Stay put, or seek help?

Read the previous part here

“My king, निज-स्थान-स्थितो ऽप्य् एकः शतं योद्धुं सहेन् नरः शक्तानाम् अपि शत्रूणां – a warrior, if he is at his secure fort, can face hundreds of enemies and defeat them as well, and so you should not leave this fort at any cost. Strengthen the fort, store all food and necessities, build a trench around it, arm the soldiers, make a firm decision of fighting the enemy, and stick to your decision of not leaving this place. जीवन् सम्प्राप्त्स्यति राज्यं मृतो वा स्वर्गम् एष्यति – If you live, you will rule over the earth, and if you die, you will go to heaven.”

Also remember…

बलिनापि न बाध्यन्ते लघवो ऽप्य् एक-संश्रयाः ।
विपक्षेणापि मरुता यथैक-स्थान-वीरुधाः ॥ ५२ ॥

balināpi na bādhyante laghavo ‘py eka-saṃśrayāḥ |
vipakṣeṇāpi marutā yathaika-sthāna-vīrudhāḥ || 52 ||

The weak cannot be harassed by the strong, if only they are together. Much like creepers that are entwined together do not get affected by strong winds, even if they come in from the opposite direction.

महान् अप्य् एकजो वृक्षः बलवान् सुप्रतिष्ठितः प्रसह्य इव वातेन शक्यो धर्षयितुं यतः – A strong tree, standing alone, even if it has huge and deep roots, can be uprooted by strong winds…similarly enemies see a lone warrior, however powerful he is, as an easy target.”

“And therefore, I recommend the Asana strategy – we stay where we are, and together”, concluded Prajeevin.

MeghaVarna thanked Prajeevin for his advice, and respectfully led him out of the chamber. He then called Chiranjeevin inside.

“Tell me, respected Chiranjeevin”, said MeghaVarna, “what is your recommended course of action?”

“Respected king”, said Chiranjeevin. “Samsraya is the best course of action. We will have to seek help from others. It is said…”

असहायः समर्थो ऽपि तेजस्वी किं करिष्यति ।
निर्वाते ज्वलितो वह्निः स्वयम् एव प्रशाम्यति ॥ ५६ ॥

asahāyaḥ samartho ‘pi tejasvī kiṃ kariṣyati |
nirvāte jvalito vahniḥ svayam eva praśāmyati || 56 ||

What can a man do alone, even if he is capable, talented and brave? Can a majestic fire keep burning in the absence of air?

सङ्गतिः श्रेयसी पुंसां स्व-पक्षे च विशेषतः ।
तुषैर् अपि परिभ्रष्टा न प्ररोहन्ति तण्डुलाः ॥ ५७ ॥

saṅgatiḥ śreyasī puṃsāṃ sva-pakṣe ca viśeṣataḥ |
tuṣair api paribhraṣṭā na prarohanti taṇḍulāḥ || 57 ||

Man needs friends, and people who he can call his own. For, without the husk, even rice cannot now and ripen well.

“And so it is better for you to stay safe inside this fortress, and seek help of our friends outside, who can assist us in overcoming our problem. If you leave this fortress and go elsewhere, then nobody will offer you help, for they will consider you weak. It is said…”

वनानि दहतो वह्नेः सखी भवति मारुतः ।
स एव दीप-नाशाय कृशे कस्यास्ति सौहृदम् ॥ ५८ ॥

vanāni dahato vahneḥ sakhī bhavati mārutaḥ |
sa eva dīpa-nāśāya kṛśe kasyāsti sauhṛdam || 58 ||

The wind is a friend of the fire that fiercely burns forests. The same wind is a foe to a tiny lamp, and extinguishes it. Who is the friend of the weak?

“Everyone helps people who are strong. They do not even consider the pleas of someone who is weak”, said Chiranjeevin.

“It is not that we have to find a very strong ally. We can even seek help from ordinary people, who may not seem very strong at first glance. But it is said…”

सङ्घातवान् यथा वेणुर् निविडैर् वेणुभिर् वृतः ।
न शक्येत समुच्छेत्तुं दुर्बलो ऽपि यथा नृपः ॥ ५९ ॥

saṅghātavān yathā veṇur niviḍair veṇubhir vṛtaḥ |
na śakyeta samucchettuṃ durbalo ‘pi yathā nṛpaḥ || 59 ||

A bamboo tree that stands amidst many other shoots of bamboo cannot be uprooted, even though the bamboo shoots are not strong. This is also true in case of a ruler.

“And if we are lucky enough to get the support of the strong, then there would be nothing like it! It is said…”

महाजनस्य सम्पर्कः कस्य नोन्नति-कारकः ।
पद्म-पत्र-स्थितं तोयं धत्ते मुक्ता-फल-श्रियम् ॥ ६० ॥

mahājanasya samparkaḥ kasya nonnati-kārakaḥ |
padma-patra-sthitaṃ toyaṃ dhatte muktā-phala-śriyam || 60 ||

Who does not shine in the company of great people? Even a drop of water that stays on a lotus leaf takes the shape of a beautiful pearl.

“And therefore, I recommend the strategy of Samsraya – we have to seek help, so that we can overcome this problem”, concluded Chiranjeevin.

MeghaVarna thanked Chiranjeevin for his advice, and respectfully led him out of the chamber. He then stayed alone in his chambers for a while, thinking deeply, and reflecting on the advice he had received from his ministers. He then knew what to do…

Sthirajeevin (the stable one) was by far the oldest minister of the kingdom. He had served MeghaVarna’s father well, and had since retired. The king knew that these were extraordinary times, and Sthirajeevin had by far, the most experience in the kingdom. And so MeghaVarna called on Sthirajeevin by visiting his house in the fortress, eager to seek his advice.

As soon as he entered, MeghaVarna fell to Sthirajeevin’s feet to seek the latter’s blessings. He then asked the old minister about his health, and whether he was content with the facilities that had been provided for his welfare. Satisfied that Sthirajeevin was being given good care, MeghaVarna briefed him on the happenings, and his discussions with the five ministers. ” I questioned them merely to hear their opinions, oh revered Sthirajeevin. I bring those opinions to you, and request your guidance in helping us overcome this huge problem that has troubled the kingdom and brought us to the brink of extinction. Please advise us – what should we do?”

Sthirajeevin looked at MeghaVarna and smiled. “My son, your ministers are capable, and have given you the proper advice – such advice is useful provided the circumstances are such. However, the current situation is very different. We cannot take this lightly – our very existence is at stake. And so, I recommend…”

to be continued…