17 Dec 2016

Smart Explanation

The Mughal emperor Akbar once asked his courtiers who was more powerful of the two: God or Akbar. The ministers were in a fix because clearly the answer was God but to say anyone was greater than the king might mean getting your next haircut with a guillotine. And giving the wrong answer, which would be perceived as blatant flattery, might still result in the same fate. One by one though, deciding to speak the truth, everyone said that God was more potent than their emperor. Everyone but one person.

The wisest man in the royal court, Birbal, proclaimed that Akbar was indeed more powerful than God. The courtiers secretly rejoiced seeing Birbal in the soup. Finally, it was out in the open that he was messing up with the king, they thought.

“Obviously, you just want to impress me, Birbal,” the king spoke sternly, shaking his head. “I’m disgusted at your blasphemous reply. How can I be more powerful than God?”

“His Excellency,” Birbal replied, “Indeed, our emperor is more powerful than God. God is beyond discrimination and favoritism. He is bound by dharma, every act of God is in line with the meticulous working of the infinite Universe. But, your highness is not bound by any law. You can punish anyone even if he is innocent. God can’t do that.” Praising Birbal, Akbar rewarded him amply. 

Later in the evening, when Birbal’s wife heard what had transpired in the court, she confronted him gently, asking him not to give such risky answers in the future, and why would he even do that? “Because,” Birbal replied calmly, “it was an ignorant question.”

Moral:- Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.