Read the previous part here…
Elephants kill with a mere touch. Snakes kill just by smelling their prey. A king sentences a man to death while laughing, and a wicked person kills even as he pretends to respect you.
“And so, we have to think how to save ourselves…”
One of the rabbits replied “I think we should all leave this place and settle elsewhere. After all, it has been said…”
त्यजेद् एकं कुलस्यार्थे ग्रामस्यार्थे कुलं त्यजेत् ।
ग्रामं जनपदस्यार्थे आत्मार्थे पृथिवीं त्यजेत् ॥ ८३ ॥
tyajed ekaṃ kulasyārthe grāmasyārthe kulaṃ tyajet |
grāmaṃ janapadasyārthe ātmārthe pṛthivīṃ tyajet || 83 ||
A single person can be sacrificed for the sake of the family, a family for the sake of the village, a village for the sake of a country, and the whole earth can be sacrificed for one’s own sake.
The last part – आत्मार्थे पृथिवीं त्यजेत् – can also be read as – one should sacrifice all worldly desires for the sake of the true Self.
क्षेम्यां शस्य-प्रदां नित्यं पशु-वृद्धि-करीम् अपि ।
परित्यजेन् नृपो भूमिम् आत्मार्थम् अविचारयन् ॥ ८४ ॥
kṣemyāṃ śasya-pradāṃ nityaṃ paśu-vṛddhi-karīm api |
parityajen nṛpo bhūmim ātmārtham avicārayan || 84 ||
In a time of crisis, one should give up one’s land (possessions) without any hesitation, even if the land is very fertile and bountiful.
आपद्-अर्थे धनं रक्षेद् दारान् रक्षेद् धनैर् अपि ।
आत्मानं सततं रक्षेद् दारैर् अपि धनैर् अपि ॥ ८५ ॥
āpad-arthe dhanaṃ rakṣed dārān rakṣed dhanair api |
ātmānaṃ satataṃ rakṣed dārair api dhanair api || 85 ||
One should collect money and store it for emergencies; one should protect his wife by spending any amount of money; but one should protect the self even if the wife and money are at stake.
Some others disagreed with him. “No, this is wrong” said another. “Our ancestors have lived near this lake for generations. We should not go away so easily. Let’s think of something to frighten the elephants and maybe if destiny favours us, or by a stroke of luck, they may go away and never come back again. After all, it is said…”
निर्विषेणापि सर्पेण कर्तव्या महती फटा ।
विषं भवतु मा वास्तु फटाटोपो भयङ्करः ॥ ८६ ॥
nirviṣeṇāpi sarpeṇa kartavyā mahatī phaṭā |
viṣaṃ bhavatu mā vāstu phaṭāṭopo bhayaṅkaraḥ || 86 ||
Even if there is no poison in it’s fangs, a snake should raise it’s hood and keep appearing ferocious. Whether there is poison or not, people get scared just by seeing the snake with a raised hood, and hence seldom attack it.
Another rabbit agreed. “Yes, you are correct. There is a trick to frighten these elephants, and it may just work. Our king of rabbits – VijayaDutta (the victorious one) lives on the moon. We can arrange for a clever messenger to visit the herd of elephants, and falsely represent himself to be the messenger of the moon. The messenger will tell the head of the elephants that the moon ordered them to go away and not come here again, since a lot of beings under his care live around here. The elephants may believe this, and go away…”
The first rabbit nodded his head in agreement. “I know just the person for the job. LambaKarna (the one with the long hanging ears). He is clever, and confident, and also knows the duties of a messenger. In short, he fits the part perfectly. It is said…
साकारो निःस्पृहो वाग्मी नाना-शास्त्र-विचक्षणः ।
पर-चित्तावगन्ता च राज्ञो दूतः स इष्यते ॥ ८७ ॥
sākāro niḥspṛho vāgmī nānā-śāstra-vicakṣaṇaḥ |
para-cittāvagantā ca rājño dūtaḥ sa iṣyate || 87 ||
A messenger of the king should be pleasing to look at, good in oratory, have control on his desires, should be an expert in diplomacy, and capable of reading other’s minds.
यो मूर्खं लौल्य-सम्पन्नं राज-द्वारिकम् आचरेत् ।
मिथ्या-वादं विशेषेण तस्य कार्यं न सिध्यति ॥ ८८ ॥
yo mūrkhaṃ laulya-sampannaṃ rāja-dvārikam ācaret |
mithyā-vādaṃ viśeṣeṇa tasya kāryaṃ na sidhyati || 88 ||
A king who employs a foolish, greedy and lying messenger, will never succeed in his plans.
“Yes, this is the best way to go about it”, said everybody in unison. “We will have to act fast, if we want to save our lives and continue to live here.” And so two rabbits hopped off in search of LambaKarna.
LambaKarna was ready. He had been briefed on the mission, and he had chosen to accept it. He set out at nighttime, and walked onto the path where the elephants were rested. He climbed onto a high rock, and shouted majestically “Listen up, you wicked elephants! How dare you enter the lake of the moon…don’t you have any fear? Do not go there anymore. Go away from here!”
The elephants were surprised. “Who are you?” asked one.
“I am LambaKarna, and I live on the moon. I have been sent here by the moon god and carry a message from him. Remember, I am just a messenger, and so you should not blame me for what I am about to say. Messengers are mere mouthpieces of kings. After all, it is said…
उद्यतेष्व् अपि शस्त्रेषु बन्धु-वर्ग-वधेष्व् अपि ।
पुरुषाण्य् अपि जल्पन्तो वध्या दूता न भूभुजा ॥ ८९ ॥
udyateṣv api śastreṣu bandhu-varga-vadheṣv api |
puruṣāṇy api jalpanto vadhyā dūtā na bhūbhujā || 89 ||
A king should not kill a messenger, even if he raises his weapons in anger, speaks rudely, or even kills one of his own.
Hearing him speak this way, ChaturDanta, the king of elephants, stepped forward. “Dear rabbit”, he said softly”, please tell us what the moon-god said, so that we can do what he wishes.”
LambaKarna didn’t waste a second. “Yesterday, you all came here, and trampled many rabbits while you were rejoicing. Don’t you know that they are under my care? If you value your lives, do not go near the lake ever again…”he paused, and then continued “this is the message.”
ChaturDanta replied “Where is the moon-god?”
“He has been consoling all the rabbits that were wounded by your herd, and is now sitting in the lake. He sent me here to convey his message.”
ChaturDanta looked tense. “If this is the case, then please take me to him. I will offer my salutations to him, and then leave with my herd.”
LambaKarna replied “Sure! You must come alone, and I will take you to him.”
And so they set out to the lake. As they reached, LambaKarna showed ChaturDanta the reflection of the moon in the lake and said “Be careful, our moon-god is seated there in the middle of the lake, and is in deep meditation. Salute him and go away without making any noise. If you wake him up, he will be very angry and then I cannot save you.”
ChaturDanta, his feet shivering, bowed to the moon, and left quickly. He reached his herd, and they all set out, never to be seen near the lake again. From that day, the rabbits lived on the banks of the lake, without any fear, happily ever after.
“And that is why I said”, concluded the crow,
व्यपदेशेन महतां सिद्दिः सञ्जायते परा ।
शशिनो व्यपदेशेन वसन्ति शशकाः सुखम् ॥ ८१ ॥
vyapadeśena mahatāṃ siddiḥ sañjāyate parā |
śaśino vyapadeśena vasanti śaśakāḥ sukham || 81 ||
Sometimes, great things happen just by taking a great person’s name. Just by taking the name of the moon, the rabbits were able to live peacefully near the lake.
क्षुद्रम् अलसं कापुरुषं व्यसनिनम् अकृतज्ञं जीवित-कामः ।
पृष्ठ-प्रलपन-शीलं स्वामित्वे नाभियोजयेत् ॥ ९० ॥
kṣudram alasaṃ kāpuruṣaṃ vyasaninam akṛtajñaṃ jīvita-kāmaḥ |
pṛṣṭha-pralapana-śīlaṃ svāmitve nābhiyojayet || 90 ||
Those who want to be prosperous and live a peaceful life, should not elect a mean, lazy, worthless, senseless, ungrateful, characterless wretch as their leader.
It is said…
क्षुद्रम् अर्थपतिं प्राप्य न्यायान्वेषण-तत्-परौ ।
उभाव् अपि क्षयं प्राप्तौ पुरा शशक-पिञ्जलौ ॥ ९१ ॥
kṣudram arthapatiṃ prāpya nyāyānveṣaṇa-tat-parau |
ubhāv api kṣayaṃ prāptau purā śaśaka-piñjalau || 91 ||
Keen on getting justice from a worthless leader, both the rabbit and the Kapinjala the sparrow lost their lives.
The birds asked” How did that happen?”
The crow replied…
to be continued…