Nasir Uddin

Nasir Uddin and the Pundit

Nasir Uddin was a very pious king. He refused to take money from his kingdom’s treasury for his own personal needs. To make extra money, he copied the Koran in his own handwriting and then sold the books. He also made a few other things to sell, and in this way he would cover his personal expenses.

One day a great pundit came to his palace to visit him. Nasir Uddin happened to be copying the Koran, and the pundit watched him for some time. At one point the king stopped writing and started talking to his guest. The pundit said to him, “Your Majesty, unfortunately you have made a mistake in a word you were copying.”

Nasir Uddin circled the word that the pundit wanted to correct. Then he erased it and wrote in the word that the pundit suggested. The pundit was pleased that the king had listened to him. When he left the palace, however, the king erased the word and replaced it with the word that he had written originally.

His guards asked him, “Why are you doing that? If it was the right word in the first place, why did you change it?”

The king answered, “Although I may be king, he is a pundit, and he knows much more than I do in this field. Unfortunately, he happened to be mistaken in this case. But had I told him he was wrong, his pride would have been hurt. I wrote down the incorrect word so that he would not be embarrassed. But I don’t want to leave the wrong word here. If I did, whoever buys this book would have the wrong version.

“There is no point in hurting people even if you are right. It is nothing for me to make myself humble, especially when it is a matter of book learning. Had he advised me about ruling my kingdom, do you think I would have listened to him? Managing my kingdom is a different story. But it is always good to show respect for someone’s knowledge in their own field.”


from Illumination-Experiences on Indian Soil
by Sri Chinmoy