Once upon a time there was a Monk, a Rishi, who had renounced the world, conquered the temptations of his five sensory organs and retired to a dark forest to do penance, Tapas. He also engaged himself in the study of Vedas and Shastras, observing the ritual of fasting and living on herbs and fruits. With this kind of austerity he attained inner purity and divine power, radiating positive vibrations. He became a Maharishi.
Observing this Maharishi, sitting in a posture of meditation by himself, the denizens of the forest, including those wild animals like lion, tiger, elephant, leopard and the likes too began to go near the Maharishi but never harmed him. Rather they would squat in front of him on their haunches in veneration with bowed heads.
Apparently, those ancient days, days of Mahabharata, for this story is from that epic in the Chapters 116 and 117, Shanti Parva, animals could speak and Maharishis knew not only the language but also the minds of the animals!
The Maharishi would inquire the well-being of these animals and they would respond. After sometime the animals would disperse and go their way. However, one animal, a domesticated dog that came from a village, would remain with the Maharishi. It became a devotee of the Maharishi and such a staunch devotee that the dog also would fast whenever the Maharishi fasted. As a result, the dog became weak. It ate only fruits and vegetables like the Maharishi eschewing non-vegetarian food. It would always be seen either sitting or lying by the side of the Maharishi so much so it deluded itself that it too was a man like the Maharishi! The bond of Guru-Shishya relation thus became strong.
Years passed but one day a leopard came out of its neighbouring territory and appeared before the Maharishi and his devotee the dog. The leopard was hungry after a long journey and was happy to see its food ready in the dog. It began to salivate, rolled its eyes, curled its tail and was moving menacingly towards...more