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PREPARATIONS FOR THE DEBATE
Kolahala's disciple was so astonished and indignant that he could not think of anything to say, but left in a furious rage to inform his teacher of this insult. When Kolahala heard what had happened, he could not help but laugh on hearing the age of his rival. The Pandya king decided to send another messenger to the boy to see whether he was insane, and, if he was serious about the debate, to bring him immediately. When the royal messenger came and told Yamunacarya of the king's command, the boy replied, "I will certainly obey the command of his majesty the king; but if I am to be accepted as a proper opponent of the great Kolahala, then surely a conveyance should be sent to bring me to the palace.After discussing Yamunacarya's reply, the king and his courtiers agreed that the boy's statement was fitting and sent a costly palanquin and onehundred soldiers to conduct him to the palace. In the meantime news of these events had spread all over the city of Madurai, and Bhasyacarya heard the whole story as he was returning home. He was very unhappy to learn of the danger his favorite student was facing, for though the king was generous by nature, it was well known that he dealt very severely with anyone who insulted the court pandita.Yamunacarya, however, was not in the least concerned. "There is no reason, revered sir, for you to be alarmed," he consoled his teacher when he returned to the school, "for you can be certain that, by your grace, I will smash the pride of Kolahala." While they were thus talking,the king's men arrived at the school with the palanquin. Yamunacarya worshiped the feet of his guru and calmly climbed into the palanquin, preparing himself for the great debate that was about to take place.
A large crowd of people had gathered along the way, for it was unheard of that a twelveyearold boy should challenge the court pandita and everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the wonderful child. The brahmanas, many of whom had already been defeated by Kolahala, offered him blessings, saying, "May you defeat this insolent pandita, just as Visnu in the form of a dwarf brahmana displaced Bali Maharaja, the king of the asuras.Meanwhile, in the royal court a difference of opinion arose between the king and queen about Yamunacarya. The king said, "Just as a cat plays with a mouse, so will Kolahala defeat and destroy the boy.But the queen was more thoughtful, realizing that Yamunacarya was no ordinary child. "Just as a small spark," she said, "can turn a mountain of cloth to ashes, so will this boy destroy the mountainlike pride of Kolahala.How can you really believe that this is possi¬ble?" exclaimed the king in amazement. "If you truly have faith in the child, then you must make a wager to back your words."Very well," replied the queen, I will make a wager. If the boy does not defeat and humble the proud Kolahala, I will become the servant of your maidservant.This is certainly a mighty wager," said the king, "but I will match it. If the boy defeats Kolahala, as you say, then I will give him half of my kingdom.While the king and queen were thus exchanging wagers, the palanquin arrived and Yamunacarya entered the palace. When Kolahala saw him, he looked at the queen and smiled sarcastically. "Alabandara," he said, meaning, "Is this the boy who will conquer me?Yes,replied the queen quietly, "Alabandara. This is he who has come to conquer you.