Friday, July 15, 2016

THE RITUAL OF TYING A CAT










Pic.: Mini Milind



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found very effective – was telling a nice story in two tenses… the Present and the Past. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, who were earnest about improving their English, with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and, then, tell it to someone…

Ironically, I had first heard this story from a nun at a Small Christian Community (SCC) group… It brings a smile on my face every time I bend down to tie a cat around the ‘ashram-tree’…



THE RITUAL OF TYING A CAT



PAST:

A Swamiji taught his disciples, everyday, under the tree outside his ashram. While he taught, his ashram-cat ran around and disturbed his class. So, the Swamiji gave a standing instruction to his disciples that the cat had to be tied to the tree before he started his class. 


From that day on, before the Master commenced his class, the disciples religiously tied the cat to the tree. It became a religious custom – a ritual - which the disciples strictly followed… They tied the cat right at the appointed hour… and, they did it with a lot of ceremony around it. Tying the cat became mandatory and very important for them. The Master’s class would not begin, unless the cat was tied to the tree!


Sometime later, the Swamiji died. The senior-most disciple became the teacher and continued to teach the disciples. However, the tradition of tying the cat to the tree continued with the same fervor.

Then, one day, the cat died… and, a sudden pall of gloom fell on the disciples… “What shall we do now?” they worried, “How can we have our Master’s class without the cat being tied around the tree?”


Finally, some disciples suggested that they should find a new cat and the great cat-tying custom be continued. Thus, a new cat was now found, and the custom of tying the cat to the tree, before the Swamiji’s class, was kept alive… Yes, to the great delight and relief of all the disciples!



PRESENT:

A Swamiji teaches his disciples, everyday, under the tree outside his ashram. While he teaches, his ashram-cat runs around and disturbs his class. So, the Swamiji gives a standing instruction to his disciples that the cat has to be tied to the tree before he starts his class. 

From that day on, before the Master commences his class, the disciples religiously tie the cat to the tree. It becomes religious custom – a ritual - which the disciples strictly follow… They tie the cat right at the appointed hour… and, they do it with a lot of ceremony around it. Tying the cat becomes mandatory and very important for them. The Master’s class will not begin, unless the cat is tied to the tree!

Sometime later, the Swamiji dies. The senior-most disciple becomes the teacher and continues to teach the disciples. However, the tradition of tying the cat to the tree continues with the same fervor.

Then, one day, the cat dies… and, a sudden pall of gloom falls on the disciples… “What shall we do now?” they worry, “How can we have our Master’s class without the cat being tied around the tree?”

Finally, some disciples suggest that they shall find a new cat and the great cat-tying custom be continued. Thus, a new cat is now found, and the custom of tying the cat to the tree, before the Swamiji’s class, is kept alive… Yes, to the great delight and relief of all the disciples!


GERALD D’CUNHA

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