The Sun has nine planets rotating around it. Likewise the emperor Akbar had nine ministers. They were like gems. Birbal was one such minister. He was famous for his wit and wisdom.
One day Akbar posed a question before Birbal. Akbar said, ?Oh Birbal you are a Hindu. According to Hindu religion the concept of God is neither clear nor convincing.?
Birbal asked Akbar, ?How??
Akbar said, ?I will ask you three questions. You give me their answers in a satisfactory manner. If you do so I will agree that the Hindu concept of God is convincing?.
?Alright, tell me the three questions?, said Birbal.
So Akbar narrated the three questions. His first question was ?Where is the God?? His second question was, ?How is the God?? And his third question went like this ?What is it that the God does??
Birbal was given 48 hours to provide the answers to the three questions.
Birbal spent 24 hours over these questions. But some how he couldn'tget a perfect answer to any of the questions. So he got restless.
The next day morning Birbal went to the bank of the river. He went on walking in an uneasy mood with his hands folded on the backside.
One cowherd noticed that Birbal is in worried mood. So he courteously asked Birbal, ?Sir, you look very much upset. What is the cause of your anxiety??
Birbal replied, ?It is no use telling you the complex questions which I am expected to answer?.
?Sir, please do tell me the questions. I will attempt to answer them, illiterate though I am.?
Upon insistence by the cowherd, Birbal told him the cause of his worry. Birbal narrated him the questions which he had to answer within 24 hours.
The cowherd closed his eyes for a while. He thought deeply over the questions. Then he opened his eyes and said, ?Alright I know the answers.?
?Very good. Since you know the answers, I offer you to present yourself in the royal court and answer the questions yourself.?
After some hesitation, the cowherd agreed to proceed to the royal court and answer the questions himself before the emperor Akbar.
So the next day the cowherd was taken to the court and presented before Akbar.
Akbar was surprised when he heard from Birbal that an illiterate cowherd would answer the three important questions posed by him before Birbal.
The cowherd saluted the emperor and he proceeded. The cowherd said, ?Sir, your first question is ?Where is the God??? I am a Hindu. And according to the Hindu tradition whosoever appears at your door as a guest, is the God himself. Atithi Devobhava so say the scriptures. So I am your guest, so I myself am a God. That God is present here and now. Sir, that answers your first question.?
Akbar was mute. He had to accept the answer to his first question.
Your second question is, ?How is the God?? Sir, I am your pious guest?nay a God himself. You have accepted my statement. Now Sir, according to our tradition, the guest viz. atithi has to be welcomed properly. However, I am sorry to say Sir, you have not accorded welcome of any kind to me.?
?Alright, O atithi, say what is it that you would like me to welcome you with??, asked Akbar.
?I would like to have a cup of milk?, said the cowherd.
Immediately a cup of milk was ordered and offered to the cowheard.
?Sir, I would like to have a spoonful of sugar to make the milk sweet?, said the cowherd.
So the sugar was offered to the cowherd with due honour. The cowherd mixed the sugar with the milk. Thereafter, the cowherd asked the emperor, ?Where is the sugar??
The emperor said, ?The sugar is dissolved in the milk. So it can'tbe seen.?
?Does that mean that sugar has vanished??, asked the cowherd.
?Certainly not. The sugar is present. But it can'tbe seen?, said the emperor.
?So, that answers your second question Sir, like the dissolved sugar God is not seen but it'spresence is felt every moment in every object?, said the cowherd.
?Sir, you have accepted me as a God, I being an atithi?, continued the cowherd.
?Oh sure? said Akbar with a nod. ?And Sir, you have kept me standing. You have not offered me high seat of honour. On the contrary, you yourself, Sir, are sitting on high pedestal, which is contrary to our scriptural dictates.?
The emperor realised his mistake. He stepped down immediately from the throne, seated the cowherd on the throne and kept himself at the feet of the cowherd.
?See Sir, what has happened now. This very event provides answer to your third and the last question. ?What is it that the God does?? Just see the God can make an emperor a beggar and a beggar an emperor. He is so powerful.? The emperor Akbar had to accept the answer to the third question as well. He was very pleased with the knowledge of the illiterate cowherd. He honoured the cowherd with rich reward.