Sometimes, too much talent is a bane…


The story of the fish and the frog

In a lake, not so far away from here, lived two fish named ShataBuddhi (the one with a hundred tricks, or very intelligent) and SahasraBuddhi (the one with a thousand tricks, or highly intelligent). They were friends with a frog named EkaBuddhi (the one with one trick, or not very intelligent).

The three used to spend their days discussing topics of interest, the fish swimming close to the banks of the lake, and the frog sitting near them. One such evening, when they were passing time together, they happened to see some fishermen passing by. They were carrying bags of dead fish on their heads.

One of the fishermen said to the other “It’s good that we took this new route today. Look at that lake – there are a lot of fish, and it seems quite shallow. Let us come here tomorrow morning…”

This was not pleasant news, thought EkaBuddhi the frog. He said ” ShataBuddhi! Did you hear what those fishermen said? Do you think it is still safe to stay here…or should we go someplace else? Tell us, what should we do to save ourselves?”

SahasraBuddhi heard him speak, and laughed out loudly. “EkaBuddhi, what is this? Did you get scared just by hearing them speak? Don’t worry. It is said…

सर्पाणां च खलानां च सर्वेषां दुष्ट-चेतसाम् ।
अभिप्राया न सिध्यन्ति तेनेदं वर्तते जगत् ॥ ४४ ॥

sarpāṇāṃ ca khalānāṃ ca sarveṣāṃ duṣṭa-cetasām |
abhiprāyā na sidhyanti tenedaṃ vartate jagat || 44 ||

The evil desires of snakes, cheats and wicked minds never get fulfilled. It is due to this fact that the world still goes on.

“And so, don’t worry, They will not turn up tomorrow. And in the unlikely event that they come, I will use my intelligence to save myself, and you both as well. I am not called SahasraBuddhi for nothing!”

ShataBuddhi seconded him. “Yes yes, you are right. And why doubt you? You are SahasraBuddhi – the one with a thousand tricks. It is said…

बुद्धेर् बुद्धिमतां लोके नास्त्य् अगम्यं हि किञ्चन ।
बुद्ध्या यतो हता नन्दाश् चाणक्येनासि-पाणयः ॥ ४५ ॥

buddher buddhimatāṃ loke nāsty agamyaṃ hi kiñcana |
buddhyā yato hatā nandāś cāṇakyenāsi-pāṇayaḥ || 45 ||

There is nothing in this world that cannot be achieved by intelligence. Even the mighty Nanda kings were killed due to the intelligence of Chanakya.

न यत्रास्ति गतिर् वायो रश्मीनां च विवस्वतः ।
तत्रापि प्रविशत्य् आशु बुद्धिर् बुद्धिमतां सदा ॥ ४६ ॥

na yatrāsti gatir vāyo raśmīnāṃ ca vivasvataḥ |
tatrāpi praviśaty āśu buddhir buddhimatāṃ sadā || 46 ||

Where the winds do not enter, where the rays of the mighty sun fail to enter…the intellect of the wise can penetrate with ease.

“This lake is the lake of our ancestors. It would be foolish to leave just because we heard some small talk. I am intelligent, and I will be able to save you. So sleep well, we can speak tomorrow.”

EkaBuddhi replied “Unfortunately, I have just one trick, and that is telling me to run away. So farewell, my friends, I will leave this lake tonight, and take my wife to another lake a small distance away.”

He then went home, packed his bags, and left with his wife the same night.

The fishermen came the next morning, armed with a lot of nets, and they caught everything that moved, and didn’t move, in a few hours time. SahasraBuddhi and ShataBuddhi tried a thousand and a hundred tricks respectively, but they ran out of them soon enough, and got caught in the fishermen’s nets and died.

By afternoon, the fishermen started to walk back to their homes. One of them carried ShataBuddhi on his head because he was heavier and slung SahasraBuddhi to his arm because he was long. EkaBuddhi, seeing the fishermen walk away, called out to his wife, and said “

शतबुद्धिः शिरस्थो ऽयं लम्बते च सहस्र-धीः ।
एक-बुद्धिर् अहं भद्रे क्रीडामि विमले जले ॥ ४३ ॥

śatabuddhiḥ śirastho ‘yaṃ lambate ca sahasra-dhīḥ |
eka-buddhir ahaṃ bhadre krīḍāmi vimale jale || 43 ||

The one with a hundred tricks sat on the head of the fisherman, the one with a thousand tricks is hanging by the fisherman’s arm…I with only one trick am happily swimming in the water!