The lion and the hare – Part 2

Read the previous part here…

Hearing this, Bhāsuraka said “Nonsense! Show me that fraud of a lion. I was furious at all of you; now I will take it all out on that other lion.”

It is said…


भूमिर् मित्रं हिरण्यं च विग्रहस्य फल-त्रयम् ।
नास्त्य् एकम् अपि यद्य् एषां न तं कुर्यात् कथञ्चन ॥ २४९ ॥

bhūmir mitraṃ hiraṇyaṃ ca vigrahasya phala-trayam |
nāsty ekam api yady eṣāṃ na taṃ kuryāt kathañcana || 249 ||

Land, friend and riches – these three are the gains of war. If even one of these is not a potential gain, then one should not go to war with anyone.

यत्र न स्यात् फलं भूरि यत्र चस्यात् पराभवः ।
न तत्र मतिमान् युद्धं समुत्पाद्य समाचरेत् ॥ २५० ॥

yatra na syāt phalaṃ bhūri yatra casyāt parābhavaḥ |
na tatra matimān yuddhaṃ samutpādya samācaret || 250 ||

Where there is no specific gain, or in situations where they haven’t been insulted, intelligent people do not start a fight.

The rabbit nodded his head in agreement. “Master, what you say is correct. Brave warriors fight only to defend their territory, or to avenge an insult. But this lion is sheltered in a fort; he had jumped out of it to stop us. An enemy inside a fort, is difficult to conquer.

Hearing this, Bhāsuraka replied “Show him to me. Even if he is hidden inside a fort, I will kill him. It is said…”

जात-मात्रम्न यः शत्रुम् रॊगम् च प्रशमम् नयॆत्। 
महाबलॊ पि तॆनैव व्ड़्ढिम्प्राप्य स हंयतॆ ॥ २५६ ॥

jāt-mātramna yah śatrum rōgam ća praśamam nayēt | Mahābalo pi tenaiva vandhimapraya sa hanyate ||256||

The person who doesn’t control an enmity or a disease in it’s early stages, perishes by it when it becomes uncontrollable, however strong he may be.

उपॆक्षितः क्षीण-बलॊ पि शत्रुः प्रमाद-दॊषात् पुरुषैर् मदांधैः। 
साध्यॊ पि भूत्वा प्रथमम्ततॊ साव् असाध्यताम् व्याधिर्इव प्रयाति ॥ २५८॥

upēkshitah ksheen-balo pi shatruh pramād-doshāt purushair madandhaihi | Sādhyo pi bhūtva prathammatto sāv asādhyatām vyadhira iva prayāti ||258||

An enemy who is weak, if ignored by those blinded with arrogance, though easily conquerable in the beginning, becomes unconquerable in later stages, much like a disease which spreads fast.

The rabbit said “You are right. But he appeared to be very strong. And so it is not prudent for you to go there, without first gauging his strength. It is said…”

अविदित्वात्मनः शक्तिम्परस्य च समुत्सुकः। 
गच्छंन् अभिमुखॊ वह्नौ नाशम्याति पतंगवत् || २६० ||

Aviditvātmanah śaktim parasya cha samutsukah | Gachchan abhimukho varhau nāshamyāti patangavat || 260 ||

A person, who without knowing his own strength, or the enemies strength, rushes to the battlefield, perishes like a moth drawn to fire.

Bhāsuraka replied ” You are too small to bother about all that. Let me worry about it. You show me where he is – I will do the rest.” The rabbit said ” If that is your wish, it is my command. Please follow me.” The rabbit started walking back on the path he had come from, with Bhāsuraka following him closely. When he was close to the well that he had seen on his way to the lion, the rabbit remarked “Master! Who can dare stand in front of you? That lion saw you coming from a distance, and so ran and hid in his fort. Come, let me show you.”

Bhāsuraka thundered “Show me this fort!”

The rabbit showed Bhāsuraka the well. Bhāsuraka looked inside, saw his own reflection in the water, and roared angrily. His roar echoed in the well, and Bhāsuraka thought this to be the enemy roaring back at him. Enraged, he jumped into the deep well to fight his ‘enemy’, and perished.

The rabbit was overjoyed. He rushed back to the forest and told the other animals what had happened. They praised him to the skies, and since then, everyone in that forest has lived happily and peacefully.


“And so”, concluded Damanaka,

यस्य बुद्धिर् बलं तस्य निर्बुद्धेस् तु कुतो बलम् ।
वने सिंहो मदोन्मत्तः शशकेन निपातितः ॥ २३७ ॥

yasya buddhir balaṃ tasya nirbuddhes tu kuto balam |
vane siṃho madonmattaḥ śaśakena nipātitaḥ || 237 ||

Only he who has intelligence is strong; a foolish person can never be strong. Because, the arrogant lion, king of the forest, was killed by a mere rabbit.”

“If you give your permission, I will go and break their friendship.” said Damanaka as he rested his case.

Karataka replied-“Damanaka, if this is so, then you may proceed. May you have an auspicious journey.”

to be continued