Ramalinaga and Ramayana Recital
Vikrama Simhapuri (presently Nellore town) was part of Vijaya Nagar Empire under the rule of Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu. This place was famous for wicked and cunning women. These women with their uncommon intelligence added to their beauty and appeal used to defeat scholars and experts to transform as their domestic slaves and servants.
A prostitute Kanchana Mala among them was too notorious in this regard. In the name of satisfying Ramayana recital, she framed twisty and wicked rules, which made all the competitors lose in their ‘battle’ against the woman. The lady’s “reputation” along with her condition filled Ramayana recital issue spread all over the region and no one was dared to step into her house to compete with her. In case any one ventured, lured by the stunning beauty of Kanchana Mala they too were definite to lose and become either a slave or a servant to her.
One day, Ramalinga visited Vikrama Simhapuri on his personal accomplishments. Completing his job, he sat with some scholars, reputed persons of the locality, and enquired about the happenings and specialities of the town. The gathering in a synchronised tone explained Ramalinga about Kanchana Mala and her urge for satisfactory recital of Ramayana epic. One of the associates there said that, “it was her celestial beauty and the quantity of reward that was driving scholars to her, who are finally seen serving her losing the competition.”
One of the senior and aged poet of the region told Tenali Ramalinga cursing her, “she is not at all a woman, and she is wicked of the wicked. It is you, the right person, to defeat and smash her proudness.”
He continued, “You should teach her a right lesson and release all the scholars suffering in her service.”
Ramalinga thought, ‘Oh! Kanchana Mala is that highly impious.’ He said to the persons around him, “That being the case, I should definitely compete with her…by the way…what is the test she is winning on?” he questioned. One of them explained that she demands the competitor to recite Ramayana and satisfy her. Every time she says the recital was not satisfactory and orders the competitor to become her slave.” “Poor fellows, what they can do? The condition of the test was to take out a word ‘satisfied’ from her after the performance.”
“Enough! It is alright!” Ramalinga told all of them, “She just needs to be satisfied with a Ramayana concert, I will do it. One of you keep her informed about my willingness to satisfy her” Ramalinga said and headed towards his accommodation. Not one, but all of them got up to inform Kanchana Mala about Ramalinga’s compliance to recite Ramayana at her residence thinking, ‘Yes! Now the time has come for breaking her.’
Ramalinga, in the evening attired in a disguise went to Kanchana Mala’s residence. “Welcome! Hearty Welcome! O learned man, Welcome” Kanchana Mala invited him.
He told Mala, “I have come to recite Ramayana as if it is happening in front of your eyes.”
“That was good. Then, are you aware of the reward and punishments?” Mala questioned.
“I am aware of those Kanchana Mala! I have a request…” paused Ramalinga. “Please tell me Sir” Mala immediately responded, “Before I complete the total recital you should not say anything. You should do what ever I say as part of the presentation. After I complete the narration you can reward me if you are ‘satisfied’ or punish otherwise” Ramalinga sarcastically stated. She agreed to it and the story began.
Ramalinga started with the birth of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha, and Sathrughna. It continued with Rama Lakshmana accompanying with Sage Vishwamithra to protect the celestial sacrifice, killing Thataka, releasing Ahalya from curse, Rama’s marriage with Seetha breaking Lord Shiva’s bow, and Rama’s migration to forests along with Seetha and Lakshmana on stepmother Kaika’s wish.
Ramalinga was narrating the episodes with an excellent expression and mannerism in a right modulation. Nowhere, Kanchana Mala looked to be satisfied as she was commenting ‘You are not satisfying me.’ He advanced with the story narration about Ravanasura kidnapping Seetha, Rama killing Vali, deploying Hanuman to Lanka with the assistance of Sugreeva. Again Mala screamed, “I am not satisfied with your performance.”
Controlling himself from exploding with anger, Ramalinga convinced her “Kanchana Mala! You are telling me that you are not satisfied with my performance. However, this would be the best of performance on earth. OK. Let us leave that. Now get ready, you will witness Ramayana happening in front of you.”
“Hehehehe…yeah please continue, I am in fact waiting for that,” she said.
Ramalinga jumped on to her selectively decorated cot and said, “This is how Hanuman jumped on to the Peak of Mahendra Mountain.” Standing erect on the bed he took another flight and landed on another cot, “Like this Hanuma jumped on to another mountain’s peak.” From there he jumped close to Kanchana Mala and started throwing powerful fists on her back, “this was how Hanuman hit Lankini, who blocked his way from entering Lanka.”
Mala started shouting to the top of her voice, “Oh God! Mother! This man is killing me.” Ramalinga in a commanding tone, “I told you not to hinder me in the middle. Now shut your mouth, Listen completely…” jumping like an ape, Ramalinga took out a lighted wisp hanging from the wall. “Hanuman returning from the Ashoka garden after visiting Seetha started torching Lanka and its men like this…” he gave fire to Mala’s clothes and ignited almost all the clothes and inflammables in the house. While Mala was attempting to extinguish fire on her clothes, Ramalinga repeated beating her all over stating that was how Hanuman thumped the demons in Lanka. Mala other than shouting loudly and protecting her from the fire could not do anything.
Few seconds later, after lighting all the household material, Ramalinga coolly went to the backyard stood near the well, “this is how Hanuman put out the fire set to his tail by the demons” and started taking bath drawing water from the well.
Looking at the house in fire, Kanchana Mala went astray and ran out of the house like a mad woman. Ramalinga’s sarcastic comments irked her further more, “Who else can narrate Ramayana so lively Kanchana Mala, did you enjoy that?”
Cursing, yelling, screaming Kanchana Mala said, “fraud, cheat, he said he will recite Ramayana for me and set the house on fire.” With disturbed clothes and hair, she ran to he local Court of Law and approached the judge. She sought justice from the judge explaining the whole episode. Meanwhile, Ramalinga reached there without any tension appearing on his face.
The Judge questioned Ramalinga, “What is your answer to her allegations?” Ramalinga folded hands at the Judge and appealed, “Your Majesty! I do not bear any fault with me. It was she, who wished to witness a lively Ramayana recital to her ‘satisfaction’.” Describing all the past and present deeds of Kanchana Mala, Ramalinga said, “Mr Justice! I believe I am not at fault. In case the honourable court finds any, I am ready to take the punishment.”
The Judge understood that it was the wicked and proud nature of Kanchana Mala, which brought her to this turn of life. He scolded her for cheating and humiliating scholars and learned persons in the name of Ramayana recital and rewards. The judgement made it clear that Ramalinga did not have any fault to punish and freed him. In addition to this, the verdict released all the learned men who were serving her as servants and slaves. Ramalinga received all the appreciations from the people of the town.