Loss Of Gains:
The Croc and The Monkey
Vishnu Sarma begins his fourth Tantra with the following stanza:
“He overcomes all problems
Who does not lose his cool
Even in the face of adversity
Like the monkey in the water.”
Raktamukha was a monkey living on a blackberry tree near the coast. That tree was always full of fruits. One day a crocodile named Karalamukha came out of the waters and loitering on the sands came to the tree.
Seeing the croc, the monkey said, “O croc, you are my guest. I will feed you with these delicious blackberries. Enjoy the fare. The learned have said,
“That man is blessed who hosts
A lover or an enemy or a fool.
Angels will desert the home
That fails to host a guest.”
The monkey then gave the crock a lot of berries. After he had his fill, Karalamukha went home. Thereafter, it became a habit with the croc to daily visit Raktamukha, enjoy the fruit he offered, spend time with him discussing the world and then go home.
One day, the croc’s wife asked her husband, “Where do you get this fruit, they are so sweet. I have never tasted such mouth-watering fruit.”
“I have a close friend, a monkey, who gives me the fruit every day,” said the husband.
“If the fruit are so sweet, the heart of your friend who eats them everyday must be as delicious as the fruit. Please get his heart for me, if you have love left for me. I will always be young and immortal if I eat that fruit,” said the wife.
“My dear, it is improper for you to speak like that. I have accepted him as my brother. It is not possible for me to kill such a host. Please be reasonable. The elders have said,
“From mother we get our first relative,
A good word brings the second relative
Who is more precious than a brother.”
Angry, the wife said, “You have never defied my word. It must be a female monkey who is your friend. That’s why you are spending so much time with him every day. I have now understood you thoroughly. Your heart is full of that monkey. You are a cheat.”
Karalamukha, wanting to pacify his wife, said, ““My dear, why are you angry? I am your most obedient servant and ready to carry out your order at any time.”
“No, she is dear to you. If you really love me, why don’t you kill her and get me her heart. If you don’t get it, I will fast and die,” threatened the wife.
Worried, the croc went to the monkey. Seeing that the croc was late for his daily meeting, Raktamukha said, “You are late and do not seem to be cheerful. What’s the matter?”
“O my friend, how can I tell you what happened at home. My wife is very angry. She told me that I am an ungrateful friend and that every day I eat the fruit you offer but never had the courtesy of inviting you home. You have no redemption; she told me and warned me that if I did not bring you home, I would see her only in the other world. These arguments with her have delayed me. Please come with me. My wife has decorated the house fit to receive you. She has hung welcome buntings at the entrance. She is eagerly waiting for me to bring you home.”
The monkey said, “Your wife has said the proper thing. You should leave a man who loves you for your wealth like the spider attracts his prey. She might as well have quoted the elders saying,
“Where there is no give and take
Where there is no exchange of secrets
And of hospitality either
There is no true friendship.”
“There is a problem, however. We are all land animals. You live in water. It may not be possible for me to accept your kind invitation. I advise you to bring her here,” said the monkey.
“It’s really no problem,” said the croc. “Our house is on a sandbank. It’s a beautiful place. Sit on my back. I will carry you.”
The monkey happily sat on the back of the croc and the journey began. As the croc was entering deep waters, the monkey got scared and told the croc to go slowly.
Thinking that the monkey was his prisoner now, Karalamukha told Raktamukha, “It is now safe to tell you our plan. My wife wanted me to create trust in you first and persuade you to accept our invitation and then kill you so that we may have the good fortune of feasting on your heart.”
With great presence of mind, the monkey said, “My friend, if this is what you and your wife wanted, why didn’t you tell me in the beginning itself? My heart is safely stored in the burrow of the tree. What is the use of your taking me home without my heart? Let us go back. There is nothing happier for me than giving my heart to your wife.” Happy, the croc turned back and brought the monkey to the shore.
The monkey at once leapt to the top of the blackberry tree and thought, “We should not trust an untrustworthy person, even if we did, it should not be total. Such trust will destroy us completely. This is a rebirth for me.”
The croc was in a hurry and asked the monkey, “What is the delay? Get you heart. My wife will be very happy.”
The monkey angrily told him, “You idiot, have you seen anyone who has two hearts? You are ungrateful. Get out of my sight and never come this way again. People who are hungry stoop to any level like Priyadarsana.” The croc asked him to tell the story of Priyadarsana.
Raktamukha told him the following story.