In the city of Kaushambi there lived a sculptor. His name was Medhavi.
Medhavi was an expert in making statues. There was no match for Medhavi. He used to make the statues of the persons in such a way that it was difficult to recognise the real person if the person concerned happened to stand nearby. The similarity was point to point, colour to colour, eye to eye, nose to nose, etc. There was no slightest error.
Soon the reputation of Medhavi spread far and wide. He used to receive hundreds of orders from the rich persons for preparation of their statues. This kept Medhavi busy all the while.
Medhavi had a full faith in the science of astrology. He used to consult renowned astrologers from time to time.
Once a famous astrologer carefully studied Medhavi'shoroscope. He told Medhavi that his death would take place on a specific day, at a specific moment next year as the stars foretell.
Medhavi was terribly upset on hearing the forecast. He lost his appetite. He lost his peace of mind.
Medhavi then surrendered to the astrologer. He asked the astrologer a way out to evade the death.
The astrologer was clever. He suggested an artifice to Medhavi thus: The messengers of Lord Yama would arrive to the abode of Medhavi at the exact moment. They would not commit any mistake.
Medhavi should prepare eight exact statues of his own. He should place them in a row well before the specific moment of death as previously forecast. He himself should stand in between the row so that there will be nine exact persons standing in a row. The messengers after arrival at his residence would get fumbled. They would not be able to locate the real Medhavi. They would then return to Yamaloka empty handed.
Medhavi was very happy on hearing the smart trick. He put all his skill into action. He prepared eight icons of his own exactly like him. He himself stood in a row along with the icons. As predicted, the messengers of Lord Yama entered into Medhavi'shouse at the exact moment. After seeing nine exactly similar persons standing in a row, they got confused. They could not decide whom to lift and carry to the Yamaloka. So they returned to Yamaloka empty-handed with disappointment.
The messengers reported the episode to Lord Yama. Lord Yama got angry with them.
Lord Yama then whispered into the ears of chief messenger. He told him the method to differentiate the real Medhavi from the idols.
The astrologer also told Medhavi that if the death is evaded at the predicted moment, it would occur the next day exactly at the same moment and so Medhavi should use the same trick the next day.
As predicted by the astrologer the next day exactly at the same moment the messengers arrived at the residence of Medhavi. They again saw the row of nine identical persons. After looking at the row the chief messenger expressed surprise over the exemplary skill of the sculptor who had prepared the icons.
The chief messenger said, ?What a wonderful art! There is no match for such a sculptor even in Heaven!?
Another messenger said, ?I would consider it my great fortune to have a darshan of this artist who is an incarnate of Vishwakarma born on this earth.?
So they started showering words of praise over the sculptor.
After hearing the words of praise right from everybody'smouth, Medhavi got elated. He absolutely forgot the seriousness of the moment. Winking his eyes Medhavi said, ?Oh Sir, it is I who has prepared these icons.?
After hearing the words from Medhavi standing in the row, the chief messenger clapped and said, ?Oh spotted the person!?
The messenger'sof Lord Yama then lifted Medhavi and carried him to Yamaloka.
Little friends, praise elates a person. Praise makes a person forgetful. Praise thwarts progress. Praise many times invites disaster. So never get carried away by praise.