It was a beautiful morning. A rishi was performing arghya in a
river which was running in full spate. A rat which was about
to drown in the water landed in the rishi’s cupped palms. He
took pity on the poor creature and carried it to his ashram. As
he desired to give it a good upbringing, he used his spiritual
powers, and transformed the rat into a girl baby.
Years rolled by and the child grew up into a beautiful girl.
The rishi wanted to get her married to a worthy young man.
The search for the best bridegroom began. The rishi thought
who could be a better bridegroom than the sun God and so
he took his daughter to the sun God. At that moment, a black
cloud drifted across the face of the sun. The girl thought that
the cloud, which could hide the sun, must be very powerful
and so she told her father that she desired to marry the
cloud. But suddenly, a strong wind blew and scattered the
black cloud. The girl thought that the wind god was stronger
than the cloud and wanted to marry him. Just then she looked
up at a mountain which stood firmly resisting the wind which
could not move it.
When she was about to make up her mind to marry the
mountain, she was stunned by a sight which pleased her heart.
A rat was gnawing at the mountain which stood defeated in
front of a tiny rat. The girl’s search for the worthy bridegroom
ended. She told her father:
“Father, you need not search for a bridegroom any more. I
will marry this brave rat.”
The rishi realized the truth that one may change the external
appearance and form of a creature but its inborn tendencies
cannot be changed easily. He transformed the girl into a rat
and got her married to the mountain rat.
Even if we build a fence of jaggery around a neem tree and
pour honey to its roots every day, its leaves will not turn sweet.
They will not give up their bitterness. When Ravana, the
demon king, was advised to surrender to Shree Rama, he
refused to do so and said:
“I am like a pillar of stone. I may break into two, but will not
bend. It is my nature not to yield.”
Even though Ravana grew up in the divine atmosphere of a
hermitage, he remained a cruel man. If there is no life in a
seed, any amount of nurturing will not make it sprout.
Similarly, if a person does not have divine attributes in him,
environment and good company cannot change him to a pious
person. His transformation will be like that of the rat in the
story which had taken the body of a girl but retained the
qualities of a rat.