The Sufi master who did not want to speak

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“All asking is unnecessary, because whatsoever answer I give to you is really there inside you. I only make it apparent. I help it to surface in you,” says Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

I am reminded… of a very famous Sufi story:

A Sufi mystic was going to Mecca on Hajj – for his pilgrimage.

He came into a town, a small town, and even before he reached the town the message had reached that a great mystic was coming into the town, so the whole town gathered.

The mystic was a very silent one, and the townspeople asked him, implored him to deliver a discourse to them. “We have been waiting for months, and now that you have come we can’t let you go, unless we have heard something from you.”


The Master was reluctant. He said, “But I have nothing to say.” But they wouldn’t listen. They persisted.

The Master said, “And that which I know cannot be said!” But they wouldn’t listen. The more reluctant the Master was, the more interested they became, naturally.

And they said, “We will sit here, we will fast and we will not eat till you give us a message – because rarely has such an enlightened person passed through this village. We cannot allow you to go.”

So the Master agreed. They went to the mosque. The whole town gathered, with great expectation about what the Master was going to say. And they knew it perfectly well, that never before had he spoken in any other village. He had been traveling, coming from a thousand miles, and everybody had been asking him, but he kept silent. They were very happy – it was a privilege that the Master had agreed to speak to them.

The Master came. He faced the audience and asked one question: “Do you know what I am going to say to you?”

They all said, “Of course, how can we know? We don’t know.” They all said, “We don’t know what you are going to say.”

The Master said, “Then I cannot speak to such ignorant people who don’t even know what I am going to speak about!”

The people were very much puzzled and the Master went away. Their desire became more aflame. They thought their answer was not right. “Yes, the Master is right: how can he speak to such ignorant people?” They rushed, brought the Master back and they said, “You ask again. Our answer was wrong, but you come – give us one more chance.”

The Master came and he said, “Do you know what I am going to speak about?”

They said, “Yes! We all know what you are going to speak about.”

And the Master said, “Then finished! If you already know, then what is the need for me to tell you? Such an enlightened town!”

Now the people were even more puzzled. And the Master left them again. They talked around amongst themselves; the whole town was agog with only one thing: “What to do? And tomorrow morning he is going to leave! Some way has to be found.”

They talked and they discussed and they found a way and they went in the middle of the night and they woke up the Master and they said, “We have come – our answer was wrong, we are sorry. You ask again!”

The Master went back to the mosque and again he asked, “Do you know what I am going to say to you?”

And half of the people said, “Yes,” and half of the people said, “No.” That was the only way. Now how can he escape?

And the Master said, “Ha, ha, ha! So those who know should tell those who don’t know. How am I needed? Just tell the people, talk between yourselves. I am absolutely unnecessary.”

In fact, if you go deep into your own questions, you need not ask anybody. All asking is unnecessary, because whatsoever answer I give to you is really there inside you. I only make it apparent. I help it to surface in you. I have no ready-made answer for you. I have no catechism. It is not that my answer is fixed forever.

You ask the question. I look into your question. I try to do what you should have done yourself, and then find the answer there, and I make it clear to you. The work of a Master is to make your own answers clear to you. He brings clarity, he does not give you any answers. A Master is not a scholar, he is not a professor. He does not give you answers. He simply brings clarity, vision, capacity to see.

Quote from Osho, The Perfect Master – Talks on Sufi Stories, Vol 1, Ch 2, Q 2

ShantiShanti is a regular contributor
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales
All articles by this author on Osho News

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