The sepoy at the entrance of the fortress, nagaara khaanaa struck the gong five times to signify five. It is still too early to open the darwaja. He tightened his belt and shifted the spear from his right hand to the left. He looked up to see the east whitening.
Prabhu (the submissive way to refer to the Rajahs), it is said has left the fortress before the gong struck four towards Velagada hill. A sepoy said to the one who struck the gong.
“Arrre… (Expression of doing something wrong). I felt like napping and came out”.
The sepoy said breaking into cold sweat. There is no nothing strange in the Raja going out from the western darwaja.
When the gong struck six the sepoy at the gate experienced a peculiar smell and saw a man approaching: “Who's that ?”
“Why are you coming?” the sepoy said raising his spear. He saw the man having no nose but only holes for nostrils, his eyes are sunken in their sockets. He looked a hopeless leper.
The sepoy asked loudly “why don't you speak?
“Don’t be angry, sepoy babu. I am Chinna from Simhachalam, the hill of the Lord Narasimha”.
“Is this the time to enter the fortress?
The next moment the visitor is not to be seen.
… … … …
“Oh ! The sepoy is new!” Came Shastri tying his shawl to the waist. What is the matter?
“The kind hearted Prabhu has now gone into his private room – not taken any food, asked the Kumandaan (Commandent) to be sent for.”
Shastri rushed to the Rajah whose word reached him a little time ago.
A Sepoy came out to carry out Prabhu's orders to bring Shastriji in.
“Victory to Prabhu.” Entered Shastri to the Rajah’s presence.
“I feel bad when someone in pain and misery should be sent out.”
“Prabhu, I would be back in a moment,” said Shastri and the next minute he came in again.
“Prabhu! Our Lord is known as Anand Prabhu, the one ever giving happiness to all, King Bhoja himself. Your lordship, forgive me. A little anger on the Lord's brow would kill one. Persons with diseases like leprosy would never be permitted to have Prabhu's audience. As your Lordship's servants it is our first duty to stop such.”
“It may not be possible to give everything to a person coming to us. But what is possible must be given with joy. Not doing this is sinful.”
“A mad man?”
“How does one know?
…. …. …
“Forgive me. Oh! It is Appayya pantu garu - Welcome sir, take your seat!” Prabhu said with humility to Gurazada Appa Rao Panthulu. In a minute your Lordship's worry would vanish!”
“We must talk to Shastrigaru!” The Rajah said.
Shastri who came in hurriedly felt only Guru Mudumbaswamy can save him
“Shastriji ! Having come to know the situation of the planets and our horoscope - telling us that we should be cheerful, is it a proof of your dedication or witness of your cowardice?
Shastri began sweating profusely. “I thought telling your lordship about danger is not warranted. As Apparao Panthulu garu said….”
“For that reason, I went to Velagada Hill for a while very early in the morning.
“All right! You can go!”
Shastri withdrew quickly.
“Prabhu ! The man you are thinking of is at the door outside”
“We would go ourselves. You stay here Apprarao Pantulugaru”
….. …. …
“Salutations to Prabhu from this servant” Though the fingers were lost, he joined his raised hands in submission.
“We pray for forgiveness. Chenna !” Said the Rajah.
“I came in the morning for your Lordship's darshan. Fortune favoured me much”
“Is that fortune only for you alone?
“I can't answer my lord. Yesterday on Appanna Hill Simhachalam, I saw a miracle. By the side of the hill, I saw as usual three boulders we all see in some order or pattern. On two rocks two maharshis are sitting. I saw a glow on the third boulder. A rishi made a sign calling me near and said “Chinna! Ask your Prabhu to come there to sit on that boulder. You would be blessed”
I came to the fortress in the morning …
… … …
Appa Rao Pantulu did not forget having heard the Raja Sahib’s remark. “Destiny is firm. God's will cannot be altered. The merciful god does good. Our mind is satisfied. We are feeling feverish.
“Now I seek permission,” said Appa Rao and left.
His Lordship went into the inner chamber.
The goddess of the season Vaisakhi is adding grace and delightfully beautifying nature.
Prabhu's staying in his inner chamber meditating bothered Shastri like a particle of dust in his eye. Appa Rao Pantulu went out for his morning walk wrapped in his shawl.
“Prabhu varu, … Pantulu garu … His Lordship wanted to go to Velagada konda not paying heed to the vaid's words of caution, Prabhuvu varu asked the stable man to get his stallion ready. Coming down the stairs he slipped and fell down. The English doctor came and declared “The lordship is no more!”
Panthulu garu walked towards Shastriji’s house and on the way found him. They talked about Chinna, the leper’s, submission to the Rajah.
Appa Rao Pantulu closed his tear-filled eyes for a while and said: “A great radiance has suddenly disappeared,” his voice becoming odd with uncontrollable grief.
This story was aired on All India Radio, Visakhapatnam on 8th April 1983