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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Tenali Raman Stories – A Tail Of a Dog

image source: Youtube

Once, when the king Krishna Deva Raya and Tenali Raman were walking around the garden and were talking on different subjects. They talked about ‘nature’ too. The king said, “We always have to live depending on nature only. We cannot alter nature according to our life style.”

Tenali disagreed with him and asked, “Why not, my dear king?”

“Is it possible for you to change the natural phenomena?” asked the king.

“Yes, I can my dear king. If I am offered the required time I can successfully execute and prove it.” The king was astonished to hear Tenali’s reply.

“What? What do you say? Are you playing with me?” asked the king irritatingly a little bit.

“My dear king, I hope that we can win over anything if we practise it well and properly.”

“Tenali, you may be firm in your hope. But going against nature is foolish. Understand it clearly.”

Oh! King! If we prolong our talking, how can I prove it? Let me have a chance. Then you will realise that my hopes are true.” The king too decided to give him a chance to prove his hope.

So he said, “Tenali, straighten the dog’s tail. This is the test. It is given not only to you alone but to many others too. Let us see who wins and proves it.”

“Oh! What a great idea! I shall soon prove you by straightening the dog’s tail,” said Tenali. “Okay, let’s start the work tomorrow in the court. Now, we shall part,” said the king. Then both took leave of each other.

Next morning, the court assembled. The king, ministers, courtiers and others were all assembled there. The king asked the minister. “Have you brought here 10 dogs as I told you yesterday?”

“Yes, my king, I have brought ten dogs here. All of them have their tail bent.”

“Your Majesty, shall the courtiers be let to know why you have ordered to bring these ten dogs?”

“I will tell you now. When I was conversing with someone yesterday about nature, I asked him whether nature can be altered. He challenged me that he can. What do you all say about it? Is it possible for human to alter nature?” the king disclosed the purpose.
Everyone in the court replied, “It is impossible.”

“You all voiced together that it is impossible. But one of you in the court has challenged with me that he can alter the nature. What shall we do now?” asked the king.

The minister eagerly asked, “ who challenged with you, my king?”

“He is on one but Tenali Raman who challenged with me,” said the king.

The courtiers were really astonished. Tenali Raman got up and looking at everyone proudly said, “My humble salute to the king. Please, let me prove my challenge.”

“Okay, bring the dogs and distribute them to some people. Allot stipend for rearing the dogs. You must put forth every effort to straighten the dog’s tail,” explained the king. The minister asked, “Dear King, is it possible to straighten the dog’s tail?”

“I too asked the same, but Tenali told that he could and so, I have put him in this test,” said the king.

Then 10 people were selected and everyone was given a dog and stipend. Tenali Raman was one among them. Those who took the dogs put forth their efforts as far as they could. They decided to undertake every effort one by one.

One of them tied the tail with a bamboo stick. Another one tied a stone-tied-thread with the dog’s tail. The other one rubbed the tail by applying oil. Likewise, everyone tried in their possible ways.

But Tenali Raman tried to straighten the tail in a different way. He decided, “If the dog is fed well, it will become fat and healthy. The tail too will get rolled strongly. On the other hand, if the dog is reared with a little quantity of food, it will loose strength and become lean, in hunger. The tail will lose the strength to get rolled and it will grow straight.”
So he minimised the quantiy of food to the dog every day. In days, the dog lost its strength, and was not even able to bark.

One month passed. The king ordered to bring the dog to the court. All those who were given the dogs assembled in the court with the dogs. Then king Krishna Deva Raya inspected the dogs one by one and found that the tails of dogs didn’t get straightened. The tails remained so, as they were before. But those who reared them, narrated the troubles they faced and efforts they put forth. Still they could not straighten the tails.

But, Tenali Raman who stood lastly did not spell out even a word. The king asked, “Where is your dog?”

Tenali Raman had covered his dog with silk cloth. Removing the silk cloth Raman said, “Here it is, my king.”

The king saw the lean and weak dog, shivering in fear. As it had lost its strength, it could not lift its tail. The tail was long and straight.

“Look at my dog, my dear king. Its tail is not rolled. It has straightened. I gave just enough food for the dog to be alive, so it became week and the tail has become straight. But once we start to feed the dog well it will become strong enough and the tail will start to roll back,” said Tenali Raman.

“Good Tenali Rama, you are so intelligent and your wits are unparalleled. Take the dog home and feed it well,” said the king sympathetically. The king, then  declared that Raman won the challenge and  awarded Raman with gold coins. Tenali Raman took the dog home and fed it really well.

The End.

Story of Savitri & Satyavaan from the Mahabharata

The oldest known version of the story of Savitri and Satyavaan is found in “Aranya Parvam” of the Mahabharata. This story was told by Markandeyah when Yudhisthira asks Markandeyah whether there has even been a woman whose devotion matched Draupadi’s. Markandeyah replies with this story.

Long long ago, there ruled a king named Ashvapati, who ruled the great and glorious kingdom of Madra. The king had everything at his disposal - wealth, power and luxury, but he had no offspring. So he prayed, observed tapas and offered everyday ten thousand oblations in the sacred fire repeating the Gayatri mantra as special prayers for Goddess Savitri. For eighteen years, he repeated this performance. Finally goddess Savitri, the presiding deity of Gayatri mantra was pleased with Ashvapati’s devotion and appeared and grants him a boon, that he will soon have a daughter. The king was joyful at the prospect of a child.

The king and his entire kingdom were overjoyed when his daughter was born and named Savitri in honour of the goddess. The king was very fond of her, gave her full freedom to do whatever she liked. Savitri grew up as a beautiful girl and the fame of her beauty spread far and wide. Royal families around the country asked for her hand by sending marriage proposals to the king. However Savitri refused to marry, saying that she would herself go out in the world and find a husband for herself. The king left the choice to Savitri.

Savitri sets out on a pilgrimage for this same purpose and finds Satyavaan, the son of a blind king name Dyumatsena, who after lost everything lives in exile as a forest-dweller. Hearing that Savitri has chosen a penniless prince, her father was severely disappointed. But Savitri was keen on marrying Satyavaan.

Meanwhile Sage Narada met the king and announced that Savitri had made a bad selection, although Satyavaan is perfect in every way, he was destined to die one year from the day of their marriage. The king Aswapati pleaded to Savitri to forget Satyavaan and choose more suitable husband. But Savitri insisted that she had already accepted Satyavaan as her husband and cannot think of anyone else. The king finally agreed and got Savitri and Satyavaan married.
                       image courtesy: Google

The wedding of Savitri and Satyavaan took place with a lot of fanfare and the couple went back to the forest hut and lived with her parents-in-law. For the whole year they lived happily. Three days before the predicted death of Satyavaan, Savitri started to observe a fast and vigil. Her father-in-law warned her that she had taken on too harsh a regimen, but Savitri assured him that she had taken an oath to perform these austerities and Dyumatsena offered her his full support.

The morning of Satyavaan’s predicted death, Savitri asked for her father-in-law’s permission to accompany her husband into the forest. Since she has never asked for anything during the entire year she has spent with them, Dyumatsena granted her wish.

The couple went into the forest. Under a tall tree, Satyavaan made a seat of soft green leaves and plucked flowers for her to weave into a garland while he chopped wood. Towards noon Satyavaan felt a little tired, and after a while he came and lay down resting his head in Savitri’s lap and within no time he was on the verge of death.

Suddenly the whole forest grew dark and soon Savitri saw Lord Yama - God of Death standing in front of her. Within no time Lord Yama carried out his duty of taking away Satyavaan’s soul and proceeded towards Yamlok.

                                                     image courtesy: Google

When Yama was about to leave, Savitri walked after him, pleaded lord Yama to take her too along with him to Yamalok, the land of the dead, or give back the life of Satyavaan. Lord Yama replied that he can’t take her to Yamalok because her time has not yet come. He advised her to go back to her home and offered her any boon except the life of Satyavaan. She first asked for eyesight and restoration of the kingdom for her father-in-law. Lord Yama granted the boon and moved towards Yamalok.

Instead of returning, Savitri continued to walk behind Lord Yama through the rough roads of thorns and ditches. Savitri continued to follow, with torn clothes and bleeding feet. Lord Yama was impressed at her noble conduct and offered her another boon except the life of Satyavaan. She asked for a hundred sons for her father. Yama immediately granted the boon and again proceeded towards Yamlok. Savitri still continued to follow him instead of returning.

Lord Yama was about to reach the gate of Yamalok and saw that Savitri was still following him. He was irritated with this act of Savitri and warned her that what she is doing is against nature and she should immediately return. Savitri praised Yama as he is the king of Dharma and praised about the glory of righteousness, on law, justice and mercy and appealed to Yama as the embodiment of all these. 
Lord Yama was impressed by her praise and offered her a final boon with a promised from her to return immediately. She asked for many sons for herself. Out of distraction, Yama granted the boon. Savitri instantly asked Yamaraj how she could give birth to many sons without Satyavaan? Yama laughed noting that he has been outwitted by the cleverness of Savitri. He then released the soul of Satyavaan, blessed them both and disappeared.

Savitri found herself under the tree where Satyavaan was laying. Satyavaan woke up as if he was in deep sleep, he saw Savitri both crying and laughing. When asked, she said “nothing my love, let’s go back to the hut”.

Meanwhile Dyumatsena regained his eyesight even before Savitri and Satyavaan’s return. Dyumatsena became the king and Satyavvan as the crown prince. Savitri came to get one hundred brothers and many sons. Satyavaan ultimately ruled the Salwa kingdom and led a very happy and peaceful life with Savitri.

The End

Source: Wikipedia, Aurobindo, Mahabharat