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Saturday, May 19, 2012

All Akbar Birbal Stories

Birbal Stories are very famous and popular in India among all ages of people. They are also called by another name Akbar-Birbal Stories

There was a Mogul Emperor in IndiaAkbar The Great (1542-1605). His full name was Jalaludden Mohammed Akbar Padshah Ghazi and he ruled India from 1560 to 1605. He himself was illiterate, but he invited several learned people in his court. Among these people, nine were very famous and were called Nav Ratna (nine jewels of the Mogul Crown) of his court. Among these nine jewels, five people were more famous - Tansen, Todarmal, Abul Fazal, Maan Singh and Birbal. 

1. Tansen ... A Great Singer
2. Dasvant ... A Great Painter
3. King Todarmal ... A Financial Wizard
4. Abdu us-Samad ... A Brilliant Calligrapher and Designer of Imperil Coins 
5. Abul Fazal ... A Great Historian ( whose brother was Faizi )
6. Faizi ... A Great Poet
7. Mir Fareh-ullah Shirazi ... Financier,Philosopher,Physician & Astronomer
8. King Maan Singh ... A Great Man known for His Chivalry
9. Birbal ... A Great Man known for His Valuable Advice

Akbar's son Prince Sultan Salim, later known as Jehangir wrote that nobody could make out that Akbar was an illiterate. Akbar was a very hard-working King. It is also said about him that he slept only three hours a night.

Birbal (1528-1583) is surely one of the most popular figures in Indian history equally regarded by adults and children. Birbal's duties in Akbar's court were mostly administrative and military but he was a very close friend of Akbar too, because Akbar loved his wisdom, wit and subtle humor. He was a minister in the administration of Mogul Emperor Akbar and one of the members of inner council of nine advisors. He was a poet and an author too. 

It is believed that he was a son of poor Braahman of Trivikrampur on the banks of River Yamuna. According to a popular legend, he died on an expedition to Afghanistan at the head of a large military force due to treachery. It is also said that when Birbal died, Akbar mourned him for several months.

The exchanges between Akbar and Birbal have been recorded in many volumes. Many of these have become folk stories in Indian tradition. Birbal's collection of poetry published under the pen name Brahm are preserved in Bharatpur Museum, Rajsthan, India.

Many courtiers were jealous with Birbal and often plotted for his downfall. There are many stories found on this issue too. There are a couple of other stories too which are of the same time and type and are as interesting as Birbal's ones.




Birbal Betrays HimselfLet us enjoy reading this one of Birbal Stories of


1. Birbal Betrays Himself.

Birbal was missing. He and the emperor had a quarrel and Birbal had stormed out of the palace vowing never to return

Now Akbar missed him and wanted him back but no one knew where he was.

Then the emperor had a brainwave. He offered a reward of 1000 gold coins to any man who could come to the palace observing the following condition. The man had to walk in the sunwithout an umbrella but he had to be in the shade at the same time.

"Impossible," said the people.

Then a villager came carrying a string cot over his head and claimed the prize.

"I've walked in the sun but at the same time I was in the shade of the strings of the cot," he said. 

It was a brilliant solution. On interrogation the villager confessed that the idea had been suggested to him by a man living with him.

"It could only be Birbal!" said the emperor, delighted. 



Birbal Denies Rumor
2. Birbal Denies Rumor

One day a man stopped Birbal in the street and began narrating his woes to him.

"I've walked twenty miles to see you," he told Birbal finally, "and all along the way people kept saying you were the most generous man in the country."

Birbal knew the man was going to ask him for money.

"Are you going back the same way?" he asked.

"Yes," said the man.

"Will you do me a favor?"

"Certainly," said the man. "What do you want me to do?"

"Please deny the rumor of my generosity," said Birbal, walking away.

Sure enough it was Birbal and he and the emperor had a joyous reunion.






Birbal Identifies Thief
3. Birbal Identifies Thief.

One fine morning, a minister from Emperor Akbar's court had gathered in the assembly hall. 

He informed the Emperor that all his valuables had been stolen by a thief theprevious night. 

Akbar was shocked to hear this because the place where that minister lived was the safest place in the kingdom. 

He invited Birbal to solve the mystery. Akbar said "It is definitely not possible for an outsider to enter into the minister's house and steal the valuables. This blunder is definitely committed only by another minister of that court." Saying so, he arranged for a donkey to be tied to a pillar. He ordered all the courtiers to lift the donkey's tail and say "I have not stolen." 

Birbal added "Only then we can judge the culprit." After everyone had finished, he asked the courtiers to show their palm to him. All the courtiers except Alim Khan had a black patch of paint on their palm. Birbal had actually painted the donkey's tail with a black coat of paint. In the fright, the guilty minister did not touch the donkey's tail at all. Thus Birbal once again proved his intelligence and was rewarded by the king with 1000 gold coins.




Birbal Is Brief4. Birbal Is Brief

One day Akbar asked his courtiers if they could tell him the difference between truth and falsehood in three words or less. 

The courtiers looked at one another in bewilderment. 

"What about you, Birbal?" asked the emperor. "I'm surprised that you too are silent." 

"I'm silent because I want to give others a chance to speak," said Birbal. 

"Nobody else has the answer," said the emperor. "So go ahead and tell me whatthe difference between truth and falsehood is — in three words or less." 

"Four fingers" said Birbal 

"Four fingers?" asked the emperor, perplexed. 

"That's the difference between truth and falsehood, your Majesty," said Birbal. "That which you see with your own eyes is the truth. That which you have only heard about might not be true. More often than not, it's likely to be false." 

"That is right," said Akbar. "But what did you mean by saying the difference is four fingers?' 

"The distance between one's eyes and one's ears is the width of four fingers, Your Majesty," said Birbal, grinning. 






Birbal Outwits Cheat5. Birbal Outwits Cheat

A farmer and his neighbor once went to Emperor Akbar's court with a complaint. 

"Your Majesty, I bought a well from him," said the farmer pointing to his neighbor," and now he wants me to pay for the water." 

"That's right, your Majesty," said the neighbor. "I sold him the well but not the water!" 

The Emperor asked Birbal to settle the dispute. 

"Didn't you say that you sold your well to this farmer?" Birbal asked the neighbor. "So, the well belongs to him now, but you have kept your water in his well. Is that right? Well, in that case you will have to pay him a rent or take your water out at once." 

The neighbor realized that he was outwitted. He quickly apologized and gave up his claim




Birbal Returns Home
6. Birbal Returns Home

Birbal was in Persia at the invitation of the king of that country. 

Parties were given in his honor and rich presents were heaped on him. 

On the eve of his departure for home, a nobleman asked him how he would compare the king ofPersia to his own king. 

“Your king is a full moon,” said Birbal. “Whereas mine could be likened to thequarter moon.” 

The Persians were very happy. But when Birbal got home he found that Emperor Akbar was furious with him. 

“How could you belittle your own king!” demanded Akbar. “You are a traitor!” 

“No, Your Majesty,” said Birbal. “I did not belittle you. The full moon diminishes and disappears whereas the quarter moon grows from strength to strength. What I, in fact, proclaimed to the world is that your power is growing from day to day whereas that of the king of Persia is about to go into decline.” 

Akbar grunted in satisfaction and welcomed Birbal back with a warm embrace. 






Birbal Shortens Road7. Birbal Shortens Road

The Emperor Akbar was traveling to a distant place along with some of his courtiers. It was a hot day and the emperor was tiring of the journey

“Can’t anybody shorten this road for me?” he asked, querulously. 

“I can,” said Birbal. 

The other courtiers looked at one another, perplexed. All of them knew there was no other path through the hilly terrain. 

The road they were traveling on was the only one that could take them to theirdestination

“You can shorten the road?” said the emperor. “Well, do it.” 

“I will,” said Birbal. “Listen first to this story I have to tell.” 

And riding beside the emperor’s palanquin, he launched upon a long and intriguing tale that held Akbar and all those listening, spellbound. Before they knew it, they had reached the end of their journey. 

“We’ve reached?” exclaimed Akbar. “So soon!” 

“Well,” grinned Birbal, “you did say you wanted the road to be shortened.” 






Birbal's Sweet Reply
8. Birbal's Sweet Reply

One day the Emperor Akbar startled his courtierswith a strange question. 

"If somebody pulled my whiskers what sort of punishment should be given to him?" he asked. 

"He should be flogged!" said one courtier

"He should be hanged!" said another. 

"He should be beheaded!" said a third. 

"And what about you, Birbal?" asked the emperor. "What do you think would be the right thing to do if somebody pulled my whiskers?" 

"He should be given sweets," said Birbal. 

"Sweets?" gasped the other couriers

"Yes”, said Birbal. “Sweets, because the only one who would dare pull His Majesty's whiskers is his grandson." 

So pleased was the emperor with the answer that he pulled off his ring and gave it to Birbal as a reward. 




Birbal The Child 9. Birbal The Child

Birbal arrived late for a function and the emperor was displeased. 

"My child was crying and I had to placate him," explained the courtier

"Does it take so long to calm down a child?" asked the emperor. "It appears you know nothing about child rearing. Now you pretend to be a child and I shall act as your father and I will show you how you should have dealt with your child. Go on.Ask me for whatever he asked of you." 

"I want a cow," said Birbal. 

Akbar ordered a cow to be brought to the palace. 

"I want its milk. I want its milk," said Birbal, imitating the voice of a small child. 

"Milk the cow and give to him," said Akbar to his servants. 

The cow was milked and the milk was offered to Birbal. He drank a little and then handed the bowl back to Akbar. 

"Now put the rest of it back into the cow, put it back, put in back, put it back..." wailed Birbal. 

The emperor was flabbergasted and quietly left the room. 






Birbal The Servant10. Birbal The Servant

One day Akbar and Birbal were riding through the countryside and they happened to pass by a cabbage patch

"Cabbages are such delightful vegetables!" said Akbar. "I just love cabbage." 

"The cabbage is king of vegetables!" said Birbal. 

A few weeks later they were riding past the cabbage patch again. 

This time however, the emperor made a face when he saw the vegetables. "I used to love cabbage but now I have no taste for it." said Akbar. 

"The cabbage is a tasteless vegetable" agreed Birbal. 

The emperor was astonished. 

"But the last time you said it was the king of vegetables!" he said. 

"I did," admitted Birbal. "But I am your servant Your Majesty, not the cabbage's." 






Birbal Turns Tables
11. Birbal Turns Tables 

Emperor Akbar was narrating a dream. 

The dream began with Akbar and Birbal walking towards each other on a moonless night. It was so dark that they could not see each other and they collided and fell. 

"Fortunately for me," said the Emperor. "I fell into a pool of payasam. But guess what Birbal fell into?" 

"What, your Majesty?" asked the courtiers

"A gutter!" 

The court resounded with laughter. The emperor was thrilled that for once he had been able to score over Birbal. 

But Birbal was unperturbed. 

"Your Majesty," he said when the laughter had died down. "Strangely, I too had the same dream. But unlike you I slept on till the end. When you climbed out of that pool of delicious payasam and I, out of that stinking gutter we found that there was no water with which to clean ourselves and so guess what we did?” 

"What?" asked the emperor, warily. 

"We licked each other clean!" 

The emperor became red with embarrassment and resolved never to try to get the better of Birbal again. 








12. Birbal The Wise Birbal The Wise 

Ram and Sham both claimed ownership of the same mango tree

One day they approached Birbal and asked him to settle the dispute. 

Birbal said to them: "There is only one way to settle the matter. Pluck all the fruits on the tree and divide them equally between the two of you. Then cut down the tree and divide the wood". 

Ram thought it was a fair judgment and said so. 

But Sham was horrified. 

"Your Honor" he said to Birbal "I've tended that tree for seven years. I'd rather let Ram have it than see it cut down." 

"Your concern for the tree has told me all I wanted to know" said Birbal, anddeclared Sham the true owner of the tree. 








Birbal is Cooking The Khichdi
13. Cooking the Khichdi.

It was winter. The ponds were all frozen. 

At the court, Akbar asked Birbal, "Tell me Birbal! Will a man do anything for money?" Birbal replied, 'Yes'. 

The emperor ordered him to prove it. 

The next day Birbal came to the court along with a poor Brahmin who merely had a penny left with him. His family was starving. 

Birbal told the king that the Brahmin was ready to do anything for the sake of money. 

The king ordered the Brahmin to be inside the frozen pond all through the nightwithout any attire if he needed money. 

The poor Brahmin had no choice. The whole night he was inside the pond, shivering. He returned to the durbar the next day to receive his reward. 

The king asked "Tell me Oh poor Brahmin! How could you withstand the extreme temperature all through the night?" 

The innocent Brahmin replied "I could see a faintly glowing light a kilometer away and I withstood with that ray of light." 

Akbar refused to pay the Brahmin his reward saying that he had got warmth from the light and withstood the cold and that was cheating. 

The poor Brahmin could not argue with him and so returned disappointed and bare-handed. 


Birbal tried to explain to the king but the king was in no mood to listen to him. 

Thereafter, Birbal stopped coming to the durbar and sent a messenger to the kingsaying that he would come to the court only after cooking his khichdi. 

As Birbal did not turn up even after 5 days, the king himself went to Birbal's house to see what he was doing. Birbal had lit the fire and kept the pot of uncooked khichdi one meter away from it. 

Akbar questioned him "How will the khichdi get cooked with the fire one meter away? What is wrong with you Birbal?"

Birbal, cooking the khichdi, replied "Oh my great King of Hindustan! When it was possible for a person to receive warmth from a light that was a kilometer away, then it is possible for this khichdi, which is just a meter away from the source of heat, to get cooked." 

Akbar understood his mistake. He called the poor Brahmin and rewarded him 2000gold coins.








Half The Reward14. Half The Reward

Mahesh Das was a citizen in the kingdom of Akbar. He was an intelligent young man. 

Once when Akbar went hunting in the jungle, he lost his way. Mahesh Das who lived in the outskirts helped the king reach the palace. The emperor rewarded him with his ring. 

The Emperor also promised to give him a responsible posting at his court. After a few days Mahesh Das went to the courtThe guard did not allow him to enter. 

Mahesh Das showed the guard the ring which the king had given him. Now the guard thought that the young man was sure to get more rewards by the king. The greedy guard agreed to allow him inside the court on one condition. It was that Mahesh Das had to pay him half the reward he would get from the Emperor. Mahesh Das accepted the condition. 

He then entered the court and showed the ring to the King. 

The King who recognized Mahesh asked him "Oh young man! What do you expect as a reward from the King of Hindustan?" "Majesty! I expect 50 lashes from you as a reward." replied Mahesh Das. The courtiers were stunned. They thought that he was mad. Akbar pondered over his request and asked him the reason. 


Mahesh Das said he would tell him the reason after receiving his reward. Then theking’s men whipped him as per his wish. After the 25th lash Mahesh Das requested the King to call the guard who was at the gate

The guard appeared before the King. He was happy at the thought that he was called to be rewarded. But to his surprise, Mahesh Das told the King ,"Jahampana! This greedy guard let me inside on condition that I pay him half the reward I receive from you. I wanted to teach him a lesson. Please give the remaining 25 lashes to this guard so that I can keep my promise to him." 

The King then ordered that the guard be given 25 lashes along with 5 years of imprisonment. The King was very happy with Mahesh Das. He called him RAJA BIRBAL and made him his chief minister. 




Identify The Guest
15. Identify The Guest

Birbal had been invited to lunch by a rich man

Birbal went to the man's house and found him in a hall full of people. His host greeted him warmly.

"I did not know there would be so many guests," said Birbal who hated large gatherings. 

"They are not guests," said the man. "They are my employees, all except one man. He is the only other guest here beside you." 

Then a crafty look came on the man's face. 

"Can you tell me which of them is the guest?" he asked. 

"Maybe I could," said Birbal. "Talk to them as I observe them. Tell them a joke or something." 

The man told a joke that Birbal thought was perhaps the worst he had heard in a long time. When he finished everyone laughed uproariously. 

"Well," said the rich man. "I've told my joke. Now tell me who my other guest is." 






Just One Question16. Just One Question 

One Day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was. 

He asked Birbal: "Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?" 

Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficultday and were impatient to leave. 

"Ask me one difficult question," sad Birbal. 

"Well, then, tell me," said the man, "which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?" 

"The chicken," replied Birbal. 

"How do you know?" asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice. 

"We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it" said Birbal and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping. 




Limping Horse
17. Limping Horse

A nobleman’s prized racehorse began to limp for no apparent reason. 

Veterinarians who were called found nothing wrong with the leg - no fracture, no sprain and no soreness - and they were baffled. 

The nobleman finally consulted a sage, a man known for his wisdom. 

“Has anything changed for the horse in the last few months?” he asked. 

“I changed his trainer a few weeks ago,” said the nobleman. 

“Does the horse get on well with his new trainer?” 

“Very well! In fact, he’s devoted to him.” 

“Does the trainer limp?” 

“Uh… yes, he does.” 

“The reason for the horse’s limp is clear,” said the sage. “He’s imitating his handler. We all tend to imitate those whom we admire. The company we keep has a great influence on us.” 

The nobleman put the horse in the charge of another trainer and the horse soon stopped limping. 








List of blinds includes ...
18. List of blinds

Once King Akbar questioned Birbal if he knows the number of blind citizens of their kingdom. 

Raja Birbal had requested Akbar to give him a week’s time. 

The next day Raja Birbal was found to be mending shoes in the town market. People were astonished to see Birbal doing such work. Many of them started to question "Birbal!! What are you doing?" 

Once when he was asked this question by someone he started writing something. It continued for a week when on the 7th day King Akbar himself asked Birbal the same question. 

Giving him no answer, Birbal reported at the court the next day and handed over a note to King Akbar. Akbar read the note when he found that it was the big list of people who were blind. 


Emperor Akbar was stunned when he found his own name in the list. Angered by this, Akbar asked Birbal the reason for writing his name in the list

Birbal said "O! My majesty! Like all other people you also saw me mending theslippers but you still asked me what I was doing. Therefore I had to include your name too." 

Akbar started laughing at this and everyone enjoyed Birbal's sense of humor









Noble Beggar
19. Beggar

Emperor Akbar asked Birbal if it was possible for a man to be the lowest and the noblest t the same time. 

"It is possible," said Birbal. 

"Then bring me such a person," said the emperor. 

Birbal went out and returned with a beggar. 

"He is the lowest among your subjects," he said, presenting him to Akbar. 

"That might be true," said Akbar. "But I don't see how he can be the noblest." 

"He has been given the honor of an audience with the emperor," said Birbal. "That makes him the noblest among beggars." 








Painting By Birbal
20. Painting By Birbal

Once Akbar told Birbal 'Birbal, make me a painting. Use imagination in it. 

To which the reply was 'But hoozoor, I am a minister, how can I possibly paint?’ 

The king was angry and said 'If I don’t get a good painting by one week then you shall be hanged!’ 

The clever Birbal had an idea. 

After one week, he went to the court and with him he carried a covered frame. 

Akbar was happy to see that Birbal had obeyed him, until he opened the cover. The courtiers rushed to see what was wrong. What they saw made them feel very happy. 


At last, they would not see Birbal in court! The painting was nothing but ground and sky. There were a few specs of green on the ground

The Emperor, angrily, told Birbal 'what is this?' To which the reply was 'A cow eating grass hoozoor!’ 

Akbar said 'where is the cow and grass?' and Birbal told 'I used my imagination.The cow ate the grass and returned to its shed!' 






Question for Question
21. Question for Question 

One day Akbar said to Birbal: "Can you tell me how many bangles your wife wears?" 

Birbal said he could not. 

"You cannot?" exclaimed Akbar. "You see her hands every day while she serves you food. Yet you do not know how many bangles she has on her hands? How is that?" 

"Let us go down to the garden, Your Majesty," said Birbal, "and I'll tell you." 

They went down the small staircase that led to the garden. Then Birbal turned to the emperor: "Your Majesty," he said, "You go up and down this staircase every day. Can you tell me how many steps there are in the staircase?" 

The emperor grinned sheepishly and quickly changed the subject. 








The Blind Saint
22. The Blind Saint 

There lived a saint in an ashram in the kingdom of Emperor Akbar. 

He was believed to prophecy the future correctly. 

Once he had a visitor who had come to treat their niece. The child's parents were killed in front of the girl's eyes. Once she saw the saint, she started to scream loudly saying that that saint was the culprit. 

Angered by the girl's words, the saint demanded the couple to get away with their child. 

The whole day the girl cried which made the couple to realize that the girl was not lying. 

Therefore, they decided to seek the help of Birbal. 

Birbal consoled them and asked them to wait at the Emperor's assembly. Birbal had invited the saint to Akbar's court too. 

Then in front of all the ministers he drew a sword and neared the saint to kill him.The saint in bewilderment immediately drew another sword and began to fight. Thus by this act of the saint it was proved that he wasn’t blind. 

Therefore, Akbar demanded to hang the culprit and rewarded the girl for her bravery for telling the truth even at the critical situation. 






The Choice of Birbal
23. The Choice of Birbal

One day Emperor Akbar asked Birbal what he would choose if he were given a choice between justice and a gold coin

“The gold coin,” said Birbal. 

Akbar was taken aback. 

“You would prefer a gold coin to justice?” he asked, incredulously. 

“Yes,” said Birbal. 

The other courtiers were amazed by Birbal’s display of idiocy. 

For years they had been trying to discredit Birbal in the emperor’s eyes but without success and now the man had gone and done it himself! 

They could not believe their good fortune

“I would have been dismayed if even the lowliest of my servants had said this,” continued the emperor. “But coming from you it’s . . . it’s shocking - and sad. I did not know you were so debased!” 

“One asks for what one does not have, Your Majesty!” said Birbal, quietly. “You have seen to it that in our country justice is available to everybody. So as justiceis already available to me and as I’m always short of money I said I would choose the gold coin.” 

The emperor was so pleased with Birbal’s reply that he gave him not one but a thousand gold coins. 







The Jealous Courtiers
24. The Jealous Courtiers

One day Emperor Akbar was inspecting the law and order situation in the kingdom. One of hisministers, who was jealous of Raja Birbal, complained that the Emperor gave importance only to Birbal's suggestions and all the otherministers were ignored. 

Akbar wanted the minister to know how wise Birbal was. 

There was a marriage procession going on. 

The Emperor ordered the minister to enquire whose marriage it was. The minister found out and walked towards the Emperor wearing a proud expression on his face. 

Then the king called Birbal and asked him too to enquire whose marriage was going on. When Birbal returned, Akbar asked the minister "Where are the couple going?" The minister said that the king had only asked him to enquire whose marriage was going on. 

Then Akbar asked Birbal the same question. "O My Majesty! They are going to the city of Allahabad," replied Raja Birbal. Now the King turned towards the minister and said, "Now do you understand why Birbal is more important to me? It is not enough if you complete a task. You have to use your intelligence to do a little more work.’ The minister’s face fell. He had learnt the importance of being Birbal,the hard way.










The Loyal Gardener
25. The Loyal Gardener 

One day the Emperor Akbar stumbled on a rock in his garden. He was in a foul mood that day andthe accident made him so angry that he ordered the gardener’s arrest and execution. 

The next day when the gardener was asked what his last wish was before he was hanged, he requested an audience with the emperor. 

This wish was granted, but when the man neared the throne he loudly cleared his throat and spat at the emperor’s feet. 

The emperor was taken aback and demanded to know why he had done such a thing. The gardener had acted on Birbal’s advice and now Birbal stepped forward in the man’s defence. 

"Your Majesty," he said, "there could be no person more loyal to you than this unfortunate man. Fearing that people would say you hanged him for a trifle, he has gone out of his way to give you a genuine reason for hanging him." 

The emperor, realizing that he had been about to do a great injustice, set the man free. 




26. The Sadhu 

Akbar came to the throne when he was only thirteen years old. In the years that followed, he built on of the greatest empires of his time. He lived in unimaginablesplendor. He was surrounded by courtiers who agreed with every word he said, who flattered him and treated him as if he were a god. Perhaps it was not surprising that Emperor Akbar was sometimes arrogant and behaved as if the whole world belonged to him. 

One day, Birbal decided to make the great emperor stop and think about life. 

That evening as the emperor was going towards his palace, he noticed a Sadhu lying in the centre of his garden. He could not believe his eyes. A strange Sadhu, in ragged clothes, right in the middle of the palace garden? The guards would have to be punished for this, thought the emperor furiously as he walked over to that Sadhu and prodded him with the tip of his embroidered slipper

"Here, fellow!" he cried. "What are you doing here? Get up and go away at once!" 

That Sadhu opened his eyes. Then he sat up slowly. "Huzoor," he said in a sleepy voice. "Is this your garden, then?" 

"Yes!" cried the Emperor. "This garden those rose bushes, the fountain beyond that, the courtyard, the palace, this fort, this empire, it all belongs to me!" 

Slowly that Sadhu stood up. "And the river, Huzoor? And the city? And this country?" 

"Yes, yes, it's all mine", said the emperor. "Now get out!" 

"Ah", said the Sadhu. "And before you, Huzoor. Who did the garden and fort and city belong to then?" 

"My father, of course", said the emperor. In spite of his irritation, he was beginning to get interested in the Sadhu's questions. He loved philosophical discussions and he could tell, from his manner of speaking, that the Sadhu was a learned man. 

"And who was here before him?" the Sadhu asked quietly. 

"His father, my father's father, as you know." 

"Ah", said the Sadhu. So this garden, those rose bushes, the palace and the fort all this has only belonged to you for your lifetime. Before that they belonged to your father, am I right? And after yours time they will belong to your son, and then to his son? 

"Yes", said the Emperor Akbar wonderingly. 

"So each one stays here for a time and then goes on his ways?" 

"Yes." 

"Like a dharmashala?" the Sadhu asked. "No one owns a dharmashala. Or the shade of a tree on the side of a road. We stop and rest for a while and then go on. And someone has always been there before us and someone will always come after we have gone. Is that not so?" 

"It is", Emperor Akbar quietly. 

"So your garden, your palace, your fort, your empire... these are only places you will stay in for a time, for the span of your lifetime. When you die, they will no longer belong to you. You will go, leaving them in the possession of someone else, just as your father did and his father before him." 

Emperor Akbar nodded. "The whole world is a dharmashala", he said slowly, thinking very hard. "In which we mortals rest awhile. That's what you are telling me, isn't it? Nothing on this earth can ever belong to a single person, because each person is only passing through the earth and must die one day?" 

The Sadhu nodded solemnly. Then, bowing to the ground, he removed his white beard and saffron turban and his voice changed. "Jahanpanah, forgive me!" he said, in his normal voice. "It was my way of asking you to think about..." 

"Birbal, oh, Birbal!" the emperor exclaimed. "You are wiser than any philosopher. Come, come at once to the royal chamber and let us discuss this further. Even emperors are but wayfarers on the path of life, it is clear!" .






The Sharpest Shield and Sword27. The Sharpest Shield andSword

A man who made spears and shields once came to Akbar's court

"Your Majesty, nobody can make shields and spears to equal mine," he said. "My shields are so strong that nothing can pierce them and my spears are so sharp that there's nothing they cannot pierce." 

"I can prove you wrong on one count certainly," said Birbal suddenly. 

"Impossible!" declared the man. 

"Hold up one of your shields and I will pierce it with one of your spears," said Birbal with a smile.






The True King
28. The True King

The King of Iran had heard that Birbal was one of the wisest men in the East and desirous ofmeeting him sent him an invitation to visit his country. 

In due course, Birbal arrived in Iran. 

When he entered the palace he was flabbergasted to find not one but six kings seated there. 

All looked alike. All were dressed in kingly robes. Who was the real king? 

The very next moment he got his answer. Confidently, he approached the king and bowed to him. 

"But how did you identify me?" the king asked, puzzled. 

Birbal smiled and explained: "The false kings were all looking at you, while you yourself looked straight ahead. Even in regal robes, the common people will always look to their king for support." 

Overjoyed, the king embraced Birbal and showered him with gifts. 







29. What The Drop Taketh.

The anecdotes of Emperor Akbar and his trusted aide Birbal are entertaining as well as enlightening. Once, the Emperor received the gift of a rare perfume. As he opened the bottle, a drop of perfume fell to the floor. Akbar instinctively moved to retrieve it by wiping the floor with his finger. As he looked up he noticed a bemused look on Birbal’s face… his eyes seemed to mock the Emperor for being scrounging. 

To change Birbal’s perception, Akbar summoned him the next morning to his bath. He asked his attendants to fill up the bathtub with the best of perfumes. Akbar sought to show Birbal that as Emperor he could afford to waste as much perfume, as he wanted. Birbal when asked to react said the immortal lines, “Boond se jati, woh haudh se nahi aati” (An entire tub full cannot retrieve what the drop took way!) 

Birbal sought to tell the Emperor that his earlier instinctive action (that exhibited miserliness) could not be undone by an intentional action (aimed at big-heartedness). Ourcharacter is determined by our reactions, not by forced posturing. It is better to be transparent then wear favourable masks. In fact every little action and reaction, everyspoken word and emerging thought reflects our true self!



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