A Conflict Among Friends
This is the beginning of the first tantra called, "Confict amoungst friends".
"A great Friendship had developed in the jungle,between the Lion and the Bullock, but it was destroyed by a very wicked and avaricious jackal."
This is how the story goes:
In the south of India there was a city called Mahilaropyam. The son of a very rich merchant lived there. His name was Vardhamanaka. One night, as he lay awake in bed, his thoughts were troubled. This is what he was turning over in his mind. "Even when a man has plenty of money, it is still a good thing for him to try to make more. As they say:
"There is nothing in life that money cannot achieve, and so a wise man should be bent on increasing his wealth. If a man has money, he has friends. When he has money, he is recognised by his reletives. In this world a stranger becomes kinsman to a moneyed man, whilst a poor man is avoided even by his family. A man with money will even be considered a scholar. But the young grow old for the want of it."
Vardhamanaka came to a decision. On an auspicious day, he took leave of his elders and made preparations to travel to Mathura with his wares. He had two Bullocks called Sanjivaka and Nandaka, both born in his house and able to carry heavy loads. He harnessed them to a cart and set out, accompinied by a few servants.
After a few days, as they reached the bank of the river Yamuna, one of the Bullocks, the one called Sanjivaka, broke his leg and collapsed. Vardhamanaka was most distressed to see his Bullock in this condition and for the love of Sanjivaka, he called a halt at the place for three nights.
When the cart drivers saw Vardhamanaka so dejected, they said to him, "Most noble Sir, why loiter in a jungle full of Lions and Tigers for the sake of one Ox, when it may mean sacrificing everything. For they say: 'A wise man should never sacrifice big interests for smaller ones.'"
When he heard them say this, Vardhamanaka left a couple of men to look after the injured Bullock and set off on the remainder of the journey.
The following day, these men caught up with him. They had thought that they may come to some harm in the jungle and so they lied to Vardhamanaka, "Sir, Sanjivaka is dead. We burnt him in fire." When he heard this, Vardhamanaka performed the last rites, out of gratitude to his devoted servant.
But Sanjivaka was destined to live longer. He ate tender plants from the bed of the river Yamuna, thereby regained a little of his strength and somehow managed to get up. The cool breezes greatly refreshed him. He ate grass that was green and shining and within a few days he became fat and strong. It's true what they say: "He whom fortune smiles on, though unprotected, eludes destruction, but he who has luck against him, is done for, even though he be well protected. A man left defenseless in a jungle survives, but even after a great struggle to live, he may die in his own house."
Now in this very jungle there lived a Lion called Pingalaka, with an entourage of other animals. One day he was parched with thirst and went to the bank of the river Yamuna to drink water. There, he heard from a great distance the hideous roar of Sanjivaka. Pingalaka was terrified in his heart but outwardly he hid his feelings and went and sat down under a banyan tree. His court gathered around him.
When they saw the Lion returning without having quenched his thirst, they began to consult with each other. " My dear Karataka," said Damanaka, "this master of ours went to drink water but has returned without doing so and now he sits under the banyan tree surrounded by his retinue."
"What has that to do with us?" said Karataka, for:'The man who takes on work that was never meant for him, courts destruction, like the Monkey who took the wedge from the log.'" "How was that?" asked Damanaka.
And Karataka told of The Monkey and The Log...