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The Lion That Sprang to Life is one of the most famous stories from the collection of Panchatantra.


The Lion that Sprang to Life

Another story from the album of Panchatantra goes like this. Once upon a time, there were four friends in a village. Three of these four friends were learned in all sciences, but had no common sense. The fourth friend by the name of Subuddhi was not much learned in scriptures or sciences, but had common sense. He was quite practical in his approach towards life and knew what was good or bad for him.

One day, the three learned friends thought that there was no use of their learning, unless it brought them money to fulfill their needs. They decided to travel to all distant towns and cities in order to try their luck. They didn’t want to take their fourth friend with them, as he was not learned. However, they agreed to take him along with them, taking into account that he was their friend since childhood.

After this, the four friends set out on a long journey. They wandered from one town to another, looking for an opportunity to earn money. One day, during their journey, they had to cross a dense forest. While passing through the forest, they saw a heap of bones lying under a tree. On seeing the heap, one of the learned friends said, “Friends, this is a good opportunity to test our skills. I think these bones are of a certain animal. Let us bring it to life using the knowledge we have acquired.”

The first friend said, “Fine. I will use my skills to assemble the bones into a skeleton”. Then he chanted some mantra and ordered all the bones to come together forming a skeleton. When the skeleton was ready, the second friend chanted some other mantra, commanding flesh and blood to fill the skeleton and skin to cover it. Now, it looked like a lifeless lion.

As the third learned friend stood up to do the final act of putting life into the lifeless body of the animal, the fourth friend shouted, “Stop! This looks like the body of a lion. If it comes to life, he will kill all of us.” The friend, who was to put life into the body of the animal said, “You are a fool. What do you know in the field of learning and knowledge? Do you think I will lose this opportunity to test my learning? It would be better, if you keep your mouth shut.”

Ignoring what the fourth friend had said, the learned friend started chanting the mantra to bring the animal back to life. The fourth friend shouted, “Wait a minute” and quickly climbed up a tree nearby. The three learned friends laughed on the act of their friend. The third friend put life in the lifeless body of the lion. The lion sprang to life and killed all the three learned men. The fourth friend safely went back to his village.

Moral: Knowledge without common sense is useless.