Junaid breaks his fast out of love for a disciple

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“Live consciously, don’t live according to a dead discipline”, says Osho. From our series 1001 Tales, compiled by Shanti.

A disciplined life is rigid, frozen, cold, dead. You simply go on doing things mechanically. Sometimes it may suit the situation, many more times it is absolutely irrelevant. Then the disciplined man, the so-called disciplined man, is always lagging behind. The situation demands something else, but his discipline reacts in its own way, so he is never in a deep communion with reality. He is always isolated, alienated. It happened:

A Sufi mystic, Junaid, was going for a pilgrimage, a holy pilgrimage to Kaaba. He told his disciples, ”It will take one month for us to reach Kaaba, and we will fast, so that by the time we reach Kaaba our bodies will be absolutely purified.”

The disciples agreed. The journey started. The third day they reached a village. The whole village had come to receive them, because Junaid had a disciple there, who was a very poor man. Because Junaid was coming for the first and maybe the last time to his village and was going to be his guest, he sold his field, his house, everything, to give a feast to the whole village. He was not aware at all that Junaid was on a fast and that he was followed by hundreds of disciples.

Junaid saw the joy of the disciple. He was just ecstatic, although he had gambled everything just to give a feast to the whole village, in welcome to his master. Junaid did not say anything – he did not even mention that he was keeping a fast. When Junaid did not say anything, the disciples were also silent, but they were boiling within.

Sufi feast

The feast started. Junaid ate well and thanked the disciple, blessed the disciple. The other disciples also had to eat, since Junaid was eating. They could not say, ”We are on a fast,” when the master had himself forgotten about the fast. And moreover, the food was delicious, and for three days they had been hungry, too! But deep down they were feeling angry also: ”What kind of discipline is this?”

When they departed, the first thing they did on the way was to ask the master, ”This we can’t understand. Did you forget all about the fast? You did not even mention it.”

He said, ”No, I never forget anything, but his joy was such and his ecstasy was such… and it would have been such a pain to his heart if I had said, ’I am not going to eat.’ He had prepared the food with such love. There is no problem,” said Junaid, ”we can keep our fast for three more days. Forget about those three days – we start our fast from today, and we will keep the fast for one month. There is no problem in it. Why hurt the poor man for a simple thing? We can keep the fast three days more.”

But the disciples said, ”But it is a question of discipline: since we had taken the vow, we should have followed it.”

Junaid said, ”Live consciously, don’t live according to a dead discipline. You were feeling irritated – I saw it on your faces. You were angry at me – I was watching – because you were simply following a dead rule: ’We have taken a vow, so it has to be followed.’

We are the masters. We take the vow, we can break it. And the situation was such that what we did was the right thing. Our fast is just ordinary; his love was something really holy. Eating or not eating does not matter much, but his joy you missed, his ecstasy you could not share. A great opportunity has been lost.

”If it happens again,” said the master, ”because we may be coming across other disciples in other towns, don’t be worried. I act out of the moment. I see the situation and I act – that is my discipline. I don’t act according to the past.”

Osho, The White Lotus, Ch 2, Q 2 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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