THE FORFEIT OF PROFITS|
This is the beginning of the fourth tantra called, "The forfeit of profits" and here is the first verse:
"A man who does not lose his head, in the face of calamities, shall overcome them, just like the monkey in the midst of the sea."
The story goes like this:
On a sea beach, there stood a big Jambu Plum tree, which gave fruit throughout the year. In the tree, there lived monkey, by the name of Raktamukha.
One day, a crocodile called Karalamulcha, who lived in a creek, came out and made himself comfortable on the soft sand under the tree.
At this, the monkey spoke to him with these words, "You are my guest. Please accept this sweet nectareous fruit of the jambu tree, for: 'All the gods, and his ancestors too, will turn away their faces, from the man who lets a guest leave his house sighing and unhonoured.' "
With these words, the monkey gave him the jambu fruit. When he had devoured it, the crocodile chatted with the monkey for a long time and finally went home. In this way, sitting under the shade of the jambu tree, crocodile and the monkey used to spend their time together, devouring the jambu fruit and talking pleasantly about various moral tales and so on. After the crocodile had his fill, he would take home what left over, for his wife.
One day, his wife said to him, "Darling! Where do you get such sweet nectareous fruit everyday?"
"Dearest," replied the crocodile, "I have a bosom friend, a monkey, by the name of Raktamukha, who is very affectionate towards me and gives me this fruit."
At this, his wife said, "Someone who eats this nectareous fruit everyday, must also have a heart as sweet as nectar. Now, if you really love me, bring home his heart so that I can eat it, thereby escape old age and death, and enjoy life with you."
The crocodile replied, "Darling! Please, please, don't talk like that! I now regard him as my brother and besides, he is very kind to me and gives me the fruit. So, how can I kill him? Give up your demand, for they say: 'Brotherhood developed by way of conversation, is reputed to be far superior to brotherhood that comes from having the same mother.' "
"So far," said the crocodile's wife, "You have never turned down any of my requests. So, I think this must be some female monkey whom you love and spend the whole day with. Now I understand you very well. You don't even speak nicely to me any more and give me what I ask for. At night time, when we are together your sighs are as hot as a flame of fire, but not for me! You don't hug and kiss me as passionately as you used to either. Hypocrite! I believe some other sweet thing lives in your heart nowadays."
The crocodile fell down at her feet in great distress. Then he got up and took her on his lap and, speaking lovingly to her, said, "Dearest! Why are you getting angry with me, when I fall at your feet like a slave?"
When she heard him say this, the crocodile's wife replied, with tears in her eyes, "Deceiver! With all your amorous gestures, you are trying to fool me, but some other female lives in your heart. Why make fun of me by falling at my feet! And anyway, if she is not your beloved, why can't you kill her, when I tell you to? If on the other hand, it's a male monkey, how could there be love between you and him? What more is there for me to say. If I don't have that heart, then know for certain that I shall starve myself to death."
When he heard her resolution, the crocodile was very worried and he said to himself, "Ah, how true it is what they say: 'Glue, an idiot, a woman, a crab, a shark, indigo dye and a drunkard. Once they attach themselves to something they will never let go.' "So, what shall I do! How shall I kill the monkey?"
With these thoughts, the crocodile went to see his friend.
When the monkey saw the crocodile arriving, looking very glum, he asked him, "Friend! Why are you late
today? You don't look at all cheerful and you aren't reciting any verses as you usually do."
"Well," replied the crocodile, "your sister gave me a vicious telling off today. She said, 'Ungrateful fellow! Don't you show me your face again! Everyday you take advantage of this friend of yours, but not once have you brought him home and entertained him here! Now, unless you do so, I will see you in the next life!' Well, time elapsed while I was arguing with her and I was delayed. So now, please come home with me. Your sister has set up a bower in your honour and decorated the entrance of the house with the trunks of the plantain trees and mango leaves. She has dressed herself in beautiful clothes and put on ornaments and jewels, and now she is waiting anxiously at the gate to receive you."
"My friend," said the monkey, "my sister has spoken well, for they say: 'There are six indications of friendship: Giving and receiving, Listening to and telling secrets, Entertaining and being entertained.'
"But I am a jungle dweller and you live in water. So, how could I possibly come to your home? It would be better if you brought my sister over here, so that I can bow to her and receive her blessings."
"But, friend," replied the crocodile, "it is better if you come to us! My house is on a very charming sandy bank, just across the creek, but you can ride on my back across the water. Come on, don't be afraid!"
"My friend!" said the monkey delightedly. "If that's the case, what are we waiting for? Hurry up! Look, I am already on your back!" And so, with the monkey riding on his back, the crocodile entered the sea.
When the crocodile started swimming fast in deep water, the monkey got frightened and he said, "Brother', Please go very slowly. My, body is getting drenched by the waves of the sea!"
Then the crocodile thought to himself, "He is entirely in my power in this deep water. He can't even move. So, I will tell him my real purpose in bringing him here and then he can pray to his chosen deity."
So, he said to the monkey, "My dear fellow, I have brought you here to kill you, at the express request of my wife. So, you had better pray to your chosen deity!"
"Brother!" exclaimed the monkey. "What wrong have I ever done you or your wife that you should think of killing me?"
"She wants to eat your heart," said the crocodile. "She thinks it must be as sweet as nectar, because you eat nectareous fruit everyday. She says, it will save her from old age and death. That is why I have played this trick on you."
"Friend," said the ready-witted monkey, "if that's the case, whyever didn't you tell me earlier, over at my place? You see, I always keep my heart in the hollow of the jambu tree for safety. I would gladly have handed it over to you for my sister. If you are taking me to your home without my heart, the whole thing will be pointless!"
"Well then," said the crocodile, "I will take you back to the jambu tree to get it." So, the crocodile took the
monkey back to the beach. On the way, the monkey kept murmuring prayers to the gods.
As soon as they reached the shore, the monkey sprang up the jambu tree and thought to himself, 'Whew! I've got back my life! It's true what they say: 'Never trust a man who is not to be trusted, or even a trustworthy man beyond reasonable limits, for it is dangerous to do so and can result in utter ruin.'
"Oh, today is like regeneration to me!"
While he was thinking this, the crocodile said to him, "Ho! Friend! Hand me over your heart then, so that I can take it to my wife. She can eat it and give up her fast."
The monkey laughed loudly and ridiculed the crocodile, "Treacherous fool! How could anybody leave his heart behind? Get away from here and never come back again! It's true what they say: 'A man who wants to be friends with someone who has let him down before surely courts his own death.' "
When the crocodile heard this, he was very embarrassed and started thinking, "What a fool I was to give away my secret! Now, if it is possible', I must try to re-establish his confidence in me."
So he said, "My dear friend! I was only joking, to test you. What would your sister want with your heart? Now, come on, be my guest. My wife must be anxiously waiting to meet you."
"Wicked devil!" said the monkey. "After this, I shall never come again. As the king of the frogs said: 'What sin will a starving man not commit? Weak people become cruel, Madam! Please tell Priyadarshana that Gangadatta will never again return to the well.'
"How was that?" asked the crocodile.
And the monkey told 'The Story Of The King Of Frogs And The Snake'.