The foolish and the wise

Akbar once asked his Minister, "Birbal, tell me, who are the wise people on earth and who are the fools?"

Birbal replied, "Your Majesty, the wise people are those who perform their duties and do not leave anything incomplete. Once they have undertaken something, they complete it. The fools are those who never fulfil their duties."

"Why are these people fools?" asked Akbar.

Birbal replied, "They are fools because they have to come back to earth again and again. If they do not complete their work in this incarnation, they will have to do it in their next incarnation. They are fools to come back to this earth again in order to finish the work that they could have done in one incarnation."


In the spiritual life, the wise are those who want to complete their first and foremost task in this incarnation. Their only work, their main duty, is to realise God. The beginning of their work is aspiration; the end of their work is realisation.

Wise people know that there are many things to do. They know that if they do not start working, they will never be able to accomplish what they want to accomplish. So they start right away before they lose either the inclination or the capacity to do the work.

The wise do three things correctly. First they cry for God. Then they become one with God. Finally they work for God. But the fools do not cry for God. They do not care to become one with God, and they do not want to fulfil God. This is the difference between a fool and a wise man. The fools have the capacity to do this work, but they do not utilise it. Unless they utilise their capacity, unless they accomplish their duty, which is God-realisation, they will never be satisfied. So the fools have to start working like the wise.