I am a great fan of the wit of Tenaliraman's stories (See Wiki :TENALIRAMA).
Apart from the humour and the wit, I gather a lot of corporate lessons from these. From this story we can gather two lessons. But this will be later in the post. First read the story. Here goes ...
The great king Krishna Deva Raya had a lot of wise ministers in his court. The wisest of them was Tenali Rama. One day, a merchant came to the king’s court. He saluted the king and said, “Your Majesty, I have heard from many people that you have very wise ministers in your court. But with your permission, I would like to test the wisdom of your ministers.”
"Go ahead " said the King.
The merchant gave the king three dolls that looked identical.
He said, “Though these dolls look similar, they are different in some way. If your ministers can find out the difference, I will bow to their wisdom. But if they can’t, I will assume that there are no wise ministers in your court. I will be back in seven days for the answer.”
Tenali Rama was sick and he was not available in the court. At the end of three days, none of the ministers could figure out the difference.
The king got worried and went to visit Tenali Rama .
He said to him, “Tenali it is a matter of our honour now. Since no one has been able to find the solution, it is up to you now. You have to find the difference between these dolls.”
The problem proved difficult for Tenali too, but at last, he was able to figure out the difference.
He went to the court with the three dolls on the day that the merchant had to return. Then, he announced in front of the whole court that he had found the difference between the dolls.
He said, “These three dolls are different because one of them is good, one average and one bad.”
When everyone asked Tenali that which doll was which, he showed them a tiny hole that was present in the ears of each of the dolls. Then, he took a very thin wire and put it in the hole of the first doll’s ear. The wire came out from the doll’s mouth. He did the same with the second doll and the wire came out from the doll’s other ear. In the third doll,the wire went to the heart and did not come out.
"So , can anyone tell me which Doll is which ? " Tenali said
There was a minister in the court who was very jealous of Tenali Rama.
He laughed derisively.
"That's easy" he said .
“In the first doll, the wire went in through the ear and came out through the mouth. So, this doll is bad as it represents people who cannot keep a secret. In the second doll, the wire came out of the other ear. So, it is average and represents harmless people who do not understand what is said to them. The third doll, in which the wire went to the heart and did not come out, represents good people who will keep the secret that you tell them.”
The king, the merchant and all the courtiers were very impressed with this wise answer. He jealous minister beamed.
Then Tenali said, “But there can be another explanation too. The first doll represents people who gain knowledge and spread it among others, so it is good. The second doll represents people who do not understand what they are taught, so it is average. The third doll represents people who have knowledge but keep it all to themselves. They do not teach anyone anything and so they are bad people "
The King smiled. The merchant smiled.
I gathered two insights from this story .
We see that there are always two sides of any analogy. The personality of the person reflects through his thoughts. If you are crooked, your thoughts will be crooked and if you are straight and fair, your thoughts will be likewise.
Second lesson is from Tenali Rama's explanation. In our organizations, we look for the third kind of persons to be leaders.
Leaders who spread knowledge , grows himself and help others grow !
Cheers to Tenali Rama !