Chasing Tails

Chasing Tails

This is an old story first written some years ago. It comes to you in its new avatar.

We have two dogs at Navadarshanam. One is a brown male called Raja. The other is a black female we naturally call Rani. You see, they periodically produce a litter of puppies which leads us to conclude that they are husband and wife.

Raja is handsomer with gold frame on his muzzle and a bit of gold on his ears. His bushy tail is his handsomest organ. It is not only well proportioned; it is also decorated tastefully with shades of brown and gold.

Rani is plain, even rustic in comparison, and not so smart. We cannot say whether or not dogs think of these things and let them fill their minds like us humans. But these two dogs do seem to be sensitive to looks and mental ability.

During my last 2 or 3 visits I had noticed a hint of superior attitude in Raja. In his occasional altercations with Rani he seemed always to want to win. This time I noticed a new habit in Raja of chasing his tail. Every dog with a handsome tail like Raja’s would naturally do such a thing, but Raja spent all his energy in this useless activity. In my opinion it was excessive.

One day I could not resist asking and politely said to him; “Friend Raja, why do you chase your tail all the time? True, it is handsome but why to waste all that energy. Besides, most observers would interpret it as egotistical.”

Raja was a bit embarrassed. He answered, “I know I have a bad habit but I am stuck with it. However, if you don’t mind my saying so I picked it up from you humans, for most of you have it and dogs normally don’t. I have been observing visitors to Navadarshanam. Some are occupied with their wealth. Most are circumspect, but with my superior olfactory power I can smell their body chemistry. Then there are others who are too taken with their education and knowledge. They are always defending a point of view or proving something or the other. Women are not much behind men in this game. They are a long step ahead as some of them spend hours in front of mirrors pinching, massaging, rubbing, plucking, powdering, creaming, coloring, and doing god knows what to their faces. All this is tail chasing and all humans are addicted to it.”

“You are right Raja, but are you suggesting that we can give up tail-chasing? If we did, much of our industry would collapse. For it is dependent on this habit of ours. Also many people would not know what to do with themselves.” I commented.

“Some people would for a time be confused, but they would soon learn to live healthier uncluttered lives. They will begin to enjoy their natural god given beauty and will not need to want to temper with their skin. There is no gain in tail-chasing. That I know from experience.” Raja explained.

I further probed, “Do you think humans have something really valuable to gain by realizing the silliness of tail-chasing? What in your opinion would it be?

“What a question to ask of a dog by a human!” laughed Raja. “You should know. Vishnu lies on a sheshnag (a huge snake) and on a lotus growing from his navel sits Brahma the creator. They do not chase their tails. Their energy is not wasted. And as you can see, they have become gods; Brahma creates and Vishnu sustains the universe. They carry on doing their onerous duties for billions of years because the energy of their silent stillness is awesome.”

“And by not chasing their tails they lose nothing. Lakshmi, Saraswati, and all the other goddesses press their feet. Wealth, learning and all other good things come to them in abundance. Humans too can follow their example and live blissful lives. By leaving your tails alone you can shed all your cares and become enlightened. Humans can do it easily. For dogs it is difficult.”

February 25, 2006