Srila Prabhupada once told this story:
There was once a muslim king who happened to hear some of the stories from the Mahabharata while travelling through his empire. He was very impressed with the activities of the great personalities he had heard about and upon returning to his palace he called upon one of his royal advisors.
“Can you make a Mahabharata in my name? Is this possible?”, the king asked.
“Yes. Certainly this is possible”, replied the sycophantic servant, “We can start a team of writers in compiling this straight away. In this way all can come to know of your name, your glories, your activities, etc …”
The king was very pleased to hear this and ordered the commencement of the writing of his own personal Mahabharata.
“There is just one thing”, replied the self-interested advisor, “We will need a substantial amount of money for such a great undertaking as this.”
Intoxicated by the possibility of achieving even greater fame the king spoke, “Yes! By all means take as much money as is needed. This is a very important civil service. Here is one hundered lahks rupees.”
After some time the king began to wonder how the work was progressing and inquired from the advisor as to when it would be completed.
The advisor procrastinated, “Oh yes! Very soon. It is coming along nicely. Just a few more weeks.”
In this way the king would ask about his biography and for many months the advisor would stall for time. Eventually the king could wait no longer and gave an ultimatum.
“I am tired of your excuses. I want that this Mahabharata in my name be completed by the end of the month!”
The servant craftily replied, “Yes. Of course it will be finished. We are now just needing one more detail before we can continue writing. Please, sir, tell me how many husbands does your wife have?”
Insulted, the king responded, “How many husbands!? Of course my wife only has one husband! Why would you tempt fate by asking such an impudent question?”
“My dear sir, I am asking because that is one of the main features of Mahabharata. Draupadi was famous for having five husbands so how many husbands does your wife have? Surely we must proclaim your wife to be capable of pacifying more than only five husbands.”
The king was visibly perplexed.
“Well, then it is not possible to write your Mahabharata.”, ended the advisor. He kept the money for himself.
Leave a Reply