Read the previous part here…

As they were deeply engrossed in conversation, a deer named Chitraanga (the one with a beautiful spotted body) came running towards the lake, and jumped into the water with a huge splash. Alarmed, LaghuPatanaka flapped his wings and flew to the nearest branch, Hiranyaka ran into a clump of reeds nearby to hide himself and Mantharaka quietly slid into the lake.

After a few minutes of constant observation of the scene from his high vantage point, LaghuPatanaka noticed the deer drinking water near the banks of the lake. He called out to Mantharaka “Hey Mantharaka! Come out, it is safe. The commotion was made by a deer, not a human being. I think he was thirsty, and so came to drink water.”

Mantharaka did a quick analysis. “My friend, the deer is panting heavily, he is looking back with anxiety every now and then…his eyes show his fear, and so I don’t think he came here just to drink water. Surely he was being pursued by a hunter, and has come here after escaping. Can you see from above, if any hunter is still in pursuit?”

Hearing him speak, Chitraanga said “Oh Mantharaka, you are right. I am anxious. I narrowly dodged the arrows shot by a wicked hunter, and escaped from sure death. Unfortunately, my herd may not have been so lucky. They would have been killed by now” he said, wiping his tears. “I would like to take shelter with you. Please help me find a place where hunters cannot come and hunt me down…” and he broke down as he spoke.

Mantharaka comforted him and said…

द्वाव् उपायाव् इह प्रोक्तौ विमुक्तौ शत्रु-दर्शने ।
हस्तयोश् चालनाद् एको द्वितीयः पाद-वेग-जः ॥ १६९ ॥

dvāv upāyāv iha proktau vimuktau śatru-darśane |
hastayoś cālanād eko dvitīyaḥ pāda-vega-jaḥ || 169 ||

There are two ways of dealing with an enemy when attacked. One is to move your hands and feet (fight him), and the other is to save your life and run.

“So what you did was right”, said Mantharaka.

Meanwhile, LaghuPatanaka, who had flown away to check on the hunters, reached back, perched himself next to Mantharaka and said “And now there is nothing to worry, I saw the hunters returning home.” He turned to Chitraanga and said “Chitraanga, you can come out now. You are safe!”

And this is how Chitraanga the deer, joined the group, and they all became close friends. The four of them spent their days sitting under the shade of a tree, or on the banks of the lake, discussing various topics from politics to philosophy. It is rightly said…

सुभाषित-मय-द्रव्य-सङ्ग्रहं न करोति यः ।
स तु प्रस्ताव-यज्ञेषु कां प्रदास्यति दक्षिणाम् ॥ १७१ ॥

subhāṣita-maya-dravya-saṅgrahaṃ na karoti yaḥ |
sa tu prastāva-yajñeṣu kāṃ pradāsyati dakṣiṇām || 171 ||

If one does not collect a pot of wise sayings and anecdotes, what will he give as offerings when performing the ceremony of conversation?

सकृद् उक्तं न गृह्णाति स्वयं वा न करोति यः ।
यस्य संपुटिका नास्ति कुतस् तस्य सुभाषितम् ॥ १७२ ॥

sakṛd uktaṃ na gṛhṇāti svayaṃ vā na karoti yaḥ |
yasya saṃpuṭikā nāsti kutas tasya subhāṣitam || 172 ||

He who cannot understand the meaning of what is said by hearing it once, he who cannot make his own sayings using his intelligence, he who cannot make a note of these wise sayings…how will he ever collect such intelligent pieces of thought?

One day, Chitraanga didn’t turn up at the river bank. It was unusual for him to be late, in fact, he was early every day since he was always eager to converse. Hiranyaka, Mantharaka and LaghuPatanaka got worried. “Why hasn’t he come here as usual? Has he fallen to a lion, or human hunters? Did he fall into a pit in the forest?”

It is rightly said…

स्व-गृहोद्यान-गतेऽपि स्निग्धैः पापं विशङ्क्यते मोहात् ।
किम् उ दृष्ट-बह्व्-अपाय-प्रतिभय-कान्तार-मध्य-स्थे ॥ १७३ ॥

sva-gṛhodyāna-gate’pi snigdhaiḥ pāpaṃ viśaṅkyate mohāt |
kim u dṛṣṭa-bahv-apāya-pratibhaya-kāntāra-madhya-sthe || 173 ||

Even when a friend steps out into his own backyard, we become anxious and worry for his safety, due to the deep attachment we have for him. What can one then say about our feelings when he goes instead to a deep forest fraught with many dangers??

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…

to be continued…

2 thoughts on “Chitraanga”

  1. Pingback: Chitraanga – 2

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