Majnu, Madness and the Magic of Life!

The biggest impediment to happiness is non-acceptance of what is. The more we resist Life, the more our unhappiness persists. To love the Life you are given you need the eyes and heart of a lover like Majnu!

There’s an old Sufi parable, often perceived as a great love story, of Laila and Majnu (made into memorable Hindi films by several filmmakers), that teaches us the power of loving Life for not what it appears to be but what it truly is! Osho, the Master, often used to say it.

As the story goes, Majnu fell in love with a woman called Laila who was not beautiful according to others. According to popular opinion she was very ordinary and perhaps ugly too. But Majnuwas mad after her, for her, so mad that the very name of Majnu has become synonymous with madness. He was continuously praying to God, continuously moving around the city asking people for help, because he was a poor man and the woman he had fallen in love with belonged to an aristocratic family. Even to see Lailafrom far away was not easy. It was an Islamic country where the story is set, and in a such a country it is very difficult to see even the face of a woman.

Seeing his agony, his anguish, even the king of the land became a little concerned. He sent for Majnu __ he felt great compassion for him. He told him, “I know that woman; that family is well known to me, and if Laila had been a beautiful woman she would have been part of my harem. I have not chosen her __ she is not worth choosing. I have got all the beautiful women from all over the country, and I feel so much for you that I will give you a chance. You can choose any woman from my harem and she will be yours!” So saying, he called the most beautiful women from his harem to his court!

Majnu looked at each woman in minute detail and declared, “This is not Laila!” Again and again…he passed over a dozen women, and the remark was always the same: “This is not Laila!”

The king said, “You have gone utterly crazy! Lailais nothing compared to these beautiful women! You can choose anyone. I have known the most beautiful women of the world, and my women are some of the greatest that have ever been on the earth. Stop this Laila, Laila rant of yours….!”

Majnu replied, non-plussed, “But you don’t understand me. And I can understand why you cannot understand me. It is not a question of choosing somebody else or anybody else; the choice is not in my hands. It has happened already; the heart has chosen! I am nobody, I cannot interfere in it. The mind is only the circumference; the heart is the center. The center has chosen, how can the circumference interfere? And moreover __ forgive me for saying so, because you have been so kind __ I still insist that there has never been a woman like Laila and there will never be again. But to see the beauty of Laila you need the eyes of a Majnu, and you don’t have those eyes so nothing can be done about it. You have to see her through MYeyes; only then will you be able to see the grandeur, the splendor of her being.

Life’s like that. Like Laila. Often appearing to be ordinary, pedestrian, boring, challenging … everything else but beautiful, mesmerizing, fantastic. But there’s great grandeur in its being. And to see it, to feel it, to exult in it, to rejoice, to celebrate, you need to be. Simply be. You need to be like Majnu__ a bit romantic surely, but a lot, lot more fanatic! Such a Majnu-like attitude will arise in you, when you stop resisting Life and start embracing it! Such Majnu-like fanaticism may seem “madness” to people around you! But you, when you just be, and love Life for what it is, through that “madness”, you will be bliss!


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