Jokes are universal with local variations. Most of us have heard of the wit of birbal as Akbar and Birbal jokes. We have the Mulla Naziruddin jokes. And we have the Jokes of Tenali Raman. Tenali is a small town in Andhra Pradesh. Raman was originally a simple Brahmin boy from this town. With his wit and intelligence, he went on to become the Court Jester of Krishna Deva Raya of Vijaynagar (Hampi) Empire. Krishna Deva Raya was one of the most famous and successful ruler of Vijaynagar and he ruled between 1509 and 1529, much before even Babar established the Mughal Dynasty. There are many incidents in the relams of wit of Tenali Raman which corresponds to teh wit of Birbal and hence my caveat in every post of jokes "JOKES BEING UNIVERSAL SOME OF THEM MAY BE REPOSTS."
Raman of Tenali was well aware that if he had to progress in life, he had to move out of Tenali and move to the commercial capital of that time Vijaynagar. Once the Rajguru of Vijaynagar visited the temple of Kali at Tenali and Raman was told to come to Vijaynagar where the Rajguru would introduce him to the Emperor.
Now legend has it that in a dream he was told by Godess Kali to worship her at the temple on a particular new moon night. On that night Raman was in the Temple and the Godess appeared before him with her 108 heads and 8 arms. Seeing Her, Raman burst out laughing. The angry Godess demanded why he was laughing at her. Raman replied, "I was thinking, when we get a cold and our nose runs, we find it difficult to manage one nose with two hands: and when I thought of how you could manage 108 noses with eight hands I found it very funny. Happy at his witty answer, the Godess showed two bowls and said, "In the golden bowl is sweet milk of wealth and in the silver bowl the sour curds of knowledge and learning. You can have any one of them." Prentending to smell both, Raman took the two bowls simultaneously and swallowed the contents of both, and hence he was blessed with the wisdom of knowledge tempered with humourous wit and also plenty of wealth which he acquired in due course.
Raman left Tenali and came to Vijaynagar. The Rajguru obviously did not recognise him. Raman reminded him of his promise and was given a royal brush-off. Not to be deprived of his chance of meeting the Emperor Krishna Deva Raya, one morning he waited near the river Tungabadhra. The Rajguru came for his morning bath to the river. Once the Rajguru finished his bath, Raman jumped on his back and told him to carry him. The Rajguru had no option as he didn't want to create a scene. Some people who espied this, went and reported to the Emperor. the emperor flew into a royal rage and climed into his chariot and came to see and punish the culprit. However, Raman espied the royal entourage from afar, and he nimbly jumped down from the Rajguru's shoulder and hoisted the Royal Priest on his shoulders. When the Emperor saw this, he was impressed. He patted Raman and asked him to meet him in the palace for receiving the Emperor's appreciation and a gift. And from here starts the tale of Raman's Wit and the saga of Tenali Raman.