Tag Archives: Thenali Raman stories

Tenali Ramalingam And the Two Thieves

It was the practice of King Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu to visit the jails once a while and review the living standards of the convicted. During one of his visits, two of the jail inmates pleaded for cutting down their punishment period.

They explained that theft was one of the 64 arts in the epics and Vedas and started defining the art of stealing. However, they argued that they would shed the lifestyle and shift for one or the other profession to eke out their living. Rayalu thought for a moment brushing his moustache royally.

“It’s alright thieves. First let me know about your expertise in the art and then decide. You both have to burgle at Ramalinga’s house and return. If you emerge successful, then you will be set free immediately” Rayalu ordered them. “Hey you both listen. You should not deliver any physical blows to the households, take care” he added one condition.

The same night they were ‘officially’ let out for robbing Ramalinga’s residence. Ramalinga was nurturing a beautiful backyard garden fondly. The thieves’ duo crossed over the backyard compound wall and took shelter in the bean bushes to watch the surroundings first.

Ramalinga was not just another ordinary man in the crowd. He spotted the duo hiding in the bushes. He called his wife loudly, “My dear wife! Come here fast. The whole town is on fire with the news about some convicts jumping jail and are said to be at large well within the town. We should immediately protect all our jewellery and other valuables…” watching carefully around the bushes, increasing the pitch “…bring that bundle with all our gold and jewellery.”

A minute later, Ramalinga and his wife with great effort brought a heavy bundle into the backyard and dropped it into the well. Dhhhhhhhhhhhabbbb….spppppplsh sounds of a heavy weight dropping into the water in the well echoed for few seconds. The thieves looked at each other with sparkles in their eyes.

They never thought it would be so easy to rob Ramalinga. Meanwhile, the couple went inside the house and closed the door. After sometime, snores were heard from the bedroom of the house. Slowly the thieves drew themselves out of the bushes, taking care they do not make any noise and went close to the well. While one of them stood guard, the other one slipped into the well. In a minute, the thief came out of the well and discussed with the other that there is much water in the well. The jewellery bundle cannot be taken out as it is. It would be better if some water was drawn out to snatch away the bundle, they decided.

Immediately they started drawing water from the well one after the other bucket. Water started flowing continuously in the backyard spreading all the ways. In the shade of trees and darkness, Ramalinga covering his head with a shawl took one farm tool and started guiding the water to the plants and trees in the yard. As it was too dark and the thieves were concentrating on drawing the water alone, they did not notice Ramalinga doing this.

After drawing water from the well for three to four hours continuously, the thieves were tired. One of them again went into the well and came back, “You, come I need help to bring the bundle out, it is too heavy.” Both of them slipped into the well together again. With great effort both of them brought the bundle out and fell on the ground like logs of woods after opening it.

To their dismay, it was not a bundle of jewellery but a bundle of small boulders and rocks. They never understood until then that Ramalinga hid his precious items somewhere in the house and dropped this into the well.

Ramalinga called them, “Hey dear thieves! Please draw few more buckets of water from the well. Only two of the plants are to be watered. Please hurry up it is close to dawn. Kindly help me quick and little more” like sprinkling chillies on the wounds of burglars.

Both of them were stunned on hearing Ramalinga’s voice. They told each other, “Run! It is Ramalinga!” and sped away crossing the wall with all the tired bodies.

The so-called argument of the thieves about the art of stealing and their expertise did not work on Ramalinga at least.

Stories of Tenali Ramakrishna -Mahabharat and Delhi Sultan’s wish

Mahabharat and Delhi Sultan’s wish

Mohammedans ruled parts of the sub-continent with Delhi as their capital for over two centuries. Few of the Mohammedan rulers maintained patience towards Hindu rituals and maintained communal harmony encouraging Hindu scholars and prophets.

Delhi was in Adil Shah’s rule concurrently while Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu was ruling Vijaya Nagar. A war broke out between the two kingdoms for supremacy over one another. At one stage, both the rulers felt there was a need to establish peace in the region. Adil Shah invited Rayalu to Delhi for finalising the peace treaty.

Hoping to utilise the opportunity to establish a cordial relation between the two empires, Rayalu headed for Delhi with a big team comprising of poets, dancers, scholars and others. At Delhi, Adil Shah gave red carpet welcome to Rayalu. During the pleasant rounds of discussions, Adil Shah urged the scholars and poets from the Rayalu band to recite some sequences from the epic Mahabharat.

The visitors recited several sequences to please the Delhi Sultan. It was then that trouble shot up for the Vijaya Nagar ruler. Adil Shah expressed his wish and requested Rayalu to make his men rewrite the Mahabharat portraying him and his friends as Pandavas and his rivals as Kauravas. The total visiting team was shocked to hear the Sultan. They somehow managed to close the day’s meeting immediately.

Rayalu was worried about the development. He called for an emergency meeting with the learned persons of his team. In the meeting, he sought suggestions from them to avert the problem. Everyone started scratching their heads to find an amicable solution. None could come out with any concrete proposal. After watching all this, suddenly Ramalinga raised and put his proposal before Rayalu.

He said, “My Lord! I think there is not much for you or us to get so much worried and burdened about the Delhi Sultan’s wish about Mahabharat. You please leave the problem onto my shoulders and have a relaxed sleep. I will solve the problem without any problem.” The King Rayalu had his own doubts about the safety of the kingdom and its people.

“Ramalinga…” Rayalu said, “…I am aware that you are a genius. However, it is not a common situation. Dealing with the Delhi Sultan is not an easy job. It is similar to fete on the edge of a sword. You should be very careful!” He was worried that if the problem was not dealt properly, there was a chance that Delhi Sultan might declare a war on Vijaya Nagar.

Ramalinga was stiff to his argument and assured everyone to leave the matter to him. The big heads of the meeting could not comprehend how Ramalinga was confident that he could solve this ‘so easily!’ Anyway, they told each other, as we could not come out with any proposal for the solution, let him handle this. The meeting finally nominated Ramalinga to take care of the situation.

Next morning, the court was packed with both the rulers and their henchmen. Adil Shah recalled his wish about re-composing of the Mahabharat. Ramalinga rose from his seat and saluted the Sultan. “Huzoor! All of our poets are into the job assigned by your majesty’s wish. However, every one of us is stuck at one specific issue. It is not proper for us to discuss the subject in the court. If you can kindly permit me, I wish to present the poking issue before you in private.”

Adil Shah thought that there should really be some problem and consented for the one-on-one meeting with Ramalinga in a separate room. Ramalinga folding hands and presenting all respects to the Sultan in his words started, “Your Highness! You are the king of kings! It was our pleasure to know about your inclination about our epics like Mahabharat. The poets and scholars started re-composing the whole epic, in accordance to your majesty’s wish. You are being portrayed as Dharmaraja, eldest of Pandavas and your friends as Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva.”

Ramalinga paused a second and continued, “This is where we had to scratch our brains…” However he was not forth coming with the problem. Adil Shah waited and when it was clear that he has to get it out of Ramalinga he ordered, “What is the problem? Tell me clearly and quickly.”

“You are aware Huzoor! That Pandavas are five. All the five were married to Draupadi and were sharing her equally…” Ramalinga stressed, “We are unable to portray your image as Dharmaraja in this regard, thinking about the prestige of the King of Kings….”

Long before Ramalinga could complete, Adil Shah hastened to say, “Stop this nonsense now. I cannot take this anymore. Stop rewriting Mahabharat immediately. I can never accept this.”

Ramalinga tried to say… “Huzoor! We started to work as per your wish…now, how can we turn away from the word given to you by us…we…” “Look Poet!” Adil Shah raised his voice, “you should drop the Mahabharat topic as of now if you wish the friendship and co-operation between the two kingdoms to last long. Is that clear” and walked off the room.

Ramalinga bubbling with joy returned to his King Rayalu and his bandwagon of delegation and explained the whole sequence. Everyone including Rayalu appreciated the sharp intelligence and presence of mind Ramalinga had in solving the toughest problem just like that!

Tenaliramalinga Stories – Entry to bhuvan vijayam

Ramalinga’s Entry Into Bhuvana Vijayam

Ramalinga was mischievous during his childhood. His childishness cheered some and troubled some. His activities were pleasure to some and humiliation to others. Once, while Ramalinga was pursuing his academics, the provincial ruler visited the school as part of checking the standards of the school.

He questioned the children in the classroom, “Who among you is the most intelligent?”

Silence spread in the class. No child dared to give reply to the King’s question. Meanwhile, Ramalinga sprung up from his seat and answered with confidence, “I am the intelligent student in the class.” The King appreciated Ramalinga’s confidence and courage. Calling him closer, the King enquired him about several things and blessed him, “You will go places my child.”

Similarly, Ramalinga grew big and made his presence felt in history.

Ramalinga practised poetry and composition along with command on language and grammar. Mingling with a group of minstrels, he learnt the art of spontaneous poetry composing techniques at Tenali.

He made himself a perfectionist in Sanskrit and Telugu (Andhra) languages. Gradually, in the natural process of growing up, he was married and was blessed with children. From then onwards, he was compelled to find ways to earn a living and feed his family.

He learnt that Vijaya Nagar ruler Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu was a revered patron for poetry and poets besides being a scholar in Kannada, Andhra and Sanskrit languages on par. Every poet and scholar with some skill in the vast Vijaya Nagar empire was longing for getting into the Bhuvana Vijayam, the royal court of Rayalu. Ramalinga headed for Vijaya Nagar with a similar thought and wish in him.

First, he approached the royal priest Thathacharya and laid his heart before him, after exhibiting his skills. Thathacharya promised Ramalinga to introduce him to the King Rayalu. Satisfied Ramalinga spent many a days in vain, waiting for the opportunity.

Ramalinga was vexed and started hunting for alternative ways that would gain entry into the court. He then located Nandi Thimmana, another scholar who had a permanent place in the royal court. Ramalinga approached Thimmana and appeased him with his expertise in spontaneous poetry.

Thimmana felicitated Ramalinga by presenting him with a Kashmir Shawl, which was presented to him by King Rayalu the previous day for his performance.

The next day, Ramalinga adorning the Kashmiri Shawl on his shoulders walked into the royal court. King Rayalu was discussing various issues with the courtiers at that time. Rayalu was surprised to see a stranger in the Shawl that was presented to Thimmana couple of days before. A straight question came from the King Rayalu, “Where did you get this shawl?”

With all humbleness Ramalinga replied, “My King! Thimmana could have satisfied you with his proficiency. I was fortunate enough to please that great personality with my poetry. Thimmana, pleased with my expertise…” he continued, “presented me this shawl felicitating me at his residence. I am wearing this to exhibit my competence.”

Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu was impressed by the way Ramalinga presented himself in the court. The King also appreciated the intelligence and presence of mind Ramalinga had. Immediately Rayalu offered a position to Ramalinga in his court.

Thus was the entry of Ramalinga into Bhuvana Vijayam.

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide –
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
- Will Allen Dromgoole
(Will Allen Dromgoole (1860-1934),was born in Tennessee.
She had published thirteen books, 7,500 poems and 5,000 columns
of essays, making her one of the most prolific of Tennessee writers.)