By Kamlesh Tripathi
Once upon a time there lived a king whose daughter was very beautiful and intelligent. She often used to be present in the king’s court for fierce discussions and debates with the king’s pundits and scholars on various issues, where she often used to defeat them. The pundits and scholars were quite embarrassed and upset because of this fact. Therefore, they all were silently scheming and waiting for an opportunity when they could take revenge of the insults in the court.
One day the king summoned all his scholars and pundits in the court and requested them to look for a suitable match for his daughter. At this request of the king all of them were extremely happy for they all wanted to teach the king’s daughter Rajkumari a lesson.
Soon they all set out on the mission and after searching a lot they found a murkh (simpleton) whom they assured good food, drinks and clothes provided he kept his mouth shut under any situation. Murkh initially got scared but then for the sake of good food, drinks and clothes and that too without working he decided to do whatever the Pundits and the scholars wanted him to do.
They decked the murkh with clean and holy appearing attire and presented him before the king as a Maha Pundit. King was happy to meet him. But Rajkumari wanted to test his knowledge and wisdom and so was keen to debate with him. The pundit and scholars therefore decided to call for a question and answer session in the king’s court. The topic of the Q&A session was ‘The reality of God.’ But since the Murkh had vowed to keep a maun-vrat (a vow to remain quiet) he could have spoken only in sign language.
When the session commenced Rajkumari was in a dilemma. But after pondering for a few moments she lifted her finger. Soon a scholar who was sitting behind the murkh pressed two of his fingers on the back of the Murkh and the Murkh catching the simple hint lifted two of his fingers. Rajkumari in response lifted three fingers when the Murkh raised four fingers when he was hinted to do so.
With some hesitation Rajkumari then lifted five fingers and responding to that the Murkh raised six fingers. Rajkumari in response raised seven and in response the Murkh raised eight. Again after some hesitation Rajkumari raised nine fingers in response to which the Murkh raised both his hands. The entire court sitting there was watching with great interest the question and answer session.
Finally Rajkumari raised both her hands, when the Murkh too raised both his hands but in a cross position. By now Rajkumari had lost her patience and was stunned at the mysterious ways in which the Murkh was raising his fingers and now his hands. She said if this Maha Pundit is on maun-vrat, someone else, and at least one out of you can kindly stand and tell us what he is trying to convey in his sign language. Finally one scholar got up and said, ‘fine but first you kindly tell us, what you meant by those fingers that you raised.’
‘Fine’ said the Rajkumari, ‘when I raised one finger I meant God. God is one and he is omnipresent, but what did his two fingers mean.’ One scholar said, ‘divyata (divinity) is always present in two ways. Female and male, right and wrong, high and low, true and false, work and worship, clear and unclear etc. etc. ‘Fine’ said the Rajkumari, ‘my three fingers meant three subtle components of life (three gunas or habits)—sat, rajas and tamas. Three periods of time—past, present and the future. There are three kinds of lokas (worlds) in mythology—swarglok, (heaven) prithvi (Earth) and yamlok (Hell). There are three jobs to be done by anyone and everyone in this world—create, execute and destroy.
One scholar stood up and said, ‘in response to three four fingers were raised. It means there are four Vedas (religious texts of Hindus)—Samved, Rigved, Yajurved and Atharveda. There are four directions—North, West, South and East. There are four stages of life—bachpan, (childhood) jawani (youth) prodavastha (middle age) and vradavastha (old age). There are four ashrams- bramcharya-ashram, grahastha-ashram, vanprastha-ashram and sanyas-ashram.
Rajkumari was happy and impressed is when she accepted the logics and said, ‘my five fingers meant five basic substances required for life—sky, air, fire, water and earth. There are also five gyanendrias (sense points) – eyes, nose, ears, tongue and relieving points (anus and urination).
The reply to that was with six fingers. Which meant, there are six hurdles on way to acquiring Brahmagyan (complete knowledge)-desire, grief, greed, hate, anger and arrogance. There are six threads to happiness- courage, kindness, humility, perseverance, love and happiness.
‘O my God! This Maha Pundit is really great.’ Rajkumari whispered to herself. Meanwhile the entire king’s court had started praising the Maha Pundit. Rajkumari sermonized, ‘my seven fingers signify the presence of divinity that is present in the saptarishis (seven-rishis), the seven rivers, the seven seas, the seven colours and are also present in the seven threads required to run this life.
Maha pundit replied to seven fingers by raising eight because in Yog (meditation) there are eight branches, there are eight kinds of assets and eight types of tribulations and it depicts all these. Nine fingers meant- nine faces of God, nine faces of mother, nine types of ratnas (precious substances) and nine vents of the human body.
Pundit further said, ‘ten fingers of his meant that god is complete. God is one. No matter how many names, how many faces, how many divisions, but the divinity is firm, supreme, it is one and supreme.
Rajkumari said, ‘one last question, when I raised my one hand why did he cross both his hands and lift it?
Pundit said, ‘this is quite simple because he wanted to continue with his puja and meditation and therefore he wanted to stop the question and answer session.
Rajkumari was now ready to marry him and the scholars and pundits were happy seeing their revenge coming through. Soon they were married.
But when they met in isolation after marriage, the intelligent Rajkumari quickly understood, just to take revenge the scholars and the pundits had planned all this, and got her married to a murkh. But Rajkumari without getting annoyed, and in a peaceful manner asked her husband to go to the close by temple of Goddess Durga and pray, and when Goddess is happy to ask for a vardan (blessing) of knowledge and wisdom.
Without saying a word the murkh husband went to the close by temple with a heavy heart but open mind and started praying sincerely and in due course he got a vardan from Goddess Durga.
This person was no one else but famous poet Kalidas of ancient times.