An ancient parable in the East is that a lioness, while taking a jump from one hillock to another hillock, in the middle of the jump gave birth to a child. The cub fell, on the way, into a crowd of sheep. The sheep nourished the cub, not knowing that it was a lion – their enemy. And the cub never came to know that he was a lion because everybody around him was a sheep. So he walked in the crowd of sheep, just like a sheep.
Sheep never walk alone; they walk as a crowd, almost stepping on each other, rubbing their bodies against each other. They are afraid to be alone; it is dangerous to be alone, any wild animal can catch hold of them – they have to be together.
Lions walk alone, never in a crowd.
Lions have a very big territory. They don’t want anybody to enter their territory. Sometimes it is an area of miles that one lion will have as his territory. No other lion can even manage to get in; otherwise there is going to be a ferocious fight till one is dead, or perhaps both are dead. And they walk alone.
But this poor lion had no idea that he was a lion; he had no idea how he looked. He became bigger and bigger, but the sheep had become accustomed to him; they had been bringing him up from his very childhood. Although he was a strange sheep, he was a sheep because he used to eat grass, which lions don’t eat. They would rather die, but they will not eat grass.
He used to eat grass – he remained vegetarian. He used to go into the crowd, just in the middle, to be safe, although he was taller, bigger, but without any idea of it. And he never roared once like a lion, because if you don’t have that idea, how can you roar? He dreamed like a sheep, feared like a sheep, was afraid of wild animals who could not do any harm to him.
One day an old lion saw this scene. He could not believe his eyes! The young lion was so big, and he had never seen a lion and sheep mixing; there has never been any friendship, there is no possibility. The sheep were going with the lion without any fear, and the lion was also going with the sheep, afraid to be alone.
The old lion could not believe his eyes. He ran after the crowd. Naturally, all the sheep started running and making the noise sheep make. And the young lion was also making the same noise. It took much effort; only with great difficulty could the old lion catch hold of the young lion. And the young lion was crying and weeping, just like a sheep.
The old lion dragged the young fellow to a nearby pond. The young lion was very much afraid; he was not willing to go, he was very reluctant. And he was more powerful than the old lion. If the young lion had known that he was a lion, the old lion would not have been able to pull him to the pond; he would have killed him. But he was a sheep, so he allowed the old lion to pull him – although reluctantly, unwillingly, resisting – knowing that this was sure death, because many sheep had died, had been killed by the lions. Now his turn had come.