The science of conversation…

Read the previous part here…

If a person does not get rest or even manage to satisfy his hunger by being in service of a prosperous master, he should discard such service and such a master, just as one would discard a Madar (sodom apple) tree, which is filled with flowers and fruits, but is worthless.

Karataka heard Damanaka carefully, nodded his head, and asked him – “Damanaka, tell me how you will start the conversation after approaching the king?”

उत्तराद् उत्तरं वाक्यं वदतां सम्प्रजायते ।
सुवृष्टि-गुण-सम्पन्नाद् बीजाद् बीजम् इवापरम् ॥ ६४ ॥

uttarād uttaraṃ vākyaṃ vadatāṃ samprajāyate |
suvṛṣṭi-guṇa-sampannād bījād bījam ivāparam || 64 ||

Just as a seed gives rise to another seed, after a good spell of rain, the conversation will continue well once I initiate it, and we continue to speak.

अपाय-सन्दर्शनजां विपत्तिम् उपाय-सन्दर्शनजां च सिद्धिम् ।
मेधाविनो नीति-गुण-प्रयुक्तां पुरः स्फुरन्तीम् इव वर्णयन्ति ॥ ६५ ॥

apāya-sandarśanajāṃ vipattim upāya-sandarśanajāṃ ca siddhim |
medhāvino nīti-guṇa-prayuktāṃ puraḥ sphurantīm iva varṇayanti || 65 ||

An intelligent person can describe forthcoming danger and upcoming success, as if happening in front of their eyes.

एकेषां वाचि शुकवद् अन्येषां हृदि मूकवत् ।
हृदि वाचि तथान्येषां वल्गु वल्गन्तिउ सूक्तयः ॥ ६६ ॥

ekeṣāṃ vāci śukavad anyeṣāṃ hṛdi mūkavat |
hṛdi vāci tathānyeṣāṃ valgu valgantiu sūktayaḥ || 66 ||

Wise sayings are repeated by some people like parrots; in some others these sayings remain only in their minds, but do not get expressed; but in some others they remain in the heart, yet get expressed when the time is right.

Damanaka continued – “I will not speak anything not suited to the occasion. When I was playing on the lap of my father, I have heard…”

अप्राप्त-कालं वचनं बृहस्पतिर् अपि ब्रुवन् ।
लभते बह्व्-अवज्ञानम् अपमानं च पुष्कलम् ॥ ६७ ॥

aprāpta-kālaṃ vacanaṃ bṛhaspatir api bruvan |
labhate bahv-avajñānam apamānaṃ ca puṣkalam || 67 ||

Even if Brhaspati, the preceptor of Gods speaks at the wrong time or out of context, he has to face insult and ridicule.

Karataka thought of cautioning Damanaka. He said-

दुराराध्या हि राजानः पर्वता इव सर्वदा ।
व्यालाकीर्णाः सुविषमाः कठिना दुष्ट-सेविताः ॥ ६८ ॥

durārādhyā hi rājānaḥ parvatā iva sarvadā |
vyālākīrṇāḥ suviṣamāḥ kaṭhinā duṣṭa-sevitāḥ || 68 ||

Snakes move about in the mountains; the kings are surrounded by wicked men. Mountains abound in thorny roads and dangerous pits;the kings are harsh mouthed and rude.The mountains are filled with rocks; the kings have cruel hearts.The mountains abound in tigers and lions; the kings always have evil doers as their company. Mountains are hard to climb; kings are hard to please. Kings are like Mountains.

भोगिनः कञ्चुकाविष्टाः कुटिलाः क्रूर-चेष्टिताः ।
सुदुष्टा मन्त्र-साध्याश् च राजानः पन्नगा इव ॥ ६९ ॥

bhoginaḥ kañcukāviṣṭāḥ kuṭilāḥ krūra-ceṣṭitāḥ |
suduṣṭā mantra-sādhyāś ca rājānaḥ pannagā iva || 69 ||

Snakes have scaly skins. Kings wear armor. Snakes have curved bodies. Kings have crooked minds. Snakes bite and kill. Kings perform cruel acts. Snakes are vicious creatures. Kings are wicked. Snakes can be controlled by magic chants. The kings can be convinced by condescending talk. Kings are like snakes.

द्वि-जिह्वाः क्रूर-कर्माणो ऽनिष्ठाश् छिद्रानुसारिणः ।
दूरतो ऽपि हि पश्यन्ति राजानो भुजगा इव ॥ ७० ॥

dvi-jihvāḥ krūra-karmāṇo ‘niṣṭhāś chidrānusāriṇaḥ |
dūrato ‘pi hi paśyanti rājāno bhujagā iva || 70 ||

Snakes have two tongues. Kings indulge in double-speak. Kings are looked upon with envy. Snakes crawl into holes. Kings are ready to find faults in the smallest of things. Snakes can see far. Kings know of distant matters through spies. Kings are like snakes.

स्वल्पम् अप्य् अपकुर्वन्ति येऽभीष्टा हि महीपतेः ।
ते वह्नाव् इव दह्यन्ते पतङ्गाः पाप-चेतसः ॥ ७१ ॥

svalpam apy apakurvanti ye’bhīṣṭā hi mahīpateḥ |
te vahnāv iva dahyante pataṅgāḥ pāpa-cetasaḥ || 71 ||

Anyone who even commits the slightest mistake, burns in the anger of the king, like a moth that burns in fire.

दुरारोहं पदं राज्ञां सर्व-लोक-नमस्कृतम् ।
स्वल्पेनाप्य् अपकारेण ब्राह्मण्यम् इव दुष्यति ॥ ७२ ॥

durārohaṃ padaṃ rājñāṃ sarva-loka-namaskṛtam |
svalpenāpy apakāreṇa brāhmaṇyam iva duṣyati || 72 ||

Brahma’s world is difficult to attain. Likewise, the king’s proximity is difficult to attain. Brahma and king are both saluted by one and all. The king gets very angry for the slightest mistake, just like Brahma.

Damanaka pondered over these statements, and then replied…

यस्य यस्य हि यो भावस् तेन तेन समाचरेत् ।
अनुप्रविश्य मेधावी क्षिप्रम् आत्म-वशं नयेत् ॥ ७४ ॥

yasya yasya hi yo bhāvas tena tena samācaret |
anupraviśya medhāvī kṣipram ātma-vaśaṃ nayet || 74 ||

One should speak and act according to the mentality of a person. Accordingly, a wise man acts according to the mentality of the person he serves, so as to get him under his control.

भर्तुश् चित्तानुवर्तित्वं सुवृत्तं चानुजीविनाम् ।
राक्षसाश् चापि गृह्यन्ते नित्यं छन्दानुवर्तिभिः ॥ ७५ ॥

bhartuś cittānuvartitvaṃ suvṛttaṃ cānujīvinām |
rākṣasāś cāpi gṛhyante nityaṃ chandānuvartibhiḥ || 75 ||

Acting according to the mentality of the person he serves is a quality that a person should recognise as absolutely essential to his being, and develop it. Even demons can be brought under control, if one acts according to their mentality.

सरुषि नृपे स्तुति-वचनं तद्-अभिमते प्रेम तद्-द्विषि द्वेषः ।
तद्-दानस्य च शंसा अमन्त्र-तन्त्रं वशीकरणम् ॥ ७६ ॥

saruṣi nṛpe stuti-vacanaṃ tad-abhimate prema tad-dviṣi dveṣaḥ |
tad-dānasya ca śaṃsā amantra-tantraṃ vaśīkaraṇam || 76 ||

When the king is angry, words of praise; love towards people liked by him; hatred towards those hated by him; showering praises when he performs charity – this is the way to bring the king under one’s control, without using any magical chant.

Karataka seemed convinced. “If that is your intention, then let auspiciousness accompany you. You can go ahead. But remember – you have to be very careful, because my fortunes are linked with yours!

Damanaka saluted him, and went to meet Pingalaka.

to be continued


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