Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tales of Tenali Raman - Tenali Raman and Goddess Kali's Blessing

Once upon a time in a small village called Tenali in the state Karnataka, there lived a young boy named Ramakrishna who was great devotee of Kalika Devi. Ramakrishna used to worship the goddess daily at the village temple.

So one afternoon when Ramakrishna was offering his prayers at the temple, a sage passed by. The sage saw a young boy praying the goddess and was impressed with his devotion. He came to the young lad and enquired whether he visited the temple daily. The young lad answered yes.

On listening his answer the sage asked Ramakrishna, " Do you young lad, worship her daily without fail ?" To this the lad answered, " Yes, I do worship her daily without fail."

So the sage out of curiosity questioned, " Ramakrishna, do you worship the goddess faithfully?". To this Ramakrishna smiled and answered, " Yes, absolutely as the goddess looks after me and cares for me." The sage who now was enjoying the conversation carried on, " Have you ever seen her?". To this the innocent Ramakrishna answered, " No, I haven't been that lucky yet, but I am very much eager to see her. You think I can see her someday?" To this the sage replied, " Yes, why not? If you are really one of her great devotees then she will definitely meet you. But then you do have to prove it to her, impress her. Let me help you, here I will give you one mantra, this you should pray to her whole night. She will definitely appear before you. But mind you, don't you get scared with her ferocious looks."

Ramakrishna smiled to this and said eagerly, " No, I would never be afraid of the goddess as I worship her everyday." Smiling and satisfied with the answer, the sage guided Ramakrishna with the mantra that he needed to chant with full concentration and after blessing him left. Ramakrishna followed the sage's instructions and sincerely chanted the mantra with full concentration. He was so engrossed with the chanting that he didn't even realize that the night had passed and the sun had rose. Ramakrishna was abruptly disturbed by a sweet voice that was calling out to him. As Ramakrishna opened his eyes he was awestruck to see Goddess Kali standing in front of him in her glorious yet ferocious avatar. The young lad continued to look at the goddess dumbstruck. Then suddenly he started laughing out loudly. This made the goddess angry and ask, " What's wrong Raman, are you not afraid? To this Raman replied, " No Mother Goddess! How can I be afraid of you. When I worship you". Goddess Kali was amused by the answer," So, tell me Raman, why are you laughing?"

To this Raman fearlessly answered, " O Mother Goddess, when I first saw you I was impressed with your glorious avatar, but the thing that made me laugh is that though you have thousand faces, how come you have just two hands?" Goddess Kali looked amused and confused, to this Raman explained, " O Goddess, all I am saying is, see I have one nose and two hands, so when I catch a cold it still gets difficult for me to manage my running nose with both hands. You on the other hand have countless noses. I seriously wonder how you wipe and manage them with just two hands. Listen, Mother Goddess please don't get angry with me and curse me for this; but I seriously want to know." 

Goddess Kali was impressed with the child's vivid imagination and genuine curiosity. His innocence made her laugh. She said, " Ramakishna, I simply love your modesty, quick wittedness and imagination. So from now on, You will be known as Tenali Raman and I am making you a 'VIKATAKAVI'. With my blessing you shall be famous throughout the world and would be known as a witty and wise man. Go to Vijayanagar kingdom and meet King Krishnadevaraya." And by saying so, she blessed the lad and disappeared.

Young Ramakrishna was indeed very happy. He decided to follow the Goddess's advice and go to Vijayanagar Kingdom. Thus the young Tenali Raman started his long journey which finally changed his destiny.

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