Book Reviews

Junglezen Sheru

       It must be conceded that  Ramkrishna Mission is a decisive influence in the continuing relevance of Swami Vivekanand . The mission'smonks (sanyasis) have been carying out the mission of  Swamijee in spiritual,  social, educational and other spheres without blemish throughout the country and abroad. Swami Samarpananand is one among those monks. He has authored several inspiring books such as   Param. Tiya - a parrot’s homeward journey, Carving a sky among others. He teaches in the university of the mission.
       Junglezen Sheru is another book in the series. It is a fable  which weaves the story of animals living in a forest as in the stories of Panchatantra, Hitopadesha and Jataka Katha . There is a catastrophe in the jungle. Poachers killed lion, the king along with his family. The King is dead, a vacuum is created. That leads to a succession of events to restore equilibrium.

The Jungle is inhabited by diverse animals weak as well as strong, wicked as well as kind, herbivores as well as carnivores, clever as well as wise, significant and dominant as well as insignificant and timid. The lion had kept this diversity woven in a cohesive whole. With that unifying thread now gone, the strong bullied the weak, the weak insulted the insignificant, and the insignificant cursed their fate. Within weeks of lion’s death utter confusion prevailed in the forest. Muktak, the wise, senior and compassionate elephant was very much concerned. He called an assembly of animals to find a suitable replacement for lion ( King), but his efforts were rigged and hijacked by clever animals such as Kapi, the monkey and Rig, the jackal. Sensing opportunity in the confusion they hatched a conspiracy. Kapi got himself elected as leader and Rig was appointed minister. Deal was entered with Magar, the vile crocodile

The forest then moved to a different future. History, traditions, lore and wisdom were given a new twist. Under the new dispensation, individuality was replaced by collectivity. They were no longer rats,cats,bears or bulls- or any such silly being. They all were now junglezens. Junglezen became their identity mark.

1.We are all Junglezens

2. Good of all, growth of all - is our motto

3. Collective over individuality - is our motto. only identity.

In the meanwhile another significant and exciting news gripped the forest. “there is a cub.” He was a lone survivor of the lion family. Mukak, the wise elephant, was delighted, even though Kapi, Rig and others became apprehensive. Muktak was relieved and hopeful that the jungle would regain its order. He hailed the lion cub as “Sheru the king.”

He enthusiastically took charge of Sheru; he knew that a child needs love of his mother, father, teacher, friends and family to find the space to grow and find freedom. Acceptance and respect for the person is an essential ingredient of love. You can not love a person if you do not care to know him/her. You have to understand the core of the person. Only then you are able to make him work on his strength.

Muktak made every effort to be every one of the above for Sheru. But Sheru had his own ideas of growth and freedom . Muktak says that there is no short cut to success and only hard and dedicated effort leads one to discover his strength and work on it. This does not appeal to Sheru. He does not like the idea of dedicated efforts and is more comfortable with the identity of a junglezen and resists attempts of Muktak to make him realise his strength.

Sheru failed to realise his core strength, so he remained a junglezen Sheru instead of Sheru the Lion. The Jungle could not be protected and saved from the marauders.

Like other fables, Junglezen Sheru conveys a moral. A person is not like any other person around him. Every personality is imbued with a core existence. That is to be identified and strengthened. That needs dedicated effort. There is no short cut.Then only he/ she would be able to realise his potential. He would evolve from being a Junglezen Sheru to the lion that he is.

Some quotes from the book:

  1. A senior without wisdom is a showpiece, and a wise one without compassion is like an unripe fruit- bad in taste and bad for health.
  2. Love is the space in which one finds the space that one’s personality is shaped. A child first finds that space in his mother’s love. With age, he finds that space in his father, teacher, friends, and family—in that order.
  3. The forest had its share of weak, strong, simple, clever, timid and wicked personalities.
  4. The truly cultured are strong and the strong never crave company. There never really was any equality among the living, and there never will be. Inequality is the essence of life. Anyone who talks of equality is a pure charlatan
  5. The fickle and the clever can only ruin the system
  6. A leader is a necessary evil. He may turn out to be an evil, but he also has the potential to infuse strength into the system.
  7. Is Uniqueness an aberration?
  8. “He is clever. And like every clever fellow, he is not wise. He values only himself- the crass materialist."
  9. The goal of life is to be universal. Confuse this not with collective, for the journey from the collective to the universal can be made only by possessing a strong sense of individuality. If you have no individuality, you will end up with the collective. You are one with the collective when you are young, but when you start working on your strength you outgrow your own folks to become universal.
  10. "Every personality is like milk and everyone around him is like water. If you are able to bring out your core, you become like butter, You can then mix freely with anyone. but if you mix with those around you without gaining your essence, you will then end up becoming like diluted milk"
  11. The most manifest desire of the living is to be the winner


More by :  Ganganand Jha

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