To have gained and lost, is worse than not to have gained at all…
Human life is all about striving towards something. Some work towards accumulating wealth, others strive hard to improve their quality of life. The journey towards our goals is hard, but the hope of getting there makes it worth the while.
And when we do get there, and look back at how far we came…it all seems worth it.
If the story had ended on that high note, and we all found our happily ever after, then we would be in our own little heavens. But we are not (yet) there. We live in the real world, where ups and downs are all part of life. We win, and we lose. We find success, and we taste failure. This is what experiences are all about, isn’t it?
But we aren’t going to concern ourselves with the twists of fate, for they aren’t in our control. What we would like to know more about, is how to not lose something precious that we already have with us…not due to a quirk of fate, but due to our own foolishness.
Not having known what wealth is, or how much the company of someone we love means to us, is better than having been wealthy, or having been in a beautiful relationship….and then losing it.
That pains much more, for we have tasted it, and we know what it feels like.
And so the next part of the Panchatantra, will speak about the loss of what we already have. The two main characters here are a monkey named Raktamukha (the one with a red face) and a crocodile named KarālaMukha ( the one with an ugly face). How they become friends, and how their friendship sours forms the crux of this story.
As with the other tantras, here too we have many sub-stories, each of which adds to the flavor, but contributes to the central theme, which is the “loss of what has been gained”.
This tantra is short, and the one after this is even shorter, but the lessons learned are invaluable, and as they say – the length of the book does not matter…how rich a world it creates does.
The Panchatantra creates this rich world, in which you can immerse yourself, watch the characters, learn from their mistakes, and come out of it a better person.
What you take from the Panchatantra depends on you. Some of my readers skip the Sanskrit bits, taking in only the story – which is enjoyable in itself. Others love the Sanskrit bits – sounds like theater when you recite them aloud.
And then there are some who read it all…and create a world where every character is alive, and breathing, where one watches the story unfold, and hears it too. I am one such person…and deep down…I hope you are too:)
लब्धप्रणाशं – The loss of what you have – starts tomorrow. Happy reading!