Appalacharya and the donkeys- good one
Appalacharya and the donkeys
In the court of King Krishnadevaraya, Appalacharya was the leading priest and preceptor, following the line of Veera Vaishnavam. Tenali Rama was a brahmin of Smartha origin and a courtier in the same durbar. Appalacharya was too much of a Vaishnava and he hated all other types of people, even brahmanas who followed other schools of philosophy. Rama was his beta noire and the acharya never spared any chance to humiliate Rama the smaartha. Rama knew this very well but Appalacharya was too close to the Royalty.
One morning, as if deliberately Tenali Rama walked across the street where Appalacharya was staying and Rama’s face was the first thing the Acharya saw in the morning. He immediately covered his face with a shawl. Rama, feigning innocence asked why the acharya was covering his face. Was it too cold? The Aacharya replied that something very wrong had happened. He had seen the face of a smartha first thing in the morning. The evil effects of such a sight would make him a donkey in the next life. Rama did not reply, but nodded his head in approval.
A few days later, the King, Appalacharya and Tenali Rama were walking along a street discussing something. Suddenly Rama saw a few donkeys eating something on the sides of the street. He rushed to them and with apparent reverence and prostrated before the donkeys. This action set the King and the Appalacharya laughting uncontrollably. “This Rama has gone mad. He has started worshipping donkeys” they said to one another.
Rama returned after his prayer and was duly quizzed about his quixotic action. He told the king. ” Your Majesty, I was doing only my duty alone. I have great reverence to Appalacharya swami.. My respect is equally great for his relatives, even though they are unfortunate now.”
Appalacharya was dizzy with anger. The king was also not pleased with the statement of Rama. He demanded an explanation.
Then Rama said,” Your Majesty, the Guru Appalaacharyaji had to cover his face a few days ago when he saw me in the morning, because being a veera Vaishnava, if he set his eyes on the fact of a Smartha, he would become a donkey in the next life. How true! It has happened to his predecessors. These donkey’s are the Acharya’s relatives who had set their faces on Smarthas in the earlier life. So the misfortune has befallen them and they have become donkeys. How can I fail to pay respects to the Acharyas preceptors just because they have become donkeys by the misfortune of seeing a smartha like me”
Now the king came to know of the paranoid dislike of Appalacharya towards believers of other deities, and made amends for it.