It’s payback time…

Read the previous part here…

“Millions”, replied PrāptaBuddhi. “Don’t tell anybody, but I saw the neighboring king reach there with his entire army, and they all got necklaces. And by the way, his army is much bigger than yours.”

“Ok ok”, said the king, a bit ruffled. “we will set out tomorrow.”

The next morning, the royal entourage set out for the lake, to be blessed by Kuberā, and also collect the necklaces.

The king’s servants, his wives, his sons, his cousins and their families, and his armies accompanied him. The king himself sat inside the royal palanquin, with PrāptaBuddhi sitting on his lap, munching on grapes and bananas. It is rightly said…

तृष्णे देवि नमस् तुभ्यं यया वित्तान्विता अपि ।
अकृत्येषु नियोज्यन्ते भ्रामन्ते दुर्गमेष्व् अपि ॥ ७७ ॥

tṛṣṇe devi namas tubhyaṃ yayā vittānvitā api |
akṛtyeṣu niyojyante bhrāmante durgameṣv api || 77 ||

Oh Godess of desire! My salutations! It is because of you that even the best of the best engage themselves in wrong conduct, and go on the wrong path.

And also…

इच्छति शती सहस्रं सहस्री लक्षम् ईहते ।
लक्षाधिपस् तथा राज्यं राज्यस्थः स्वर्गम् ईहते ॥ ७८ ॥

icchati śatī sahasraṃ sahasrī lakṣam īhate |
lakṣādhipas tathā rājyaṃ rājyasthaḥ svargam īhate || 78 ||

One with a hundred, desires a thousand, one with a thousand desires a lakh. One with a lakh desires a kingdom, and one with a kingdom desires to rule heaven itself.

जीर्यन्ते जीर्यतः केशाः दन्ता जीर्यन्ति जीर्यतः ।
जीर्यतश् चक्षुषी श्रोत्रे तृष्णैका तरुणायते ॥ ७९ ॥

jīryante jīryataḥ keśāḥ dantā jīryanti jīryataḥ |
jīryataś cakṣuṣī śrotre tṛṣṇaikā taruṇāyate || 79 ||

As one becomes old, one’s hair becomes old (grey), teeth become old (they fall out), eyes and ears become old (one’s senses of seeing and hearing become weak). Only one’s desire remains young, it never grows old.

It was still early in the morning when they reached the lake. PrāptaBuddhi bowed to the king and said “O King! The opportune moment is near. Remember, the mahurat lasts only for a few minutes, and so everyone who desires the blessings, and the necklaces, should enter the lake at the same time. You come with me, I will take you to a special spot where one gets two necklaces each…”

“Of course, of course”, said King Chandra, and ordered his whole entourage to enter the lake as soon as the sun rose. He followed PrāptaBuddhi to a higher vantage point, and sat there waiting.

The sun started to rise. The first rays were seen over the horizon, and the sky turned crimson. The king’s family, his servants, helpers and the entire army entered the lake, on cue. Moments passed, then minutes…no one came out…

King Chandra got fidgety. “Where is everybody?”, he asked PrāptaBuddhi.

The monkey, who was perched high up on a tree, replied “You wicked king! The Rākshasa that lives inside the lake has eaten everyone who entered the lake. They are not coming back…they are all dead. I have avenged the cruel death of my family. I spared you because you took care of me once. It is said…

कृते प्रतिकृतं कुर्याद् धिंसिते प्रतिहिंसितम् ।
न तत्र दोषं पश्यामि यो दुष्टे दुष्टम् आचरेत् ॥ ८० ॥

kṛte pratikṛtaṃ kuryād dhiṃsite pratihiṃsitam |
na tatra doṣaṃ paśyāmi yo duṣṭe duṣṭam ācaret || 80 ||

There is nothing wrong in doing bad to the ones who do bad themselves, and in avenging oneself by harming the one who committed the act. A bad person has to be paid back in his own coin.

“You killed my family, my people, and I destroyed your family and your people.”

King Chandra fumed inside, but was unable to react. He got up and started on his way back…alone and defeated.

After he left, the Rākshasa appeared in the lake, and said..

हतः शत्रुः कृतं मित्रं रत्न-माला न हारिता ।
नालेन पिबता तोयं भवता साधु वानर ॥ ८१ ॥

hataḥ śatruḥ kṛtaṃ mitraṃ ratna-mālā na hāritā |
nālena pibatā toyaṃ bhavatā sādhu vānara || 81 ||

You demonstrated your presence of mind by drinking water from the reed, and used the same mind to get rid of your enemy, you made me your friend, and didn’t even lose the necklace in the process…I salute your intelligence!

“That is why I say”, concluded TruptaKumar, यो लौल्यात् कुरुते नैवोदर्कम् अवेक्षते ।विडम्बनाम् अवाप्नोति स यथा चन्द्र-भूपतिः ॥ He who acts out of greed and without thinking of the consequences, gets cheated, much like ChandraBhoopati.

to be continued…