One day a saint was taking a bath in a river. His disciple sat on the bank with the saint's clothes, asana and rosary. The saint noticed a scorpion struggling in the current. Taking pity, he lifted the bedraggled scorpion in his palm and started wading toward the bank.
No sooner had the scorpion recovered than it promptly stung the saint on the palm. The saint felt an unbearable, burning pain shoot up his arm, but he did not drop the scorpion. Instead, he gently shook his hand to encourage the scorpion to move away from the wound.
The saint's disciple, watching from the bank, became alarmed, but did not say anything.
The saint had only taken a few more steps when the scorpion stung him again. A searing pain more intense than the first one went all the way up his arm and throbbed in his hand. The saint staggered and nearly collapsed in the river.
This time the disciple did call out. "Put him down, guruji! He will only sting you again. Leave him to his fate. Your kindness is of no value to such a creature. He will learn nothing from it!"
The saint ignored him and continued walking. He had nearly reached the bank when the scorpion stung him for a third time. The pain exploded into his head, lungs, and his heart. The disciple saw a blissful smile appear on the saint's face before he collapsed in to the river. The disciple dragged the saint to the shore, still smiling and still cradling the scorpion in his palm. As soon as they had reached shore, the scorpion crawled away as quickly as it could.
"Guruji!" said the disciple after the saint had regained consciousness. "How can you smile? That wretched creature nearly killed you."
"You are right, my son," said the saint. "But he was only following his dharma, his nature. It is the dharma of a scorpion to sting, and it is the dharma of a saint to save its' life. He is following his dharma and I am following mine. Everything is in its proper place. That is why I am so happy."
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