Of one stomach and two heads…


The story of Bhārunda, the bird

Near the ocean, not so far away from here, lived a bird named Bhārunda. He had one stomach, but two heads. One day, as he was taking his evening walk on the beach, he found a fruit that had been washed ashore. Curious, he picked it up, and bit into it.

“Wow! This is delicious! I have eaten many fruits in the past, but none as sweet as this one. Where did it come from? Has it fallen from a tree in heaven, or has it appeared in front of me like magic, willed by fate herself?”

As he said this, the second head turned around curiously, and said “Aha! If it is so tasty, give me a bite of it as well…let me enjoy it too!”

The first head laughed aloud and replied “We both have the same stomach, don’t we? Then what is the use of eating it twice? It is such a small fruit, and there are only two bites left. I will give this to my wife, so that she can be good to me.

And so Bhārunda walked home, and gave the bit of fruit to his wife. She tasted it, and nearly fell to the ground. “Ah, what a sweet fruit! I have never tasted anything quite like it!”, she exclaimed. “Thank you for bringing it for me, my love”, she said and showered the first head with kisses. The second head got annoyed, and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

The next day, Bhārunda was again taking a walk near the beach, when this time, the second head spotted a poisonous fruit. “Ha ha ha”, he said. “Now listen, o cruel head, you selfish head. You insulted me the other day…couldn’t you give me even a small bite? Well now look what I have here. A poisonous berry! I am gong to take my revenge on you today…by eating this berry.”

“You crazy head”, shouted the first. “If you eat it, we will both die! We share the same stomach, and so both of us will not survive…don’t do this!”

“Oh shut up”, said the second head dismissively. “I found this fruit, and so I will eat it first.” And saying this, he popped the berry into his mouth and ate it.

Well, what else could happen? The Bhārunda bird died…the stomach and both the heads too.

“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.

Want to read more such stories? Try the Panchatantra series here!