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Chapter 1: Polishing the Mirror of the Heart

Then a toast was called, “To the blindness of Hakim Sanai” - because he was the next most important person with Bahramshah. He was his adviser, his counselor, his poet. He was the wisest man in his court, and his fame had penetrated into other lands too. He was already an accomplished poet - a great, well-known wise man.

Then a toast was called, “To the blindness of Hakim Sanai” - which must have given the great poet a considerable jolt. There were even stronger objections to this on the grounds of Sanai’s excellent reputation, his wisdom, his character. He was a man of character, a very virtuous man, very religious. Nobody could have found any flaw in his life. He had lived a very, very conscious life, at least in his own eyes. He was a man of conscience.

More objections were raised because maybe the sultan was blind, he was greedy, he had great lust, he had great desires to possess, but that couldn’t be said about Hakim Sanai. He had lived the life of a poor man, even though he had been in the court. Even though he was the most respected man in Bahramshah’s court, he had lived like a poor man - simple, humble, and of great wisdom and character.

But Lai-Khur countered that the toast was even more apt, since Sanai seemed unaware of the purpose for which he had been created. And when he was shortly brought before his maker and asked what he had to show for himself he would only be able to produce some stupid eulogies of foolish kings, mere mortals like himself.

Lai-Khur said that it was even more apt because much more is to be expected from Hakim Sanai than from Sultan Bahramshah. “He has a greater potential and he is wasting it, wasting it in making eulogies for foolish kings. He will not be able to face his God; he will be in difficulty, he will not be able to answer. All that he will be able to produce will be this poetry, written in praise of foolish kings like this blind man, Bahramshah. He is more blind, utterly blind.”

And listening to these words and looking into the eyes of that madman, Lai-Khur, something incredible happened to Hakim Sanai - a satori, a sudden enlightening experience. Something died in him immediately, instantly, and something was born, something utterly new. In a single moment, the transformation had happened. He was no longer the same man. This madman has really penetrated his soul. This madman has succeeded in awakening him.

In Sufi history, this is the only case of satori. In Zen there are many cases; I have been talking to you about those cases. But in the world of Sufism this is the only case of satori, sudden enlightenment. Not methodological, not gradual - in a shock it happened.

Lai-Khur must have been a man of tremendous insight. Hakim Sanai bowed down, touched the feet of this madman and wept tears of joy that he has arrived home. He died and was reborn. That’s what a satori is - dying and being reborn. It is a rebirth.

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