There were two friends. One of them was a gardener and the other a potter. It was the alliance of common interests rather than the sincerity of friendship that bound them One day both of them were going to a neighbouring city from their village. They had a camel which was jogging alongwith them, it was loaded with the vegetables of the gardener and the pitchers of the potter. The gardener had held up the halter and was walking ahead of the animal. As the camel moved along, it turned its head back and ate the vegetables. It had been noticed by the potter but he ignored it. He thought to himself, The camel eats the vegetables, what do I lose in it? “The gardener did not look back and the camel went on pulling up bunches of vegetables unchecked. The vegetables were tied to the pitchers. As soon as the weight of the vegetables decreased, it affected the balance of the pitchers adversely, with the result they all fell down and broke.
Patlinagar (present Patna) was known for its prosperity during the period of the Mauryas. At that time emperor Asoka, the grandson of Chandra Gupta and the son of Bindu Gupta, was ruling over it. The name of one of his sons was Kunal. Though he was a child yet the emperor decided to make him the ruler of Ujjaini. The child Kunal was brought to Ujjaini. He began to live there. One day the emperor received a letter from Ujjaini which informed the king that the Prince had completed eight years. The emperor wrote back in reply, “Now the prince should be sent to school.” The original words were ‘KUMAR ADHIYATAM’.
KUNAL’S step-mother was sitting beside the king. She took the letter from the emperor and read it. On the sly, she added one letter (N) to it which changed the entire meaning of the sentence. The original sentence ‘KUMAR ADHIYATAM (send the prince to school) now read: KUMAR ANDHIYATAM (make the prince blind). The emperor was pure-hearted. He did not read the letter again. He sealed it and handed it over to the messenger. When the officials of Ujjaini read the letter, they were taken aback. The prince said, “In the Mauryan Dynasty the emperor’s order cannot be defied.” Without showing any sign of hesitation, he asked for a hot iron bar and pierced his eyes with it. The prince became blind.
The emperor was distressed to learn about it. But it was too late for him to do any thing. As the blind prince was considered incapable of ruling over a big state like Ujjaini, the emperor appointed KUNAL ruler of a small state and gave the kingdom of Ujjaini to another prince. This evil intention of the queen caused a cleavage in the traditional loyalty of the royal members. This resulted in the slackening of the hold of the Mauryan empire. The interest of one man is intimately linked with the interest of another man.
Judged from outward appearance, we tend to think that there is collision of interests in society. But if we get below the surface we will realise that the interests of two persons are interdependent. Those who try to harm the other man’s interests are in fact trying to harm their own interests.