The Jackal and The Sadhu - Panchatantra Stories

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Once upon a time, in a lonely Abbey, there lived a Sadhu called Dev Sharma. Many people used to visit him and present him with finely women garments, which he sold and thus became very rich. Of being so rich, he trusted nobody. Night and day he kept the treasure purse under his armpit and would not part with it even for a second. As they say:

‘Getting money is an arduous toil and guarding it is even more of a trial. Coming and going money causes trouble, Damn this unending source of worry!’

A swindler named Ashadhbhuti, who robbed other men of their money, noticed that the Sadhu kept the treasure purse under his armpit.

He said to himself, ‘How could I rob this man of his money! Its difficult to make a hole through the walls of the Abbey or to get in over the high gates, so what I’ll do is charm him with honeyed words so that he accept me as his disciple. And when he has put confidence in me, some day he’ll fall into my clutches. It is said that a man who has no desires, Doesn’t deprive others of their rights. “A man with no passion Doesn’t adorn himself, The fool does not speak subtly. The man who speaks out his mind, is never a cheat.”

He had resolutely made up his mind, to carry out this plan, Ashadhbhuti approached to Dev Sharma, stood before him with reverence and said, ‘Om Namaha Shivaya!’

With these words, he threw himself humbly on the gound before Dev Sharma and said.

‘Oh, God this life is futile! Youth gushes by, like a mountain stream. Life is like a fire in the grass, all its pleasures are as transient as the clouds in autumn, and one’s relationship with friends, sons wives and servants is no more than a dream. This I have clearly realised. Now guide me that I may cross the ocean of my life.’

Dev Sharma heard this, and said kindly, ‘My son, you are indeed blessed that you have come to give up the world in your youth. You ask for direction to cross this ocean of life. Then listen. According to my way of thinking, “The good man’s mind has the peace of old age. Whilst his body is still young, but the wicked man’s body is feeble with age and his mind remains young.”

Ashadhbbuti heard this, he fell on the ground in front of Dev Sharma, touched his feet, and said, ‘Oh, my God initiate me in the secrets!’

‘My child!’ replied Dev Sharma, ‘I will, but no one condition, that you will never enter the My Abbey at night, because Sanyasis are recommended to stay alone at night without company, and we will keep to it, you and I. It is said that a “a king is ruined through bad advisers, a Sanyasi through company, a son through over-indulgence, a Brahmin through lack of studying the Holy books and a business or a farm through neglect, and also a family and character through contact with bad people,” continued Dev Sharma, ‘after taking the vow of initiation, you will have to sleep in a thatched hut at the gate of the Abbey.’

‘I shall willingly carry out your wishes,’ agreed Ashadhabhuti.

At bedtime, Dev Sharma initiated Ashadhbhuti according to the rituals and made him his disciple. Ashadhbhuti massaged his hands and feet, waited upon him and made him happy but Dev Sharma did not part with his money bag even for a second.

After some time, Ashadhbhuti began to think, ‘He does not trust me at all! Shall I murder him in broad daylight, poison him?’

He was thinking this over, the son of one of Dev Sharma’s disciples, from a nearby village, came to give him a personal invitation and said, Oh! Holy Sadhu today the ceremony of the sacred thread takes place in our house. Please come and sanctify it with your presence.

Dev Sharma accepted the invitation and Ashadhbhuti accompanied him.

On the way, they came to a river. When Dev Sharma saw the river, he folded his money bag in his robe and said, ‘Ashadhbhuti, look after this robe with the vigilance until I return? And he went into the bushes.

The minute Dev Sharma’s back was turned, Ashadhbhuti vanished with the money bag.

Meanwhile, as Dev Sharma was answering the call of nature, he saw in the distance, two golden rams, fighting each other. They rammed into each other until the blood oozed out, but still they refused to stop fighting.

Meanwhile, a blood-thirsty jackal arrived on the scene and began to lick the blood from the ground.

Dev Sharma thought to himself, ‘If he comes in between the two fighting rams, he’s sure to get himself killed.’

“Sure enough, craving for the blood, the jackal got caught up in the fight. He was hit on the head, fell down and died.

After seeing all this Dev Sharma slowly returned, thinking about this incident and also about his money.

When he got back, he failed to find Ashadhbhuti but saw only his robe, lying on the ground. He peered anxiously inside it but could not find his purse.

He began to cry out, ‘Alas! I have been robbed!’

He fell to the ground, in a swoon.

After a minute or so, he returned to his senses. He got up and began to shout ‘Ashadhbhuti, where are you, you swindler!’

After he had shouted like this in a loud voice, he slowly trailed Ashadhbhuti’s footsteps until, just before evening, he came to a village. He stayed there a short time and then returned to his Abbey.

Moral of The Story “So,” continued Damanak, “that’s why I said, ‘The jackal between the fighting rams and the Sanyasi who trusted Ashadhbhuti, where themselves to blame’.” “You are right but under the circumstances, what should we do?” said Karatak.

“At this very moment, I’m getting inspiration,” said Damanak. “I shall cleverly create discord between him and the master and separate them.

“But brother!” said Karatak. “If, somehow or other, Pingalak or Sanjivak finds out about your scheme to bring about discord between them, then....” 

“My dear Karatak” said Damanak “don’t talk like that. When you fall on bad times and luck’s against you, you should go on trying. Karatak said, “Very well then, brother, but I feel frightened because Sanjivak is wise and the lion is fierce. Even though you have a sharp wit, I think it’s beyond your power to separate them I am doubtful about your success.”

“It may seem beyond me,” said Damanak, “but I’ll do it. You know that what cannot be achieved by force, can be achieved through deceit with the help of the gold chain, you know the female crow killed the black cobra.”

“How was that?” asked Karatak axiously. Then Damanak told this story. THE COBRA AND THE CROW

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