One day the Emperor Humayun was addressing his court. His Prime Minister was sitting right in front of him, but he was not paying any attention to the Emperor’s talk. He was totally exhausted and he was sleeping soundly.
Humayun became more and more disappointed and disgusted with his Prime Minister. He said to him in a loud voice, “What are you doing? You are sleeping right in front of me! Have you no respect? What bad manners you have!”
The Prime Minister replied, “Your Majesty, I was not sleeping.”
“Then what were you doing?” asked Humayun.
The Prime Minister said, “Your Majesty, wise people say that when an Emperor speaks, you have to listen with folded hands. When a great orator speaks, you have to look at his eyes. And when your loving and compassionate friend speaks, you have to feel his heart. While I was sitting in front of you, I was seeing you as all three persons: as an Emperor, a great orator and a compassionate friend. So I was closing my eyes and wondering what I should do – should I listen to you as the Emperor, as a great orator or as my most compassionate friend?”
Humayun smiled and said, “You are such a clever fellow, such a wonderful rogue and such a perfect flatterer! All right, you have won the case. Not only do I forgive you, but I will give you a nice reward for your extraordinary ability to save yourself.”
from The Moghul Emperors
by Sri Chinmoy