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Surdas

Once in the court of Akbar when all his ministers were present, the emperor called them to attention. “I would like to appoint a King’s representative to places like Mathura, Gokul and Brindavan. I would like to appoint Surdas for this post. What is your opinion on this?” he asked. All the ministers unanimously said that Surdas was the right person for the job.
Surdas was also happy that the King had chosen him and said that he would do his job in earnest. Soon he left for Mathura where he spent his time singing praises of Lord Krishna and the people and the places flourished under his guidance. However, he began donating money generously to the needy and his coffers began to dwindle.
Soon it was time for Janmashtami, the time to celebrate Krishna’s birthday. But there was no money for this and his cashier came and reminded him about that. He was in a dilemma as to how he would be able to celebrate the function on that day. He however told his cashier that Krishna will take care of this. At that time two men arrived with tax money to be paid to Emperor Akbar and told Surdas to send it across to the King. After they left, Surdas told the cashier to use the tax money and that they would explain the situation to the King at a later date.
The news reached Akbar that Surdas had used the tax money to celebrate Janmashtami and the King was livid. He sent his men to get the money from Surdas. Two of the king’s representatives were sent to Surdas. Seeing them Surdas told them to wait and went to his backyard. Here he took a big box and filled it with pebbles. Then he wrote a note to Akbar saying that he was willing to be punished after the festivities of Janmashtami were over and that he was sending some stones in the box just to delay his arrest and send the men who had come to take him away.
Meanwhile, after filling the box and writing the note, he told the waiting men that he had converted the money into gem stones as they would be safer that way and that they should take the box to the king and give him the note. The men went and relayed the information to Akbar. After reading the note Akbar was angry that Surdas had the cheek to send stones in the box and asked the men to open it. When the box was opened everyone around was surprised that the box was filled with gem stones of several kinds.
Impressed with Surdas’ devotion to Lord Krishna, Akbar returned the box with the gemstones to Surdas to serve his Lord and let him serve as his representative in the three cities.

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