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“Oh saintly being”, said Kapinjalaka. “You know Dharma. We both here have a small dispute. Can you give us a solution based on what the scriptures say? He who is at fault, can be eaten by you.”
“Oh good souls, don’t say that! I have discarded all actions that cause sin – I have given up a sinful life. Non-violence is true dharma. It is said…”
अहिंसा-पूर्वको धर्मो यस्मात् सर्व-हिते रतः ।
यूका-मत्-कुण-दंशादींस् तस्मात् तान् अपि रक्षयेत् ॥ १०५ ॥
ahiṃsā-pūrvako dharmo yasmāt sarva-hite rataḥ |
yūkā-mat-kuṇa-daṃśādīṃs tasmāt tān api rakṣayet || 105 ||
The saints have advocated a policy of non-violence towards all, and so you must not harm even the louse, bed bugs and mosquitoes.
हिंसकान्य् अपि भूतानि यो हिंसति स निर्घृणः ।
स याति नरकं घोरं किं पुनर् यः शुभानि च ॥ १०६ ॥
hiṃsakāny api bhūtāni yo hiṃsati sa nirghṛṇaḥ |
sa yāti narakaṃ ghoraṃ kiṃ punar yaḥ śubhāni ca || 106 ||
He who hurts harmful animals also goes to hell. So what to speak of those who hurt the harmless? They will surely go to hell.
“Those who perform sacrificial rites that involve the killing of animals are fools, they do not know the real essence of the Vedas, which says अजैर्यष्टव्यं – the sacrifice of ajās (goat, also means unborn). Ajās is actually grain that has been kept for seven years, and not an animal. Hence it is said…
वृक्षांश् छित्त्वा पशून् हत्वा कृत्वा रुधिर-कर्दमम् ।
यद्य् एवं गम्यते स्वर्गं नरकं केन गम्यते ॥ १०७ ॥
vṛkṣāṃś chittvā paśūn hatvā kṛtvā rudhira-kardamam |
yady evaṃ gamyate svargaṃ narakaṃ kena gamyate || 107 ||
If one goes to heaven even after cutting down trees and killing animals, thus wetting the soil with blood, then what would one have to do to go to hell?
“And so don’t worry, I will not eat you. I will be able to help you to resolve your dispute though. But I am very old, my eyes and ears are weak, and so I will not be able to hear you if you stand so far away. Come closer to me and tell me what your problem is, so that I can think about a resolution that is just and fair to both of you. This will help me too, since it is said…”
मानाद् वा यदि वा लोभात् क्रोधाद् वा यदि वा भयात् ।
यो न्यायम् अन्यथा ब्रूते स याति नरकं नरः ॥ १०८ ॥
mānād vā yadi vā lobhāt krodhād vā yadi vā bhayāt |
yo nyāyam anyathā brūte sa yāti narakaṃ naraḥ || 108 ||
The person who makes an unfair judgment due to false prestige, or greed or anger or fear, will surely go to hell.
“And so, don’t be apprehensive. Come close to me and whisper in my ears, so that I can hear you well.”
“What can I say more than this”, said the crow. “That wretch made them both trust him so much that they went and sat on his lap. That was the very moment that TeekshnaDamshtra had been waiting for. He swiftly held Sheeghraga by his foot, and Kapinjalaka by his saw-like teeth, and that was the end of both of them. That is why I say”
क्षुद्रम् अर्थपतिं प्राप्य न्यायान्वेषण-तत्-परौ ।
उभाव् अपि क्षयं प्राप्तौ पुरा शशक-पिञ्जलौ ॥ ९१ ॥
kṣudram arthapatiṃ prāpya nyāyānveṣaṇa-tat-parau |
ubhāv api kṣayaṃ prāptau purā śaśaka-piñjalau || 91 ||
Keen on getting justice from a worthless leader, both the rabbit and the Kapinjala the sparrow lost their lives.
“Just like the rabbit and the sparrow, you birds have elected this ‘blind-in-the-day’ wretched bird as your king, and you all, being night-blind, will go the same way as Sheeghraga – to heaven for your innocence, or to hell for your stupidity. Well, it is your decision at the end of the day. Do whatever you think is good for you.”
The birds looked at each other, clapped and said in unison “Oh clever crow! What you said is right. We will have to hold another meeting to select a better king. Thank you for your advice!” And saying this, they flew away from the venue, leaving it empty and desolate.
The owl however, was still on the throne, waiting in anticipation for the holy water to fall on his head as initiation of his grand coronation. After a few pensive minutes, he blurted out “Hey, why is so quiet? Why are you not starting the ceremony? I don’t think the mantras should take so long!”
Krikālika looked haplessly at the blind owl and said “What ceremony? The crow came here and spoke to all the birds, and they flew away in all directions. That crow is still here, the rest have gone. There will be no coronation. Come, let me guide you back home.”
Hearing Krikālika speak this way, the sad owl cried out “You wicked crow! What harm did I do to you that you stopped my coronation as king? Hear me, and hear me well. From today, I am your sworn enemy. It is said…
रोहते सायकैर् विद्धं छिन्नं रोहति चासिना ।
वचो दुरुक्तं बीभत्सं न प्ररोहति वाक्-क्षतम् ॥ १११ ॥
rohate sāyakair viddhaṃ chinnaṃ rohati cāsinā |
vaco duruktaṃ bībhatsaṃ na prarohati vāk-kṣatam || 111 ||
Wounds caused by arrows can heal. Cuts made by sharp swords can heal. But wounds caused by harsh words never ever heal.
Saying this, the sad owl wiped his tears, held Krikālika, and was taken home.
The crow thought over what had happened, and said to himself “Oh, what have I done? I caused an enmity for no reason. It is said…
अदेश-कालज्ञम् अनायति-क्षमं यद् अप्रियं लाघव-कारि चात्मनः ।
यो ऽत्राब्रवीत् कारण-वर्जितं वचो न तद् वचः स्याद् विषम् एव तद् भवेत् ॥ ११२ ॥
adeśa-kālajñam anāyati-kṣamaṃ yad apriyaṃ lāghava-kāri cātmanaḥ |
yo ‘trābravīt kāraṇa-varjitaṃ vaco na tad vacaḥ syād viṣam eva tad bhavet || 112 ||
Words spoken at the wrong place and at the wrong time, without discretion, leading to bad consequences, that demonstrate one’s own low thinking, and spoken without any specific reason, are not mere words, they are poison.
बलोपपन्नो ऽपि हि बुद्धिमान् नरः परे नयेन् न स्वयम् एव वैरिताम् ।
भिषङ् ममास्तीति विचिन्त्य भक्षयेद् अकारणात् को हि विचक्षणो विषम् ॥ ११३ ॥
balopapanno ‘pi hi buddhimān naraḥ pare nayen na svayam eva vairitām |
bhiṣaṅ mamāstīti vicintya bhakṣayed akāraṇāt ko hi vicakṣaṇo viṣam || 113 ||
Even if he is strong, an intelligent person should not make enmity with anyone. Which wise man would consume poison, trusting that the doctor is nearby and will save him?
परिवादः परिषदि न कथञ्चित् पण्डितेन वक्तव्यः ।
सत्यम् अपि तन् न वाच्यं यद् उक्तम् असुखावहं भवति ॥ ११४ ॥
parivādaḥ pariṣadi na kathañcit paṇḍitena vaktavyaḥ |
satyam api tan na vācyaṃ yad uktam asukhāvahaṃ bhavati || 114 ||
A wise man should never blame anyone in front of others. Even if true, he should not say it, if it can cause pain to that person, or anyone else.
सुहृद्भिर् आप्तैर् असकृद्-विचारितं स्वयं हि बुद्ध्या प्रविचारिताश्रयम् ।
करोति कार्यं खलु यः स बुद्धिमान् स एव लक्ष्म्या यशसां च भाजनम् ॥ ११५ ॥
suhṛdbhir āptair asakṛd-vicāritaṃ svayaṃ hi buddhyā pravicāritāśrayam |
karoti kāryaṃ khalu yaḥ sa buddhimān sa eva lakṣmyā yaśasāṃ ca bhājanam || 115 ||
A person who starts something only after detailed discussions with friends and well-wishers, and after thinking and analysing the situation well, will always be successful and prosperous.
And after having thought this way, the crow too flew away. Since then, many generations have passed, by the enmity between us and the owls still remains”, concluded Sthirajeevin.
MeghaVarna was lost in thought, after hearing what the wise minister had said. “Oh revered sir, what should we do now?” he asked with folded hands.
to be continued…