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Tag: challenge

Tenali, Once Again!!

Krishnadevaraya  being the Emperor of the one of the biggest kingdoms, the kingdom of Vijayanagara, had many visitors now and then from the neighbouring kingdoms. Some of them came to pay their respects on a courtesy call, while sometimes, some came posing intelligent challenges  by way of riddles or puzzles and the Emperor’s intelligent ministers had to find the solutions. Often it was Tenali Rama who saved the honour of the Kingdom with his intelligent answers and so the King became fonder of him day by day.

One day, a learned man from the neighbouring kingdom came seeking audience with the King. He was carrying three identical dolls with him. The man gave the dolls to the King and threw a challenge. He said to the King, “Your Highness, these dolls look identical, but they are not. Can anyone in your Kingdom find out the difference in these dolls? I shall come back tomorrow and I would like to know if there is anyone intelligent enough here”. The Emperor thought that it would be a simple task and asked his courtiers assembled to examine the dolls and find out the differences. Alas! Tried as they might, they could find not a single difference among the dolls. The courtiers were all looking so sullen and downcast, when Tenali Rama walked into the court.

Looking at the gloomy scenario in the court, he looked up at the Emperor with concern, as if asking what had happened. “Yet another challenge Rama” said the Emperor in a sad tone. “I thought we had more intelligent men in my court… but…” Before the Emperor ended his sentence, the Rajguru with a scornful look on his face said, “Look Tenali! See if you can find the difference between these three dolls. Let us see  if you are really intelligent!”Saying so he thrust the dolls in Tenali Rama’s hands.  The Emperor then explained what the learned man had wanted to know and said, “Rama, if nobody can find the difference between these dolls, it will be a great shame for our Kingdom. I am only worried about that” Rama said, “Do not worry your Majesty. I shall take these dolls home  and try my best and come to court tomorrow with some solution”.

Tenali Rama took the dolls and went home. The next day, the court gathered as usual in the morning and the Emperor with all the ministers, the Rajguru, the learned man from the neighbouring kingdom, were all present. Tenali walked in with the three dolls. The learned man, looked at him with the least hope  said, “Hmmm.. I hope you have found out the difference”. To his utter surprise, Tenali Rama replied, “Yes Sir, I have found out the difference” He then took a thread from his bag and inserted it into the ear of one of the dolls. It came out of the mouth of the doll. He took another thread and inserted it into the ear of the second doll. The thread came out of its other ear. Then Rama took a third thread and put it into the ear of the third doll and the thread did not come out from anywhere.

The audience were wondering at what was going on, when Rama spoke. “Your Majesty”, he said, “The first doll represents people who cannot keep a secret. Whatever they hear, they will blabber through their mouth and tell others. They are the worst kind of company a King should have. The second doll represents people who do not care about what they hear. They just hear through one ear and leave it through the other not giving a thought to  whatever the matter is. Such people are of no use to the King. They can be rated as average. The third doll represents people who  take in all the matter through their ears and keep secrets  to themselves. It is these type of people that a King should have as his advisors. They are the best”

The learned man was very happy and his face was full of admiration for Tenali Rama. “Beautiful,” said he. “What intelligence! I am amazed!’

Rama turned to him and asked “Respected Sir, I told you just now that the first doll represents the worst people, the second doll, average men and the third doll  the best people. But can you now give me another explanation as to how the third doll can be rated worst, the second doll average and the first doll as best?” The learned man with folded hands said “Rama, please say the answer yourself. I would be very pleased to hear your intelligent answer”

The people in the court were all looking at Rama with admiration as Rama continued. “The first doll can be equated with the men who teach to others, the good knowledge gained by them (through their ears), and so they are the best. The second doll can be equated to men who hear good things (knowledge)  but do not teach others nor follow it themselves and also forget it over a period of time. They hear through one ear and leave it through the other. They are average people. The third doll can be equated to men who gain good knowledge but keep it to themselves , not imparting it to others,which is very bad  and so they can be rated worst. As you know knowledge grows only when it is spread to all!”

“Excellent!” said the learned man as he embraced Tenali Rama, “Your Royal Highness is indeed fortunate to have the most intelligent brain in your court”, he said, addressing the King. “I shall take leave now”.

“You  have had a taste of the intelligence of my Kingdom.  Now you should taste our hospitality, please take these gifts to your King and please accompany me for the lunch”. So saying Emperor Krishnadeva Raya gave the learned man, bags of gems and gold coins and all the people were very happy and went home showering praises on Tenali Rama.




NANDI VISHALA – A Tale from the Jatakas


Once upon a time, there was a man named Buddhamitra, who owned a fine white bull which was called Nandi Vishala. The man looked after the bull with great affection and care and treated it as he would treat his own son. Nandi Vishala was very happy to work for Buddhamitra.

One day Nandi Vishala felt that he should do something good for Buddhamitra as he was taking very good care of him. The next day, as Buddhamitra was tying him to the pole in his cowshed at the end of the day, Nandi Vishala spoke. “Master”, said he. Buddhamitra turned around startled, as he had never heard Nandi Vishala speak before nor did he know that Nandi Vishala could speak. “Was it you…” Buddhamitra stuttered.

“Yes Master. You have been very kind to me all these days and I want to help you” said Nandi Vishala. Buddhamitra, still pleasantly shocked, patted Nandi Vishala and looked at him lovingly. Nandi Vishala continued and said, “Master, please go to the Headman and tell him that I shall pull a hundred loaded carts singly”. Looking at the shocked face of Buddhamitra, he continued, “Go Master, go and challenge the Headman and bet a thousand gold coins. I shall win them for you”.  Buddhamitra, over the years had saved a thousand gold coins and he was extremely happy at the thought that he would earn another thousand coins.

Buddhamitra went to the Headman and asked him whose bull was the strongest in the village. The Headman said “Undoubtedly mine” Buddhamitra nodded his head and said, “No Sir, my Nandi Vishala is the strongest. I can challenge you that he can pull a thousand loaded carts singly. I bet a thousand gold coins for this Sir!” The Headman was amused and thought Buddhamitra was off his head. “OK” said he secretly smiling at the prospect of winning a thousand gold coins.

The day was fixed and on that day, the Headman had arranged for a hundred carts filled with gravel, stones and sand and there Buddhamitra came with Nandi Vishala. All the carts were linked to one another and Nandi Vishala was yoked onto the first cart. Buddhamitra climbed on to the cart and took the whip in his hand. The very thought of going to earn a thousand coins and furthering his wealth and status made Buddhamitra feel very arrogant and high handed. In a rude voice, he commanded, “Hey you, Come on, start pulling Hmmm!” Nandi Vishala was startled at the language of his master for he had never heard him speak thus. Buddhamitra was becoming impatient, He cracked the whip and yelled, “You slow coach, start pulling eh!” Nandi Vishala was very angry. He stay put where he was and refused to move.

The Headman started laughing aloud scornfully at Buddhamitra and demanded his thousand gold coins. Buddhamitra went home and sadly parted with his savings.

Buddhamitra was dejected and angry with himself for having listened to the bull’s words. But he did not show any hatred towards Nandi Vishala. He could not sleep and was tossing and turning about. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Buddhamitra heard Nandi Vishala’s voice from near his window. Nandi Vishala was calling out, “Master, Master…” It seemed that he had broken loose from his tether and was standing near the window. Buddhamitra sat up. There was a frustrated look on his face.

Nandi Vishala spoke on, “Master, I wanted to help you, but why did you raise your voice against me? Did I do anything wrong till now? Have I behaved badly with you or your family? Then why did you yell at me master? I have heard only your kind voice all these days. It is not late even now master… Go to the Headman again and challenge him again. But this time challenge him to a two thousand gold coins. And do not forget, I will only work for your loving words….”

Buddhamitra hesitated, but Nandi Vishala urged him again and so Buddhamitra went to the Headman again in the morning and challenged him again. The Headman was sure that Buddhamitra was out of his senses completely.

So, the next day again a hundred carts fully loaded with bags of gravel and sand and stones were assembled and Nandi Vishala was yoked to the first cart. Buddhamitra got onto the first cart. He did not take the whip. Instead, he patted on Nandi Vishala’s side and said stroking him, “Ahoy, my boy, come on, you can do it… Jai Bajrangbali…” and to the utter shock of the Headman, Nandi Vishala, with one pull started pulling the entire hundred carts. He pulled the carts for a distance of about ten metres and stopped. All the villagers who had assembled to see Buddhamitra fail again were so taken aback and clapped their hands in great happiness.

It was the turn of the Headman now to feel ashamed and he went into his house and brought a bag containing two thousand gold coins and gave it to Buddhamitra. Buddhamitra went home a happy and wise man. He had learnt now that a many things could be achieved with love rather than by using force. He went home a happy man with his Nandi Vishala.

MORAL: More things can be achieved by love than by use of force.



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