If fate does not want it…

Read the previous part here…

When they finally reached Yajñasthala, they came to know that their maternal grandfather had long died. Their uncles gave them shelter and food, thinking that they would move on in a day or two.

The brothers however, stayed on, engrossed in their studies of the Vedas.

After some time, their uncles started to disregard them, and soon the supply of food and clothes came down to a trickle.

Humiliated by this bad treatment meted out to them, the brothers brooded over their options, until finally, the eldest of them said…

Illustration by the renowned Karatholuvu Chandrasekaran Shivashankaran

भो भ्रातरः किं क्रियते सर्वम् आचेष्टते विधिः ।
न शक्यं पुरुषस्येह क्वचित् किंचित् कदाचन ॥ १२,२९.१३ ॥

अहं ह्य् उद्वेगतो भ्राम्यन् प्राप्तो ऽद्य पितृकानने ।
विपन्नस्थितम् अद्राक्षं त्रस्ताङ्गं पुरुषं भुवि ॥ १२,२९.१४ ॥

अचिन्तयं च दृष्ट्वा तम् अहं तां स्पृहयन् गतिम् ।
धन्यो ऽयम् एवं विश्रान्तो दुःखभारं विमुच्य यः ॥ १२,२९.१५ ॥

इति संचिन्त्य तत् कालं कृत्वा मरणनिश्चयम् ।
वृक्षाग्रसङ्गिना पाशेनात्मानम् उदलम्बयम् ॥ १२,२९.१६ ॥

यावच् च मे विसंज्ञस्य तदा निर्यान्ति नासवः ।
तावत् त्रुटितपाशो ऽत्र पतितो ऽस्मि महीतले ॥ १२,२९.१७ ॥

लब्धसंज्ञश् च केनापि पुंसा क्षिप्रात् कृपालुना ।
आश्वास्यमानम् आत्मानम् अपश्यं पटमारुतैः ॥ १२,२९.१८ ॥

“Well my brothers, what are we to do?”

“Everything is based on destiny – no man can do anything in this world by himself, since everything is the play of fate!”

He continued. “Take what happened to me today, for instance. I was wandering around in the forest, worried about what was happening to us, when I reached a cemetery.”

“There I saw a man lying dead, looking all relaxed in his eternal sleep. And I thought to myself…”

“Oh how I envy this man! He is at rest, and does not have to worry about anything. He has got rid of all his grief!”

“And then I thought – why not put an end to all my grief as well?”

“So, determined to die, I tied a rope around a branch of a nearby tree, and tried to hang myself.”

“I became unconscious, but I did not die, and instead, the rope broke, and I fell to the ground…When I recovered consciousness, I saw a kind man fanning me and sprinkling water on my face, in a bid to revive me.”

सखे कथय विद्वान् अप्य् एवं कं प्रति खिद्यसे ।
सुखं हि सुकृताद् दुःखं दुःकृताद् एति नान्यतः ॥ १२,२९.१९ ॥

दुःखाद् यदि तवोद्वेगः सुकृतं तत् समाचर ।
कथं तु नारकं दुःखम् आत्मत्यागेन वाञ्छसि ॥ १२,२९.२० ॥

इत्य् उक्त्वा मां समाश्वास्य स च क्वापि गतः पुमान् ।
अहं चेहागतस् त्यक्त्वा तादृशं मरणोद्यमम् ॥ १२,२९.२१ ॥

तद् एवं नेच्छति विधौ न मर्तुम् अपि लभ्यते ।
इदानीं च तनुं तीर्थे तपसा दाहयाम्य् अहम् ॥ १२,२९.२२ ॥

येन निर्धनतादुःखभागी न स्याम् अहं पुनः ।
इत्य् उक्तवन्तं ज्येष्ठं तं कनिष्ठा भ्रातरो ऽब्रुवन् ॥ १२,२९.२३ ॥

He saw me, smiled, and then said to me…

“My friend, why do you grieve, and for whom?”

“Happiness springs from good deeds, and pain from evil deeds, that is all there is to it.”

“If you are feeling bad due to some pain or suffering, then perform some good deeds. Why would you want to kill yourself and suffer bad karma instead?”

“That kind man consoled me in this manner, and then went his way. And here I am, after having abandoned my plans of ending my life….so you can see…

“If fate does not want it, you cannot even die by your own wishes.”

“I now intend to visit a few teerthas, and perform tapasya, so that I never again have to feel the pain of poverty.”

When the eldest one spoke thus, the youngest replied…

to be continued…