Of crabs and journeys…

Read the previous part here…

“And that is why I say”, concluded TruptaKumar. “एकोदराः पृथग् ग्रीवा अन्यान्य-फल-भक्षिणः ।असंहता विनश्यन्ति भारुण्डा इव पक्षिणः ॥It had one stomach, but two necks, and Bhārunda the bird died because the two necks wanted to eat different fruits…likewise a person who does not seek consensus can never make progress.

“What you say is true”, said VairāgyaKumar. “You can go home now. But don’t go alone. It is said…

एकः स्वादु न भुञ्जीत एकश् चार्थान् न चिन्तयेत् ।
एको न गच्छेद् अध्वानं नैकः सुप्तेषु जागृयात् ॥ ९५ ॥

ekaḥ svādu na bhuñjīta ekaś cārthān na cintayet |
eko na gacched adhvānaṃ naikaḥ supteṣu jāgṛyāt || 95 ||

One should not feast on good food alone. If everyone with him has slept, one should not wake him up alone. One should not embark on a journey alone and one should not think about important matters alone.

And also…

अपि कापुरुषो मार्गे द्वितीयः क्षेम-कारकः ।
कर्कटेन द्वितीयेन जीवितं परिरक्षितम् ॥ ९६ ॥

api kāpuruṣo mārge dvitīyaḥ kṣema-kārakaḥ |
karkaṭena dvitīyena jīvitaṃ parirakṣitam || 96 ||

Even if a worthless person accompanies you on a journey, it is helpful. The crab that accompanied the Brahmin ended up saving his life.

TruptaKumar asked “How did that happen?”

VairāgyaKumar replied…


The story of the Brahmin and the crab

In a village, not too far away from here, lived a Brahmin named BrahmaDatta. One day, he had to set out to another village, for some important work. His mother said to him “My son, why are you going alone? Ask anyone in the village, if they can accompany you…”

“Mother, don’t worry so much”, replied BrahmaDatta. “I am taking a very safe route, and I have to leave urgently, so I cannot find anyone to accompany me at such short notice.”

His mother looked around the house, and then found a crab. She picked it up and gave it to BrahmaDatta, saying”Son, if you have to make this journey, then take this crab along with you. Don’t refuse, just listen to what I say please.”

The Brahmin bowed his head, took the crab from her hands and put it inside a small camphor box. He then put the box inside his bag, touched his mother’s feet for her blessings, and set out on his journey.

After walking for many hours, the Brahmin got tired, and decided to take rest under a tree on the side of the road. He put his bag to a side, lay down, and soon was fast asleep.

In the meanwhile, a snake, that lived in the hollow of that tree, came out of its hole and slowly came towards him. Sensing the bag near him, it crawled inside, and started to chew on the camphor box out of hunger. The box opened, and the crab came out and caught the snake unawares. It bit the snake hard, and killed it instantly.

The Brahmin soon woke up, and saw the dead snake lying next to him, and the opened camphor box. He understood what had transpired.

Feeling relieved, he thought to himself “My mother was right. Once should always have someone to help him on a journey – one should never travel alone.I trusted what she said and brought the crab along…and now, the crab killed the snake and saved my life. It is well said..”

क्षीणः श्रयति शशी रविम् ऋद्धो वर्धयति पयसां नाथम् ।
अन्ये विपदि सहाया धनिनां श्रियम् अनुभवन्त्य् अन्ये ॥ ९७ ॥

kṣīṇaḥ śrayati śaśī ravim ṛddho vardhayati payasāṃ nātham |
anye vipadi sahāyā dhanināṃ śriyam anubhavanty anye || 97 ||

In Amavas, the weakened moon takes shelter with the sun, but when the moon is in full strength in Purnima, it forgets the sun and sports with the mighty ocean. One person helps when in trouble, but someone else enjoys the benefits.

मन्त्रे तीर्थे द्विजे देवे दैवज्ञे भेषजे गुरौ ।
यादृशी भावना यस्य सिद्धिर् भवति तादृशी ॥ ९८ ॥

mantre tīrthe dvije deve daivajñe bheṣaje gurau |
yādṛśī bhāvanā yasya siddhir bhavati tādṛśī || 98 ||

In chanting mantras, in visiting holy places, in taking care of the elderly, in worshipping the devas, in tending to others needs, and in respecting one’s Gurus…the more devotion one has in these matters, the more are the fruits of his efforts.

Thinking this way, BrahmaDatta continued on his journey.

to be continued…