The three fishes…

Read the previous part here...

“Far-sighted” and “Quick-witted” both survived and lived happily, while “Whatever happens is inevitable” died.

Her husband asked “How did that happen?”

The female replied…


मत्स्यत्रयकथा

The story of the three fish

In a lake not so far away from here, lived three fish – Anāgata Vidhātā (The Far-Sighted One), Pratyutpanna Matihih ( The Quick-Witted One), and Yad Bhavishyahah ( Whatever happens in inevitable). They were friends, and lived peacefully in the lake, passing their days and years.

One day some fishermen were passing by the lake. Said one to another – “This lake has an abundant population of fish. It’s a pity that we didn’t see this lake before! ” The other replied “Yes, that is true! However, we have caught enough fish for the day, and it is nearing sunset. Let us be back in the morning, and we will surely have a great catch tomorrow!”

Hearing them speak, Anāgata Vidhātā called a meeting of all the fish, and said “You all must have heard what the fishermen said today. And so, let’s quickly move on to another lake. It is said that when one faces a strong enemy, one should either escape, or take shelter. There is no other recourse.”

He continued ” These fishermen will surely come here tomorrow morning, and kill all of us. And so, it is not wise to stay here any longer. When there is a chance of being happy elsewhere, the wise don’t sit back and watch their family and community getting destroyed.”

Hearing him speak, Pratyutpanna Matihih agreed, and said “You are right. I also think that we all should move away to another lake. It is said…

यस्यास्ति सर्वत्र गतिः स कस्मात् स्व-देश-रागेण हि याति नाशम् ।
तातस्य कूपो ऽयम् इति ब्रुवाणाः क्षार-जलं कापुरुषाः पिबन्ति ॥ ३५१ ॥

Why would a person, who has an option to move elsewhere, perish by being emotional and attached to his own place? “This well is of my forefathers”, so say the fools who are fated to drink the dirty water of that well.

Hearing all them speak, Yad Bhavishyahah laughed our loud and said “This is silly! Are you ready to move out from the lake where our ancestors lived, just because you heard a few fishermen speak? If one is fated to die, he will die, even if he moves to another lake, or elsewhere. You cannot outrun your own fate. It is said…”

अरक्षितं तिष्ठति दैव-रक्षितं सुरक्षितं दैव-हतं विनश्यति ।
जीवत्य् अनाथो ऽपि वने विसर्जितः कृत-प्रयत्नो ऽपि गृहे न जीवति ॥ ३५२ ॥

arakṣitaṃ tiṣṭhati daiva-rakṣitaṃ surakṣitaṃ daiva-hataṃ vinaśyati |
jīvaty anātho ‘pi vane visarjitaḥ kṛta-prayatno ‘pi gṛhe na jīvati || 352 ||

Even that which is left unprotected, does nor perish if protected by fate. Even that which is well-protected perishes when fate is against it. A person abandoned in the forest still lives, if fate is with him, and a person who lives in a well-protected house, surrounded by comforts, still dies, if fate is against him.

“And so, I am not going anywhere. You all can do what you feel right.” And he swam away.

In the evening, Anāgata Vidhātā and Pratyutpanna Matihih swam out through a channel into another lake, along with their friends and family.

The next day, the fishermen came to the lake, spread their nets all over it and took away all the fish, along with Yad Bhavishyahah. That lake has since been devoid of any fish.


“And that is why I said”, concluded the female Tittibha,

“Far-sighted” and “Quick-witted” both survived and lived happily, while “Whatever happens is inevitable” died.

Her husband, who patiently listened to her speak, said “My dear! Do you think I am Yad Bhavishyahah? You will now see how intelligent I am. I will dry this wicked ocean, with my beak.

His wife replied ” Do you really want to fight the ocean? It is not right on your part, to be angry with him. It is said…

to be continued