Birbal’s Meeting with Akbar

There was a boy named Mahesh Das. When 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 Mahesh 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. 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, 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.

Birbal's Meeting with Akbar

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 bursted into the laughter.

The guard was hauled to receive his humiliating bribe. The King said, “You are as brave as you were when you were a child. You have grown into a cleverer young man. I was trying to weed out the corrupted people from my court, but your little trick has done what I wouldn’t have done even after passing several laws. From now on, on the basis of of your wisdom, you shall be called “Birbal” and you will stay by my side as my advisor.”

That is how Birbal was born.