Who is to blame?

Read the previous part here…

In time, since Pingalaka had stopped hunting, the other animals, Karataka and Damanaka included, started to starve, and fall sick as a result. They all huddled together, with hardly any energy left to do anything else….

Karataka and Damanaka, hungry and thirsty and at present also out of favor of the king, started to discuss the situation.

Damanaka said – “Oh Karataka! We have lost our importance. Pingalaka is so captivated by Sanjeevaka that he doesn’t even perform his basic duties. All the servants have left, since they were not taken care of. What needs to be done now?”

Karataka replied – “ You should try to advise Pingalaka, even though he may not fully heed your words at present. It is said…”

अशृन्वन्न् अपि बोद्धव्यो मन्त्रिभिः पृथिवी-पतिः ।
यथा स्व-दोष-नाशाय विदुरेणाम्बिकासुतः ॥ १७१ ॥

aśṛnvann api boddhavyo mantribhiḥ pṛthivī-patiḥ |
yathā sva-doṣa-nāśāya vidureṇāmbikāsutaḥ || 171 ||

A minister should keep advising the king, even if the king doesn’t heed him. This is to ensure that they are not to blame in any eventuality, much like Vidura kept advising Dritarashtra, even though the latter did not heed his words.

मदोन्मत्तस्य भूपस्य कुञ्जरस्य च गच्छतः ।
उन्मार्गं वाच्यतां यान्ति महामात्राः समीपगाः ॥ १७२ ॥

madonmattasya bhūpasya kuñjarasya ca gacchataḥ |
unmārgaṃ vācyatāṃ yānti mahāmātrāḥ samīpagāḥ || 172 ||

A musth elephant, or an arrogant king, who acts mad , does not get blamed as much as their mahouts or ministers.

“Damanaka, you stoked this fire yourself, when you brought this grass-eating animal to Pingalaka.

Damanaka agreed – “True! This is entirely my fault, not the Master’s. It is said…”

जम्बूको हुडु-युद्धेन वयं चाषाढ-भूतिना ।
दूतिका पर-कार्येण त्रयो दोषाः स्वयं कृताः ॥ १७३ ॥

jambūko huḍu-yuddhena vayaṃ cāṣāḍha-bhūtinā |
dūtikā para-kāryeṇa trayo doṣāḥ svayaṃ kṛtāḥ || 173 ||

The difficulties encountered by the fox which went in between the fighting rams, and because of Aashaadabhooti, and by the messenger girl, were all self-made.

Karataka said-“How is that?”

Damanaka replied…

I stopped the story here abruptly, since what follows is a long tale involving a few different characters. Best approached in a fresh post. For those who like a recap, we are at a forest where two foxes – Karataka and Damanaka, plotted to influence Pingalaka into making them ministers in his kingdom.

The plan was good, but the central character in this plot – Sanjeevaka the bull, was not as dumb as he looked. While Sanjeevaka’s intentions were good, he inadvertently came in between the foxes and Pingalaka; the latter being enamoured by the bull’s intelligence and knowledge of philosophy.

Damanaka is now at a stage where he needs to plot again…but what will he do now…

Let’s find out!

to be continued