Describe the philosophical attitude of life as expressed as through the conversation between Charudatta and Vidushaka in The Little Clay Cart.

Both Charudatta and Vidushaka, but particularly the former, show an attitude of careless detachment where their own wealth or poverty is concerned, but they care deeply about their reputations and being worthy of the trust of others.

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In Shudraka's Mrichchhakattka (usually translated into English as The Little Clay Cart), Charudatta, the generous young Brahmin, is the hero, while Vidushaka, his friend, is the clown. They do not have exactly the same attitude to life, and, predictably, Charudatta is the more serious of the two. However, they initially share a certain detachment, an ability to look at matters from a universal perspective rather than focusing on their own concerns.

Both men are woken with the news that a thief has broken into Charudatta's mansion. When the merchant sees the hole in the wall, he exclaims:

But what a beautiful hole! The bricks have been removed from top down! This hole is small at the top and large in the middle. As though this is the heart of this great mansion. Split due to fear of contact with one unworthy. There is expertise even in this kind of work!

This seems a peculiarly unconcerned attitude to one's own house being robbed. However, as Charudatta explains, he has nothing worth stealing. He is even able to feel and express sympathy for the thief whose efforts were in vain. Vidushaka observes that the thief must be a newcomer to town, or perhaps only practising the craft of housebreaking, since the state of Charudatta's finances is common knowledge.

Charudatta only becomes serious when it emerges that a parcel left in his safe-keeping has disappeared from the house. He is indifferent as to his own financial ruin, but concerned at violating, or being seen to violate, the trust of another. Vidushaka consoles him, saying that he could not help being robbed, but Charudatta is concerned that his reputation will be damaged. When Vidushaka offers to lie to protect his friend's honor, Charudatta replies:

Would I now utter a falsehood? I would not flinch from begging to earn the means to redeem the loss of what was left in my care; but a falsehood that would destroy my reputation I shall never utter.

The philosophical attitude shown in this dialogue, therefore is one of detached amusement to one's own profit or loss, but of great concern for reputation, honor, and trust. These are principally the attitudes of Charudatta, but his friend, despite his flippant attitude, understands and respects them.

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