The half-golden mongoose had gone to an “Ashvamedha yajna” (horse sacrifice) which had been performed by the eldest Pandava brother, Yudhishthira. This sacrifice had been mocked at by the mongoose and he had said that the sacrifice was an impure one. It was nothing compared to a Brahmin’s sacrifice where, rolling on the few grains of “powa” (puffed rice) lying on the ground, half his body had turned to gold! And from then on the mongoose had been present in many sacrifices, hoping that the remaining half of his body would turn to gold. But till now nothing happened. Saying this, he left the sacrifice and scampered away.
After travelling for some time, the mongoose reached the banks of the river Yamuna. A stork was feeding on fish from the river and the mongoose went up to it and related his story to the stork.
But while relating his story he had not noticed that the remaining part of his body which was flesh, was slowly turning into gold. After having related his story, he suddenly started to abuse the stork, but before he could finish, his body changed into a lifeless statue of gold.
All this time the stork had been standing quite close to the mongoose and, seeing his body change into a golden statue, he became very inquisitive. The stork went to touch the mongoose. Just as it touched him, its mind was filled with uncontrollable rage. And it started tearing the fish of the river apart with its beak, although it was not hungry. After some time it flew away.
At that time a hunter who had been living in that area for quite some time saw the mongoose lying on the banks of the river. As it was made of gold it interested him and he picked it up eagerly. Then, all on a sudden he went mad and ran to his home. Reaching his home he took up a scythe and slaughtered his wife and son. The neighbors saw this and rushed to see if they could help the son and wife. But when the hunter saw them coming, he instantly picked up his bow and arrow and ran at them for more blood and he even succeeded in killing some of them. Someone ran to inform the “kotwal”. The “kotwal” immediately rushed to the scene, arrested the hunter, took his belongings and threw him into prison.
The law in those days was that until a person had his or her trial and had been punished, his belongings were to be kept in the royal treasury by the “kotwal”.
In the dark prison the hunter kept his head on the cool stone wall and instantaneously felt a great peace. He remembered his son, his wife, and his friends. “Oh God! Why did I ever do this?” he cried out, and wept silently.
Meanwhile the “kotwal” saw the golden mongoose and could not overcome his greed. He did not want to hand over the golden statuette to the king. He put the mongoose inside a bag and was going home cautiously when, suddenly, he went mad. He took out his sword from his belt and started to abuse and kill everybody he saw.
The news spread like wildfire and reached the palace. Everybody ran to Bhima and begged him to save them from the mad “kotwal”. Bhima set off immediately, armed with his mace. It took Bhima just a fraction of a second to throw the “kotwal” down on the ground. And then he asked his subjects why such a good officer had gone mad. Some of them told Bhima all about the golden mongoose.
He ordered some people to search for it and it was found some time later under a banyan tree. It didn’t take Bhima any time at all to recognize the mongoose which had been at the “yajna” a few days ago. “This mongoose came to the ‘Ashvamedha yajna’ a few days ago. How did it turn into gold?” Bhima asked. One of the people offered the statuette to Bhima to hold and see what it was like. Bhima said, “I won’t touch a dead thing! You keep it.” The man became furious and said (he was holding the golden mongoose in his hand), “What a pure man! You did not hesitate to kill poor injured Duryodhana. Or to drink blood by tearing open a man’s chest. And now you pretend to be revolted by a dead animal. A Rakshasa is behaving like a sadhu.” While shouting, he threw the golden mongoose at Bhima. Suddenly, out of nowhere an arrow flashed past the man and pierced the golden mongoose, making it fly far away from Bhima and it soon was out of sight. The arrow was shot by the divine hand of Sri Krishna as he stood smiling sweetly. “Bhima, if the mongoose had touched you then you would have gone mad and you would have killed hundreds of people. I arrived here just in time to save you,” Sri Krishna said. He explained, “The mongoose was Anger and Greed. It was cursed by a rishi to be re-born as the mongoose.”
“Where will it land, Krishna?” asked Bhima. Sri Krishna replied, “It will land in a jungle which is far from this country. After some decades the forest will be cut down for building a huge city. The people of the city will be very cruel; they will respect murder; hatred will be their law. After some more years due to a war and famine the city and its people will cease to exist. Only then will the curse end.” Saying this, Sri Krishna smiled sweetly and said, “But remember! I had nothing to do with this.’
Greed leads to anger without any reason. And this makes as hurt others, even our loved and most beloved ones, unless we are careful to avoid being greedy, like the “kotwal”.