Damanaka presents his case…

Read the previous part here…

Karataka seemed convinced. “If that is your intention, then let auspiciousness accompany you. You can go ahead. But remember – you have to be very careful, because my fortunes are linked with yours!

Damanaka saluted him, and went to meet Pingalaka.


Seeing Damanaka coming towards him, Pingalaka spoke to his guards – “Move your stick sideways. Allow Damanaka, the son of my previous minister to enter freely. Make arrangements for him to sit in the second circle of our arrangement.”

The guard bowed -“As you command Master.” And Damanaka entered, saluted the king and as permitted by Pingalaka, sat on the allotted seat. Pingalaka lifted his right hand decorated by diamond-like nails  and placed it on the head of Damanaka, and asked him -“Tell me Damanaka, are you doing well? We have seen you after a long time!”

Damanaka replied – “Oh respected king, what use will you have for a worthless servant like me? It is I who had need to tell you something important. Because, a king is benefitted from the best, middle and even the worst of all his attendants. It is said…”

दन्तस्य निष्कोषणकेन नित्यं कर्णस्य कण्डूयनकेन वापि ।
तृणेन कार्यं भवतीश्वराणां किम् आङ्ग वाग्घ-स्तवता नरेण ॥ ७७ ॥

dantasya niṣkoṣaṇakena nityaṃ karṇasya kaṇḍūyanakena vāpi |
tṛṇena kāryaṃ bhavatīśvarāṇāṃ kim āṅga vāggha-stavatā nareṇa || 77 ||

When a king can feel the need of a blade of grass, even if it is just required to remove particles stuck in the teeth, or to scratch the ears…a man with speech and hands – would surely be required.

“We are the servants of your highness from generations; we follow you even in difficult times. Even though unfortunately we have not got what is rightfully ours (the minister’s post) , it is not right of your highness to forget us completely! It is said-

स्थानेष्व् एव नियोक्तव्या भृत्या आभरणानि च ।
न हि चूडामणिः पादे प्रभवामीति बध्यते ॥ ७८ ॥

sthāneṣv eva niyoktavyā bhṛtyā ābharaṇāni ca |
na hi cūḍāmaṇiḥ pāde prabhavāmīti badhyate || 78 ||

Servants and ornaments should be placed at proper positions. The gem ‘Choodaamani’, which is be worn on the head, cannot be tied to the feet by a vain Lord.

“Because…”

अनभिज्ञो गुणानां यो न भृत्यैर् अनुगम्यते ।
धनाढ्यो ऽपि कुलीनो ऽपि क्रमायातो ऽपि भूपतिः ॥ ७९ ॥

anabhijño guṇānāṃ yo na bhṛtyair anugamyate |
dhanāḍhyo ‘pi kulīno ‘pi kramāYāto ‘pi bhūpatiḥ || 79 ||

A king may he rich, or of a renowned family or of a great dynasty, but if he does not recognise the good qualities of a servant, he will lose the services of that servant.

असमैः समीयमानः समैश् च परिहीयमाण-सत्-कारः ।
धुरि यो न युज्यमानस् त्रिभिर् अर्थ-पतिं त्यजति भृत्यः ॥ ८० ॥

asamaiḥ samīyamānaḥ samaiś ca parihīyamāṇa-sat-kāraḥ |
dhuri yo na yujyamānas tribhir artha-patiṃ tyajati bhṛtyaḥ || 80 ||

If a king compares his talented servant with others of lesser capabilities, or does not treat him honourably when compared to others of equal qualities, if he is not given a position in line with his capabilities…such a servant leaves such a king.

“A king, due to his foolishness, may assign lowly posts to highly-capable servants – such servants do not stay long on such posts. In these cases, it is not the fault of the servant, it is the fault of the king. It is said…”

कनक-भूषण-सङ्ग्रहणोचितो यदि मणिस् त्रपुणि प्रतिबध्यते ।
न स विरौति न चापि स शोभते भवति योजयितुर् वचनीयता ॥ ८१ ॥

kanaka-bhūṣaṇa-saṅgrahaṇocito yadi maṇis trapuṇi pratibadhyate |
na sa virauti na cāpi sa śobhate bhavati yojayitur vacanīyatā || 81 ||

If the gem that is fit to be embedded in an ornament made of gold, is instead is fitted on an ornament made of tin, the gem may not object; but it loses it’s brilliance. People who witness this blame the jeweller for this act of stupidity, not the gem.

“And your highness said- “you have not been seen for a long time”, let me answer this as well…

सव्य-दक्षिणयोर् यत्र विशेषो नास्ति हस्तयोः ।
कस् तत्र क्षणम् अप्यार्यो विद्यमान-गतिर् भवेत् ॥ ८२ ॥

savya-dakṣiṇayor yatra viśeṣo nāsti hastayoḥ |
kas tatra kṣaṇam apyāryo vidyamāna-gatir bhavet || 82 ||

Which person of purpose will stay at a place where there is no difference observed between the right and left hand, and between capable and incapable people?

काचे मणिर् मणौ काचो येषां बुद्धिर् विकल्पते ।
न तेषां सन्निधौ भृत्यो नाम-मात्रो ऽपि तिष्ठति ॥ ८३ ॥

kāce maṇir maṇau kāco yeṣāṃ buddhir vikalpate |
na teṣāṃ sannidhau bhṛtyo nāma-mātro ‘pi tiṣṭhati || 83 ||

A capable person will not serve a king who thinks of a gem to be a piece of glass, and a piece of glass to be a gem.

लोहिताख्यस्य च मणेः पद्मरागस्य चान्तरम् ।
यत्र नास्ति कथं तत्र क्रियते रत्न-विक्रयः ॥ ८५ ॥

lohitākhyasya ca maṇeḥ padmarāgasya cāntaram |
yatra nāsti kathaṃ tatra kriyate ratna-vikrayaḥ || 85 ||

Who can sell jewels at a place, where the difference between an ordinary red stone and a priceless ruby is not known?

निर्विशेषं यदा स्वामी समं भृत्येषु वर्तते ।
तत्रोद्यम-समर्थानाम् उत्साहः परिहीयते ॥ ८६ ॥

nirviśeṣaṃ yadā svāmī samaṃ bhṛtyeṣu vartate |
tatrodyama-samarthānām utsāhaḥ parihīyate || 86 ||

Where the Master treats his capable and incapable servants equally, the servant who is capable and efficient loses his enthusiasm to work.

न विना पार्थिवो भृत्यैर् न भृत्याः पार्थिवं विना ।
तेषां च व्यवहारो ऽयं परस्पर-निबन्धनः ॥ ८७ ॥

na vinā pārthivo bhṛtyair na bhṛtyāḥ pārthivaṃ vinā |
teṣāṃ ca vyavahāro ‘yaṃ paraspara-nibandhanaḥ || 87 ||

A servant without the king; and a king without a servant, cannot accomplish any meaningful task. They are mutually bound to this relationship.

भृत्यैर् विना स्वयं राजा लोकानुग्रह-कारिभिः ।
मयूखैर् इव दीप्तांशुस् तेजस्व्य् अपि न शोभते ॥ ८८ ॥

bhṛtyair vinā svayaṃ rājā lokānugraha-kāribhiḥ |
mayūkhair iva dīptāṃśus tejasvy api na śobhate || 88 ||

Just as the sun, despite being lustrous, cannot shine without its rays, similarly, a king, even though he may be full of majesty, cannot be appreciated without capable servants.

to be continued