Indra and the story of pigs

Long time back, I worked under a CEO who loved to do micromanagement. He never gave up his pet products and projects he handled in his past roles. He also had his loyalists who would do anything on his command just because they grew up under his umbrella. The CEO never understood the meaning of the word delegation. He was so addicted to his previous role at a lower level that he found very little time for his main responsibility as a CEO which was to take the company to newer heights. One could easily guess the fate of such a company. Yes, the company stagnated for a long time and today they are struggling to survive.

This is a common problem several people face at work as well as home. They cannot get used to new roles that come along as life evolves.

You may wonder what this has to do with the story of Indra. This is also a story of addiction. Read the story to see the connection.

The story goes that Indra, the king of the Devas was once on a holiday to our mother Earth. During his travels, he saw some pigs and piglet living a horrible life in filth. He wanted to reform them and the best way to do that, he reasoned, was to take the form of a pig and live with them. He transformed himself into a pig and started living with them. He then found a female pig, mated and gave birth to several piglets. Soon he got attached to his family and became one with them rolling and playing as they did. In the meanwhile, Indra’s subjects in Swarga suspected something fishy about his long absence and went down to trace him. They were horrified to see him in such a terrible state playing with pigs in mud and filth.
The Devas told him: You’re our king. What are you doing here. Please give up all this and come back.
Indra replied: What are you talking about. I’m happy being here. This is my wife. These are my children. I have to get them food and my piglets expect me to play with them. In fact, you’re all fools and do not realize what you’re missing. Join me and enjoy.
Devas: You are our king and we are ashamed of seeing you in this plight.
Indra:I’m quite happy the way I am. I’m having a great time being with my family who love me so much. Leave me alone and go back.

Devas realized that the only way get him out of this bondage was to kill the pigs. They first killed the piglets one after another. Seeing that Indra was still unrelenting, they dragged out the she-pig and killed her too. As Indra was still not willing to get back to Swarga, the Devas had to finally destroy Indra’s body also. It was only when his soul was released, Indra realized his folly and eventually got back to Swarga to rule.

This story tells us what addiction can do to people. Addiction is defined by a neurologist as a state where the body becomes the mind and calls the shots. It’s like the tail wagging the dog.
This was the problem with the CEO I was talking about. Since he was addicted to his lower level roles, he was happy doing micromanagement forgetting about the company’s long-term growth.

P.S: This is a story narrated by Swami Vivekananda and appears in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The significance of the story in the Yoga sutras was to show that our bondage to material life prevents us from taking up spiritual pursuits in life.

Published in: on October 25, 2015 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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