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 succor of the elephant?”

Birbal replied, “Your Majesty, give me a few days to answer your question.”

The Emperor granted him the request.

Birbal made a wax model of the Emperor’s grandson and dressed him up in the grandson’s clothes. He then told the servant in charge 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 into 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.”

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