The clever fox

Read the previous part here…

How is your goodness worthy, if you only good to people who are good to you? He who is good to people who have even harmed him, is a truly good man, so say the wise.

RaktaMukha replied…

“In that case, return home, and fight him. The wise have said…

हतस् त्वं प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जीवन् गृहम् अथो यशः ।
युध्यमानस्य ते भावि गुण-द्वयम् अनुत्तमम् ॥ ७७ ॥

hatas tvaṃ prāpsyasi svargaṃ jīvan gṛham atho yaśaḥ |
yudhyamānasya te bhāvi guṇa-dvayam anuttamam || 77 ||

If you get killed in the fight, you will attain liberation. If you live, you will achieve fame, and also get back your house. He who fights his battles gains, irrespective of the results.

उत्तमं प्रणिपातेन शूरं भेदेन योजयेत् ।
नीचम् अल्प-प्रदानेन सम-शक्तिं पराक्रमैः ॥ ७८ ॥

uttamaṃ praṇipātena śūraṃ bhedena yojayet |
nīcam alpa-pradānena sama-śaktiṃ parākramaiḥ || 78 ||

One should bow before enemies who are superior, deceive enemies who are adept at fighting, bribe enemies who are of low character, but fight those who are equal in strength, so say the wise.

KarālaMuka said “How does that happen?”

RaktaMukha replied…


The story of the clever fox

In a forest, not too far away from here, lived a fox named MahāChaturaka (the most clever one). One day, as he walked home in the evening, he came across the dead body of an elephant. Excited, he tried his best to find a way to eat it’s flesh, but was unable to make a tear in it’s thick skin.

Disappointed, he sat there, thinking of what to do, when a lion happened to come there. MahāChaturaka immediately stood up, bent his head and saluted him. “Master! I am your humble slave, MahāChaturaka. Behold this elephant, that I have been guarding just for you. Now that you have arrived, please accept this humble token of my gratitude towards you, and eat it…”

The lion looked at the fox, and replied “I will never eat an animal that has been killed by someone else. It is said…”

वनेsपि सिंहाः मृगमांसभक्ष्याः बुभुक्षिता नैव तृणं चरन्ति ।
एवं कुलीना व्यसनाभिभूताः न नीतिमार्गं परिलङ्गयन्ति ॥ ७९ ॥

vane simhaha mrigamāmsabhakshyaha bubhukshit naiva trunam charanti |
evam kuleena vyasanabhibhūtāh na neetimargam parilangayanti || 76 ||

Like lions who live on the flesh of other animals do not eat grass, even when they are very hungry, those born in good families do not transgress the path of Dharma, even when they are in trouble.

“And so, let this elephant be my gift to you. Please eat it.”

The fox replied happily “O Master, you have acted as a true leader. It is said…”

अन्त्यावस्थो ऽपि महान् स्वामि-गुणान् न जहाति शुद्धतया ।
न श्वेत-भावम् उज्झति शङ्खः शिखि-भुक्त-मुक्तो ऽपि ॥ ७९ ॥

antyāvastho ‘pi mahān svāmi-guṇān na jahāti śuddhatayā |
na śveta-bhāvam ujjhati śaṅkhaḥ śikhi-bhukta-mukto ‘pi || 79 ||

Just like a conch doesn’t lose it’s white color, even when burnt to ashes, great masters do not lose their noble qualities even when in the greatest of difficulties.

The lion nodded his head, and walked away.

He had just been gone a few minutes, when MahāChaturaka spotted a tiger in the distance. He thought to himself “I got rid of the lion through false respect. How do I tackle this one now? A tiger is very strong, and I cannot fight him. I will have to try to deceive him instead. It is said…”

न यत्र शक्यते कर्तुं साम दानम् अथापि वा ।
भेदस् तत्र प्रयोक्तव्यो यतः स वश-कारकः ॥ ८० ॥

na yatra śakyate kartuṃ sāma dānam athāpi vā |
bhedas tatra prayoktavyo yataḥ sa vaśa-kārakaḥ || 80 ||

Where compromise or bribe is not possible, one should try deceit, as only that can help tackle the enemy.

“Because, even if one is very talented and intelligent, he falls for deceit. It is said…”

अन्तः-स्थेनाविरुद्धेन सुवृत्तेनातिचारुणा ।
अन्तर्-भिन्नेन सम्प्राप्तं मौक्तिकेनापि बन्धनम् ॥ ८१ ॥

antaḥ-sthenāviruddhena suvṛttenāticāruṇā |
antar-bhinnena samprāptaṃ mauktikenāpi bandhanam || 81 ||

The pearl is smooth, beautiful and unbroken…yet gets bound in a thread when a hole is pieced in it’s centre. Similarly, a man could be without enemies, well-behaved and pleasant in character. But he is defeated by his smallest weaknesses.

And so, the fox approached the tiger, with his head held high, and said…

to be continued…