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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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zoe light

a parable about health

In issue 2311 of the Nondual Highlights, Mark Otter posted an excellent story about [the mythical?] Mulla Nasrudin (wikibooks entry). I don't know much about Nasrudin, but I gather that stories about him have been studied in the Sufi mystic tradition. What few tales I've read seem to come from a similar perspective as zen koans: that is to say, they hold the possibility of transmitting spiritual insights by means of contemplating them.

This medium-length entry (922 words) sounds like it could be the basis for a good short sci-fi story. As an aspiring fiction writer myself, this tale made me think of a fictional scenario in which the protagonist, who feels totally sane if not healthier than he ever has in his life, is surrounded by people who are convinced that he's crazy. Imagine the feeling of not being believed or trusted by anyone around you. And then think about whether or not it makes any difference if anyone believes anything. And then wonder if anyone has ever believed anything in the first place.
Mulla Nasaradin was once invited to speak on the subject of the Divine Qualities at a prestigious university in the Northeast. While he was lecturing on the subject of the Divine Light, he closed his eyes in deep contemplation looking for the words to express himself. Suddenly, he was overcome by Divine ecstasy. To his students he seemed to have lost him mind for he began ranting and raving as if insane. His students, who had arranged for him to speak, quickly took over the situation and concluded the lecture for him. After everyone had gone, they talked among themselves and decided to bring him to a nearby mental hospital for observation.

For several days he was incoherent, lost in the higher spheres of consciousness. His students took turns staying with him worried as they were about his condition. Every hour different medical personnel would come in to check his condition and speculate as to what name should be given to his mental disorder for insurance purposes. Eventually, Mulla Nasrudin regained normal consciousness and sat up in the hospital bed. "Where am I?" he demanded from the nurse who was there to take his blood pressure. The nurse, shocked by his seemingly miraculous recovery said, "You are in the hospital. Don't worry. I'll be right back."

She ran out of the room to get the psychologist who quickly returned with the nurse to see the Mulla. "How are we today?" the psychologist asked in a cautious tone. "Well, I don't know about you my dear but I am quite well thank you. What am I doing here?" Mulla asked.

The psychologist recounted the story told to her by the mulla's students and then about his unusual behavior at the hospital and began explaining to Mulla Nasrudin the various mental disorders that she felt he might possibly be a victim of. The mulla listened patiently as the doctor recounted in medical jargon her theories as to what had happened to him. When she was finished speaking the mulla started to get up from the bed saying, "Well that is all very interesting but as you can see I am perfectly fine now and well rested. I would not dream of imposing on you any longer so I must be going. Thank you very much for you hospitality."

The nurse pushed Mulla Nasrudin back down on the bed. "Please sir, not so fast, you must rest for now." The psychologist agreed, "Yes the nurse is quite right, you may think that you are all right but really you must be very ill and we could not, in good conscience allow you to leave just now. Please try to relax while we try to figure out what has happened to you."

The mulla laid back down in the bed as the nurse pulled the covers over him. The mulla looked at the nurse as the doctor left the room and said, "This is very kind of you my dear, I see that you and the doctor are most concerned about me. I am very touched." "That's fine sir, just try to rest." and as she turned to leave she said under her breath, "Touched isn't the word for this one!" and then she left.

Completely invigorated by his ecstatic vision, the mulla sat up in the bed meditating upon his beautiful and profound experience the whole world seemed quite transfigured. Just then several of his students came in to check on him and were overjoyed at his recovery. They sat and talked to him and asked him to give some clue as to what he had experienced. "What I have witnessed is beyond words my dear ones but my question to you is why have you brought me here? I would have been quite fine to be given a small room and left alone as is our custom in the East. You needn't have brought me here to worry these good people they think that there is something wrong with me." said Mulla Nasrudin.

Just then the psychologist came back in and asked everyone to leave. When the students had gone the psychologist began asking the Mulla about his childhood in an effort to figure out his illness. After a time the Mulla asked the doctor, "Why do you think that I am sick? As you can see with your own eyes I am quite healthy!" The Doctor looked penetratingly into the Mullah's eyes and said, "You have had some sort of very traumatic psychological episode and even though you seem well adjusted and healthy at the moment statistically, there is bound to be something wrong with you."

"Statistically," the Mulla questioned, "how do you mean?" The doctor replied, "With co-dependency, addiction, childhood problems, post-traumatic stress syndrome, brain chemical imbalance, social pressures and the like, we believe ninety-seven percent of the population is ill to a greater or lesser degree." "Ninety-seven percent!" the mulla gasped, "That is a most terrible problem! So, have you personally ever met a healthy person?"

"Yes I believe I met one once but then," She reflected, "I didn't know him very well." the doctor replied gravely. "Well in that case," the Mulla replied, "I think of the great savings to the country and perhaps most of you troubles with overcrowding here in the hospital would be solved if you found those healthy three percent of the people and put them in the hospital and the other ninety-seven percent can come to study and learn from them how to become healthy!"

(from message 4584 of Nasrudin List)
Hot Highlights today. In addition to a good story about a donkey, there was also this concise snippet from Papaji:
You are the One which is aware of the Awareness of objects and ideas.
You are the One which is even more silent than Awareness.
You are the life which precedes the concept of life.
Your nature is Silence and it is not attainable, it always Is.

- Papaji, posted to AlongTheWay
(x-posted to nonduality)