An old time Sanskrit story – PUC First Year – Lesson 10 – सन्मित्रम्
Note: The English translation given here is meant for easier understanding of the Sanskrit terms rather than to precisely convey the purport in English.
This story is condensed from a story in the book “Sanskruta-Saamaanya-Gnana” meaning “Simple knowledge of Sanskrit”. In the situation of this story, there was a debate between a king and his minister. The minister is in a difficult situation. He goes one by one to his three friends who have taken help from him earlier. In this story, the theory “when you are in trouble, you will realize who your real friends are” is being proven. According to the saying, “a wise person is respected everywhere”, even in these days, this story helps to that understand the greatness of a good friend.
In the eastern direction, there was a city called Vaishali. There was a king named Senajit who was ruling. This king was brave and courageous. In his court, there was a well learned and truthful minister called Devavrata. He was an intelligent person, in a way that he would not do anything in a hurry. Senajit had excessive friendliness towards him. He gained a lot of fame in all his undertakings due to the intelligence of his minister. So, the king spent his time in comfort and happiness.
Who knows the ways of destiny? Once, in the king’s court, there was a debate on scriptures going on in a congregation of all the learned men, groups of poets, and experts in scriptures. An argument began amongst them. The minister said “there cannot be equality between the learned men’s (status) and the king’s (status). The wise man will be respected both in his country and abroad due to the power of his knowledge. It is not that way for the ruler of the land. The king is respected only in his country”. Disagreeing with the minister’s words, the king said “Without the kings, the poet is not equipped to enjoy the honor. Meanwhile, show the proof for your opinion.” Having said “Definitely!” the minister remained silent. But the king did not ponder on the practicality. Without any delay, he ordered the minister to go out of his kingdom. Following that, the minister left.
In this troubled times, seeking refuge, the Minister Devavrata went quickly to the abode of his well-wisher and affectionate friend, Vaachikamitra. Devavrata had the best relationship with this friend. Even if he says in that wealthy person’s place for his entire life, the king will not be able to come to know of it. But within a few days, understanding that good friend’s fear of supporting a rebellion (one who protests against the King), leaving his house, remembering the help extended by him, he came to the house of the second friend, Somadeva.
Along with Devavrata, Somadeva too experienced delight with the food, drinks, etc. Devavrata was well honoured by Somadeva who had (extended his hospitality and had) given him the seat and pleasing words. “Definitely, I will extend my support to you, even in the event of enmity with the king. Will I be not able to this much?” Devavrata, having considered the utmost consideration of his friend, agreed and said “Ok”. But sooner itself the minister was told this by Somadeva, “Oh, my friend. I will not forget your help. If the king comes to know of your stay in my house, definitely, he will pierce me with the trident. I know that it is blunder to give refuge to a person who has been banished from the country. So, immediately, leave my house and go elsewhere”.
Devavrata, who started out, leaving Somadeva’s house, on hearing his words, was unable to bear the sorrow and anger. “Oh! What a miserable state I am in! Those two friends were selfish. I do not see any other group of well-wishers”, thinking this, in the middle of the way, he met a childhood friend, Chandradhara. “This person (Chandradhara) has never been honored by me”. Just on seeing each other, both of them were extremely delighted. Devavrata, who was returning due to dejection, somehow (i.e., without any hope), entered the house of the friend, Chandradhara. He was duly respected and welcomed in the appropriate manner, by being offered the seat, water to wash his feet, water to drink, etc. The joy of Chandradhara on seeing his friend was inexpressible.
“The people who are dragged by the series of different needs, deceive by different ways, the other people who are blinded by friendship. The people of the world act only according to their convenience. They don’t desire for the other people’s wellbeing. Indeed, in this world, it is a worth-less lineage”, thinking this, Devavrata, expressed his helplessness. He told about the king’s thoughts and his friends’ thoughts. On hearing this, without any consideration for the king’s wrath, Chandradhara tried to pacify him in all possible ways. He said, “Oh friend! For the protection of my learned friend, even if my life is lost, I will not be a person who deviates from the path of one’s duty. By sacrificing the life for a friend, my dependents will consider it to be their good fortune. Actually, only the friend is the most important person in the entire world.” Devavrata became extremely happy because of the affection of his friend, Chandradhara. In the course of time, Devavrata became the point of respect of the subjects of the kingdom. The king also became happy on knowing about Chandradhara’s mindset to even give up his own life. Without Devavrata, the king, Senajit, was unable to perform the royal duties. So, he himself went to Chandradhara’s house, begged for Devavrata’s forgiveness and thinking “Oh! My intelligence is like this!” he comforted Devavrata with great respect.
Again and again recollecting Chandradhara’s help, after inviting him to his house, Devavrata along with the king, went to the king’s palace.