Wisdom of the Empty Heart

1st of April must be the day of laughter and joke as this is the day when Sufi Mystic Mulla Nasruddin was born.

Mulla nasruddin was a Selijuq satirist and an enlightened mystic born in Hortu village in Turkey. He lived from 1208 to 1285. He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too a fool or the butt of a joke. A Nasruddin story usually has a subtle humor and a pedagogic nature. Reading to his stories, he looks like a man of great aliveness and depth, even an international festival Hodja is celebrated on the name of Mulla nasruddin between 5 and 10th of July every year in his home town.

The Nasruddin stories are known throughout the Middle East and have touched cultures around the world. Superficially, most of the Nasruddin stories may be told as jokes or humorous anecdotes. They are told and retold endlessly in the teahouses and caravanserais of Asia and can be heard in homes and on the radio. But it is inherent in a Nasruddin story that it could be understood at many levels. There is the joke, followed by a moral and usually the little extra which brings the consciousness of the potential mystic a little further on the way to realization.


Osho says β€œHe must have — because if he is not enlightened then nobody can be.

Mulla Nasruddin is a Sufi figure, one of the oldest figures of Sufi anecdotes, and he shows whatsoever I have been saying here: that the world is a cosmic joke — he represents that. He is a very serious joker, and if you can penetrate him and understand him, then many mysteries will be revealed to you. Mulla Nasruddin illustrates that the world is not a tragedy but a comedy. And the world is a place where if you can learn how to laugh you have learned everything. If your prayer cannot become a deep laughter which comes from all over your being, if your prayer is sad and if you cannot joke with your god, then you are not really religious.”

Maneesha has asked:



Maneesha, common sense carries many fragments of truth, but they are never complete. Around the world everywhere it is heard — “the wisdom of the heart.” But

The truth is, wisdom arises not out of the heart, it arises out of the emptiness of the heart. But that is known only to those who have reached deepest into the self. But common sense carries fragments of knowledge. It knows that the people who are compassionate, people of heart, have a certain wisdom which is not knowledge, a certain insight, a certain intuitiveness which cannot be taught. They can see things, feel things. They are sensitive to things which are not available to the mind. So people start thinking that there are possibilities of the heart having wisdom. But they don’t know that the heart is your emptiness. And out of your emptiness a clarity, a transparency arises which can see things which you cannot intellectually infer. This is wisdom.

To make it complete, Maneesha, it has to be said, “the wisdom of the empty heart.” The heart, as the physiologist knows it, is just a blood-pumping system. Out of your heartbeats no wisdom can arise. Have you ever felt any wisdom arising from your heartbeats? Has any doctor ever heard some wisdom while checking your heartbeats through his stethoscope? This heart is not the one we mean when we are talking about the emptiness of the heart. Actually,

we are talking about throwing away all the contents of the mind. Then, the no-mind itself becomes your heart. It is not a physiological thing. It is your no-mind — no prejudice, no knowledge, no content. Just purity, simple silence, and the no-mind can be called the empty heart. It is only a question of expression. What you want to choose, you can choose: the wisdom of the empty heart, or the wisdom of no-mind — they are equivalent.

When you are in deep meditation, you feel a great serenity, a joy that is unknown to you, a watchfulness that is a new guest. Soon this watchfulness will become the host. The day the watchfulness becomes the host, it remains twenty-four hours with you. And out of this watchfulness, whatever you do has a wisdom in it. Whatever you do shows a clarity, a purity, a spontaneity, a grace.

A Mulla Nasruddin story….

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He was born in Iran, and in Iran his grave is still there. A strange grave, unique in the whole world. There are millions of graves, but nothing like Mulla Nasruddin’s grave. On the grave there is standing a closed door with a big lock on it. And the lock…

 Mulla Nasruddin before dying made all the arrangements. “You put the key with me inside the grave, so nobody can open the door.”

Even the emperor came to see — “What nonsense is happening! And this man is thought to be a wise man, of course a little eccentric, but loved by everybody.”

The emperor inquired of Nasruddin’s disciples, “What is the matter?”

They said, “It is not new. He used to carry this door wherever he went. We asked him, `What is the matter?’ He said, `If I take the door with me, nobody can enter into my house. Obviously, everybody enters into the house from the door. So just to protect the house, I carry the door with me.’ And before dying he said, `Fix that door on my grave, lock it, and put the key with me. Any time I like I can open the door and just have some fresh air.'”

The emperor said, “All nonsense.”

But the emperor also liked the man. The chief disciple said, “There is something in it. He is saying: Don’t think that my death is my death. You are putting my body in the grave but I am still alive. My life is eternal.”

But he was crazy always. To make this statement, that life is eternal, he has put up this door: “Any moment, if I want to come out, at least I have the key and I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission. I can open the door, have a little walk, or enjoy around the city. You will not see me, but I will see you.”…

Nasruddin is a Sufi mystic, a little crazy, but always tremendously wise. One day he was going to take his disciples to see a rare collection of paintings that had come to the city. Now the question was… He would be riding on his donkey. He asked his disciples, “What to do? If I ride on my donkey in the usual way, then my back will be towards you. That is insulting, and I cannot insult my disciples. If you walk ahead of me, your backs will be towards me. I don’t think you will do that insult to me. So the only possible way is, I will ride on the donkey facing you.”

The disciples said, “But the whole town will laugh, and you will make us also look stupid… although there is a point in it. But to go anywhere with you is a trouble.”

The procession went on through the town. Everybody looked — what is the matter? Nobody had ever seen anybody riding on a donkey facing backwards. Finally a crowd gathered, and they said, “We will not let you go unless we get the explanation.”

Nasruddin said, “The explanation is simple. I don’t want to insult my disciples so I cannot have my back towards them. And I don’t want to be insulted by my disciples, so they cannot walk ahead of me. They have to walk behind me. Now what do you say — how can it be managed? This is the only way.”

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People said, “It is crazy, but it is the only way. If keeping somebody at your back is insulting, then certainly you are doing the right thing.”

A simple man with utter purity — every act in his life is full of wisdom, but on the surface looks a little crazy. He belongs to the same category as Bodhidharma, as Mahakashyap. But he is a little more eccentric than any of them. From the emptiness of the heart, it is not necessary that what arises will be understood by people as wisdom. You will be perfectly at ease with it, and those who understand you will be perfectly at ease with you. But in this world to find people who can understand the wisdom of the empty heart is very difficult and rare. But there is no problem. The man of empty heart does not need any recognition. He is so fulfilled that he may look mad to the whole world, but if it is arising out of his spontaneity, it does not matter. All that matters is that it should not be fake, that it should not be hypocrisy, that it should not be phony. It should be coming out of your heart and its emptiness. Then everything is wise whether people recognize it or not.

Who has recognized Mulla Nasruddin? Very few people. Who has recognized Bodhidharma? Very few people. Who has recognized Mahakashyap suddenly laughing? Only Gautam Buddha. Ten thousand monks were present but nobody could understand this eccentric behavior. But it was arising out of the empty heart, from a clarity of vision. Only another man of the same clarity can understand it.


the wisdom of the empty heart is understandable only to those who have entered into their own emptiness. To others it will remain a puzzle, a craziness, a madness. And there are so many beautiful buddhas — their behavior was absolutely in tune with the emptiness of the heart, but it was not rational. It could not be understood by the so-called intellectual. It was almost impossible to be understood by the crowd.


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

Discourse name:

The Buddha: The Emptiness of the Heart

Chapter title: Twenty-four hours a day
Chapter #2
9 September 1988 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium


Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Daya, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Lalla, Magdalen, Mallibai, Meera, Nanak, Patanjali, Rabiya, Raman Maharishi, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Teresa, Tilopa, Valmiki, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Sermons in Stones
  2. Come Come Yet Again Come
  3. The Hidden Splendor
  4. Beyond Enlightenment
  5. The New Dawn
  6. The Sword and The Lotus
  7. The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
  8. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  9. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
  10. The Path of Love
  11. The Book of Wisdom
  12. And The Flowers Showered
  13. The Hidden Harmony
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1 Comment

  • Indira
    Posted July 7, 2023 3:07 pm 0Likes

    Reading is the most delightful hoby I possess from my childhood. From 1987 my reading is on all enlightend beings. Successful business Maharajas, such as Jamshedji Tata and many others were equally enlightend beings, and therir spoken words r source of inspiration for any seeke. In last 3 years my most reading times occupied by Oshos talks or whatever study material available at Google. Now Osho is my favourite Author, I m reading, writing and sharing with a few people under the name of Oshos words as he spoken in his talks.
    Certainly I reading a lot, but I never ever found the clarity, the simplicity, the convinsing ability, and His spontaneous ness in giving answers to any question…is inspiring, awakening and the language of a common man to understand.

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