Of dilemmas and confidence…

Read the previous part here…

Damanaka saluted him and started towards the place where Sanjeevaka, the bull was making the sounds that had startled Pingalaka. 

When Damanaka went away, Pingalaka stuck by fear started to think…


“Maybe I did not do the right thing by trusting Damanaka. I should not have confided in him. Damanaka may start working for both sides, and can also be resentful towards me for not giving him the post of minister! It is said…”

ये भवन्ति महीपस्य सम्मानित-विमानिताः ।
यतन्ते तस्य नाशाय कुलीना अपि सर्वदा ॥ १२२ ॥

ye bhavanti mahīpasya sammānita-vimānitāḥ |
yatante tasya nāśāya kulīnā api sarvadā || 122 ||

Servants who have been praised, and later insulted by the king, always try to bring about his destruction, even if they are from good families.

“Therefore, in order to understand his real intention, I will move elsewhere and wait there, because Damanaka might bring the enemy with him and try to kill me. Because…”

न बध्यन्ते ह्य् अविश्वस्ता बलिभिर् दुर्बला अपि ।
विश्वस्तास् त्व् एव बध्यन्ते बलवन्तो ऽपि दुर्बलैः ॥ १२३ ॥

na badhyante hy aviśvastā balibhir durbalā api |
viśvastās tv eva badhyante balavanto ‘pi durbalaiḥ || 123 ||

Cautious people, even though they may be weak, do not get killed by stronger enemies, since they do not trust easily. On the contrary, persons who trust easily, even if they are strong, get killed by weaker enemies.

बृहस्पतेर् अपि प्राज्ञो न विश्वासे व्रजेन् नरः ।
य इच्छेद् आत्मनो वृद्धिम् आयुष्यं च सुखानि च ॥ १२४ ॥

bṛhaspater api prājño na viśvāse vrajen naraḥ |
ya icched ātmano vṛddhim āyuṣyaṃ ca sukhāni ca || 124 ||

A wise man who desires his own welfare, happiness and long life, should not even trust Brhaspati, the preceptor of the gods.

Having thought this, Pingalaka moved away further into the bushes, and sat alone, watching over the path that Damanaka had taken.


In the meantime, Damanaka reached the place where Sanjeevaka had strayed, and saw the bull enjoying the breeze and bellowing happily. On seeing that this was just a bull, Damanaka’s happiness knew no bounds. “Now this is wonderful! This bull will be the route to me bringing Pingalaka under my control. I will first make them become good friends, and then use the “divide and rule” policy to get close to the king…”

“It is said…”

न कौलीन्यान् न सौहार्दान् नृपो वाक्ये प्रवर्तते ।
मन्त्रिणां वावद् अभ्येति व्यसनं शोकम् एव च ॥ १२७ ॥

na kaulīnyān na sauhārdān nṛpo vākye pravartate |
mantriṇāṃ vāvad abhyeti vyasanaṃ śokam eva ca || 127 ||

The king acts as per the advice of his ministers only when he encounters a problem or a tragedy; otherwise he ignores their words, even if they are his true friends or belong to a reputable family.

सदैवापद्गतो राजा भोग्यो भवति मन्त्रिणाम् ।
अतएव हि वाञ्छन्ति मन्त्रिणः सापदं नृपम् ॥ १२८ ॥

sadaivāpadgato rājā bhogyo bhavati mantriṇām |
ataeva hi vāñchanti mantriṇaḥ sāpadaṃ nṛpam || 128 ||

Only a king who is in trouble can be useful to a minister who wants to fulfil his greed. This is why ministers always wish that their king be in trouble all the time.

यथा नेच्छति नीरोगः कदाचित् सुचिकित्सकम् ।
तथापद् रहितो राजा सचिवं नाभिवाञ्छति ॥ १२९ ॥

yathā necchati nīrogaḥ kadācit sucikitsakam |
tathāpad rahito rājā sacivaṃ nābhivāñchati || 129 ||

A man who is not ill does not seek a doctor. Likewise, a king who has no problems, does not have much regard for his minister.

With these thoughts in his mind, Damanaka started to make his way back to the king…


The story till now, presents many facets of human nature. Pingalaka, though all-powerful, has many insecurities and finds it tough to deal with them, yet has to present a brave face to the world. Damanaka, on the other hand, is very confident of his abilities, and is able to use his persuasive powers to steer Pingalaka in the direction that he wants him to go. While Pingalaka thinks that he is in control of the situation, it is actually Damanaka who has the steering wheel.

Also, the ślokas that appear in the story speak extensively about how to handle various situations in life, in multiple contexts. As discussed before. these sayings would not be out of place in a corporate setting – they would be apt even when examining relationships of various kinds. I believe that there is no right or wrong here – these ślokas do not tell us what to do. They merely present themselves to us – what we do with them, how we interpret them, and how we learn from them is entirely up to us…


Pingalaka saw him coming – Damanaka was alone. He regained his composure and quickly went back to the place he was at when Damanaka had left.

Damanaka approached Pingalaka, saluted him and sat down. Pingalaka spoke first – “Have you seen that creature?”

Damanaka took a deep breath, and said – “Yes, I saw it by the grace of your highness.” Pingalaka wasn’t’t convinced, he asked again – “Did you really see that creature??”

Damanaka was patient. “Can a lie be uttered in the presence of your highness? It is said…”

to be continued