If you were to tour around India asking people to tell you stories from the lives of sacred figures, you would hear an assortment of tales, from the historical to the mythical, and among them would be enumerable yarns of the miraculous and farfetched-of flying walls, death-defying resurrections, and the constant intercession of a broad array of deities on behalf of their beleaguered devotees. Among these accounts, you would detect recurring motifs, and one of those would consist of an encounter between a saint and a figure of temporal authority, a king or a Sultan for instance. In many cases these encounters were benevolent. One of the most common anecdotes you might hear is of some run-in between any number of saints and the great Mughal ruler of the sixteenth century, Akbar. Akbar and his clever Brahmin advisor Birbal have been recorded in hagiography as having met at least 30 different sacred figures from many religions spanning a period of time anywhere within 200 years after Akbar’s death, including such Hindu bhakti luminaries as Tulsidas (c. late sixteenth century), Haridas (c. early sixteenth century), Surdas (c. early sixteenth century), Dadu (c. late sixteenth century), Mirabai (c. early sixteenth century), and Namdev (c. early fourteenth century). In addition, we have an endless series of assertions in hagiography that other prominent rulers went to saints for advice, as when the seventeenth-centuryMaratha king, Shivaji, sought out the advice of both Tukaram, a low caste agriculturalist, and Ramdas, a Brahmin saint. In the sixteenth century, Madhukar Shah, a ruler in the area of Madhya Pradesh, is said to have appealed to the religious figure, Hariram Vyas; and the famous Bengali saint, Chaitanya, was regularly wooed by Prataparudra, an early sixteenth-century ruler.1