The Table Turns !
After Damanaka got clearance from the king Pingalaka, he sets out in search for the animal that made a terrifying noise. Damanaka knew that it was the ox. He also knew where she lives. However, he went around the forest spreading the message that he is on King’s errand. He wanted to re-establish his lost reputation among the animals. After making enough propaganda, he goes to the other side of the water here? We did not see you earlier here?”
Sanjeevakam narrated its entire story. After hearing it completely he said, “Don’t worry! I will not harm you. I knew your story earlier. I just wanted to confirm. Our king wants to meet you. Ocme let’s go.”
Sanjeevakam has still not returned to normalcy. He responded, “Who is your king? Why does he want to see me? I am grazing on the grass and leaves around, drinking water in the stream and living here at peace. body, where the ox Sanjeevakam lived.
Seeing the fox, a cunning animal Sanjeevakam, a harmless creature felt uncomfortable. To add to the discomfort, Damanaka posed a series of questions. “Who are you? What is your name? Why are you there is no harm to other animals in the jungle.”
Sanjeevakam felt a bit comfortable with the response and agreed to go along.
On reaching the king’s den, Damanaka asked Sanjeevakam to wait outside and he went in.
He said to the king, “Hey King! I have identified the animal that made the noise. There is nothing to worry. He is a harmless creature, an ox. He was just venting out some stiffness in its body and mind after a heavy meal and that noise frightened us. On enquiry, he felt apologetic and looked a bit frightened as well.He readily agreed to come along with me. He is now waiting outside. I fyou give permission, I will bring him in.
I am not troubling anyone. Have I done any mistake?”
Damanaka said, “Don’t worry. You have not done any wrong. Lion is our king. He had seen you recently. He also heard some noises in the forest recently. Those noises frightened several animals. He just wanted to check, if that is from you and ensure The king felt relieved, “Ok! Bring him in”
Damanaka brought him in.
The moment he came in, he said humbly, “Oh! King, I did not make noise to frighten anyone. I was just relaxing and did not knew it will frighten you. Sorry for that. It is an honour to meet you. I would be pleased to serve you. Please accept me in your services.”
The King asked, “How did you come here. Tell me about yourself.”
Sanjeevakam narrated his entire story. The King felt relieved and said, “No problem! You can be with me and offer your services to me. You can be my minister and guide me in governing the jungle.” Sanjeevakam agreed happily
Damanaka was taken aback at the sudden turn of events. He thought, “Instead of appreciating me and giving my post back, he is appointing this animal as the minister. All my efforts have gone vain”.
Left with no other option, he returned to Karataka and lamented, “I am cheated. Instead of appreciating me, he made Sanjeevakam the minister.I did not get my post back as well. I feel like the sannyasi, who trusted Ashadhabhoothi”.
“Who is Ashadhabhoothi? What is the sannyasi’s story?” asked Karataka.
Damanaka started narrating the story.
Once there lived a sannyasi, who was on constant move from one place to the other giving discourses. He had given up everything and would give nice discourses. People would throng to listen to him and give him offerings liberally.
However, this sannyasi had one shortcoming. He did not give up his love for money. He did not like to spend money. He was stingy. He carried a small pot along with him and store all his money in that.
Once a thief Ashadhabhoothi notices him, counting his collection and packing it back in the pot. He wanted to lay hands on the pot. However, the sannyasi would never take his eyes and hands off the pot.
Ashadhabhoothi then disguised as a sannyasi approaches the original sannyasi seeking his discipleship. The sannyasi was growing old. He thought it would be good if there is some help and accepted.
The sannyasi gave him lot of other work, but did not let Ashadhabhoothi lay his hands on the pot. Once, when they were going from one town to the other, Ashadhabhoothi suddenly stops enroute.”
He said, “Guruji, this twig got locked in my robes and I carried it by mistake. It should belong to the owners of the house where we stayed last night. Can you please wait for a while? I will go back, return the twig and join you soon.”
Without giving an opportunity for the sannyasi to respond, he immediately rushes away and returns after a while.
Ashsadhabhoothi’s commitment and values impressed the sannyasi. “He could not claim ownership of even a small thing as a twig which he did not own”, he thought.
On the way back that evening, they stopped near a stream, to offer their evening prayers to Sun god. The sannyasi handed over the pot to Ashadhabhoothi and said, “Take care! I will complete my prayers and come back”.
Having handed over the pot to a trustworthy person, the sannyasi went deeper into the waters to have a refreshing bath. He did not worry about the pot any more. When he returned, he found neither Ashadhabhoothi nor the pot. He realised he was cheated.
“I thought the King would be grateful to mygesture and re-instate my post to me. On the contrary, he trusted a stranger, an animal new to the forest and made him the minister,” lamented Damanaka.
Jai Srimannarayana !
– Translated by Balaji Gorantla, Chennai from
Telugu Bala Nivedana