37.I AM NO CRANE
ONCE the sage Markandeya came to see
the Pandavas. Yudhishthira happened to
talk of the virtues of the fair sex and said:
"What greater wonder is there in this
world than the patience and the chastity of
woman? She gives birth to a child after
cherishing it in her womb as dearer than
life itself. She brings it into the world
inpain and anxiety and thence forward her
one thought is for its health and
happiness. Large hearted and forgiving, a
woman forgives and continues to love
even a wicked husband who neglects and
hates and subjects her to all sorts of
miseries. How strange!"
Hearing this Markandeya told him a
There was once a brahmana, named
Kausika who observed his vow of
brahmacharya. with great steadfastness
One day, he sat under a tree reciting the
Vedas. A crane, perched on the top of the
tree, defiled his head with its droppings.
He looked up at it, and his angry look
killed the bird and it fell down dead.
The brahmana was pained when he saw
the dead bird lying on the ground.
How frightful it would be if wishes
fulfilled themselves, if each hasty or angry
wish took effect at once! How much there
would be to regret or repent afterwards! It
is lucky for us that wishes depend
onoutward circumstances for
accomplishment, since that saves us from
much sin and sorrow.
Kausika sorrowed that the evil thought
that passed in his mind in a moment of
anger had killed an innocent bird. Some
time later, he went as usual to beg alms.
He stood before the door of a house to
receive his dole. The housewife was
cleansing utensils at that time. Kausika
waited in the hope that she would attend
to him after her work was over.
In the meantime the master of the house
returned, tired and hungry, and the wife
had to attend to his wants, wash and dry
his feet and serve him with food.