The unlucky Somilaka – Part 3

Read the previous part here…

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…

The voice said “Hey Somilaka! Stop! Don’t jump. I am the one who stole your money. I didn’t want you to have even a bit more than what is required for your food and clothing. But, I am now pleased by your perseverance. So go back home. You have forced me to give you a darshan, and so you can ask me a boon – any wish that you want to fulfil.”

Somilaka joined his hands in prayer and said “If that is so, please give me a lot of money.”

The voice in the sky said “Somilaka, what will you do with money that you cannot enjoy? You are not destined to have more than what is required for your basic needs. It is said…

किं तया क्रियते लक्ष्म्या या वधूर् इव केवला ।
या न वेश्येव सामान्या पथिकैर् उपभुज्यते ॥ १३९ ॥

kiṃ tayā kriyate lakṣmyā yā vadhūr iva kevalā |
yā na veśyeva sāmānyā pathikair upabhujyate || 139 ||

What is the use of having wealth that stays protected in the house like a bride and is enjoyed only by one, rather than being like a prostitute who is available for everybody’s enjoyment?

I would like to interrupt the story here, to discuss the verse above. At first glance, it seems derogatory – in fact, I did not include it in the first draft of the article. But then I read it again, and again, and thought about it. Vishu Sharman speaks of wealth, and the two ways of enjoying it. One is by hoarding – keeping it to yourself, and not sharing it. This wealth is useful only to it’s owner, much like a bride who is for her husband alone (and the husband, who is for his wife alone).

The second way is by sharing it, by making this wealth available to all, where many can enjoy it’s benefits. Vishnu Sharman speaks of a prostitute here, but not in a derogatory manner. In my opinion, he places her on a high pedestal – by making her a metaphor of the act of sharing. I read it this way, and I would encourage you to consider reading it with this meaning in mind…

Let us continue!

Somilaka replied “Even if I am not destined to enjoy it, let me at least have it….

कृपणो ऽप्य् अकुलीनो ऽपि सदा संश्रित-मानुषैः ।
सेव्यते स नरो लोके यस्य स्याद् वित्त-सञ्चयः ॥ १४० ॥

kṛpaṇo ‘py akulīno ‘pi sadā saṃśrita-mānuṣaiḥ |
sevyate sa naro loke yasya syād vitta-sañcayaḥ || 140 ||

Even if one is very mean; born in a bad family; and is avoided by all good men, he who has wealth is respected by all.

And also…

शिथिलौ च सुबद्धौ च पततः पततो न वा ।
निरीक्षितौ मया भद्रे दश वर्षाणि पञ्च च ॥ १४१ ॥

śithilau ca subaddhau ca patataḥ patato na vā |
nirīkṣitau mayā bhadre daśa varṣāṇi pañca ca || 141 ||

Though hanging loose and grown well, it is difficult to say if the two pieces of flesh will fall or not! I have waited, my dear wife for them both to fall for the past fifteen years.”

The man in the sky said “What is that all about?”

Somilaka replied…


The story of the jackal that followed the bull

In a town not so far away from here, lived a huge bull called TeekshnaVishāna (the one with the sharp horns). One day, in a fit of madness, he left his herd and ran to the nearby river. He spent many days there, digging his horns into the wet mud and munching on the dew-kissed soft grass.

The days became months, and months became years. TeekshnaVishāna slowly became a wild animal, and was domesticated no more.

In the same forest lived a jackal named Pralobhaka (the one who is greedy). He used to frequent the river, with his wife, to sit on the banks and discuss matters of the world.

One day, as they were sitting there, TeekshnaVishāna came by to drink some water. Pralobhaka’s wife noticed TeekshnaVishāna’s huge scrotum and told her husband – “My dear, look at those two pieces of flesh hanging loosely on the underside of that bull. They look like they will fall any minute. or surely in an hour, so I think that you should follow him and get those pieces of flesh when they do fall off.”

Pralobhaka replied “My dear, we don’t know for sure that those pieces of flesh will fall off! And so why do you want me to follow him around, and do all that hard work? Let us instead wait for the rats that come here during the day. We are sitting in their path, so will surely be able to catch a few. Also, if I go behind that bull, another jackal may come and sit with you here, and that would be unacceptable. And so let’s not discuss this. It is said…

यो ध्रुवाणि परित्यज्याध्रुवाणि निषेवते ।
ध्रुवाणि तस्य नश्यन्ति अध्रुवं नष्टम् एव च ॥ १४२ ॥

yo dhruvāṇi parityajyādhruvāṇi niṣevate |
dhruvāṇi tasya naśyanti adhruvaṃ naṣṭam eva ca || 142 ||

When a person leaves something that is stable, and goes after something that is doubtful, he loses his stability, and that what he pursued was anyways doubtful to begin with.

His wife replied “You are worthless. Always happy with the little that you manage to get. it is said…

सुपूरा स्यात् कुनदिका सुपूरो मूषिकाञ्जलिः ।
सुसन्तुष्टः कापुरुषः स्वल्पकेनापि तुष्यति ॥ १४३ ॥

supūrā syāt kunadikā supūro mūṣikāñjaliḥ |
susantuṣṭaḥ kāpuruṣaḥ svalpakenāpi tuṣyati || 143 ||

Just like a small steam gets filled up easily, and a rats hand gets filled up with a little grain, an unenthusiastic man gets satisfied with very little.

A man would always strive for more, and with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It is said…

to be continued…

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