( Story told by Swami Vivekananda )
Shall we advise men to kneel down and cry, ‘O miserable sinners that we are!’ No, rather let us remind them of their divine nature. I will tell you a story.
A lioness in search of prey came upon a flock of sheep, and as she jumped at one of them, she gave birth to a cub and died on the spot. The young lion was brought up in the flock, ate grass, and bleated like a sheep, and it never knew that it was a lion. One day a lion came across the flock and was astonished to see in it a huge lion eating grass and bleating like a sheep. At his sight the flock fled and the lion-sheep with them. But the lion watched his opportunity and one day found the lion-sheep asleep.
He woke him up and said, ‘You are a lion.’
The other said, ‘No,’ and began to bleat like a sheep.
But the stranger lion took him to a lake and asked him to look in the water at his own image and see if it did not resemble him, the stranger lion. He looked and acknowledged that it did. Then the stranger lion began to roar and asked him to do the same. The lion-sheep tried his voice and was soon roaring as grandly as the other. And he was a sheep no longer.
My friends, I would like to tell you all that you are mighty as lions. If the room is dark, do you go about beating your chest and crying, ‘It is dark, dark, dark!’ No, the only way to get the light is to strike a light, and then the darkness goes. The only way to realise the light above you is to strike the spiritual light within you, and the darkness of sin and impurity will flee away. (CW, 1:326-27)