Acharya Prashant on a Sufi story: The obvious falseness of our stories

Acharya Prashant
8 min readJul 28, 2018


Mojud — The man with the inexplicable life

There was once a man named Mojud. He lived in a town where he had obtained a post as a small official, and it seemed likely that he would end his days as inspector of weights and measures.

One day when he was walking through the gardens of an ancient building near his home, Khidr, the mysterious guide of the Sufis, appeared to him, dressed in shimmering green.

Khidr said, “Man of bright prospects! Leave your work and meet me at the riverside in three days’ time. ” Then he disappeared.

Mojud went to his superior in trepidation and said that he had to leave. Everyone in the town soon heard of this and they said, “Poor Mojud! He has gone mad.” But, as there were many candidates for his job, they soon forgot him.

On the appointed day, Mojud met Khidr, who said to him, “Tear your clothes and throw yourself into the stream. Perhaps someone will save you.”

Mojud did so, even though he wondered if he were mad.

Since he could swim, he did not drown, but drifted a long way before a fisherman hauled him into his boat, saying, “Foolish man! The current is strong.

What are you trying to do?”

Mojud said, “I don’t really know.”

“You are mad,” said the fisherman, “But I will take you into my reed-hut by the river yonder, and we shall see what can be done for you.”

When he discovered that Mojud was well-spoken, he learned from him how to read and write. In exchange, Mojud was given food and helped the fisherman with his work.

After a few months, Khidr again appeared, this time at the foot of Mojud’s bed, and said, “Get up now and leave this fisherman. You will be provided for.”

Mojud immediately quit the hut, dressed as a fisherman, and wandered about until he came to a highway.

As dawn was breaking he saw a farmer on a donkey on his way to market. “Do you seek work?” asked the farmer, “because I need a man to help me bring back some purchases.”

Mojud followed him. He worked for the farmer for nearly two years, by which time he had learned a great deal about agriculture but little else.

One afternoon when he was baling wool, Khidr appeared to him and said, “Leave that work, walk to the city of Mosul, and use your savings to become a skin-merchant.”

Mojud obeyed.

In Mosul he became known as a skin-merchant, never seeing Khidr while he plied his trade for three years.

He had saved quite a large sum of money, and was thinking of buying a house, when Khidr appeared and said, “Give me your money, walk out of this town as far as the distant Samarkand, and work for a grocer there.”

Mojud did so.

Presently he began to show undoubted signs of illumination. He healed the sick, served his fellow men in the shop during his spare time, and his knowledge of the mysteries became deeper and deeper.

Clerics, philosophers and others visited him and asked, “under whom did you study?”

“It is difficult to say,” said Mojud.

His disciples asked, “How did you start your career?”

He said, “As a small official.” “And you gave it up to devote yourself to self-mortification?”

“No, I just gave it up.” They did not understand him.

People approached him to write the story of his life.

“What have you been in your life?” they asked.

“I jumped into a river, became a fisherman, then walked out of his reed-hut in the middle of the night. After that, I became a farmhand. While I was baling wool, I changed and went to Mosul, where I became a skin-merchant. I saved some money there, but gave it away. Then I walked to samarkand where I worked for a grocer. And this is where I am now.”

“But this inexplicable behavior throws no light upon your strange gifts and wonderful examples, ” said the biographers.

“That is so,” said Mojud.

So the biographers constructed for Mojud a wonderful and exciting story: because all saints must have their story, and the story must be in accordance with the appetite of the listener, not with the realities of life.

And nobody is allowed to speak of Khidr directly. That is why this story is not true. It is a representation of a life. This is the real life of one of the greatest Sufis.

~ Idries Shah.

Tales of the Dervishes.

Acharya Prashant: When it comes to you, it is never the output, of anything. It is never part of story. No story can ever explain. Why things happened? Why the real happened? You may as well say, “I climbed a tree, I feel down a tree, I chased a dog, I hopped on to a bus, I ate a fruit, I slapped a stranger and it happened.” That’s the most logical, it can get. This is what happened. Now, real is not happening because of any of these, it just happens. And mind you one is not allowed to talk of Khidr directly. How do you, narrate the role that Khidr has been playing in your life.

Khidr is?

Listener: Truth.

AP: Grace. Yes, Truth, Grace whatever.

And how do you tell someone, how and when Khidr comes to you and what he says? Because even you do not understand. How can others understand?

When you follow even without understanding,

that is Surrender.

Because Khidr has been saying all the foolish things. Look at all the maddening advises that he has been giving. Every time the fellow settles down somewhere, Khidr comes and says you give up your saving. You quit this place as well, you go somewhere else. And where does he ask him to go? Some totally random, unrelated place. Now, if you start, measuring it up, on a logical scale, you will never follow what Khidr says.

That is what Surrender is.

You do not know what the whole thing is about and yet there is something that tells you, to just go along with it.

You do not know where the stranger is leading you, yet you feel like going along with him. You do not know where your road goes, and whether it really goes anywhere, still you feel like walking on that road. That is what Faith is, that is what Surrender is.

L: Actually, it happens to people, but very few have the courage to work on it.

AP: It is easier to follow Khidr. It is more difficult to explain why you followed Khidr.

L: Yes.

AP: But, that’s what people ask you. Why? Now, Why? I didn’t think of it in these terms. Why? It just happens

L1: It is very difficult to make people understand.

L2: We were discussing the role of biographers, in this story, so one thing that came out of that, is that this is the enlightenment story of Osho or that the incident that use to, you know, J Krishnamurti, talked about. Probably all these stories are projected, just so that a man can be a little more attracted towards Spirituality.

AP: Fodder for gossip. We love to gossip and if we are not given ammunition to gossip, then we feel bad.

L: Or too plain.

AP: Or too plain, yes.

L: No masala.

AP: The Masters do not want to disappoint you. You came to watch a masala movie, they say alright. Even if there is nothing in the movie, I will artificially keep one item number. So out of nowhere, this thing about, the tree and the silver cord from the naval, it must come. This is nothing but an item number, you wanted some spice, so he has to give it to you. Take it, fine.

L: So be it.

AP: So be it. You are so attracted to knowing, how one becomes enlightened, I will give you a wonderful story on enlightenment.

L: But I think, even that, the real, the teacher, even then, probably he is thinking, probably this might attract him and he will come, you know, this might attract him, there is this chance. There is always a chance. Whatever, you know, can draw him.

AP: Yes.

You see, there are many layers to things. An Osho must be physically attractive, so he does, all that he does, right? Wearing this, that, riding expensive cars. And it might shock you a little, but if you have a fit body, what makes people come to you?

L: Your mind.

AP: You have a beautiful body; how will you use it to make people come to you?

L: Display it.

AP: Now look at Mahavir and Lalla. If you want people to listen to you, they must first of all be present in front of you. Why not attract them this way?

L: Okay

AP: Happens.

L3: I actually wanted to ask you this yesterday.

L4: Are those, made up stories have any use, except one that you described yesterday?

AP: Those

stories have no use, in fact, those stories must be dropped, after a point. After a point, if you are really wise, you will see the foolishness and the falseness of those stories.

This night, sitting over here, in front of this fire, let me assure you, no story that you hear about the mystics or masters or enlightened people have even an iota of Truth in them. I am not saying that they have a shade of the false. I am saying that they do not even have an iota of the Truth in them.

Siddharth Gautam was not at all like, what his biographer make him out to be. Not at all. Neither was Jesus, nor was Krishna, nor Mahavir, none of these. And more recently not Osho, not Krishnamurti. Because we are so absolutely dumb, that we can believe in nothing except fairy tales, so we are given fairy tales to believe in. What is the different between a kid’s movie and a really adult movie? The kid’s movie is ‘fantastic.’ The adult’s movie is ‘factual.’ We are not adults yet, so we are not given the facts, we are given, fantasies. The facts are very-very different. We won’t be able to digest the facts. If the facts of the life of a Jesus, comes to you, you will be like.

L: Why are Miracles added to all the stories?

AP: We need them.

Otherwise, who would believe in poor Jesus.

Some mad shepherd, claiming that he is the son of God. Running from here till there, pennilessly. Leading, a grand following of a total of 11 people.

L: laughs.

AP: Out of which at least one deceived him. These are juvenile stories for kids.

L: These have great marketing art.

AP: Don’t you see, these are stories for kids.

-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on a Sufi story: The obvious falseness of our stories

Originally published at on July 28, 2018.