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Bagheera
Lyrics: John Popper
Music: Chan Kinchla

Bagheera walked into the bar and poured himself a drink
His fur was stained with the blood of monkeys and he needed time to think
The man at the bar said, "What are you doing here?"
Bagheera let go a low soft purr that kept the man from coming near
He said "I'm Bagheera, the mighty panther and the jungle is my home
I'm free, free in all I see and that makes me free to roam"
Sometimes to feel the music of the jungle it can cause you pain
And the man heard Bagheera as the entire jungle joined in the big black cat's refrain

One dark night the man-cub came to the big black cat afraid
The boy was sure that he was dying due to the endless stream of water that his eyes made
Yeah the cat knew why when the boy said, "I don't want to die" for these are the ways of men
The boy cried, "Teacher, teacher I don't, understand this ache within me"
The great cat sighed and (then softly he began)
He said, "Indeed thou art a man's child now and the world is yours to give and take
The time has come now for your awareness to change forever and there's a choice for you to make
You may remain here in the jungle and hunt with the free people
Or if you feel the man's God calling you return to your kind in the village and worship at his steeple
The only thing you must do is what you feel in your heart is true
I will hunt now and leave you on your own to decide what to do"

The mighty panther went on his hunt
Secret Lord of the jungle beneath the night sky
And some say if you could have seen him then you'd have noticed a single tear fall from his majestic eye

1991 Blues Traveler Music



First release: Travelers & Thieves
Released: 09/03/1991
Earliest time played: 01/22/1991
Last time played: 07/04/2011
Playing frequency:
  137 plays (see all shows)
  7.37% of shows in the database
  7.94% of shows since debut
  Detailed statistics
Song information:
  John had a difficult time remembering the lyrics to this song, which is why it was almost never played between 1992 and 2000. It came out of a three-year retirement in 1995 at a private gig and John mangled it so badly that it went back on the shelf.

Other recordings of "Bagheera":
  Travelers & Thieves/On Tour Forever, 1991
  Travelers & Thieves pre-production tape, 1991
  Birmingham Alabama, April 1992, 1992
  When the Lights Go Down, 1994
  Live: Thinnest Of Air, 2003


Bagheera walked into the bar and poured himself a drink
Bagheera is the black panther in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and king of the jungle. He and the bear Baloo sponsor the infant Mowgli to be part of the wolf pack after his family is killed by tigers. It is likely not a coincidence that Bagheera is a black cat.
His fur was stained with the blood of monkeys and he needed time to think
In the second story of The Jungle Book, Mowgli is kidnapped by monkeys and taken to the Lost City. Bagheera, Baloo and the python Kaa rescue him.
One dark night the man-cub came to the big black cat afraid
"Man-cub" was the phrase used to describe young Mowgli in the book.
The boy was sure that he was dying due to the endless stream of water that his eyes made/ [...] /I will hunt now and leave you on your own to decide what to do"
This stanza refers to the very end of the first part of The Jungle Book, quoted here from the Project Gutenberg edition. You will note that while Bagheera leaves the choice up to Mowgli in the song, the decision is more clear-cut in the book. Also note that men are referred to as "Free People" in both the book and song.
Then something began to hurt Mowgli inside him, as he had never been hurt in his life before, and he caught his breath and sobbed, and the tears ran down his face.

"What is it? What is it?" he said. "I do not wish to leave the jungle, and I do not know what this is. Am I dying, Bagheera?"

"No, Little Brother. That is only tears such as men use," said Bagheera. "Now I know thou art a man, and a man's cub no longer. The jungle is shut indeed to thee henceforward. Let them fall, Mowgli. They are only tears."