BHA11-Thandirajan Incarcerated
Bharathiayar Stories
Madurai Project. Article in Tamil
Translation: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj
1. King Vīravarman congratulated Ranakumaran and his father the Army Chief Agnigopan and appointed Ranakumaran to a high position and prestige. The king appointed Upāyavajran the minister.

2. The defeated king Thandirajan (the captured king of Ponnangkādu) was bleeding from the eye and held his head low. King Vīravarman spoke words of hospitality and sent him to the royal physician for treatment.

3. King Vīravarman said, ''Upāyavajra! From the beginning of the conflict until his arrival, tell me about all that happened to Thandirajan.''

4. Upāyavajran explains to the king, ''Sakthivel Rajesvara! No news of importance happened from the time of departure from Ponnangkādu to Nāgamalai. I saw in Kāsuk-kukai Ranakumarar with his contingent. I revealed to him the king’s order. He said he received the king’s order likewise. He offered help for my onward journey. I took with me the dwarfish fox named Kudilappan, the hunting dog Villakkannan and the crow Kizhakkariyan.
5. The singing group chanting Govinda’s name.

6. Empty paragraph

7. Vīravarman, the king, smiled at the assembled foursome.

8. Upāyavajran spoke in the assembly, ''The foursome and I disguised ourselves as pupils and the Guru. We left chanting Govinda’s name. We took a ceremonial dip in the Nāga River, performed sun God worship and I chanted 'Govinda Nāma Sankīrtanam.'

9. The pupils chanted, Govinda, Govinda.' We reached the enemy land’s border singing Govinda’s name. In Nāga mountain’s temple-side, we raised a sacred fire and chanted Govinda’s name. Kizhakkariyan got hoarse from chanting. Karadisaththan invited us with open hands and introduced us to another singing group, ''The group’s Guru, is a great Bhāgavata in the same genre as Thuasidass and Kabirdass.''

10. In the evening the singing group dispersed.

11. King Vīravarman congratulated Ranakumaran and his father, the Army Chief Agnigopan, and appointed Ranakumaran to a high position and prestige. The king appointed Upāyavajran as the minister.

12. The defeated king Thandirajan was bleeding from the eye and held his head low. King Vīravarman spoke words of hospitality and sent him to the royal physician for treatment.

13. King Vīravarman said, ''Upāyavajra! From the beginning of the conflict until his arrival, tell me about all that happened to Thandirajan."

14. Upāyavajran explains to the king, "Sakthivel Rajesvara! No news of importance happened from the time of departure from Ponnangkādu to Nāgamalai. I saw in Kāsuk-kukai Ranakumarar with his contingent. I revealed to him the king's order. He said he received the king's order likewise. He offered help for my onward journey. I took the dwarfish fox named Kudilappan, the hunting dog Villakkannan and the crow Kizhakkariyan.

15. The singing group chanting Govinda's name.

16. Vīravarman, the king, smiled at the assembled foursome.
17. Upāyavajran spoke in the assembly, "The foursome and I disguised as the pupils and Guru. We took a ceremonial dip in the Nāga River, performed sun God worship, and I chanted 'Govinda Nāma Sankīrtanam.'

18. The pupils chanted, Govinda, Govinda.' We reached the enemy land's border singing Govinda's name. In Nāga mountain's temple-side, we raised a sacred fire and chanted Govinda's name. Kizhakkariyan got hoarse from chanting. Karadisaththan invited us with open hands and introduced us to another singing group, "Here is the group's Guru, who is a great Bhāgavata in the same genre as Thuasidass and Kabirdass."
19. In the evening, the singing group dispersed.

20. Upāyavajran made it known:

21. At the dark of night, Kardisaththan and I went to the cave and discussed things of mutual interest. The bear asked for a gift. I gave him the gift, which the bear secreted in a hole, returned, and showed a sullen mood. Even in mischief-mongering, one should show restraint. One should not be an ingrate to a Guru. Though Bhishman and Dronan liked the Pandavas in their mind, they lost their lives in the service of Duryodhana. The bear said that he would do anything to prevent harm to Thandirajan.

22. I said, "We should take Thandirajan to our Nagamalai's cave.

23. Kardaisaththan:  "Cowards."

24. I drew the sword.

25. He paid homage and asked for forgiveness. He refused sternly to complete the task on hand.

26. I asked, "Will you go to the Fire Sacrifice?"

27. I asked, "What is the strength of your deployment?"

28. "Approximately ten or twelve tigers and dogs."

29. "Would you help me make friends with them?"

30. "I will do."

31. I told him, "If you create dissension between Thandirajan and me, there will be death."

32. He kept murmuring, "Gift, gift."

33. "If you arrange a meeting between Thandirajan and me in a secluded place, you will receive three times I already gave you."

34. As I talked to him, he grabbed and tried to choke me to death.

35. I plunged my hand-sword in his lower abdomen for about three inches. He made a loud cry and loosened his grip. I withdrew my blade.

36. He plugged the wound with mud and said to me, "What is this, brother? I came close to kiss you, but you shoved the blade into me. Is this just?"

37. "A mistake. Forgive me, please."

38. That night we stopped the discussion and returned to Karadi Saththan's Yāga Sāla near the temple.

39. Sakthivel Vīravarma Rājā! After the verbal and physical fight between Kardisaththan and me in the Sūniya cave, we arranged a truce with each other, exited the cave, returned to the Yāga Sāla, and went to sleep. At dawn, we saw Thandirajan arrive at Nāga Hills and arranged for Kardisaththan to go to his private tent. As they were conversing, they invited me into the tent. Before departure to the tent, I related all matters of importance to Ranakumar and presented myself before Thandirajan. I showed a ring (a gift) to Karadisaththan, who left the tent under the pretext that he would drink water. Thandirajan and I were alone by ourselves.

40. Thandirajan: "Who are you?"
41. ''I am the son of Vikāran, and my name is Upāya Kumaran. At the bid of uncle Vikāran, I am here."

42. "Siddhar Thangakkāsu Maharishi lives in the Nāga Hills cave. He is an alchemist who converts stone into gold. Vīravarman went to him to buy gold. Uncle Vikāra made the Rishi join our cadre. The Rishi gets him drunk on liquor. I told him how, when, and where to trap Vīravarman. All these, I said as instructed by Vikāra-uncle. Thandirajan did not believe what I said. He consulted with a whole bunch of advisors, including Kardisaththan.

Thandirajan the king of Ponnangkadu, the enemy of Vīravarman, the king of Peykadu.

43. Thandirajan called me back in the evening and told me he did not trust me. I pronounced their family Mūla Mantra and immediately thought of Bhagavan Krishna to expunge the sin. Soon after, I thought of our Sakthi Mantra. Thandirajan trusted me and, with five of his underlings, went to the Kasu cave. Ranakumaran beat up the five, chased the five underlings, and tied up Thandirajan into a ball.

44. Viveka Sastry (The story teller) told his children, "Hearing the narrative of the fox, the lion dissolved the assembly. The third son, Anjaneyan, questioned his father Sastri, "Once Thandirajan was arrested, why should there be a war?"

45. Viveka Sastri continued his story. "Once the news of the capture of Thandirajan reached Peykadu, a revolution ensued and Karadisaththan was appointed  as the head of the forest kingdom, Ponnangkādu. Karadisaththan proclaimed all over the kingdom the three principles of brotherhood, equality, and freedom. Learning of Karadisaththan's appointment, Vīravarman sent his military to return home with the capture of Karadisaththan. He cut off the tail of Karadisaththan and drove him away to another forest and appointed Thandi's brother Uththandi as the titular head of Peykadu and incarcerated Thandi in Ponnangkadu Fort.

46. In the Ponnangkadu, a hunch-backed fox served as a palace maid when Vīravarman was a child. He threw a rock on the fox, causing spinal cord injury and broken spine. Since then, it was hunch-backed. Her name was Narichchi Nallathangai. Because of his fault, Vīravarman had a special affection for her. Whatever crimes she committed, the king dealt milder punishments to her. But the hunchback never forgave the king. Her heart dwelt on punishing him and waited for an opportune moment. That chance was about to come true.

47. Uththandi, the head of Peykadu declared himself as the king and declared war on Vīravarman. The subjects were unhappy that Thandi lost the kingdom to Vīravarman, who brought shame to Peykadu. The subjects were happy that Uththandi declared war against Vīravarman.

48. The hunch-backed fox Nallathangai secretly met with Vikāran and Thandirajan, studied the military formations, and went to Peykkadu to reveal the military secrets to Uththandi. Back to the storyteller Mr. Sastri and his children.
49. His son Anjaneyan asked his father, "Will a devotee commit mistakes?"

50. Sastri: "Will not do it knowingly. Mistakes can happen because of Karma."

51. Anjaneyan: "Can Karma overwhelm devotion?"

52. Sastri: "Until Bakthi attains full maturity, Karmic influence on man will not decrease. If one has to destroy the fruits of past Karma, the fire of devotion should burn without smoke or soot in the sacrificial pit of intellect. Vīravarman did not attain that state."

53. Anjaneyan: "Why did the hunchback not have the compassion to Vīravarman?"

54. "Sākṣāt Baghavan took Rama-avatar on this earth. The hunch-backed maid of his stepmother did not like Rama. Birds at dawn fly out and sing. The owls like darkness. The all-enticing Deiva Bakthi (devotion) has not appeared among men. It may happen in the future.

55. Viveka Sastri said, "Hear me, my children. The palace maid Narichchi Thangai ran away from king Vīravarman to Peykadu and sought refuge with Uththandi Rajan. She revealed the kingdom's military secrets, ministerial cabinet, and material wealth to him (treason on her part). The war started between the two kingdoms. Vīravarman had the military establishment as follows.

56. ''Tiger division 1000, Bear contingent 1000, Fox division 1000, Elephant division 1000, Camel division 1000, load-bearing donkey division 10,000, espionage division 2000 crows, the snake division 10,000, vulture division 3,000 and Eagle division 10,000.''

57. The opposing military (Uththandi) did not have even one-eighth size.

58. On two battlefields, Uththandi's military suffered defeat. Uththandi was in his palace thinking of future moves. He asked Narichchi Nallathangai brought before him. Both of them had discussions.

59. Uththandi: "Your information on the enemy did not pan out on two battlegrounds, and our military suffered defeat. Our military strength is one-eighth. Depending on your advice, I waged war against Vīravarman. Now, you must tell me how to gain victory."

60. Narichchi Nallathangai said, "Rajathi Rajane, Uththandi Bhupalane, Sathru Singa Mandala Vinasaka Jaya Kandane! I am a woman. I do not belong to the family of lions, unlike you. I belong to the fox family. I surrendered to you as the hunchback from injury to the spine. I revealed to you all that I know of the military of Vīravarman. Though you had one-eighth of the strength of Vīravarman, you and your ministers consulted and decided you could win the battle by strategy. Now, you ask me for advice. If you win because of my advice, what rewards do I get? Once I know, I will advise you to the best of my ability."

61. Uththandi: "I will give you whatever you demand."

62. Narichchi Nallathangai: "Hey Uththandi! If you win the war, would you marry me and make me the queen?"

63. Uththandi, hearing this, was angry and said, "Stupid fox! You were a maid. You are an old decrepit woman. I belong to royal family. I am in the prime of my life. My consort is Kamakshi, the daughter of Chidambaram king, the greatest Gundodharan. She is educated and beautiful, and there is no one excelling her. Knowing all this, you are talking nonsense. Don't babble. Because you are a woman, I let his pass. If you were a male, your head will be rolling." Uththandi roared.

64. Narichchi said, "Listen to me Uththandi Raja! I was just testing you. I had no intent to marry you. Your queen is beautiful and educated. You did not ask her for advice and you came to me for advice. That was your mistake. I am pointing that to you."

65. "Not even in my dream, I wanted to marry you. You did not ask the queen's advice because you were so engrossed in the battle. What I said earlier will prompt you to seek advice from the queen. There is nothing else for me to say."

66. "I like to remove some misconceptions. Have you heard about the origins of a Rishi and a river? You mentioned that Lion should not marry a female fox. Upper-class Rishis married low-class women, and the result was less than shining. Baghavan Sriman Narayanan is the ruler of the universe, subtle Soul, Supreme Atma, and the father of the world. He married the Villiputhur Bhattar's daughter and Delhi Bathusha's daughter and lived in Srirangam. Hey Uththandi Rajane! You teach me about the highs and lows of the castes. The lion is high-born, and the fox is low-born. That is exactly the thoughts of the moron Vīravarman. Let it be so."

67. "Uththandi Rajane! You said a strapping youth should not marry a haggard old woman. It is a stupid statement. Every new Indra marries the ancient and old Indrani without fail. You laughed at my hunchback. Is it the body that you love ? We should extend love to the soul.

68. These matters are unknown to you."

69. "Uththandi Rajane! If I teach you the ways, you could gain victory, what will you give me in return?"

70. Uththandi Rajan said, "I will give you anything other than marry you."

71. Narichchi said, "First time you promised and later retracted. I doubt this offer too."

72. Uththandi said, "No fear! I will give you whatever else you ask me."

73. Narichchi: "Will you give half of your kingdom?"

74. Hearing this proposal, Uththandi had mental distress. He did not want to part with half of his kingdom to an old fox from the enemy kingdom. He did not have faith in his generals winning the war. He had a belief that Narichchi had an excellent strategy to bring the victory home. He was hesitant and embarrassed that he might rescind his promise. He gave his word that if her way brought victory, he would gift half his kingdom to the old fox.

75. Narichchi said, "It will come by as if Columbus broke the chicken egg and showed. "

76. Uththandi: "What kind of modern-day example is it?"

77. Nallathangai said, "Once the world explorer and his 37 friends were dining at the table. Columbus asked his friends, 'Will, anyone stand the egg on end?' He added, 'I will stand an egg on its end without any external support. Can anyone do this?'"

78. His friends tried, and no one could do it. Everyone accepted his failure.

79. Columbus stood up, shaved off on end, and stood it on the table. His friends were impressed with his cleverness.

80. Narichchi continued, "Some stupid friends complained it was cheating to shave off one end to stand the egg. We all thought he would stand the end without shaving it. If he told us that one can break the egg to stand it, we would have done it." There was audible disapproval.

81. Uththandi said, "That is it."

82. Narichchi: "That is all bout it."

83. Uththandi: "If that is so, Columbus was a cheat. His friends must be idiots to express wonder at his cleverness."

84. Narichchi Nallathangkai: "Likewise, will you promise me half the kingdom and then break your promise?"

85. Uththandi Rajan: "No. You give me the advice. If I were to get the victory, no matter how simple it is, I would not ignore your help but yield half of my kingdom."

86. Narichchi said, "Uththandi Maharaja! You give me a written letter to your uncle Gundodharan with the following instructions, 'Need military help at the time of danger. Trust Naricchchi Nallathangai. Write the letter now. I will later take the military and destroy Vīravarman's self-conceit and arrogance. I will establish your indestructible name in the Lion History forever."

87. Uththandi wrote a letter and gave it to Narichchi. She took the note, mounted a palanquin accompanied by minions, and went to Utthandi's father-in-law Gundodhara.

88. Change scenery.

89. Uththandi went to his wife Kamakshi and narrated what happened. She became mad and said, "Do you think you will obtain military help from my father Gundodhara without my help but with the help of Narichchi?"

90. Uththandi said, "You are not familiar with diplomacy. It becomes necessary to conduct diplomacy without telling anyone considering the urgent nature of the circumstances."

91. Kamakshi said, "You conduct the affairs of the state so as to lose victory without ministerial consultation."

92. Uththandi said: "It is the custom of the sinning women to scold and criticize at dangerous times."

93. Kamakshi: Do you know the story of the Brahmana boy who wanted to study Sastras?"

94. Uththandi Rajan: I am in a dangerous predicament. Now you want to tell me a story."

95. Kamakshi: Vīravaran (the enemy king) has faith in his wife, never chides her, and always consults with his wife in all-important royal decisions. Don't you remember this from the Bear Sanyasi who came from the enemy kingdom?"

96. Uththandi: "I am stuck in the bottomless pit, trying to get out; you are singing the laurels of the enemy. Is this acceptable to you?"

97. Kamakshi: "Those who disrespect women are animals is the saying in sacred texts. Don't you know it?"

98. Uththandi: "I have not treated you with any disrespect."

99. Kamakshi: You did not consult with me and sent a request to my father for military help. Does it not amount to disrespect?"

100. Uththandi: "Let that slide. Let us talk about the future actions."

101. Kamakshi: "What is the action you have on your mind?"

102. Uththandi: "What is yet to happen is battle and victory?"

103. Kamakshi: Tell me now, where the battle was lost and who the losing generals are?"

104. Uththandi: We lost in Nagamalai under the command of Karadi Velappan and Vellai Vaikkal under Puli Ponnambalam."

105. Kamakshi: "Velappan and Ponnambalam should be shot dead before dawn tomorrow."

106. Uththandi: ''Not possible.''

107. Kamakshi: "Why not?"

108. Uththandi: "They are the sons from elite families. If we harm them, the country's lords will become our enemies."

109. Kamakshi: "How many lords are there supporting you?"

110. Uththandi: "The nation's lords are on my side. No one is in the opposing party."

111. Kamakshi: "I insist that Velappan and Ponnambalam should be shot before dawn tomorrow. Once done, I will tell you the ways to gain victory."

112. Uththandi:''I will never agree to that all times."

113. Kamakshi: "The misogynists will never shine as victors before men. Disrespecting women is the first attribute of uncivilized Jātis.

114. Kamakshi: "You are transgressing my words. Victory will not be yours. You ignore me always."

115. "You thought you could persuade my father to send you the military without my knowledge: That shows a deficiency in your consultation. I will never allow your destruction."

116. Handicapped by your mental deficiency, bad advice from your stupid ministers, you earned the enmity of the brave soul, Vīravarman. You did not seek excellent advice from me. You consulted with Narichchi Nallathangai. Thankfully, you did not garland her. To that extent, you are intelligent. You promised to her half your kingdom. What am I to say about the sharpness of your intellect."

117. Uththandi: "Aha! Who told you of the secret talks I had with Narichchi? Was it your instigation that she asked for half of the kingdom?"

118. Kamakshi: "No. It was you who sent for her. You could tell that I instigated her only if I knew of your invitation beforehand."

119. Uththandi: "Then how did you know about it? Beforehand, I had an inkling you had all my secret agents under your influence. You have a contingent of secret agents without my knowledge."

120. "Most of my ministers and generals seem to be under your control and are afraid of you. It appears you are the head of your secret agents. I have no intention of betrayal."

121. "But the disrespect for my sayings is not acceptable to me and you exercise control over my country. "

122. Kamakshi said, "It is a surprise you feared me, and yet you paid no attention to me. You appointed my enemies Velappan and Ponnambalam as the generals and removed my chosen generals from their positions. You lost the battle. Still, you disrespect me. Because you listened to my advice, you are, at present, the king. The day after your coronation, I discovered you were an ingrate."

123. Uththandi: "No, I did not disregard you."

124. Kamakshi: "Just an hour ago, you treated me as if I was straw."

125. Uththandi roared, "What did I do?"

126. Kamakshi: "I began telling a story to teach good sense to you. You have no patience to hear it. You had a writhing face. When you see me, your face looks so hot that mustard explodes on your face. My words seem to be like pouring hot lead in your ears."

127.  Uththandi: "What was it? You said something about a story. Oh yes, the story of the Brahmin boy well-versed in four Sastras. Tell me that story for me."