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Once upon a time, a great pundit from a foreign land visited King Krishna Deva Raya’s court and claimed that he had knowledge about all subjects and was a master of all the fields.
He challenged all the wise ministers at the King’s court and said that he will defeat them in arguments. The King accepted his challenge. The pundit then started arguing with the learned men of the kingdom on various subjects. All the ministers were failing badly. Then, the King decided to summon his wisest minister, Tenali Raman.
On being summoned, Tenali Raman took a small bundle from his home, make it appear like a book and tied it up. Then, he went to the court and declared that he would argue with the pundit but on one condition that the topic of the debate would be based on the book called ‘Thilakashta Mahisha Bandhanam.’
The great pundit was stumped to hear about the book as he had never heard of any such book before. He asked for one night’s time to prepare for the argument. During the night, he was sleepless and could not even bear the thought of losing to Tenali Raman. So he decided to walk away. He left a note for the King saying that he doesn’t know anything about the great book.
The following day, Tenali appeared in the court for the debate. But he was informed that the pundit had left the court. The King then asked about the great book that Tenali had mentioned, so that he can also learn things from it. On hearing this, Tenali laughed and responded that there is no such book called ‘Thilakashta Mahisha Bandhanam’.
He said that inside the bundle, there was til which is known as ‘Thila’ in Sanskrit and some sheep dung which is called ‘Kashta’ in Sanskrit. These were then tied by a rope which was made of buffalo’s hide which is called ‘Mahisha’, and the act of tying is known as ‘Bandhanam’ in Sanskrit.
This is how he tricked the pundit into believing that there was a great book and the pundit knew nothing about it. The King then praised Tenali Raman’s acumen and rewarded him for the same.
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