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The Educated Uneducated

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

In the dark, dense forest, Vikram and Betaal embark on their journey to the final destination, one willingly and the other… not so willingly. Betaal was eager to fill the silent night with stories of all sorts and kind he had seen throughout his life, as long as Vikram remembered his conditions. But that only time will tell, till then he tells Vikram a tale of… The Educated Uneducated.

In the city of Ujjain, there once lived an old man, Karunakaran. His four sons – Daya, Hari, Vidhu and Neel, were raised solely by their father as their mother had passed away when they were really young. Even though Karunakaran tried to be the best father there was, some things cannot be controlled. The all grew up to dense and mindless, neglecting and running away from studies and education.

One day, the four brothers were fighting on a petty matter and Karunakaran had grown frustrated at this point. He told them, “Stop fighting and listen to me, there is something important I need to tell.” The four sons gather around their father and Karunkaran weakly continues, “I am not immortal, which means death will knock on my door soon and if I am completely honest, I am not scared of death, I am scared of how my sons will live when I am gone. For the peace of my soul, I don’t want you all to waste your lives and that is why I have decided to send you all to an aashram in Karnataka for one year, to learn magic.” The four sons, upon hearing the word “magic”, were keen and eager to learn and agreed with their father.

The next day, they left for Karnataka. After travelling for one whole day, with hardly any sleep at night, they reached the aashram. A Pandit was waiting for them and helped them adjust in this new environment. Soon their lessons started and they put in all their efforts and dedication. Like a sponge, they absorbed all the teachings given by their Guru and with undivided focus, learned all their chants. One year passed by quickly and they could finally call themselves… Magicians. They embarked on their journey back home, excited to return to their father, who would surely be proud of them. They couldn’t wait to see what the future held for them.

They rode their carriage for one whole day and when they were just a few miles away, Hari shouted, “Stop.” The carriage stopped with a jerk and the others asked Hari if he was okay and in reply, Hari just told them to follow him into the forest that surrounded the path. As they walked, they saw a set of bones lying the middle and they all grew confused and looked up to Hari. “Is this why you told us to stop? To see a set of bones?”

Hari always thought of himself as the smartest brother, he replied, “These are not just any set of bones, these belong to a lion. This will be the perfect way to test our magic and teachings. We all will use our set of skills and bring this lion back to life.” All the brothers loved Hari’s idea and started showing off their skills, one by one. Daya was the first one to come forward, he grew and reassembled the lion’s bones using the chant he had learned. Next came Vidhu, he added flesh and mass to the assembled bones. Daya and Vidhu were so proud of their work and that is when Hari stepped in. “This is nothing, now wait and watch what I do,” he boasted. With his chant, he added a layer of skin and color on the lion’s body. The lion looked so real, the only thing missing was… life. Neel stepped forward and finished that deed too. The brothers were so happy of this achievement and started celebrating, but stopped when they noticed that the now alive lion was looking at them, with eyes full of hunger. They tried to run, but unfortunately, they weren’t fast enough. The lion attacked them and left nothing but bones behind. Alas! The four men never got to their village because this is what their future held for them.

“Now tell me, O great king, which brother from all four, was single handedly responsible for everyone’s death?” Betaal asked. Vikram was silent for some time. He knew what the right answer was and he didn’t want his head to blow into pieces, he said, “Hari surely brought them to the site of the bones. He provoked them to use their magic, because he wanted to boast his. But he wasn’t responsible for killing everyone, it was Neel. Until Neel used his magic, the lion was just like a statue, incapable of harm. His deed of putting life in one, cost him not only his own life, but also of his brothers.”

Betaal smiled cunningly, “That is unfortunately the right answer King Vikram, but remember the conditions? With the words that you say, I can’t help but fly away.” Betaal left Vikram’s shoulder, flying away, back to his lair while Vikram chased him in the hauntingly dark night.

Moral – No matter how many words from a book you remember, you will only be intelligent if you have common sense.



Ulka Mayur

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