A troubled mouse…

Read the previous part here…

In what place, or time, or age, or manner, one performs his actions, in that place, at that time, at that age and in that manner will he receive the fruits of those actions.

“And so this is what I will do”, thought Dirgharava…

“I will ration this food in a way that I have food for many days. Let me first start with the string tied to the edges of the bow. For it is said…

शनैः शनैश् च भोक्तव्यं स्वयं वित्तम् उपार्जितम् ।
रसायनम् इव प्राज्ञैर् हेलया न कदाचन ॥ ८३ ॥

śanaiḥ śanaiś ca bhoktavyaṃ svayaṃ vittam upārjitam |
rasāyanam iva prājñair helayā na kadācana || 83 ||

The wise enjoy the wealth earned by their own effort, very slowly, like licking syrup, and not all at once.

And thinking this way, Dirgharava started to chew the end of the string tied to the bow. The string severed, and the bow snapped, recoiled and pierced the palate of the jackal, killing him instantly. The end of the bow that pierced his skull had a piece of half-eaten string still attached to it, and looked like a tuft of hair that had suddenly grown on his head.

“And that is why I say”, concluded the Brahmin, अतितृष्णाभिभूतस्य शिखा भवति मस्तके!

And also…

आयुः कर्म च वित्तं च विद्या निधनम् एव च ।
पञ्चैतानि हि सृज्यन्ते गर्भस्थस्यैव देहिनः ॥ ८४ ॥

āyuḥ karma ca vittaṃ ca vidyā nidhanam eva ca |
pañcaitāni hi sṛjyante garbhasthasyaiva dehinaḥ || 84 ||

Life-span, actions, wealth, learning and death – these five get fixed in the womb itself.

“One does not acquire them, or have the ability to change them.”

His wife, now having understood what the Brahmin wanted to convey to her, joined her hands and said ” If this is so, I will act as per your instructions. There is a small heap of sesame seeds in the house. I will de-husk them, clean the seeds, pound them, and feed them to a poor Brahmin.”

The Brahmin thanked her, and set out. His wife de-husked the seeds, washed them in warm water, and then spread them out to dry in the sun. She then started to wash clothes and clean the dishes. In the meanwhile, a dog that was passing that way, stopped and urinated on the sesame seeds, and then continued on his journey.

Seeing this, the Brahmin’s wife lamented “Oh, what bad luck I have! I cannot feed these seeds to anyone now…”. She then thought a bit ” I will take these seeds to the neighbours and exchange them for husked sesame seeds. They will not refuse, since it is a perfect bargain!”

In the meanwhile, Brihatsphinga, who had taken a bath and said his prayers, stepped out of the house to start his daily rounds of collecting alms. He stopped by at the neighbours house, just about the same time when the Brahmin’s wife also came there to exchange the seeds.

“So you can take these cleaned seeds and give me some un-husked ones”, he heard her saying as he walked into the compound. Her neighbour, who was obviously pleased at this great offer, was about to accept the seeds, when her son, who was adept in the art of political sciences, stopped her.

“Mother”, he cautioned. “Don’t take those seeds. There is surely some strong reason that makes her give us these cleaned seeds, in exchange for unclean ones. I don’t think you should take this deal, since it is too good to be true.”

His mother listened to him, and did not accept those seeds.

“And that is why I said”, concluded Brihatsphinga. When the mother tried to exchange the husked sesame seeds for the unhusked ones, she surely had a good reason.

The actual quote is नाकस्माच् छाण्डिली मातर् विक्रीणाति तिलैस् तिलान् लुञ्चितान् इतरैर् येन हेतुर् अत्र भविष्यति, which translates as “If the lady born into the ‘Shandilya Gotra’ suddenly offers cleaned sesame seeds for unclean ones, there must be some good reason behind it.” Shandilya is one of the major rishis in Sanatana Dharma, and wrote a book on societal laws. The term – lady born into the Shandilya Gotra – is used sarcastically to demonstrate how simple rules of society are misused for selfish reasons. Exchanging goods was commonplace in ancient society, and was called the Barter system. Both parties trusted each other, and made the exchange on this basis. The Brahmin’s wife was known for her rudeness and selfishness, and hence the son viewed her sudden benevolence as suspicious, and so warned his mother not to fall for it.

Brihatsphinga narrated this story to prove to TaamraChooda that there was no way an ordinary mouse would be able to jump so high – there had to be a very strong reason behind it. And so, he suspected that there was some hidden wealth that gave the mouse so much energy to jump higher than even cats and monkeys.

Lets move on and see what happens!

“So tell me TaamraChooda”, said Brihatsphinga, “do you at least know how he comes and goes?”

“Yes!”, replied TaamraChooda. “I know how he comes and goes. And one more thing. He never moves alone. He always comes with his followers, moves here and there, and then goes away. With the loot of course.”

“Do you have any gardening tools, something that you can dig with?” asked Brihatsphinga.

“I have a spade…”

“Perfect. Lets wait till morning, and then follow the footsteps of this mouse. We will have to act early, before the signs of his footsteps are wiped away inadvertently by people walking along these paths.”

Hiranyaka sighed again. “I heard them speaking and thought to myself “My days are numbered! This Brihatsphinga is very intelligent and determined. He came to know about my treasure, and now he will also find out about my fortress. His speech signals his strong intent. It is said…

सकृद् अपि दृष्ट्वा पुरुषं विबुधा जानन्ति सारतां तस्य ।
हस्त-तुलयापि निपुणाः पल-प्रमाणा विजानन्ति ॥ ८५ ॥

sakṛd api dṛṣṭvā puruṣaṃ vibudhā jānanti sāratāṃ tasya |
hasta-tulayāpi nipuṇāḥ pala-pramāṇā vijānanti || 85 ||

The wise can understand the essence of a person, just by a single glance. Experts can guess the weight of an object just by weighing it in their hands.

वाञ्छैव सूचयति पूर्वतरं भविष्यं पुंसां यद् अन्य-तनुजं त्व् अशुभं शुभं वा ।
विज्ञायते शिशुर् अजात-कलाप-चिह्नः प्रत्युद्गतैर् अपसरन् सरलः कलापी ॥ ८६ ॥

vāñchaiva sūcayati pūrvataraṃ bhaviṣyaṃ puṃsāṃ yad anya-tanujaṃ tv aśubhaṃ śubhaṃ vā |
vijñāyate śiśur ajāta-kalāpa-cihnaḥ pratyudgatair apasaran saralaḥ kalāpī || 86 ||

The desires of a man are a good indicator of the good and bad things that he has done in the past, or will do in the future. A peacock’s child, that has not developed its colourful tail as yet, can be identified as a peacock by its attractive gait as it walks around.

And so, frightened at the turn of events, I decided to take my followers on a path different from my usual route, and away from my fortress. I had just set out when…

to be continued…

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