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After receiving a compliment for having the most wonderful voice in the world from Emperor Akbar, Tansen declines it stating there is someone better. The intrigued Emperor is determined to meet this maestro.
Tansen had just finished performing in Emperor Akbar’s court when the Emperor complimented him and declared he had the most wonderful in the world. However, Tansen shared with his Emperor that there was indeed someone far better than him in singing. This piqued Akbar’s interest and he invited the singer to perform in his court, but the humble master was such that he would not come even if the Emperor was inviting him.
Any other emperor would have been infuriated. But Akbar was a unique individual. If this special musician would not come to him, then he would go to the musician. Tansen then suggested that Akbar visit the master as a humble lover of music. Sant Haridas, Tansen’s music teacher was the man Tansen had spoken of. He led a hermit’s life and was occupied with his usual activities when Tansen and the emperor arrived at his cottage.
He politely refused to sing stating he was too old now. To get him to sing, Tansen derived a plan. He offered to perform a song in front of his guru. And, despite being corrected once, he made a purposeful error. Sant Haridas took Tansen’s tanpura and sang the correct note. Then he began to sing freely. Both Akbar and Tansen seemed mesmerized as they listened to him.
While returning Akbar enquired why Tansen did not sing like his teacher. Tansen beautifully answered that he sings at the Emperor of Hindustan’s command. Guruji, on the other hand, sings for God. His music comes freely and uninvitedly from the depths of his spirit.
Being humble is the key to a content life. All three great personalities, Emperor Akbar, Tansen and Sant Haridas were examples of humility. Akbar could have gotten angry over Sant Haridas’ refusal to perform however, he went over to the guru’s house and patiently waited for him to sing. Tansen was humble for refusing the title of having the best voice in the world and Sant Haridas led an altruistic life even after having such great talent.