Sometimes great authorities will teach asat sastra, a teaching which is not actually bona fide, but is just something to beat the heads of the atheists and kick them out.

There is a story of Gopala Bhar.

He was employed by king Krsnacandra, who lived about 300 years ago in Bengal, and Gopala was the joker.

He was also very intelligent, and very bold. There was a digvijaya pandita, who came to Bengal. At that time, the main king or emperor of Bengal was a Muslim, but in different provinces there were also Hindu kings, and Maharaja Krsnacandra was one such Hindu king, he was king in that area of Navadvipa.

So this Digvijaya pandita had been going all over India defeating all the panditas, and getting it written down, “I have defeated this one, I have defeated that one.”

So he came to the muslim emperor, saying, “I am the great digvijaya pandita, I have come now to Bengal and I’m making a challenge. You bring your best pandita. I will defeat him.”

What he expected was that whoever he defeated had to become his disciple. So he made a very strong challenge.

The muslim emperor turned to his adviser and said, “What should we do?”

The minister replied, “Well, you know all our best panditas are down in Navadvipa.”

That was the centre of learning. So a message was sent to Maharaja Krsnacandra that a big pandita has come to the muslim emperor and given challenge. “Send your best panditas, and if I defeat them they must become my disciples.”

So it was very heavy for Maharaja Krsnacandra, because he knew, “The muslim emperor is expecting that I send some panditas that can defeat him. It is all now on my shoulders.”

So then, together with his advisers, he decided to bring in the big panditas.

They explained to the panditas what was going on, but all the panditas in Navadvipa said, “No. We’re not getting involved in this.”

They didn’t want their prestige to be diminished, they were thinking, “If we go there  and he defeats us then it means we have to become his disciples, and then our prestige will be diminished. So we’ll just stay out of this.”

The king was very much worried, because he was a kshatriya, he cannot force Brahmins to do his will. He can only ask, and if they say no then he’s in a helpless situation. So he was very worried.

Then Gopala Bhar came in, and saw the king sitting there very morose. “Hey king! What’s wrong?” “Oh Gopala, look don’t bother me now.”

Gopala said, “Oh, come on, What’s the matter.”

The king was very sober, “Look Gopala, we don’t want to laugh now. We don’t want to hear jokes. Please come back another day.”

“No no,” Gopala said, “Why don’t you just tell me?” “All right,” the king said, and then he explained everything.

Then Gopala said, “All right, then I will go.”

“You?” the king asked. “Yes, I will go, and I will defeat this pandita. No problem.”

So then Gopala went home, and he dressed himself up like a big Brahmin. Cut his hair with a big  sikha, huge tilaka and a harinam chadar, looking very bonafide. And Brahmins used to carry their sastra in a roll, a scroll wrapped in silk cloth, under their arm. So he was looking for something to wrap up, and he had in his house one old broken bed. So in Bengal these beds are strips of cloth which are woven  together, like a deck chair, and in Bengali they call such a bed a kata.

Because the English settled India, many English words come from the Indian language. In English such a bed is called a cot. So he took a leg from that old broken bed, and he wrapped in cloth. He went back to the king, and showed himself.

Everyone was astonished. “Wow, he looks like a real heavy Brahmin.”

He was really getting into the role. “What is this sastra?” the king asked, and Gopala replied, “This is my Khatvanga Purana.” “But we never heard of this sastra,” everyone was saying. “When I come back I will tell you,” Gopala said, and then he left.

Actually what it was, was that khata means “bed”, anga means “part of” or in this case the leg, and purana means “old.” So it was “an old leg of a bed,” or “Khatvanga Purana.” So this was his sastra. Then he went to the emperors palace, and he came walking in. “Oh, what great pandita is this?”

“My name is Gopala Bhar Das Pandit Maharaja. I have been sent by the king Maharaja Krsnacandra to defeat this so-called digvijaya. I am master of the four Vedas, and especially my field of expertise is the Jyotir-Veda (which includes astrology.” He was speaking so confidently, and he was looking fearless. Everyone was very impressed, and even this digvijaya pandita was thinking, “He’s not at all afraid of me. He must be a heavy one.”

So the digvijaya pandita saw this scripture that Gopala was carrying, and he asked, “What is this scripture, may I ask?” “This,” Gopala replied, “Is my Khatvanga Purana, of which I am a master.”

The pandita was saying, “Wait a minute, I’ve heard of Visnu Purana, Skanda Purana. I’ve never heard of Katvanga Purana. May I see this?”

Then Gopal Bhar exclaimed, “Ohh!” He was looking into the sky and going, “Ohhh! I have just noticed the angle of the sun, and I am remembering now the date today. We have just now entered a most auspicious moment, according to the Jyotir-Veda. Anybody who takes a hair from the head of this pandita,” pointing to the digvijaya, “will immediately be granted with long life, and wealth in this lifetime, and liberation in the next. All auspicious result will come in this life and the next, simply by taking a hair from such a great digvijaya pandita as this.”

So then immediately everyone in the court ran and was taking hairs from the pandita. The pandita was being driven, and they were taking from his beard and everything. He went running and they were all  chasing him. He was gone. Gopala Bhar returned to Navadvipa with his head in the air.

“Don’t worry King, he is gone. That pandita has run off. He’s completely defeated, completely finished.”

“Oh!” the king said. “How did you do this?”

“As you were saying, I have this Katvanga Purana. I am a master of the learning of this.”

And when he opened it he showed a leg of a bed, and everyone was astonished. Then he explained the story, and they could all understand that he had just played a big joke, that’s all. Then they asked him,

“How is it that you could go so confidently, so boldly into that courtyard of the muslim emperor, simply dressed up like a brahmin and carrying an old bed leg under your arm. How were you so sure that you could defeat him just by a trick?”

Gopala replied, “As soon as I heard that this pandita was going to the muslim king and declaring that he is a great learned scholar, and that he would defeat any other scholar, then I knew that he must have been a fool. He must have actually been a kind of rascal because what do muslims know about Vedic learning. Why did he go to the muslim, why didn’t he come down here or go to another Hindu king. He was going to the muslim king, so I knew that he must just be a rascal, trying to make a big show, so I did not think I had anything to fear when I went there.”


The digvijaya pandita was just actually a rascal, which means not really one who’s situated on the platform of knowledge, just someone who’s trying to gain some name and fame. That’s a rascal. Rascals can be defeated by rascal means.


Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.