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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Ramanujacharya > The Life Of Ramanujacarya > CHAPTER ONE > THE CONTEST



When the contestants were seated, Kolahala began the debate by putting simple questions on Sanskrit grammar to Yamunacarya. When, however, he found the boy could answer them with ease, he began to pose really difficult  grammatical problems; but still, Yamunacarya replied to them all without difficulty.He then spoke to the great pandita with a playful smile on his lips. "Because I am just a boy, you are insulting me by asking these simple questions.  Remember that Asfavakra was no older than myself when he defeated Band! at the court of King Janaka. If you judge a person's learning by his size,"I will put three propositions before you, and, if you can refute them, I shall accept  defeat then surely it follows that the water buffalo will be a greater scholar than yourself.Although Kolahala winced at these words, he controlled his anger and replied smilingly, "Well answered. Now it is your turn to put questions to  me."Very well," Yamunacarya responded, "I will put three propositions before you, and, if you can refute them, I shall accept defeat." Kolahala agreed and prepared to refute Yamunacarya's statements. "My first proposition is this,"  Yamunacarya spoke out clearly and boldly, "that your mother is not a barren woman. Refute this if you can.Hearing this, Kolahala remained silent. "Had my mother been barren, my birth would not have been possible," he thought.  "How can I refute his statement." Seeing Kolahala as silent as a dumb man, all the courtiers were astonished. Although the great pandita tried to conceal his anxiety, he could not prevent a flush from crossing his  cheeks.Yamunacarya spoke again, "Sir, if in spite of your allconquering intelligence you are unable to refute my first proposition, then please hear my second. It is this, that the Pandya king is supremely righteous. Refute this if you  can." On hearing this Kolahala, was deeply disturbed, sensing his imminent defeat. With the king seated there in front of him, how could he deny the boy's statement? Again he remained silent, the color draining from his face as he  was scarcely able to control his anger.Yamunacarya spoke again, "Here is my third proposition—that the queen of the Pandya king is as chaste and faithful to her husband as was Savitri. Refute this if you can.Seeing how he had  once again been trapped by the intelligent boy, Kolahala could no longer restrain his anger. "You rascal," he screamed, "how can any loyal subject say that his king is unrighteous or his queen unfaithful to her husband? It is true I  have not replied to your statements, but that does not mean I am defeated. First you must refute your own propositions, and, if you cannot, you should be put to death, for the implications of your words are treason against your king  and queen.


When Kolahala shouted out these words, all his disciples and supporters cheered; but all those who favored Yamunacarya cried, "No, Kolahala is defeated. He is simply letting forth his anger, because he could not refute the  statements of Yamunacarya as he promised to do."Thus an argument broke out in the palace, but in the midst of the contention Yamunacarya quieted them all by saying, "Please stop this argument, for it is unnecessary. I shall  refute all my propositions one by one. Please hear me." At this everyone fell siient and turned their attention to Yamunacarya, wondering how he could possibly do this and yet not offend the king and queen."My first statement," he  continued, "was that our greatpanditas mother was not a barren woman.However, it is stated in the Manu'samhita that a woman who has only one child is to be considered barren. As your mother gave birth to only one son, even  Ithough he is a man of such merit as yourself, according to the sastra, she must be considered barren. Secondly, I stated that the king of the Pandyas is a most righteous man. However, the Marm samhita states that a king enjoys  the benefit of one sixth of the rel igious acts of his subjects, but also has to bear the burden of one sixth of their sinful deeds. Because in the present age of Kali men are more prone toward sinfulness than piety, it must follow that our  king, although flawless in his own character, is bearing a heavy burden of unrighteousness. And now to my third proposition, which stated that our queen is as chaste and faithful as was Savitri. But again, if we consult the laws of  Manu, it is said that the king is the representative of Agni, Vayu, Surya, Candra, Yama, Kuvera, Varuna, and Indra. Therefore, the queen is married not just to one man, but to these eight demigods as well. So how can it be said that  she is chaste?"


On hearing these wonderful answers, all the people were fil led with amazement and the queen joyfully cried out, "Alabancara! Alabandara!.He has conquered! He has conquered!The king immediately came forward and  embraced Yamunacarya. "Just as on the rising of the sun," he said, "all the insignificant stars fade away, so you, O learned Alabandara, have conquered the proud Kolahala by your learning and skill. This fellow just a short while  ago was demanding your death, now you may deal with him as you see fit. I have also promised to give you half my kingdom as a prize for this victory, and that promise I will certainly fulfill.Of course, Yamunacarya forgave  Kolahala, and, although he was but a boy of twelve years, he began at once to rule the kingdom he had won. Thus his days of poverty were over.