What was the greatest satisfaction in the world?

By Sidhartha Mishra


Akbar the Great was a Mughal emperor who ruled in the Indian sub-continent from 1556 to 1605.He had nine jewels in his court who helped him in his day-to-day activities and were given various roles and responsibilities.One amongst these nine was Birbal.He was the emperor’s advisor.He was known for his wit and humor.His cunningness was so famous that many persons from around the world came to test his knowledge and wittiness.

Once it so happened that emperor Akbar was faced with a question from a subject.The question was very simple but its reply was very complex.So much so that Akbar asked his courtiers that whosoever could give its reply would be amply rewarded.

Now, what was the question?

The question was that What was the greatest or best satisfaction in the world?

Many courtiers came with their replies.

The first reply came from a father whose daughter had attained marriageable age.Obviously his reply was that the best satisfaction is when a father gives his daughter in marriage to a good and deserving candidate.He further added that giving daughter in marriage is known as the biggest ‘punya’ or sacred thing.No donation or ritual can equal this ritual of one’s daughter’s marriage.

The emperor was almost convinced but did not make haste.He waited for some more answers.

Another courtier replied that the best satisfaction is when a person attains sufficient wealth and riches so that his after retirement life is secured.He tried to convince the Emperor saying that when a person has wealth then he can get good proposals for his children for their marriage,could buy whatever he wants,could go wherever he wants including pilgrimage.

This answer was also OK…

The royal Imam said that making Allah proud by doing noble and good deeds gives immense satisfaction and is the most satisfying thing in the world.

One more reply was that attaining Moksha or salvation is the best thing.

Someone replied that the fulfilment of a desire gives total satisfaction.

Birbal was quiet all this while.Akbar decided to ask him.

Akbar said, Birbal why are you quiet?Please give your opinion.

Birbal said, Sir, the most satisfying thing in the world is toilet satisfaction.It is satisfaction which a person gets when one goes to bathroom in the urgent situation as otherwise it would bring drastic circumstances!

The whole court erupted into roars of thunderous laughter.

The emperor too said laughingly that Birbal you are amazing.But Birbal was serious.

The result was not declared as the emperor could not come into any conclusion.

Birbal waited for the right moment to prove his point.

The moment came after a few months when the Emperor was invited to attain a function in a remote village for which one had to travel by a boat and cross the river.

Akbar took Birbal and some soldiers with him.

The royal entourage started in the morning and traveling an hour by boat , reached their destination by twelve noon.They were given a royal welcome.Then they were served lunch and were taken to a resting place for taking nap.

As it was a new place Akbar asked a sevak (servant) to make arrangements for going to the bathroom.Birbal knew that this was the moment.He very cunningly said that Maharaj! These are arrogant tribal people .They do bathroom in the open.You being an Emperor ,how can you do that.Please wait a little longer and we would be back in the palace soon.

Birbal’s answer seemed genuine.

The program started.It went on for three hours ,after which the royal party embarked upon their return journey.

During the boat ride Akbar said to Birbal dear Birbal please let me do toilet here itself.I can control no longer!

But Birbal wanted to ensure that the emperor understands fully the importance of doing toilet in time!

He said that Maharaj!there are soldiers all around.What will they say?

Please wait a bit more.We would be home soon!

However just when the entourage reached the shore, Akbar ran to a secluded place saying Birbal I can wait no longer!

After coming back he exclaimed Oh!Birbal what a relief!

He further added that he now understood as to why Birbal did not allow him to go to the bathroom for so long!

The next day the emperor Akbar, declared Birbal as the winner!And said that Really!Toilet Satisfaction is the best satisfaction in the world!

One can live without the other satisfactions like money,fame,donations,marriage etc.But it is not possible to live without attaining toilet satisfaction.

The whole court applauded the judgement of the Emperor and praised Birbal for yet another witty answer!

By Sidhartha Mishra, Sambalpur


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