In the Mahabharata, during their exile in the forest, the sages tell the Pandavas the story of Ushinara, king of Shibi. One day, a dove came to the king and begged the king to grant him protection. When the king promised to protect him, a hawk, who was pursuing the dove, asked, “What will I eat then?” The king told the hawk to eat any other dove but this one. The hawk argued that was unfair – why should other doves be sacrificed so that the king could keep his promise to his dove. The king then requested the hawk to eat any other bird or beast. The hawk argued that was unfair – why should other birds and beasts be sacrificed so that the king could keep his promise to his dove. “Then eat me,” said the king, offering pieces of his flesh. These were placed on a balancing scale so that the hawk got flesh equal in measure to the dove’s weight. To the astonishment of the king, the dove was so heavy that he had to give up almost all the flesh of his body.
Typically, the story is narrated to extol the virtues of the king Ushinara’s kindness and sacrifice. But there is an underlying wisdom in this story. In nature, hawks eat doves. By introducing the human virtue of kindness into the natural law, the king could not make both the hawk and the dove happy. Either the dove had to die or the hawk had to go starving. Since neither was acceptable, the king had to die. #nature #bird #birdsnest #cuckoo #indiancuckoo #birdsofinstagram #mahabharata #mythology #indianmythology #everydaynature