“Almost every country has its own love stories, but nothing compared to Layla and Majnun because it has a Sufi message in it,” explains Osho.
One needs to be in such love that one is ready to risk all. That love is called ishq. You have all known muhabbah, the so-called ordinary love, which is just an emotion, a sentiment, superficial. One day you are in love, another day you are in hate. One day you love the person and you are ready to die for the person, and another day you are ready to kill the same person. One moment you are so nice, so beautiful, another moment you are so nasty, so ugly to the same person. This is not ishq, ishq has depth. This is only circumference. This is just a mask; this is part of your personality.
Ishq, passionate love for God, is not of the personality. It is of the essence. It comes from your center; from the very ground of your being it arises and possesses you. It is not within your control; on the contrary, you are in its control. Yes, you are drunk and you are mad.
Sufis have found ways and methods of how to create ishq. That is the whole Sufi alchemy: how to create ishq in you, how to create such passion that you can ride on the wave of it and reach to the ultimate.
The story of Majnun and Layla is a Sufi story, a great love story. No other love story can be compared with it. There are many in the world, almost every country has its own love stories, but nothing compared to Layla and Majnun because it has a Sufi message in it. It is not just an ordinary story of muhabbah, it is the story of ishq.
It is said that Majnun decided one day that, seeing Layla, he had seen all that was worth seeing, so what was the use of keeping his eyes open anymore? He decided that whenever Layla would come he would open his eyes; otherwise he would remain blind because there was nothing else worth seeing.
For months Layla could not come – the parents were against, the society was against – and Majnun waited and waited under the tree where they used to meet, with closed eyes. Days passed, weeks and months passed, and he would not open his eyes.
And the story says God took compassion on him. He came to Majnun and said, “Poor Majnun, open your eyes. I am God himself. You have seen everything in the world, but you have not seen me. Look who is standing before you.”
Majnun is reported to have said, “Get lost. I have decided only to see Layla; nothing else is worth seeing. You may be God, but I am not concerned. Just get lost, don’t disturb me.”
Shocked, God said, “What are you saying? I have never come to anyone on my own. Seekers and devotees pray and search and practice – then too it is very, very difficult to see me – and I have come on my own and you have not even asked for me. I am coming just as a gift, and you are rejecting?”
And Majnun said, “If you really want to be seen by me, come as Layla, because I cannot see anything else. Even if I open my eyes I cannot see anything else. I look at a tree, and Layla is there. I look at the stars, and Layla is there. Layla is in my heart and she has possessed my whole heart, and whatsoever I see I see through my heart. I am sorry, but there is no possibility, because there is no space left in my heart for anything else. I am sorry. Excuse me, but go away. Don’t disturb me.”
Osho, The Secret, Ch 1 (excerpt)