A VERY OLD STORY
ABOUT
LATERAL THINKING


VIDYALANKARA
DR.S.JAYABARATHI
JayBee


            There was a poor Brahmin youth, Chandravarna who went in search of knowledge and a proper teacher who would impart the knowledge.
            On one exceptionally hot day, he sat down to rest under a Ficus tree.
            He was overcome with hunger and thirst.
            That tree was haunted. In that tree, there was a Brahma Rakshas who was hanging upside down. It used ask questions to way-farers and if they could not answer correctly, it would devour them.
            What is a Brahma Rakshas?
            It is actually the spirit of a dead scholar of high birth. The earth-bound duties of such a scholar would be to choose a good student and teach him all that he knew.
            If he did not do it, he would turn into a Brahma Rakshas which is a very fierce demonic spirit. It would still retain its high level of learning. But it would eat human beings. This particular BR was searching for a suitable student to whom it can impart everything that it knew. To test the level of knowledge, it would ask a difficult question. As could be expected, nobody could answer. As a consequence, it had a tummyful of human flesh - but no student.
            It was getting fatter and fatter as time went by. The human-based cholesterol was giving it problems.
            How long more?       
            When it saw Chandravarna, it jumped down and asked a very difficult question.
            But Chandravarna gave the correct answer.
            The Brahma Rakshas took human form and told him that he was indeed a very learned Brahmin who did not select proper students and did not teach anyone anything. He did not dissipate nor impart knowledge. So he became a Brahma Rakshas due to a curse.
            He was destined to ask questions and devour people. Thus he was accrueing more and more sins.
            Now since Chandravarna gave the correct answer, he was released from the Brahma Rakshashood.
            He said that he would teach all that Chandravarna wanted and would also get him married to the king's daughter.
            But there was one condition. He must sit up day and night and learn everything that the BrahmaRakshas taught him. And he would teach at a very fast pace.
            The Brahma Rakhas did so and whatever he taught, Chandravarna wrote down on Ficus leaves with his blood. That was the only writing material that he could get.
            After a number days, the teaching was completed.
            Chandravarna collected all the leaves and went to the nearest town.
            He was overcome with sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, and fatigue and fainted in front of a house.
            Goats came by and started to eat the precious ficus leaf notes of Chandravarna.

           That house belonged to the most beautiful and accomplished dancing girl in that town.
            She took Chandravarnan inside the house and took great care and nursed him with care, day and night.
            Chandravarna regained his health.
            One day, the earstwhile BrahmaRakshas appeared to him in his divine from and told him that he had to uphold his promise of getting him married to the king's daughter.
            He said that he would use his former powers as a Brahma Rakshas and possess the daughter of the king.
            When Chandravarna came and told him to go, he would release his grip on the princess.
            He did so and and princess of the town was possessed. Nobody could make the Brahma Rakshas go.
            The king announced that whoever cast away the Brahma Rakshas would marry the princess and inherit his kingdom.
            Chandravarna went to the palace and commadned the Brahma Rakshas and it left with haste.
            The king gave his daughter in marriage to Chandra Varna.
            As was the custom of the day, Chandravarna, being a Brahmin, was asked to marry three other damsels who belonged to the other three varnas.
            One of them was the dancing girl who had given Chandravarna his life and had saved all his notes.
            All the four wives gave birth to children.

            Then the king gave the kingdom to Chandravarna and went to the forests for performing tapas.
            Chandravarna ruled well as a king.
            When he neared his end, he called his sons together and told them that since the it was dancing girl who had given him his life, the son of the dancing girl should be crowned as the king.

            So Barthruhari, the son of the dancing girl became the king.
            Chandravarna died and the eldest son performed the rituals and then went away for performing tapas.
            Barthruhari had a shocking revelation which made him renounce everything and become a sannyasi.
            So the throne came to Vikrama, the third son who was in fact the son who was borne of the princess.
            Patti, the son of the merchant girl became the prime minister.

            Vikrama felt that the kingdom was too small.
            He wanted a bigger kingdom with a new capital.

            He told Patti to search for a proper spot to establish a new capital city. It should be having forests, hills, rivers and many temples. So Patti left on a journey of exploration.

            By and large, he came to a place which had a temple dedicated to KaLi with Her parivaarams. He went around the temple and prayed to KaLi.

            He saw a peculiar inscription in the temple.

            It said, 'Any man who belonged to any of the four varnas should take a bath in the pond. Then he should climb up the Banyan tree on the bank of the pond. There is a litter hanging from one of the boughs. This litter is actually made up of seven litters which hang one within the other. The man should cut all the litters at one stroke of the sword so that the litter falls into the pond. Before the litter touches the water, the man should jump toward the tip of a spear that was erected at the centre of the pond. He should jump in such a way so that his top of the head would hit the spear's tip. If he does so, KaLi would appear before the man and would give him anything that the man would wish. Furthermore, he would rule over all the countries of Bharatham'.

            Patti decided that Vikrama should attempt and accomplish this feat.

            Patti went back to Vikrama and told him about everything that he saw.

            Vikrama agreed and they went to the place.
            When Vikrama saw the litter, he was aghast.
            He asked Patti how it was possible to cut all the seven litters which wre hanging one within the other individually.
            Patti told him to climb up the tree and get onto the litter.
            He should put his right foot in the litter and extend and catch the litter's rope with the left hand. With his extended left leg and right hand he should swivel himself, so that the litter and himself would go round and round. This will cause all the ropes and strings to torque with each other become one thick rope. When it is suitably taught, he must swing the sword forcefully so that the litter could be cut off with one single stroke. Immediately thereafter, he must jump upside down toward the tip of the spearhead.

            Vikrama did as was instructed and jumped on to the spear tip.

            When his head touched the tip of the spear, KaLi appeared. She bore the unconscious Vikrama on Her arms and carried him inside the temple. Patti followed Her and fell at Her feet and asked Her to bless his king with every boon and help him in establishing a magnificent city in that place.

            KaLi blessed him and soon after that Vikrama erected the magnificient city of Ujjaini there with the help of KaLi.

            Vikrama became the king of Ujjaini. Then he went on a tour of conquest and captured all the countries of Bharatham. Thus he became the Emperor of Bharatham.

            In Deva Logam, the world of the Celestial Beings, there was a furore over who was the best dancer among the Apsaras, Celestial dancers.
            The competition was between Urvasi and Rambha.
            The Devas could not decide who was the best.
            Naradha told them that Vikrama, the king of Ujjaini was the only one who had the ability to judge the dancers.

            The King of the Devas sent his celestial chariot to fetch Vikrama.
            But Mathali, the charioteer of the gods, did not wish to take Vikrama to his world. So, before Vikrama could step into the chariot, Mathali took off at super speed. But Vikrama put his big toe firmly onto the chariot's edge and clung on.
            Mathali realised that it was only through sheer superhuman strengh and ability that Vikrama could cling onto a divine chariot tearing off at such fantastic speed. So he slowed down and allowed Vikrama to get inside and apologised to him.
            In Deva Loga, Vikrama judged the dancers well. He hid scorpions inside bouquets and gave them to the dancers. Rambha winced while she was dancing, while Urvasi danced on gracefully.

            Rambha had held the bouquet hard. That had disturbed the scorpions which stung Rambha. Hence Rambha winced. But Urvasi held the bouquet ever so lightly and she won the contest.

            Devendra was so elated that he gave a special throne with thirty two mystical steps. Each step had one statue called padhumai. He told Vikrama, that he would rule for one thousand years from this divine throne.
            Mathali took him back to Ujjaini.

            Vikrama asked Patti to set up the throne in the throne room.
            Then he told Patti about all that happened.

            Patti was taken aback and said, "O King! You have the good fortune to rule from this throne for one thousand years. You could have asked a boon so that I could be your prime minister for the same one thousand years".

            Vikrama shamefacedly admitted his mistake.
            Patti told him not to worry about it anymore.

            Patti then went straight to the KaLi temple in the middle of the night. He meditated upon Her. When KaLi saw this She asked him the purpose.
            Patti told Her that since his brother, the Emperor could rule for one thousand years, KaLi should make him be the minister for the same period.
            KaLi told him that She would give Patti two thousand years.
            But it would be possible only if the head of a SaarvaBauman was brought; in that case it was the head of Vikrama.

            Patti went back to Vikrama and told him the story. Vikrama willingly offered his head which Patti cut off and took to the KaLi temple and demanded the two thousand years of life.
            KaLi granted him the two thousand years.

            Patti then laughed derisively.
            KaLi asked him the reason why he laughed.
            Patti asked KaLi whether the boon of two thousnad years that She had granted was real and true. KaLi said it was sure and certain and asked why he had that silly doubt.
            Patti told Her that only a few weeks ago, Devendra and the other devas had given Vikrama the power to rule for one thousand years.
            But Vikrama was lying dead at that precise moment. If the boon given by Devas was proven to be false, Patti had every right to know the veracity and validity of the boon given by KaLi.

            KaLi smiled at the audacity and commended the shrewedness of Patti. She gave Vikrama his life back.

            When Vikrama became alive, he learned about what happened and then pointed out the disparity between the length of the tenure of Vikrama and Patti. That Pati would be minister for two thousand years while Vikrama would rule for only one thousand years.

            Patti told him, "There is something known as Lateral Thinking. Millenia from this time in the future, there will be a rishi born in the West - from RomaPuri. He will be known as The Eduvardhana Subha Rishi. This rishi will rediscover Lateral Thinking and spread it in the world. At that time, the leader of Bharatham will relearn the process from him. Little will he know that we already know about that particular method of thinking ourselves. Did not Lord Vishnu appear as Narasimha to kill Hiranyakasibhu according to his own rules? Ah! That was Lateral Thinking.
            Now we will adopt Lateral Thinking. Let us wear our 'Thinking Thalaipaas'.
            According to the devas, you are supposed to rule from that divine throne for one thousand years. I am going to be the minister for two thousand years. Let us adjust the system. In each year, you will rule from your throne for six months only. Then we will go to the forest and be there for another six months. Then we will come back to the capital and you can ascend the throne and rule for another six months. This way, we can extend your tenure of imperatorship for a total of two thousand years. You rule in installments".

            That is how King Vikramaditya came to rule six months from his divine throne and become a wanderer for another six months, alternatively.

            Thus the 'naadaaRu maadham, kaadaaRu maadham' system of Vikramaditya became very famous.

            Now.....
            That what I call 'Lateral Thinking'.

Regards

JayBee


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