Monday, 17 June 2013

Maheshdas Brahmbhatt alias Birbal

All of us would have heard stories about Birbal and how he kept Emperor Akbar happy with his wit and sharp intellect. But here is the story of Birbal when he was Maheshdas Brahmbhatt and how he became Birbal.

Maheshdas Brahmbhatt was Birbal’s original name. He was born in Madhya Pradesh in the year1528. The story of how he became Birbal is an interesting one. One day Akbar asked a few of the learned pundits in his durbar to narrate the story of Ramayana to him. The Pundits were elated at such a request from none other than the Jahanpana himself. They started telling the story taking turns, each one filling in the details missed by the other. The pundits were panting by the time they completed the story and were thrilled at their skills at narration. Just as they completed Akbar rose from his throne and cleared his throat before continuing. 

He then told the pundits that he was the reincarnation of Lord Shri Ram. The pundits were aghast at such a comparison and could not give a fitting reply to the Emperor. They all fell silent and exchanged knowing glances at each other. After the day’s work the pundits were returning to their homes discussing the day’s happenings in an animated voice. A young Brahmin who was passing by heard their conversation and offered to solve their problem. The Pundits were not convinced that the young lad could even stand in front of the Emperor, leave alone resolving the issue. Nevertheless, since the lad, Maheshdas, insisted, they took him to Akbar’s durbar the following day. Akbar on seeing such a young lad asked the pundits what he was doing in their midst. 

Akbar was known for his vanity and his remark did not go down well with Maheshdas. He counter questioned the emperor and asked him if something was wrong with him. The emperor jokingly said that since he had not started growing hair under his chin he should befriend people of his intellectual capacity. The lad excused himself for a few minutes and returned with a goat in his hand. He told the emperor that the pundits had an issue and he had accompanied them to resolve the issue. Since the goat had a lot of hair under its chin, he was happy to leave the goat to resolve the issue. The entire court room was stunned, but the Emperor continued. He allowed Maheshdas to make his point. Maheshdas brought a beaker filled with water a few stones. He asked the emperor to drop the stones one on top of the other. After several attempts Akbar failed in doing so. He finally gave up and asked the young Brahmin to tell him what he meant by asking Akbar to do this. 

Young Brahmbhatt told the Jahanpana, that if he were the avatar of Sri Rama he could have done this easily as Lord Rama built the bridge across the ocean thus.

Akbar understood that his claim was baseless and was thrilled to find a bold and intelligent man. He offered Maheshdas Brahmbhatt a job in his palace, which Brahmbhatt gladly accepted and stayed on with Akbar, assuming the name of Birbal.