The Panchatantra – Story 14b


Indra, the god of the celestials, had a parrot called Pushpaka who was learned in several sciences and arts and was exceedingly beautiful. Once, when he was- comfortably reclining in Indra’s palm and reciting choice sayings, he saw Yama(The god of death- Here he is represented as the executive officer of Death) and quickly left Indra’s palm. Then all the celestials asked him, ‘Why did you run away on seeing Yama?’ He replied, ‘He is a person doing evil to all creatures. So how could I avoid running away from him ?’ Hearing this, all the celestials, in order to allay his fears, said to Yama, ‘For our sakes you should not kill this parrot.’ 

Yama replied, ‘I can’t give any guarantee, being myself but a servant of Time. So go and ask Time.’ Then the celestials went and repeated their request to Time. Time replied, ‘Death alone can give this guarantee. So go and ask Death. Then they went to Death with the parrot. As soon as the parrot saw Death, he died. All the celestials were deeply grieved at this and asked Yama, ‘What is all this? Explain this tragedy,’ Yama replied, ‘The explanation is simple. This parrot, being a mortal unlike you Immortals, was bound to die as soon as he saw Death face to face. So he died.’ Hearing this, the celestials returned to their several abodes. 

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