Who qualified as an heir?
Undaunted in his efforts, Vikraman went up the tree again, brought down the hanging body to the ground, and carried it on his shoulders to the funeral grounds. The Vedalam (ghost) inside the body addressed Vikraman, saying, "There is no doubt you have intensity and heroism."
Among the Vikraman-Vedalam stories, which one does not have an unexpected answer? What is the reason? Vedalam said, "Let me tell the story of a polymath." Thus, this story began. Prosperity prevailed during the reign of King Sudhatchinar. The only shortcoming was that the king did not have an heir. Worried about the lack of an heir to the throne, the king called his first minister and had consultations with him.
The king asked, "Dear minister, I reign over this country with justice and fairness. A great worry has descended on me because I have no heir. It is good to decide now who will be my heir. I consulted the queen, and she suggested adopting one of her many relatives. I have no inclination to do it. My heir should be a hero with courage and intelligence. How are we to search for one?"
The minister replied, "Prabhu, I have a thought. In our capital city, Gurukula Vidyasagar is teaching a host of Kshatriya students archery, swordsmanship, wrestling, administration, war tactics, and much more. If we go to him, we would be able to choose the future king of this kingdom." The king thought it was good advice. The next day, the king and the minister went to the Gurukulam, met Vidyasagar, and stated the purpose of their visit.
Guru Vidyasagar answered, "Maharaja, you have come at the most opportune time. As part of Vijayadasami celebrations, many competitive events will be taking place. You can witness these events and choose a hero from among them."
Three of the students had just returned in time after a month-long voyage as ordered by Guru Vidyasagar. The king, the minister, and the Guru were present in Gurukula stadium. The Guru invited the three students and asked them to narrate their trip experience. Jayan, the specialist in archery, was the first student. He said, "Dear Guru, I went north and faced no problems on my way. The people appeared to be happy. What shocked me was that some youth were secretly training in weapons at the edge of our country by the forest."
"Ambush, stealing the king's weapons, and stealth weapon manufacturing were the activities of the youth from the nearby kingdom. I killed the leader of the resurgent group from our country and thereby performed my duty to our country."
Vijayan, the second student returning from the expedition, said, "I went south and found it abound in lawlessness because of the lackadaisical attitude of government high officials. Highway robbery was rampant. The youth did not have the courage to fight the robbers. To change the condition, I trained the youth in sword fighting and inculcated courage in them. The youth are now brave."
Gauthaman, the third student, went east and found the country prosperous and peaceful. Therefore, I did not have to employ my warrior skills. One day, I found a gecko in distress, caught between the fingers of a statue. I saw a wonderful sight. The other geckos brought food to the trapped gecko and fed it. I was amazed to see the fellowship in these one-sense animals. I called the sculptor to break the fingers to release the gecko.
"On my way back, I saw an elephant calf at the bottom of a well. I called the forest dwellers and arranged to rescue the baby elephant from the well. I advised them to emulate the animals like geckos and the elephants who help their kind in need. I stressed to the forest people the fact that jealousy and greed cause people to fight with each other and how ignorant that was."
Immediately, the king and the minister stepped aside and held a discussion between them. They found bravery and courage in Jayan and Vijayan in full measure and decided to choose one of them. They went seeking Guru Vidyasagar's opinion. Vidyasagar addressed the king, "Maharaja! According to my opinion, among the three, Gauthaman was the most suitable candidate to be the regent." The king and the minister were taken aback by the Guru's choice. After a long deliberation, the king said to the Guru, "Gurudeva! I accept your choice." The king went back to the minister.
Vedalam stopped the story at this juncture and addressed King Vikraman, "When the king approached the Guru, thinking the Guru, being highly intelligent, would make the right decision, see, things went wrong. The Guru overlooked the brave pupils like Jayan and Vijayan and chose a Buddha-like Gauthaman, who spoke of compassion and mercy. How wrong was the Guru? Knowing all these things, the king accepted the Guru's choice and chose to appoint Gauthaman as the regent."
As usual, Vedalam said to Vikraman, "Knowing the answer, your silence will precipitate an explosion of your head into 100 pieces." Vikraman answered, "It is an undeniable truth that the prince should have extraordinary skills and heroism. That is the assessment King Sudhatchinar expected from the Guru. Those qualities were not sufficient for a king. Who is the king? The king is he who strives day and night for the welfare of his subjects. As bravery is necessary to establish peace, so is compassion necessary to protect and defend the people's welfare. The Guru found only bravery in Jayan and Vijayan but noticed bravery and compassion in Gauthaman."
"It is better and wiser to extend a hand of love to people to live in peace and harmony among those who are used to fights and rivalry. Gauthaman's approach is prevention is better than cure. The Guru understood Gauthaman's approach would establish peace and justice. Gauthaman did not come across a situation during his expedition to show his bravery. We can't tell if he has no bravery. He was a good wrestler. When the occasion arises, he will exhibit bravery, and at other times, he will shower love. Those were the reasons the Guru chose him as the regent. After a long reflection, the king concurred with the Guru."