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Krishna’s game of Chess and Lesson of Charity to the King

Ambalapuzha Shree Krishna Temple – a simple temple structure dates back to the 15th century barely 10 km from Alleppey

Legend has it that there was a king who loved the game of chess. One day, a sage challenged him to a game on the condition that if the king lost he would have to pay in rice.

This was no simple wager, the rice had to be given like this: 1 grain for the first square, 2 for the next, 4 for the third and so on. The king didn’t think much of this price and played – and lost. Now, a chess board has 64 squares. As the rice grains started adding up and it dawned on the king that things were far from simple. By the 30th square, the king’s warehouse was almost emptied. By the 35th, all the residents had given emptied their storehouses. You see, many million tons of rice were required to reach the 64th square!

Now what to do?

Seeing the king’s despair, the sage changed to his true form, Lord Krishna and assuaged the king. Instead of emptying his coffers, he wanted the king to share rice with all people on a daily basis. Not just any plain rice, but rice mixed with sweetened condensed milk, ‘paal payasam’. The milk is condensed till it reaches a pinkish hue and is a local favorite.

Isn’t this a lovely concept? God came to earth and said, ‘Share what you have,’ instead of saying, ‘Appease me’ ‘Sacrifice a few animals for me’ ‘Kill to prove your faith’.

To this day, the temple serves up this sweet to visitors. The debt hasn’t been repaid yet, you see?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Featured Image: Rajasthani painting.

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1 Comment on "Krishna’s game of Chess and Lesson of Charity to the King"

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October 4, 2013 9:55 am

Love the story Des. 🙂 Never bet on what you can’t afford to do.