​Two stories in one

Thus have I heard,
One night the poet, Awhadi of Kerman (a very great Muslim poet) was sitting on his porch bent over a vessel. Shams-e-Tabrizi, a great Sufi mystic, happened to pass by. Shams-e-Tabrizi looked at the poet, at what he was doing. He asked the poet, “What are you doing?”

The poet said, “Contemplating the moon in a bowl of water.”

Shams-e-Tabrizi started laughing, with an uproarious laughter, a mad laughter. The poet started feeling uncomfortable; a crowd gathered. And the poet said, “What is the matter? Why are you laughing so much? Why are you ridiculing me?”

Shams-e-Tabrizi said, “Unless you have broken your neck, why don”t you look directly at the moon in the sky?”

The moon is there, the full moon is there, and this poet was sitting with a bowl of water arid looking into the bowl of water at the reflection of the moon. Seeking truth in scriptures, seeking truth in philosophies, is looking at the reflection of the moon. Why not look at the real moon directly, investigate its realness and allow oneself to be lost in its boundless inconceivable beauty and splendor?

A chicken farmer, dissatisfied with the productivity of his flock, decided to use a bit of psychology on his hens. Accordingly he purchased a gay-colored, talking parrot and placed him in the barnyard. Sure enough, the hens took to the handsome stranger immediately, pointed out the best tidbits for him to eat with joyous clucks, and generally followed him around like a bevy of teen-age girls following a new singing star sensation. To the delight of the farmer even their egg-laying capacities improved.

The barnyard rooster, naturally jealous of being ignored by his harem, set upon the attractive interloper, assailed him with beak and claws, pulling out one green or red feather after the other. Whereupon the intimidated parrot cried out in trepidation, “Desist sir! I beg of you, desist! After all, I am only here in the capacity of a language professor!”

Many people live their life as language professors. That is the falsest kind of life. Reality needs no language, it is available to you on a non-verbal level. The moon is there; it needs no bowl and no water, it needs no other medium. You have just to look at it; it is a non-verbal communication. The whole of life is available — you just have to learn how to communicate with it non-verbally. That’s what meditation is all about — to be in a space where language does not interfere, where learned concepts don’t come in between you and the real.

One may write hundreds of books about meditation and never come across the space that meditation is. One may become very efficient in verbalizing, he can become very clever in abstraction, in  intellectual argumentativeness, and they may forget completely that all the time that they have been involved in these intellectual activities has been a sheer wastage of time. But this is the case, the same way people go intellectualizing about love, even composing impeccable music or art about love. They talk about love, they know all the poetries about love, but they have never loved. Or even if they thought they were in love, they were never in love. That too was a “heady” thing; it was not of the heart. People live and go on missing life. It needs courage. It needs courage to be realistic, it needs courage to move with life wherever it leads, because the paths are uncharted, there exists no map. One has to go into the unknown.

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