Springingtiger's Blog

Shiv And The Grasshopper


I was brought up on The Eagle

And its greatest hero Dan Dare;

On the Tales of Beatrix Potter

And the comic Harold Hare.

We’d no Superman nor Batman,

But our heroes they were many

Secret Seven and Famous Five

Were more than as good as any.

Back then we only had to look

To discover adventure, where?

Within the pages of a book!

Before I could read my mother read to me from the great children’s stories of the early Twentieth Century. She read to me from AA Milne and Rudyard Kipling, particularly The Jungle Book. I loved the sound of the words and snatches of the poetry of Milne and the more rousing poetry with which Kipling began and ended his tales still remains with me.

One poem of Kipling’s that I have loved since those early days is ‘Shiv And The Grasshopper’ which follows the story of ‘Toomai of the Elephants’. In the poem, a lullaby, the story is told of how the god Shiva gave every creature its place in the world and apportioned it its food. However Parbati his wife thought she would play a joke on him and concealed the Grasshopper in her bosom. In the last verse we are told,

When the dole was ended, laughingly she said,

‘Master, of a million mouths is not one unfed?’

Laughingly, Shiv made answer, ‘All have had their part,

Even he, the little one, hidden next thy heart.’

From her breast she plucked it, Parbati the thief,

Saw the Least of Little Things gnawed a new grown leaf!

Saw and feared and wondered, making prayer to Shiv,

Who hath surely given meat to all that live.”

I heard that poem long ago, I read it before I ever read read a scripture and it has remained with me. It contains a great truth even to those who reject the idea of a personal god or any god and that is that the Universe has adequate provision for us all. The corollary is that if any creature is going hungry then it is because another is taking more than its share. Mahatma Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” And that too is a truth.

There is a principle known as homoeostasis that says that left to its own devices the world will achieve balance. It used to be that people travelled the world trading freely and the populations of this planet followed the availability of resources. Those in power still want to be able to move resources freely and to trade as they will, but they refuse to allow population to follow resources. They gather up wealth while condemning millions to hunger and even starvation. They spread a fear of homeostasis by inculcating racism among the populations that are less damaged by the greed of the powerful.

Parbati is a goddess, but even she cannot appreciate the power of Shiva. In my religion Shiva is not a personal god, but the very essence of Being. If the gods cant fathom him how much less mere human beings and so we ignore the lessons of nature and continue to cause natural disasters and human calamities because we want to own more than we can ever use.

It was Isaac Newton to who postulated that, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Those who are ruining our world are guided neither by religion nor science. If they were they would realise that resisting the worlds natural will to homoeostasis will ensure that its readjustment will ultimately cause greater dislocation in the structures of society than is either necessary or desirable. Whether war or natural disaster most can be avoided simply by accepting that there is enough for all and each has the right to live without interference as long as each is content to share. As Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Mt 6:27 -30) Jesus continues in the same vein. From which I must infer that anyone who resists the free movement of people, or uses wealth and power to store up possessions beyond their needs is an enemy of god and any claim they make to being a Christian, whether a vicar’s daughter or not, is effectively a lie.

Anyone who seeks through greed and avarice to protect themselves from the future is a coward. You may argue that it is irresponsible to trust in god. However better to live in trust and hope for the future than in fear of your neighbours. I don’t despise Tories and Blairites, but I do pity them for their joyless existence. I pity Donald Trump because the secret to the greatness of America is written upon the Statue of Liberty (The Mother of Exiles) in the poem ‘The New Colossus’ by Emma Lazarus.

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The greatness of America lay in her opening her arms to the world, her downfall has ever lain in greed and exploitation, but trump can’t see it. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and as cowards seek to close their borders to those in need, to cling to their possessions in fear and greed. Hope rises in the mass unbowed by wealth or class. Whose vision of the world that may be calls upon them to break free of petty regulation and make of all people, one nation.


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