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The Four Brothers

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

When a young king asks his council of scholars about what mere mortals such as themselves should do to add significant value and meaning to their existence, many councillors answer instantly to the displeasure of their king. Unsatisfied, the king promises to promote the scholar who could find him a proper answer to be the head of the council and with this motivation, Maya the second in the council finds the answer in a horrifying dream.

Read R. S. Chintalapati’s “The Four Brothers” to know how Maya perceives four abstract concepts as embodiments and explains how individuals who could master these concepts are the ones who could make a difference and add meaning to their lives.



This contribution is edited by Manognya Bethapudi & Tarun Chintam, & photographed by Pankaj Tottada.



This short story is available in paperback & ebook.

Cover Photo by Pankaj Tottada

One sunny morning, a young king who was crowned only a couple of years ago after his father’s untimely death, summoned his council of scholars to learn, as he did every week. Resting in the courtyard on the cotton bed while relishing the scent of the jasmines and lilies, the King queried the nine scholars as they all sat in a circle, “Today, I would like to know as to what we as mere mortals should dictate in our lives to add significant meaning to our existence?”

The very next moment a couple of scholars proposed contentment, skillfulness, ambition and none of these answers made the king happy. He turned to the head of the council for an answer and all he got was silence. Amused, the young king foolishly promised, “Whoever offers me an answer that would please me by tomorrow morning, would be made the head of this council for a year.”

Though that promise hurt the head of the council, it instigated Maya, the second in command. For years now, she sought to be the head of the council but was never even offered the chance to compete against her superior. She saw this as an opportunity to prove her worth though she didn’t have a clue as to what the answer could be.

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