HIRANYAA’S PAST

Dear Friends,Last month we learnt that the crow, Laghupatanakam approached the rat, Hiranyaka extending a hand of friendship. This month we will learn about their friendship, their relocation to a new home near the lake ‘Karpura gauram’ in the dandakaranya forest and some moral stories they exchange in the process.

Hiranyaksha-past-story

Good words and quotes appeal to our intellect and we feel good. They may also motivate us to take some positive steps. However the euphoria withers out soon. On the other hand, when we connect with the heart, emotions internalise the message. Probably this psychological value is well understood by ancient Indian scholars. Over centuries, different forms of story-telling emerged to appeal to different audiences

The inherent messages of our scriptures, vedas are told in the form of dialogues and stories in upanishads, ithihasas and puranas. These appeal to one set of audience. Burra katha, hari katha, etc., appeal to many others. Another interesting mode to convey this message is used in Panchatantra tales. In this animals and birds are deployed to deliver important values.

Each animal and bird anchors us to one particular value or quality. As humans, we have all these qualities in different proportions. Reading these stories is fun for children and adults alike. While we enjoy reading these stories, the values also are imbibed subtly. Come let’s see what happened to the friendship between the crow and the rat.

The rat initially declined the offer of friendship from the crow, as they are natural enemies. However, the crow was impressed by the way the pigeons were saved by the rat. He realised the value of Hiranyaka’s friendship and persisted with the request. He conveyed the same to Hiranyaka. He mentioned that he saw him as a wise being and emphasised on the value of befriending the wise, and also dangers of befriending the bad and selfish. He also expressed his readiness to end his life, if the request is rejected.

Hiranyaka was sincerity in the request and obliged finally. After some time, one day Laghupatanakam made a proposal to Hiranyaka. He said, “I am finding it difficult to find food in this forest. We need to move to a new forest and find a new home.”

Hiranyaka replied, “Teeth, hair, nails and humans have value only when they are at the same place. If they move to a different place, they will lose their value. So, let’s drop this idea of moving to a new h o u s e .”

Convinced Hiranyaka asks, “So, where do you plan to go? ”

Laghupatanakam replied, “It is wise to look before you leap. We need to decide the destination before moving from here. In Dandakaranya, there’s a lake called Karpuragauram. My friend, Mandhara, a tortoise king lives there. He can provide us with food and take care. I suggest it’s a nice place to relocate to.

”Hiranyaka responded, “I am reminded of the wise saying, we need to leave a place where we don’t have respect, relatives, means for life and opportunity to learn. Please take me also along with you to Dandakaranya.”

Thus decided the two friends start their journey to Dandakaranyam. After a few days they meet their new companion, Mandhara, tortoise. Laghupatanakam makes a detailed intro of his experience with Hiranyaka. Interested, Mandhara enquires about the reason for Hiranyaka’s stay alone in Vichitravanam forest.

Thus decided the two friends start their journey to Dandakaranyam. After a few days they meet their new companion, Mandhara, tortoise. Laghupatanakam makes a detailed intro of his experience with Hiranyaka. Interested, Mandhara enquires about the reason for Hiranyaka’s stay alone in Vichitravanam forest.

Hiranyaka’s history

There was an ashram in a city called Champakavathi. In that ashram lived a sannyasi, Choodakarna. Hiranyaka also made a hole in one corner of the room and stayed there. Choodakarna would tie his excess food in the night, to a hanger on the wall. Hiranyaka would swiftly climb over wall and empty the food every night.

One day, Choodakarna had his friend veenakarna as a guest. As they were chatting late in the evening, they saw Hiranyaka swiftly climb on to the wall to reach the food. Seeing this Choodakarna tried to drive him away with the help of a stick.

Meanwhile, Veenakarna was surprised. He wondered, “How can a rat climb up the wall and reach the food tied at such a height? There is some reason behind this rat’s strength. It is very strange. I am reminded of the story a lady who used to go around the town asking for full sesame grains in exchange of pounded ones

”Choodakarna enquired to know more about this funny story. Veenakarna narrated thus thus.

There used to live a Brahmin couple in a village. Once day they invited other brahmins home for lunch. To prepare dishes, the lady of the house soaked sesame seeds for a while, washed them nicely, pounded gently, cleared it off its skin and left it to dry on a cloth under the sun. When she was away, a hen walked over and made a mess of it. The grains thus became unfit to prepare food for the guest. So she collected them on to a plate and approached another lady down the street to exchange it for fresh grains. She was happy to get ready to cook pounded grains instead of fresh ones and took them inside to get fresh ones. Meanwhile the man of the house said, “There is something fishy here. Why will someone exchange nicely pounded grains for fresh ones? Who would want to go through all the labour again? Try to find out what happened” On enquiry in the neighbourhood they get to know that the grains were messed up by a hen. Thus they refuse to take the grains.

Thus narrating the story of pounded grains, Veenakarna stressed, “There should be some story behind this rat’s strength. Check its hole and you will know the reason”. On digging deep they found lot of stored food inside the hole. They emptied the food to drive away the rat. However, the rat used to loiter around despite becoming weak due to lack of food. Seeing this Choodakarna drove it away by threatening it with a stick. Worried, Hiranyaka moved to a distant place, where no humans dwell, in Vichitra vanam and started living there. Gradually it befriended Chitragreeva, the pigeon king and later on the crow Laghupatanakam.

Let’s see next month, what happened next !

– Tanslated by Balaji Gorantla from Telugu original by Molagu Krishn Priya, Veerullapadu