Chitraanga trapped

Read the previous part here…

After waiting for more than two hours, Mantharaka told LaghuPatanaka “My dear friend, Hiranyaka and me are too slow and will take forever to comb the forest looking for him. So can you please fly around and see if you can find Chitraanga?” LaghuPatanaka immediately agreed and rushed off to search for his friend.

LaghuPatanaka had not flown far when he spotted the deer. Chitraanga had been trapped and was now bound by a rope and tied to a tree. Seeing him this way, LaghuPatanaka exclaimed “Chitraanga! What happened? How did you get trapped this way?”

Chitraanga, who was sitting there with a sad face, burst into tears. It is said…

अपि मन्दत्वम् आपन्नो नष्टो वापीष्ट-दर्शनात् ।
प्रायेण प्राणिनां भूयो दुःखावेगो ऽधिको भवेत् ॥ १७४ ॥

api mandatvam āpanno naṣṭo vāpīṣṭa-darśanāt |
prāyeṇa prāṇināṃ bhūyo duḥkhāvego ‘dhiko bhavet || 174 ||

It is natural for grief, that has reduced or gone away completely, to be felt again at the sight of loved ones who can comfort you.

Chitraanga cried for a while, and then, in between sobs, said “I think I am doing to die – my end is near. I am fortunate that I got to see you one last time. It is said…

प्राणात्यये समुत्पन्ने यदि स्यान् मित्र-दर्शनं ।
तद् द्वाभ्यां सुख-दं पश्चाज् जीवतो ऽपि मृतस्य च ॥ १७५ ॥

prāṇātyaye samutpanne yadi syān mitra-darśanaṃ |
tad dvābhyāṃ sukha-daṃ paścāj jīvato ‘pi mṛtasya ca || 175 ||

If one sees a friend when one is about to die, he feels happy, regardless if he goes on to live, or dies.

“If he lives, he feels happy that he can be with his friend. If he dies, he feels happy because he was able to spend his last moments with his dear friend.”

“Please forgive me if I said anything untoward to you anytime – I may have taken liberties, but unknowingly, due to the intense feeling of friendship that I felt towards you. Please also tell Hiranyaka and Mantharaka that…

अज्ञानाज् ज्ञानतो वापि दुरुक्तं यद् उदाहृतम् ।
मया तत् क्षम्यताम् अद्य द्वाभ्याम् अपि प्रसादतः ॥ १७६ ॥

ajñānāj jñānato vāpi duruktaṃ yad udāhṛtam |
mayā tat kṣamyatām adya dvābhyām api prasādataḥ || 176 ||

Please forgive me, if I said anything bad, knowingly or unknowingly. Think of the love you have for me and forgive me.

Hearing him speak this way, LaghuPatanaka said “Why do you fear, when we friends are here for you? Wait, I will go fetch Hiranyaka. Good people never think this way in a bad situation. Don’t lose heart, I will return swiftly!” Saying this, he flew away in the direction of the lake.

LaghuPatanaka reached the lake where the other two were waiting for some news of Chitraanga. The crow told them what had happened, and asked Hiranyaka to climb onto his back so that he could take him to Chitraanga. Hiranyaka agreed and immediately climbed onto LaghuPatanaka’s back, and they both rushed to rescue the deer.

Chitraanga saw LaghuPatanaka flying towards him, with Hiranyaka on his back, and felt a glimmer of hope. He thought to himself…

आपन्-नाशाय विबुधैः कर्तव्याः सुहृदो ऽमलाः ।
न तरत्य् आपदं कश्चिद् यो ऽत्र मित्र-विवर्जितः ॥ १७८ ॥

āpan-nāśāya vibudhaiḥ kartavyāḥ suhṛdo ‘malāḥ |
na taraty āpadaṃ kaścid yo ‘tra mitra-vivarjitaḥ || 178 ||

The wise should always have true and calm people as friends, so as to be of help in difficult times. A man cannot tide over all his problems alone.

The crow and the mouse reached by Chitraanga’s side. Hiranyaka looked at his condition and said ” My dear friend, you are well-versed in the scriptures and well-read too. How did you get trapped like this?”

Chitraanga replied “Hiranyaka, now is not the time for explanations. Please free me before the hunters return!”

Hiranyaka laughed aloud and said “Now that I am here, why are you still scared of the hunter? Don’t worry, I will free you. It’s just that when I see people like you, who are so well-read and intelligent. getting trapped this way, I lose my faith in all learning. Hence the question.”

Chitraanga replied “My dear Hiranyaka, when fate is against you, all wisdom is lost.

विधात्रा रचिता या सा ललाटेऽक्षर-मालिका ।
न तां मार्जयितुं शक्ताः स्व-शक्त्याप्य् अतिपण्डिताः ॥ १८० ॥

vidhātrā racitā yā sā lalāṭe’kṣara-mālikā |
na tāṃ mārjayituṃ śaktāḥ sva-śaktyāpy atipaṇḍitāḥ || 180 ||

However learned you are, you do not have the capacity to erase what is written in your fate. All your intelligence will not help you.

As they were speaking to each other, they saw Mantharaka walking slowly towards them. He had been worried about Chitraanga and so had decided to walk there to check on the situation. Seeing him, LaghuPatanaka said to Hiranyaka “Oh no! We have a new problem now!”

Hiranyaka looked around and said “Why? Is the hunter approaching?”

LaghuPatanaka replied “No, not the hunter, but Mantharaka. He is coming here. This is not right, we may all get killed now! If that wicked hunter comes here, I will be able to fly away and escape, you would be able to enter a hole and give him the slip. Chitraanga can run fast, and dodge the hunter. But what will Mantharaka do??”

By then, one step at a time, Mantharaka finally reached the other three. Hiranyaka said “Oh Mantharaka, you shouldn’t have come here! Please go away before the hunter comes back!”

Mantharaka replied “My dear, what could I do? I was worried and pained at the thought of Chitraanga being in trouble. Besides, I was alone, and it was a while since you both left. That is why I came here to be with you all. It is said…”

दयित-जन-विप्रयोगो वित्त-वियोगश् च सह्याः स्युः ।
यदि सुमहौषध-कल्पो वयस्य-जन-संगमो न स्यात् ॥ १८१ ॥

dayita-jana-viprayogo vitta-viyogaś ca sahyāḥ syuḥ |
yadi sumahauṣadha-kalpo vayasya-jana-saṃgamo na syāt || 181 ||

In the absence of the “all-curing”medicine of friendship, how can one get the strength to bear the pain arising from the loss of wealth or the separation of loved ones?

वरं प्राण-परित्यागो न वियोगो भवादृशैः ।
प्राणा जन्मान्तरे भूयो न भवन्ति भवद्-विधाः ॥ १८२ ॥

varaṃ prāṇa-parityāgo na viyogo bhavādṛśaiḥ |
prāṇā janmāntare bhūyo na bhavanti bhavad-vidhāḥ || 182 ||

It is better that I lose my life, rather than be separate from friends like you! One will get back one’s life in the next birth, but not dear friends like you!

The hunter arrived at the scene as Mantharaka was speaking. He strung an arrow on his bow, pulled the bowstring all the way to his ear, and….

to be continued…