World is a Cosmic Joke

Osho on Sufi Msytic Mulla Nasruddin

1st of April must be the day of laughter and joke as this is the day when Sufi Mystic Mulla Masruddin 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 “Sufi teachers used to give Mulla Nasruddin jokes to their disciples to think and ponder and meditate. Because whatsoever he says has meaning in it; whatsoever he does has meaning in it. They are not ordinary jokes — remember. I don’t tell them to you just to make you laugh. No, they are not mere jokes; they are pointers. You should not just laugh and forget them; you should make them a part of your understanding. And then you will see Mulla Nasruddin arising many times within yourself — acting, behaving. And then you will be able to laugh. And if you can laugh at yourself, you have laughed for the first time.”

Osho Says….



He 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.

Christians, Jews and Mohammedans are very serious about their god; Hindus are not, they have joked a lot. And that shows how much they believe — because when you cannot joke with your god you don’t believe in him. You feel that through your humor, your joke, he will be insulted. Your belief is shallow, it is not deep enough. Hindus say that the trust is so much that they can laugh; the trust is so much that just by laughing it cannot be broken.

One Buddhist, Bodhidharma, one of the greatest followers of Buddha, used to say to his disciples, “Whenever you take the name of Buddha immediately rinse out your mouth, because this name is dangerous and it makes the mouth impure.” Another Buddhist monk, Bokuju, used to tell his disciples, “While meditating, if this fellow Gautam Buddha comes in kill him immediately, because once you allow him then he will cling to you and it will be difficult to be alone.” And they were great followers, they loved Buddha — but they could laugh. Why? The love was so intimate, so close, that there was no danger that something might be taken wrongly. But Christians have always been afraid, so immediately anything becomes blasphemy — anything. They cannot take anything humorously, and if you cannot take anything humorously, if you cannot laugh at yourself, at your god, then you are ill, you are not at home, and your god is something to be feared.

In English we have a word, God-fearing, for religious people. A God-fearing person can never be religious, because if you fear God you cannot love him. Love and fear cannot exist together. With fear, hate can exist, love cannot; with fear, anger can exist, love cannot; with fear you can bow down but you cannot surrender; with fear there can be a relationship between a slave and a master but there cannot be a love relationship.

Hindus, Buddhists have a totally different attitude, and that attitude is different because they think the whole existence is a cosmic play, you can be playful.

Sufis are very playful; they created Mulla Nasruddin. And Mulla Nasruddin is an alive figure, you can go on adding to him — I go on adding. If some day he meets me there is bound to be difficulty, because I go on creating around him. To me he is a constantly alive figure, in many ways symbolic — symbolic of human stupidity. But he knows it and he laughs at it, and whenever he behaves like a stupid man he is just joking at you, at human beings at large. And he is subtle enough. He will not hit you directly, he hits himself; but if you can penetrate him then you can look at the reality. And sometimes even great scriptures cannot go as deep as a joke can go, because the joke directly touches the heart. A scripture goes into the head, into the intellect; a joke directly touches the heart. Immediately something explodes within you and becomes your smile and your laughter.

Nasruddin must have attained enlightenment, or he is already an enlightened figure, there is no need to attain. I go on using him just to give you a feeling that to me religion is not serious. So I go on mixing Mulla Nasruddin with Mahavira — which is impossible, poles apart. I go on mixing Mulla Nasruddin with the Upanishads, because he gives a sweetness to the whole serious thing. And nothing is serious, nothing should be serious.

To me, to laugh wholeheartedly is the greatest celebration that can happen to a man — to laugh wholeheartedly, to become the laughter. Then no meditation is needed, it is enough.

I will take one or two anecdotes from Nasruddin.

Once it happened that Nasruddin and his friend Sheikh Abdullah lost their way in a forest. They tried and tried to find their way but then evening came, the night was descending, so they had to wait for the whole night under a tree. It was dangerous ground, there were many wild animals, and they had to keep awake because any moment they could be killed. They tried every way to keep awake, but Mulla was tired, yawning, feeling sleepy, so he said to Sheikh Abdullah, “Invent something, because I am feeling sleepy and it seems impossible now to stay awake. The whole day we were traveling, and I am tired.”

Sheikh Abdullah asked, “What should I do?”

Nasruddin said, “We should play a game, a game of guessing. You describe a film actress — just become the film actress and describe — and I will guess who this film actress is. Then I will do the same and you guess.”

Even Abdullah became interested, it seemed to be a good game. So Abdullah said, “Okay.” He contemplated and then he said, “My eyes are like Noor Jahan, my nose is like Cleopatra, my lips like Marilyn Monroe,” and so on and so forth.

Mulla Nasruddin became very excited, his blood pressure rose high. Even in the dark you could have seen his eyes, they became so fiery. And then when Sheikh Abdullah said, “Now the measurements of my body — thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-six.” Nasruddin jumped over to Sheikh Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah said, “Wait, guess!”

Nasruddin said, “Who is bothered about guessing? I don’t care who you are. Quick! Kiss me!”

The human mind is such — imagination, desire, passion, projection. You project, you imagine, and then you become the victim. And this is not a joke, this is reality — and this is about you.


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

Discourse Series: Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi

Chapter #13

Chapter title: When the Coin Disappears

17 January 1974 pm in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India


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

  1. Be Still and Know
  2. Come Come Yet Again Come
  3. The Perfect Master, Vol 1, 2
  4. Beyond Enlightenment
  5. The New Dawn
  6. The Sword and The Lotus
  7. Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
  8. And the Flowers Showered
  9. The Razor’s Edge
  10. The Revolution
  11. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
  12. The Empty Boat
  13. Light on the Path
  14. Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 2
  15. Zen: The Quantum Leap From Mind to No-Mind
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  • Someshwar
    Posted April 2, 2022 6:18 pm 0Likes

    Thank you Dear Osho 🙏❤️

    Posted April 21, 2023 1:05 am 0Likes

    Love u osho

  • परमार हर्षद
    परमार हर्षद
    Posted January 26, 2024 6:33 am 0Likes

    🌹 ओशो स्नेह वंदन 🌹🙏🙏

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