The characteristics of a person of substance

It is a well-known fact that all relationships are based on trust. Once the element of faith makes an exit out of human existence, survival can become a challenge.

It takes the effort of a lifetime to win over the confidence of the people we relate to in the various walks of life. Yet, life may not always be a cakewalk despite earning brownie points for being a reliable and responsible individual. It takes a test of  fire and a lot of moral fibre to prove oneself to be a person of calibre.

When Bhishma was lying in a bed of arrows, he advised Yudhishtira about several facets of leadership and human relationships by narrating the story of a tiger and a jackal.

Deep in the jungles of the Himalayas, there lived a jackal who led the life of a recluse. Much to the chagrin of his kith and kin, he strived hard to rise above them by practising virtues. Initially, the creatures of the forest distrusted him. But over a period of time they realised that the jackal was truly saintly by nature.

In the meanwhile, the tiger who was the king of the jungle, watched the unique jackal. He was convinced of the jackal’s Samaritan and equable nature and appointed him his chief minister. Soon things began to fall in place in the kingdom.

Everyone was happy with the exception of the jackals. They were finding ways and means of discrediting the noble one. They carried tales about the good jackal to the king.

One day, they slyly placed the king’s food in the minister’s room, on his plate and ensured that the tiger saw it. They led the tiger to believe that the jackal was trying to take over the royal throne in more ways than one. The regal one was enraged.

He refused to listen to the explanation of the befuddled jackal and dismissed him from the high office. The jackal took to the life of a recluse.

Soon anarchy set in.  The king and his subjects recognised the foul play of the jackals and the goodness of the absent chief minister.

The ruler hastened to the presence of the exiled jackal and apologised profusely for the misunderstanding and the aftermath.

The Samaritan heard him out patiently and quietly refused to assume office because he pointed out that once the factor of trust is broken it tends to give way time and again.

The dignity and the wisdom of the jackal saddened the tiger because he had lost the association of a great soul.

Yet, the stance of the jackal made him realise the characteristics of a person of substance.

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