Expert in Most Delicate Art

Bhetala Puzzles

The resolute King Vikramaditya climbed the primeval tree and brought down the cadaver into which Bhethala invoked. No sooner, the King started his journey carrying the corpse on his shoulder the Bhethala in the dead body started speaking to him. Hey King of Kings! Vikramaditya! To ease your journey, I will narrate you a story.

The Bhethala started

Once upon a time ago, Rama Sarma, a learned Brahmin lived in Chenna Patnam. He was blessed with three sons Janardhana Sarma, Madhava Sarma, and Vishnu Sarma. Rama Sarma regularly performed all the responsibilities as a Brahmin being a staunch believer and follower of the Hindu culture and tradition. He planned to go for a major sacrifice (Yagnam) for which a tortoise was needed. He called all the three sons to his presence.

My Dear Sons! Rama Sarma said, I proposed to organise one of the most sacred sacrifice. For this, I shall need a sea tortoise. All of you go to the sea and get me a tortoise.

Janardhana, Madhava and Vishnu collectively submitted in all respects to their father, Father! Your word is an order for us. We will immediately leave and return with a sea tortoise. Grant us your permission, and left towards the sea.

Slogging for one whole day, they managed to get one tortoise. Then, suddenly a small dispute rose among them. The argument was about who would carry the creature home.

Janardhana Sarma, eldest of the three told his younger ones, Both of you pretty well know that I am an apt in consuming food. If I carry that living thing, I would never be able to consume food, as the tortoise smell would disturb me. You decide who shall carry it home, as I decided not to.

The second sibling Madhava Sarma stated, Brothers! You know my expertise in romancing. Tortoise odour tortures me and I do not want to argue. It is clear that I cannot take it home on my shoulder.

Then the youngest one Vishnu Sarma cried, My dear elder brothers! I respect you by all means. You are aware that I am the most delicate one in the world in the matter of sleeping. If you make me load this tortoise on to me and carry it home, I would never be able to sleep again in my life because this stench makes me suffer. I beg you both and ask for pardon. Please do not make me suffer and leave me alone.

The tiny issue of carrying the creature to fulfil their father's wish took wind by storm and a heated argument went on. Tired of the argument, they thought collectively for a while and decided to go to the King for settling the issue.

Everyone put their argument before the king and the king was astonished to know about their dispute. He persuaded them, Oh sons of a learned Brahmin, with your arguments I could understand that each of you are specialists in one arena. First let me put you to test and declare to the world who among you is the best.

The Brahmins agreed to the decision of the king and accepted to undergo the test.

First Janardhana Sarma was served with a variety of eatables and was asked to eat them. Janardhana sat before the plate served with food. However, even before he could put his fingers in the meal he rose with a disgusted expression. He said in a loud voice, Damn! This food is emitting foul smell similar to that corpse in the fire at the burial ground. If I consume this, I will be left hungry for lifepardon me Oh King.

Speaking this, Janardhana moved away from the served plate holding his nose. King was surprised to hear him say so. He summoned one court attendant and ordered him, Go enquire with the farmer where he harvested the rice used for this meal." The attendant left saluting the King, Yes My Lord! As you wish.

Some time later, the attendant brought along a farmer who explained the King that, The harvest was from my farm that is close to a burial ground. Hearing the farmer's explanation, King, and the onlookers in the royal court agreed that Janardhana Sarma is an expert in food.

Later, it was the turn of Madhava Sarma. Madhava put up in a luxury room. A sex worker was asked to go to the room and make love with Madhava. Madhava pushed her away the instant he hugged her. He came out and complained that she smelt like a goat. King was puzzled and ordered his men to enquire about the living conditions of the woman.

The attendants went around enquiring about the sex worker's birth and life sketch. They returned and submitted to the king that, Oh King! This woman was brought up with goat's milk, as her mother was dead soon after giving birth to her. Again, the king and the courtiers agreed that he was an expert about women.

It was now time for Vishnu Sarma, youngest one to undergo the test. The King arranged a bed with seven softest possible cushioned mattresses and asked Vishnu to rest for the night. A little while later, Vishnu started shouting and screaming loudly, God! Mother! Father. It's paining. Ohhh! Something is pinching hard in the bed and jumped off the bed.

Servants rushed and informed the King about Vishnu and his screams. King arrived at the room. He ordered his servants to carefully check the mattresses. They removed mattresses one after the other and examined them with hawk eyes. Finally, they could locate one string of hair on one of the mattress. Everyone, including the King applauded the delicacy of Vishnu Sarma.

Bhethala questioned, King of Kings Vikramaditya! On hearing all this can you grade who is best among the three Brahmin men and how do you go about it?

Vikramaditya pouring out a royal smile said, Janardhana Sarma and Madhava Sarma, elder brothers have an opportunity to know about their subjects and can define accordingly. However, in the case of Vishnu Sarma there is no such probability to detect and bellow on. Hence, Vishnu Sarma is the most delicate and best among the three brothers.

Bhethala was convinced with Vikramaditya's reply and zoomed off with the corpse back to the treetop.