30th September is the birthday of Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi a great Sufi Master born 700 years ago in Persia. He is most famous for his technique Sufi Whirling that is practised by his followers to attain to the Ultimate. Rumi’s influence spans Iran, Turkey, Greece and Muslims in Central & Southern Asia. Rumi is also regarded as a great poet, his poems widely translated into many languages.
Osho talks about Rumi’s poetry – Rumi has spoken only beautiful words. He is one of the most significant poets who are also mystics. That is a rare combination; there are millions of poets in the world and there are a few mystics in the world, but a man who is both is very rare to find. Rumi is a very rare flower. He is as great a poet as he is a mystic. Hence, his poetry is not just poetry, not just a beautiful arrangement of words. It contains immense meaning and points towards the ultimate truth.
It is not entertainment, it is enlightenment.
On Rumi’s experience of Enlightenment, Osho says Rumi became enlightened after 36 hours of continuous whirling. Through whirling, Rumi became absolutely clear about his center. That was his experience of the ultimate. Then his whole life he was not doing anything but teaching whirling to people. It is a simple method, the simplest method, but it may suit you or it may not.
When Rumi was asked how he found the Whirling method since no scripture described it as a meditation, Rumi is reported to have said, “Just by looking at children! I tried it myself and I was amazed because the more you twirl, the faster you go, soon you become aware that something deep inside you is absolutely still and unmoving. The whole body is moving and the faster it moves; the more is the contrast between the unmoving and the moving. And the unmoving consciousness within is my soul. That is the center of the cyclone.”
Osho relates an anecdote from the life of Rumi. One day Rumi took his disciples to see a farm where the owners were trying to dig a well. The farmers had dug 8 holes and were working on the 9th. After digging to a certain depth and not finding water, they used to abandon the hole and move to the next. Osho says Rumi wanted to show his disciples how impatience is idiotic. Had these people put all the energy into digging a single hole, they were bound to find water. He was telling his disciples – put your total energy, your total trust arrowed towards one goal. When the Master is with you, who has travelled the path, up and down many times, don’t feel dejected or impatient, don’t start new projects again and again. That way nobody has ever been able to find anything.
I THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS POEM BY RUMI.
WE ARE THE MIRROR AS WELL AS THE FACE IN IT,
WE ARE TASTING THE TASTE THIS MINUTE OF ETERNITY,
WE ARE PAIN AND WHAT CURES PAIN BOTH,
WE ARE THE SWEET COLD WATER AND THE JAR THAT POURS.
Jalaluddin Rumi is one of the greatest Sufi mystics. He is the only mystic whom Sufis have called Mevlana. Mevlana means, our Beloved Master. A few people I love immensely. Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi is one of them, and the reason I love him is that he was not life-negative, but life-affirmative.
And the meditation that he has found and which has continued for seven hundred years among a small stream of mystics was the meditation of a certain kind of dance. His followers are called whirling sufis.
You must have seen small children — they like to whirl; and everybody stops them, because the fear of the parents is that the child may fall, may have a fracture, may get hurt. But in spite of all prohibitions, children love to whirl. And nobody has inquired why children love, all over the world, irrespective of race, nation, religion, why children love to whirl. Jalaluddin Rumi, seeing children whirl, thought that there must be something that the children feel but they cannot express, and perhaps they are not fully aware what it is. So he tried whirling himself, and he was amazed that if you go on whirling there comes a moment when the center of your being remains static and your whole body, mind, brain, everything, whirls. And that center which does not whirl, is you, the center of the cyclone. The whirling is almost like a cyclone, but exactly in the middle of the cyclone you will find a point which has not moved at all. Every wheel needs a center on which to turn, and the center has to remain unturning. You see in bicycles, in bullock carts, wherever there is a wheel, there is something in the center which is unmoving.
Once Jalaluddin became aware that you can find the unmoving center of your being, he tried for thirty-six hours non-stop, without eating, without drinking — he was determined to whirl to his absolute capacity, not to hold back anything… unless he falls, he is not going to stop. Thirty-six hours he whirled, a great crowd watched. The crowd went on changing; people had to go to eat and then they came again. People had to do their work and then they came again; thirty-six hours is a long period. And after thirty-six hours he fell down. And people heard a great laughter. Jalaluddin was laughing loudly, and he said, “You think you have seen me falling, I have also seen myself falling. These thirty-six hours I have not moved a single inch. Now I don’t have to go to Mecca in search of God, I have found him. In the unmoving center of my own being, he is.”
The followers of Rumi don’t have great scriptures, don’t have any rituals, except whirling, and a few beautiful poems by Jalaluddin Rumi, which he used to sing after whirling and falling. He will get up and he will be so drunk — in that drunkenness he will sing a song, and those songs have been collected. That is the only literature the followers of Rumi have. These lines are also from one of the poems of Rumi. Each sentence is impeccable — not only true, but also utterly beautiful. We are the mirror, that’s what I have been saying to you again and again; that we are not the doer, we are only the mirror. Don’t get identified with your doings, with your actions; remain a witness, just a watcher. But we are not taught the most essential things of life, we are taught all kinds of stupid things. The most essential is the art of watchfulness.
I have heard, a drunkard came home in the night. And however drunk you may be, the closer you come to home, as you remember your wife, you almost start becoming sober… just the remembrance. And that day was special, because the wife had got so tired… in the middle of every night he will come, and she will have to get up and open the door, and then the fight…. So she had given him the key that day and told him, “Now behave! When you come home be as silent as possible.”
So he was moving very silently — and a policeman was watching. He thought, This is strange, it is his own house, and he is going as if he is a thief. And finally the drunk tried hard to find the lock. Somehow he managed to find the lock, holding the lock in one hand and the key in another, but he could not manage to make the key enter into the lock. Both his hands were shaking. He said, “This is strange. Is there anybody to help me? The house is shaking.”
The policeman came and he said, “What is the matter?”
He said, “You just hold the house for a moment, so I can open the lock.”
The policeman laughed. He said, “You just give me the key and I will open the lock.” So the policeman opened the lock.
The drunkard wanted no trouble that day. The wife had been really very graceful in giving the key. But on the way he had been fighting with another drunkard, and the other drunkard had scratched him, and blood was oozing from many places in his face. So first he entered into the house, very cautiously — but he stumbled, and the wife said, “Who is there?”
Suddenly he remembered his wife’s dog, so he just went close to the bed, and started rubbing his nose and his tongue on her feet. So she thought that it was the dog, turned and went back to sleep. Then he entered the bathroom, looked into the mirror and said, “My God, in the morning she will find out; so many places blood is coming, where that friend of mine has scratched….” So he took some ointment that was there in the bathroom and put the ointment on every scratch, covering it completely, so that in the morning the wife cannot find out.
And in the morning when the wife went into the bathroom, she shouted, “You idiot! You come here. Who has destroyed my mirror? Who has painted it with the ointment?” This was his doing. Seeing the face in the mirror, naturally he went on putting the ointment on the face in the mirror.
You are not a drunkard, but spiritually you are all asleep. And unless you become a watcher of your own actions, of your dreams, of your thoughts, of your desires — there is no way of transformation, of becoming awake, getting out of this rut of sleep which you have continued in for many lives. Rumi is right when he says, “We are the mirror, as well as the face in it.” We are the watcher and the watched. There is no separation between us and existence. We are part of one whole, just as my two hands are part of one organic unity. I can manage that they fight with each other. I can manage that they are friendly, loving and warm to each other. I can hit one hand with the other hand and wound it. When you are seeing the tree, or the moon, or the river, or the ocean, you are the mirror and the mirrored too. It is one existence. This is the basic conclusion of all the mystics, that the whole of existence is one entity, there is no duality. All duality deep down is joined into one existence.
WE ARE THE MIRROR AS WELL AS THE FACE IN IT.
WE ARE TASTING THE TASTE THIS MINUTE OF ETERNITY.
Just be watchful this minute. In this silence you are tasting something which is beyond time.
We are tasting the taste of this minute of eternity. We are pain, and what causes pain, both. We are agony and we are ecstasy. We are hell and we are heaven, because there is no contradiction in existence. They are all joined together. We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours it.
You can find many contradictions in life. And you can also find that they are all complementaries. It is something very strange, that all the mystics, whether they were born thousands of years ago, or they are alive today, all fundamentally agree on the essential points of spiritual growth and realization. For example: the silence, this minute, gives you not an explanation — but it gives you an experience.
Dancing and singing, allow yourself to be so completely overwhelmed that nothing is left behind. And you have entered into the temple of God, where you are the mirror, and you are the face mirrored in it; where you are the seeker and you are the sought; where you are the devotee and you are the God at whose feet you are offering yourself.
It happened in Ramakrishna’s life… a very strange incident. One great painter wanted to paint the picture of Ramakrishna. After great persuasion Ramakrishna agreed. When the painting was complete, the painter brought it to offer to Ramakrishna. As he gave the painting to Ramakrishna… Ramakrishna touched the feet in the painting with his head. The painter could not believe it. He had heard that that man is mad, but now there was no question: he is certainly mad, touching his own feet with his head! Even his disciples became embarrassed. A great silence fell. Finally one disciple asked, “It is your own painting, your own picture — and you are touching its feet with your head? You do such things… people think you are mad, and you give them every kind of evidence. Even we become embarrassed when people ask us, `Why do you go to Ramakrishna, can’t you find anybody else who is sane?'”
Ramakrishna said, “Have I committed any wrong? I have not touched my own feet. I have touched the feet — because the painting is of somebody who is in deep silence, in Samadhi, in tune with God. You are right, I must be mad, because now I recognize it is my own picture. But at that moment I only felt that the painter has done a great job. He has not only caught the body of the person, but also his spirit.” And Ramakrishna kept that painting his whole life, just behind his bed. It is still there.
While his wife was alive she used to make the bed every day, even after his death. She used to bring food to his room. She used to cook all those delicious things that Ramakrishna liked.
People started saying, “One madman is dead, now this mad woman…”, Sharda was her name. Even disciples of Ramakrishna used to ask her, “When he is dead, what is the point of twice every day making food for him, every night, making his bed?.”
She said, “Should I believe you, or should I believe him? Because when he was dying, I asked, ‘Are you really dying?’ And he said, ‘Nobody dies. And you need not change your dress.'” This is the custom among the Hindus, that the widow cannot use colored clothes, she cannot use ornaments, she has to shave her head.
Ramkrishna said, “You are not to do anything, because I am not going to die, I’m simply leaving the body, but I will be here, now, always.”
“So whom I am to believe?” Sharda used to say. “And if he is always here now, I cannot resist the temptation of preparing things that he used to like. I may not be able to see him, but he must be able to see me, and that is what is significant — not that I should see him, but that he is watching. And for his whole life his teaching was a simple word: watchfulness.”
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Rebellious Spirit
Chapter title: Miracles are mostly fiction
21 February 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on Sufi Masters and Mystics Al-Hillaj-Mansoor, Dadu, Farid, Junnaid, Rabiya Al Adabiya, Jalaladdin Rumi, Sarmad and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Be Still and Know
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- The Hidden Splendour
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- The Wild Geese and The Water
- And the Flowers Showered
- Get Out of Your Own Way
- The Razor’s Edge
- The Revolution
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- The Secret