A wise man who hides his intentions can get away without being noticed, even after harming his enemy, much like Chaturaka the jackal was able to get his way, defeat his enemy and yet not get caught.
On the other end of the forest, Sanjeevaka was lost in deep thought. “What have I done! I eat grass, yet I became friends with an eater of meat…someone who is radically different from me. The wise have said that the man who seeks the company of those who’re to be avoided, and who serves those who do not deserve to be served, only invite trouble upon themselves.”
“Oh, what should I do?” he continued. “Where should I go? Where will I get some peace? Should I approach Pingalaka and surrender? He had promised me sanctuary, maybe he will still protect me, and discard the idea of killing me? It is said that दग्धानां किल वह्निना हितकरः सेकोsपि तस्योद्भवः – dagdhānāṃ kila vahninā hita-karaḥ seko ‘pi tasyodbhavaḥ – when burnt by fire, the same tempered heat is used to provide relief.
लोकेऽथवा तनु-भृतां निज-कर्म-पाकं नित्यं समाश्रितवतां सुहित-क्रियाणाम् ।
भावार्जितं शुभम् अथाप्य् अशुभं निकामं यद् भावि तद् भवति नात्र विचार-हेतुः ॥ ४०३ ॥
loke’thavā tanu-bhṛtāṃ nija-karma-pākaṃ nityaṃ samāśritavatāṃ suhita-kriyāṇām |
bhāvārjitaṃ śubham athāpy aśubhaṃ nikāmaṃ yad bhāvi tad bhavati nātra vicāra-hetuḥ || 403 ||
In this world, everyone has to bear the fruits of their actions. One has to perform his duties to the best of his ability, and experience the good or bad results of those actions. This is unavoidable, and hence what has to happen, will happen. There is no use worrying about it.
“If I leave this forest and go elsewhere, another meat-eating animal may kill me, and so it is better to die at the hands of a mighty lion.”
महद्भिः स्पर्धमानस्य विपद् एव गरीयसी ।
दन्त-भङ्गेऽपि नागानां श्लाघ्यो गिरि-विदारणे ॥ ४०४ ॥
mahadbhiḥ spardhamānasya vipad eva garīyasī |
danta-bhaṅge’pi nāgānāṃ ślāghyo giri-vidāraṇe || 404 ||
Even if you face problems by opposing great people, it is still praise-worthy. The elephant, who breaks his tusks in his futile endeavour to topple a mountain, still becomes famous.
Having decided this, Sanjeevaka, with his feet shaking at every step, walked slowly towards Pingalaka’s cave.
When he reached, he saw the beautiful entrance of the cave, and thought to himself “One should always enter these with apprehension, a house where a snake hides, a forest filled with wild animals, a lake covered with beautiful lotuses yet having crocodiles, and the abode of a master where wicked men roam around spreading lies…” And with these thoughts, he entered the cave, and saw Pingalaka sitting on his throne.
Sanjeevaka was surprised. Pingalaka looked exactly how Damanaka had described, and so he didn’t want to sit too close to the lion. Sanjeevaka sat down at the far end of the cave, without even saluting Pingalaka, lost in thought.
Pingalaka observed Sanjeevaka. Damanaka was right! He remembered what the jackal had said – “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.”
Pingalaka had the proof that he needed. He pounced on Sanjeevaka, his sharp nails tearing his back and leaving the bull bleeding profusely. Sanjeevaka gored the lion with his horns, and released himself from the painful clutches of his huge paws, and turned around, ready to kill the lion with his horns.
Seeing them fight from a distance, Karataka looked at Damanaka angrily and said ” You fool! Look at what you have done! This enmity that you created between two friends is wrong. You claim to know politics, but you don’t. The learned say…”
to be continued…