Here is a short story that I would like to share from the homepage of Thanu Padmanabhan.
In the court of Akbar Badshah ( `Badshah’, loosely translated, means `emperor’), there was a musician called Tansen. He used to enthrall everyone in Akbar’s Court with his superb performances. Once, after such a rendition, Akbar started praising him sky-high and said, “There can be no-one else in this world who can sing so well”. Tansen disagreed, saying he knows of a hermit who lives in the jungle on the banks of Yamuna river who is far superior and that Tansen himself has learnt music from him for sometime. Akbar, who could not believe this, wanted to listen to this hermit in order to judge for himself. Since the hermit did not want any publicity, it was decided that Tansen will take Akbar near the place where the hermit lived and they should listen to his music without creating any disturbance.
They set out one day and reached the jungle near the river Yamuna, where, at a distance, they saw the hermit’s hut. As the sun was setting on Yamuna, with all Nature at peace, the hermit came out his hut, sat on a rock facing the river and started singing. Akbar could immediately see that this was music of a completely different class which Tansen could never produce.
On their way back, Akbar queried, “Tansen, you say he taught you music; clearly, he has held back some techniques from you”.
“No”, said Tansen. “I know all the technical aspects of music he does.”
“But, Tansen, then how do you account for such difference in quality ?”
“It is simple. He sings for Yamuna while I sing for Badshah”.