A dilemma and deception…

Read the previous part here…

You are not answering me joyfully, and you are not giving me what I want. At nights, you snore heavily, and you do not embrace and kiss me. O wicked one! There is another female in your heart!

KarālaMukha fell to his wife’s feet, took her in his arms and made her sit on his lap, all in an attempt to cool her down. “You are dearer to me than life itself”, he said lovingly. “Then why do you think this way?”

His wife started to cry. “Don’t talk to me”, she said, sobbing. “That pretty woman has bound you with her charm, so much that there is no place in your heart for me. All you can do is drama – falling at my feet and pretending to love me!”

“If she is not your lover, then why can’t you bring me her heart, even after I asked so much? And if that really is a monkey, as you told me, then why do you even need to be friends with a monkey??Why do you have so much affection for him? I have nothing more to say. If you don’t fetch me his heart, I will stop eating all food, and starve to death.”

Worried at this turn of events, KarālaMukha thought to himself…

वज्र-लेपस्य मूर्खस्य नारीणां कर्कटस्य च ।
एको ग्रहस् तु मीनानां नीली-मद्य-पयोस् तथा ॥ १० ॥

vajra-lepasya mūrkhasya nārīṇāṃ karkaṭasya ca |
eko grahas tu mīnānāṃ nīlī-madya-payos tathā || 10 ||

Cement that hardens, a fool, women, crabs, fish, blue dye and a drunkard – they all have one thing in common. Once they get stuck to anything, they refuse to let go of it!

“So what shall I do? How can I kill my own dear friend?”

RaktaMukha saw KarālaMukha approaching him. He looked pensive, with his head down, as if in deep thought. There were frown marks on his forehead, as he swam silently towards the shore.

“My friend, you are late today. What happened? You look very sad and lost in thought. Is anything wrong?”

KarālaMukha replied “Your bhabhi (sister-in-law) spoke very harshly to me today. She said – you are very ungrateful! Don’t show me your face ever again. You visit your dear friend everyday, he feeds you, and even gives you more so that you can bring some to me. Yet you have no decency to return the favor. Forget that, you have not even invited him home yet. There is no atonement for ungratefulness. It is said…

ब्रह्मघ्ने च सुरापे च चौरे भग्न-व्रते शठे ।
निष्कृतिर् विहिता सद्भिः कृतघ्ने नास्ति निष्कृतिः ॥ ११ ॥

brahmaghne ca surāpe ca caure bhagna-vrate śaṭhe |
niṣkṛtir vihitā sadbhiḥ kṛtaghne nāsti niṣkṛtiḥ || 11 ||

The wise have prescribed ways of repentance and atonement for a man who kills, a drunkard, a thief, a person who breaks his vows and the wicked…but not for an ungrateful man.

“And so, bring your friend, who is dearer than a brother, to our house today so that we can express our gratitude and host him well. If not, I don’t wish to see your face ever again.”

“This is what she said”, concluded KarālaMukha. “I got delayed because I was trying to convince her, but she didn’t relent. So now you have to come to my house. Your bhabhi is waiting eagerly for you – she has cleaned the house and decorated it and made some very good food as well.”

RaktaMukha replied “Your wife is right. It has been said…

वर्जयेत् कौलिकाकारं मित्रं प्राज्ञतरो नरः ।
आत्मनः सम्मुखं नित्यं य आकर्षति लोलुपः ॥ १२ ॥

varjayet kaulikākāraṃ mitraṃ prājñataro naraḥ |
ātmanaḥ sammukhaṃ nityaṃ ya ākarṣati lolupaḥ || 12 ||

A wise man should avoid a friend who behaves like a weaver. Such a friend is greedy for money, and so keeps pulling one towards himself, and not the other way around.

“A weaver always pulls the cloth towards himself while weaving it, so does a greedy friend who always takes, and never gives. And also…”

ददाति प्रतिगृह्णाति गुह्यम् आख्याति पृच्छति ।
भुङ्क्ते भोजयते चैव षड्-विधं प्रीति-लक्षणम् ॥ १३ ॥

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati |
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṃ prīti-lakṣaṇam || 13 ||

Giving and accepting, confiding secrets, enquiring about one’s welfare, accepting the food that one gives, and sharing one’s food with the other – these are the signs of a good friendship.

“But there is a problem”, said RaktaMukha. “I live in the forest, on land, and your house is in water. How would I be able to go there? I think it is better if you get bhabhi here, so that I can meet her and seek her blessings.”

KarālaMukha replied “My friend, my house is on a beautiful island in the middle of the ocean. You can sit on my back and come with me, without any fear.”

The monkey heard this, and was happy. “In that case, why are we still talking? Common, let’s get going!” And he quickly climbed on to KarālaMukha’s back, and they set out.

As they moved towards deeper waters, RaktaMukha got frightened, held the crocodile tightly, and said “KarālaMukha, please swim slowly. These waves and splashing water on me, and I am afraid that I will drown!”

KarālaMukha heard him and thought to himself…

to be continued…