To trust, or not to trust…

Read the previous part here…

“But he has already seen me”, protested KarālaKesha. “Even though it was dark…I don’t think he will come here again. Why don’t you find another animal?”

“You leave that to me”, retorted Dhoosaraka. “Just be ready to pounce, let me do the rest.” Saying this, he set out to the village.

Dhoosaraka went in search of LambaKarna, and it didn’t take long. There he was, grazing lazily in the same field in the same village.

LambaKarna saw Dhoosaraka approaching and exclaimed “Aha! There you are! My dear nephew, that was a lovely place you took me to…if I hadn’t fled, I would have been dead by now. Tell me something, what was that animal? I escaped it’s violent blow, else I would have collapsed on the spot!”

Dhoosaraka laughed out loud. “Wild animal?” he said, chuckling. “That was one of the female donkeys, who saw you enter and became wild with passion for you…and look at you. Ran away as soon as she came to embrace you!”

“Anyway, what is done is done”, he continued. “She tried to stop you, and so extended her hands to hold you, but well, you just ran! Now listen to me. She told me that she cannot live without you. She has decided to stop eating and drinking until you accept her. “Until LambaKarna becomes my husband, I will not have a single blade of grass”, she said. “And if he doesn’t come by nightfall, I will enter the holy fire, or drown myself in the holy river. But this is final. I cannot bear his separation.”

“So come with me, and fast”, said Dhoosaraka in a serious tone. “Else you will commit a sin – that of being the cause of the death of someone who loves you. Even Kamadeva will be angry with you. It is said…”

स्त्री-मुद्रां मकरध्वजस्य जयिनीं सर्वार्ध-सम्पत्-करीं ते मूढाः प्रविहाय यान्ति कुधियो मिथ्या-फलान्वेषिणः ।
ते तेनैव निहत्य निर्दयतरं नग्नीकृता मुण्डिताः केचिद् रक्त-पटीकृताश् च जटिलाः कापालिकाश् चापरे ॥ ३६ ॥

strī-mudrāṃ makaradhvajasya jayinīṃ sarvārdha-sampat-karīṃ te mūḍhāḥ pravihāya yānti kudhiyo mithyā-phalānveṣiṇaḥ |
te tenaiva nihatya nirdayataraṃ nagnīkṛtā muṇḍitāḥ kecid rakta-paṭīkṛtāś ca jaṭilāḥ kāpālikāś cāpare || 36 ||

Those fools, who ignore the command of the God of Love, which appears in the form of a woman, and instead go after unfulfilling goals such as heaven or salvation…Kamadeva strikes them for their sins – some roam around naked, others with shaven heads, some wear red garments, others grow matted locks of hair…

“The truth is that they even struggle for food”, said Dhoosaraka.

What else does one need, if not convinced by such compelling arguments? LambaKarna trusted Dhoosaraka once again, and followed him to meet his fate. After all…

जानन्न् अपि नरो दैवात् प्रकरोति विगर्हितम् ।
कर्म किं कस्यचिल् लोके गर्हितं रोचते कथम् ॥ ३७ ॥

jānann api naro daivāt prakaroti vigarhitam |
karma kiṃ kasyacil loke garhitaṃ rocate katham || 37 ||

Though men know better, they often commit bad deeds – so strong is fate. For who would want to willfully do bad things?

KarālaKesha did not waste a moment this time around. He pounced on poor LambaKarna as soon as he entered the cave, and killed him instantly. He then left Dhoosaraka to guard the dead donkey, while he went to bathe in the river and get ready for a scrumptious dinner.

Dhoosaraka, in the meantime, could not bear his hunger, and ate the heart and the ear of the donkey.

KarālaKesha took his bath, offered his prayers to God and his ancestors, and then came back to the cave, ready to dive into his meal. He got enraged when he saw that the ears and the heart of the dead donkey were missing. “You scoundrel!”, he shouted. “How dare you eat first, and leave me to finish the rest?”

Dhoosaraka replied softly “Master, you are mistaken. This donkey had no heart and no ears. That is why he came back to the cave, even after he had seen you and run away before…”

KarālaKesha trusted Dhoosaraka and sat down to have his meal, and shared generous portions with the fox as well.

“That is why I say”, concluded RaktaMukha, “he came once and saw the might of the lion and went back, But that fool, who had no ear nor a heart, went back one more time, and got himself killed.

“You fool, I am not LambaKarna”, said RaktaMukha. “You are an idiot – you cheated me, but then, like Yudhishtira the potter, you spoilt your own plan by telling the truth. What they say is true…

स्वार्थम् उत्सृज्य यो दम्भी सत्यं ब्रूते सुमन्द-धीः ।
स स्वार्थाद् भ्रश्यते नूनं युधिष्ठिर इवापरः ॥ ३८ ॥

svārtham utsṛjya yo dambhī satyaṃ brūte sumanda-dhīḥ |
sa svārthād bhraśyate nūnaṃ yudhiṣṭhira ivāparaḥ || 38 ||

The fool who forgoes his greed and selfishness and instead attempts to speak the truth, does not get what he wants, much like Yudhishtira the potter.

KarālaMukha said “How did that happen?”

RaktaMukha replied…

to be continued…