Krishnadevaraya’s mother was a very orthodox woman. She had visited many holy places and had performed religious rites; she had given much in charity. Once she wanted to give fruit in charity and informed so to her son. Krishnadevaraya who had great respect for his mother immediately got delicious mangoes from Ratnagiri. But on the auspicious day when she was to present those fruits to Brahmins, the king’s mother died.
The religious rites connected with her death went on for several days. Meanwhile, the king called a few Brahmins and said, “My mother’s last wish was to offer mangoes to Brahmins. But she died before the wish could be fulfilled. What should I do now that she might earn the merit for giving away the fruits?” The greedy Brahmins replied: “Your Highness, only if you offer mangoes made of gold to Brahmins will your mother’s soul rest in peace.”
Ramakrishna came to know of this. The next day he went to the houses of those Brahmins, and asked them to come to his house next to perform his mother’s ceremony.
The Brahmins came to Ramakrishna’s house after receiving the gold mangoes from the king. Ramakrishna’s servants closed all the doors of the house. They brought red-hot iron bars and stood before the Brahmins. The Brahmins were taken aback. Then Ramakrishna told them that his mother had knee pains and as remedy wanted Ramakrishna to burn her with red hot rods. But she died before he could do it. So he now wanted to execute her wish. When the Brahmins said he was unjust towards them, Ramakrishna says there is nothing unjust because they had just taken golden mangoes from the king.
Then the Brahmins understood their folly and left the golden mangoes at Ramakrishna’s house and left.
Later when Krishnadevaraya asked Ramakrishna why he had behaved like that with the Brahmins, Ramakrishna said the palace treasury should not be exploited by these selfish people. It is not there to feed lazy follows. It is there to serve the people.
A Lesson to the Greedy – Tenali Raman Stories