Raja Birbal was a Brahmin and was a close associate of Akbar. His original name was Mahesh Das. He was born in 1528. The name of his father was Ganga Das.
Birbal was a great singer and poet in the Mughal Court of Akbar the Great. He was a master in Sanskrit, Persian and Hindi language. Akbar was fond of art and literature and was highly influenced by him.
Akbar gave him the the title of “Raja Birbal”. Raja Birbal is perhaps the most brilliant of the legendary Nava Ratna (Nine Jewels) of Akbar’s court. He was one of the few members of the Mughal Court to accept the religion of Din-i-ilahi. It is often believed that because of the importance given to Birbal in the Mughal Court, other members of the court felt jealous of Raja Birbal.
His wit was renowned. His witty sayings coupled with the gift of Hindi verse raised him high in the imperial favour. Fantastic anecdotes of his bold and clever sallies are still current among simple people throughout this country.
Mughal Emperor Akbar was tolerant towards all the religions and gave opportunity to people of all religion to serve in the Mughal Court. Raja Birbal was extremely brilliant and became advisor to the Mughal Emperor. Though inexperienced, he even led some military campaigns on behalf of Akbar. Raja Birbal lost his life in one of the military expeditions. The dead body of Birbal could not be recovered and which caused immense grief in the heart of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar wanted the dead body of Birbal to be cremated according to Hindu Traditions.
Raja Birbal died in 1586.