Dantila and Gorambha

Read the previous part here…

Due to his arrogance, he who disrespects persons who occupy the highest, the lowest and mid-level positions in the employment of the king, loses his respect and high position much like Dantila.

Sanjeevaka said – “How is that so?”

Damanaka replied…


(The Story of Dantila and Gorambha)

“There is a city far away from this place, called Vardhamaana. A jeweller named Dantila used to stay there. He was an active resident of the city, and indulged in a lot of social work. The king and the people of the city, both admired Dantila. It was said that there was no one as clever as him in Vardhamaana.

It is true that…”

नरपति-हित-कर्ता द्वेष्यतां याति लोके जनपद-हित-कर्ता त्यज्यते पार्थिवेन्द्रैः ।
इति महति विरोधे वर्तमाने समाने नृपति-जन-पदानां दुर्लभः कार्य-कर्ता ॥ १४२ ॥

narapati-hita-kartā dveṣyatāṃ yāti loke janapada-hita-kartā tyajyate pārthivendraiḥ |
iti mahati virodhe vartamāne samāne nṛpati-jana-padānāṃ durlabhaḥ kārya-kartā || 142 ||

A person who acts for the good of the king is hated by the citizens of the city. A person who acts for the good of the people is not welcomed by the king.When such contradictions exist, it is indeed rare to find a person who acts for the good of both the people and the king.

Time passed by. Dantila’s daughters wedding got fixed. A happy Dantila invited all the citizens of Vardhamaana and the employees of the royal household to the wedding. He took good care of them, fed them well and honoured them. Once the marriage was over, Dantila also invited the king, his queens and their servants to his house, and served them well.

Among the servants who had come there, was a man named Gorambha. He was a sweeper in the royal palace. At Dantila’s house, he mistakingly sat in a place reserved for the nobles. Dantila became furious; he caught Gorambha by the scruff of his neck and threw him out of the house.

Gorambha was not able to forget this insult. He lost sleep at nights; tossing and turning and constantly replaying that scene in his head. He thought of ways in which to take revenge on Dantila, by making him lose face in front of the king. After many restless days and nights, he came to a conclusion. Gorambha thought, ” What is the use of my worrying this way? All I am doing is making myself sick! I cannot harm him. It has rightly been said…”

यो ह्य् अपकर्तुम् अशक्तः कुप्यति किम् असौ नरो ऽत्र निर्लज्जः ।
उत्पतितो ऽपि हि चणकः शक्तः किं भ्राष्ट्रकं भङ्क्तुम् ॥ १४३ ॥

yo hy apakartum aśaktaḥ kupyati kim asau naro ‘tra nirlajjaḥ |
utpatito ‘pi hi caṇakaḥ śaktaḥ kiṃ bhrāṣṭrakaṃ bhaṅktum || 143 ||

Why does a man who is incapable of taking revenge, shamelessly get angry with other people? Can a grain ever break the frying pan, even if it jumps very high?”

Once early morning the king was lying on his bed, half awake. Gorambha, who was sweeping the floor next to the bed of the king, muttered casually. “How insolent is Dantila, he now even dares to embrace the queen!”

The king leapt up on hearing these words. “Gorambha! Is what you just said the truth? Did Dantila embrace the queen??”

Gorambha replied anxiously” My Lord! I was gambling all night, and hence didn’t sleep at all. I have been feeling sleepy all morning, and must have dozed off just now…I don’t remember what I just said!”

The king pondered…”Gorambha has free access to all the inner rooms of the palace. Dantila also comes and goes, without any restrictions. It is possible that Gorambha saw Dantila embracing the queen, and that is why he muttered this unconsciously. It is said…”

यद् वाञ्छति दिवा मर्त्यो वीक्षते वा करोति वा ।
तत् स्वप्नेऽपि तद्-अभ्यासाद् ब्रूते वाथ करोति वा ॥ १४४ ॥

yad vāñchati divā martyo vīkṣate vā karoti vā |
tat svapne’pi tad-abhyāsād brūte vātha karoti vā || 144 ||

What the man desires, sees or does in the day-time, thus being engrossed in such matters, will also be what he sees in his dreams, and even speaks in his sleep.

And also…

शुभं वा यदि पापं यन् नॄणां हृदि संस्थितम् ।
सुगूढम् अपि तज् ज्ञेयं स्वप्न-वाक्यात् तथा मदात् ॥ १४५ ॥

śubhaṃ vā yadi pāpaṃ yan nṝṇāṃ hṛdi saṃsthitam |
sugūḍham api taj jñeyaṃ svapna-vākyāt tathā madāt || 145 ||

The good or bad that lies the heart of man, even if hidden from others, is revealed when he speaks in his sleep or in intoxication.

I would like to briefly interrupt the story here. What follows are the thoughts of the king on women, and reflect his views on the subject. The Panchatantra is not a moral science lesson, it is more of a treatise on human thought, and is presented as is, to serve as a reflection of the various ways of thinking that we encounter, both good and bad. Knowing this is essential, and deliberating on what you actually think and how you act is the outcome. That is the beauty of the Panchatantra – there are no lessons served on a plate – these learnings are arrived at by your own thought processes.

Let’s continue…

The king continued to think…”Or, what is there to disprove this fact about women that…”

अथवा स्त्रीणां विषये को ऽत्र सन्देहः ।
जल्पन्ति सार्धम् अन्येन पश्यन्त्य् अन्यं स-विभ्रमाः ।
हृद्-गतं चिन्तयन्त्य् अन्यं प्रियः को नाम योषिताम् ॥ १४६ ॥

athavā strīṇāṃ viṣaye ko ‘tra sandehaḥ |
jalpanti sārdham anyena paśyanty anyaṃ sa-vibhramāḥ |
hṛd-gataṃ cintayanty anyaṃ priyaḥ ko nāma yoṣitām || 146 ||

They converse with one; while casting charming glances at another; and lost in the thoughts of the third…which man does a women truly love?

And again…

एकेन स्मित-पाटलाधर-रुचो जल्पन्त्य् अनल्पाक्षरं वीक्षन्तेऽन्यम् इतः स्फुटत्-कुमुदिनी-फुल्लोल्लसल्-लोचनाः ।
दूरोदार-चरित्र-चित्र-विभवं ध्यायन्ति चान्यं धिया केनेत्थं परमार्थतो ऽर्थवद् इव प्रेमास्ति वाम-भ्रुवाम् ॥ १४७ ॥

ekena smita-pāṭalādhara-ruco jalpanty analpākṣaraṃ vīkṣante’nyam itaḥ sphuṭat-kumudinī-phullollasal-locanāḥ |
dūrodāra-caritra-citra-vibhavaṃ dhyāyanti cānyaṃ dhiyā kenetthaṃ paramārthato ‘rthavad iva premāsti vāma-bhruvām || 147 ||

With their lips slightly opened in a bewitching smile, and shining with a pale-red hue, they converse with one man ; with laughter-filled lotus-like eyes they look at another at the same time; and in the mind they think about still another man, of his fame and beauty; who these ladies actually love is a matter beyond comprehension.

And also…

to be continued