The Brahmarâkshas and the Hair
In a certain village there lived a very rich landlord, who owned several villages, but was such a great miser that no tenant would willingly cultivate his lands, and those he had gave him not a little trouble. He was indeed so vexed with them that he left all his lands untilled, and his tanks and irrigation channels dried up. All this, of course, made him poorer and poorer day by day. Nevertheless he never liked the idea of freely opening his purse to his tenants and obtaining their good will.
While he was in this frame of mind a learned Sanyâsi paid him a visit, and on his representing his case to him, he said:—
“My dear son,—I know an incantation (mantra) in which I can instruct you. If you repeat it for three months day and night, a Brahmarâkshas will appear before you on the first day of the fourth month. Make him your servant, and then you can set at naught all your petty troubles with your tenants. The Brahmarâkshas will obey all your orders, and you will find him equal to one hundred servants.”
Our hero fell at his feet and begged to be instructed at once. The sage then sat facing the east and his disciple the landlord facing the west, and in this position formal instruction was given, after which the Sanyâsi went his way.
The landlord, mightily pleased at what he had learnt, went on practising the incantation, till, on the first day of the fourth month, the great Brahmarâkshas stood before him.
“What do you want, sir, from my hands?” said he; “what is the object of your having propitiated me for these three months?”
The landlord was thunderstruck at the huge monster who now stood before him and still more so at his terrible voice, but nevertheless he said:—
“I want you to become my servant and obey all my commands.”
“Agreed,” answered the Brahmarâkshas in a very mild tone, for it was his duty to leave off his impertinent ways when any one who had performed the required penance wanted him to become his servant; “Agreed. But you must always give me work to do; when one job is finished you must at once give me a second, and so on.