The blue jackal…

Read the previous part here…

He who rejects his own people, and makes friends with outsiders, definitely perishes like the foolish Chandarava.”

Pingalaka said “How did that happen?”

Damanaka replied…


चण्डरवशृगालकथा

The story of the jackal named Chandarava

In a forest, not too far away from here, lived a fox named Chandarava (the one with a fierce howl). One day, feeling very hungry, he wandered into the nearby city in search of food. Seeing him coming, some street dogs started to bark at him, and chased him down the streets, attacking him with their sharp teeth.

Running for his life, Chandarava entered a washerman’s house nearby. As he rushed in, the jackal accidentally tripped and fell inside a vessel filled with blue dye. When he climbed out of the vessel, he had become blue in color. The dogs, who were close to his heels, didn’t recognise Chandarava, and so passed the house and kept running. The jackal ran in the opposite direction, back towards his forest.


As he reached the outskirts, he was spotted by all the other animals – the lion, the tiger, wolves, monkeys and the birds. Seeing a strange blue creature, coloured like the poison in the neck of Lord Shiva, they all got terrified, and started to run away in fear. They assembled a bit further and started to discuss among themselves.

“We don’t know the nature of this strange animal, nor his strength. And so it is better to stay away from him. It is said…”

न यस्य चेष्टितं विद्यान् न कुलं न पराक्रमम् ।
न तस्य विश्वसेत् प्राज्ञो यदीच्छेच् छ्रियम् आत्मनः ॥ २८४ ॥

na yasya ceṣṭitaṃ vidyān na kulaṃ na parākramam |
na tasya viśvaset prājño yadīcchec chriyam ātmanaḥ || 284 ||

A person who desires his own welfare and prosperity, should not trust a person whose nature, actions and strength are not known.

Chandarava, on the other hand, noticed how the animals had got frightened of him, and sensed an opportunity. He shouted out after them “All you residents of this forest! Why did you run away out of fear? There is nothing to be afraid of. I was created today, by Lord Brahma, who said ” There is no king to rule over these wild animals. And so I appoint you as the king of all animals. You will be called Kakud-druma (the tree at the top). Go down to earth, and rule over them.”

“And that is why I am here”, concluded Chandarava. “I am King Kakud-druma, lord of the animals in all the three worlds, and you all are now under my protection.”

Hearing this, all the animals felt reassured, and said “Lord! Your wishes are our command!”, and surrounded him, eager to be liked by the ‘Lord of the animals in the three worlds.”

And so the blue-jackal started to live as king of the forest. He appointed the lion as his minister; the tiger was given the job of guarding his bed. The leopard was the ‘betel leaf and nut’ in-charge, and the wolf was appointed the door-keeper. All the animals were given charge of something or the other, except the jackals, who got the royal ignore. Not just that, he ordered for all the jackals to be “held by the scruff off their necks” and thrown out of the forest. And his wish, being everyone’s command, was duly executed.

The lion and the tiger hunted daily, and brought their catch to King Kakud-druma, who proceeded to divide the food among all the animals. And so time passed by, and King Kakud-druma enjoyed his life and his rule in the forest.


One fine morning, as he sat in his court, King Kakud-druma heard the howling of a group of jackals from afar. Hearing this, he felt his body tingle with excitement and pleasure, and with tears of joy, he instinctively stood up, and started howling in unison.

The lion and other animals were stunned. “This is a mere jackal!” they cried out, and felt ashamed that they had been deceived in this manner. “Kill him, kill him” – the animals started to shout as the jackal tried to run away. He was caught, and torn to pieces. And that was the end of King Kukud-druma.


“And that is why I say”, concluded Damanaka…

त्यक्ताश् चाभ्यन्तरा येन बाह्याश् चाभ्यन्तरीकृताः ।
स एव मृत्युम् आप्नोति यथा राजा ककुद्-द्रुमः ॥ २८२ ॥

tyaktāś cābhyantarā yena bāhyāś cābhyantarīkṛtāḥ |
sa eva mṛtyum āpnoti yathā rājā kakud-drumaḥ || 282 ||

He who rejects his own people, and makes friends with outsiders, definitely perishes like the foolish Chandarava.”


Pingalaka heard this and said – “O Damanaka! What proof do you have that Sanjeevaka is conspiring against me?” Damanaka replied – “He had come to a decision in my presence, and said, “I will kill Pingalaka in the early morning tomorrow.”

“And as far as proof goes, know this- in the morning when he comes to see you, his face and eyes will be red; his lips will be trembling; he will look restlessly in all directions; he will sit in a place that is not normally allotted to him; and he will look at you with cruel eyes. It will then be up to you to do what it takes to protect yourself.”

And so Damanaka stood up, bowed to the king, and left…

to be continued