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1. Akbar, the Great 2. Raja Birbal 3. Akbar's meeting with Mahesh Das 4. Mahesh's meeting with Akbar 5. How Mahesh Became Birbal? 6. Clever Birbal 7. The impossible task 8. The upper hand 9. The face that brought bad luck 10. The holy book 11. The smell of sweets 12. Red hot iron rods 13. Re-union of Friends 14. Best answers 15. The parrot neither eats, nor drinks... 16. Mangoes 17. Borrowing in the dream 18. Doodh bhai 19. Give what ever you like
20. The deserving courtier 21. The woman's hair 22. Pickle clue 23. Fear is the key 24. Truth always finds its way 25. Whose bag? 26. How Birbal brought meat back in the community? 27. Colorful bird 28. Three idols 29. The jealous courtiers 30. Thief 31. Question for a question 32. Who is the donkey? 33. Why is the camel's neck crooked? 34. Birbal visit to heaven 35. Magic sticks 36. I am your servant, Huzoor 37. Crows in the kingdom 38. Akbar's advisor 39. Real flowers 40. Birbal's sweet reply
41. Birbal identifies the guest 42. A little lesser and a little more 43. Birbal's beautiful explantion 44. The noblest beggar 45. Fast horse 46. The Loyal Gardener 47. Half sun, Half shade 48. Red hot test 49. Four fools 50. Birbal does justice 51. Tit bits 52. Just one question 53. Birbal helps an astrologer 54. Birbal passes the test 55. Hunting and the dowry 56. Birbal and Akbar's ring 57. Akbar's dream 58. Birbal helps a pandit 59. Birbal's khichdee 60. The poet Raaydas 61. The three questions
62. The cock and the hen 63. Back to square one 64. List of the blind 65. The blind saint 66. Birbal's painting 67. The Musical genius 68. Birbal, the wise 69. The true king 70. Birbal, the child 71. Birbal's choice 72. Birbal turns the tables 73. Birbal returns home 74. Birbal denies a rumor 75. The sharpest shield and sword 76. Birbal shortens a road 77. Re – united 78. The pot of wisdom 79. The exact portrait 80. The list of fools 81. What the drop taketh 82. Why Yamuna is so weeping?
83. A poor man's daughter 84. Hasty punishment 85. The precious thing 86. Strange message 87. Unfaithful Govind 88. Heavy burden 89. Pundit's mother tongue 90. Footmark of an elephant 91. Clever Birbal 92. Neither here, nor there 93. Birbal and the milk tub 94. One must understand one's true nature
Akbar the Great
Emperor Akbar, also known as Akbar the Great or Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, was the third emperor of the Mughal Empire, after Babur and Humayun. He was the son of Nasiruddin Humayun and succeeded him as the emperor in the year 1556, when he was only 13 years old. One of the most successful emperors of the Mughal Empire, Akbar also made significant contribution in the field of art. Apart from commencing a large collection of literature, he also commissioned a number of splendid buildings during his reign. Early Life Akbar was born on 15th October 1542, to Emperor Humayun and Hamida Banu Begum. The Rajput Fortress of Umarkot in Sind, where Humayun and Hamida were taking refuge, became the birthplace of this great emperor. In 1540, Humayun was forced into exile by Afghan leader Sher Shah and Akbar spent his childhood in Afghanistan, at his uncle Askari's place. His youth was spent in running and fighting, rather than learning to read and write. However, this could never impair his interest in art, architecture, music and literature. Humayun recaptured Delhi in the year 1555, with the help of his Persian ally Shah Tahmasp. However, a few months after his victory, he met with an accident and died. On 14th February 1556, Akbar succeeded the throne, in the midst of a war waged by Sikandar Shah for the Mughal throne. Early Rule The first battle fought by Akbar was against Sikandar Shah Suri of Punjab. However, when Akbar was busy leading assault against Sikandar Shah, Hemu, a Hindu warrior, launched an attack on Delhi, which was then under the regency of Tardi Beg Khan. Tardi fled from the city and Hemu claimed the capital. On the advice of his general, Bairam, Akbar launched an attack on Delhi and reclaimed the city. On 5th November 1556, 'Akbar the Great' fought the Second Battle of Panipat against General Hemu. Following soon after was the battle with Sikandar Shah at Mankot. In 1557, Adil Shah, who was the brother of Sikandar, died in a battle in Bengal. Along with fighting against the other rulers, Akbar also solidified his support by revoking the jizya tax on non-Muslims. At the same time, he started wooing the favor of the powerful Rajput caste, at times by marrying Rajput princesses. He expanded the Mughal Empire by including Malwa, Gujarat, Bengal, Kabul, Kashmir and Kandesh, amongst others. In no time, the rule of Akbar was firmly established over the entire Hindustan (India). Final Years Akbar was greatly troubled in the last few years of his life due to the misdemeanors of his sons. Especially his third son, Salim, was frequently in rebellion against his father. The last conquest of Akbar comprised of Asirgarh, a fort in the Deccan. Thereafter, he faced the rebellion of his son and breathed his last on 12th October 1605. His body was entombed in a magnificent mausoleum at Sikandra city, near Agra.
Navratnas Akbar's court had Navaratnas (Nine Jewels), meaning a group of nine extraordinary people. They included:
• • • • • • • • •
Abul Fazel (Akbars's chief advisor and author of Akbarnama) Faizi (Akbar's poet laureate) Mian Tansen (a Hindu singer who converted to Islam) Birbal (a noble known for his wittiness) Raja Todar Mal (Akbar's finance minister) Raja Man Singh (trusted general of Akbar) Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana (a noble and a renowned poet) Fakir Aziao-Din Mullah Do Piaza
Raja Birbal was the Grand Vizier (Wazīr-e Azam) of the Mughal court in the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar and one of his most trusted members along with being a part of Akbar's inner council of nine advisors, known as the navaratna. Early years Mahesh Das was born in 1528 in the village of Kalpi, Uttar Pradesh. He was a Brahmin by birth, Birbal grew up in a moderate Brahmin household and, was educated in the regional as well as the Persian languages. Birbal was a poet and author whose wit and wisdom led the Emperor Akbar to invite him to be a part of the royal court and to bestow upon him a new name - Birbal (Bir means Brain, Bal means Strong). Akbar also conferred on him the title of “Raja”.
"The Yousafzai and Khattak tribes of the Afghans in the North West had started low level skirmishes and looting raids against the Mughal Empire's outposts and trading routes along the East Bank of the River Indus, Attock and Malandari pass. Attempting to crush the unrest, Akbar sent troops for the battle. However, the troops faced resilient resistance from the Afghans and suffered many losses. At this time, the Afghan Lashkar's (army) front was concentrated on one end in what is now the Katlang area of Lund Khwar to the other end near the Malandari Pass at the head of the Barkua Stream, about 30 miles N. E. of Hoti Mardan.
After a succession of defeats in the February of 1583 A.D. Akbar sent Birbal his Grand Vizier (Wazīr-e Azam), closest advisor and chief among the navaratnas to help Zain Khan in the battle. Birbal took command of the troops and around mid February marched into a concentrated formation of the Afghans in the Katlang area of Lund Khwar. On the 16th of February, 1583 A.D. during a major skirmish and while in the thick of the battle, Birbal along with his personal troops advanced into a narrow pass in katlang at night. The Yousafzai and the Khattak Afghans were well prepared and were ready on the hills. Many men on Birbal’s side lost their way or were killed in the holes and the caverns and it was a terrible defeat, in which Birbal fought with bravery but died on 16 Feb 1583 A.D. Birbal’s death was said to be caused by treachery, not military defeat. Akbar was very shocked by the death of Birbal and he didn’t attend court for two full days and didn’t eat or drink anything and mourned for a long time.". Birbal's last wish was that upon his death, his ashes be immersed in the River Ganga at Haridwar. Akbar did not grant this wish, instead burying the ashes at a well he had dug near the river.
Akbar’s Meeting with Mahesh Das
Akbar loved hunting and used to escape to go for hunting even from his studies. Well, later he became a better rider and hunter than any one of his courtiers. One day when Akbar went for hunting, he and his some of the courtiers went so fast that they left the others behind. As the evening fell, everybody got very hungry and thirsty, they found that they had lost their way and now did not know where to go. At last they came to a junction of three roads. King was very happy to see the roads that now he could go reach his capital through one of these roads, but which road was to go to his capital - Agra. They were all thinking about it and could not decide it. In the mean time they saw a young boy coming along one road. The boy was summoned and Akbar asked him, "Hey young boy! Which road goes to Agra?" The boy smiled and spoke, "Huzoor! Everybody knows that road cannot move so how these roads can go to Agra or anywhere else?" and laughed at his own joke. Everybody was silent, didn't say a word. The boy said again, "People travel, not the roads. Do they?" Emperor laughed at this and said, "No, you are right." The Emperor asked again, "What is your name, young boy?" "Mahesh Das" The boy replied and asked the Emperor, "And who are you Huzoor? What is your name?" The Emperor took out his Ring and gave it to the boy. "You are talking to Emperor Akbar - the King of Hindustan (India). We need fearless people like you. You come to the court; with this Ring I will recognize you immediately. Now tell me the way to get to Agra. We have to reach there soon?" Mahesh Das bowing lowly pointed towards the road going to Agra, and the King headed on that road. That is how the Emperor Akbar met the future Birbal.
Mahesh's meeting with Akbar
When Mahesh Das he grew up as a fine young man, he took all his savings, along with the Ring of Seal of the Emperor Akbar, which he received from the Emperor himself some time ago, bade his mother farewell, and set out to the new capital of India - Fatehpur Sikri. He was very much enchanted with the pomp and show of the new capital. He escaped the crowd and headed towards the red walls of the palace. The palace gate was very richly ornamented - a very beautiful gate as he had never seen before. Mahesh wanted to enter the gate, but the guard slashed the air with his spear and stopped him from entering the gate. "Where do you think, you are going?" asked the guard. Said Maesh politely, "Sir, I have come to see the King." "Oh! yeah, the King must be waiting for you, as when you would come?" the guard said sarcastically. Mahesh smiled at this comment and spoke "Yes, Sir, and now I am here." Mahesh told further,” I am sure you must have fought wonderfully well on the Emperor's frontiers, but do not risk your life by stopping me from entering the palace." The guard kept quiet for a moment, and then said courageously, "Why do you think so? I will chop off your head, if you do not stop talking nonsense." Mahesh was not going to accept his defeat. He showed Akbar's Ring of Seal to the guard. Now who was the person who did not recognize Akbar's Ring of Seal? Having seen the seal, the guard couldn't say a word. He had to admit him, although he was not willing to do it. So the guard thought and thought, then he said to Mahesh, "You can go in on one condition." "What?” Mahesh asked. The guard said, "Whatever you will get from the Emperor, you will share with me half of that.”Agreed," Mahesh smiled and the guard let him go inside. He went on and on, finally he could see the golden throne on which a man of simple elegance was sitting. He quickly recognized him as the Emperor Akbar. Pushing everyone aside, Mahesh went further and prostrated himself before the Emperor Akbar, and said, "May your shadow always grow, O Full Moon." Akbar smiled and asked him, "What do you want. O young man?" Mahesh rose to his feet and spoke, "Sir, I have come here at your command." And he handed over the Ring of Seal, which was given to him by the King so many years before. "That's a good boy, now what do you want? What is your heart's desire? Tell me, I will try my best to fulfill it." Mahesh remembered his promise with the guard, so he asked the Emperor to punish him with one hundred slashes. The King was surprised to hear that, "But how can I do this to you, you have done nothing wrong." Mahesh said politely, "Sir, please do not go back from your promise of fulfilling my heart's desire." So with great reluctance and perplexed mind, Akbar ordered one hundred lashes on Mahesh's back. To the surprise of all, Mahesh endured every stroke without uttering a word. After the fiftieth whip, he suddenly shouted, "Stop now." Akbar asked, "Why? What happened?" Mahesh said, "Sir when I was coming here, your guard did not allow me to come inside the palace, unless I promised him to give half of my share of whatever I will get from you. I have taken half of my share, now it is your guard's turn to take his share of half." Everybody busted into the laughter. The guard was hauled to receive his humiliating bribe.
Mahesh became Birbal
After punishing the guard, Akbar wanted to test the intellect of the Mahesh. So he asked his courtiers to quiz Mahesh. The courtiers looked at each other and smiled smugly. Quiz the young man? They thought. It would only take few minutes to be done with him. A courtier came forward. With the emperor's permission, he directed a query to Mahesh, “Who are the two neighbours who cannot see each other?” “Eyes” came the prompt reply. There was a collective gasp at the quick response. Another question was posed by Abdul Khan, a wise courtier, “Who is the unconquerable enemy?” Without wasting a second, came the reply, “Death.” “But”, questioned another learned courtier, “What is imperishable which remains even after death?” “One's fame” replied the young man without blinking an eye. The quizzing grew more and more complex with courtiers raking their brains for tougher questions. But Mahesh das fielded each one with ease. Then Akbar's favorite musician, Tansen, contributed a couple of queries. “What never dies in music?” the youth took only a moment to reply “Its notes.” Tansen continued, “Whose music is most melodious?” Unhesitatingly, Mahesh answered, “Music of the one who sings for God”. Thrilled by the young man's wit and now, purely for entertainment, the emperor bade a courtier, Hussain Khan, to continue with the questioning. He asked, “How would you separate a mixture of sugar and sand without sieving?” “First” Mahesh said, “I will spread the mixture on the ground where ants are certain to be present. They will take the sugar away and thus only the grains of sand will be left.” Nothing can faze this young man, thought Akbar. Then, Raja Todarmal stepped forward and asked, “Is there anything that the sun and the moon cannot see?” “Yes sir” came the prompt reply, “the darkness.” Very much impressed by the Mahesh's wit and intellect, Akbar honored him with the name “BIRBAL” That is how Birbal was born.
In the olden days, artists often visited various cities and showed their skills at town squares or market places to informally gathered crowds. It was in a way similar to the concerts and the tours that most recording artists do today, except it wasn't at such scale and was not professionally managed as it done today. This artist called 'bahuroobiya” or a mimic. He was no ordinary mimic just doing voices or different personalities but could mimic even animals. He was an expert performer and an entertainer too. Soon, a crowd began to gather at the market place. People were soon talking about his skill and he was the talk of the little town Tiwkapur. The mookhiya - local head, heard about this artist and arranged for a performance. The whole village was invited. Men and women, old and young, everyone gathered for the performance. The show began and as the artist had mastered his craft very well, everyone watching was engrossed. The climax of the show reached when the Bahuroobiya turned himself into a bull. The imitation of the bull was so good, the crowd was spellbound. The mookhiya gave the artist a bag of gold coins. A little boy in the crowd threw a small pebble at the bull. The bull quivered just as a bull. The boy was so pleased, he could not contain his admiration. “Wow, what great imitation!” he exclaimed. He had nothing to give other than his old battered cap. He took his topi off and gave it to the artist, “ take my reward.” The crowd began to laugh and giggle at the boy. “Who cares for the old battered cap. What use is it to the artist. It will not even fit his head.” they said. The boy came forward and said very courageously, “ The real appreciation is in testing and finding the real value, not just giving away expensive rewards. I threw a stone at the imitation bull and he shivered just like a bull. It was a true test.” The artist agreed with the boy. “He is right. He alone tested me and I treasure this dirty old cap. It will remain as one of my prized possessions.” The little boy was Maheshdas who grew up to be Birbal.
The impossible task
One day, the Emperor Akbar called Birbal to his palace. “Birbal, I want you to bring a vessel of Ox's milk” he requested. Birbal was startled by this unusual request, but he did not express it out. “I shall get it for you, o badshah! But I want a week's time” Birbal replied. “Alright” Akbar agreed and allowed Birbal to leave. When it was evening, Birbal went home. “The emperor has asked for a vessel of ox's milk and has given me a week's time. But it is an important task. What shall I do?” Birbal thought with dismay. Birbal's wife noted her husband's worried look and asked him what was wrong. “the emperor has asked me to get him in a week a vessel of Ox's milk. I don't know what to do?” Birbal told her. TO his great surprise, his wife began laughing loudly. “What an easy task! I 'll tell you what to do later. But promise me not to leave the house for 6 days”, she said. “I promise!”Birbal agreed at once. He knew that his clever wife would help him out of the tricky situation somehow. Five days passed by. On the sixth night, Birbal's wife left her home with a large bundle of clothes and went to the palace. She opened the bundle near the lake and began washing one by one. The Emperor was awakened by the noise. “Who is washing the clothes in the lake?” he wondered and went to the balcony for a look. He sent his entries to fetch the person. “why are you washing clothes so late at night” he asked Birbal's wife. “O Badshah, six days ago, my husband gave birth to a baby. Our maid did not come for work. So I have to do all the work myself. I just finished the other works before washing the clothes” she replied. “What are you saying” exclaimed Akbar, “How can a man give birth to a baby”. The woman smiled at the Emperor. “It is not surprising at all! If you can ask for ox's milk, why can't a man give birth to a baby?” she asked. Akbar nodded his head as he understood the truth in her statement. A man could not give birth to a baby, just as an ox could not give milk. He remembered the impossible task he had asked Birbal to perform. The Emperor rewarded Birbal's wife with gifts and sent her home.
The upper hand
It was Emperor Akbar's habit to ask strange questions at court. Many times the courtiers had failed to give reasonable answers. One day, Akbar said, “ Usually when a person gives a gift, his hand is above the receiver's hand. Can anyone tell me when the receiver's hand is above the giver's.” No one knew what to reply. Though they all thought hard, they couldn't think of any time when the receiver's hand was above the giver's. As usual they looked at Birbal and hoped that he would reply. Akbar too looked at Birbal. “what is your opinion? Can this happen at any time?” he asked. “Yes, O badshah” Birbal replied. “When and how?” Akbar demanded. “The receiver's hand is above the giver's hand when he takes a pinch of snuff” Birbal pointed out. Everyone present at the court admired Birbal's quick – thinking.
The face that brought bad luck
An old servant in the Akbar's palace was said to bring bad luck to anyone who saw him first in the morning. One morning the Emperor bumped into this man. For the rest of the day, bad things kept happening. Barely minutes after seeing him, Akbar slipped and fell. Next his grand son fell ill. Two hours later news arrived about a revolt in some distant province. In the afternoon, Akbar had a severe headache. By Evening, the bad news kept mounting. Suddenly, Akbar remembered that the first person he saw was the old servant. “this is all that servant's fault”, he thought. Akbar summoned his guards, “Arrest that old servant. He 'll be hanged first thing tomorrow morning”, the Emperor proclaimed. Before the guards got to the old person, the news reached him and he fled to Birbal's house. “The Emperor has ordered my death. Only you can save me now.” the man begged. Birbal reassured the man and told him not to worry. He'd find a way out, as he always did. Within minutes, Birbal was before Akbar, “Jahahpanah, your old servant is innocent. With your permission, I'll prove this.” Akbar had serious doubts. But he agreed to give Birbal a chance to prove his words. Birbal said he could do so, if allowed to question the servant before Akbar. The Emperor consented. The man was called before Akbar and Birbal. Then, Birbal asked the man, “Who was the first person you saw today morning?” The servant answered fearfully, “The Emperor, Huzoor”. “What fate awaits you now?” Birbal asked next. “I'll be hanged tomorrow morning”, the man said tearfully. Birbal turned to Akbar, “There your highness. You saw him first thing in the morning. After that you had many complaints. Yet, no one was life threatening. But the first person this old man saw was your Highness. And now he'll lose his life.” Akbar shifted his gaze downwards. It was an uncomfortable moment. Birbal continued, “Now, in all faiarness, Your Highness must decide whose face has led to greater misfortune? Your seeing this man's face in the morning? Or this man seeing your face in the morning?” Birbal's point was unmistakeable. Akbar admitted his mistake, “Birbal, you are right. Nobody's face leads to misfortune. What's to happen will happen. I took a hasty decision. The just Emperor immediately canceled the old servant's death sentence.
The Holy Book
Akbar once called Birbal and said to him, “Birbal, it is said in one of your Hindu Holy Books that Lord Vishnu one day heard the agonized cry of one of his elephants and rushed to his aid. Why would a god with so many servants at his disposal himself rush to the succour of the elephant?” Birbal replied, “Your Majesty, give me a few days to answer your question.” Akbar granted him the request. Birbal made a wax model of Akbar's grandson and dressed him up in the grandson's clothes. He then told the servant incharge of the grandson to carry this doll out where the Emperor could see him and pretend to fall to the ground and throw the doll in the pond nearby, uttering a cry to draw the Emperor's attention. “If you do so I shall reward you greatly.” The servant followed Birbal's instructions, threw the doll into the pond and himself pretended to fall to the ground, uttering a plaintive cry. When the Emperor heard the cry and saw his grandson fall into the pond, he rushed and jumped into the pond to rescue him. Birbal stepped out of the bushes and lent a helping hand to the Emperor as he came out of the pond, asking him “How did your Majesty jump to the rescue of your grandson when you have so many servants to do the job for you? For the same reason, Lord Vishnu rushes to save whoever seeks his help, because in his eyes all creatures are equally precious.”
The Smell Of Sweets
There was a trader called Raichand in Agra. He had a Halwa shop in the market place. Raichand's shop was famous as it sells all kinds of sweets and savouries. A poor laborer called Bhola also lived in Agra. He passed Raichand's shop on his way to work everyday. The delicious smell of sweets from the shop tempted him. But he had no money to buy anything. Bhola just stopped and stared longly at the shelves of sweets. One day, when Bhola was on his way to work as usual, he stopped outside Raichand's shop. Bhola sat down opposite the shop and began eating his own poor lunch of dry chappatis. But, he eenjoyed it by inhaing the sweet smell from Raichand's shop. “Ah, the food tastes delicious today!” Bhola thought. So, from that day, Bhola sat outside Raichand's shop and ate his own lunch. At the same time, he enjoyed the smell of sweets. Raichand noticed Bhola and became very angry. “How dare you enjoy the smell of my sweets without paying for it? ” he shouted. “What! Do you want me to pay for the smell of sweets?” Bhola asked with surprise. “Yes! Otherwise I shall take you to the Bhadshah's court”, Raichand said. As Bhola had no money, he went to the court with Raichand. Akbar listened to Raichand's complaint and asked Birbal for his opinion. “Raichand is right!” said Birbal. Everyone was surprised. “What do you mean ” Akbar exclaimed. “O Badhshah, Raichand spent a lot of money to make tasty sweets. He hoped that the good smell would make people buy them. So Bhola too must give him the smell of a mohur” birbal said. “What do you mean” Raichand was puzzled. Birbal gave a gold mohur to Bhola and asked him to rub it near the nose of Raichand. Everyone began laughing. Raichand felt ashamed of his silly complaint and begged everyone’s pardon. He went away quickly from the court. “Keep the mohur and this time you can really sweets, instead of enjoying the smell” Bibal said to Bhola. Akbar praised Birbal for judging the case wisely.
Red hot iron rods
A great magician from Iran, visits the royal court of Akbar. He has come with a challenge of solving a riddle. The riddle being the tiger's statue has to be removed from the cage, without touching the tiger or touching the cage. Akbar turns to Birbal for the solution of the riddle. Another court member Sukhdev Singh being jealous of Birbal asks king Akbar to get a chance for the solution to the riddle, so that he too can get some name and fame. King Akbar readily agrees. Sukhdev Singh puts one of the best magician from India to solve the riddle placed by the magician of Iran. Naturally a magician against a magician seemed good idea. The magician tries his magical trick but probably fails as the boxes used for illusion were not his own but from a different magician from a different country and different learning. Sukhdev Singh flees on seeing the failure. The solution of the riddle naturally goes to Birbal as he has been doing it successfully over years. Birbal ordered for two red hot iron rods. The iron rods are backed red hot on oven and brought to Birbal. Birbal inserts his hands carefully so that they did not touch the cage. He brings the rods near the tiger's statue. The statue starts melting and eventually melts totally and flows out of the cage. Every body applause for the success. Birbal told Akbar, that it was an easy riddle as the statue was made out of wax. And the wax melted away due to the heat emitted from the red hot iron rods.
Re-Union of Friends
This is an interesting and emotional story about friendship shared between King Akbar and Birbal. One day, Birbal made a harmless comment about King’s sense of humour. Akbar felt offended and ordered Birbal to not only leave the palace but also the kingdom. Birbal was terribly hurt but without uttering any word he left the place. After few days, King Akbar started to miss Birbal who was his friend, confidant and curt-jester. He started to regret over his angry and impulsive decision of banishing Birbal. So, he sent out a search party to look for Birbal but no one had any clue regarding whereabouts of Him. Birbal had left the town without informing anyone. Soldier looked everywhere but could not trace him. The emperor was despondent and sad because of unavailability of Birbal. Then, one day a wise saint came in the town to visit the palace. His disciples claimed that he is the wisest man on the entire earth. The King decided to test the wisdom of the saint and he also thought in case he manages to pass the test, he would keep him company like Birbal did. The holy man had thick beard, sparkling eyes and long hair. The emperor told the saint that he will have to go through some questions posed by his wise ministers. Only when he gives answer to the satisfaction of all, he would be given a respectable place in the palace else he would be beheaded. The holy man agreed to this condition and got ready for the test. The round of questioning began. First question was ‘which was the most superior thing on earth’ to which saint replied, ‘knowledge’. Next question was fired at him, ‘what travels more speedily than the wind’ and holy man calmly replied, ‘man’s thoughts’. Then, ‘who is a man’s best friend’ and the answer given was ‘his own good sense’. ‘Which is the deepest trench in the world’ and the answer was ‘a woman’s heart’. Next up was, ‘which is the sweetest and most melodious voice at night time’ to which wise man answered, ‘the voice that prays to the God’. All the courtiers were impressed with his answers yet the King thought of asking some questions himself. Akbar asked, ‘what is the most essential requirement to rule over a kingdom’ and the saint said, ‘cleverness’. King was really thrilled with holy man’s answers. He offered the saint a seat of honour and asked whether he could perform any miracles. The saint simply removed his artificial beard and hair and to everyone’s surprise it was Birbal himself. King could not stop himself and stepped down. The Emperor embraced Birbal and had tears in his eyes. He was extremely happy and showered Birbal with valuable gifts to express his delight.
One fine day King Akbar was attending to usual matters of the court when he suddenly came up with three questions. By coincidence Birbal was not present at that time in the court so King posed these questions to his courtiers; Whose son is best? Whose tooth is best? Which quality is best? All the courtiers accepted the challenge of answering the questions and discussed among themselves. After brainstorming for long enough, one of the elder courtiers replied on behalf of all the other courtiers, “My Lord, a King’s son is always the best; an elephant’s tooth is best and as far as best quality is concerned, it must be knowledge.” The King appreciated his reply but somehow he felt Birbal would have been better suited to answer these questions. So, he sent for Birbal who came at once to the darbar. Now it was Birbal’s turn to ponder over these questions. He thought for a while and started to reply, A cow's son is the best of all simply because it is he who ploughs the earth. We can also use his dung as fertilizer. Because of cow’s son, we can grow crops and produce food for all. About the second question of whose tooth is best, he replied, ‘plough's tooth’ is the best because it helps in ploughing the land and makes it fertile. Other benefits include, enabling men to raise a variety of crops. Nourishment of many living organisms is also possible by it. As far as last question is concerned, the answer is definitely ‘courage’. Although knowledge, skill and intelligence are also important but without courage none of them counts. King Akbar was very pleased with Birbal’s wise answers and detailed explanations.
The Parrot Neither Eats, Nor Drinks...
A person was very fond of parrots. He used to catch parrots, train them and sell them to interested people. One time he got a good parrot, so he trained him in talking, and when he was trained he presented him to king. King liked the parrot because he used to reply his questions too. The king made special arrangements for his safety, security and care and if somebody will tell me about hi death, he will be hung. Hearing this the parrot was kept under special care. But one day suddenly the parrot died. Now who should go and inform this to king? The servant went to Birbal and told him his plight. He said - "If I inform him about parrot's death, then he will kill me, but if I do not tell him, then also he will kill me, so please save me." Birbal thought a while and sent him back to his work, and he himself went to the king and said - "Sir, Your parrot..." King asked -"What about parrot?" Birbal again stammered - "Your parrot, Sir." King asked - "Birbal, What happened to my parrot?" Birbal again said - "Your parrot..." King asked - "I am asking you, what happened to my parrot? Say something in the name Allaah." Then Birbal said - "Jehaanpanaah, Your parrot neither eats anything, nor drinks water, nor speaks, nor moves his feathers, nor opens his eyes..." The king said - "What? Has the parrot died?" Birbal said - "I did not say it. You said it." King understood why Birbal had to say this in this way. He got very happy with Birbal's way of telling him about his parrot.
Akbar and his Begum Sahiba are eating mangoes. Birbal, two other Lords and there or four servants are also in the room. Birbal is sitting closest to Akbar. One servant is fanning the queen, another is fanning Akbar. Akbar- Birbal, will you not join us? The mangoes are really sweet. Birbal- Sir, they are from Lucknow, Specially sent for you. I find pleasure in seeing you enjoy them! Akbar- as usual, you know how to turn a refusal into a compliment! Suddenly in a playful mood, Akbar pushed all the skins and seeds of the mangoes he has eaten onto the queen’s plate while she is not looking. He wants to tease her and have some fun! Akbar- begum, it seems that you were starving for mangoes pointing to her plate. That pile shows how many mangoes you ate. What do you say Birbal? The queen startled at seeing the plate heaped with skins and seeds) oh! (Her hand files to her lips and she looks appealingly at Birbal or help. Birbal Badshah salamat, I think it was you who were starving for mangoes. While the begum Sahiba enjoyed the pulp and the juice Sir, you have swallowed the skins and seeds as well! Akbar laughing at Birbal’s clever answers, as usual ,”for that I will send you a basketful of Lucknavi mangoes!”
Borrowing in the dream
There was a poor Brahmin. One day he dreamed he had borrowed 100 rupees from his friend. IN his dream his friend place the money in his pocket. When he woke up, he spoke about this to few of his friends. When the friend who had given money to the brahmin in the dream, came to know about it, he decided to fool his friend,. The next day, he dropped at the Brahmin's house & asked him to return the lent money. The surprised Brahmin Asked “Which money u r talking about? I 've not taken any money from u” The cunning friend replied Didn't u borrow money from me in ur dream? Now u must return the money to me. The brahmin was a simple hearted man . He tried to explain to his friend that what he was doing was wrong. But the cunning fellow remained adamant. Seeing no other way , the Brahmin went to the court of birbal and pleaded with him for justice. Birbal heard the whole story. He himself was astonished to hear that the brahmin friend was asking for money, which was borrowed in the dream. Birbal asked the friend “ Do u want the money which the brahmin borrowed from u in the dream” “Yes sir I wanted 100 rs which I lend him in the dream.” Birbal thought this man is a cunning one. I must teach him a lesson. Birbal then called a servant and asked him to bring a mirror. He placed the money near the mirror. In such a way that its image reflected in the mirror. Birbal said to the man “now you collect this money from the mirror”. The man looked foolishly towards Birbal & asked “Sir, How can I take money from this mirror.” Birbal replied “Ofcourse u can take the money from your friend in his dream. Then you must be able to collect the money from this mirror. Isn't it? The cunning fellow bent down his head in shame. And went away quitely from there. His friend thanked birbal and went home happily.
Akbar lost his mother as an infant. A young governess took care of him. The governess also had an infant child to Akbar. So besides her child she also breast – fed chhota Akbar to provide essential nourishment required to an infant. Both the children grew & spent their childhood together. The son of the governess was named Husif. Since Akbar shared milk with Husif, Husif was called Akbar's Dhhodh bai. Akbar respected the governess like his mother & treated Husif like his younger brother. Later on, Akbar ascended the throne of Delhi. He appointed Husif as a senior courtier in his court. All the luxuries were provided to him. The emperor always loved him like his own brother. One day Akbar asked , “Husif do u have any other wish or requirement? I would be too happy to fulfill it.” Husif replied, “No your majesty! I don't require anything. But I always wished to get a wonderful companion like Birbal. If I get a companion like him, I will be the happiest man.” Akbar was always eager to satisfy the wishes of the Dhoodh bai. So he called Birbal and told him everything. He asked Birbal to bring a worthy man like him who can always accompany Husif. Birbal listened to Akbar peacefully but he did not say anything. He realized that the demand for a person like him for Husif is quite unjustified. Akbar was a great and able emperor. An intelligent and worthy man like Birbal was well suited for him. However, an ordinary man like Husif did not deserve such a companion. Birbal had a unique style of working. He never said no to any of the orders but transpired his thoughts with his acts at the appropriate time. After few days when Akbar and Husif were sitting together, Birbal came and said, “ Your Majesty, I've brought my Dhoodh bai who will give company to your Doodh bai. I think that it will be the best combination.” Both Akbar and Husif were happy to hear this. Akbar then asked Birbal to bring his brother immediately. Within a few minutes, Birbal returned with a healthy bull. Astonished to see this, Akbar asked, “ Where is your brother? And why have you brought this bull here? “Your Majesty, Didn't you recognize my Dhoodh bai? When I was an infant I drank the milk of a cow whose calf this bull is. We both grew up with the same milk. This way this bull is my Dhoodh bai. Your Dhoodh bai best deserves a companion like my Dhoodh bai” replied clever Birbal. This explanation of Birbal made Akbar burst into laughter while Husif raged in anger.
Give what ever you like
In the city of Delhi, there lived a miser. The man had earned a lot of money after a lot of hard work. He and his family members led a very ordinary life. They lived in a small hut. He spent very less and save most of his income. The miser had bought a good number of diamonds and precious stones from the money he saved. He had placed these in an old dirty bag. No one could ever imagine that in an ordinary bag there could be so much of wealth hidden. Unfortunately, one day the miser's hut caught fire. The miser shouted for help. People gathered around and tried to extinguish the fire. However, they could not succeed. The miser started crying loudly. He was desperately approaching everyone with a request to extinguish the fire and save him from becoming a beggar. Surprised by his desperate cry, a jeweler who lived in his neighborhood enquired, “Why are you making so many hue and cries for this hut and a few broken utensils?” While crying the miser replied, “It's not the hut and the broken utensils for which I am crying. I'm crying for my hidden wealth.” “What! Wealth in this weathered hut? Are you joking? Asked the jeweler quite amazed. “I'm not joking. A good number of precious stones are hidden in this hut. Soon these stones will vanish beneath the ashes. Please do something immediately” said the mised sobbing badly. “Alright! On one condition I will help you. I will give you whatever I like and the rest will be mine” the cunning jeweler threw the condition. Left with no choice, the miser agreed. He consoled himself that instead of getting nothing, he would get at least something. The jeweler took the risk and went inside the hut looking for the bag containing the precious stones. He could locate the bag and then successfully took it out from the burning hut. After coming out, the greedy jeweler removed all the precious stones from the bag. He then returned the old dirty bag to the miser as his share. Enraged with the jeweler's dishonesty, the miser shouted, “How can you do like this? After all, the wealth is mine. You should atleast give me half of it. You have taken the risk, so you can keep the other half of the wealth”. But the cunning jeweler did not agree. He said, “Before taking the risk, I had put my condition and you had agreed for it.Now you should accept whatever I give to you.” It was not at all acceptable to the miser who had lived like a beggar and saved the wealth. A quarrel followed between them. At last, they reached the court of Akbar to settle the matter. The emperor asked the wise minister, Birbal to solve the case. After listening to the whole matter carefully, Birbal asked, “What was settled between you before taking out the bag”. The jeweler replied, “Your honor, before taking out the bag from the flames, I put a condition that if I brought the bag out, I would give what ever I like and the rest would remain with me.” Birbal asked the miser, “Is this true?” Yes, Your honor. But this jeweler is giving me only this old dirty bag.” Complained the miser. Birbal then turned to the jeweler and asked, “What do you like, the precious stones or the old bag”. “Ofcourse, the precious stones your honor” replied the jeweler promptly. “Then give the precious stones and pearls to this man and keep the bag with you,” ruled Birbal. Horrified by the ruling, the
jeweler looked at Birbal with questioning eyes. Birbal explained, “See, according to your condition you are supposed to give this man whatever you like. Am I right? Now, you like the precious stones and pearls, so give them to this man.” The greedy jeweler could not say anything. He had to return all the precious stones and pearls to the man. After paying price for his greed, the jeweler went back from the court empty handed.
The deserving courtier
The wife of Akbar always wanted that instead of Birbal, her brother should be appointed as Wazir or minister. But the Emperor believed that only a wise and able person like Birbal deserved the post. However, Begum was not ready to accept her brother less capable than Birbal, she repeatedly asked the emperor to appoint her brother as Wazir. Finally, one day the emperor said, “Begum, you always insist me to appoint your brother on the post of Wazir. But before appointing on this much deserved post, I would like to test your brother as well as Birbal. This will judge the suitable candidate for the post.” Begum agreed with the emperor. On the next day, the emperor called his brother – in – law. When he came, Akbar asked him to come along with him. Then both of them walked up to the nearby street. On their way, they found the heap of cow dung lying. The emperor stopped there and said, “I'm giving you an assignment. You guard this cow dung for a couple of days. Afterwards, I will come to examine whether it is intact or not .” Akbar returned to the palace. The begum's brother stayed there to guard the cow dung. He did not sleep or eat for two days and guarded the cow dung sincerely. After two days Akbar came to observe the assigned work. He found his brother – in – law safeguarding the cow dung quite sincerely. The Emperor praised him and asked him to go back to his house. The Emperor then called Birbal and assigned him the same work. When Akbar left the palace, Birbal covered the cow dung with a basket and placed a board there. On the board, it was written, “Please do not touch the basket. It's sacred as it is given by a sage to the Emperor.” After placing the board, Birbal returned to the court. He worked there and in the evening he went home. He maintained his routine without any change. After two days, he went back to the street where the cow dung was lying. He found that safe. People themselves were taking care of the cow dung. After sometime Akbar also visited the place along with his Begum. They saw the board. The emperor then said to his wife, “Begum, you have seen your brother safeguarding the cow dun”g sincerely. He did not even eat and sleep for this. Birbal also accomplished the same job without any armed safety arrangements. He did not disturb his daily routine and work for this waste. The work of Wazir does not require only a sincere and hard working person. It requires a very wise man and a person who never wastes his time and energy in futile work.” Begum also agreed with the Emperor. Thereafter, she never asked the Emperor to appoint her brother as Wazir.
The Woman's hair
In the city of Delhi, there lived a merchant called Hussain. He would shout at his wife and other people on very simple issues. One day he was eating his lunch and found his wife's long hair in the food. He was very angry to see this. He shouted at his wife, “This shows how careless you are. Remember, if I find a single hair again, I will get your hair shaved.” The wife trembled with fear. She became more careful. Despite of all the precautions, one day Hussain again found his hair in food. She was extremely frightened. She knew that her husband would get her head shaved for this mistake. Hussain's wife had four brothers. They all lived in Delhi. The woman secretly sent one of her servants to call her brothers for help. When the brothers knew about the incident, they were worried about their sister. They were fully aware of Hussain's short temperament. They knew it very well that Hussain won't listen to them if they intervene in this matter. So her brothers decided go to Birbal. They met Birbal and told him the whole story. Birbal promised to help them. He asked the brothers to proceed for their sister's house. Birbal told them to go there without wearing upper garment and cover their shoulders with a white piece of cloth. Mean while, Hussain had already sent his servant to call the barber. And before the barber could arrive, the brothers reached there. The merchant was surprised to see them. Before he could ask the reason for their presence, Birbal centered into his house. Birbal said to the brothers, “ Look I've brought everything for the funeral. Noe bring the dead body of the man.” Hussain was startled to hear this. He hastily asked, “Whom are you talking about? No one has died here.” Birbal replied, “ I heard that a woman's hair is being shaved. I am talking about the dead body of her dead husband. A woman's hair is shaved only at the time of her husband's death. Where is he? We've come here to perform the necessary rites for the dead man.” Hussain was speechless. He understood that Birbal wanted to bring him back to his senses because it was a custom in those days that a woman shaved her head only when her husband died. And birbal was indicating at him. He felt sorry for his ill temperament. He went to his wife and apologized for his rude behavior. He promised her that he would never behave like this in future.
One day a man gave a jar to his neighbor to keep until he comes back from the pilgrimage. The jar had his life's earnings. After keeping it safely, the man left for the pilgrimage. After six months when he returned from the pilgrimage, he went to his neighbor and asked for his jar. The neighbor brought the jar and gave it to the man. The man opened the jar and found the mango pickle, instead of his money. He said to the neighbor politely, "Sir I gave the money to you in this jar, now it contains pickle." The neighbor said, "I don't know anything about your money. Whatever you gave to me I kept it, and only now I am bringing it out to give it to you." The man got very sad and went to Birbal for justice. Birbal asked the neighbor, "Where is the money which was kept in this jar." The neighbor said, "I have already told that I do not know anything about the money kept in this jar. I didn't open it before, and I didn't open it now. I just took it and kept it as it was, and took it out as it was." Then Birbal called some women from the Royal kitchen, and asked them, "How old this pickle is?" They said it is definitely not six months old. It is very new, maybe a month old only." Now the neighbor got caught. He returned all the money he took out from the jar.
Fear is the Key
One day King Akbar said to Birbal, "Birbal, my people are very obedient to me. They love me very much." Birbal smiled and replied, "This is true, but they fear you too, Jahaanpanaah." Akbar could not agree on this, so it was decided that Birbal's statement should be tested. Next day, according to Birbal's instructions, the King announced that he would be going for hunting, and people should pour a pot of milk in a tub kept in the courtyard. Next day when Akbar returned from hunting, he found that there was no milk in the tub, instead there was only water. Akbar got very disappointed, but couldn't do anything. Then Birbal said, "This time you will announce that you will come back and see the tub yourself." King did as Birbal said. Once again the tub was kept in the courtyard. This time when King returned from the hunting, he found the tub overflowing with milk. Birbal said, "I told you. It is your fear which made people obey you. The first time there was no one to check the tub, so people poured the water, but the second time, they knew that you would check yourself, that is why they brought the milk
Truth Always Finds Its Way
Once there was a religious man who wanted to go on a pilgrimage. He did not want to take his life savings with him on his journey, so he went to one of his good friends and took him to a forest so that he could to him in private. So both of them went to forest. There he told him that he was going on a pilgrimage and asked him to hold his savings for him till he comes back. He would collect it when he comes back. His friend agreed to keep his money for him, took the bag and the next day that man left for his pilgrimage. Many years passed but the religious man did not return; but one fine morning that man came and knocked his friend's door and asked his money back. His friend kept changing the subject, but in the end he had to say - "I don't know what are you talking about. What type of money you are talking about. The old man was shocked to hear this, but softly he reminded him the whole incident. The friend said - "You are crazy. When did you give me the money. You are lying." The man kept requesting his money but the friend did not hear a word and shut his door upon him. The old man got very disappointed and went to the Emperor Akbar. Akbar heard his story, called his wise advisor Birbal and handed over the case to him. Birbal also heard his story and called his friend. Birbal asked him to return the old man's money which he gave him before going on pilgrimage; but the friend clearly refused saying that he did not give him any money. Now Birbal got perplexed, what to do in this case. After a while he asked the man - "Do you have any witness that you gave your money to him?" "No, Sir. Because I gave him that money in a forest under a mango tree." Birbal scolded him - "You are foolish to say that you have no witness. You do have a witness - that mango tree. Can't you get some help from that mango tree?" The old man kept looking at Birbal hearing this. How the hell that tree can help him in this matter? He kept thinking, is Birbal not a fool? At the same time Birbal said - "Go and bring that mango tree here. Tell him that Birbal wants you to be present before him in this case. Go quickly and bring it here." The old man now became sure that Birbal had gone mad, but since he had no other alternative, he started towards the forest. Both Birbal and the friend sat waiting for the old man to bring the mango tree. One hour passed, two hours passed, when the old man did not come back, Birbal said loudly "Why this man is not coming back, two hours have already passed. Why is he taking such a long time to do such a small task?" The friend immediately spoke - "Sir, he can't possibly come so soon. he would not have even reached that place yet." Birbal asked him - "What do you mean? Do you mean that that place is so far that it would take him more than two hours to reach there?" "Yes, The place he told you is very far from here." Birbal said - "Oh, I see." and kept quiet. After long time, the old man came and said to Birbal - "Sir, I gave your message to the tree but it did not answer." Birbal said - "Do not worry, the tree has already witnessed that you gave money to this man." Then he said to the friend - "You have one more chance to accept your guilt and return the money to him." But the friend kept insisting that the old man did not give any money to him.
Now Birbal asked - "Then how do you know that the tree he claimed that he gave the money to you, is so far from here?" After all the friend had to accept his lie and returned the money to the old man. So sooner or later the truth comes out in light, because to hide a truth we have to tell many lies and somewhere they clash and we are caught in them. While truth is one and easy to remember.
Once it so happened that there was an oil merchant. When the villagers came to buy oil from him he gave them the oil and collected money from them. One day he and a villager come to the court, both fighting for a bag of money. Each claimed that the bag belonged to him. The merchant said that it was his bag, when he turned to give the customer his oil he pulled the bag from him and started fighting. The villager said it was his bag, when he was looking at some other things he placed it in front of the merchant and the merchant started to claim it. Everybody in the court were surprised and was waiting eagerly how Akbar would solve this problem. Akbar asked Birbal to solve this case. He asked a servant to get some water in a bowl. The servant brought the water. He then placed the bag in the bowl. After sometime everybody saw some oily substance floating on water. Birbal told that the bag belonged to the oil merchant not to the villager. Everybody praised Birbal and the customer was punished.
How Birbal Brought Meat Back in the Community?
Akbar was famous for his religious tolerance. (Jodhaa Baee, a Hindu woman, was his wife) He would help to all those who wanted help even on religious matters. Once it so happened that a group of Braahman appeared in his court and said - "O Great Emperor, You are the one who allowed us to ask you if we had problems. We have stayed silent for long time, but today we wish to speak up. We do not want any slaughtering of animals, it is against our religion." Hearing this Akbar got in a fix as the meat was the most important food in the market. He couldn't think of anything else except to call Birbal and ask his help in this matter. After thinking for a while, Birbal offered his solution, he said - "Your request can be granted on two conditions; one, that if any animal was found on the road, we are not responsible for his safety; two, that all animals should be fed in houses till their death, if any animal was found eating something outside, we are not responsible for his safety." Braahman went back happily. A month went by. The same Braahman again appeared in the court and said - "O Jehaanpanaah, We take our words back, we cannot keep our animals inside." That is how Birbal brought meat back in the community.
Akbar was very fond of birds. One day a bird catcher came to his kingdom . He had a very colorful bird. The Bird catcher said to emperor Akbar that this bird is not only colorful like a peacock, but it can dance also like one and also fly. The bird catcher was immediately rewarded with 50 gold coins. He left the kingdom in a hurry. When the bird catcher had gone Birbal said to Emperor - "This bird cannot dance like a peacock and it has not bathed for many months." Birbal further suggested - "Let me give it a bath." and asked for a glass of water. When Birbal gave the bath to the bird, everybody was surprised to see that it was not any special bird but was actually a pigeon and the bird catcher had fooled every body by painting it. Everybody asked Birbal that how did he know this. Birbal told that he saw colors on the nails of the bird catcher. The bird catcher was caught and given a punishment. The reward that was given to the bird catcher was now given to Birbal.
As you know Akbar considered Birbal the most intelligent person of his kingdom. Once a sculptor challenged Baadshaah Akbar that he would show three idols to him, which would look exactly like each other to his courtiers and they would have to rate them good, ok and bad. Akbar agreed. All the courtiers tried to rate them but failed, because they were so alike that they did not know how to rate them. Now it was Birbal's turn. He noticed a small hole in the ears of the idols. Birbal got curious, so he took three wires and inserted them in those holes. In the case of the first idol the wire came out from the other ear. In the second case idol, it came out of the mouth; but in the case of the third idol, it remained inside. He got the answer and he rated the third idol as good, first idol ok and the second idol bad. The sculptor could not understand what was the basis of rating the idols. He asked Birbal that how was he so sure? Birbal said - ''The third idol (from whose ear the wire remained inside) did not tell others what somebody else had told it, that is why it was good. The first idol was OK (from whose ear the wire came out from the other ear) because it did not remember or tell others what somebody had told it. But the third idol (from whose ear the wire came out from the mouth) remembered everything and gave out the secret what was told to it to others.'' The sculptor was speechless and Akbar was very happy. He gave lots of reward to Birbal.
The JEALOUS courtiers
One day Emperor Akbar was inspecting the law and order situation in the kingdom. One of his ministers, who was jealous of Raja Birbal, complained that the Emperor gave importance only to Birbal's suggestions and all the other ministers 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.
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 the previous night. Akbar was shocked to hear this beause 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.
Question for a Question
One day Akbar asked Birbal, "Birbal, can you tell me how many bangles are on your wife's hand?" Birbal said, "No, Huzoor, I cannot." "You cannot? Although everyday you see her hand, still you cannot tell how many bangles are on her hand? How is that?" said Akbar. Birbal said, "Let's go to the garden, Your Majesty. And I will tell you "How are that"." And they both went to the garden. They both went down a small staircase which led to the garden. After reaching in the garden Birbal asked, "You daily climb up and down this small staircase, could you tell how many steps it has?" Akbar smiled and then changed the subject.
Who is the Donkey?
Once Akbar went to the river with his two sons and wise Minister Birbal. On the bank of the river, Akbar and his two sons took off their clothes and asked Birbal to take care of them while they took bath in the river. Birbal was waiting for them to come out of the river. All the clothes were on his shoulder. Looking at Birbal standing like this, Akbar felt like teasing him, so he said to him, "Birbal, you look like as if you are carrying a washer man’s donkey load." Birbal quickly retorted, "Sir, Waterman’s donkey carries only one donkey's load, I am carrying three donkey's load." Akbar was speechless.
Why is the Camel's neck crooked?
Akbar was very impressed with Birbal's wit and wisdom. So one day Akbar promised him for many gifts. But it so happened that several days passed, but there was no sign of gift. Birbal was very disappointed. He didn't know what to do? One day when Akbar was taking a stroll at the bank of Yamunaa with his dear minister Birbal, he happened to notice a camel. He asked Birbal, "Tell me Birbal, why the camel's neck is crooked." Birbal thought this is good time, so he thought for a moment and spoke, "Your Majesty, it might be possible that the camel has forgotten to honor his promise made to somebody that is why his neck is crooked. Scriptures mention that whoever will forget their promises will have crooked neck. So this might seem the reason of his crooked neck." Akbar soon realized that he promised to give some gifts to Birbal, but has not yet done so. As soon as they arrived at the palace, the King gave him his reward. So Birbal was so wise that he got what he wanted without asking for it.
Birbal visit to Heaven
Because Birbal was very wise and witty, the Emperor's courtiers and other people used to be jealous with him and used to find some way to degrade him. One day the court barber, who was very jealous with Birbal, plotted a plan against him. So when the King called him again to trim his beard, he went and started trimming his beard. He said, "Sir, last night I dreamed about your father." The King got interested, so he asked, "What did he say to you?" "Sir, he said to me, that everything is good in paradise, but he feels a great absence of a good humorous man who can amuse him." The King thought and thought, but nobody else he could think of except Birbal who could perform this kind of duty very well. And, naturally, the only way to go to heaven was through death. For a moment, Akbar was very sad to lose such a good man, but thinking of his father, he made up his mind. He summoned Birbal and said, "I think Birbal you love me very much and you can sacrifice anything for me." Birbal tried to understand his point but couldn't guess. He said, "You know Majesty, I do." "Then Birbal, please go to heaven to give company to my dear father." Birbal understood that this was a wicked plan of somebody to kill him. He said to Emperor politely, "I will do so, but I need a few days to prepare myself to go to heaven." The King said, "Certainly. You are giving me such a great favor, I allow you one week to prepare yourself." Now Birbal was worried. He thought, somebody has planned very well and he could not escape from this plan. He thought and thought. And then he found a way. He dug a ditch near his house which would serve as his grave, and dug a tunnel too which would open in a room of his house. After doing this, he returned to the Imperial Court. He said, " I am ready, His Majesty, but there two conditions." Akbar was so happy to hear this that he forgot that Birbal could put some odd conditions to him. He asked, "What are those conditions? Tell me soon. I will try to fulfill them so that you can go to heaven to be with my dear father." Birbal said, "His majesty, I wish to be buried near my house. And I want to be buried alive so that I can reach heaven alive to amuse your dear father." The King found this logical and agreed up on them immediately. So Birbal was buried alive near his house. Of course he made his way to his house where he lived in confinement for six months. After six months, he came out of hiding with grown beard and shabby hair and asked the permission to appear in the Royal Court. Looking at him Akbar cried, "Where have you been Birbal?" Birbal said, "Your Majesty, I was in Heaven with your dear father. I had a very good time there with your father. He was so happy with my services that he gave me special permission to return to Earth." Akbar was very anxious to know about his father, he asked, "Did he send any message for me?" Birbal said, "Yes Your Majesty, he said that very few barber can make it to go to Heaven, you can make out this from my grown beard and shabby hair, so he has asked to send your own barber to him immediately. Akbar understood everything. He gave Birbal a big prize, and his barber the life sentence.
It so happened that once a rich merchant's house was robbed. The merchant suspected that the thief was one of his servants. So he went to Birbal and mentioned the incident. Birbal went to his house and assembled all of his servants and asked that who stole the merchant's things. Everybody denied. Birbal thought for a moment, then gave a stick of equal length to all the servants of the merchant and said to them that the stick of the real thief will be longer by two inches tomorrow. All the servants should be present here again tomorrow with heir sticks. All the servants went to their homes and gathered again at the same place the next day. Birbal asked them to show him their sticks. One of the servants had his stick shorter by two inches. Birbal said, "This is your thief, merchant." Later the merchant asked Birbal, "How did you catch him?" Birbal said, "The thief had already cut his stick short by two inches in the night fearing that his stick will be longer by two inches by morning."
I am your servant, Huzoor
Once Akbar and Birbal passed through some farms while riding on their horses. They happened to pass through a cabbage patch. Looking at the patch, Akbar said to Birbal, "What a delightful vegetable the cabbage is. I like it very much." Birbal said, "Huzoor, cabbage is the king of the vegetables." Akbar did not reply to this, and they went on. Another day, they were riding past the same cabbage patches again. This time Akbar made a face, and said, "This cabbage is such a tasteless vegetable. How people tolerate it." Birbal replied, “Yes Huzoor, really it is difficult to even look at such a tasteless vegetable." Akbar again listened to this and they went on. After a while the king remembered something. He said to Birbal, "Birbal, I don't understand you. Last time when we passed through this patch, you told that the cabbage was the king of vegetable, and today you said that "It is even difficult to look at such a tasteless vegetable. What do you mean by that?" Birbal said bowing, "Huzoor, I am your servant, not of cabbage."
Crows in the kingdom
One day Akbar was strolling in his palace gardens with his dear minister Birbal. Many crows were flying around. The King enjoyed their flying. Just then he thought that how many crows could be in his kingdom and immediately posed this question to Birbal. Birbal thought a moment, then said, "They are ninety-five thousand, four hundred and sixty three (95, 463) crows in your kingdom, Huzoor." "How do you know that for sure?" the King asked. "You can get them counted, Huzoor." Birbal said. The king again said, "If there will be less than that, then?" Birbal replied immediately, "That means that the rest of them have gone on vacation to some neighboring kingdoms." "Or if there were more than that, then?" "Then it means that other crows are visiting your kingdom, Huzoor." Akbar was very pleased with this answer of his question.
Several courtiers were vying to be the Royal Advisor of Emperor Akbar. So one day, when they came to the court, they said to the Emperor, "We want to be your Royal Advisor." Akbar said, "No problem, but you will have to pass the test before you could be my Royal Advisor. And whoever would pass the test will be appointed my Advisor." They agreed. The King unfastened his waist cloth and lay down on the floor, and asked the candidates to cover him with that cloth from head to toe. Now everybody tried to cover him, but in vain. If one wanted to cover the head, then feet remained uncovered, or if the feet were covered, then his head remained open. Just then Birbal entered the court, the king asked Birbal also, if he could cover him with that cloth from head to toe. Birbal paused a moment, then asked the Emperor politely, "Huzoor, Could you pull up your knees a little bit?" The King did so, and Birbal could cover him from head to toe with that cloth. Realizing that they failed the test, the courtiers left the court quietly and then they never thought about being the King's Advisor.
One day Akbar was taking a walk in his Royal gardens with several courtiers. Many flowers were flowering at that time of season. A poet pointed out towards a beautiful flower and said, "Look Jahaanpanaah, how beautiful flowers that is? No man can produce such a beautiful thing as this." Birbal was also there. He said, "I don't agree with this, sometimes man can make more beautiful things than this." Akbar said, "Oh no Birbal, you are talking nonsense. This flower is really very beautiful." After a few days, Birbal presented Akbar a very skilled craftsman from Agra. He presented a beautiful carved marble bouquet of flowers. The Emperor was very happy to see it, and gave him one thousand gold coins. Just then a boy came and presented the Emperor a beautiful bouquet of real flowers. The Emperor was very happy to see it too, so he gave a silver coin to the boy. Birbal said, "So the carving was more beautiful than the real thing." Akbar understood that he had fallen in the hands of his witty minister once again.
Birbal's Sweet Reply
Akbar used to ask many odd questions from his courtiers and amused himself. One day he entered the Royal Court, settled in his Royal chair, and asked his courtiers: "What punishment should be given to a person who pulls my mustache?" One said, "He should be beheaded." Another said, "He should be flogged." Yet another said, "He should be hanged." "What do you think, Birbal?" the Emperor asked Birbal. Birbal kept quiet for a moment, and then said, "Jahaanpanaah, he should be given sweets." "What, Birbal? Have you gone crazy? Do you know what are you saying?" Birbal replied politely, "I am not crazy, Jahaanpanaah. And I know what I am saying." "Then how can you talk like this?" the King asked in anger. Birbal again replied politely, "Because, Jahaanpanaah, the only person who can dare to do this is your grandson." So pleased was the King with this answer, that he gave his ring to Birbal as a reward.
Birbal identifies the Guest
Once Birbal was invited for dinner by a rich man. When Birbal reached there, he found himself in a large crowd. The host greeted him warmly and took him inside. Birbal said, "I did not know that there will be so many guests in this gathering." The host replied politely, "They are not guests, Sir. They are my employees except one who is the only other guest here besides you. Could you tell who that other one guest here is?" "Maybe, I could. Tell them a joke, and I will observe them." The rich man told the joke and everybody laughed uproariously. Perhaps this was the worst joke Birbal had ever heard in his life. Now the rich man asked Birbal, "I have told the joke, now you tell me who the other guest here is?" Birbal pointed out towards a man and said, "He is that other guest." The rich man was very surprised hearing this that how could he recognize the other guest. He said to him, "You are right Birbal, but how did you recognize him?" Birbal said, "Because only employees can laugh on such a joke. He was the only person who did not even smile on your joke, so I immediately recognized him as the other guest."
A little lesser and a little more
One day Birbal's five-year old daughter accompanied him to the Royal Court. When Akbar saw her, it just came to his mind that he should test her wits whether she had the same type of wits as her father had. He started talking to her. "Do you know Persian, O little girl?" "A little lesser and a little more, Sir" The girl replied. Birbal smiled on her reply, but Akbar could not understand it, so he asked Birbal to explain this. Birbal said, "She knows Persian a little more than those who do not know Persian, and knows a little lesser than those who know Persian well." Akbar understood that she had the same wits as her father.
Birbal's Beautiful Explanation
One day the Emperor Akbar saw a woman hugging and kissing a very dark, ugly and unattractive child. He was very surprised to see that. He thought and thought but could not think why? He asked Birbal that why she was doing that to such an unattractive child. Birbal replied innocently, "Huzoor, he must have been her own child. For every mother her own child is the most beautiful child in the world." The Emperor did not seem to be convinced with this explanation, and Birbal had guessed this from the Emperor's face. Next day, in the presence of the Emperor, Birbal ordered a Guard to present the most beautiful child in the world in the court. Next day, the Guard brought a more unattractive and ugly child with buck teeth and his hair stood like a porcupine and presented to the Emperor. "This is the most beautiful child in the world, Your majesty." the Guard stammered. The Emperor asked, "How do you know that he is the most beautiful child in the world?" "Your Majesty, I went home and posed my problem to my wife. She told me to bring our child to the court." the Guard replied meekly.
The noblest beggar
One day the Emperor asked Birbal, "Birbal, is it possible to be the both "noblest" and the "lowest" together?" Birbal said, "Yes, Jahaanpanaah" "Then bring me such a person." Birbal went and returned next day with a beggar and presenting him to Akbar said, "This is the lowest among all of your subjects, Jehanpanah" Akbar asked, "Good, that may be true, but I don't see that how he can be the noblest?" "He has been given the honor of having an audience with the Emperor that makes him the noblest among the beggars, Jahaapanaah."
One day, when Akbar saw Hodja coming on foot, he promised him to give a horse. Accordingly, he instructed his stable man to give a horse to Hodja. Now, it so happened that the stable man selected a very weak and sick horse from the stable and sent it to Hodja's house. The horse was so weak and sick that it died on the same night it was delivered. When next day Akbar saw Hodja coming on foot again, he asked in surprise, "What happened to your horse, I arranged yesterday?" Hodja said, "Jahaanpanaah, the horse had a fleet of feet that it crossed the distance from earth to Heaven in one night." Akbar was very sorry to know this, and this time he arranged a very good horse for him.
The loyal Gardener
One day Akbar was stumbled on a rock in his garden while taking a stroll. He was not in a good mood already, and then this fall. He got very angry and ordered for the gardener's arrest and execution. The next day, at the time of execution, the gardener was asked what his last wish was. He requested for an audience with the Emperor. His wish was granted and he was brought in the Court. When he came near the throne, he loudly cleared the throat and spat at the feet of the Emperor. The Emperor demanded to know why he did such a thing. The gardener did this on Birbal's advice, so Birbal stepped forward in the gardener's defense. He said, "There could be no person more loyal than this unfortunate gardener. Fearing that you ordered him for hanging for a small reason, he went out of his way to give you a genuine reason for ordering him to be hanged." The Emperor realized his mistake and set him free.
Half Sun, Half Shade
One day Birbal happened to pass a harmless comment on Akbar's sense of humor. But Akbar was no fool. He got very angry and ordered him to not only leave the court, but also the city of Agra, his capital. Birbal was terribly hurt but could not do anything about it. So Birbal left. But now Akbar was missing him. He wanted him back in the Court. He could not do anything without him. He wanted to call him but he didn't know his whereabouts. Nobody else also knew where he was. One day an intelligent Saadhu (saint) came to his court and told him the way to search for him. Now Akbar did as the Saadhu said to him. He announced that he would give one thousand gold coins whosoever will come to his Court in half sun and in half shade. Next day a villager came carrying a string cot over his head and claimed the money. He said, "I am in half sun and in half shade." Akbar understood that this man cannot do it himself. On interrogation he confessed that Birbal suggested him this plan. Akbar was very happy to hear this. Immediately he called Birbal and they had a happy reunion.
Red Hot Test
One day, one man wanted to punish a man named Hasan. He accused him of stealing his necklace, and reported this theft in the police. The case was brought in the Judge's court. Judge knew Hasan very well, and he also knew that he was not a thief. So he asked the man, "Why do you think that Hasan has stolen your necklace?" The man replied, "Your Honor, I have seen him stealing the necklace." Hasan said, "I am innocent, Your Honor. I do not know anything about his necklace." The man then said, "All right, if he is innocent, let him prove his innocence. Let me bring the hot iron, and if he can hold it in his bare hands, then I will agree that he has not stolen my necklace, and he is speaking truth." The man said, "It means that if I am speaking the truth, then I will not burn my hands with that red hot iron?" "Yes, you are right. God will protect you." Now Hasan could not do anything but to hold red hot iron in his hands to a his innocence, and that he was speaking the truth. He asked judge to give him one day to look for that necklace again. The judge gave him permission. He went home. He took advice from Birbal. He returned next day he came back and said, "I am ready for that, Sir, if you think so. But the same thing should apply to him too. If he is speaking the truth, then the red hot iron should not burn his hands also. So let him brings that red hot iron holding in his both hands, and then I will hold that iron in my bare hands." Now the man was speechless. He told the Judge that he would go and search his necklace again in his house; maybe it was misplaced somewhere there, bowed hastily and went away.
Once Akbar asked Birbal to bring four fools of the first order to him. He said - "It is not difficult because this world is full of fools. Birbal said - "OK" and asked some time to find them, which Akbar readily gave to him. Now Birbal started looking for fools. He was going somewhere that he saw a man carrying a large plate on which were kept some clothes, betel leaves and sweets. He looked like a fool to Birbal, so he asked him - "Where are you going to? And to whom you are carrying this?" The man replied - "My wife has remarried. Now they have a child so I am taking this gift for them." Birbal got convinced that he was a fool, so he considered him a candidate to take to the king. At another time he saw a man riding a buffalo carrying a bundle of grass on his head. Birbal thought he was also a fool, so he asked him - "Why are you carrying this bundle on your head?" The man replied "In fact my buffalo is pregnant, so I thought that she should not carry too much load that is why I have put this bundle on my own head instead of putting it on it." Birbal considered him also a candidate to take to the king. So next morning he took those people to Akbar's court and presented them to him as the biggest fools. "But these are only two fools; where are the other two? I asked you to bring four fools." King asked. Birbal folded his hands and bending a little said - "Jehaanpanaah, The third fool is you who asked me to bring the fools; and the fourth fool is me who has brought these fools for you." When the king heard about them, he laughed a lot on their foolishness
Birbal Does Justice
Once a man sold his well to a farmer. Next day when farmer went to draw the water from that well, the man did not allow him to draw the water from it. He said, "I have sold you the well, not the water, so you cannot draw the water from the well." The farmer became very sad, and came to the Emperor's court. He described everything to the Emperor, and asked for the justice. The Emperor called Birbal and handed over this case to him. Birbal called the man who sold the well to the farmer. Birbal asked, "Why don't you let him use the water of the well. You have sold the well to the farmer." The man replied, "Birbal, I have sold the well to the farmer, not the water. He has no right to draw the water from the well." Then Birbal smiled and said to him, "Good, but look, since you have sold the well to this farmer, and you claim that water is yours, then you have no right to keep your water in the farmer's well. Either you pay rent to the farmer to keep your water in his well, or you take that out of his well immediately." The man understood, that his trick has failed. Birbal has outwitted him.
Akbar's court was famous for the witty question answer sessions. On one such occasion - Akbar asked his courtiers whether they could tell the difference between the truth and the false within three words. All courtiers got busy in finding out the three words or less to tell the difference between the truth and the false. But enough time passed and they could not tell. " What about you, Birbal?" "His Majesty!" Birbal looked around and replied, "Four fingers" The King got surprised and asked him, "How, Birbal?" "Yes, Your Majesty, this is the difference between truth and false. Because what your eyes see is truth, and what your ears hear, more often than not, may be false." "That is right, but then why do you say "four fingers"?" Akbar said. Birbal bowed a little and said, "Because Your Majesty, only four fingers is the distance between ear and eyes." Akbar was very astonished to hear this reply. On another occasion - Akbar drew a line on the floor and asked his courtiers to shorten it without touching it. No courtier could do it. The Birbal came forward and drew another longer line beside it. Now the King's line was shorter than Birbal's line. On another occasion, Akbar asked what is that thing which sun and moon cannot see but others can see. As usual his courtiers could not get a even a clue. Then Birbal said, "Darkness,Huzoor."
Just One Question
Once a scholar came to Akbar's Court and challenged Birbal to answer his question. He wanted to test Birbal's wits, whether he was really like that as he heard about him. Birbal accepted the challenge. Then the scholar asked Birbal, "Whether you would like to answer one hundred easy questions or one difficult question. Akbar and Birbal had a very long day, they were in a hurry to go home, so Birbal agreed on one difficult question. The scholar asked, "Who came first? Chicken or egg?" Birbal answered the question without giving any second thought, "The chicken" The scholar was astonished to hear that, "How do you know?" "We agreed up on only one question, so no second question." Birbal said. And Akbar and Birbal left the Court without looking back at him.
Birbal Helps an Astrologer
Once the King Akbar heard that a certain astrologer was boasting for his accurate predictions. He called him for a test. When he came to the Court, he asked him, "I have heard that you predict very accurately." The astrologer was trembling with fear. "Tell me, when will you die?" The astrologer said he will have to consult his charts to predict correctly. The King gave him one hour time to do so. Instead of consulting his charts, the astrologer went to Birbal and described the whole thing. Birbal gave him advice as what he should say to the King. The astrologer returned to the Court and told the king, "He would die three days before the King." Akbar understood very well that he was bluffing, but he did not want to take any chance, so he let him go. Thus the astrologer saved his life.
Birbal Passes the Test
Once a Pandit came to Akbar's court and expressed his desire to test the intelligence of his courtiers. Akbar granted the permission, so all his courtiers gathered in the court at the appointed time. The Pandit had a pot covered with a cloth. He asked the courtiers, "What is in the pot?" Everybody was silent. Nobody knew how to tell the contents of a covered pot. Then Birbal came forward, he uncovered the pot, peeped inside, and said, "There is nothing inside the pot. It is empty." The Pandit said, "But you opened it." Birbal said, "But you never said not to open it." Pandit understood that he was at mistake. He bowed to the Emperor and walked away.
Hunting and the Dowry
Akbar had a passion for hunting. One day Akbar was on his hunting trip, that he heard two owls quarreling very fiercely. Akbar asked Birbal, "Birbal, what are these owls saying? Why are they quarreling so loudly?" Birbal said, "Both of them are settling the dowry amount, Huzoor. The first one who is groom's father, is saying that he wants to take 40 jungles in the dowry, with no animals at all. The other owl, who is bride's father is saying that he can arrange only 20 jungles at the moment." In the mean time one owl hooted once more very loudly. Akbar asked Birbal, "Now what is he saying?" Birbal said, "Now he is saying that if you wait for six months more, I can give you 40 jungles without animals." Akbar understood what Birbal wanted to say. He gave up hunting altogether. Story to show how a person’s moral / conscience can be addressed to make him/her realize the mistake and give up bad habit.
Birbal and Akbar's Ring
Once Akbar went for hunting, and there his ring fell in a dry well. Now how to take that ring out. They did not have any means to take it out. Then Birbal said, "Huzoor, if you give me some time I can take your ring out of this well. Akbar had no alternative. Birbal went around and brought some fresh cow dung and threw it on the ring. He then tied a stone on one end of a string, and holding the other end in his hand threw the stone on the cow dung. He waited for a long time - cow dung to be dried, and then pulled the string out of the well. The string brought the stone, the stone was stuck into cow dung and the cow dung had the Emperor's ring at its bottom.
Once Akbar had a dream that his all teeth have fallen down except one. In the morning he invited all the astrologers and asked them to interpret this dream. All the astrologers sat to interpret that dream. At last they all reached on this conclusion that it meant that - all of his relatives will die before him. So they said to Akbar. Hearing this Akbar felt very bad and got concerned about his relatives. He sent all the astrologers away without giving anything. He got restless. The whole day passed, but he could not find rest in his mind. In the evening Birbal came. Akbar told his dream to Birbal too and asked him to interpret it. Birbal thought for a minute and said, "This means Huzoor, that you will live very long and much fufiled life than any of your relatives." Hearing this Akbar got very pleased and he rewarded him heavily.
Birbal Helps a Pandit
Once a Braahman named Sevaaraam came to Birbal for his help. He told him that his father was a very good pundit and all people use to call him pundit ji. Since he cannot do all those things, nobody calls him pundit ji. Although he was very much contented with his work, life, income but he had this wish that all people should call him pundit ji. Birbal said it was not difficult at all, but he had to follow his advice word by word. Pundit agreed. Birbal said, "Whenever somebody calls you Pandit Jee, you should be very angry and shout at him loudly, that is all." Pundit agreed. Next day Birbal went to the locality where that Pundit used to live. There he talked to the children. He came to know that children didn't like him because he used to scold them. So he told them if you call that man "Pandit Jee, Pandit Jee" he will get irritated, and you could take your revenge. Children were very happy. From next day the children started calling him "Pandit Jee", "Pandit Jee"; and the Braahman started to shout at them. After some time Sevaaraam got tired of shouting but the children and other people kept calling him Pandit Jee. So the game was over, and the name stuck.
Once Akbar and Birbal were taking a stroll. It was winter season. Winter was at its peak at that time of season. A thought came to Birbal's mind, and he expressed to the Emperor, "A man can do anything for money." Emperor also thought something, and he just dipped his finger in the almost freezing water of a nearby pond. He drew his hand immediately, and replied Birbal, "I don't think so. Do you think somebody can stand in this almost freezing water for the whole night for money?" Birbal said, "I think so." Birbal told that he can find such a man who can stand in this water for the whole night for money. Akbar couldn't believe, so he accepted the challenge and said that he would give one thousand gold coins to that man. Next day Birbal brought a man who was very poor and thin. He told the King that that man would stand in that water. "Good" the King said and sent him to that pond. Because he did not believe this, so he sent some guards too to see whether he was really standing in that almost freezing water for the whole night. The man went away. Next day the man came back to claim his prize. Akbar asked his guards about the whole thing and they said, "Yes Huzoor, he stood there the whole night." Akbar asked that man, "Just tell me how did you stand in that cold water the whole water?" The man said, "There was a lamp post at some distance. I just gazed at it for the whole night. Heat of that lamp was my only hope." Akbar refused to give him his prize saying that since he got the heat from that lamp, he was not in the cold water absolutely. Hearing this, the man got very disappointed and went away. When Birbal heard this, he didn't like it. Next day he didn't come in the court. Akbar got worried about him and send his men to bring him to the court. The men went to his house and came back with the message that Birbal was cooking his Khichdee and only after eating that he will come to the court. One hour passed, two hours passed, several hours passed. Evening fell, but there was no sign of Birbal. Now Akbar got impatient, and got ready to see him himself. So he went to Birbal's house. What he sees, that Birbal is sitting in a room, fire was burning and a pot was hung about 8-10 feet higher than the fire. The King asked, "Birbal what are you doing?" Birbal replied, "Huzoor I am cooking my Khichdee." Hearing this King and his people laughed loudly. Akbar said to him, "Birbal you can't cook your Khichdee in this way. It is not getting enough heat to be cooked."Birbal said, "If that man can get the heat from such a distance to keep him enough warm to stand in this cold water for the whole night, then why my Khichdee can't be cooked in this way?" King understood, and returned to his palace. Next day he called that man and gave his prize to him.
The Poet Raaydaas
There was a poet named Raaydaas in Akbar's times. He was a very good poet. And there was a rich man also in Akbar's capital. But that rich man was enough miser too. He used to make promises to give something to somebody but never gave it to him. Raaydaas also heard this about that rich man, but didn't believe it. So one day he went to that rich man and said to him that he had written many good poems and wanted to recite them before somebody who could appreciate his poems. He could not find any other man better than him. The rich man got very happy, and asked him to recite his poems. The poet recited his poems, some poems were written in the praise of this rich man too. The rich man became very happy to hear those poems. So he promised to give him some money and asked him to come back next day. Next day Raaydaas came to the rich man's house to take his reward but the rich man refused to recognize him. After some references, he said, "I said it only to encourage you, not that I wanted to reward you." Raaydaas got very disappointed and went away towards his house. On the way he met Birbal, he told his story to Birbal. Birbal thought for a moment, then took out five gold coins and gave them to Raaydaas, and said, "Arrange a dinner for that rich man on next full moon night." Raaydaas went away. Raaydaas had a very good friend, Maayaadaas. He arranged the dinner in his house. In this dinner, food was to be served in gold pots and theguest was to take those pots to his house. Rich man was very happy for this invitation. The full moon night came. The rich man came for the dinner. Now Raaydaas and Maayaadaas have already eaten their food first, so they were not worried about it. They talked and talked a lot but did not talk about the food. Midnight fell. The rich man was very hungry. When he could bear no longer, then he reminded about the food. Raaydaas said, "What food? We don't know anything about the food." Rich man said, "You have invited me for the dinner." Raaydaas said, "That is because we just wanted you to be here, not because that we wanted to offer you any food." At that time Birbal entered the house and reminded the rich man the happening of Raaydaas. Now the rich man realized his mistake and begged for forgiveness. He said that Raaydaas was a very good poet and he will surely give his reward to him. He took out his necklace and gave to Raaydaas. Then they all sat for a happy meal. Raaydaas was also invited by Akbar and got reward from the Royal Court.
The Three Questions
King Akbar was very fond of Birbal. This made many courtiers very jealous. One day one of those courtiers who always wanted to be the chief minister of the Emperor, got an idea. Since it was not possible as long as Birbal filled that position. One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made this courtier very angry and he said that the Emperor praised Birbal unjustly and if Birbal could answer his three questions, he would accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar knew that Birbal will win so he immediately agreed. His three questions were 1. How many stars were there in the sky 2. Where was the center of the Earth and 3. How many men and how many women were there in the world. Immediately Akbar asked Birbal these three questions and instructed him that if he could not answer them, he would have to resign from the chief minister's position. To answer the first question, Birbal brought a sheep and said “There are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on this sheep’s body. My friend, the courtier, is welcome to count them if he likes.” To answer the second question, Birbal drew a couple of lines on the floor and bore an iron rod in it and said “this is the center of the Earth, the courtier may measure it himself if he doubts.” In answer to the third question, Birbal said “Counting the exact number of men and women in the world would be a problem as there are some specimens like our courtier friend here who cannot easily be classified as either. Therefore if all people like him are killed, then and only then can one count the exact number of men and women.” Akbar became very happy as always, and that courtier went away without saying a word.
The Cock And The Hen
Since Birbal always outwitted Akbar, Akbar thought of a plan to make Birbal look like a fool. He gave one egg to each of his ministers before Birbal reached the court one morning. So when Birbal arrived, the king narrated a dream he had had the previous night saying that he would be able to judge the honesty of his ministers if they were able to bring back an egg from the royal garden pond. So, Akbar asked all his courtiers to go to the pond, one at a time and return with an egg. So, one by one, all his ministers went to the pond and returned with the egg which he had previously given them. Then it was Birbal's turn. He jumped into the pond and could find no eggs. He finally realized that the King was trying to play a trick on him. So he entered the court crowing like a cock. The Emperor asked him to stop making that irritating noise and then asked him for the egg. Birbal smiled and replied that only hens lay eggs, and as he was a cock, he could not produce an egg. Everyone laughed loudly and the King realized that Birbal could never be easily fooled.
Back to Square One
As usual a lot of people were present in Akbar's durbar. A famous astrologer had come from a far away country. He was talking about the Solar System and the Earth's shape. At one point Akbar said, "If the earth is round, and if one travel strait towards one direction, he will come back to the same spot from where he has started the journey." "Theoretically it is correct", said the astrologer. "Why not in real life?", asked the king. "One has to cross oceans, mountains and forests to keep the path straight." the astrologer said. "Sail through the oceans, make tunnels in the mountains and use elephants to cross the forests." Akbar found the solution. "Still it is impossible" said the astrologer. "Why?" Asked Akbar. "It may take years to complete the whole journey" said the astrologer "Years? How many?" asked Akbar. "I don't know. May be a hundred years or more" said the astrologer "Don't worry I will ask my ministers. They have an answer for everything" Akbar looked at the ministers. "Impossible to calculate" "Around 25 years" "Fifty years or less" "80 days" "Why Birbal, you haven't uttered a word" the king showed his surprise at Birbal's silence. "I was just calculating the time required to go round the earth" explained Birbal. "And did you get the answer?" asked the king. "Sure." Said Birbal "It will take just one day." "Just one day! Birbal it is Impossible! Even it will take more than one day to cross our country." Said Akbar. "It is possible. Provided you travel at the speed of the Sun" said Birbal with a smile.
List of the blind
Once King Akbar questioned Raja 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 the slippers 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 humour.
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 the 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 Raja 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 was'nt blind. Therefore Akbar demanded to hang the culprit and rewarded the girl for her bravery for telling the truth even at the critical situation.
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!'
The Musical Genius
Famous musicians once gathered at Akbar's court for a competition. The one who could capture a bull's interest was to be declared the winner. One by one, they played the most heavenly music but the bull paid no attention. Then Birbal took the stage. His music sounded like the droning of mosquitoes and the mooing of cows. But to everyone's amazement the bull suddenly became alert and began to move in a lively manner. Akbar declared Birbal the winner.
Birbal, The Wise
Ramu and Shamu 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". Ramu thought it was a fair judgement and said so. But Shamu was horrified. "Your Honour" he said to Birbal "I've tended that tree for seven years. I'd rather let Ramu have it than see it cut down." "Your concern for the tree has told me all I wanted to know" said Birbal, and declared Shamu the true owner of the tree.
The True King
The King of Iran had heard that Birbal was one of the wisest men in the East and desirous of meeting 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.
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.
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 justice is 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.
Birbal Turns the 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.
Birbal Returns Home
Birbal was in Persia at the invitation of the king of that country. Parties were given in his honour 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 of Persia to his own king. “Your king is a full moon,” said Birbal. “Whereas mine could be likened to the quarter 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 Denies a Rumour
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 favour?" "Certainly," said the man. "What do you want me to do?" "Please deny the rumour of my generosity," said Birbal, walking away.
The Sharpest Shield and Sword
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.
Birbal Shortens a 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 their destination. “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.”
Re – United
One day, when Akbar and Birbal were in discussions, Birbal happened to pass a harmless comment about Akbar’s sense of humour. But Emperor Akbar was in a foul mood and took great offense to this remark. He asked Birbal, his court-jester, friend and confidant, to not only leave the palace but also to leave the walls of the city of Agra. Birbal was terribly hurt at being banished. A couple of days later, Akbar began to miss his best friend. He regretted his earlier decision of banishing him from the courts. He just could not do without Birbal and so sent out a search party to look for him. But Birbal had left town without letting anybody know of his destination. The soldiers searched high and low but were unable to find him anywhere. Then one day a wise saint came to visit the palace accompanied by two of his disciples. The disciples claimed that their teacher was the wisest man to walk the earth. Since Akbar was missing Birbal terribly he thought it would be a good idea to have a wise man that could keep him company. But he decided that he would first test the holy man’s wisdom. The saint had bright sparkling eyes, a thick beard and long hair. The next day, when they came to visit the court Akbar informed the holy man that since he was the wisest man on earth, he would like to test him. All his ministers would put forward a question and if his answers were satisfactory he would be made a minister. But if he could not, then he would be beheaded. The saint answered that he had never claimed to be the wisest man on earth, even though other people seemed to think so. Nor was he eager to display his cleverness but as he enjoyed answering questions, he was ready for the test.One of the ministers, Raja Todarmal, began the round of questioning. He asked “Who is a man’s best friend on earth?” To which the wise saint replied, “His own good sense”. Next Faizi asked which was the most superior thing on earth? “Knowledge”, answered the saint. “Which is the deepest trench in the world?”, asked Abdul Fazal. And the saint’s answer was “a woman’s heart”. “What is that which cannot be regained after it is lost?” questioned another courtier and the reply he received was ‘life’. “What is undying in music” asked the court musician Tansen. The wise saint replied that it was the “notes”. And then he asked “which is the sweetest and most melodious voice at night -time? And the answer he received was “the voice that prays to God.” Maharaj Mansingh of Jaipur, who was a guest at the palace asked, “what travels more speedily than the wind?” the saint replied that it was “man’s thought”. He then asked, “which was the sweetest thing on earth?” and the saint said that it was “a baby’s smile”. Emperor Akbar and all his courtiers were very impressed with his answers, but wanted to test the saint himself. Firstly he asked what were the necessary requirements to rule over a kingdom, for which he was answered ‘cleverness’. Then he asked what was the gravest enemy of a king. The saint replied that it was ‘selfishness’. The emperor was pleased and offered the saint a seat of honour and asked him whether he could perform any miracles. The saint said that he could manifest any person the king wished to meet. Akbar was thrilled and immediately asked to meet his minister and best friend Birbal. The saint simply pulled off his artificial beard and hair much to the surprise of the other courtiers. Akbar was stunned and could not believe his eyes. He stepped down to embrace the saint because he was none other than Birbal. Akbar had tears in his eyes as he told Birbal that he had suspected it to be him and had therefore asked him whether he could perform miracles. He showered Birbal with many valuable gifts to show him how happy he was at his return.
The Pot of Wisdom
Once the Empress pressurized the Emperor to appoint her brother, Gulam Sheikh as the ‘Wasir’. Succumbed to her pressure, the Emperor removed Birbal from the ‘Wasir’s’ post and appointed Gulam Sheikh in his place. The king of Iran always envied the great Emperor Akbar, whose court was studded with wonderful gems. The king of Iran knew it very well that Birbal was unparalleled to his brilliance. When the Iranish Emperor received the news of Birbal’s removal from the ‘Wasir’s’ post, he at once sent a messenger with a message. The messenger was also carrying a few pots with him. The messenger came to the court off Akbar and read the message, “I’ve heard a lot about your wise courtiers. I need few pots of wisdom for my own use. Please send the pots filled with wisdom. In case, it’s not there then you please send the empty pots to me” The Emperor assigned the responsibility of solving the puzzle to Gulam Sheikh. Gulam Sheikh was totally perplexed with the message. He spend many sleepless nights but could not understand what he should do? At last, Gulam Sheikh went to his sister, the Empress and said. “I’m tried of the Wasir’s responsibility. I don’t want this anymore.” Gulam Sheikh accepted in front of his sister that he was unable to solve the puzzle, which went sent by the Iranish Emperor. The worried Empress asked herself, “What will happen, if the solution is not sent?” Finally the Empress called Birbal and sought his help. After listening to the whole episode, Birbal took all the pots in his possession. He then called the royal gardener and asked him to sow few seeds of pumpkin in the garden. When the plants grew and small fruits came on the plants, Birbal gave the pots to the gardener and asked him to place a small fruit in each pot without plucking it from the plant. Birbal instructed the gardener to allow the pumpkin to grow inside the pots. After a few months, the pumpkin grew into full size and ultimately filled the entire space of empty pots. Birbal then plucked the pumpkins from their plants. He called the royal messenger and asked him to take back the pots to the Iranian Emperor. He also sent a message with the pots, “As per your wish, we are sending a small amount of wisdom. Its filled in the pots. Please take it out with breaking the pots.” The messenger reached Iran with the pots. He presented the pots to the Emperor and read the message. After listening to the message and looking at the pots, the Emperor murmured. “It seems, Birbal is reappointed as ‘Wazir’. It can’t be Gulam Sheikh’s wisdom.” The messenger returned to the court of Akbar. He narrated the whole episode. When the Empress came to know about it, she at once told the Emperor to reappoint Birbal at ‘Wazir’
The Exact Portrait
One day Birbal saw the court’s artist quite worried. Birbal personally knew the artist. He was a humble gentleman. Birbal enquired with the artist. “You are looking gloomy. What’s the cause?” The artist said, “Sir, I’m really worried. One big businessman is after ruining my reputation, which I have earned till now.” “What has happened?” enquired Birbal. “Huzoor, one day I met the businessman in some party. There he was challenging that no artist could portray him perfectly. Hearing this, I accepted his challenge and fixed up the time with him for drawing his portrait. A few days latter when I finished the portrait, I visited the rich man’s house and showed the portrait to him. But seeing the portrait, he screamed – You have portrayed me in beard! I tried to convince him that at the time of portrait making, he was possessing beard. But he did not listen to me at all.” The artist was in tears. Birbal consoled him and enquired further. The artist said, “Sir, then I humbly asked him to give me one more chance to prove my deftness. He agreed. After a few days I visited his house with a new portrait, I was quiet confident this time. But when I saw him he was cleaned shaved man. As I feared, he shouted – “this can’t be my picture. This picture is showing moustache, whereas I don’t possess it. It I tried to convince him that it was not my fault. However, he declared that I failed to fulfil my challenge. I asked for one more chance but he tricked me the next time too. Only after portraying him for five times, I could understand that his motive was evil and wanted to let me down. The artist then showed Birbal all the five portraits. All the portraits were indeed nice ones. Birbal was kind hearted man, he decided to help the artist. He briefed the artist and accompanied him up to the rich man’s house. Birbal remained outside the house, whereas the artist entered inside. As soon as the rich man saw the artist, he said mockingly, “O great artist! You are here again! It seems, you have come again with some of your rubbish item.” The artist humbly replied, “Sir, I’m sure, what I’ve brought today will surely match with your face.” Saying so, he passed on a framed piece to him. The rich man held it in his hand and looked at it. But it was just a mirror. He screamed angrily, “What a silly joke it is? You’ve brought just a mirror!” Then entered Birbal, who was standing outside and was listening to their conversation. Birbal said, “Are you not happy with the mirror which is shoeing your exact picture? I think only mirror can depict your present face. You don’t need a portrait but a mirror, my friend.” The rich man was very much ashamed to see and hear Birbal. He begged his pardon for his folly and paid the artist well.
The List of Fools
he Emperor was very fond of tall, handsome and agile horses. Once a merchant from Arabia came to sell his horses. He displayed a few very impressive horses to the king. The Emperor liked those horses and ordered for a good number of similar horses. He gave two lakh gold coins as an advance to the merchant. The man was a fraud. He disappeared with the money and did not return for a long time. Time passed. One day a unique whim struck Akbar’s psyche. He said to Birbal affirmed and promised to bring the list after sometime. After a week, Birbal called on the Emperor with a long list of fools and presented the paper to the Emperor. Akbar was happy that Birbal had accomplished his job in a very little time. However, when he gazed on the paper, he was raged to read his own name on the top of it. “What’s this Birbal?” the Emperor roared. “How dare you put my name in this category?” “I beg your pardon. Huzoor! You’re a justice loving person. Please judge your act regarding giving the advance to a stranger and then tell me, shouldn’t I keep you in this list?” asked Birbal with folded hands. The Emperor calmed down little and argued, “Birbal, assume that the man comes with the horses. Then what will you do?” “I will immediately remove your name and put his name at your place.” promptly replied Birbal, the wittiest of all!
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). Our character 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, every spoken word and emerging thought reflects our true self!
Why Yamuna is so Weeping?
Both Akbar and Birbal were kith and kin in friendship. They were spending most of their time for a very long time, even till midnight, tackling on several interesting and peculiar topics. Birbal was perfect to give the ready answers for the peculiar quiestions, Put to him by his favourite Lord, Akbar. That day Birbal was with Akbar in his palace though midnight. Akbar, talking with Birbal, was obseving the beauty of the nature with astonishment in eager eyes. The bright moon light had spread all over the surroundings. In that moonlight, Akbar was observing the waves of the River Yamuna, as if they were saluting the Earth Goddess earnestly, touching softly her feet, the sound of the waves arising was very sympathitics. Akbar, pointing to that scene, asked Birbal " Birbal, you see, how that River Yamuna is weeping! why is she weeping so? Why is she not longing to enjoy with the brilliant moonlight this time?" Birbal was also observing and enjoying the beauty of the splendid nature. He turned towards Akbar unlikely and answered smilingly Your Majesty, Is this not the time to her for going to her husband's house? That is why she is weeping so. It is natural to all the women. Without understanding the point of Birbal, Akbar again asked - "I am not enquiring of any other lady, by name Yamuna, Birbal. But of this River Yamuna observing the manner of her flowing, I am putting this question for answer." "Yes Huzur. I am also answering exactly on that point!" Birbal said smilingly ; looking at him Akbar grew angry and requestioned with the reddish eyes - I am not at all understanding what you are saying in puzzle. Why don't you tell me clearly?"Birbal, with the same smiling, said - "Huzur, the River Yamuna takes its birth in the Himalayas Mountain. Is it not so?" "Yes" Akbar nodded his head."Then she is now going, flowing to her Husband's house . Is it not?" "It means" who is husband to the river? How is the marriage to it? What are all these unrelated facts?" Akbar asked with confusion looking angrily towards Birbal. Even then Birbal was not disturbed . He answered patiently - "Your Majesty, Do not be dissatisfied with this poor servant please. I request for your patience. Please listen to my saying completely." "Alright , complete soon that what you want to say" . Akbar said with negligence. Birbal said - River Yamuna, now is flowing towards the sea to mingle, Is it not so?" "Yes" accepted Akbar."Then is the sea not her husband? while going from her maternal house i.e. Himaalayas to her husband's house, that is , sea - king's house, it is common for the ladies to weep, because of the remembarance of their parents. Akbar felt woundered with joy for the ready answer given skillfully by Birbal and admired him, heartily .
A poor man’s daughter
Anandapura was a rich town. In that town there was a poor man, named Daridranatha. Truly he was poor according to his name. He had lost his beloved wife. But had a beautiful daughter, by name Lakshmi. Though her name was Lakshmi, She wore ragged dress. She was not even combing her hair, She was always helping her father in his work. Daridranatha was fond of his daughter very much. He was forgetting the agony of his lost wife, looking at her. She was resembling the face of her mother completely. Her father was feeding her, starving himself. But he was taking care to hide the fact from Lakshmi. One day when she was coming back from the bazar with vegetables in the basket,Ahmed, a fruit seller saw her. He was attracted by her beauty. He thought to kidnap her. He talked with her very nicely and made her to yield for his words. He told her that he would guide her to become rich daughter.Lakshmi, being an innocent girl, accepted his opinion, and went with him. He bought for her the good dress and ornaments. He told her that she now appeared more beautiful than before.Ahmed sent her to learn dance and music. She became perfect in both. Now she was sold to Muthamma, the debachanist for three thousand rupees.Muthamma was also a dancer and musician. But she was too old now. So she was taking to several performances, this Lakshmi, for dancing. Within a short period, she was wellfamed. Daridranatha was filled with grief for the loss of his daughter. He searched and searched for her. But in vain. Years together passed on. But where abouts of Lakshmi was not known. One day in a dancing performance, he saw his daughter dancing in the midst of claps by the audiences. He wondered looking at her. How to talk and introduce himself with her? He did not get any idea. He waited till the function was over. Lakshmi got down from the platform with Muthamma. But Muthamma was addressing her name ‘Gowri’. He came under confusion. He saw her close to him, when she was passing at the out door. He recognized the black spot on her right chin. Being poor, he was wearing torn clothes, so he kept silent by fright. He came back home. But his heart was calling the name “Lakshmi” several times. He was completely discontented now. He told his inner fact with his neighbourer, Neelamma. Neelamma thought for a little while silently and suddenly said – “Friend, why can’t you go and approach Birbal at his residence? He may help you, to solve your problem. Because he is serving in Badshah Akbar’s court. Daridranatha did the same. Birbal listened attentively to the poor man’s words and said to him, Badsha’s consoling, “please come and meet me tomorrow in court. We send for your daughter and Muthamma also there. “Daridranatha went back home with a litted content. Next day he entered the court of Akbar. He saw Birbal also beside him. Even Muthamma with Lakshmi had come.Akbar enquired with Muthamma-“is she your daughter? What is her name?” Muthamma answered with fright- “Jahapanah, she is my tamed daughter. Her name is Gowri.”Akbar also enquired the girl-“Who is your father? Where did you come from?”She said “ I know nothing of my father. From my childhood, I am with this mother; under protection.”Akbar was unable to settle the case. Looing at them, ordered – “You all may go” Muthamma with Lakshmi went back smiling. Daridranatha gazed at Birbal helplessly. Birbal told Akbar – Huzur, I am doubtful of those two. If you permit me, I ‘ll settle this case easily tomorrow. Akbar gave his permission. Birbal told Daridranatha to come again tomorrow. He also whispered something in his ears. Again Akbar send his servants for Muthamma and that young girl to attend the court the next day.
Where all the members, including those three arrived the court, Birbal looked at the poor man, Daridranatha. Daridranatha caught Birbal’s idea. He loudly called twice, “Lakshmi, Lakshmi?” Lakshmi, beside Muthamma turned at the side where the voice from. At once Birbal asked her- “Why did you see that side so fearfully?” Lakshmi, trembling, said – “I thought that was my father’s voice.”Birbal smilingly said – “ Yesterday you told that you know nothing of your father. Muthamma said that your name is “Gowri”. Both of you are the liars. Both of you should be punished. Muthamma now, was very much afraid of. She told the real fact- “your honour, your words are true. I purchased the young girl from a Muslim. Her name is Lakshmi. I was calling her Gowri’ Lakshmi felt frightned, she rushed at her father and embraced him with a bitter cry. Akbar and the courtmen were quite astonished and admired the intelligence of Birbal in settling the case. Birbal said Daridranatha – “ Perform your daughter’s marriage at an early date. I ‘ll arrange for payment of expenditure amount by Muthamma.” Muthamma also accepted his settlement without a word. The poor man and his daughter saluted both Akbar and Birbal, went back joyously to their home.
ONCE when Akbar was riding near a mango grove, an arrow whizzed past him. His soldiers rushed into the grove and caught hold of the archer, a young man, and brought him before Akbar. “Why did you try to kill me?” Akbar shouted at the youth. “ Jahanpannah, I wasn’t trying to kill you. I was only trying to knock the mango down with my arrow!” said the youth, who was already very afraid. The king was too angry to listen to him. “Put him to death in the same manner he tried to kill me,” he ordered to his soldiers. Receiving the King's orders soldiers tied the youth to a mango tree and another steadied his bow and arrow to shoot him. “This is not fair!” shouted Birbal who had been watching quietly. “If you want to shoot him the same way he tried to shoot the emperor, you will have to aim at the mango and the arrow will have to miss the mango and then strike him.” Akbar, who had calmed down by now, realized he had been unfair to the youth and ordered his soldiers to release him. The young man bowed and thanked the king & Birbal .
The precious thing
Once upon a time there was this emperor Akbar ruling India. He was a versatile personality apart from being an emperor. One day he got angry with this wife. In anger, he told her to go away from palace to her parent’s house. He also ordered her to never come back. The queen was sad about this situation. She tried to calm down the king from his anger so many times but the king was not in a situation to hear her words. She understood she cannot handle the situation on her own anymore. She wanted help. So she called for the minister Birbal who is famous for his clever tricks tough situations. She told Birbal all that happened once he arrived. She asked him to get her out of this tough situation. Birbal thought for a while and came up with an idea. He explained that to the queen. She felt relieved after listening to his plan. She immediately went to Akbar who was angry and told him that she will be leaving the palace tomorrow as per his orders and if he allows she wants to take something precious from this palace along with her. “You can take whatever you want from this palace with you” said Akbar. The next day the queen prepared for her journey. Birbal then went to the king and told him “The queen is going to leave the palace. But she does not want to go unless she gets her precious thing with her”. The king said, “Let her take whatever she wants and go away immediately.” Birbal replied, “Yes Jahapana, she wants to meet you for the same reason”. Akbar ordered him to send her. The queen went to Akbar and stood before him. She said, “Lord, you have given me the permission to take my precious thing with me. I am praying to you to come with to my parents’ house. There is nothing else in this world that is more precious than you.” The king after hearing, what the queen just said, got relieved of his angriness immediately. He learned that his wife loves him so much. Akbar knows who is behind this clever trick. So he was looking towards Birbal with a laugh on his face.
Akbar was ruling India as an Emperor. He was not just a king but a versatile personality. He had a very clever witted minister in his palace named Birbal. Birbal was also his good friend and company. Akbar has always heard clever and straight answers of Birbal in solving many problems and mysteries. At one time Akbar got bored of his straight forward manners and decided to remove him from his minister post. Birbal has a lot of self-respect. He couldn’t tolerate this situation and went away from the kingdom of Akbar without letting anyone know where he was going. Since that time Akbar went into a depressing mode due to absence of Birbal in his palace. He sent his men to search for Birbal all around his kingdom. But those men couldn’t find him. Akbar thought a lot about this and got an idea. He felt that Birbal must have settled as a minister in a neighboring kingdom. He immediately sent an invitation message to all neighboring kings. That invitation message was strange. It said “The marriage of a Sea in our kingdom has been fixed. We are inviting all of the rivers in your kingdom to attend this ceremony.” Though the other kings felt weird about this message and didn’t like it, they had to accept it because Akbar is their Emperor. So nobody dared to ask against it though it was not at all clear to them. After a few days Akbar got a reply from one of his kings. That message said “I am sending all the rivers in my kingdom. To take them please send all the wells in your kingdom.” Akbar was surprised and satisfied by the witted nature of the response. He realized that only Birbal could send such a response. So he immediately arranged for his family to visit that kingdom which has sent the reply. Akbar, after reaching the kingdom, found Birbal as a minister there. So it was Birbal who as a minister could reply to Akbar’s strange message. Akbar asked Birbal to pardon him for his mistake and to come back to his kingdom. Birbal immediately accepted his invitation as he too was missing the association of Emperor Akbar for a long time.
ONCE an old man, Ramdas, thought of going on a pilgrimage but he was worried about his money so before setting out on a a pilgrimage to the holy places, he had entrusted a jar containing money to his neighbor, Govind. Ramdas returned six months later and went to his neighbors house and asked for the jar. Govind returned the jar to him, but the money was not there in the jar. It had been replaced with mango pickle. Confused Ramdas went to Govind's house and asked for his money but Govind denied that he had not taken his money. Nobody could help Ramdas and finally he complained to the emperor. Akbar asked Birbal to decide the case. Birbal carefully examined the jar of pickle. "Are you sure this is the same jar that was given to you?" he asked Govind."Yes," said Govind. "That was the jar that was entrusted to my care six months ago." "And now it contains pickle," said Birbal. "It must always have contained pickle, I never looked inside it" said Govind. Birbal sent for some women from the royal kitchen and when they came Birbal asked them to inspect the pickle. "How old is the pickle?" he asked them. "Less than a month old," said the women. "The mango pieces are still fresh." Turning towards Govind, Birbal said that he was lying & he should confess in front of the king and he shall be pardoned. Govind admitted to the theft and begged for mercy.
Once a distraught old woman came to Birbal for help. The emperor had decided to build a palace on her property. She didn’t want to leave the place as it had been her ancestral property. Birbal assured her and said that he’d do his best. The construction began. When Birbal visited the site with Akbar, he saw many gunny bags lying next to a pile of mud. He began to fill the bags with mud. “Why are you doing this?” asked Akbar. “To earn merit in my next life, Huzoor,” replied Birbal. Amused, Akbar too joined Birbal. Afterwards Birbal requested Akbar to help him lift one of the sacks. “Aaah, this is very heavy!” said Akbar, staggering under the weight of a bag. “Your Majesty,” said Birbal, “A bag of mud is so heavy. Imagine how much mud there must be in this piece of land. Will it not weigh heavily on your conscience to destroy somebody ancestral property?” Akbar realized his mistake and gave orders to discontinue the construction.
Pundit's Mother Tongue
Once Akbar’s court was visited by an eminent Pundit who was well versed in many languages. He challenged everybody in the Court that he could answer any question in any languages. No doubt he used to answer queries in whichever language he was asked. Nobody could guess his true mother tongue. He once said to Emperor Akbar that by tomorrow your courtier’s should tell me which is my mother tongue and if they failed to do so, I assume that I am superior than all your courtiers. Everyone in the court thought it to be an easy job and pleaded their inability to judge his mother tongue. But everyone failed now Akbar turned to Birbal to solve this problem. Birbal accepted the challenge and asked for some time till the next morning. Time was granted & the durbar (social gathering) was dismissed. That night Birbal went to Pundit's house and entered his bedroom. When the Pundit was fast asleep Birbal tickled his ear with hay (dry Grass). The Pundit’s sleep was disturbed, he turned to the other side and slept, again Birbal tickled his other ear. Now Pundit's sleep was disturbed he woke up and loudly said “Yevvurura Adi” (Who is that?) and seeing no one he went back to sleep. Birbal came out of his house unnoticed. The next morning, the court assembled, and the Pundit was also invited. Pundit again started in different languages, finally Birbal said that ‘TELUGU’ is the mother tongue of the Pundit. The Pundit was very much surprised at Birbal's answer and he accepted the defeat and left the court. Akbar asked Birbal, how he found out the true mother tongue. Birbal said that a man in distress will talk in his mother tongue whenever he is disturbed in sleep and then narrated the happening of the previous night. Akbar praised Birbal for his timely Wisdom.
Footmark of an Elephant
One day Birbal had to go out for few days. So the king appointed his brother-in-law in Birbal's place. One day King went to Bazaar. While returning from there he saw a footmark of an elephant. He decided to test his brother-in-law's intelligence. He asked him to protect that mark for three days. Baadshaah went to his palace and his brother-in-law started vigilance around it. The first day passed, the new Deevaan could not get any food, the second day also passed without any food. The third day he got very weak. The fourth day he went to the king and said "Look I have protected elephant's footmark as per instructions." When Birbal return back the king asked Birbal to protect that footmark of elephant. He fixed an iron bar near the footmark and tied a 50-yard rope to it and told the villagers that whoever's house will fall inside the circumference of that rope his house will be demolished to protect that footmark." People requested him not to do so and gave him Rupees as bribery not to demolish their house. Thus he collected lots of money. Birbal deposited that money in the royal treasury and told the king that the work is done. The king called his brother-in-law and told him, "You were hungry for three days and gained nothing ,but Birbal has earned Rupees in one day only."
Once an oil merchant and the villager came to Akbar with a quarrel about the money bag. The merchant said that when the villager came to buy oil from him he gave them the oil and collected money from them. But villager said he had never visited oil shop. Each claimed that the bag belonged to him. Everybody in the court were surprised and was waiting eagerly how Akbar would solve this problem. Akbar asked Birbal to find the solution. Birbal asked for some water in a bowl. The servant brought the water. Birbal placed the bag in the bowl. After sometime everybody saw some oil float on water. Birbal told that the bag belonged to the oil merchant not to the villager. If the villager wouldn't have visit the oil shop then there would be no oil on the coins or the bag. Everybody praised Birbal and the villager was punished.
Neither Here, Nor There
As Birbal was always admired by Akbar , many other courtiers used to be envy with him. Once one of them said to king, "Huzoor, we can also do the same what Birbal can do" King said, "Okay, Let me give you some work." He called one of them and said "I will give you three Rupees. You go and buy three things from them of one Rupee each. The first thing should be of "here", the second thing should be of "there", and the third thing should be of "neither here, nor there". That courtier went to market and asked those things from the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper laughed loudly and said "You can't get these things in the shop". So courtier came back with empty hand said to king "Huzoor, These things cannot be got anywhere at any price. Now Akbar called Birbal and asked him to bring the same things. Birbal said "I will bring these things here tomorrow." Next day as Birbal came in the court, Akbar asked him to show things. Birbal said "Yes Huzoor, The first rupee I spent to buy some sweets, that was used here. The second rupee I gave to one beggar. That reached to God from there, and the third rupee I spent in playing dice, this Rupee is neither used here
nor there. Akbar was very pleased with his answer and gave him gold coins.
Birbal and The Milk Tub
One day King Akbar said to Birbal , "Birbal, my subjects are very obedient to me." Birbal smiled and replied, "Yes Huzoor, but they fear you too" Akbar could not agree on this, so he asked Birbal to prove it. Birbal said “Huzoor, make an announcement everyone should pour a pot of milk in a tub kept in the courtyard” Next day, according to Birbal 's instructions, the king announced that he would be going for hunting, and people should pour a pot of milk in a tub kept in the courtyard.” After two days when Akbar returned from hunting, he found that there was no milk in the tub, there was only water. Akbar got very disappointed. Then Birbal said, "Now announce that you will come back and see the tub full of milk yourself." King did as Birbal said. Once again the tub was kept in the courtyard. This time when King returned from the hunting, he found the tub was full of milk. Birbal said, "Huzoor! It is your fear which made people obey you. The first time there was no one to check the tub, so people poured the water, but the second time, they knew that you would check yourself, that is why they brought the milk."
One must understand one's true nature
At one time, the emperor Akbar and the king Birbal were going on some mission when they came across a brahmin beggar. Spotting the beggar Akbar said to Birbal: "Did you see that a man of your own caste was begging on the street?" Birbal replied: "Maharaj, he has not yet understood his true self. The day he finds his true self, he won't behave the way he behaves now." Saying that Birbal called that man over to him and said: "I shall pay you a sum of five rupees per day, if you will recite the Gayatri-Mantra 1000 times per day." From that day onward the brahmin began to recite the GayatriMantra 1000 times a day. Within a few days, he had a change of heart & he decided to recite the Gayatri mantra for his own spiritual growth instead of for the benefactor. He also stopped accepting the money from Birbal. He actually declined to accept an offer of 10 rupees for the recitation of the Gayatri Mantra 2000 times made by Birbal, left his home, & went away for tapasyaa (spiritual practices). He succeeded in his tapasya and returned to Delhi as a great sadhu. In time, he became very famous, and many people began to visit his place for his darshan.The emperor Akbar also visited his place along with many gifts, but he didn't even cast a glance at Akbar. He didn't even accept his offerings. Akbar enquired of Birbal: "What is the attainment of this sadhu?" Birbal revealed to Akbar: "Lord this sadhu is none other than the beggar we had met on the road. But now he has found his true self." Everyone must try to understand the true self. That leads to an awareness of the very fact that he is not just a JEEVA (a temporal animate being) with a separate identity from the Brahman (the Eternal Self), but his true self is inseparably one with the Brahman.
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