Birbal was a minister in the court of Akbar, the great Mogul Emperor. Birbal, apart from his sharp intellect, was also a devotee of Sri Rama. Akbar had a special regard for Birbal. Akbar used to openly ask Birbal to clarify his impulsive – and very often strange doubts. Birbal never failed to give an immediate and a fitting reply to such questions. Wherever Akbar went, he used to take Birbal along with him.
During one such instance, when they traveled for some official purpose, they had to take a route through a dense forest. In the course of the journey, both were totally exhausted and famished. So they decided to rest under the shade of a tree for a while before continuing their journey. Since Akbar was very hungry, he wanted to look around the place to see if he could find a house to get some food. He induced Birbal to follow suit.
But Birbal, who was in the midst of Rama Naam Jap (repetition of Rama’s name), turned down Akbar’s request.
Akbar looked at Birbal and said, ‘Mere chanting of the name of the Lord would not fetch you food. You have to put in your efforts…. You cannot achieve anything without self effort…’
Akbar left Birbal in the pursuit of pacifying his belly. In a little while, he spotted a house. The inmates of the house were overjoyed to see their King coming to their very doorstep for food. They treated him to the best of their capacity. Akbar finished his meal and took a little food for Birbal too, and left the house to meet Birbal. He met Birbal and gave him the food.
‘See Birbal, I told you… I took some efforts for the food and I got it. You were just sitting and chanting Rama Naam, and you did not get any food.’
Birbal ignored his scoffing, and partook the food given by Akbar. After he finished the meal, he looked up at Akbar and said,
‘I have just now experienced the power of Rama Naam, like never before. You are the ruler of the land. But today, even the King had to beg for food. But you look at me. I was just chanting Rama Naam here, and the Rama Naam made the king himself get me food, that too by begging. So I got the food, just by sitting here and chanting Rama Naam without any other special efforts. Such is the power of Rama Naam!!