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April 5, 2011

Mira's Space: The Pot of Wisdom (Akbar & Birbal)

Mira's Space: The Pot of Wisdom (Akbar & Birbal): "Once a foreign traveller visited the court of Emperor Akbar. He offered the gifts sent by the king of his..."

The Pot of Wisdom (Akbar & Birbal)

Once a foreign traveller visited the court of Emperor Akbar. He offered the gifts sent by the king of his region to the him. In turn, Akbar offered return gifts consisting of valuables, ripen sweet mangoes and other specialities of our country to the king of the foreign land.

The traveller wanted to play a witty prank. He told the king, “Oh Emperor! Thank you for the wonderful gifts. Our King will be very happy to receive them. Our land is so rich and have everything in it.  We have heard that you have wise men in your court, which pulled me to pay a visit here. So I want a pot of wisdom  to take along with me to show & prove that to our countrymen”.

Akbar asked his courtiers to face this challenge and offered a prize money to one who will be able to give the traveller what he wanted. Soon some whispering sounds filled the air, with each other looking into their puzzled faces. 

Our brave Birbal raised from his seat and accepted the challenge “Oh Traveller! Please come to me after a month, finishing your business, by that time, your pot of wisdom will be ready for you to show to your country men. But under the condition that you should  transfer it to your pot without damaging  the wisdom and take  it to your country”
The Traveller with mischief sparkling in the corner of his eyes controlled his laughter and readily accepted the conditions of Birbal thinking him a crazy and fool. He walked out of the court so confidently that he had given an’ impossible to accomplish’ task to the fools.

Birbal went to potter’s place and asked him to give a big pot with a small mouth. The potter delivered the pot to Birbal as per his specifications. Birbal then approached a farmer, gave him this pot and told him to cover the pot over the flower of the  plant in his farm. The puzzled farmer afraid of questioning the wise man silently carrid out his order. Birbal told him to keep a watchful eye on the pot and inform him once the crops are ready for harvesting. The day of harvest came . The farmer informed birbal . Birbal told him to remove the pot carefully with its content. The farmer did as he was told. Birbal happily went with the pot of wisdom in his hands. The curious farmer and potter followed him.

The  traveller with a broad smile of victory entered the court after a month, full of pride. He paid his humble respect to Akbar and informed that he had come to collect his pot of wisdom. But Birbal was not found in the court. The courtiers looked at each other suddenly they saw a shadow entering the court. Yes!! Its our Birbal! Now it’s the turn of the traveler who had a puzzled look at his face seeing Birbal with a pot in his hand. 

Birbal handed over the pot to him saying “Oh my friend! Here is the pot of wisdom you have asked for. Please transfer this to your pot and show to your fellow country men as per the condition you have agreed for.” Now its not only the traveller, but the emperor himself and the courtiers all were looking confused and puzzled. Everyone was curious to have a peep inside the pot.  The traveller received the pot and looked into it. His eyes opened widely with a surprise and his face was lit up with a big smile. He bowed before the emperor and said “Oh king, how stupid I am to challenge a wise man. Your countrymen are really wise. My king will be very happy to see this. Please pardon me”

Akbar could not control his curiosity and so are the courtiers. They turned towards birbal hoping to hear it from his mouth. But Birbal stood politely as if nothing had happened. Akbar ordered the traveller to reveal the content of the pot. The traveler handed it over to him. Akabar’s face also lit up and he started laughing loudly. The pot was passed to every one present in the court. Then the entire court was filled with laughters and happy tears.

Akbar called Birbal and presented him with a big bag full of gold coins, hugged him and said “Birbal, I am so happy to have you in my court. Thank you for saving our country’s pride.”
I can see you also curious to know the content of the pot. Ok! Ok! The pot was turned over the flower of Ashgourd plant. The ashgourd * grew inside the pot and filled it completely. Traveller as per the conditions he agreed to Birbal could not transfer the ‘wisdom’ (ashgourd) without breaking the pot. So our clever Birbal has won the game of wit as usual.

* Ashgourd = white Bhopla, Poosanikaai

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