The blue-eyed weasel

The blue-eyed weasel

At the end of his long and triumphant rule over Hastinapur, king Yudhishtira was advised by Lord Krishna to earn greater merit by performing the Ashwamedha Yagna. Accordingly, Yudhishtira made preparations by inviting all the rulers of the earth. The Ashwamedha Yagna or the animal sacrifice was performed by the great king to spread his unfading fame and glory far and wide across the earth.

However at the end of the Yagna, the vast congregation was taken by astonishment at the sudden appearance of a weasel with blue eyes, whose body was all golden on one side while the other was normal animal pelt. The animal spoke in a human voice and recounted the story of the sacrifice made by a poor Brahmin. The poor Brahmin, his wife, their son and daughter-in-law had suffered prolonged starvation as their land was plagued by a dire famine.

One day, the Brahmin had managed to collect some grains of Barley which the wife dutifully cooked. Just when the Brahmin was about to put a few cooked grains in his mouth, an ascetic appeared on the scene and begged for food. The Brahmin readily gave up his share, but as the ascetic was still hungry the other three shares were also sacrificed. The ascetic praised the sacrifice of the poor Brahmin and his family as the greatest of sacrifices. And as the weasel rolled on the ground where a few Barley grains had fallen, one side of its body turned to pure gold.

The weasel, who was actually Dharma in disguise, now rolled on the ground, and mocked at Yudhishtira about the futility of his Ashwamedha Yagna as the other side of his animal skin remained unchanged.

The weasel claimed that the sacrifice made by the Brahmin was far greater than any Ashwamedha Yagna, for it came from the selflessness of heart and rather than satisfy his own hunger, the Brahmin had sought to satisfy the need of another.

The weasel demonstrated to the assembled congregation of kings that the sacrifice made in pride and self-glorification by the powerful and the rich is not true charity, but only egotism. Mysteriously, the blue-eyed weasel disappeared shouting that it was looking for a sacrifice in which the other side of its skin would also turn to gold.