Chapter 7: The Mad King and His Idol
The sailor found the conjurer very entertaining and remarked every now and then, “That’s a very pretty trick. I wonder what he will do next.” Presently the sailor thought he would like a smoke, so he lit a cigarette and threw the match through the open door.
Now, as it happened, there was a gas leak outside the hall, and the next thing was a tremendous explosion and a wrecked hall. A few minutes later, a very bedraggled parrot remarked from its perch on a church spire about a mile away, “That’s a very pretty trick. I wonder what he will do next?”
The knowledgeable person is just like that parrot: he’s simply repeating something he does not understand. He is repeating something because he has heard it being repeated. He is repeating without any meaning in it.
When a buddha speaks there is meaning, when a Buddhist scholar repeats the same words they are parrot-like. When Mohammed sang the Koran there was great significance in it. It was not in the words, it was in Mohammed himself. It was imparted by Mohammed’s being to those words. Those words are ordinary, anybody can learn them, everybody knows them. Mohammed was not a very, very educated person; in fact, not at all educated, an uneducated person, an innocent person. He had no idea of any knowledge. He was so immensely humble in his innocence that when for the first time, meditating on the mountain, no-mind happened to him, when satori bloomed, when he opened up to existence, when this world disappeared and the other started becoming real to his being, he was very afraid. He heard somewhere deep in his being, “Recite! Recite! Recite the name of Allah!”
From the word recite comes the word koran. Koran means recite. That was the first thing that he heard from his innermost core: Recite! Recite! Recite the glory of existence! He was entering into a glorious universe, he was entering into the splendor of life and being. His whole heart was dancing. But he knew that he was an uneducated man. He said, “But I am absolutely uneducated! I don’t know language. How can I recite? How can I read? How can I say anything which will be relevant? I am an ignorant man.” But the voice continued, “Recite!” And he became so frightened, he had a great fever.
He went home, told his wife that he was suffering from a great fever. The wife said, “But just before you left you were perfectly healthy. What has happened? And I see something very mysterious around you. You are not the same! Your eyes have such a depth I have never seen, and you have such passion on your face, such fire. You are aflame with something! What has happened? Tell me! This is not ordinary fever. You have stumbled into some truth.”
Mohammed confessed. He said, “Yes, something has happened.” And actually what he said is beautiful. He said, “Either I have gone mad or I have become a poet.” Either I have gone mad or I have become a poet.they are really synonymous. Unless you are mad you can’t be a poet, and unless you have the capacity to be a poet you can’t be mad either.