Akbar’s Clever Minister

This is a traditional Indian story about jealously.

The Wings of Joy

The great Mughal Emperor Akbar had a minister who was also the court jester. His name was Birbal. Once for amusement Akbar asked Birbal: "How is it that there is no hair on my palm? There is hair everywhere else on my body. How is it that there is none on the palm of my hand?"

Birbal immediately answered: "It is because you always have plenty of money in your hand, and you give it away. Your palms are being rubbed constantly, so the hair there has all been rubbed away." "But how is it that you do not have hair on your palms either?" Akbar asked. Birbal cleverly replied: "Just because I constantly receive money from you, my palms are being rubbed. You are constantly giving me money, I am constantly receiving it, and that is why we have no hair on our palms."

"But what about those who do not get money from me the way you do? Why do they not have hair on their palms?"

"Oh, that is because they are very jealous. Jealous people are always thinking of the money that you are giving me and that I am receiving from you. They constantly rub their hands together in anticipation of also receiving some money. They are always burning with jealously and greed, and so they just rub and rub their palms together. That is why they do not have any hair on their palms either." Akbar was highly amused and pleased; but those who were listening to Birbal were terribly embarrassed at his accusation, and bowed their heads in shame.

By becoming jealous of what the giver has or of what the receiver gets, one can never have joy or peace of mind. When we are threatened by jealously or other negative forces, we have to feel that we have the strongest friend within us, and that friend is the soul. Let us take shelter under the wings of the soul. Let us invoke the soul and pray for guidance. If we call on this friend, naturally our soul will fight against the negative forces on our behalf; the soul will save us, protect us, illumine us, and perfect us.

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