Read the previous part here…
And so Hiranyaka and LaghuPatanaka become as inseparable as the nail and the finger. Forget not stepping out of his fortress, Hiranyaka now started to sit close to LaghuPatanaka, shielded from the sun under his wings, discussing matters of the world.
One day, LaghuPatanaka approached Hiranyaka with tears in his eyes, and in a choking voice, said “My dear Hiranyaka…I don’t feel good here anymore. I want to go someplace else and settle down.”
Hiranyaka was surprised. “What happened? Why do you feel this way?”, he enquired with concern.
LaghuPatanaka replied “Oh, what do I say! A great famine has struck. People are suffering since they don’t have food to eat, and so they don’t offer us crows food anymore. Some hungry people have gone a step further and laid traps to catch birds like us. Yesterday, I got caught in one of those traps – only I know how I managed to escape. This is a reason that I don’t feel good anymore. And I am crying because I am going away from here.”
“But where do you intend to go?” asked Hiranyaka.
“There is a huge lake not very far away from here – it is in the middle of a dense forest. A close friend of mine lives there – his name is Mantharaka (the slow-moving one), and he is a tortoise. He will arrange food for me – pieces of fish everyday, which I will gladly accept. He speaks well too – and so I will spend the rest of my days conversing with him. I cannot bear to see the situation here. It has been said that a person who does not see his country and family perishing in front of his eyes, is indeed fortunate!”
को ऽतिभारः समर्थानां किं दूरं व्यवसायिनाम् ।
को विदेशः सविद्यानां कः परः प्रिय-वादिनाम् ॥ ५७ ॥
ko ‘tibhāraḥ samarthānāṃ kiṃ dūraṃ vyavasāyinām |
ko videśaḥ savidyānāṃ kaḥ paraḥ priya-vādinām || 57 ||
What can be burdensome for an able man? What task is far-fetched for one who is hard-working? What place is alien for the wise? Who can be distant from a man who speaks well?
विद्वत्त्वं च नृपत्वं च नैव तुल्यं कदाचन ।
स्व-देशे पूज्यते राजा विद्वान् सर्वत्र पूज्यते ॥ ५८ ॥
vidvattvaṃ ca nṛpatvaṃ ca naiva tulyaṃ kadācana |
sva-deśe pūjyate rājā vidvān sarvatra pūjyate || 58 ||
The abundance of knowledge in a wise man and the abundance of wealth in a king cannot be compared. The king is respected only in his country; the learned are revered everywhere.
Hiranyaka thought for a moment, and then said “In that case, if you have made up your mind, then let me also come along with you. Even I don’t like it here anymore.”
Now it was LaghuPatanaka who was surprised. “What happened to you? What problem do you have? Please share it with me. I thought that you have such a good fortress, and so you must be very happy and secure!”
“There is a lot to tell you, and it will take time. Let us set out and reach there first”, said Hiranyaka.
“But I fly in the sky. How will you come with me?”
Hiranyaka replied ” If you can carry me on your back, I will be able to leave this place, and possibly save my life. I don’t have any other way to save myself.”
LaghuPatanaka was ecstatic. “It will be my honour to carry you on my back, my dear friend. I feel blessed, since I would have your company at the new lake, and we can spend all our time together. I know the eight methods of flying, so hop on – I will carry you safely”, he said, happily.
“And what are these eight ways of flying?”asked Hiranyaka curiously.
सम्पातं विप्र-पातं च महा-पातं निपातनम् ।
वक्रं तिर्यक् तथा चोर्ध्वम् अष्टमं लघु-संज्ञकम् ॥ ५९ ॥
sampātaṃ vipra-pātaṃ ca mahā-pātaṃ nipātanam |
vakraṃ tiryak tathā cordhvam aṣṭamaṃ laghu-saṃjñakam || 59 ||
Flying low; altering course; long flight; descending suddenly; flying retrograde; flying obliquely; flying high and floating lightly.
Satisfied, Hiranyaka climbed on his back, and they set out to the promised land.
Mantharaka the tortoise, was relaxing on the shores of the lake, when he saw a strange sight in the distance. A crow was flying towards him, carrying what looked like a mouse on his back! Mantharaka, the ever-vigilant tortoise that he was, quickly decided that this was a dangerous situation, and he quickly slipped into the waters of the lake.
LaghuPatanaka set Hiranyaka down at the side of the lake, climbed onto a branch, and yelled out “Hey Mantharaka! Look, it’s your old friend LaghuPatanaka the crow! I have been longing to see you! Come, come fast and hug me!”
It is said…
to be continued…