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Panchatantra tales ,Machiavelli and Contemporary Reality
#1
I have always believed in the politics of Machiavelli, one that is guided by a larger purpose unhindered by the dust and residue of past disaffection and personalities. The purpose of course is a larger goal, not personal aggrandizement or raw, brute power play like what we see playing out around us. The wisdom is captured in a Panchatantra story that I am retelling. Unfortunately we spend most of time reading the turgid, nonsensical trash which passes off as wisdom. Neglecting the words found in Brhadkatha, Katha sagara and the like. How many of us have read these stories to our children when they were young. Not many. I'm afraid. Here goes:

In a forest, long long ago a dark evil hunter laid a trap for the King of the Jungle, the Lion. He was a splendid animal with a golden mane, bright eyes. And he was swift on foot and his mind, like that of any Emperor lucid and agile. In spite of his many admirable qualities, Vidhi, Fate or Fortuna had decreed that he should be trapped. And it came to pass that the Hunter's evil paln succeeded and the Great Beast, the King of the Forest was trapped in a net made of strong coir and the more he struggled to get out of the snare the more tight the grip.

All day and all night the animal lay moaning at his misfortune. Even a King can be trapped like a common animal, he realized. As he came to terms with the fate awaiting him the next morning, he heard a faint squeak of a mouse. The Great Lion perked his ears. Yes, it was a small, mouse with a stringy tail standing at a rreverential distance from the Lion.

"Oh Great King" he said.
"Now you have come to mock me" replied the lion, with barely concealed anger.
"No" my Master," said the Mouse. "I have come to offer you my help".

The lion was astonished at this impertinent reply. He thought to himself of what use can a silly Mouse be to me.
Anyway he decided to humour the Mouse. "How can you, a silly, Mouse be of any help to the King of the Forest".

The Mouse answered, "MY Lord. I have skills you do not have".
"Really" replied the Lion with a barely suppressed smirk.

Just as the moon became bright and the Owl began hooting, the Mouse started cutting the rope with its sharp teeth. The Lion realized his mistake and started talking gently to the Mouse who continued his task in a leisurely way. The horizon was getting bright. The Owl flew away. The whose forest was draped in a golden hue. The animals woke to a new day. The lion was getting restless.

"Finish you job fast" he said. "The Hunter may come at any moment"
Sure enough a tall man with a prominent mustache with a sword strapped on his chest was striding toward the snare. He took aim at the lion with his bow and arrow. And at that very moment the last strand was cut and the Lion was free and he bounded into the forest. Free. And Majestic.

That afternnon the Kinf g of the Forest and the Mouse met near the ruins of the Old Fort. The Lion said, "I offer you the bond of eternal friendship".

The Mouse replied, No Your Majesty. It was circumstances that bought us together. Even as I was helping you escape, you were protecting me from the Owl".

This story, indeed a Parable is regnant with wisdom and has bearing on what is happening around us, Of course, I except a certain degree of understanding to capture the nuances.
Venkata Raghotham, History
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