Aesop’s fables are fables about man, but all the actors are animals. panch tantra, the ancientmost book of stories, has fables which talk about man because they are written by man, but the actors, participants…everybody is an animal. And in every country there are ancient books in which animals are taking part, just like man. For example, in one of Aesop’s fables, a little goat – a kid – is drinking water from a mountain stream, and the king of the animals, the lion, comes by. It is breakfast time, and the kid is just a perfect breakfast. But even animals have to find excuses first, so the lion says to the goat, “Kid, you are very arrogant; you see the emperor of the whole animal kingdom, and yet you are muddying the water which I am going to drink.”
The poor kid says, “Uncle, the stream is going this way. I cannot make the water muddy for you; you are standing above me. The stream comes first to you and then to me. This is too much.”
He was right. The lion becomes very angry and he says, “You don’t know manners – how to talk with elders. The same was so with your father. Yesterday he was talking with me and he misbehaved. I was engaged in some political work, but I am searching for him.”
The kid says, “Forgive me, uncle, my father has been dead for a few weeks; he could not have insulted you yesterday.”
Finding no excuse, the lion still catches the kid and tells him, “You talk against your elders? I will teach you a lesson – and the lesson is a good breakfast.”
A story about animals but not about animals, it is about man, his inhumanity to those who are weak, powerless, poor. But still, for manners’ sake, you have to find some excuse.
These stories have always been interpreted as parables for children, but my feeling is there is something more to it. It indicates that animals may not be thinking, but they still dream – because dreaming does not need anybody to stand erect.
For dreaming you also have to lie down, to be in a horizontal position, so the conscious mind cannot function. It needs only a very small quantity of blood; with a greater quantity it goes to sleep. If an even greater quantity comes, it becomes dead. But the unconscious mind goes on working. Of course its language is not alphabetical; its language is of pictures.
So a small child lying down on his bed can very easily visualize that the walls are disappearing, the room is disappearing, the bed is disappearing, the trees outside are disappearing. Everything is disappearing and the world is fading…only he is left in his total aloneness in this beautiful dark deep silence.
But this is a method prescribed by Tantra scriptures that anybody can do – and it will be helpful for meditation.
It is an unfortunate thing that parents are unaware of the whole heritage of man. In different directions man has been working to develop consciousness. If all that is available to the parents, perhaps they will not think you are going crazy; they will rejoice, they will help you, they will reward you. They will try to help you so you can go deeper into the experience.