Learn Solving Problems – The Birbal Way

We have all grown up enjoying and appreciating the witty tales of Akbar-Birbal. Each Birbal story illustrates Birbal’s prudence and problem solving acumen. Today on this very special day of Gandhiji’s and Shastriji’s Birthday, I am glad to start this very special series of posts on “Problem Solving – The Birbal Way”.

In each post I’ll narrate a problem faced by Birbal. However, I’ll not specify the solution sited by him. It’s up to you to provide solutions as comments below. The solution can be similar to Birbal’s solution or it can be completely different. From each story also try to deduce some management principles applicable in today’s life.

What can we learn from Birbal?

Birbal’s way of problem solving encompasses all the skills required for solving complicated puzzles, riddles and brain teasers. Logical reasoning, lateral thinking, critical thinking, out-of-the-box thinking, etc., all are applied wherever required by Birbal to solve the problem at hand.  I’ll narrate a formula in the form of an acronym – BRIBAL, which stands for each step of the problem solving process, resulting in an ideal solution.

Formula for Problem Solving

B – Begin

I – Investigate

R – Relate

B – Balance

A – Apply

L – Link

I got this formula from a book worth its price, named – Solve Your Problems – The Birbal Way

So here goes the first story of this series –

First Story – Lesson from the Holy Book

Akbar, once said to Birbal – “Birbal, it is said in one of your Hindu Holy Books that Lord Vishnu one day heard the agonized cry of one of His elephants and rushed to its aid. Why would a god with so many servants at his disposal himself rush to help an elephant?”

Give a solution below as comment, which could have satisfied intellectually demanding emperor Akbar.

Read the next post in this series – Akbar-Birbal Tales – Retrieving the Ring

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Vineet Patawari

Hi, I'm Vineet Patawari. I fell in love with numbers after being scared of them for quite some time. Now, I'm here to make you feel comfortable with numbers and help you get rid of Math Phobia!

8 thoughts to “Learn Solving Problems – The Birbal Way”

  1. Swaroop and Raghav, well done…now you are thinking like Birbal. You are logic and reasoning is bang on target.

    The story goes like this, Birbal asked the care-taker of Akbar’s grandchild to take a doll (exactly like the child) close to the pool and to stumble upon knowingly and drop the child into the pool and start panicking. Birbal instructed him to do all this when Akbar was in his balcony from where all this was visible. The moment Akbar saw this rushed to the pool and jumped into it.

    Using this incident, Birbal answered Akbar’s question as described by Raghav and Swaroop.

  2. Well, There are many ways Birbal could have dealt with the situation… He might have made an arrangement with some woman in the court to make an agonizing noise, ran to the King and told him that the Queen has been bitten by a snake or something…. Hearing this, the King’s natural reaction would be to go to the Queen himself… He could have made use of this situation to make the King realize that we jump onto our heels upon hearing that our loved ones are in danger… And that the Lord is never partial.. He loves all life forms equally…

  3. Vineet has a given a interesting clue to the way we gotta think like birbal.From what Vineet said i think Birbal would have recreated the whole situation by askin someone close to akbar, to become ill and that would prompt akbar to go and c the well being of the person.With this as example birbal would have pointed that Vishnu cared that much for his elephant as we would do for our close ones

  4. instead of believing servants it is best to investigate directly by this god knows what is the real situation of the elephant

  5. It is always best to assess the situation and then assign people relevant to the task.So he goes first assess the situation of the agonozing elephant and then orders the servant to the needful.

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