Read the previous part here…
One day TaamraChooda decided to catch me and beat me up. He bought an old bamboo stick, and kept hitting the bowl throughout the night, as he lay half-awake. I was frightened – I didn’t want the stick to hit me, and so stayed away from the bowl. He spent the whole night doing this, and so I didn’t attempt to eat his food.
The next day, a guest arrived at the ashram. He was a friend of TaamraChooda, and also a sanyasi. His name was Brihatsphinga (the one with the large buttocks)….
Brihatsphinga was on a holy tour, and had stopped by on his way to Kashi. TaamraChooda welcomed him with respect, greeting him with a namaste and offering him a place to sit and water to drink. It was late evening, and so they lay on mats made of Kusha grass and started to discuss philosophy.
Brihatsphinga spoke of the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita, and asked TaamraChooda his opinion on the ethical dilemma of Karna and Bheeshma of the Mahabharata. TaamraChooda mind, however, was preoccupied with the mouse, and replied with half-baked answers, all the time hitting the begging bowl with his stick.
His guest lost his patience when TaamraChooda, in response to Brihatsphinga’s question on the Mahabharata, spoke of Rama’s dilemma instead. “TaamraChooda!”, he thundered. “Your behaviour today has made me realise that you do not value my friendship. This is why you are least interested in even speaking to me. I cannot stay in this ashram anymore. Even though it is nighttime, I will set out and seek shelter elsewhere.
“Welcome, come in, make yourself comfortable, where have you been for so long? You have lost weight, I am so happy to see you…such statements make a guest comfortable and feel welcome”, complained Brihatsphinga. “One can visit them and stay with them, because they are genuinely happy to be in your company.”
साभ्युत्थान-क्रिया यत्र नालापा मधुराक्षराः ।
गुण-दोष-कथा नैव तत्र हर्म्यं न गम्यते ॥ ६८ ॥
sābhyutthāna-kriyā yatra nālāpā madhurākṣarāḥ |
guṇa-doṣa-kathā naiva tatra harmyaṃ na gamyate || 68 ||
One should not visit a house where no one gets up to greet you with respect; where pleasant words are not spoken; where no actual conversations take place.
“You are in charge of just this one ashram, yet have become so proud that you insult my friendship. You don’t know that running an ashram is so stressful, that you have invited trouble on you. It is said that नरकाय मतिस् ते चेत् पौरोहित्यं समाचार वर्षं यावत् किम् अन्येन मठ-चिन्तां दिन-त्रयम् – if you want to go to hell, then act as a priest for one year. If you really want to go faster, then take care of an ashram for three days.”
“And you fool, instead of worrying about how you are going to take care of this responsibility, you are acting arrogant”, said Brihatsphinga. “I am leaving this very moment!”
Hearing him speak this way, TaamraChooda was shaken with fear and embarrassment. He fell to Brihatsphinga’s feet and cried out “Oh Brihatsphinga! Don’t speak this way; I don’t have any other friend and I respect you immensely.”
He continued “I was not able to concentrate on our debate, because there is something on my mind. I store my food in that bowl and hang it high on the wall, yet a wicked mouse manages to climb there and eat everything. Because of this, I am unable to hire the labourers who come to clean the ashram the next day. In frustration, I have been hitting the bowl every night, to keep the mouse away, but I have been unable to sleep due to this. But one thing amazes me – this mouse can jump very high, even higher than a cat or a monkey!”
“So this is why you have been disturbed”, said Brihatsphinga. “Do you know where this mouse lives? Have you seen the hole where he comes out from every night?”
“I have no clue”, replied TaamraChooda.
“Surely the mouse has accumulated a lot of food”, said Brihatsphinga. “This gives him an adrenaline rush, and hence the ability to jump so high. It is said…
ऊष्मापि वित्तजो वृद्धिं तेजो नयति देहिनाम् ।
किं पुनस् तस्य सम्भोगस् त्याग-धर्म-समन्वितः ॥ ७० ॥
ūṣmāpi vittajo vṛddhiṃ tejo nayati dehinām |
kiṃ punas tasya sambhogas tyāga-dharma-samanvitaḥ || 70 ||
When a man is wealthy, he feels energetic, and vigourous. If his wealth is spent in the right manner, this only keeps increasing!
And also, there is an explanation for every action. It is said…
नाकस्माच् छाण्डिली मातर् विक्रीणाति तिलैस् तिलान् ।
लुञ्चितान् इतरैर् येन हेतुर् अत्र भविष्यति ॥ ७१ ॥
nākasmāc chāṇḍilī mātar vikrīṇāti tilais tilān |
luñcitān itarair yena hetur atra bhaviṣyati || 71 ||
When the mother tried to exchange the husked sesame seeds for the unhusked ones, she surely had a good reason.
TaamraChooda said ” How did that happen?”
to be continued…