Here we are not discussing anything about a chess game or chess moves or chess pieces – only telling a story that uses the 64 squares!
This is about a king whose seat of throne was the holy city of Benares (or Varanasi, to give the correct Indian name). He had a great amount of wealth and wielded considerable power but basically he was a good ruler. But as luck would have it, he contracted some mysterious disease for which the royal physians, or anybody for that matter, could not provide a cure and his condition started deteriorating day by day. Then one day his chief adviser brought information about a sage who seemed to have great inner power but led a very humble life without much want. The king sent his adviser to request the sage to come and save his life, if it were possible.
The sage took pity at the King’s condition and agreed to attend to him and cure him also. The King was so elated that he promised the sage anything he wanted as he felt that his wealth and power were enough to keep that promise! The sage said that he would ask for his ‘reward’ only after he made the king well.
The sage started administering some herbal medicines every day and the king’s health started improving. Soon came a day when the sage told the king that he was cured and no longer needed the medicines and the king surely felt like that. So now he remembered his promise and asked the sage what he wanted.
The sage, a man of great wisdom, realized that the king was now physically well but still suffered from some mental delusion. He felt that the king would be a much better person if his mind could be cured of the vanity and arrogance that made him declare the reward in that fashion, as if wealth and power could buy everything!
Those days chess used to be a royal passion and the sage decided to use the chessboard for bringing the king down to earth and making him a wiser person. So he asked the king that he would like to take his reward bit by bit over 64 days so as not to put too much strain on the king’s resources. The king wanted to know what item could be of the magnitude that needed to be split like that. So the sage requested the king to place a chessboard by the side of his throne.
What did the sage want? Click here to find out