Scene 3

(Akbar’s palace.)

AKBAR: Tansen, how it is that you cannot play so well? Your master lives in a poor cottage, whereas you have all kinds of advantages and opportunities. Even then you cannot play as well as he. I appreciate your sincerity in telling me that he plays far better than you do, but I cannot account for this. Why is it? What prevents you from playing as well as he does?

TANSEN: O Emperor, I play for you, for human beings; I play for name and fame; I play for wealth. My teacher plays for God, the Lord Supreme. For him, there is only God. God is everything. I want to please human beings who live in the world of human pleasure; he wants to please the Absolute Supreme. When one plays for the world, one gets what he wants: appreciation, admiration, flattery. But when one plays for God, the Absolute, one gets God’s boundless Grace, His boundless Blessing and Transcendental Delight. God, the Infinite Compassion, enters into his music and, at every moment, he plays celestial, transcendental, soul-stirring music — music that awakens the Universal Consciousness, music that feeds the Universal Consciousness, music that manifests the Universal Consciousness in aspiring souls.

AKBAR: Tansen, you are a great musician, but your sincerity is greater than your music. Your inner depth is by far the greatest. Your inner wisdom is by far the best. I bow to your music with love. I bow to your sincerity with joy. I bow to your inner wisdom with my heart’s gratitude.