Tenali Ramakrishna is known to have helped the king and saved the citizens of Vijayanagara with his intelligence on several occasions. Here is one such story.
There was a buzz in the city of Vijayanagara that a great sage had come to the city. It was also rumored that the sage had magical powers and could grant any wish. Every day, the citizens would gather near the temple where the sage sat meditating and offer him various delicacies.
Tenali Rama, too, heard about this sage and decided to see things for himself. The next day, Rama went to the temple and observed the sage, all the while pretending to be a disciple. The sage sat under a banyan tree. He wore a saffron dhoti and had a long beard, which was grey at some places.
Tenali Rama noticed the sage chanting a mantra and listened with attention. He discovered that the sage was repeatedly chanting the same sloka. This convinced him that the sage was an imposter.
He reached out and plucked a strand of hair from the sage’s beard. Holding the strand of hair and lifting his hand high in the air, Rama shouted, “I have the key to heaven.” People around looked at Rama perplexed.
Rama continued, “This sage is so powerful that if I keep this strand of his beard with me, I will be sent straight to heaven after death.”
Hearing this, the people rushed towards the sage to pull out a strand of hair from his beard. Seeing the mob rushing towards him, the sage ran away and never stepped his foot in the city again.
The citizens realized their mistake and thanked Tenali Ramakrishna for enlightening them.
Moral of the story:
There is no shortcut to success, and one should never follow superstitions.