Chapter XXIV - 86 Home | Index | Previous | Next

He did it out of ignorance and you reveal your ignorance, weeping for it. I am not concerned with honour or dishonour. The knowledge of the Atma enables a man to keep himself on an even keel, neither rising when praised nor falling when blamed. Some boor must have played this silly prank; since you are yet boys, you are exaggerating it into a big crime; you are undergoing a mountain of grief over a molehill. Get up and go to the playground", he said. He made his son sit on his lap and gently stroked his head, so that his grief might abate a little.

Sringi told his father, "This is no prank played by a boor. This is a terrible sacrilege committed by an ego-intoxicated fellow in the garb of a king". At this, Sameeka asked, "What do you say? A person in the garb of a king? Did you see him? Did the king commit this stupid misdemeanour? This silly thing can never enter a king's head". The comrades of Sringi joined their voices and testified that they too saw the person responsible for this sacrilege. "Master! We saw the dead snake and we ran to Sringi was and brought him here. Sringi got so angry that he took the water of the Kowsiki in his hand and threw it at that person who was walking very fast, pronouncing at the same time, with appropriate ritual formulae the curse: let the person who placed the dead snake die of snakebite, the seventh day from today."

Sameeka was shocked at this news; he was astonished at the behaviour of his son. He pushed him out of his lap on to the floor. "What! Did you throw a curse like that? Alas, that the son of a sage should have behaved like this? What a calamitous curse for this trivial offence! Yours is a wrong which can never be atoned; You are a disgrace to the group of comrades around you, for you cannot bear with fortitude such a silly, insignificant prank! I am ashamed to say that such a boy is my son. You have no strength of mind to bear such little affronts. O, what a pity! Alas, that your childishness should plunge all sages and ascetics into ill-fame; people will say we have not got even elementary patience and fortitude! Do not show me your face; to see it is a sacrilege. To punish people for wrongs done is the duty of the king; not that of the recluse in the forest. The recluse who pronounces curses is no recluse at all."

"Moved by the yearning to achieve the vision and the presence of the guide and guardian of all the worlds, the recluse has given up all attachment; he has established himself in the forest; he lives on fruits and roots; he denounces all catering to the senses as detrimental to spiritual progress. That such horrid curses born of impatience and egoism should come on the tongue of a recluse is a sign of impending doom: it marks the dawn of the Iron Age of untruth" Sameeka said.

"Alas! What a great sin you have added to your burden today", he remarked; he described to his son and his comrades the heinousness of the act that Sringi had done.