Friday, September 29, 2006
"I shall have you hanged," said a cruel and ignorant king to Nasrudin, "if you do not prove such deep perceptions such as have been attributed to you." Nasrudin at once said that he could see a golden bird in the sky and demons within the earth. "But how can you do this?" the King asked. "Fear," said the Mullah "is all you need."
Time and time again Nasrudin passed from Persia to Greece on donkey-back. Each time he had two panniers of straw and trudged back without them. Every time the guard searched him for contraband. They never found any.
"What are you carrying, Nasrudin?"
"I am a smuggler."
Years later and more prosperous in appearance, Nasrudin moved to Egypt. One of the customs men met him there.
"Tell me, Mullah, now that you are out of the jurisdiction of Greece and Persia, living here in such luxury - what was it that you were smuggling when we could never catch you?"
One day Nasrudin saw a man sitting in a pall of gloom. When asked for the reason behind his sorrow, the man replied that his life had become so miserable that he had collected all his money and was wandering around seeking happiness. All of a sudden, Nasrudin picked up the man's purse and dodging him, disappeared from his sight. After some time Nasrudin placed the bag at a place where the frantic man could see it and then hid himself behind a tree. When the man found his purse he forgot his grief and began dancing with joy. Mullah murmured: "Isn't there another way to bring happiness to a sad man?"
Many years ago a wise peasant lived in China. He had a son who was the gleam in his eyes and a white stallion which was his favorite belonging. One day his horse escaped from his grounds and disappeared into the fields outside the village. The villagers came to him one by one and announced their condolences. They said, "You are such an unlucky man. It is so bad." The peasant answered, "Who knows. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's good." The people left. The next day the stallion returned followed by twelve wild horses. The same people returned and told our wise man about how lucky he was. "It's so good." He replied once more, "Who knows. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad." As it happens, the next day his one and only son was attempting to break in one of the wild horses when the horse fell down and broke his leg. Once more everyone came to condole him. They said, "It's so bad." Again he replied, ""Who knows. Maybe it's bad, maybe it's good." Three days passed and his poor son was limping around the village with his broken leg, when the emperor's army entered the village announcing that a war was starting and they conscripted all the young men of the village. However, they left the son since he had a broken leg. Once more, everyone was so jealous of our man. They surrounded him talking about his shier luck. "It is so good for you," they said. He answered all thus, "Who knows. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad."
"How old are you Mullah ?"
"But you said the same the last time I asked you, two years ago !"
"Yes, I always stand by what I have said."
One day the Mullah noticed that his donkey was missing. He ran to the wise man's house.
'Well, Mullah, what is it this time?'
'My donkey is gone! Where can I find it?'
The wise man was quite fed up with the Mullah. 'Nasrudin,' he said, 'the donkey has run off, turned into a man and been appointed the magistrate in the next town.'
Thanking the wise man for his information, the Mullah trudged to the court. There sat the magistrate, and Nasrudin shook his fist at him:
'Come home at once, you foolish animal!'
The magistrate was furious. 'Who are you and how dare you talk to me like that? I'll have you sent to the cells!'
'I'm the well-known Mullah Nasrudin, and I have it on the best authority that you are my donkey.'
'That's ridiculous. Nobody in his right senses would credit such a thing!'
Nasrudin drew himself up to his full height. 'Say what you like he said, 'I prefer to believe the statement of a wise man rather than that of a donkey.'
Nasrudin was walking along a lonely road one moonlit night when he heard a snore seemingly directly beneath his feet. Suddenly he experienced fear and was about to flee when he tripped over a dervish lying in a pit which he had dug for himself, partly underground.
"Who are you?" the Mullah stammered.
"I am a dervish, and this is my contemplation place."
Nasrudin replied, "You will have to let me share it. Your snoring frightened me out of my wits, and I cannot continue any further this night."
"Take the other end of this blanket, then," said the dervish without much enthusiasm, "and lie down here. Please be quiet, because I am keeping a vigil. It is a part of a complicated series of exercises. Tomorrow I must change the pattern, and I cannot stand any interruption."
Nasrudin fell asleep for a while. Then he woke up, very thirsty.
"I am thirsty," he told the dervish.
"Then go back down the road, where there is a stream."
"No,I am still afraid." replied Nasrudin.
"I shall go for you then," said the dervish. "After all, to provide water is a sacred obligation in the East."
"No, please don't go for I am still afraid to be alone!"
"Take this knife, to defend yourself then," said the dervish.
While he was away Nasrudin frightened himself still more, working himself up into a frenzy, which he tried to counter by imagining how he would attack any demon who threatened him.
Presently the dervish returned.
"Keep your distance, or "I'll kill you!" said Nasrudin.
"But I am the dervish," said the dervish.
"I don't care who you are - you're maybe a demon in disguise. Besides, you have your head and eyebrows shaved!" The dervishes of that order shave their head and eyebrows.
"But I have come to bring you water! Don't you remember-you are thirsty!"
"Don't try and ingratiate yourself with me, Demon!"
"But that is my hole you are occupying!" said the dervish.
"That's hard luck for you, isn't it? You'll just have to find another one." replied Nasrudin.
"I suppose so," said the dervish, "but I am sure I don't know what to make of all this."
"I can tell you one thing," said Nasrudin, "and that is that fear is multidirectional."
"It certainly seems stronger than thirst, or sanity, or other peoples property," said the dervish.
"AND you don't have to have it yourself in order to suffer from it!" said Nasrudin.
In India, elephant keepers train baby elephants to stay put by tying a rope around one leg and staking it into the ground. The baby elephant pulls and pulls on the rope to no avail. This teaches the elephant that no matter what he does he cannot get away when attached to the rope. Later when the elephant is grown up and the keeper wants the elephant to stay put all he does is to tie a small piece of rope on that leg and the giant elephant is held to the spot by his own mind.