Clever pundit outsmarts the greedy king.

The king was a miser but still greedy to get a good name as a patron of arts and literature. It was the custom, in those days, for authors to dedicate their writings to the kings or scholars to expound their knowledge in the court and receive rewards.
The king in our story, as said was a miser. He hankered after fame but without spending. Therefore when the pundits came to him to recite there writings, he would set a simple test. Who was Rama’s father? This was an easy question. Everybody on answered- Dasaratha. Dasaratha’s father? Some of the scholars could get the right answer & replied “Aja”. Still lesser number could say Aja’s father was Dileepa.

After Dileepa, none could answer; you see they were grammarians, logicians, authors or linguists. They were not mythologists. The king heckled them, “You don’t know even simple things- how can I reward you?” With downcast faces the people went away.

One smart aleck (yes, there’s always one smart aleck around) found a way to teach the king a lesson. When the king began asking him the names of the Rama’s forefathers, after Dileepa, he went on saying Prabhava, Vibhava and so on, freely borrowing the names of the 60 years in the Hindu calendar. Then he continued with names of the 27 stars, yogas and karanas etc.

The king was stumped. Not only he but none of his courtiers either knew the right answers! The King (fuming inside) handed over reward to the ‘brilliant’ pundit! The moral of the story is this: no one knows what happened so many years ago but everyone pretends to be wise and knowledgeable.

(Adopted from “Bhagavantuni meedi paga” by Viswanatha Satyanarayana, written about 60 years ago.)


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