Hitopadesha: The Impatient King

The Impatient King

Last week, Chitravarna, the Peacock King of Jambudwipa was itching to go to war. When his minister, the Vulture, pointed out that war should not be the first option, the impatient King became grouchy. Today, the Vulture gives his King more advice on how a king and his army must march to war. Will the King listen to his minister or ignore him?

The Impatient King

Dooradarshi eyed the impatient King, Chitravarna.

“Your majesty, the most important condition to win a war is to have loyal men who fight for the honour of their King. Remember, it is not the size of your army that is important. There is no guarantee that a large army with men who are not entirely on your side will win you the war. On the other hand, a small army of bold and fearless men devoted to you and who fight faithfully for your cause can and will bring you victory. Because when the doubtful and weaker soldiers run away from the battlefield in the middle of the war,  even the brave will be disheartened and lose hope! 

Your success depends on your army. Show them you value everything they do for you! Treat them with respect, pay them on time, recognize their courage, allow them to lead, and make sure they are well-fed and rested! Otherwise, your soldiers will become disinterested and restless.

Don’t forget to let your soldiers rest well before you strike a blow to your enemy. If they are too tired, the attack will not be effective.

One of the cleverest ways to defeat your enemy is to find a relative who hates him. Families are complex. Send some spies to gather information on them. Once you find someone else who wants to be king, spread some tales about each other, especially your enemy’s supporters. They will be afraid to trust each other, making it much easier for you.

Once you win the war, encourage the people from the other kingdom to move to your cities. These people will bring their talents and skills and make your country richer.

But the impatient king was irritated to hear this long lecture from the vulture. He wanted some action right away. “Okay, Isn’t it a waste of time to keep talking so much? In a war, one side must win, and the other has to lose.”

The vulture agreed, knowing his king was eager to fight because he thought victory would be easy. “That’s true, but power alone is not enough. We must be clever too!”

Unfortunately, the impatient king was in no mood to be careful. He ignored his minister, gathered his army, and marched on the trek to attack Karpuradwipa.

On the other side, Hiranyagarbha’s spy landed in his court to announce that Chitravarna was on his way. “Sir, I heard that the vulture’s spy is already well settled in your court. This news came from someone who knows the vulture well.”

“Oh, that has to be the crow! I’m sure of it!” declared Sarvajna

Hiranyagarbha disagreed. “Don’t be so hasty, Sarvajna. Didn’t you notice the crow was ready to kill the parrot when he was rude to me? He would have never done that if he was the spy.”

“Still, sir, he is a stranger. We must be wary of strangers,” his minister warned him.

“No, not all strangers cause trouble. Some are very helpful,” insisted the King.

“Your Highness, a minister who respects his King and wants the best for him will not let the King do things wrong because he knows it will end badly. So, even though it looks like I keep repeating the same thing, you must be careful around the crow.”

King Hiranyagarbha shook his head. “You and I can disagree on this. Let’s see what must be done. I heard that Chitravarna is nearby, on the plains. What do we do now?”

Chakravaka answered, “Oh, the spy who brought the news to me said that Chitravarna ignored the vulture’s advice. He is a fool of a king not following his wise minister’s words. It looks like he is an arrogant, reckless, and impatient king, and I am confident that we can defeat him.

Right now, we must stop him from reaching our gates and blocking us. Let’s tell the Saras cranes to attack their army as they march through the mountains and rivers. They’ll be too tired to fight back with strength. We should tell our generals to keep attacking them continuously so they have no time to recover.”

And that is exactly what Hiranyagarbha’s army did. Chitravarna’s men were ambushed all along the way, and many of his generals and warriors perished in the battle.

Now that he was in danger of losing the war, Chitravarna was deeply troubled. He turned to his minister for help.

“Minister, why are you ignoring me? Have I done something wrong? What should we do now?” he pleaded.

The Vulture fixed his eyes on Chitravarna sternly. “A king doesn’t have to know everything about fighting or ruling a kingdom because he has a minister and other advisors who know these things. They are around to advise him. His main job is to listen to them without acting impulsively.

What did you do? Here, I was, telling you that we need a clear plan for the war. At the same time, you became so excited by the thought of charging with your army and started on the march without any strategy. What were you thinking? You got carried away at the sight of your large army and ignored me even when I told you firmly to stop and think before you act.

All this is the result of your impulsive actions! In the darkness, a man who is blind cannot benefit from a lamp. Once you had made up your mind, I knew you weren’t going to listen to me. That is why I kept quiet. Why should I waste my energy and make you angry? That wouldn’t benefit either of us.

But look what’s happened now! YOU are suffering the consequences of your actions, and you need my help to get you out of this mess.

The King was a sorry sight, shoulder’s hunched, neck bent, regretful, and dejected. Chitravarna voice, when he spoke, was hardly above a whisper. “I agree that all this is my fault. I will collect the remaining soldiers and return to the Vindhya Mountain.” He looked so lonely that the vulture took pity on him.

“It hasn’t come to that yet. When a king struggles, it is up to his ministers to pull him out of it. Yes, you will return to the Vindhya mountain, but only after capturing the enemy’s fort, not before.”

 “How? We’ve lost most of our forces!”

“Don’t you worry about that,” the vulture’s face broke into a sly, cunning smile. “At least now, DO as I ask. Get the soldiers to shut the gates of the enemy fort right away.”

When the castle’s gates were blocked from the outside, Hiranyagarbha’s spies reported the news to him. “What now?” The Swan King turned to his minister.

Click here for the previous episode of the Hitopadesha:

Hitopadesha: The Minister’s Advice

Hitopadesha: The Impatient King

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