Sweeter than Tansen



Sub Value: Devotion

Akbar the Great, was one of the greatest Mughal rulers of India during the period 1542-1605. He strived hard to unify far flung lands through his good administrative policies and loyalty. He was a patron of arts and culture, religion and during his administration peace and harmony prevailed despite religious and cultural diversities. His Royal court was full of scholars and men of wisdom.   Among them were a chosen few called the “Navratna” or “Nine Gems” who adorned his court with knowledge, wit, music and other arts. Tansen, the court musician, was one of the Nine Gems and was the greatest Sufi musician of his days.

Being a lover of music, Akbar was pleased and delighted, whenever Tansen sang. Legends tell us that when Mian Tansen sang the Raag ‘Megh Malhar’, dark clouds gathered in the sky bringing down the rain. When he sang the Raag ‘Deepak’, the candles would light up automatically; he had the ability to make animals listen to his music. Akbar was immensely proud that he had in his durbar (court), a musician of such great caliber and repute.

One day, while Akbar was engaged in prayer, he heard the distant music of a Haridâs, a wandering minstrel; a beggar singing to the tune of a single-stringed instrument, held in his hand. Akbar was thrilled, enchanted and deeply moved. The sweet soulful music touched him more than Tansen’s music; so much so, that he began to wonder if the Haridas was a better singer than his “Navratna” Tansen.

Akbar summoned for Tansen and questioned, “Mian Tansen, why did the music, sung by the Haridas, appeal more to me than your music? What is the difference in your music and his?” Tansen replied unhesitatingly, “Badshah Salamat (Your Royal Highness)! There is only one difference. I sing for the Badshah of Delhi and his happiness; in return I receive tokens of appreciation from him.  But the Haridas, sings in joy, for the Badhshah of this Universe, the Almighty Lord, with no greed for material wealth or ambition for earthly goods.”

What an enormous difference!


Any work done without expectation and for the love of God derives everlasting joy.

Courtesy: chinnakatha by Sri Sathya sai Baba

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