Birbal’s wisdom was so praiseworthy that the Emperor trusted him to run the empire with little or no interference. Had Birbal lived in our times, he would have called the Prime Minster.
As always happens, one man’s success is another man’s chalice and the king’s brother felt less appreciated and was jealous of Birbal.
He made all effort, tried everything in his power to implicate Birbal in various scandals to get him fired, but to no avail. Nevertheless, he did not stop harassing the King to give him Birbal’s office.
Hearing of the king’s brother’s evil intentions, Birbal resigned and left.
The king’s brother got what he wanted, he replaced Birbal as the prime minister.
Not long after this, the Empire had a dream. In the dream he was instructed to spend three hundred gold coins, which was the easy part of the dream.
The catch 22 was that in return,
- he should get a hundred gold coins here in this life;
- a hundred gold coins in the other world and
- another hundred gold coins neither here nor there.
In keeping with tradition, he delegated this task to the new Prime Minister, his brother. The new PM pondered this, deliberated and after much brooding over this – with no breakthrough – he gave up.
His tenure as PM had obviously not started too well and his main concern was worrying how he would get himself out of this mess. When he was close to breaking point, upon his wife’s advice, he sought Birbal’s help.
Birbal a man who harboured no ill will, said, “Bring me the gold coins. I shall handle the rest.”
And with the bag of gold coins, Birbal hit the road.
Walking about in town he noticed a rich merchant celebrating his son’s wedding. Birbal donated a hundred gold coins to him and bowed courteously saying,
“The Emperor sends you his good wishes and blessings for the wedding of your son. Please accept the gift he has sent.”
The merchant felt honoured that the king had sent a special messenger with such a precious gift and reciprocated with expensive gifts and a bag of gold coins for the king.
Next, Birbal went to the city’s slums. There, he bought food and clothing in exchange for a hundred gold coins and distributed them to the destitute in the name of the Emperor.
When he returned to his neighbourhood, he called Carlsberg and Mibawa Sounds and organized the mother of all bashes. He spent a hundred gold coins on it.
The next day, he went to the Emperor and reported that the King’s wishes had been fulfilled.
Naturally, the Emperor wanted to know how he had done it. Birbal narrated his mission and explained that:
“The money I gave to the merchant for the wedding of his son – you have got back while on this earth. The money I spent on buying food and clothing for the poor – you will get it in the other world. The money I spent on the bash – you will get neither here nor there.”
The Emperor’s brother, who was present, saw just how unfit he was for the premiership, and resigned.
Birbal got his job back.
Hearing this yarn from an Indian friend, I could not help but ponder the Malawi mess which is getting worse every day.
Wanting or aspiring for high office is one thing, but delivering in that office is another.
I have a lot of respect to the Emperor’s brother in this story because he quit the charade that he was delivering, something our type of leaders can never do.
Moral of the story:
- What we spend on friends is returned or reciprocated in some form or the other.
- What we spend on charity is converted into blessings from God which will be your eternal property.
- What we spent on pleasures and luxuries just fritters away.
So with Christmas festivities coming, when you spend your money, think a little, if not a lot.