Maharaja Krishnadeva of Vijayanagara used to be stunned every time by Tenaliram’s understanding. This time also Tenaliram surprised Maharaj. In fact, once Maharaja Krishnadeva returned to Vijayanagara after conquering the neighboring kingdom and announced the celebration of the festival. The entire city was decorated as if it were a big festival.
In order to make this victory memorable, Maharaj Krishnadev thought that why not get a victory pillar built in the city. To make the pillar, the king immediately called the most skilled craftsman of the state and handed over the work to him.
As per the order of Maharaj, the craftsman also got involved in his work and for several weeks, working day and night, he completed the work of Vijay Stambh. As soon as the Vijay Stambh was completed, the courtiers and the townspeople along with the Maharaja were impressed by the art of the craftsman.
Pleased with the workmanship of the craftsman, Maharaj called him to the court and asked him to ask for a reward. After listening to him, the craftsman said, “O Maharaj, you liked my work, this is the biggest reward for me. You just keep your grace on me. Maharaj was happy to hear the answer of the craftsman, but he insisted that he would definitely give some reward to the craftsman. Maharaj told Shilpi that she would have to ask for some reward.
After knowing Maharaj’s wish, the other courtiers present in the court started telling the craftsman that Maharaj wants to give you something with an open mind. You ask quickly The craftsman was self-respecting and intelligent in addition to being an expert in his art. Shilpi felt that if he did not ask for anything, Maharaj might get angry. If he takes something, it will be against his self-respect and principles.
In such a situation, after thinking for some time, the craftsman emptied the bag of his tools brought with him and while extending the empty bag towards Maharaj, said that as a reward, fill this bag with the most valuable thing in the world.
After listening to Shilpi, Maharaj got thinking that which is the most valuable thing. After thinking for a long time, Maharaj sought the answer from the Rajpurohit and Senapati and other courtiers present in the court. Even after thinking for hours, no one understood the answer of what to give to Shilpi.
On not getting a satisfactory answer from anyone, Maharaj got upset and asked Shilpi that what could be more valuable than diamonds in this world? Come on, I’ll fill your bag with that. After listening to Maharaj, Shilpi shook her head in denial and said, “No Maharaj, diamonds and jewels are not the most precious in this world. How can I get that?”
Coincidentally, Tenaliram was not present in the court that day. On not getting a solution to the problem from anyone, Maharaj ordered to call Tenaliram immediately. As soon as he got the message from Maharaj, Tenaliram immediately left for the court. On the way, the servant told Tenaliram the reason for Maharaj’s concern.
On reaching the court, Tenaliram first bowed down to Maharaj and then greeted the other people present in the assembly. Seeing Maharaj’s distraction, Tenaliram said in a loud voice in the assembly, “Whoever wants the most valuable thing in the world should come forward in the assembly.” After listening to Tenaliram, Shilpi came forward and extended his empty bag towards Tenaliram.
Taking the bag from the craftsman, Tenaliram opened its mouth and tied the mouth of the bag by shaking it up and down 3-4 times in the air. After this Tenaliram moved the bag towards Shilpi and said that now you can take this bag, because I have filled the world’s most valuable thing in it. The craftsman also bowed down to Tenaliram while holding the bag and then after taking permission from Maharaj, picked up the tools and left the assembly.
Seeing this scene, all the people present in the meeting were surprised. Expressing curiosity, Maharaj asked Tenaliram that despite giving an empty bag to Shilpi, why did he leave without saying anything? Earlier he had refused to consider valuables like diamonds and jewels as valuable.
Seeing the curiosity of Maharaj and the question mark on the faces of the courtiers, Tenaliram said, “O Maharaj, that bag was not empty at all, because it was filled with the most valuable thing in the world i.e. air. What can be more precious than air in this world, without which we cannot survive.
Maharaj was happy to hear Tenaliram’s answer and started patting him on the back. Pleased with Tenaliram’s intelligence, Maharaj rewarded him by taking out a garland of precious pearls from his neck.
learn from the story
There are two lessons to be learned from this story. The first is that money cannot buy self-respect. Secondly, the most precious thing in the world is air, whose price no one can pay. We get it free, so we understand the precious wealth from it.