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Chapter 6: Mind: The Stupidity

It is related about Mulla Nasruddin that the emperor was going to visit his town. The villagers were very much afraid to face the emperor, so they all asked Nasruddin, “Please, represent us. We are foolish people, ignorant. You are the only wise one here, so please tackle the situation because we don’t know the ways of the court, and the emperor is coming for the first time.”

Nasruddin said, “Of course. I have seen many emperors and I have visited many courts. Don’t be worried.”

But the people of the court were themselves worried about the village, so they came just to prepare the whole situation. When they asked who is going to represent them, the villagers said, “Mulla Nasruddin is going to represent us. He is our leader, our guide, our philosopher.”

So they trained Mulla Nasruddin, saying, “You need not be worried too much. The king is going to ask only three questions. The first question will be about your age. How old are you?”

Nasruddin said, “Seventy.”

“So remember it. Don’t be dazzled too much by the emperor and the court. When he asks how old you are, say, ‘Seventy’ - not a single word more nor less; otherwise you can be in difficulty. Then he will ask how long you have been serving in the village mosque, how long you have been a religious teacher here. So exactly tell the years. How long have you been serving?”

He said, “For thirty years.”

Questions like this. Then the emperor came. The people who had trained Nasruddin, they had trained the emperor also, saying, “The people of this village are very simple, and their leader looks a little stupid, so please, be kind and don’t ask anything else. These are the questions..”

But the king forgot. So before asking, “How old are you?” he asked, “How long have you been the spiritual guide of this town?”

Now, Nasruddin had fixed answers. He said, “Seventy years.”

The king looked a little puzzled because the man looks not more than seventy, so has he been a religious teacher from his very birth? Then he said, “I am surprised. Then how old are you?”

Nasruddin said, “Thirty years.” Because this was the fixed thing: that first he has to say “seventy years,” then he has to say “thirty years.”

The king said, “Are you mad?”

Nasruddin said, “Sir, we both are mad - in our own ways! You are asking wrong questions - and I have to answer right answers! This is the problem. I cannot change, because those people are here, those who have trained me. They are looking at me. I cannot change, and you are asking wrong questions. We both are mad in our own ways. I am forced to answer the right answer - that is my madness. Had there been no ready-made answers I would have answered you rightly, but now there is trouble. And you are asking a wrong question, in a wrong sequence.”

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