Book 1 | Chapter 25 | Meeting the Emperor
Vandiyathevan reached the main hall of the palace. The gigantic hall looked like a small Durbar. He presumed that the person presiding over the Durbar would have to be Chinna Pazhuvettarayar. And there he was, sitting majestically on a throne-like chair. The messages that had come in today were being read out to him, and he was dispatching appropriate orders to the soldiers. Others were giving updates on happenings in the town. It seemed to Vandiyathevan that the Chinna Pazhuvettarayar looked a tad more majestic than his elder brother.
All of a sudden, Chinna Pazhuvettarayar’s gaze fell on Vandiyathevan. The Fort Commander always had an appreciation for young warriors. It was perhaps because he was always on the lookout to hire the best warriors for his army. He smiled at the young warrior and asked — “Young warrior, where are you from?”
Vandiyathevan replied in a soft voice — “I am from Kanchipuram. I bring a message for the Emperor from my master Prince Aditya Karikalan.”
On hearing the word Kanchipuram, the Fort Commander, became instantaneously angry. “What did you say? Where are you coming from?” he repeated angrily.
“I bring a scroll from the Prince from Kanchipuram.”
“Give that to me.”
“The scroll is for the Emperor.”
Chinna Pazhuvettarayar snatched the scroll from him and read it. He grumbled to himself — “Hmm. There is nothing new in this.”
“The Prince asked me to deliver the message directly to the King.”
“Hmm. I will deliver it to the King. Does the Prince not have even that much trust in me?”
“Oh no, it was not the Prince. It was your elder brother who had ordered so.”
The Commander was clearly flustered on hearing this last statement from Vandiyathevan.
“Where did you see my elder brother?”
“I saw him on my way, at Kadambur. There was some high-level meeting happening there. ”
Vandiyathevan showed the ring with the palm leaf insignia, and said — “He also gave me this at that time.”
The Commander was now sufficiently convinced about Vandiyathevan’s genuineness.
“Oh, then you should go and meet the Emperor now itself before the poet group comes.”
A guard was assigned to take Vandiyathevan to the Emperors room.
When Vandiyathevan saw the Emperor bed-ridden, tears brimmed in his eyes. What a great man, and how he has been reduced to thus. Such was the love for the Emperor in the Chozha kingdom.
“Chakravarthy, I bring a message from my Master and your son, Prince Aditya Karikalan.”
The Emperor’s face lit up and smiled at the Queen, the daughter of the great King Malayamaan.
He read the message and looked up at the Queen again. The smile had faded.
“It seems our son has built a palace of gold in Kanchipuram, and he wants us to come and stay there for some time.”
“Has anyone in our lineage ever built a golden palace for ourselves to live? Our ancestors have raised golden domes for temples such as in Chidambaram, never for ourselves.”
Vandiyathevan gathered his courage and spoke softly — “Chakravarthy! To a son, his parents are his Gods to be worshiped. So he has built a golden palace for his Gods. What is wrong with that?”
Emperor Sundara Chozhan looked at Vandiyathevan — “I do not know who you are, but you speak very sweet words. But I still do not agree. The parents may be the God for the son, but not to everyone. Shouldn’t one build a golden temple for someone who is worshiped by all?”
Vandiyathevan had a quick reply to that as well — “For the son, the parents is God. For the common man, the King is the God. The Vedas say that Kings are the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. With this reasoning, is this not the Golden temple for all?”
The King looked at his wife and said — “Devi, look at this boy. He is so intelligent. I am so glad that our Adityan has a confidante like this boy. I do not need to worry any more about our son.”
“Thambi, whether or not it is apt to build a golden palace, I do not think I would be able to travel. You are looking at me. Do I look like I can travel? Adityan only has to come and see me. Come tomorrow, and I will keep a reply scroll ready for you to take back to my son.”
At this time, Vandiyathevan could hear the shuffling of steps coming closer to the room. “Aha, the poet group is coming. The Fort Commander might also be accompanying them”, thought Vandiyathevan. He needed to warn the King right now, and he should do it as succinctly as possible.
“Chakravarthy, please listen to what I have to say to you. You should leave Thanjavur fort as soon as you can. There is abhaayam (danger) surrounding you here.”
When he was telling this, the Fort Commander, Chinna Pazhuvettarayar stepped into the room. He had heard the last few words that Vandiyathevan was speaking. His face became red with anger.