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The story of Laila Majnu in the words of Osho

What I am teaching is not a religion but a religiousness. A religion is a creed, a dogma, an ideology; it is intellectual. You can be convinced about it — arguments can be given, proofs can be supplied, you can be silenced. Argumentation is a kind of violence, a very subtle violence. It is an attempt to manipulate you, control you, enslave you. All the religions have been doing that for thousands of years; it is a subtle strategy to create mental slavery.

What I am doing here has nothing to do with religion at all. It is a kind of religiousness — no belief, no dogma, no church. It is a love affair; you cannot be convinced of it. Do you think Majnu can convince others about the beauty of Laila? It is impossible. Nobody can convince anybody else about his love affair. It is far deeper than the intellect, it is of the heart, and the heart knows no arguments, no proofs; it is simply so. One can dance, one can sing, but one cannot prove it. One can shout with joy, one can say “Alleluia!” but those are not arguments, they are not convincing.

The story about Majnu is very significant. It is a Sufi story. It is not an ordinary love story as people have been thinking, it is an allegory.

Majnu fell in love with a woman called Laila who was not beautiful according to others. According to the public opinion she was very ordinary, homely — not only that but ugly too. And Majnu was mad, 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 Laila from far away was not easy. It was a Mohammedan country, and in a Mohammedan country it is very difficult to see even the face of a woman.

Seeing his agony, his anguish, even the king became a little concerned. He called 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!” — and he called the most beautiful women.

Majnu looked at each woman in minute detail and said, “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 must have gone utterly crazy! Laila is nothing compared to these beautiful women! You can choose anyone. I KNOW your Laila, 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.”

Majnu said, “But you don’t understand me. And I can understand that you cannot understand. It is not a question of choosing somebody 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 MY eyes; only then will you be able to see the grandeur, the splendor of her being.”

Remember these words: To see the beauty of Laila you need the eyes of a Majnu.
This is not a religion. The people who have gathered around me are lovers — not intellectually convinced of what I am saying, but existentially convinced of what I am. It is a question not decided by the mind but something to be felt.

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