Read the previous part here…
Even the best of families are torn apart due to quarrels. Good friendships end because of a rude word, empires crumble because of ill-rule and people lose fame and respect because of their bad actions.
And so, before we all perish, let us leave this place and go somewhere far away…
The monkeys had a hearty laugh. “Oh PrāptaBuddhi! You are old and are surely turning senile. That is why you are coming up with unreal scenarios like this. It is said…
वदनं दशनैर् हीनं लाला स्रवति नित्यशः ।
न मतिः स्फुरति क्वापि बाले वृद्धे विशेषतः ॥ ७३ ॥
vadanaṃ daśanair hīnaṃ lālā sravati nityaśaḥ |
na matiḥ sphurati kvāpi bāle vṛddhe viśeṣataḥ || 73 ||
Infants and old people have a lot in common – mouths without teeth, saliva dripping from their mouths, and intelligence failing to make an appearance.
Our life is heaven here. We are fed by princes…lovely food, tasty bananas…they feed us with their own hands. Why would we leave this place and go to the forest, where the fruits are bitter, salty and tasteless?
PrāptaBuddhi’s eyes welled up with tears. “You are all fools”, he said. “You cannot see where this is going. The pleasure that you get is just like when you eat a poisonous fruit – it tastes sweet but there is poison inside. And at the end, it will kill you all.
I cannot stay here and witness your deaths. How much ever you chide me or make fun of me, after all, you are all my own tribe, my own family. And so, I will leave for the forest. It is said…
मित्रं व्यसन-सम्प्राप्तं स्व-स्थानं पर-पीडनम् ।
धन्यास् ते ये न पश्यन्ति देश-भङ्गं कुल-क्षयम् ॥ ७४ ॥
mitraṃ vyasana-samprāptaṃ sva-sthānaṃ para-pīḍanam |
dhanyās te ye na paśyanti deśa-bhaṅgaṃ kula-kṣayam || 74 ||
Those are indeed blessed, who do not witness a friend in pain, or one’s house being taken away, or one’s country being occupied by the enemy, or the destruction of one’s own family.
Saying this, PrāptaBuddhi bid farewell to the other monkeys, and set out to the forest.
In a few months time, on one full moon day, the sheep as usual entered the kitchen looking for food. A new cook, who was already finding it difficult to cope up with his duties, got enraged when he saw the animal entering a kitchen that he had just cleaned up. He searched for something to throw at it, but didn’t find anything within reach. And so he grabbed a half-burnt stick from the stove and threw it at the sheep. The wool on it’s body caught fire, it ran helter-skelter and directly into the range of the horse-stables. The grass all around the stables caught fire…and so did the horses. A few horses died, others tore the ropes that bound them and bolted out of the stables, neighing loudly in pain, with many burns on their bodies. It was chaos everywhere.
King Chandra called all the veterinary doctors in his kingdom and asked them…”The horses are suffering. We have to treat their burns. Tell me what you need and it will be done, but I don’t want those horses to keep suffering like this.”
The doctors read up a lot of veterinary books, before coming to the king with a solution.
“Oh mighty king! ShāliHotra (the expert in horses) has recommended a cure for this. कपीनां मेदसा दोषो वह्निदाहसमुद्भवःअश्वानां नाशमभ्येति तमः सूर्योदये यथा – by applying the marrow of the bones of monkeys, the burn wounds of the horses will disappear, like darkness disappears when the sun rises. You will have to act fast, o king, before the horses die of pain.”
“Kill all those monkeys, and bring the marrow of their bones for the treatment of my horses”, thundered King Chandra. And then…
to be continued…