Akbar's justice-light

It happened that the traders in Akbar's empire continually quarrelled and fought among themselves. These traders were of Arab, Indian and Portuguese origin and each one tried to exploit the other.

One day a Portuguese merchant became angry with a Muslim trader, so he tied a copy of the Koran around the neck of a dog and set the dog free. The dog started roaming along the streets, going here and there at random with the holy book hanging around its neck.

Akbar's mother, Hamida Begum, saw the dog and became furious. She said, "Our Koran is such a sacred book! How can someone put it around the neck of a dog! It is an insult to Allah."

Hamida Begum asked her son, the Emperor, to send someone to catch the dog and punish it. She also wanted Akbar to find out who the owner was so that he could be punished mercilessly.

Poor Akbar! On the one hand, he was very devoted to his mother. On the other hand, what kind of punishment could there be for this kind of crime? Suddenly a brilliant idea entered into his mind. He asked one of his servants to bring him a monkey. When the servant brought it to him, Akbar tied a Bible around the neck of the monkey and asked the servant to let the monkey loose in the street. The monkey started running and jumping along the street, going from one place to another with the Bible hanging around its neck.

When Akbar's mother heard about this, she was not satisfied. She said to her son, "What are you doing? You are making this a fight between a dog and a monkey. Is this what I wanted? I wanted the dog and its owner to be punished."

Akbar replied, "Mother, how can I do that kind of thing? Someone has created this mischief to make fun of our religion, but I do not know who the culprit is. The sacred book is innocent, the dog is innocent and nobody will confess to being the owner of the dog. So if somebody speaks ill of Muslims and puts a Koran around a dog's neck, then the best thing that we can do is to put a Bible around a monkey's neck. We can only play the same kind of trick on that person. If he makes fun of us, we can make fun of him. But more than that we cannot do. We cannot punish people for this kind of joke."

Sri Chinmoy, The Moghul Emperors.First published by Agni Press in 2001.

This is the 1368th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.


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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book The Moghul Emperors, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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