Today is day 22 of the month of #LivingDeeply.
It’s around 1570 AD, and the Mughal king Akbar has assembled the nine finest artists and thinkers in his court. Tansen was the best singer in Akbar’s nine jewels. His singing was magical- he could make the clouds rain, set lamps on fire, or tame wild elephants with his singing.
One day, Akbar was very pleased with Tansen and called him the best singer on Earth. Tansen bowed, but disagreed. He said the best singer is his teacher. Akbar was used to the best, so this was news! He asked to have the teacher come to the court and sing for him. “My teacher doesn’t sing for anyone any more”, said Tansen. Akbar was sad, he would never be able to hear the best singer in the world.
A few days later, he cajoled Tansen into taking him to the teacher. Tansen agreed to take him with one condition- they have to make sure the teacher doesn’t see them there. The teacher only sings of the love between Radha and Krishna. Akbar agreed, and went incognito with Tansen.
Early in the morning at Nidhivan near Vrindavan by the river Yamuna, Swami Haridas was up before the birds. Akbar hid behind the bushes. Tansen went to sit by his teacher. With his eyes closed, Swami Haridas sang to wake up his sweet Krishna. His song poured freely with love and devotion, rousing the plants, flowers and birds even from their slumber.
Behind the bushes, Akbar heard the most beautiful singing of his life. His eyes welled up with joy as he sat there transfixed, moved by the emotional outpouring of love. When the teacher was done singing, Akbar and Tansen quietly started back for the court.
As they rode back in silence, Tansen explained, “I sing to please you, the king of India, but my teacher sings to please his beloved, the master of this universe and all of creation”.
At work, I often ask my colleagues after a presentation or a meeting, “आँखों में आंसू आये क्या?” (were you moved to tears)? My passion should not just move me, but move my colleagues, my clients, and move mountains. That’s the standard I want to work at. Just showing up doesn’t count.
That’s the way to #LivingDeeply. Isn’t it?