By Bruce Farrow on January 15, 2015
In a land far away, there was once lived a beautiful tiger. This tiger was the most stunning animal ever to have walked this planet and its name was Pūrṇatā, which meant perfection.
A long time ago when Purnata was a young tiger he used to go into the forest to hunt. He was unsure of himself and had little experience of life and what tigers were meant to do. He hadn’t yet learned to be wary of danger and believed that life was simple. All he had to do was to hunt his dinner, eat it and sleep. What could be more straightforward than that? No-one had told him about the dangers of the forest and consequently he never looked for them. He would wander around and explore the forest and one day he found a lake and was startled when he saw his reflection in it.
He looked carefully at the ‘apparition’ and thought – well, that’s what a tiger looks like. He then looked more carefully and decided his fur wasn’t ‘quite right’ and that he was too stripy and he didn’t like that. What he failed to recognise that he was the most beautiful tiger in the world. Purnata moved on and was now feeling a little low because he hadn’t liked his reflection.
Later that day Purnata was walking down an overgrown path when, all of a sudden, a net dropped on him and he was captured. He couldn’t move and he didn’t struggle because the more he struggled the tighter the net became.
The net had been set by a man called Dusta who was, indeed, an evil man. Dusta was an experienced poacher who captured animals as trophies. He wasn’t interested in how beautiful the animal was, he was just interested in boasting that he owned the animal. This is what his profession was and he was, indeed, an evil man and thought himself to be most important.
He came for Purnata and bundled the beautiful tiger into the back of his truck and took it home where he placed it in a cage. Poor Purnata was frightened and when Dusta beat him he couldn’t understand why, and was very sad. Then Dusta would feed him and Purnata would think that life was ok again, and then Dusta would beat him again for no reason apart from the boosting his ego and giving him a sense of power. After all he was evil bully with no friends.
Over the years Purnata accepted the regular beatings. He accepted that was his lot in life and existed in a miserable world.
Many miles away in a foreign country there was a man who worked for one of the animal charities and his special interest was tigers. His name was Daya, which means kindness. Through the grapevine he heard about the beautiful tiger in captivity in that land far away, and set out to release it.
He travelled many miles, across many countries and finally arrived in the village where Purnata was being held in his cage.
One night, he broke into the compound and released Purnata and took him away to a rescue centre on the border. There he cared for Purnata and fed him good food and brushed him and washed his wounds. Over a period of time Purnata began to trust Daya and found that he was very different to Dusta. Here was a man who was kind to him and fed him the best food and cared for him and Purnata grew very fond of his acquaintance.
But trouble was afoot. Many miles away Dusta was enraged that someone had ‘stolen’ what was his. At least he believed Purnata was his and he plotted to get Purnata back. He didn’t really want Purnata but everyone was laughing at Dusta and saying how stupid he was allowing his trophy to escape. He couldn’t comprehend that it was his own wickedness that had caused Daya to come and rescue Purnata and purely because he had lost face and because he didn’t have a trophy anymore, he plotted revenge.
He was not convinced he would be able to capture another tiger because the forest had learned about Dusta and his traps so it was important to Dusta that he didn’t lose face. He didn’t realise his reputation was in tatters anyway. After all he had no friends to tell him!
So he plotted and plotted to get Purnata back and went to the local tribesman and told them how he was really interested in saving tigers in this land and how someone had stolen a local tiger from him. He made a case to the chief that because he had owned the tiger for so long and kept it in locally he should be allowed to keep it and the chief agreed because he too was a stupid man.
The chief set out with his tribesman and went to where Purnata was living happily in Daya’s compound. They surrounded the compound and stole Purnata. They took him back to their village because they felt that Purnata was a special tiger and he could live with them. Dusta was very upset by this but convinced the chief that it would be OK so long as he could visit Purnata to which the chief agreed.
Dusta used to go and visit Purnata at the dead of night and he would once again beat the poor tiger and take away the tiger’s food to starve it. This made Dusta very pleased with himself. He felt very important and powerful.
Poor Purnata lay in his cage once again, sad and lonely and wondered why Daya had allowed this all to happen. He had been happy with Daya and loved being in the safe compound where he could roam free, and now he was back in the cage. Lost, sad, lonely . . . he didn’t know what to do. Would he ever be free from the evil that was Dusta?
Back in the rescue centre Daya was saddest he had ever been because Purnata was the most awesome tiger he had ever seen, and he reflected on how the world was full of evil and stupid people. How does the world not appreciate the beauty of a tiger and why do people want to put the most beautiful creature on the planet in a cage. What is this need for control? A tiger should be free.
He thought long and hard and decided that no matter how many stupid and evil people there are in this world, he would fight them all to get Purnata back and to release it once again into the wild. And that’s what he did.
He gathered nice, intelligent people around him, wise men from the mountains and warriors from the valleys and tribesman from the plains. He told them the story about Purnata and how he was being held in captivity and how a creature such as that needed to be free.
All the local people spoke to their gods and asked for a thunderbolt to strike down the stupid chieftain and the evil Dusta. They waited and waited and nothing happened until a message came from the gods one day – be patient, be strong, and believe.
The army gathered forces and waited. All the time getting stronger and stronger. Gathering wisdom and gathering strength.
Purnata, of course, was unaware of what was happening and existed in his cage yet again, slowly starving to death. He thought that Daya had forgotten him forever and he thought that he was destined to live his life out in a cage. The army waited and worked, building strength, building wisdom and over a period of time gathered their resources.
One day many moons later, the thunder rolled across the valley and there was an almighty crash and flash as lightning bolts flashed through the sky striking the stupid chieftain and most importantly the evil Dusta.
The army rushed in to the village and quickly overthrew the remaining resistance. They captured the stupid and dazed chieftain and the evil Dusta and sent them away to be exiled from humanity in hell, forever.
They taught the villagers about caring for tigers and how they should be free, and Daya opened the cage where Purnata was and led him gently away and returned him to the rescue centre where Purnata was loved and cherished and fed wonderful meat and returned to his glorious self.
Daya watched over his progress and one day, took him down to a lake where Purnata caught a glimpse of his reflection. He saw a most beautiful apparition in the lake, a tiger so stunning in power and grace it was beyond comprehension.
“How did that happen” asked Purmata, to which Daya replied “Your beauty was always there but you can only recognise it when your life is beautiful too.”
Purnata was free from the shackles at last.