Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tales of Tenali Raman - Tenali Raman's Extraordinary Wisdom

Once upon a time a wise man showed up in King Krishnadevaraya's court. Being a great scholar, this wise man had earned many medals and accolades, which he showed proudly in the King's court. He had great knowledge of all the Vedas, Upanishads and religious books. Being proud of his achievement, the wise man showed off in the King's Court and enjoyed how people flattered him. He was not alone and was accompanied by handful of followers who continously sprayed words of flattery for the wise man. He enjoyed all the attention and challenged people who had doubts about him.

To prove his own wisdom, the wise man challenged the scholars present in the court. The king could see through his scholars and understood that they were in no position to accept the challenge so he himself fixed a date and asked his scholars to make the necessary arrangements.

Now the scholars were really worried as they thought they couldn't match the wise man's intelligence. They came together and discussed the strategy. Though they didn't wish to participate, they very well understood the king's anger and the consequences for refusing so. So after much discussion, the scholar's from the King's court decided to seek help from Tenali Raman. They were very much aware how Tenali Raman knew to handle such tricky situations.

Thus the whole party of scholars from King's court went to Tenali Raman and made him aware of the situation. They explained to him the difficult situation they were put into and requested him to help them, thus to avoid shame and disgrace. Tenali Raman listened to them and replied, " My dear Scholars, I can see how you are worried about the disgrace you may face. I, also understand that this is a matter of your prestige and honour. All I will request right now is for you all to go home and relax. Leave everything to me". On such assurance from Tenali Raman, the scholars returned home with much relief.

The day of debate arose and the King's court was filled with courtiers, pundits and dignitaries. King Krishnadevaraya was also present but looked little tensed. The wise man entered the court and walked up in front of the king with great pride and confidence. His followers came with him and stood surrounding him, ready to cheer and enjoy the debate. The wise man and his followers were used to such high-end debates and were always coming up with new ways to insult and disgrace their opponents.

After few minutes, Tenali Raman entered the court dressed like a pundit. He carried a large packet wrapped in a cloth, which resembled a big volume neatly packed by thick strings. Tenali Raman bowed to the king. King Krishnadevaraya saw his tension relieving with the sight of Tenali Raman. It was not the knowledge that Tenali Raman possessed which provided him the relief but Tenali's quick wittedness that king knew would help save the situation.

The King thus announced to start the debate. Tenali Raman rose and spoke aloud, " O wise man! I have heard so much about you and your knowledge. You are undoubtedly intelligent and knowledgeable. I, myself too have defeated many opponents in such debates like you , but yet I find myself to no comparison when it comes to you. Sir, I am carrying this book with me and with your permission would like to start the debate on this book itself?" To this the wise man asked the name of the book.

Tenali Raman replied, " The name of this book is 'Thilakasta Mahisha Bandhana'". The wise man tried to recollect this book but couldn't remember it at all. Now the wise man was in a fix. He knew if he said that he knew about the book he would have to talk about it, but if he said he didn't know about the book it would prove to be his lack of knowledge and also would prove his defeat.

So the wise man thought for a while and replied, "Little pundit, it has been a long time since I have read that book. So presently I have forgotten  few chapters from it. Why don't you all provide me a day's time so I can refresh my memory and debate on this as you suggest". Tenali Raman readily agreed to it and was granted king's permission.

On entering the royal guesthouse, the wise man started worrying. He knew that it was impossible to read entire volumes of the said book in so little time. But on the other hand he didn't wish to be defeated by the young pundit and be a cause of humiliation in public. So he along with his followers fled from the palace in the middle of the night.

As usual the courtiers and the dignitaries gathered the next day in the court for the debate. Everyone along with the king waited for the wise man to appear. When the king inquired with his guards, then only he realized that the wise man had fled in the night. Shocked, King Krishnadevaraya turned to Tenali Raman and demanded, " What have you done to him? Which book are you carrying exactly that scared the wise man? Why was he so afraid? I want to know the name of this book."

To this Tenali Raman replied, "The name is Thilakasta Mahisha Bandhana, but actually there is no such book." The King asked, " But then what are these volumes that you are carrying?" Tenali Raman humbly replied, "Your Majesty, this packet in my hand contains no such volumes, but some old and useless books that I have tied together along with some sticks and thick rope. The sticks mean 'Thilakasta', the tying means 'Bandhana' and the rope  that is been used for tying is actually used to tie the buffaloes and so I added 'Mahisha'. And hence I gave this packet this name. The proud man got confused and wondered that if he confessed his ignorance, it would be disgraceful and so he fled".

King Krishnadevaraya was very much pleased with Tenali Raman and praised his quick wittiness. He also rewarded Tenali Raman handsomely. The scholars present in the king's court were relieved and thanked Tenali Raman for his quick wit.

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