Sunday, 8 August 2010
For Sunday: This is all there is.
Nasruddin was pondering greatly. He had been pondering for days, with no resolution to his ponderings. He was even beginning to lose sleep over them, which was most unusual for him. Day after day the questions which arose in his mind assailed his conscious mind without mercy and without respite.
It came down to this. What is the relationship between form and the void, between substance and emptiness, between everything and no-thing? The great Sufi teachers had left him with this impossible conundrum. They were of no assistance, but had told him: ‘Find it out for yourself. There is no other way!’
Nasruddin was becoming despondent. His companions began to shun him. Those who thought that they knew thought him to be mad, those who knew that they knew thought him to be ignorant, and only those who knew that they knew not accepted him and remained his companions, though even they considered him a little eccentric.
Nevertheless he still had one faithful companion, and this was Jalaluddin. This old friend was always there when he needed him, and often when he was in most need. You must recall the story of the time when Nasruddin dropped his key in the dark outside his house one late night after returning from the meditation hall, and Jalaluddin had chanced along with his erudite advice : ‘It’s useless to search there for your key! Why not go 100 metres down the street where there is a street-lamp?’ Jalaluddin would never let him down in his hour of need.
On another occasion, Nasruddin had emerged from the mosque after prayer to find hundreds of pairs of shoes lying there by the steps, and try as he might he could not recognise his own. Jalaluddin was the second to leave and he noticed Nasruddin’s predicament.‘No problem, Nasruddin,’ he advised. ‘Just wait until everyone has gone home, and your shoes will become apparent.’ He was right. Sure enough there they were.
Now Nasruddin was struggling to open the gate to the enclosure in which his goats were grazing. He held in his hand a large bunch of keys, and one by one he inserted the keys into the lock, but without success. He was becoming more and more exasperated. His forehead was bathed in perspiration. Even the questions that had bedevilled him had receded into the back of his mind. In the distance he heard the insistent call of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. Suddenly, he felt a friendly hand on his arm, and sensed the presence of his friend Jalaluddin. He looked up and into the wise, lined face of his companion. ‘Perhaps you have the wrong key,’ his friend gently remarked. ‘Why not try another?’ ‘I‘ve tried them all, and nothing works!’ answered Nasruddin. ‘Nothing works if you have the wrong key,’ intoned his friend. ‘Try this one.’ And from around his neck he produced a shining silver key that flashed and danced in the sunlight. He handed Nasruddin the key, and urged his friend to use it. Nasruddin narrowed his eyes, looked at the key closely, and made out these words inscribed around the handle :
All is One, he read, This is all there is.
Nasruddin inserted the key in the lock and with a twist of his wrist unlocked the gate. He stepped forward and heard a faint roaring sound which quickly grew and deepened until it seemed to encompass everything within and without. Together with Jalaluddin he pitched forward into an abyss which rapidly opened up in the ground beneath his feet forcing him to let go. Without thinking he sensed the words : ¨Let go. Let go – this is all there is! ¨ He felt a huge burden lifting off his shoulders, and he felt wonderfully light and free. He felt omnipotent yet formless. Where before there had been substance, now there was no form, nothing to grasp, nothing to hold on to, but no panic, only an immense feeling of peace and utter joy and liberation. The mental preoccupations which had initially taken over his very being had now evaporated and were of no consequence. He shared in a huge cosmic joke that delighted and entranced him as he experienced the endless play of ‘lila’ (as his Indian friends called it) and the absolute and total freedom of ‘moksha’. He felt himself to be part of a vortex from which emanated all things, animate and inanimate. He heard without hearing the words: ‘Out of emptiness comes all. All is One – this is all there is.’
He glanced towards his friend. Nothing was said, but there existed perfect communication between them, as if they were both a part of one universal consciousness where there was no division, no separation, just a shared experience of the totality of being. Sound, colour, light, warmth, all sensory perceptions merged into one whirling ecstatic dance which infused all things. Again he experienced these words: ‘All that is everything is both within you and without you. All is One – this is all there is.’
All there is was a dancing swirl of energy which came and went, writhing and twisting through him and all around him in a kaleidoscopic fusion of colour, sound, light, heat, coolness and a multitude of sensations which Nasruddin experienced joyfully and intensely and which had no separate identity. Again the words intruded: ’There is no separation. All is One – this is all there is.’
Time had ceased to have any significance. All that remained was the eternal and only now, free from motivation, from pressure, from any obligation, from fear, from guilt – free from the past and all its miseries, its regrets, its sorrows and all those abject ramifications. As if from a dream Nasruddin opened his eyes. He was lying on his back in a sun-lit meadow, Jalaluddin beside him. In his hand he clutched a silver key. Inscribed on the key were the words : ‘All is One. This is all there is.’
A feeling of immense gratitude welled up from within him. He slipped the key into Jalaluddin’s voluminous pocket. His friend turned over and opened his eyes, then winked at him. In the distance could be heard the bleating of goats and young kids, and a voice that sounded vaguely familiar. The muezzin´s voice filled the air, calling the faithful to prayer, and he heard the approach of his wife’s footsteps. ¨ Your meal is on the table. Come and eat, Habibi.¨ she said softly. Nasruddin looked at her and she felt his radiance and the lightness of his being.
Composed by "alanindyfed" - 2000