An Unsuccessful Conversion
The preceptor of the Rayar thought that if Tennalirama was converted into a disciple of his we would behave very respectfully towards him. So the preceptor instructed Tennalirama in the doctrines of Vaishnavism and said: “If you receive the branding on your shoulders and become a Vaishnava. I shall, through my influence with the Rayar get all the things that you require done. On hearing this Tennalirama said: “O my master! There is nothing I desire more that this. I am always ready to obey your orders.” Satisfied that the preceptor was taken in by his pretences, he continued “O my master! I want urgently a thousand pagodas now. You must get me that amount at once, and on the day in which I receive the branding as an emblem of my becoming a votary of Vishnu, you must undertake the cost of feeding the Brahmans. I shall pay only one fanam as my fee for the preceptor.” The preceptor agreed to all this, as he thought that it was a very cheap price to pay for such a covert. He fixed an early day, ordered all the provisions and sent for Tennalirama. He came, bathed, wrapped his body in clean clothes, bowed down before the preceptor, went through the whole of the preliminary ceremony before the priest and sat down in apparent devotion to be branded. But scarcely had the instrument touched one of his shoulders before h jumped up crying “Aiyo! Aiyo!,” and beating his mouth and belly with his hands, ran off to some distance saying frequently, “Half a fanam’s worth of branding is quire enough!” To the numerous enquires who crowded round, Tennalirama gave this explanation of his strange conduct. “This priest told me that I should know real happiness and pleasure if I became a Vaishnava. I promised to give him one fanam. He branded me on one of my shoulders. As the pain is unbearable I am running away fearing that he may apply the brand to the other shoulder also. I have told him that I shall be content to be branded for half a fanam.” Every one there laughed aloud. And the priest, seeing the deception that been practised upon him, became ashamed and hung down his head.