Damanaka lowered his voice. “Sanjeevaka…Pingalaka is conspiring against you. He spoke to me privately today, and said “I will kill Sanjeevaka early tomorrow morning, and feed him to all the animals who have been hungry for so long”.
“I was shocked!”, continued Damanaka, but I quickly gathered my wits and told Pingalaka “Master, what you are thinking is not right. You should not deceive a dear friend. It is said…”
अपि ब्रह्म-वधं कृत्वा प्रायश्चित्तेन शुध्यति ।
तद्-अर्थेन विचीर्णेन न कथञ्चित् सुहृद्-द्रुहः ॥ २९८ ॥
api brahma-vadhaṃ kṛtvā prāyaścittena śudhyati |
tad-arthena vicīrṇena na kathañcit suhṛd-druhaḥ || 298 ||
If one commits the sin of killing a man, he can be redeemed by serving a sentence as punishment; but a person who cheats his friend has no redemption at all.
“Hearing this, Pingalaka got annoyed and told me “Sanjeevaka eats grass; we all eat meat. We are enemies by nature – how can we ignore this basic fact? He has to be killed, and I will employ my strategies to get rid of him. It is said…”
दत्त्वापि कन्यकां वैरी निहन्तव्यो विपश्चिता ।
अन्योपायैर् अशक्यो यो हते दोषो न विद्यते ॥ २९९ ॥
dattvāpi kanyakāṃ vairī nihantavyo vipaścitā |
anyopāyair aśakyo yo hate doṣo na vidyate || 299 ||
An intelligent man should employ any means to kill his enemy. Whatever means he employs, there is no sin attached to such action.
A warrior who enters the battlefield, does not worry about the right or the wrong action. Ashvatthama, the son of the illustrious Dronacharya, had killed his enemy Drshtadyumna when he was asleep.”
” And so”, said Damanaka, ” I knew that he had made a firm decision to kill you, and hence I came here to inform you. Now that I have told you this secret, I cannot be accused of betraying our friendship. It is up to you to act as you think fit.”
Sanjeevaka heard all this, felt a sharp pain in his chest, and fainted.
When he came to his senses, Sanjeevaka sat up, looked at Damanaka with sorrowful eyes, and said…
“Oh Damanaka! It is true – a king never has true friends. Living in a forest is better, begging is better, facing difficulties in life is better – than trying to make a living by serving. “
“I made a big mistake by cultivating a friendship with Pingalaka. It is said…”
ययोर् एव समं वित्तं ययोर् एव समं कुलम् ।
तयोर् मैत्री विवाहश् च न तु पुष्ट-विपुष्टयोः ॥ ३०४ ॥
yayor eva samaṃ vittaṃ yayor eva samaṃ kulam |
tayor maitrī vivāhaś ca na tu puṣṭa-vipuṣṭayoḥ || 304 ||
Friendship, or enmity, should only be between men of equality, never between a strong and a weak person.
Sanjeevaka continued “Even if I go now and try to appease him, he will not get appeased.”
निमित्तम् उद्दिश्य हि यः प्रकुप्यति ध्रुवं स तस्यापगमे प्रशाम्यति ।
अकारण-द्वेष-परो हि यो भवेत् कथं नरस् तं परितोषयति ॥ ३०६ ॥
nimittam uddiśya hi yaḥ prakupyati dhruvaṃ sa tasyāpagame praśāmyati |
akāraṇa-dveṣa-paro hi yo bhavet kathaṃ naras taṃ paritoṣayati || 306 ||
One who is angry due to a reason, will calm down once that reason is addressed. But if someone is angry without any reason, how can he be conciliated?
” I now understand the reason. Pingalaka must have been turned against me, by those close to him, who did not like him favouring me. This is the reason why he suddenly finds faults in me. It is said that a master’s servants cannot bear it if the master’s favours another. They get annoyed much like a co-wife who pretends to like the other co-wife, but secretly doesn’t wish for her husband to love the other wife as well.”
“It is true,” said Sanjeevaka, “that untalented people cannot shine in the presence of a talented individual. It is said…”
गुणवत्तर-पात्रेण छाद्यन्ते गुणिनां गुणाः ।
रात्रौ दीप-शिखा-कान्तिर् न भानाव् उदिते सति ॥ ३१० ॥
guṇavattara-pātreṇa chādyante guṇināṃ guṇāḥ |
rātrau dīpa-śikhā-kāntir na bhānāv udite sati || 310 ||
The lesser talented individuals are overshadowed by people of higher talents. Just like a lamp that can shine only at night, and not when the sun rises.
Damanaka heard Sanjeevaka, thought for a minute, and said “My friend, if this is so, then you don’t have to fear. Even if he is angry because of the influence of jealous servants, you will be able to convince him with your fine speech.”
Sanjeevaka shook his head in disagreement. “Not, that is not correct. Even if the wicked are small, it is difficult to live in their midst, They would somehow plan to trick and kill the good person who is the target of their jealousy. It is said…
बहवः पण्डिताः क्षुद्राः सर्वे मायोपजीविनः ।
कुर्युः कृत्यम् अकृत्यं वा उष्ट्रे काकादयो यथा ॥ ३११ ॥
bahavaḥ paṇḍitāḥ kṣudrāḥ sarve māyopajīvinaḥ |
kuryuḥ kṛtyam akṛtyaṃ vā uṣṭre kākādayo yathā || 311 ||
When those who scheme, who are mean, and who cheat, all get together, they are capable of anything, however proper or improper it may be. Much like the crow and the others who cheated the camel.
Damanaka said “How did that happen?”
to be continued…