TENALI RAMAKRISHNA'S TANESHA BHARATAM

With a view to use the sacred story of the pandavas for some material purpose the Tanesha of Delhi once invited to his court the eight renowned poets of Vijayanagara. These poets were asked to describe the distinctiveness of the Mahabharatha. They did so in a beautiful and attractive manner. After hearing the story Tanesha wanted them to write a fresh epic in which he would figure as Dharmaraja the eldest of the Pandava, all the ministers whom he liked would figure as the other Pandavas and all his enemies would figure as the Kauravas. In other words, he asked them to write a Tanesha Bharata. These poets were not inclined to produce an epic of this kind and were discussing among themselves as to how they could tackle the situation. Amongst them a clever poet by name Tenali Ramakrishna came forward and said that he would undertake preparing this book. He wanted to teach a good lesson to the Tanesha. The Tanesha then asked him to prepare the text in a week'' time. The week was coming to a close and Ramakrishna had not even started writing and the other poets were afraid that the Tanesha would punish them. By the end of the agreed period, Ramakrishna took a few pieces of paper and went to the Tanesha who in turn had invited many friends to listen to this great text. Tanesha asked Ramakrishna if the Bharata was completed. Ramakrishna told that it was nearly complete but that there were one or two minor doubts, which required clarification from the Tanesha. Then the Tanesha asked him what these doubts were so he could clarify them. Ramakrishna replied that he had some hesitation to raise these doubts in public and he would wish to do so when both of them were alone. Tanesha and Ramakrishna went inside and Ramakrishna said that he had a doubt as to who would be fit in the role of Draupadi. Since Draupadi was wife to all the five Pandavas, the person in this role would have to be wife for the five Pandavas in the story. This means that Tanesha's wife would be a wife to the ministers as well. Ramakrishna asked Tanesha if he would agree to give this role to his wife. Tanesha not at all liked this and he told Ramakrishna that there was no need to write such a Bharata and asked him to clear out after giving him suitable gifts. Thus we see here that the Tanesha wanted to have a reputation of the Pandavas but he did not want to accept the sacred terms under which the five Pandavas took Draupadi as their wife. Today, if we want to establish the nobility of our culture, we should realize and accept as a fact that the basis for it is respect for morality and truth. We should follow the path of morality and truth. If we want to have the reputation alone but not follow what the Tanesha wanted to do. This will be leading an artificial life. We should both hanker after getting a name and cheer popularity. We should look to the fulfillment of life.