The unlucky Somilaka – Part 2

Read the previous part here…

“Your karma and destiny will follow you wherever you go. And so it is better that you stay here and continue to work hard…”, she advised.

Somilaka replied “I don’t think that way. Karma has no consequence if one does not put in effort. It has been said…”

यथैकेन न हस्तेन तालिका संप्रपद्यते ।
तथोद्यम-परित्यक्तं न फलं कर्मणः स्मृतम् ॥ १३३ ॥

yathaikena na hastena tālikā saṃprapadyate |
tathodyama-parityaktaṃ na phalaṃ karmaṇaḥ smṛtam || 133 ||

Just like you cannot clap with only one hand, the fruits of your actions will not materialise by destiny alone – one has to make an effort.

पश्य कर्म-वशात् प्राप्तं भोज्यकालेऽपि भोजनम् ।
हस्तोद्यमं विना वक्त्रे प्रविशेन् न कथञ्चन ॥ १३४ ॥

paśya karma-vaśāt prāptaṃ bhojyakāle’pi bhojanam |
hastodyamaṃ vinā vaktre praviśen na kathañcana || 134 ||

Even the food we eat, that has been obtained as a result of our past actions, and is ready to be eaten, cannot enter the mouth without the efforts of the hand.

And also…

उद्योगिनं पुरुष-सिंहम् उपैति लक्ष्मीर् दैवेन देयम् इति कापुरुषा वदन्ति ।
दैवं निहत्य कुरु पौरुषम् आत्म-शक्त्या यत्ने कृते यदि न सिध्यति को ऽत्र दोषः ॥ १३५ ॥

udyoginaṃ puruṣa-siṃham upaiti lakṣmīr daivena deyam iti kāpuruṣā vadanti |
daivaṃ nihatya kuru pauruṣam ātma-śaktyā yatne kṛte yadi na sidhyati ko ‘tra doṣaḥ || 135 ||

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.

And also…

उद्यमेन हि सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि न मनोरथैः ।
न हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य विशन्ति वदने मृगाः ॥ १३६ ॥ उद्यमेन विना राजन् न सिध्यन्ति मनोरथाः ।

udyamena hi sidhyanti kāryāṇi na manorathaiḥ |
na hi suptasya siṃhasya viśanti vadane mṛgāḥ || 136 || udyamena vinā rājan na sidhyanti manorathāḥ |

Actions become fruitful only through proper effort and not by mere imagination. Animals do not enter the mouth of a sleeping lion by themselves (the lion has to make an effort)


स्व-शक्त्या कुर्वतः कर्म न चेत् सिद्धिं प्रयच्छति ।
नोपालभ्यः पुमांस् तत्र दैवान्तरित-पौरुषः ॥ १३८ ॥

sva-śaktyā kurvataḥ karma na cet siddhiṃ prayacchati |
nopālabhyaḥ pumāṃs tatra daivāntarita-pauruṣaḥ || 138 ||

If a man does not attain success even after putting in his best efforts, he is not to blame, nor should he consider himself a failure, for fate alone stood in his way to success.

“And so, my dear, I will have to give my best efforts, and try to be successful in another city”, concluded Somilaka.

His wife, hearing him speak this way, understood that he was right, and agreed. She packed his bags and tearfully hugged him, asking him to take care of his health and food and to be back soon.

Somilaka travelled to Vardhamana (the place that is prosperous), and set up his small shop there. He worked hard for three years, and earned three hundred gold coins. Satisfied with this small fortune, he decided that it was time to head back to his hometown, for he missed his family and his home.

Somilaka set out from Vardhamana in the morning, and walked all day. There was a huge forest on the way, and Somilaka walked fast, but ended up in the middle of the forest during sundown. Not wanting to journey through the night, and afraid of being robbed, Somilaka climbed up a fig tree, curled up on a huge branch and slept.

In his dream, appeared two men who seemed to be arguing with each other. They looked frightful, and spoke very rudely to each other.

“Hey Karta ( the doer of Karma, or action), you know that Somilaka is not destined to get more than his basic needs of food and clothing, then why did you end up giving him three hundred gold coins?”, said one.

“Hey Karman! (Karma, or action)”, replied the other. “I always reward those who work hard, and that is why I gave him those coins. “But, you know that at the end of it, it is your decision as far as his destiny is concerned.”

Somilaka woke up with a start, and immediately checked his bag. It was empty! “Oh, what kind of luck do I have!” he said with tears in his eyes. I earned so much money by working so hard, and now it’s gone! All my efforts went in vain. How will I face my wife and my family now?”

He cried for some time, and then decided that he would not give up. Picking up his bag, he climbed down from the tree and started back towards Vardhamana, determined to make some money again.

Somilaka worked harder this time, and within a year, earned five hundred gold coins.

Again, he decided to head home, set out in the morning, got stuck in the same forest at night…but this time he kept walking. “If I rest, I will lose these coins once again” he thought to himself as he walked on, fighting tiredness and sleep.

As he walked on a narrow path through the forest, he saw two men at a distance. They were arguing with each other.

“Hey Karta! What is wrong with you?” said one. “You know that Somilaka is not destined to get more than his basic needs of food and clothing, then why did you end up giving him five hundred gold coins this time?”

“Hey Karman!”, replied the other. “I always reward those who work hard, and that is why I gave him those coins. “But, you know that at the end of it, it is your decision as far as his destiny is concerned. Then why criticise me every time?” he said angrily.

Hearing them speak this way, Somilaka immediately checked his bag, and saw that the coins were missing. He was shocked!

“What reason is there for me to live?” he lamented. “I worked hard, and lost the money again. No, I don’t want to live like this anymore…I will hang myself from this fig tree and die” he thought to himself, crying bitterly.

Somalika made a rope of Kusha grass, tied one end of it around his neck, and the other end around the branch of the tree. As he got ready to jump off, he heard a loud voice. It said…

to be continued…

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