The Birth of Akbar

When Humayun was forced to abdicate by Sher Shah, he fled into the deserts of Rajputana with a small group of followers. On the way, he married Hamida Begum. One morning he was engaged in fighting a terrible battle against his enemy. The battle was raging and Humayun was leading the attack. Suddenly Humayun saw his faithful palace messenger trying to make his way towards him, but the soldiers were not allowing the messenger to come to the front of the army. Humayun issued an order that the messenger be allowed through.

Humayun took shelter for a moment in a secluded place to receive the messenger. The messenger bowed to the Emperor and said, “O great Emperor Humayun, I have just come from Umarkot. The Empress Hamida Begum has delivered a son.”

Humayun was so delighted and excited. Across the battlefield, he called out, “Allah be praised! My son and heir has been born. We shall name him Akbar.”

Then he said to the messenger, “Alas, this is my fate! My son has been born, yet I am still fighting my enemies and no victory is in sight. I have nothing of value with me to give you, O messenger, for bringing me the happiest news. All I have is a small quantity of musk in this tiny box. This is the only thing I have to offer you. But I tell you, one day my son’s fame will cover the length and breadth of the world as the fragrance of the musk fills the air here. Like perfume, my son’s fame will one day spread throughout the world.”

It was the twenty-third day of November 1542. Humayun and his soldiers continued on and seized the town of Jun. A few weeks later, Hamida arrived with Akbar and Humayun saw his son for the first time. He said, “My father gave me the name ‘Humayun’, which means ‘Fortunate’. He was right. I am truly fortunate, for I see in you, my child, all the world’s fortune. I clearly see that you will be the greatest of all Moghul Emperors. I see it and I feel it.”

Then he said to his wife, Hamida Begum, “I am once more leaving for the battlefield. I am a warrior. I fight with the outer enemy, while religious mendicants, spiritual people, fight with the inner enemies: anger, pride and so forth. I do not have time to fight against the inner enemies. Outer enemies are more than enough for me to cope with. But our son, Akbar, will also fight against the inner enemies. He will inwardly and outwardly be divinely great and supremely good.”


from The Moghul Emperors
by Sri Chinmoy