Mulla Nasrudin is a great storyteller


Osho says: “Mulla Nasrudin is superb. There is no comparison to him. He can tell a story just by mentioning the name. The way, the gesture, his whole presence may create a great hilarious situation.”

Osho 103

While you are sitting in Chuang Tzu auditorium telling stories about me, I am sitting in the Turkish bath telling my disciples stories about you. All I have to do is mention the name Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and everyone bursts into uproarious laughter.

Mulla Nasrudin.

That’s true: I am nothing compared to Mulla Nasrudin. He is a great storyteller. He can manage to tell stories in such a way that even the mention of a name is enough.

Let me tell you one anecdote.

The large and friendly prison was getting a new warden. On the last day of office the old warden was introducing the new warden to the inmates, and made his farewell speech. In closing he said, “A little anecdote: number twenty-eight.” The crowd of prisoners burst into wild laughter and applause, and the old warden stepped down.

Afterwards, the new warden who had listened to the proceedings, asked the old warden about his final remarks, especially why the mention of number twenty-eight seemed to be so hilarious.

“Well, you see, ” the old warden said, “these men have been here so long and have heard my jokes so many times that instead of telling them the whole story, I just tell the number. The men remember the story and laugh accordingly.”

“Amazing, ” the new man said. “You must write them all down for me and I will use one tomorrow in my opening talk.”

The next day the new man made his first speech to the inmates. He was a little nervous and decided a joke would be good.

“In conclusion,” he said, “a little anecdote – number fifteen.”

A hush fell over the crowd. The warden became more nervous, smiled, and stepped down from the rostrum. Afterwards he asked the old warden, who had stayed to see if all went well, “What happened? Yesterday they seemed to love your story. Today I fell flat on my face.”

“I guess,” said the old warden, “some people can tell a story, some people can’t.”

Mulla Nasrudin is superb. There is no comparison to him. He can tell a story just by mentioning the name. The way, the gesture, his whole presence may create a great hilarious situation.

It is said about Mulla Nasrudin that when he was a small student in school, the headmaster cursed him – because whenever he would go to school he would start telling stories, little stories. And children would giggle and laugh, and it was a great disturbance. All the teachers were very annoyed.

One day the headmaster went to see what was going on. It was there: Mulla Nasrudin was telling the class something – he was the last-bencher – and the whole class was laughing uproariously.

The headmaster cursed Mulla Nasrudin: “Let this be my curse: wherever your name is ever mentioned, people will start laughing just in listening to your name. And if somebody tells one story about you, at least seven stories will be told immediately – somebody will tell another, and somebody else will tell another.”

And this has continued; the curse has been working.

Once Mulla Nasrudin went to a meeting. Of course he was hoping that they would receive him, but the meeting had already started. The great Tamurlaine was sitting in a chair; he was the chairman. Nobody paid any attention to Mulla Nasrudin. He sat where people had put their shoes, but he started telling jokes. By and by, people turned. All the people turned towards Nasrudin, and they had their backs to Tamurlaine.

He became very angry and he said, “Nasrudin, stop all this!”

He said, “I cannot – because wherever I am, I am the chairman. It makes no difference where I am sitting.”

He may be telling stories about me in his Turkish bath. Naturally, it has to be so: I pay him so much respect; he has to pay respect to me.

Osho, The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 4, Ch 8, Q 5

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