38 AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.
Parsees he took the worship of the fire and of the sun as
to him light and its heat seemed the most beautiful symbol
of the divine spirit.44 He also adopted the holy cord of the
Hindus and wore upon his forehead the colored token cus-
tomary among them. In this eclectic manner he accommo-
dated himself in a few externalities to the different reli-
gious communities existing in his kingdom.
Doubtless in the foundation of his Din i Ilahi Akbar
was not pursuing merely ideal ends but probably political
ones as well, for the adoption of the new religion signified
an increased loyalty to the Emperor. The novice had to
declare himself ready to yield to the Emperor his property,
his life, his honor, and his former faith, and in reality the
adherents of the Din i Ilahi formed a clan of the truest and
most devoted servitors of the Emperor. It may not be
without significance that soon after the establishment of the
Din i Ilahi a new computation of time was introduced
which dated from the accession of Akbar to the throne in
After the new religion had been in existence perhaps
five years the number of converts began to grow by the
thousands but we can say with certainty that the greater
portion of these changed sides not from conviction but
on account of worldly advantage, since they saw that mem-
bership in the new religion was very advantageous to a
career in the service of the state.45 By far the greatest
number of those who professed the Din i Ilahi observed
only the external forms, privately remaining alien to it.
In reality the new religion did not extend outside of
Akbar's court and died out at his death. Hence if failure
here can be charged to the account of the great Emperor,
yet this very failure redounds to his honor. Must it not
be counted as a great honor to Akbar that he considered
** M. Elphinstone, 524.
45 Noer, I, 503.