Friday, November 02, 2007

Camel, cat, cow, chameleon etc.

Nietzsche, in his Thus spake Zarathustra, delineates three different poises as demonstrated by a camel, a lion, and a child. While the camel is the beast of burden, the lion stands for the dissenter, also signifying innovation or experimentation. The child he conceives as the creator lost in play that marks the highest level.
A parallel imagery, interestingly, is available in the book, “The Mother” by Sri Aurobindo. In the first stage of Sadhana, one should become a docile worker; in the next an instrument; and in the end complete identity. The image of the lion as the “bahana” (the vehicle of the Goddess) easily evokes the sense of heroic surrender, while the dependence of a baby-cat sits well with the child metaphor. Elsewhere in the same book, the obedience of the disciple, the warrior, and the servant has also been broached. In a couple of his aphorisms, too, Sri Aurobindo has taken up Nietzsche’s trinity for comment and adds a fourth, viz., Kamadhenu, the mythical cow of plenty.
Speaking of camel and lion, the chameleon comes to the mind, which also symbolizes innovation. But better not think further, lest one is reminded of Kafka’s hibernation and metamorphosis. If Nietzsche comes, can Kafka be far behind? [TNM]

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