Once there was huge banyan tree near a city named Mahilaropyam. It has numerous branches which were the home to a large number of crows. The king of these crows named Meghavarana.
Near the banyan tree there was a huge cave, which was home of a large number of owls. . Arimaradana was the king of these owls.
The crows were very disappointed because the owls, as they regarded the crows as enemies, they would fly and reached the banyan tree every night. And if they succeed in catching any of crows, they attacked on them and then killed them. As the crows could not see clearly in dark at night as owls so they could not do anything to protect themselves. And as the time passed away the number of crows began to decrease.
The king of the crows was very disappointed and called his council. The council had five ministers named Ujjeevi, Sanjeevi, Anujjevi, Prajeevi and Chiranjeevi. As they all approached the king, he said to them, “O my ministers, our enemy takes advantage by attacking at night and succeed in killing many of us as we cannot fight them in night to protect ourselves. We cannot attack them even at day time since we don’t know about their secret place. Our enemy is very dangerous and powerful and we have to decide what to do now. Please advise me with your views.”
As they all heard this, first the Ujjeevi said, “O king, as our enemy is very strong and determined, I advise you to make peace with such type enemy. Peace is the only solution of this problem.”
Immediately Sanjeevi began to advice, “O majesty, the enemy is not only strong but cruel also. They follow no rule of war. So there is no reason to peace with such party. Let us fight in a way to gain advantage from them.”
Then Anujeevi advised, “My highness, our enemy is stronger than us, so it will not be sensible to fight them. They are cruel also and have no moral values, so we cannot make peace with them. So I suggest we should move to a safer place to protect ourselves.”
Then Prajeevi said, “O king, I advice entrenchment. We will be safe only in our own home. If we leave our place, we will never be able to return our home.”
At last Chiranjeevi said, "Let us seek the advice of our friends and defeat the enemy with their support."
After hearing all suggestions the king of crows was not satisfied with them so he decided to took the advice of an old minister of his father named Sthirajeevi. He said to him, “You have heard all the suggestions given by my ministers, so please suggest me the right course of action that we should take to solve this problem.
Then Sthirajeevi replied, "Your highness, your all ministers have given suggestion according to nitishashtra and their suggestions are also good. But they do not serve the situation that we have this time. As our enemy is much stronger than us, we should adopt a path of conspiracy. So you will need to send spies to find out their weak points to defeat the enemy.”
The king agreed with Sthirajeevi and said to him to explain the whole plan. Then he explained, “King, as I advise you to employ spies, our enemies also must have spies. So let us pretend that I am a conspirator, and then start cursing me with cruel words. Beat me till I bleed. And this all mislead them to believe that I am their enemy’s enemy. Within this time, you all fly away to the safe Rshyamukam Mountain and keep deeply well-established till I join you"
He continued, “In the meantime, I will gain confidence with our enemies and learn about their weak points and then return to join you. Then we hit them to gain victory. Please do not worry about me, I can take care of myself, and in this way we defeat them."
The king agreed with the old wise crow and according to the plan they immediately started quarrel. The Sthirajeevi used abusive language which angered the other crows. And as the old crow continued pretending Meghavarana hit him badly. Sthirajeevi start bleeding and within no time Meghavarana threw him down the banyan tree.
After this, he said all crows to follow him, and then they all flew straight to Rshyamukam Mountain, where they he waited for Sthirajeevi to return – as was planned.
When the owl spies saw all this they immediately informed the king of the owls about the fight. As the king heard this he decided to attack the crows with all their strength after dark at night.
At night when the owls reached the banyan tree, they found that the crows had already left the place. Then all got very angry and started investigating that which direction the crows had flew to catch them.
At the very moment, Sthirajeevi began to make sound slowly to attract the attention of the king of owls. As the Arimaradana heard the sound of the crow he reached him and surprised after seeing him. Sthirajeevi started pretending and praising the king of owl and at the same time cursing the Meghavarana. He said, “Sir, I know the place where they all hide themselves. And as soon as I regain my strength to fly again, I shall take you that place.”
Arimaradana all had council of five ministers named Raktaksha, Kriuraksha, Deeptaksha, Vakranasa, and Prakarakarna. While Raktaksha, Kriuraksha did not believe Sthirajeevi and they wanted to kill him, but the others suggested that he might prove beneficial to us to locate the enemies. So the king of the owl decided to take Sthirajeevi to their cave to offer him a suitable place to rest.
But Sthirajeevi did not want to go with them to cave as he had other plan. So he immediately requested the king to allow him to make a nest at entrance of the cave. As he did not want the other owl to get aggrieved since he belonged to the enemy.
Arimaradana accepted his request and permitted him to make nest. He said to other owls to take care of him. Thus they started feeding Sthirajeevi with the choice of foods and within few days he regained his strength.
However one of the ministers of the king of the owls, Raktaksha learned about nitishastra and he warned his king of his doubts, but all his efforts went into vain because they all fell into deaf ears. Arimaradana was totally impressed on the flattery of the Sthirajeevi. Finally Raktaksha and few of his followers left the cave.
Within these few days Sthirajeevi had gathered a lot of twigs at the entrance of the cave on pretending to make a nest there. He was very happy that Raktaksha had left the place so there is no hurdle now in his plan. He waited till noon to silently fly away to Rshyamukam Mountain where all other crows waited for him.
As he reached the mountain, he said to Meghavarana, "Your Majesty, my task is finished but I do not have enough time to explain everything to you. I have collected a lot of twigs at the entrance of the cave where the owls were lived. They will easily catch fire killing all the owls inside the cave. Please follow mw with your all followers with a burning wood in your beak.”
As Sthirajeevi told them they all immediately followed him to the entrance of the owl’s cave. They dropped the pieces of the burning woods on the twigs and suddenly the twigs caught fire which Sthirajeevi collected there. As soon as the fire spread the owls perished inside due to fire and smoke. Sthirajeevi had indeed been constructing a funeral pyre for the owls.
Thus the crows got rid from their enemy and then they fearlessly returned to their Banyan tree. And with the help of Sthirajeevi, Meghavarana ruled justly thereafter.
The wise indeed say:
Never trust your enemy, and don't allow a opponent into your home.