Sufi Master Bayazid tests the king

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Osho says, “Through judgment you can never be intimate with a Master. Judgment creates barriers. Only through trust an intimacy arises…”

Bayazid Bastami, Iran
Mausoleum of Bayazid Bastami in Bastam, Semnan Province, Iran

It happened:

A king wanted to become a disciple of one Sufi master, Bayazid, Bayazid of Bistam, one of the greatest names amongst the Sufis. When the king approached it was difficult for Bayazid to say no – and the king was not ready at all. He was not worthy to become a disciple and to be accepted.

Bayazid asked, “Why have you chosen me? There are other masters better than me. Why have you chosen me? I am nothing, just an ordinary master.”

The king said, “I have chosen you because of your character, your behavior, your morality. You are a good man. About others I am not so certain; their behavior is a little erratic, and they confuse me. About you I am certain. You are a good man, a saintly man, that’s why.”

Bayazid said, “Then wait a little. Postpone a little, because you don’t know me and my character. You wait a little and watch.”

One day the king had gone for some hunting in the forest. Suddenly he saw, near a lake, Bayazid sitting on the other shore – it was a small lake and the king could see to the other shore – and he was not alone, he was with a woman. What was he doing in the forest with a woman, with no disciples around? Whenever he had gone to see Bayazid in the town he was always surrounded by hundreds of disciples. What had happened? What was he doing with the woman? Suspicion arose: in this privacy with a woman…?

And not only that, as he watched, hiding himself behind a tree, the woman poured something into a glass. Maybe it was wine? The flask seemed to be of wine. Now he was absolutely certain that it was good he didn’t surrender to this man. He seemed to be a debauchee.

He started moving from the shore but Bayazid called out loudly, “Don’t go. Come nearer, because a judgment from that far can be wrong.”

And judgments are always from a distance. In fact if you judge, the distance cannot disappear. Just to remain a judge you have to be at a certain distance. If you move closer you will lose the capacity to judge, you will become so intimate you will get involved, you will be committed. You will lose the clarity of judgment.

Seeing that Bayazid had seen him the king felt a little awkward and embarrassed, but when he had seen him and was calling him, it was difficult to go away. And there was also a lingering curiosity inside: What was happening here?

He came nearer. Bayazid said, “Now what do you decide? The right moment has come for me to accept you. What do you say?”

The king laughed, and said, “You are not even worthy to be my servant, so how can you pretend to be my master?”

Bayazid said, “So you take back your idea of being initiated by me? If you take it back, then the reality can be revealed to you.” He threw back the screen under which the woman was hiding, the burqa, the cover, the veil Mohammedans use. The king could not believe his eyes: the woman was Bayazid’s mother. And then Bayazid gave the flask of “wine” to him and said, “Taste it. It is nothing but pure, colored water.”

The king fell at the feet of Bayazid and said, “Accept me.”

Bayazid said, “You have missed. If you judge, you cannot trust – and you can judge from that faraway distance? No, we are not made for each other.”

This situation Bayazid created so that he could show the king that judgment can never be trusting. […]

Through judgment you can never be intimate with a Master. Judgment creates barriers. Only through trust an intimacy arises, and that intimacy is deeper than any love; hence it is blind.

Osho, Just Like That – Talks on Sufi stories, Ch 8 (excerpt)


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

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