Enquire Before You Entrust

Dwijakirtti, King of Cholamandala, had three sons. As he was old and no longer capable of guiding the State, he resolved to give his kingdom over to any of his sons who might be fit to rule. In order, therefore, to ascertain their respective capabilities, he sent for his eldest son first and asked him what he most desired. He replied that he was most anxious to have around him the best logicians, grammarians, rhetoricians, and other men of science, and to pass his time in the study of the Rámáyana, Mahábhárata, and other sacred books. The king thereupon gave him a few villages for his upkeep, and told him to go and do according to his wishes.

He then sent for his second son and asked him what he desired most. He replied, “I am anxious to acquire much wealth, and visit sacred shrines.” The king thereupon gave him the money necessary, and sent him on his pilgrimage. He then sent for the third son and asked him what his desire was. He replied, “to acquire a kingdom, levy a great army, protect the people, make the provinces fruitful, and thus acquire a good reputation.”

The king was much gratified at these words, and thinking that he was the fittest person to rule the kingdom, made over charge of the kingdom to him. The son assumed the reins of government, treated his people with justice and generosity, and consequently his people flourished. You should, therefore, enquire into the capabilities of the person, and his mental tendencies, before entrusting him with authority.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows an Indian prince and his court being entertained by dancers (1850 CE).

References:

  • Folk-lore of the Telugus by GR Subramiah Pantulu (1919)