In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Ashtaavakra storming into King Janaka’s courtroom in search of Bandhi, the scholar! Sage Ashtaavakra, even though he did not know the fact that it was this same Bandhi who had pushed his father to death, was extremely furious with Bandhi with the way he had been treating people who came to meet King Janaka. With anger written all over his face, Sage Ashtaavakra asks King Janaka the whereabouts of Bandhi and challenges him to come in for a debate! As King Janaka saw this, he was surprised! How can a 10-year-old boy debate with such a scholarly person? Of course, he did not show it, but tried to calm Ashtaavakra down. But that did not work out! Sage Ashtaavakra was steadfast in meeting Bandhi and taking him head on! Sage Janaka accepted the little boy’s demand, but not before asking a few questions to Ashtaavakra. King Janaka asked Ashtaavakra a few “mathematical” questions like whether he knows the numbers 30, 12, 24, 360, etc. The list goes long! King Janaka explains to Ashtaavakra that only if one is aware about all these important numbers, he / she can be accepted as a scholar! For this, it is now Ashtaavakra’s turn to reply to King Janaka. Let us see the interesting reply from Ashtaavakra in today’s episode!
Sage Ashtaavakra replies thus, “Oh King Janaka! You’re right! Everybody should know all these numbers and the significance behind them. If we say “12”, it signifies the 12 “Raasis” (Zodiac signs) that all of us fall into. Also, the number 12 signifies the 12 months of the year. Also, there are six “Ruthus” (Seasons) in a year and six multiplied by two is equal to twelve. Hence, the number twelve has all these significances. Moving on, the number “24” has its own significance – It indicates the 24 different “Parvas” of the year. We call them as “Amaavaasya” (No moon day) and “Pournami” (Full moon day), isn’t it? Thus, 12 “Amaavaasyas” plus 12 “Pournamis” equal to 24, which are nothing but the 24 “Parvas” that we have in a calendar year. Moreover, 360 signifies the number of days in a calendar year. Each day has its own name, isn’t it? Like “Chaturdasi”, “Panchami”, “Sashti”, “Satpami”, “Ashtami”, “Navami”, “Dasami”, “Ekaadasi”, “Dvaadasi”, etc. Each name signifies each day of the calendar year and it has fifteen counts – From the “Amaavaasya” day till the “Pournami”. Once this cycle is over, the second iteration of the same names will begin again. The first fifteen days of the month from “Amaavaasya” to the “Pournami” are collectively called “Valarpirai” and the subsequent fifteen days from the Pournami” to the “Amaavaasya” is referred to as “Teypirai”. All these are due the act of Chandra Bhagawan (Moon)! Thus, these are the significance of the numbers that you had asked me!”
As King Janaka hears this detailed reply from the little boy, he was astonished! He asks Ashtaavakra further thus, “Oh little boy! Now tell me which is one living being that sleeps with its eyes open?” Ashtaavakra replies thus, “Oh King Janaka! Fish is the only living being in this world which sleeps with its eyes open! We never know whether the fish is awake or asleep by the mere look of it!” Next question from King Janaka goes on thus, “Oh little boy! Which is that living being which never moves after taking birth in this world?” This question prompts an immediate response from Ashtaavakra thus, “Oh King Janaka! The egg laid by birds would never move after coming into this earth! The egg that contains the chick of the bird will never be able to move and it is stationary in nature!” As Ashtaavakra replies thus, King Janaka is tempted to ask the next question almost immediately! He asks thus, “Oh little boy! Which is the one that never has a heart or a mind in this world?” Sage Ashtaavakra again gives an almost immediate answer thus, “Oh King Janaka! A rock is the one that neither has a heart nor a mind!” King Janaka asks the next question thus, “Oh little boy! Which is the one that grows in this world with speed?” Ashtaavakra immediately shoots a reply thus, “Oh King Janaka! A river is the one that grows and grows in this world with an enormous speed! The starting point of the river would be very small. However, as the course of the river goes by, it grows both in size as well as in capacity! Hence, a river is the one that keeps growing with speed!”
As Ashtaavakra answers all of King Janaka’s questions in a “rapid-fire” mode, King Janaka was extremely impressed with Ashtaavakra’s brilliance and shrewdness! He says to the child thus, “Oh little boy! I’m extremely happy with your answers! I understand that you’re not a mere small boy! You’re a boy with a difference! Hence, I shall arrange for a meet with Bandhi! Please wait!” Saying thus, King Janaka calls for Bandhi to come into the courtroom. So for today, we shall understand up to this point and we shall wait till the next episode till Bandhi arrives! An interesting and fiery question-answer session awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂