One day four young maidens paid visit to the court of king Bhoja, the great patrons of poets and pandits. These girls had completed their studies at Banaras and were returning back to their homes in order to get married, as they were now of marriageable age.

When they stepped in to the court, everyone was surprised at their uncommon beauty. They were all dressed alike and their community could not be identified from their appearance or bearing.

O’King, though we talk alike and dress’s alike we belong to different communities. But with renowned pandits at your command it should be quite easy for you to find out what communities we belong to,” the girls said.

This was a challenge to King Bhoja and his pandits. But when the king looked around it was evident that the task was not going to be easy for intellectuals of this court. King Bhoja turned to his fair guests and said, “All of you are going to enjoy our hospitality for three days. In the meantime , no doubt our pandits will be able to discover the various communities to which you belong.”
The girls smiled and bowed to the king not only to acknowledge the honor but also accepting the challenge. They spent their time in court, freely partaking in the discussion. Neither their talk not their intelligence betrayed their origins. The pandits of the court failed miserably to unravel the mystery of their birth. Two days elapsed.

Kalidas the best of Bhoja’s collection of gems, determined to meet the challenge of these girls by ruse. The second night he covered himself in a rug and lay down in pial outside the girls lodge. He hoped to discover the truth by over hearing their private talk. However he was sorely disappointed. the night was almost spent. The streaks of light heralding the dawn adorned the sky in the east and Kalidas was about to return home, when he saw the four girls go up to the window facing the east.

One of the girls began to receite something in sanskrit (the east has taken on the colour of gold-in-mercury).

Immediately another girl said in Sanskrit ( the moon pales lookalike a learned man in an assembly of fools) The third girl said in Sanskrit ( Like king who lost their enterprise the star disappears)the fourth girl said in Sanskrit too (the lamps loose their luster like the homes of the poor).

Kalidas was immediately pleased as he heard four girls describe the dawn as they did. He went home and later attended the court as usual. Their King Bhoja Said to the court , “These learned damsels have been amidst us for three days they had thrown a challenge to all of you to find out their origins. If anyone has succeeded let him come forward. If, however none could discover their origins, let us accept defeat.”

While other pandits bowed their heads Kalidas rose and recited the full verse recited by four girls in Sanskrit and said , “O’king , said Kalidas, These four girls recited first lines comes from community of goldsmiths, while the others belong to Brahman, Kashatriya and Vaisya communities. Let our guest correct me if I am wrong.”

The girl rose up on hearing this and paid their homage to Kalidas and confessed that he was correct in this guess.
All the same King Bhoja was very pleased with the girls and their merit. He lavished immense gifts upon them before they departed.

Moral – Our upbringing shapes the way we perceive things.

(Source : Chanda Mama Aug’55 Issue)

Four Poetesses