A Hindu Fable: THE SNAKE WITH TWO HEADS*

Posted by jlubans on December 13, 2019

null
Caption: Heading headlong into disaster.

A CERTAIN Snake had two Heads, one in the usual place and the other at the tip of his tail.
But while the Head that he had in the usual place was provided with a pair of good eyes, the Head at the end of his tail was blind.
Now there was a constant quarrel between these two Heads, for each of them claimed to be the more powerful Head, and to have mastery over the other.
Now, it was the custom of the Snake as he roamed around, to go with his real Head foremost.
But on one occasion the Head at the end of the Snake's tail seized hold of a wooden stake with its jaws, and by holding on firmly prevented the Snake from going further.
This convinced the Snake that the Head in his tail must be more powerful than the other Head, since it had got the best of the struggle.
Accordingly, from this time on, the Snake roamed about with his blind Head foremost ; and so presently he fell into a pit full of burning rubbish, being unable to see where he was going, and was thus burned to death.
_____________
Now, I am usu
ally an advocate for leadership coming from all directions, not just the top down. I even wrote a book about it: Leading from the Middle.
In this fable, the snake’s tail is different from the head; it's blind.
Likely, sightlessness (absence of a vision) can lead to disaster. Instead of collaborating, these two ends are in opposition.
How often did I find myself in a splintered and contentious leadership?
Often enough.
It was not fatal, like slithering into a rubbish fire, but we did not get the job done; the organization did not improve.
The blind tail is a prototypical example of the "alienated follower" theory. While an independent thinker an alienated follower disagrees with the leader’s vision and seeks to undermine, to sabotage, to derail.
The alienated follower – stubborn and consumed with envy - prefers the status quo to striving to achieve something better.


*Source: Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 63, to be found in Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.


© Copyright John Lubans 2019

« Prev itemNext item »

Comments

No comments yet. You can be the first!

Leave comment