Of monkeys and unsolicited advice…


The story of the money and the sparrow couple

On a big tree in a forest not so far away from here, lived a sparrow couple. They had built a nest on one of it’s branches, and lived peacefully, and happily.

One year, the rains were heavier than usual. Trees swayed in the winds, and the weather turned very cold as well. The sparrow couple were well protected, since the branches of the tree were thick and strong, and so they huddled together and waited for the season to pass.

One such day, a monkey that was wandering in that area came to rest under this tree. It was cold and rainy, and the monkey’s teeth were chattering from the cold and his body was shivering since he was drenched. He crouched under the tree, hoping that the rain would stop soon, and he would get to see some sunshine.

Seeing him in this pitiable condition, the female sparrow said “My friend…you look able-bodied and strong. Then why are you wandering in this cold season? Build a house, and stay inside, rather than suffering this way.”

The monkey, who was already in a bad mood, shouted back “Shut up, you mean woman! How dare you make fun of me?”

And he thought to himself “Is my condition so bad now that a tiny bird can make fun of me and get away with it? She thinks she is clever, and sarcastic. I am suffering here already, and her speaking this way makes it worse.” Thinking this way, he shouted out “You fool! Why do you have to worry about me? How does it matter to you, if I am happy, or sad? It is said…

वाच्यं श्रद्धा-समेतस्य पृच्छतेश् च विशेषतः ।
प्रोक्तं श्रद्धा-विहीनस्य अरण्य-रुदितोपमम् ॥ ४२४ ॥

vācyaṃ śraddhā-sametasya pṛcchateś ca viśeṣataḥ |
proktaṃ śraddhā-vihīnasya araṇya-ruditopamam || 424 ||

One should open up only in front of a person who speaks genuinely and with concern. Speaking about one’s troubles to a rude or unconcerned person, is like crying in a desolate forest.

And speaking thus, the frustrated monkey climbed up the tree, to the nest of the sparrows, threw it down and destroyed it. The sparrow couple flew away, sad because they had lost their beautiful home.

“That is why I say”, concluded Karataka, advice should not be offered to anybody and everybody. Learn from that incident where a person with such a nice home, was rendered homeless.