A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: Maryada Rama

How Rama became Maryada Rama

In ancient Andhra Pradesh, there lived a young boy Rama. This boy was extremely smart, intelligent and shrewd and could analyse any situation and judge people accurately.

In those days, whenever there was any matter in dispute judgement was given by the judge in the court of the King or by the King himself. In the kingdom where Rama lived, there was no judge in the king’s court and so the King used to deliver justice.

One day while Rama was sitting at the mandap near the temple pond, and chatting, he saw an old lady pass by sobbing and she looked as if she was in great grief.

Rama called her and asked her, “Amma, what is the matter? Why are you crying?”

The lady started crying profusely and said, “Beta, where will I go and tell this injustice? The King has ordered me to give a potful of gold coins as a punishment. Where will I go for the gold coins?”

Rama was puzzled and asked her to tell him her story.

“I am an old woman living here and I am earning a living by selling milk. One day four young men came to my house and gave me a pot for safekeeping. The pot was sealed and they told me that I should give it back to them only when all the four asked for it together”

“Then what happened?” asked Rama.

“Well, one day I was milking my cow in the backyard when one of the men came and asked me for the pot. I told him that I would give him the pot only when all of them asked for it, for which he showed me the gate of my house and told me to ask the other three who were there. I shouted from the backdoor which is very far away to the three men out there and asked them what they wanted. “Pot” they shouted back. “Give it to him.”  So, I gave the sealed pot to him and he went away. After some time the other three came to the backyard searching for their friend and asked for ‘a’ pot.

I got worried and told them that I had already given the sealed pot to their friend. I had committed a blunder. They were asking for a pot to buy buttermilk and drink whereas the fourth fellow tricked me into giving the sealed pot to him and ran away with it. The other three men got very angry that their money had gone due to my mistake. They complained to the king who has now ordered me to pay them a pot full of gold coins. In fact I did not even see the coins as the pot was sealed. What will I do now? My fate is sealed”.

Saying this, the lady started sobbing loudly.

“What sort of a judgement is this? I cannot understand!” exclaimed Rama. “If I were the judge, I would have delivered real justice.   Hmm. I do not know what the poor old woman will do…”

So saying, he left the place.

Unknown to Rama, one of the senior ministers of the king had observed the whole episode hearing every word Rama uttered. He went back to the king and told him what he had seen.

The king was angered that a common man should comment upon the judgement he had made.

The next day, Rama was sent for by the King. Not knowing why he was called for a puzzled Rama went to the King’s court.

He was surprised to find the old lady and three young men in two separate enclosures facing each other. The King looked at Rama and said in a stern voice, “Oh, you are Rama, are you? Under whom did you study law Sir? I heard that you were criticising my judgement in the case of this lady and the three men there”, he said, pointing to the lady and the three men.

Rama was not frightened. Keeping a cool face, he replied, “Who am I to criticise your judgement Your Highness? I just said that I could not understand your judgement.”

“Then, in that case,” said the King, “you can give your judgement in this case right now, here!”

“I am ready your Highness” said Rama, “but for the sake of understanding of the people here, I would like to recapitulate the case”. He went on to repeat the story he had heard from the woman about how four men had given her a pot and told her that she should give it back only when all of them demanded it together, how she was duped by one of them even though she thought all of them were asking for the same pot.

“Now,” said he, “Our King has told this woman to give the three men the pot of gold as she did not follow their instruction and in the process, the pot has been taken away by one of the men”. He continued, “There is nothing wrong with the King’s judgement, but….”

“But what?” thundered the King.

“I am just going to slightly modify your judgement your majesty” said Rama with a smile. “The lady has to give back the pot to them…”

As he paused, the three men who were in the enclosure were surprised and puzzled and the old woman was worried. The King was also wondering what different judgement was this going to be, when Rama continued, “Provided all the four of them come together and ask for the pot. That was the agreement wasn’t it?”

There was a thunderous applause from the audience and the King was pleased at the sharp mind and prudent judgement delivered by Rama. The old woman had tears of joy in her eyes and the three men looked disappointed that their joy was short-lived.

“I am very happy at your judgement Rama” said the King, “I need a person like you to assist me in my judgements. You shall be known as Maryada Rama henceforth and all cases shall come to you first for judgement”.

Rama was extremely happy that he had saved the old lady from trouble as he knew that the fourth person who took the pot and ran away would never come back to join this gang again.

Maryada Rama was famous for all the judgements he gave. There is also the story of the lost diamond where Rama, with his shrewdness delivered an excellent judgement.

The lost diamond

In the present day Andhra,  in olden days there lived a wise person by name Maryada Rama. He was a very clever and shrewd person with an impeccable sense of justice and he was trusted by the people of the village and the nearby villages for his impartial judgements. Before going to the king’s court people used to come for him for any settlement of disputes. Many a time the cases never went to the king’s court at all as the judgement given by Maryada Rama would be perfect.

In the nearby village there was this man by name Prabhakara who possessed a large hexagonal shaped diamond . The diamond had been passed over to him by his ancestors and he cherished it very much having inherited it from his ancestors.

Now, Prabhakara had a wish to go on a Yatra to Kashi to perform the rites for his dead parents. But he was worried about his diamond. His house was not safe enough to keep the diamond and he could not carry it as he had to go on a Pada yatra – by walk . Those days had not seen the advent of motorised transport and so people went by bullock carts or by walk.

Prabhakara was really worried. He did not know what to do. Then, suddenly, he remembered his close friend Divakara who lived in the neighbouring village. So he carried the diamond to Divakara and asked him whether he could keep the diamond in safe custody until he returned from Kashi. Divakara hesitated at first but on seeing the diamond he was tempted to say yes. The diamond was such a beauty and it was so alluring that nobody could say no to keeping it.  Prabhakara was relieved that there was somebody whom he could trust and left the diamond with him and went to Kashi. He performed the rites for his parents and visited many holy places and at last returned to his village after few months.

A few days afterwards, he went to Divakara’s house to redeem the diamond. After exchanging niceties, when Prabhakara asked for the diamond back, Divakara  put on a surprised look and said, “My friend, you came to my house yesterday and took back the diamond and you are asking for it back again today, huh? ” Prabhakara was taken aback. What was happening here? He told Divakara that he had returned to his village a few days back but it was only today that he was meeting him. But Divakara kept on insisting that he had given the diamond back and he had nothing to do with the diamond any more. Prabhakara was crestfallen. The thought of losing the diamond was too much for him and he went back to his home weeping silently not knowing what to do. After going home he told his wife what had happened . She was a bold lady . She consoled Prabhakara and said “Do not worry. What is rightfully yours can never be taken from you. Let us go for justice to Maryada Rama whom they say is justice incarnate”.

They both went to Maryada Rama who patiently heard their case. Maryada Rama asked them about any striking feature of the diamond and they told him that it was a big an beautiful one, hexagonal in shape.  Maryada Rama then sent word for Divakara. Divakara came to the court of Maryada Rama out of respect. Maryada Rama heard his version too and asked him if there were any witnesses for his giving the diamond back.  To every one’s surprise, Divakara said “Yes, Sir, there are three witnesses”. Maryada Rama said, “Fine, bring them all here tomorrow and we will see”.

The next day, Divakara brought his three servants,  the gardener, the washerman and the cook. Prabhakara and his wife were also present there. Maryada Rama asked the servants, “Did you see your master giving back the diamond to his friend who is here?” “Yes Sir” they replied in unison . “Did you see the diamond?” asked Maryada Rama. “Yes Sir” replied the servants. “We saw the diamond which our master gave to his friend. We saw it. We were standing next to this man as witnesses” said they pointing at Prabhakara.

Maryada Rama closed his eyes and thought for a while. Then he called the servants and asked them to go into three separate rooms in his house. He called his own gardener and asked him to bring some clay. He took the clay, made it into three parts and went into each room and gave each of them a portion of the clay and told them to make it into the shape of the diamond which they claimed to have seen so closely. The doors of the three rooms were shut for a while and after some time, Maryada Rama called Divakara’s  gardener. The gardener came out with his version of the diamond, in the form of a round fat pebble. As a gardener he had seen only pebbles in his life. Next , the washerman came with his version of the diamond, in the shape of a rectangular washing stone!!. The cook was called next as she came with her version of the diamond, in the shape of a grinding stone!!!

Maryada Rama looked at Divakara questioningly and said jocularly, “Maybe the diamond possesses some magic that it keeps changing shapes. Could you explain the magic Divakaraji?” Divakara was very ashamed. He fell at the feet of Maryada Rama and Prabhakara and felt extremely sorry for his nasty behaviour. He asked for forgiveness and immediately rushed home and brought back the diamond and gave it back to to its rightful owner Prabhakara.

Prabhakara was very happy. He expressed his feeling of forgiveness to Divakara and embraced him. He said he still wanted to be  friends with him as he had realised his folly. They both thanked Maryada Rama for his sharp intellect and novel way in which he had handled the case. They lived as friends forever.

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