Tansen The Singer

Tansen The Singer

Here is an anecdote from the life of the famous Emperor Akbar who was very fond of music. Musicians and artisans were given a lot of encouragement at Akbar’s court. The great singer Tansen was his court singer. One day Akbar said, “Tansen, you sing so beautifully. I am sure that there is no one in the world who can sing better than you.” Tansen replied humbly, “Badshah Salamat (your royal highness), I beg to differ. There is one person who sings more sweetly than me.”

Akbar said, “That is impossible. Who is he?” Tansen said, “Oh Badshah! He is my Guru Shri Haridas. If you want to hear him sing, you shall have to come with me to Vrindavan.”

So it was settled. Akbar went to Vrindavan along with Tansen. They reached there in the late evening. Tansen said, “Maharaj, my Guru should be resting now. Let us also sleep. We shall go to see him in the morning.”

In the wee hours of the morning, Akbar woke up to the sound of someone singing. He listened intently. The singer was singing a devotional song, to wake up the baby Krishna sleeping in His cradle. So sweet were the notes and so heavily were they drenched in love and devotion that the voice was divine and sweet beyond words. Akbar was totally immersed in the sweet nectarine words and intoxicating music. Tansen woke up to find Akbar totally overwhelmed by the sweetness of the song that he was unconsciously an audience to. Tansen whispered into the ear of the Emperor, “My Lord that is my Guru Haridas.”

Akbar slowly opened his tear-filled eyes and asked, “You too sing in my court Tansen; but what is this? Yah Allah! What sweetness! I have never experienced this before! What is the difference?” Tansen said, “Badshah Salamat there is only one difference. But it is a great big difference.”
“What is that?”
“My Lord, I sing for the Badshah of Delhi. My Guru Haridas sings for the Badshah of the Universe!”

What an enormous difference! Anything and everything that is done with love and devotion for God becomes sweet and beautiful. Bhagawan Baba tells us that, devotion is not a uniform to be worn on special occasions. Devotion is a way of life!