A Perfect Bull’s-eye

‘Defender. Cloud-archer.’ – Nicholas Roerich, 1937 – WikiArt

The Mullah Nasruddin is what could be called a sublime idiot. He is a liar, irreverent, a disturber of peace. But he is also ingenious, free, full of wit, a timeless figure whose stories have spread and been adapted the world over. In the Sufi tradition, they were used for study purposes. “There is the joke, the moral — and the little extra which brings the consciousness of the potential mystic a little further on the way to realisation.” writes Idries Shah.

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The Mullah Nasruddin brought his students to the fair so that they could watch him compete in the archery contest. Before his first shot, the Mullah fixed his cap military style and, assuming a soldier’s posture, drew the bow and fired. The arrow missed the target completely, and the crowd roared with derisive laughter.

Then he picked up the bow again, this time with little strength, and shot the second arrow. It flew straight, but landed far short of the mark. Again, the onlookers guffawed. For the last of his three allotted shots, Nasruddin nonchalantly turned to face the target, aimed, and let fly. It was a perfect bull’s-eye.

The crowd went wild, then fell into a stunned silence. Nasruddin chose the moment to take his prize and indifferently started to walk on. 

But his students and the astonished throng demanded an explanation. 

Nasruddin complied and told them, “For the first shot, I was identified with a soldier, face-to-face with the enemy. Fear made the arrow miss. With the second shot, I became like the man who, having failed miserably with the first shot, was so anxious and eager he could not concentrate. He simply had no power.”

“And the third shot?” inquired a brave soul. “Who fired that one?” 

“That? Oh, that was me.”

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Nasruddin’s pointers:
Nasruddin makes the point perfectly clear. Why is it that to be ‘me’, I think that I have to do something? I have to pretend, imitate, add, subtract, hide, and god knows what else. I make such efforts, such desperate attempts, at being myself, and yet it’s not really working. I fail again and again at being just myself. I am only myself plus. But simply being my plain, simple self, I’m not. I miss the mark. And then I find ways to reconcile my various fabricated selves into an acceptable one. One that would make a little sense, that would have some kind of logic, that would  be presentable to the world. Well, it seems that there is too much thinking that goes into it, isn’t there? So how can I be ‘me’? Nasruddin is almost discarding this ‘being me’, brushing it aside very matter-of-factly. He seems to imply that ‘being me’ is the simplest thing to achieve. It’s not even worth considering. I am ‘me’ by only ‘being’. There is no ‘more’ in simply being. And don’t think that this is too easy, too universal, not enough the fancy ‘me’ that you’ve been trying to be for so long — and all along failing it so miserably. Listen carefully: This ‘being’ is the ‘me’ that has been perfectly designed for the ‘you’ that you truly are. No ‘me’ could ever be more ‘you’ than this me-being, this ‘I am’. This ‘being’ will make your life easier, happier. You will never miss the mark with ‘I am’. For the mark is yourself. And see for yourself: by being my most precious, simple self, I already am that, that I am. See? This is a perfect bull’s-eye! Nasruddin knew it all along. What clever man he is! Always hitting the target — as far as his true Self is concerned!

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The Nasruddin’s story is borrowed from ‘365 Spirit: A Daily Journey for Your Soul’ – by Aaron Zerah – (A to Z Spirit Publishing).

‘Nasruddin’s pointers’ is by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘365 Spirit: A Daily Journey for Your Soul’ – by Aaron Zerah – (A to Z Spirit Publishing)
– ‘Every Day is a Blessing: 365 Illuminations to Lift the Spirit’ – by Aaron Zerah – (Grand Central Publishing)
– ‘As You Grieve: Consoling Words from Around the World’ – by Aaron Zerah – (Sorin Book, U.S.)
– ‘The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin’ – by Idries Shah – (ISF Publishing)
– ‘Nasreddin Hodja: 100 tales in verse’ – by Raj Arumugam – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Websites:
A to Z Spirit (Aaron Zerah’s website)
Nasreddin Hodja (Wikipedia)
The Idries Shah Foundation
Nicholas Roerich (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Self Recognition (An interrogation by Nasreddin Hodja…)
I Am Nobody (The newly discovered identity of Nasreddin Hodja…)
Hodja Tells the Truth (A story where Nasreddin Hodja tells the truth…)

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‘I’ is the Goal

Here is a reminder from Nisargadatta Maharaj. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

Try to be, only to be. … All you need is to be aware of being, not as a verbal statement, but as an ever-present fact. The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are. It is all very simple. First of all, establish a constant contact with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognisance, and grow into a centre of love in action. ‘I am’ is a tiny seed which will grow into a mighty tree — quite naturally, without a trace of effort.’

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Further exploring on the subject:

Ask yourself the question: ‘Am I aware?’, and look inside for the answer, stay there until you can genuinely answer ‘yes’ to the question. Use also ‘I am’. Or ‘What is it that knows or is aware of my experience?’. I am nothing that can be thought, felt, sensed or perceived; that is, I am nothing, not a thing or any kind of objective experience. I am the ever-present witness of experience, but am not myself an object of experience.”
~ Rupert Spira

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Every perception, thought or feeling is known by you. You are the knower of the world through the sense organs; of the sense organs through the generic mind; and of the mind – with its activity or passivity – by your self alone. In all these different activities, you stand out as the one knower. Actions, perceptions, thoughts and feelings all come and go. But knowingness does not part with you, even for a moment. You are therefore always the knower. How then can you ever be the doer or the enjoyer?
After understanding the ‘I’-principle as pure Consciousness and happiness, always use the word ‘I’ or ‘knower’ to denote the goal of your retreat. The ‘I’ always brings subjectivity with it. It is this ultimate, subjective principle ‘I’ – divested of even that subjectivity – that is the goal
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~ Atmananda Krishna Menon 

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Pay no attention [to your thoughts]. Don’t fight them. Just do nothing about them, let them be, whatever they are. Your very fighting them gives them life. Just disregard. Look through. Remember to remember: ‘whatever happens — happens because I am’. All reminds you that you are. Take full advantage of the fact that to experience you must be.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Self-Enquiry becomes very useful. You simply allow thoughts to come to you and you enquire in a gentle way, ‘To whom do these thoughts come? Who is thinking these thoughts? I am.’ You wait and you enquire sincerely, ‘Who am I? What is the source of this I?’ When I say you have to dive within yourself, that’s how you dive within yourself. People often ask me, ‘How do you dive within yourself?’ That’s how you do it. You enquire, ‘Where does the I come from?’ The I is deep, deep within yourself. ‘What is the source of the I?’ Then thoughts will come to you again and you repeat the same thing over again. ‘To whom do these thoughts come? They come to me. Who is this me? What is the source of me?’ Me and I are synonymous. ‘Where does the me come from?’ You do it over, and over, and over again…”
~ Robert Adams

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The Prophet said, Whoever knows their self, knows their Lord.
He did not say, Whoever annihilates their self, knows their Lord
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~ Awhad al-din Balyani

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The picture is by brenkee / Pixabay

Bibliography:
– ‘Being Aware of Being Aware’, – by Rupert Spira – (Sahaja Publications)
– ‘I Am That‘ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Silence of the Heart’ – by Robert Adams – (Infinity Institute)
– ‘Know Yourself’ – by Awhad al-din Balyani – (Beshara Publications)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
Nisargadatta Maharaj (Wikipedia)
Robert Adams (Wikipedia)
Atmananda Krishna Menon (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
Khetwadi Lane (Homage to Nisargadatta Maharaj)

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