Tenali Ramakrishna, or more popularly known as Tenali Ram, is not a concocted character in the history of Karnataka. He did exist, and existed with all his might of wits and wisdom. He led his way and made it possible for himself to be appointed as court jester at the court of Krishna Dev Rai, using his wits and wisdom and presence of mind. King Krishna Dev Rai was the ruler of Vijayanagar, who, with the help of his capable administration, had made Vijayanagar the most powerful kingdom of Karnataka.
Tenali Ramakrishna held the same status in the eyes of King Krishna Dev Rai as Birbal had in the eyes of Emperor Akbar. The only difference was that Birbal was one of the nine gems of Emperor Akbar and Tenali Ramakrishna was one of the eight gems of King Krishna Dev Rai. The courtiers of King Krishna Dev Rai were just as jealous of Tenali Ramakrishna as were the courtiers of Emperor Akbar jealous of Birbal. The courtiers at the court of King Krishna Dev Rai always looked for an opportunity to let Tenali Ramakrishna down in the eyes of the King. But Tenali Ramakrishna was so witty that he would not only make their designs fail, rather he would attain more nearness to the king and bag a handsome reward as well. The stories of Tenali Ramakrishna are not only entertaining, they also give us knowledge and teach us ethics. These stories are historical assets of our country and make us aware of the political, economic, social and religious situation of fifteenth-sixteenth century.
Tenali Ramakrishna was the son of a poor Brahmin-Ishwar Prasad Ramaiya. The real name of Tenali Ramakrishna was Ramalinga. He was born in a small town, Galipadu, of Guntur district. But it is said that his father died when he was only three days old. He was taken care of by his maternal uncle who lived in a small town, Tenali. Ramalinga had a sharp brain ever since his childhood. All his comrades acknowledged his supremacy.
Tenali Ramakrishna had a wish to go to the court of Krishna Dev Rai and offer his services. And he also succeeded in fulfilling his wish. But the status Tenali Ramakrishna enjoyed at the King's court, was not attained by him just like that; he really had to struggle for it.
Tenali Ramakrishna was a man of firm determination. And it was because of this determination and self-confidence that he could make a place for himself at the King's court. Though there are thousands of stories of Tenali Ramakrishna, we have carefully selected a few which are entertaining and give us knowledge, and also teach us ethics.
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