Classic story – Journey to Paradise. As we all know, Birbal was not only Emperor Akbar’s favorite minister but also a minister dearly loved by most of the commoners, because of his ready wit and wisdom. People visited him from far and near to seek advice on professional as well as personal matters too.
However, there was a group of ministers that was jealous of his growing popularity and disliked him intensely. They outwardly showered him with praises and compliments, but on the inside they began to hatch a plot to kill him.
One day they approached king’s barber with a plan. As the barber was extremely close to the king, they asked him to help them get rid of Birbal permanently. And of course, they promised him a huge sum of money in return. The wicked barber readily agreed.
Next time when the king called upon him to trim his beard, the barber started a conversation about emperor’s father whom he used to serve. He sang praises of his fine, silky-smooth hair. And then as an afterthought he asked the king that as he (Akbar) was enjoying such great prosperity, had he made an attempt to do anything for the welfare of his ancestors in paradise? Will someone volunteer to do – Journey to Paradise – keep reading.
King was furious at such an irrelevant question and told barber that it was not possible to do anything because they were already dead. Barber mentioned that he knew of a magician who could come of help. That magician could send a person up to heaven to inquire about his father’s welfare. But of course this person would have to be chosen carefully; he would have to be intelligent enough to follow magicians instructions as well as make on-the-spot decisions. He must be wise, intelligent and responsible. Barber then suggested the best person for the job would be – the wisest of all ministers, Birbal to complete this Journey to Paradise.
Akbar was very excited about hearing back from his father and asked barber to go ahead and make the arrangements immediately. He asked him what was needed to be done. Barber explained that they would take Birbal in a procession to the burial grounds and light a pyre. The magician would then chant some ‘mantras’ as Birbal would ascend to the heavens through the smoke. Chanting would help protect Birbal from the fire. Will Birbal return safe from – Journey to Paradise – keep reading.
King happily informed Birbal of this plan. Birbal said that it is a brilliant idea and wanted to know about the brain behind it. When learning that it was barber’s idea, he agreed to go to heaven on condition that he be given a large some of money for his long journey as well as one month’s time to settle his family so that they had no trouble while he was gone. King agreed to his conditions.
In the duration of this month, he got a few trustworthy men to build a tunnel from the funeral grounds to his house.
On that day everyone reached the burial grounds and after the pyre had been lit, Birbal escaped through the concealed door of that tunnel. He disappeared in to his house where he hid for a few months while his hair and beard grew long and unruly.
In the meantime his enemies were rejoicing as they thought they had succeeded in their plan of killing Birbal. Then one day after many, many months with his hair and beard grown long and shaggy, Birbal came out of hiding.
“Birbal!” cried the Emperor. “Where have you come from?”The king was extremely pleased to see him. How was Birbal’s Journey to Paradise – keep reading for more.
“From Paradise, Majesty. I spent such a lovely time with your father that he gave me special permission to return to earth.” Birbal told the king that his father was in the best of spirits and had been provided with all the comforts except one.
King wanted to know what was lacking because now he thought he had found a way to send things and people to heaven.
Birbal answered, “Do you see my whiskers and long hair? Well, it seems very few barbers make it to Heaven. Your father asks you to send him yours at once.”
So the king decided to send his barber at once to serve his father in heaven. He called upon both the barber and the magician to prepare to send barber to heaven.
The barber could say absolutely nothing in his own defense as he was caught in his own trap. And once the pyre was lit he died on the spot. Nobody dared to conspire against Birbal again. This is how Birbal completed his adventurous – Journey to Paradise.