The charioteer and his wife…

Read the previous part here

AriMardana had heard all his ministers speak. He now made a decision. He called all of them together

“I have decided to grant shelter to the minister of the crows”, said AriMardana. “I understand that this was a majority decision, and I thank you all for giving me your valuable opinions.”

Raktāksha too was present, and could not believe their foolishness. “Oh, you all have made a huge mistake”, he said. “You gave him the wrong suggestions, and this will cause our destruction. It is said…”

अपूज्या यत्र पूज्यन्ते पूज्यानां तु विमानना ।
त्रीणि तत्र प्रवर्तन्ते दुर्भिक्षं मरणं भयम् ॥ १९२ ॥

apūjyā yatra pūjyante pūjyānāṃ tu vimānanā |
trīṇi tatra pravartante durbhikṣaṃ maraṇaṃ bhayam || 192 ||

Where the unworthy are respected and the worthy are disrespected, one of three consequences is certain – famine, fear or death.

And also…

प्रत्यक्षेऽपि कृते पापे मूर्खः साम्ना प्रशाम्यति ।
रथ-कारः स्वकां भार्यां सजारां शिरसावहत् ॥ १९३ ॥

pratyakṣe’pi kṛte pāpe mūrkhaḥ sāmnā praśāmyati |
ratha-kāraḥ svakāṃ bhāryāṃ sajārāṃ śirasāvahat || 193 ||

Even if a sin is committed in broad daylight, a fool who witnesses it can be tricked into believing otherwise. Just like the foolish charioteer was tricked into carrying his promiscuous wife and her lover on his own shoulders.

The ministers said “How did that happen?”

Raktāksha replied…


The story of the charioteer and his wife

Once in a city, not so far away from here, lived a charioteer named VeeraVara (the virile husband). His wife was named KāmaDamini (the woman with high kama). She was an unfaithful woman and had a bad name in the society, for her loose character.

Tired of hearing talk about her, VeeraVara decided to test her himself. After all, it is said…

यदि स्यात् पावकः शीतः प्रोष्णी वा शश-लाञ्छनः ।
स्त्रीणां तदा सतीत्वं स्याद् यदि स्याद् दुर्जनो हितः ॥ १९४ ॥

yadi syāt pāvakaḥ śītaḥ proṣṇī vā śaśa-lāñchanaḥ |
strīṇāṃ tadā satītvaṃ syād yadi syād durjano hitaḥ || 194 ||

If fire feels cold, the moon feels warm and the bad do good deeds, only then is it possible that spouses are faithful.

“I have heard all these people talk bad about her, and about her character. And so it must be true. After all, it is said…”

यच् च वेदेषु शास्त्रेषु न दृष्टं न च संश्रुतम् ।
तत् सर्वं वेत्ति लोको ऽयं यत् स्याद् ब्रह्माण्ड-मध्यगम् ॥ १९५ ॥

yac ca vedeṣu śāstreṣu na dṛṣṭaṃ na ca saṃśrutam |
tat sarvaṃ vetti loko ‘yaṃ yat syād brahmāṇḍa-madhyagam || 195 ||

Whatever is not seen, or heard in the Vedas and scriptures, people know that as well. They also know anything and everything that happens in any corner of this Earth.

And having thought this, he called his wife and said “My dear! I will be setting out tomorrow morning. I have to go to the nearby village for some work, and will have to stay there for a few days. So please prepare some good food for me today.”

KāmaDamini’s happiness knew no bounds. She immediately stopped everything that she was doing, and prepared a tasty meal and sweets as well. She helped him wash his hands and feet, served him and fanned him as he ate. After all, it is said…

दुर्दिवसे घन-तिमिरे वर्षति जलदे महाटवी-प्रभृतौ ।
पत्युर् विदेश-गमने परम-सुखं जघन-चपलायाः ॥ १९६ ॥

durdivase ghana-timire varṣati jalade mahāṭavī-prabhṛtau |
patyur videśa-gamane parama-sukhaṃ jaghana-capalāyāḥ || 196 ||

When the husband is in another city, when the weather is bad, when it is very dark and the roads are deserted, the happiness felt by a promiscuous lady knows no bounds.

VeeraVara set out early morning. KāmaDamini watched him leave, a big smile on her face. The whole day she spent impatiently, and when it was evening, she dressed up well, put on her makeup and went to meet her lover DevaDutta. She said “That husband of mine is away. And so come over tonight, when it is late and everyone has slept. I will wait for you.”

Meanwhile, the charioteer spent the day in the forest near his village, and returned home in the evening, this time secretly entering from the back door. He went into the bedroom and hid himself under the bed.

Devadutta arrived on time, late at night. He entered the bedroom and sat down on the bed. Seeing him walk in, VeeraVara felt very angry. “So the people were right after all!” he thought to himself. “The audacity of this man…coming into my own house and sitting on my own bed. I feel like killing him right now. Or, should I wait till they are sleep and then kill them both? No, I think I will wait to hear what they speak, and then decide on the course of action.”

KāmaDamini closed the door of the house, and walked in to the bedroom, and sat on the bed, next to Devadutta. As she was climbing onto the bed, her foot brushed the hand of VeeraVara, who was hiding underneath.

“This is surely my husband hiding below the bed, to test me”, she thought to herself. “Let me show him today, how intelligent I am.”

As she was thinking this, DevaDutta moved closer to her to embrace her. And then…

to be continued…