Lai-Khur the Drunkard

Osho on Enlightened Sufi Mystic Lai-Khur

HAKIM SANAI: THIS NAME IS AS SWEET to me as honey, as sweet as nectar. Hakim Sanai is unique, unique in the world of Sufism. No other Sufi has been able to reach to such heights of expression and such depths of penetration. Hakim Sanai has been able to do almost the impossible. If I were to save only two books from the whole world of the mystics, then these would be the two books. One would be from the world of Zen, the path of awareness: SOSAN’S HSIN HSIN MING. I have spoken on it; it contains the quintessence of Zen, of the path of awareness and meditation. The other book would be Hakim Sanai’s HADIQATU’L HAQIQAT: The Walled Garden of Truth — in short, THE HADIQA: The Garden. This is the book we are entering today.

THE HADIQA is the essential fragrance of the path of love. Just as Sosan has been able to catch the very soul of Zen, Hakim Sanai has been able to catch the very soul of Sufism. Such books are not written, they are born. Nobody can compose them. They are not manufactured in the mind, by the mind; they come from the beyond. They are a gift. They are born as mysteriously as a child is born, or a bird or a rose flower. They come to us, they are gifts.

So first we will enter into the mysterious birth of this great book THE HADIQA: The Garden. The story is tremendously beautiful. The Sultan of Ghazna, Bahramshab, was moving with his great army towards India on a journey of conquest. Hakim Sanai, his famous court-poet, was also with him, accompanying him on the journey of this conquest. They came alongside a great garden, a walled garden. That is the meaning of FIRDAUS: the walled garden. And from FIRDAUS comes the English word `paradise’. They were in a hurry; with a great army the Sultan was moving to conquer India. He had no time. But something mysterious happened and he had to stop; there was no way to avoid it. The sound of singing coming from the garden caught the Sultan’s attention. He was a lover of music, but he had never heard something like this. He had great musicians in his court and great singers and dancers, but nothing to be compared with this. The sound of singing and the music and the dance — he had only heard it from outside, but he had to order the army to stop. It was so ecstatic. The very sound of the dance and the music and the singing was psychedelic, as if wine was pouring into him: the Sultan became drunk. The phenomenon appeared not to be of this world. Something of the beyond was certainly in it: something of the sky trying to reach the earth, something from the unknown trying to commune with the known. He had to stop to listen to it.

There was ecstasy in it — so sweet and yet so painful, it was heart-rending. He wanted to move, he was in a hurry; he had to reach India soon, this was the right time to conquer the enemy. But there was no way. There was such strong, strange, irresistible magnetism in the sound that in spite of himself he had to go into the garden. It was Lai-Khur, a great Sufi mystic, but known to the masses only as a drunkard and a madman.

Lai-Khur is one of the greatest names in the whole history of the world. Not much is known about him; such people don’t leave many footprints behind them. Except for this story, nothing has survived. But Lai-Khur has lived in the memories of the Sufis, down the ages. He continued haunting the world of the sufis, because never again was such a man seen. He was so drunk that people were not wrong in calling him a drunkard. He was drunk twenty-four hours, drunk with the divine. He walked like a drunkard, he lived like a drunkard, utterly oblivious of the world. And his utterances were just mad. This is the highest peak of ecstasy, when expressions of the mystic can only be understood by other mystics.

For the ordinary masses they look irrelevant, they look like gibberish.

You will be surprised to know that the English word ‘gibberish’ is based on a sufi mystic’s name, Jabbar. It is because of Jabbar’s utterances that the English word ‘gibberish’ has arisen. But even Jabbar was nothing compared to Lai-Khur.

To the ignorant, his utterances were outrageous, sacrilegious, against tradition and against all formalities, mannerisms and etiquette — against all that is known and understood as religion. But to those who knew, they were nothing but pure gold. He was available only to the chosen few, because only very few people can rise to such a height where he lived. He lived on Everest — the Everest of consciousness, beyond the clouds. Only those who were fortunate enough and courageous enough to climb the mountain were able to understand what he was saying. To the common masses he was a madman. To the knowers he was just a vehicle of God, and all that was coming through him was pure truth: truth, and only truth.

He had made himself deliberately notorious. That was his way of becoming invisible to the masses. Sufis do that; they have a very strange method of becoming invisible. They remain visible — they remain in the world, they don’t escape from it — but deliberately they create a certain milieu around them, so that people stop coming to them. Crowds, curious people, stupid people, simply stop coming to them; the Sufis don’t exist for them, they forget all about them. This has been an ancient method of the Sufis so that they can work with their disciples.

You can see it happening here. You are my Sufis. I am almost invisible to the people who live in Poona. I am here and not here: I am not here for them, I am here only for you. I am invisible even to the neighbors here. They see and yet they don’t see, they hear and yet they don’t hear. Lai-Khur had made himself deliberately notorious. Now, can you find a more notorious man than me? And it is so good: it keeps the foolish away. He was now visible only to the perceptive. A master, if he really wants to work, if he means business, has to become invisible to those who are not authentic seekers. That is what Gurdjieff used to do. Gurdjieff must have learnt a few things from Lai-Khur. Gurdjieff had lived with Sufi masters for many years before he became a master in his own right. And when I have finished this story you will see many similarities between Gurdjieff and Lai-Khur. Lai-Khur called for wine and proposed a toast “to the blindness of the Sultan Bahramshah.”

Now, first the great mystic called for wine. Religious people are not supposed to drink wine. It is one of the greatest sins for a Muslim to drink wine; it is against the Koran, it is against the religious idea of how a saint should be. Lai-Khur called for wine and proposed a toast “to the blindness of the Sultan Bahramshah.” The Sultan must have got mad. He must have been furious — calling him blind? But he was under the great ecstatic impact of Lai-Khur. So although he was boiling within, he didn’t say a thing. Those beautiful sounds and the music and the dance were still haunting him, they were still there in his heart. He was transported to another world. But others objected, his generals and his courtiers objected. When objections were raised, Lai-Khur laughed madly and insisted that the Sultan deserved blindness for embarking on such a foolish journey. “What can you conquer in the world? All will be left behind. The idea of conquering is stupid, utterly stupid. Where are you going? You are blind! Because the treasure is within you,” he said. “And you are going to India; wasting time, wasting other people’s time. What more is needed for a man to be called blind?”

Lai-Khur insisted: “The Sultan is blind. If he is not blind then he should go back to his home and forget all about this conquest. Don’t make houses of playing-cards, don’t make castles of sand. Don’t go after dreams, don’t be mad. Go back! look within!”

The man who has eyes looks within, the blind man looks without. The man who has eyes searches for the treasure within. The man who is blind rushes all over the world, begging, robbing people, murdering, in the hope that he will find something that he is missing. It is never found that way, because it is not outside that you have lost it. You have lost it in your own being: light has to be brought there.

Lai-Khur insisted that the Sultan was blind. “If he is not, then give me the proof: order the army to go back. Forget all about this conquest, and never again go on any other conquest. This is all nonsense!” The Sultan was impressed, but was not capable of going back.

It must have been the same situation as had happened before, when Alexander the Great was coming to conquer India, and another mystic, Diogenes laughed at him. And he said, “Why? For what are you going on such a long journey? And what are you going to gain by conquering India, or by conquering he whole world?”

And Alexander said, “I want to conquer the whole world so that finally I can rest and relax and enjoy.”

And Diogenes laughed and said, “You must be a fool — because I am resting now!” And he was resting, relaxing on the bank of a small river. It was early morning and he was taking a sunbath, naked on the sand, He said, “I am resting and relaxing NOW, and I have not conquered the world. I have not even THOUGHT of conquering the world. So if you are conquering the world and trying to become victorious just to rest and relax, it looks absolutely meaningless, because Id am resting without conquering anything. And the bank of this river is big enough, it can contain us both. Rest here. Throw away your clothes and take a good sunbath and forget all about conquering!

“And look at me: I am a conqueror without conquering the world. And you are a beggar.”

The same must have been the situation with the Sultan Bahramshah, and Lai-Khur must have been again the same type of man.

In this world there have been only two types of people: those who know, and those who don’t know. It is the same drama played again and again, the same story enacted again and again. Sometimes it is Alexander the Great who is playing the blind person and it is Diogenes who tries to wake him up. Some other time it is Lai-Khur who is trying to wake Sultan Bahramshah.

Alexander said, “I am sorry. I can understand your point, but I cannot go back. I have to conquer the world; without conquering it I cannot rest. Excuse me. And you are right, I concede it.”

And the same happened with Bahramshah. He was sad, ashamed, shy. But he said, “Excuse me, I have to go, I cannot go back. India has to be conquered. I will not be able to rest or sit silently until I have conquered India.”

Then a toast was called “To the blindness of Hakim Sanai” — because he was the next most important person with Bahramshah. He was his adviser, his counsellor, his poet. He was the wisest man in his court, and his fame had penetrated into other lands too. He was already an accomplished poet; a great, well-known wise man. Then a toast was called “to the blindness of Hakim Sanai,” which must have given the great poet a considerable jolt. There were even stronger objections to this on the grounds of Sanai’s excellent reputation, his wisdom, his character. He was a man of character, a very virtuous man, very religious. Nobody could have found any flaw in his life. He had lived a very very conscious life, at least in his own eyes. He was a man of conscience. More objections were raised. Because maybe the Sultan was blind, he was greedy, he had great lust, he had great desire to possess things, but that could not be said about Hakim Sanai. He had lived the life of a poor man, even though he had been in the court. Even though he was the most respected man in Bahramshah’s court, he had lived like a poor man — simple, humble, and of great wisdom and character.

But Lai-Khur countered that the toast was even more apt, since Sanai seemed unaware of the purpose for which he had been created; and when he was shortly brought before his maker and asked what he had to show for himself he would only be able to produce some stupid eulogies to foolish kings, mere mortals like himself. Lai-Khur said that it was even more apt because much more is to be expected from Hakim Sanai than from Sultan Bahramshah. He has a greater potential and he is wasting it, wasting it in making eulogies for foolish kings. He will not be able to face his God; he will be in difficulty, he will not be able to answer for himself. All that he will be able to produce will be this poetry, written in praise of foolish kings like this blind man, Bahramshah. He is more blind, utterly blind. And listening to these words and looking into the eyes of that madman, Lai-Khur, something incredible happened to Hakim Sanai: a satori, a sudden enlightening experience. Something died in him immediately, instantly. And something was born, something utterly new. In a single moment, the transformation had happened. He was no longer the same man. This madman had really penetrated his soul. This madman had succeeded in awakening him.

In Sufi history, this is the only case of satori. In Zen there are many cases; I have been talking to you about those cases. But in the world of Sufism this is the only case of satori, sudden enlightenment — not methodological, not gradual; in a shock it happened. Lai-Khur must have been a man of tremendous insight. Hakim Sanai bowed down, touched the feet of this madman and wept tears of joy that he had arrived home. He died and was reborn. That’s what a satori is: dying and being reborn. It is a rebirth.

He left the Sultan and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Sultan was not willing, he was not ready to allow him to go. He tried in every way to prevent him: he even offered his only sister in marriage, and half the kingdom, to Hakim Sanai. But now all was meaningless. Hakim Sanai simply laughed and he said, “I am no longer a blind person. Thank you, but I am finished. This madman has finished me in a single stroke, in a single blow.” And he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Why? Later on, when he was asked he said, “Just to absorb, just to digest what that madman had given me so suddenly. It was too much! It was overflowing, I was overwhelmed; it had to be digested. He had given me more than I was worthy of.”

So he went to Mecca on a pilgrimage, to meditate, to be silent, to be a pilgrim unknown to anybody, to be anonymous. The thing had happened, but it had to be absorbed. The light had happened, but one has to get accustomed to it. And when he became accustomed to the new gestalt, to the new vision, he came back to Lai-Khur and presented him this book, THE HADIQA. That’s what he wrote on the way back from Mecca. He poured his experience, his satori, into this book. These words are saturated with satori. This is how this great book was born, like a child is born, mysteriously; like a seed becomes a sprout, mysteriously; like a bird comes out of the egg, mysteriously. Like a bud opens early in the morning and becomes a flower, and the fragrance is spread to the winds. Yes, this book was not written. This book is a gift from God. This book is a gift from God, and a gratitude from Hakim Sanai to that strange madman, Lai-Khur…

God happens in a state of let-go, in surrender. You cannot seek and search for God. All searching will remain rational, all seeking will be based in the mind. The mind is the great seeker. And all search, enquiry, seeking, is based in curiosity. And deep down behind all your search is the ego: “I want to become a knower.” It hurts not to know, it hurts to remain ignorant. The ego wants to gratify itself. And the ego cannot know God, because ego is the barrier.

We are not separate from existence, and the ego has given us the illusion of being separate. The ego simply means the illusion of being separate from existence. Surrender is dropping the illusion of separation. Let-go means “I am no more.” Let-go means “I dissolve.” Let-go means “I drop all searching, seeking, enquiring.” Let-go means “I will be just passive and available.” And then it happens.

That’s how it happened to Sanai. Looking into the eyes of that man, Lai-Khur, listening to his strange words, listening to his strange music, feeling his presence, it happened. And Sanai had worked his whole life and hadn’t reached any closer. And then out of nowhere, in the presence of the master, Lai-Khur, it just happened of its own accord. He must have been in shock when Lai-Khur said, “Hakim Sanai, you are blind!” Nobody had said that to Hakim Sanai. He was respected and thought to be wise; even kings and emperors used to ask his advice. And this madman, a beggar, calls him blind! He must have been shocked. In that shock his mind stopped. It was almost like an electric shock.

If you are available to the master’s energy, it is an electric shock. It can shatter your mind. It can create a chaos — a beautiful chaos, a chaos out of which stars are born. And such a chaos was created by the impact of Lai-Khur. Sanai disappeared. For a moment he was not there. Only the master and his presence, and those great waves coming from the master… he was drowned. It was a moment of let-go. And God came in the form of Lai-Khur. God came through the flute of Lai-Khur.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Unio Mystica, Vol 1

Chapter #1

Chapter title: Polishing the Mirror of the Heart

1 November 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Sufi Masters and Mystics Al-Hillaj-Mansoor, Farid, Junnaid, Rabiya Al Adabiya, Lai-Khur, Hakim Sanai, Jalaladdin Rumi, Sarmad and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Perfect Master, Vol 1, 2
  2. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
  3. The Secret
  4. Until You Die
  5. Just Like That
  6. The Wisdom of the Sands, Vol 1, 2
  7. The Razor’s Edge
  8. The Revolution
  9. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  10. The Hidden Splendor
  11. Beyond Enlightenment
  12. The New Dawn
  13. Be Still and Know
  14. The Sword and the Lotus
  15. And the Flowers Showered
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