‘Hibiscus and Sparrow’ – Katsushika Hokusai, 1830 – WikiArt
Nasreddin Hodja 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.
One day Nasrudin walked into a shop.
The owner came forward to serve him.
‘First things first,’ said Nasrudin. ‘Did you see me walk into your shop?’
‘Have you seen me before?’
‘Never in my life.’
‘Then how do you know it is me?’
I happen to be me, apparently located in, and certainly connected with this body, amongst billions, trillions of other possibilities. I am me, I can be addressed, recognised, challenged, by other beings or things without them ever having the experience of being this particular ‘me-form’ that I am. I am uniquely built. And yet how silly it would be that the consciousness that I am was just but one version of trillions of other consciousnesses. If it was, what would be the chances for these different consciousnesses — including animals’ — to be so closely related to each other, let alone meet in any deep way? Separation does’t seem to make sense. Like Nasrudin is implying, how would we even recognise each other? How would we know, when we address another person, that we could relate at all, that she is a ‘me’ in the same way that I too am a ‘me’? This simple recognition of the ‘I am’ in me, or her, or him, is the very experience of our own true nature, the oneness that reverbates in each and every human ‘I am ness’. It is said in one Upanishad, “When a man directly realises this effulgent Self, the Lord of all that has been and will be, he no longer wishes to hide himself from it.” So even though we think we are, nobody is in fact hidden, private, with his essential being. We are being in full light. We think we are hidden because of a few petty thoughts, images, or memories. But the essential and fundamental part of our being is shared. Stephen Jourdain once wrote: “Somewhere behind you, someone calls for you. Hey, John! Or Peter, or Paul, or Annie. You turn around. I give the name ‘me’ to the gentle and saintly reason of this movement. It’s as simple and luminous as that. No reason to search further. (…) To aim for another encounter other than this one is furious folly.” I had this thought one day that if a young man, a westerner, rich, educated, were to suddenly experience the being of an old, poor, uneducated Indian woman, it would take him a long time to notice that a change had occurred. Such is the power of ‘I am’, of the sense of ‘me’ in every being, of the pervasiveness of our shared being in — or more accurately said, beyond — our apparently different forms. Maybe that’s why, as Nasrudin once asserted, “everything is true”…
One day a fool asked Nasrudin ‘is God true?’
‘Everything is true’ replied Nasrudin.
‘Even false things?’
‘Even false things are true’, said Nasrudin.
‘But how can that be?’
‘I don’t know. I didn’t do it’, shrugged Nasrudin.
The Nasreddin stories are borrowed from ‘The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin’ by Idries Shah, and ‘Sufism/Nasrudin’ Wikibooks.
‘Nasreddin’s pointers’ is by Alain Joly
– ‘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)
– ‘Radical Awakening: Cutting Through the Conditioned Mind’ – by Stephen Jourdain – (Inner Directions Publishing)