“And so, heed my words. It is time to leave”, said Raktāksha. They set out immediately, flying northwards, far from AriMardana and his impending doom.
Seeing Raktāksha fly away, Sthirajeevin thought to himself…
“It’s good that Raktāksha has left. He was the only intelligent and far-sighted one in this group, The rest are fools and can be. got rid of easily. It is said…
न दीर्घ-दर्शिनो यस्य मन्त्रिणः स्युर् महीपतेः ।
क्रमायाता ध्रुवं तस्य न चिरात् स्यात् परिक्षयः ॥ २१९ ॥
na dīrgha-darśino yasya mantriṇaḥ syur mahīpateḥ |
kramāyātā dhruvaṃ tasya na cirāt syāt parikṣayaḥ || 219 ||
A king whose ministers are not far-sighted, and who are not well-experienced from generations, will surely lose everything that he has.
मन्त्रि-रूपा हि रिपवः सम्भाव्यास् ते विचक्षणैः ।
ये सन्तं नयम् उत्सृज्य सेवन्ते प्रतिलोमतः ॥ २२० ॥
mantri-rūpā hi ripavaḥ sambhāvyās te vicakṣaṇaiḥ |
ye santaṃ nayam utsṛjya sevante pratilomataḥ || 220 ||
Those who don’t give the right advice to a king, but instead give wrong suggestions, should be considered enemies in the guise of ministers.
And so Sthirajeevin started to put his final plans in place. Everyday, he brought one stick from the forest, on the pretext of building a nest outside the fort. In reality, he planned to use these very sticks to burn it down. The foolish owls saw this happening, but didn’t understand that as the nest kept getting bigger, their end kept getting nearer. It is well said…
अमित्रं कुरुते मित्रं मित्रं द्वेष्टि हिनस्ति च ।
शुभं वेत्त्य् अशुभं पापं भद्रं दैव-हतो नरः ॥ २२१ ॥
amitraṃ kurute mitraṃ mitraṃ dveṣṭi hinasti ca |
śubhaṃ vetty aśubhaṃ pāpaṃ bhadraṃ daiva-hato naraḥ || 221 ||
When fate is against you, an enemy is seen as a friend and a friend as an enemy. You then insult your own friend and even plot to get rid of him. In these times, one sees the auspicious as inauspicious and good as evil.
In a couple of months, there were enough dry sticks at the door of the fortress. One morning, Sthirajeevin waited till the sun was in the sky (and the blinded owls were in the fort), and flew to MeghaVarna.
“My king! We are now ready to launch an attack! Let us gather everyone, and fly down to the fort. Each of us will carry a burning stick, and we will all throw it onto the nest that I have made at the fort’s entrance. All our enemies will burn to death.”
“Oh welcome Sthirajeevin! You were gone for so long, how are you? How did you manage to get this done? Tell me all about it!”, said an excited MeghaVarna.
Sthirajeevin retorted. “My king, this is not the time for stories and small talk. If any of their spies see me here, they will all get alerted and fly away, and my months of work will go to waste. We will not get an opportunity like this. Let us hurry!”
It is said…
शीघ्र-कृत्येषु कार्येषु विलम्बयति यो नरः ।
तत् कृत्यं देवतास् तस्य कोपाद् विघ्नन्त्य् असंशयम् ॥ २२२ ॥
śīghra-kṛtyeṣu kāryeṣu vilambayati yo naraḥ |
tat kṛtyaṃ devatās tasya kopād vighnanty asaṃśayam || 222 ||
If man delays work that can be completed fast, even the gods get angry and create obstacles for him. He then never gets such work done.
यस्य यस्य हि कार्यस्य फलितस्य विशेषतः ।
क्षिप्रम् अक्रियमाणस्य कालः पिबति तत्-फलम् ॥ २२३ ॥
yasya yasya hi kāryasya phalitasya viśeṣataḥ |
kṣipram akriyamāṇasya kālaḥ pibati tat-phalam || 223 ||
Work that is not completed fast, especially when it’s end is near, loses it’s essence to time. It becomes meaningless and a fruitless exercise.
MeghaVarna thought for a moment, and then said…
to be continued…