Thathacharya – Demon Chanting Hymns
Tenali Ramalinga clearly understood that Thathacharya was furious on him. He is just a court poet, while Thathacharya is the royal family teacher and priest. If Ramalinga tried to confront directly with Thathacharya, that might ruin him similar to the situation, a lamb smashing her head when it collided with a mountain to knock it down.
Analysing all the situations in detail and taking comparison of the strengths, Ramalinga decided to encounter Thathacharya with intelligence and not directly waging a war in the open.
Since then, Ramalinga started enquiring about the weaknesses of Thathacharya. In this process, one day Ramalinga managed to speak in isolation with Thathacharya’s night watchman Bhadrudu. Carrying a small package in hand, Ramalinga addressed him, “Hey you, Bhadrudu! If you can give me a small information, all the 100 Varahas in this package will be yours.”
Bhadrudu’s eyes sparkled on hearing ‘100 Varahas’. It was equal to his two months salary and instantly he started calculating about what he could do with that sum. Ramalinga intercepted his thinking, “What are you thinking?”
“Nothing Sir! What should I reveal to you?” he asked in a humble tone. Bhadrudu carefully caught the package thrown at him while Ramalinga asked him, “Nothing very important. Tell me what is the schedule of our master Thathacharya after dusk, that’s all.”
Bhadrudu did not smell anything wrong about Ramalinga enquiring about Thathacharya and immediately replied, “There is no daily night routine for the Master Sir. However, twice a week, he goes towards the East Street after its dark and returns in the early hours. Ah! By the way, this night he will go on his way to the East Street.”
“That’s alright Bhadrudu! Keep this matter within you, as a secret,” stating this Ramalinga left the place briskly.
That night Ramalinga reached the East Street before Thathacharya passed through and stood under the shade of a big tree by the side of the street. After waiting for sometime, he could spot Thathacharya walking into the street from a distance. Ramalinga started shadowing him in the darkness until he walked into the house of a sex worker. Reaching close, Ramalinga could hear the door being locked from inside in the silence of the night. This was what I am waiting for, Ramalinga said to himself and sat in front of the house.
While Ramalinga was waiting, Thathacharya came out of the prostitute’s house just before the dawn when it was still little dark. Immediately, Ramalinga rushed and stood before him. “Good Morning! Master Thathacharya! I now understood the saying ‘Demons chanting hymns’. I will make your secret to everyone and expose your real nature,” he threatened Thathacharya.
Thathacharya started shivering on hearing Ramalinga. It would be the end of respect if he exposed this matter before the elite class, he should be persuaded not to do so. Thathacharya thinking so said, “My Dear Ramalinga! You are my dearest of the disciples. Please do not remember this after we leave this place. I will do good to you. I will give you whatever you wish for.”
Jumping with joy within himself, Ramalinga thought that was the time to take revenge out of him. “Dear master! I have a wish to sit on your shoulders for a distance, since long. Please carry me on your shoulders for a distance and I will forget about all this,” Ramalinga announced.
‘If I don’t do what he says, I should lose hopes on retaining the reputation. Then, it will be like swimming all the seven seas and dying in the pothole in the backyard. I am little blessed, it is still dark, I cannot be so easily spotted by people if I carry him now itself.” So went on Thathacharya’s thinking and making Ramalinga sit on his shoulders started walking down the street and was passing through a street close to King Rayalu’s bedroom in the palace.
Exactly during that time King Rayalu woke up early and was strolling in the balcony. In the loosening darkness, the King identified Thathacharya carrying someone on his shoulder. Immediately he called his gatemen and ordered them, “you fellows! Look at the man carrying another man down there on the street. Bring the person sitting on the shoulders of the carrying man kicking and hitting him from there, to me.” Immediately, the soldiers sprung into action. The always alert and wise Ramalinga understood the situation and got off the shoulders. “Master Thathacharya! Kindly pardon me. I am a sinner by riding your shoulders, a learned man. Now, let me be relieved of at least part of the sin by carrying you on my shoulders.” Somehow, though Thathacharya was hesitant, Ramalinga managed to convince, shouldered Thathacharya, and started walking.
Hardly walking a few yards, the soldiers appeared before them and threw Thathacharya on the ground from Ramalinga’s shoulders. From there, they started dragging him to the King’s presence kicking and hitting him mercilessly. Ramalinga with a great effort managed to stop his joy flowing from inside, said to the soldiers, “What are you doing soldiers? Whom do you think you are beating up? He is Royal Family teacher Thathacharya. It is not fair for you to do so with him. You leave him, hear my words…”
The soldiers replied Ramalinga with a rough tone, “Go on! Go your way! Get away from here. We are doing this on the King’s orders” and pulled Thathacharya to the presence of the King.
Rayalu was furious on noticing Thathacharya being booted by the soldiers. “You Stupids! What did I tell you and what are you doing? You all should be beheaded for humiliating revered Thathacharya.”
Shivering soldiers bowed to the King and pleaded, “Oh My Lord! It was not our mistake, when we entered the street taking your order; Thathacharya was on the shoulders of poet Ramalinga and we following your orders dragged him here. That is it all. You can confirm this with Master Thathacharya before beheading us.”
Thathacharya was in a big soup. If the whole story was narrated, it again links with the night haul. If that comes out, it is the beginning of the end. With great pain Thathacharya told, “My Dear King! They were right Ramalinga was carrying me on his shoulders.”
Rayalu regretted for the happening and asked the soldiers leave the place without punishing them. Later, he got Thathacharya treated for the wounds he suffered on taking the beating of the soldiers.
Ramalinga crookedly was in all laughter the whole day for giving Thathacharya a right lesson.