“Exactly how did Raman become a court jester?”
In South India, there was a village called Tenali. A young boy named Raman was living in that village. Raman was an orphan and he was living with some of his distant relatives.
Once, a sage paid a visit to that village. He had performed extreme penance in the Himalayas for numerous years and obtained countless spiritual powers.
Raman bowed to him in respect and assisted him in his daily poojas, etc. The sage was very pleased and wanted to help Raman. He worried that Raman was wasting his valuable time in vain playing in roadsides and fields.
So, the sage called Raman near him and advised,” Rama, you have actually been passing your valuable time vainly without going to school to study. A proverb states that the ‘Children who spend their days lazy will certainly spend their future crying like beggars’. Never be lazy. Work hard. Then only you can accomplish wonderful deeds in the future.”
Raman bowed him with respect and replied,” Sir, I really don’t have any close relative in this village and no one cares about me. No one has actually advised me like you and so, I have been wasting my days in vain”.
The sage felt pity for him. He wished to help that innocent boy.
So, he went on to advise him,” Dear son, right now, I am going to teach you a special, powerful mantra. (Mantra = a word or a couple of words primarily in the Sanskrit language which is repeated again and again to praise one’s favorite Hindu God or Goddess) This is actually called Maha Kali Mantra. At the border of this village, there is a hill and on top of that hill, there is an old temple for mother Kali Devi. Go to that temple tomorrow morning just before sunrise. Sitting in front of the Kali Devi’s statue, you should repeat this Maha Kali Mantra One hundred thousand and eight times with love and devotion. At that point, if the prayer was actually in the proper way, mother Kali Devi will certainly appear before you and bless you with your wishes.”
Saying this, the sage went on to teach Raman the powerful Maha Kali Mantra and ensured that he had learned it properly by heart.
The sage then traveled away to another village.
On the following day, just before sunrise, Raman set out to that hill temple and with great difficulty, he mounted the hill and arrived at the Kali temple.
Then, he sat in front of the statue and started to recite the Maha Kali Mantra. With love and devotion on Mother Kali Devi, he restated the mantra tirelessly.
When he completed restating the mantra one hundred thousand and eight times, the hill shook with a vibrating sound.
At that moment, …
The statue vanished. On that space, Kali Devi appeared in the midst of brilliant light.
Mother Kali Devi had appeared with one thousand faces which looked very scary . She had two hands.
” Child, I am actually very pleased to observe your love and devotion. Ask for whatever you wish” she ordered.
Raman was sitting before her with folded hands. He looked at the form of Kali Devi and suddenly, began to laugh. He laughed and laughed and his laughter went on for a long time.
Maha Kali Devi became very annnoyed. She cried angrily,” Hey, foolish boy, if any other man saw me in this form, he would have actually run away in fear. But, you are instead laughing like an idiot without even asking for your wish. So, let it be, that you are going to become a jester, a vikatakavi in your future.”
Hearing her angry words, Raman paused for a moment. Then, he told her,” Mother, this too appears to be actually a perfect boon to me. Vi – ka – ta – ka – vi. This is an outstanding word and also a palindrome. It reads the same forward and backward. I am actually happy. Thank you, dear mother Kali Devi, for such a rare name.”
Viewing his innocence and devotion, Kali Devi felt pity for him. She asked him,” Okay kid, tell me at this time, why did you laugh on seeing me?”
Raman started to clarify with respect,” Oh, mother Kali Devi, you have one thousand faces and also one thousand noses. Yet, you have just two hands. Whenever I get cold, I have enough trouble wiping my only nose with these two hands. But, you have one thousand noses and have two hands merely. I visualized how would you be struggling if those one thousand noses on the one thousand faces start running. I could not stop laughing.”
Hearing his jovial reply, Kali Devi also felt like laughing. She laughed. Her one thousand faces followed in that gorgeous, divine laughter.
Raman was fascinated by the divine laughter.” Your laugh is very beautiful, mother” Raman said.
Kali Devi smiled.” Child, you have made an angry deity like me laugh. From today, you are going to be actually called,’ Tenali Raman’. You will be appointed as the court jester to the king of Vijaya Nagara and you will certainly make all individuals laugh. You will live with popularity and wealth. Your name is going to be remembered forever.” She blessed Raman with these words and at that point disappeared.
After thanking Mother Kali Devi, Tenali Raman departed from the temple and reached Vijaya Nagara. He met Krishna Deva Raya, the king of Vijaya Nagara and explained to him about Kali Devi’s blessings.
The king of Vijaya Nagara gladly appointed him as his court jester.