteresting, turned around, and began to drink water from the river.

"My father is worried and has sent me to ask for your advice," explained Nadu, pointing at the black sheep. "We don't know how this has happened and we fear for the other sheep." The animal had just started to eat some grass and looked perfectly healthy.

"Monday morning, we walked out of the house and we found this black sheep standing in the middle of our herd." Nadu made a small pause. "Of course, we had heard stories about black sheep, but we thought that they didn't exist."

Krishna stood up, walked up to the animal, and caressed its head. "At the beginning, we didn't give it much importance," continued Nadu, "but the next day, strange things began to happen, like in the stories that we had heard."

The animal lifted its head and began to ruminate contentedly the grass that it had just eaten. "Does it bellow at dawn, while other sheep are asleep?" inquired Krishna, "does it refuse to return home in the evening, run away at the smallest opportunity and encourage the others to join it?"

Surprised, Nadu confirmed all of Krishna's points. He had not expected such focused questions. How come that Krishna knew so much about black sheep?
Nadu was terrified of the idea that the other sheep in the herd might also become black.

"Tell me, Nadu," continued Krishna, "is it not true that sheep spend their lives in slumber, never try to run away, and always follow the herd without delay?" Nadu nodded, wondering where Krishna was heading with his questions.

At that moment, the black sheep turned to Nadu and stared at him impatiently, as though it was wondering why Nadu was so slow in drawing the obvious conclusion. A long silence ensued before Krishna spoke again. "The truth is, Nadu, that this animal is not a sheep."

Nadu, instead of being shocked by the news, took the whole matter rather philosophically. He immediately accepted Krishna's offer to relieve him of the animal, ran back to the farmhouse, and informed his father that the problem was solved once and for all.

During the next hours, Krishna traversed the forest, followed closely by the animal. In the afternoon, they climbed a mountain and reached a hidden valley, where hundreds of similar black creatures were placidly eating grass and having a great time.

When the newcomer joined the others, it was warmly welcomed. While the sun went down, Krishna observed the animals play. He didn't understand them and he didn't know where they came from, but he was absolutely sure of one thing. Those were not sheep.


[Image by davidgsteadman under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]