The lion and the jackal…

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Prosperity always favours men who are brave, and who work diligently. “Whatever happens is due to fate”, so say the lazy and the cowardly. One should leave the reliance on fate, and continue to work sincerely, as per one’s capabilities and talent. Even after working to the best of your ability, if you are unable to achieve success, you are not to be blamed, because you tried well.

Karataka said ” Tell me Damanaka, how did you go about it?”

Damanaka replied “I turned them against each other, by telling them lies and through deceit. You will never see them conversing affectionately the same way again.”

Karataka didn’t like what he heard. “Oh, what have you done! This was not right…they were so affectionate towards each other, and now you have made them enemies. Sanjeevaka didn’t harm anyone – by causing a rift between him and Pingalaka, you have created only pain. Everyone knows how to be a spoilsport and ruin things; creating something beautiful is not everyone’s cup of tea. “

“It is said…”

घातयितुम् एव नीचः पर-कार्यं वेत्ति न प्रसादयितुम् ।
पातयितुम् अस्ति शक्तिर् वायोर् वृक्षं न चोन्नमितुम् ॥ ३९४ ॥

ghātayitum eva nīcaḥ para-kāryaṃ vetti na prasādayitum |
pātayitum asti śaktir vāyor vṛkṣaṃ na connamitum || 394 ||

A mean person only knows how to ruin another’s work; but does not know how to help others in achieving their goals. The mighty wind can uproot a tree and throw it to the ground, but it cannot bring it up again, and replant it.”

Damanaka scoffed. “You are ignorant how politics works. It is said that if one does not subdue an enemy or a disease the moment they appear, the enemy or the disease will overwhelm them, however powerful they are. Sanjeevaka is my enemy, since he made me lose the ministerial post that I had worked so hard to get. I had helped him; brought him here and got him sanctuary. And what did he do? He got me dismissed from my job.” Damanaka spat to the ground. “Mean people are dangerous. If good people allow them to become equals, the mean ungratefully try to usurp the position completely. And that is what Sanjeevaka tried with me.”

Damanaka continued “And so I have planned to get him killed. Either he gets killed or moves far away from this forest. No one knows about this plan, except you. I believe what I have done is right, since it is for my own protection and preservation. It is said that one should make the heart as hard as diamond, but words as sweet as sugarcane juice, and thus kill the person who has harmed you without hesitation.”

“And also, if he dies, we all can get together and eat him. There are so many advantages to this plan of mine. One – I succeed in subduing my enemy, two, I regain my post as minister and three – we have good food and satisfy our hunger. These three huge benefits await me, so why do you take me to be a fool?

It is said…

परस्य पीडनं कुर्वन् स्वार्थ-सिद्धिं च पण्डितः ।
मूढ-बुद्धिर् न भक्षेत वने चतुरको यथा ॥ ३९९ ॥

parasya pīḍanaṃ kurvan svārtha-siddhiṃ ca paṇḍitaḥ |
mūḍha-buddhir na bhakṣeta vane caturako yathā || 399 ||

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.

Karataka said “How did that happen?”

Damanaka replied…


The story of the lion and the jackal

In a forest not so far away from here, lived a lion named Vajra-Danshtra (the one with teeth as sharp as diamonds). A jackal named Chaturaka (the clever one) and a wolf named Kravyamukha (the one with a fleshy mouth) also lived in the same forest, and served Vajra-Danshtra well.

One day, the lion came across a camel that had been separated from its herd, she was dying and in labour. As she gave birth to her baby, she took her final breaths and died on the spot. The lion and his two followers ate the camel, but Vajra-Danshtra felt affectionate towards the baby, and took it home with him. “Oh my sweet little one! You don’t have to fear me or anyone else in this forest. You are under my protection, and will be known as Shanku-karna (the one with conch-like ears). ” And so the four of them lived happily for many years.

Vajra-Danshtra grew older with time, and weaker. One day, he had a fight with a huge elephant, and got seriously injured. He managed to escape, but his wounds were deep, and hence he could not hunt anymore. He called his three followers and said “I am unable to move around. You will have to search an animal and bring it to me, so that I can kill it, and we can all eat.”

The three set out to search a suitable animal. They searched all day, but could not find anything. And then Chaturaka thought to himself “This Shaunku-karna is so big…if he gets killed then we three can have food for many days. But Vajra-Danshtra will not kill him, since he has given it shelter. But…t may be possible for me to convince Vajra-Danshtra with my intelligence. It is said…

अवध्यं वाथवागम्यम् अकृत्यं नास्ति किंचन ।
लोके बुद्धिमताम् अत्र तस्मात् तां योजयाम्य् अहम् ॥ ४०० ॥

avadhyaṃ vāthavāgamyam akṛtyaṃ nāsti kiṃcana |
loke buddhimatām atra tasmāt tāṃ yojayāmy aham || 400 ||

For an intelligent man, there is no being who cannot be convinced, nor any place that he cannot enter, nor any task that he cannot accomplish. And so, people should use their intelligence at the right time, when required.

And so he turned to Shanku-karna, and said “My dear friend! The time is bad. We are unable to find an animal to eat, and the master is also very hungry. If he dies, then we will die too. Let me tell you something, that will be beneficial to our dear master.”

Shanku-karna immediately replied “Please go ahead Chaturaka. Tell me what needs to be done so that I can get it done fast, and save the master and all of us. One such good act, will bring me the merits of a hundred good acts.”

Chaturaka said…

to be continued

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