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Great Poets
Tulasidas Kalidas
Bankim Chandra Tenali Ramakrishna
Namadeva Maharshi Valmiki
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The Scholar from Kashi Humbled

Once a great scholar of Kashi came to Vijayanagar along with his disciples. He had toured North India and had defeated famous scholars in debates related to the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Shasthras. In Vijayanagar the king welcomed him as his guest.

The scholar entered the court with an air of importance. He said to the king, "Your
Highness, I have heard that there are eminent scholars in your court. Let them argue with me. If I am defeated, I will surrender my titles to them. If they are defeated, they must accept me as their master and must admit it in writing."

The challenger's air of supreme confidence, the documents of victory he flaunted and his ringing tones filled the court scholars with dismay. Krishna- devaraya said to the scholar from Kashi, "Learned sir, let us have the contest tomorrow," and sent the scholar to the  guesthouse. Then he sent for his scholars. He said, "Which of you is ready for this  debate?"

The scholars were frightened by the man's airs and his titles and testimonials they bent down their heads in silence.

The king was furious. "So this is the worth of the scholars in my court!" he exclaimed
and walked away. Then Ramakrishna said, "Why should we be alive if we cannot save
the prestige of the king? I am ready for this task." At this, the other seven scholars
gladly offered their titles to him and agreed to be the disciples of Ramakrishna.

Krishnadevaraya was surprised at the decision of Ramakrishna; but he made all the arrangements for the contest.

Next day, Ramakrishna entered the court in great splendor. He was wearing a Kashmir silk dhothi and a laced shawl. He displayed medals studded with precious stones. His forehead shone with vermilion and vibhuthi (sacred ash). Before him walked the seven great scholars proclaiming his greatness; behind them came Ramakrishna stepping on bricks of gold which the servants placed on the floor.

The scholar from Kashi was dumb -founded at the sight.

Ramakrishna was carrying a big book covered with laced silk.He put it on a desk, looked around and asked in an arrogant voice ': "Who is he, the scholar who wants to face me in a debate?" Ramakrishna's show had already astou- nded the scholar from Kashi; he stood up and said, I am the man."

The king indicated that the debate might begin. Forthwith Ramakrishna pointed his
finger at the book on the desk and said, "Let us argue about this book known as

The opponent perspired in fear.

The books he had read were countless. But he had never heard of this book! He wanted to ward off the immediate blow. He said to Krishnadevaraya, "I remember to have read this book long ago. I shall study this book tonight and discuss it tomorrow." With this submission he withdrew to the camp with his disciples.

The scholar from Kashi spent the entire night thinking about the book. 'Tilakashtamahishabandhana' remained a riddle! He had never heard of that book! He was afraid he would be disgraced if he stayed, and left with bag and baggage that very night.

The news both surprised and delighted the king. He called in Ramakrishna and said to
him: "if the very name of the book made the scholar from Kashi run away, it must be a mighty work. Well, let me see it." Ramakrishna removed the silk cover and replied, "Your Highness, this is no classic. Please look here is a small stick of the plant sesame this is 'Tilakashta. Here is the rope to tie the buffalo with. That is the 'Mahisha bandhana'. I have just tied the sesame stick with the rope that is all! "On hearing this explanation Krishnadevaraya went into peals of laughter. In appreciation of Ramakrishna's

Clever-ness he gave him a big prize. (In Sanskrit, 'tila' means sesame, 'kashta' means a stick, a buffalo is a 'mahisha', and 'bandhana' is that which binds.)

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Tenali Ramakrishna - A Scholar and a Poet, who exposed superstition and stupid pride to ridicule
About Tenali Ramakrishna
A Care-Free boy
The Boy's Yearning
'I Shall Get Education'
No, Not Even This
A Story
The Devotee Of Mother Kali
'Mother, It Occured To Me....'
A Cowherd
Half The Prize
Ramakrishna In 'Krishna Leela'
The Comic Poet
A Scholar, The Enemy Of Vanity
You are Here! The Scholar From Kashi Humbled
A Lesson To The Greedy
How Does The Water Appear..?
'Hide Your Head'
Ramakrishna And His Family
Humour Without Malice
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