“And as far as proof goes, know this- in the morning when he comes to see you, his face and eyes will be red; his lips will be trembling; he will look restlessly in all directions; he will sit in a place that is not normally allotted to him; and he will look at you with cruel eyes. It will then be up to you to do what it takes to protect yourself.”
And so Damanaka stood up, bowed to the king, and left…
Damanaka saw Sanjeevaka resting under a tree. Walking up slowly, Damanaka greeted him, and sat down next to him. Sanjeevaka had observed Damanaka coming – walking slowly, lost in thought. He greeted him warmly and said “Welcome my friend! You haven’t been seen for a long time…is everything ok? Ask me whatever you want, I will try my best to give it to you. It is said…
ते धन्यास् ते विवेक-ज्ञास् ते सभ्या इह भूतले ।
आगच्छन्ति गृहे येषां कार्यार्थं सुहृदो जनाः ॥ २८५ ॥
te dhanyās te viveka-jñās te sabhyā iha bhūtale |
āgacchanti gṛhe yeṣāṃ kāryārthaṃ suhṛdo janāḥ || 285 ||
Those are really blessed, those are really learned, those are really cultured, whose houses are visited by friends with some expectation in mind.
Damanaka replied scornfully -“ Ah! What good is there for servants?
सम्पत्तयः परायत्ताः सदा चित्तम् अनिर्वृतम् ।
स्व-जीवितेऽप्य् अविश्वासस् तेषां ये राज-सेवकाः ॥ २८६ ॥
sampattayaḥ parāyattāḥ sadā cittam anirvṛtam |
sva-jīvite’py aviśvāsas teṣāṃ ye rāja-sevakāḥ || 286 ||
Their wealth belongs to someone else. their minds are always apprehensive, and they always fear for their lives, such is the fate of those who serve.
“It seems that one takes birth to experience pain, more painful is poverty, and the worst of all is serving another…” lamented Damanaka, ” life is just a collection of pain.”
जीवन्तो ऽपि मृताः पञ्च श्रूयन्ते किल भारते ।
दरिद्रो व्याधितो मूर्खः प्रवासी नित्य-सेवकः ॥ २८९ ॥
jīvanto ‘pi mṛtāḥ pañca śrūyante kila bhārate |
daridro vyādhito mūrkhaḥ pravāsī nitya-sevakaḥ || 289 ||
Even the great Sage Vyāsa has said that five types of people are considered dead even when alive, (so miserable is their lives) – one who is poor, one who is chronically ill, one who is a fool, a traveller who is always away from home, and a person who serves.
“A servant cannot eat a complete meal to is satisfaction, cannot sleep in peace, cannot speak his mind, without any fear…what sort of life is this?”. Damanaka continued “They say that a servant’s life is a dog’s life. That is false! At least the dog is able to move freely – a servant can move only on the order of his master.”
भू-शय्या ब्रह्मचर्यं च कृशत्वं लघु-भोजनम् ।
सेवकस्य यतेर् यद्वद् विशेषः पाप-धर्मजः ॥ २९२ ॥
bhū-śayyā brahmacaryaṃ ca kṛśatvaṃ laghu-bhojanam |
sevakasya yater yadvad viśeṣaḥ pāpa-dharmajaḥ || 292 ||
Sleeping on the ground, the practice of celibacy, a thin stature and eating minimally – these are practised by both the servant and the saint. A servant does these as a result of his past sins; a saint follows these to achieve his higher goals.
A servant suffers so much to earn a little money – if a saint undergoes even a fraction of that suffering, but for a righteous purpose, he will become liberated.
Sanjeevaka heard all this with concern. “So what are you trying to tell me Damanaka?” he asked.
Damanaka replied “My friend! It is not proper for ministers to discuss matters that were spoken in secret. But, I am bound to you by the rope of friendship, and I cannot remain quiet. Hence I am disclosing these matters to you. You came here trusting Pingalaka, based on my assurances. It is said that if anyone gets killed by trusting someone, the one to blame is the person who had given him assurances and acted trustworthy.”
Damanaka lowered his voice. “Sanjeevaka…Pingalaka is conspiring against you. He spoke to me privately today, and said “I will kill Sanjeevaka early tomorrow morning, and feed him to all the animals who have been hungry for so long”.
“I was shocked!”, continued Damanaka, but I quickly gathered my wits and told Pingalaka “Master, what you are thinking is not right. You should not deceive a dear friend. It is said…”
to be continued…