Seeing him, the sage said: "Well, my friend, why do you want to bite me?" The snake was abashed and made no reply.
At this, the sage continued: "Listen my friend; do not injure anyone in future."
The snake bowed and nodded in agreement. The sage went his way, and the snake entered his hole and thenceforward began to live a life of innocence, without attempting to harm anyone.
In a few days, all the neighborhood concluded that the snake had lost his venom and was no longer dangerous; so everyone began to tease him. They pelted him with stones or dragged him mercilessly by the tail, and there was no end to his troubles.
Fortunately, the sage again passed that way, and seeing the bruised and battered condition of the snake, was very much moved and inquired the cause.
"Holy Sir," the snake replied, "this is because I do not injure anyone after your advice. But alas! They are so merciless!"
The sage smilingly said: "My friend, I simply advised you not to bite anyone; but I did not tell you not to frighten others. Although you should not bite any living creature, still you should keep people at a distance by hissing at them."
And, then Sri Ramakrishna added: "There is no harm in "hissing" at wicked men and at your enemies, showing that you can protect yourself and know how to resist evil. Only you must be careful not to pour your venom into the blood of your enemy. Do not resist evil by causing evil in return."