71.

"Pratap the Elephant
//Pratap the Elephant//
//by Ranasinghe Premadasa//"

Soon after arriving in Sri Lanka I went to a bookstore near my hotel to buy a few books written by President Premadasa. What I found was a small children's book written by the President, with a painting of an elephant on the cover. It was entitled "Pratap the Elephant".

I was so deeply moved by my first acquaintance with President Premadasa's literary world. His own boundless heart of compassion compels him to bring to the fore the compassion-aspect of all others, including members of the animal kingdom.

Pratap the Elephant is lord of the jungle and fully able to meet with all his needs without any help from others. But the President lovingly reveals to us how inner power and outer strength can go together. Pratap is full of kindness and affection for all the animals. Even the pigs and jackals, whose self-serving arrogance destroys Pratap's first water-hole, receive the wise elephant's limitless compassion. By not allowing the bad animals to come near the new water-hole, Pratap's compassion, in the form of strictness, is helping to transform them.

The President teaches us that compassion will transform bad people into good people and good people into even better people. How devotedly and how superbly he reveals to us the unparalleled Compassion-aspect of the Lord Buddha.