Chapter 7: The Lion’s Roar
Shortly afterwards, Mahmud and his courtier Ayaz, taking off their shoes, presented themselves at the sanctuary.
“Here, Mahmud,” said the Sufi sheik, “is the man who was nothing while he was a visitor of kings, but who is now one who is visited by kings. Take him as your Sufi counselor for he is ready.”
This is the story of the studies of Hiravi, Haidar Ali Jan, the Sage of Herat.
Religion is a risk, a rebellion, and a rebirth, Religion is not a consolation, it is not conformity, it is not convention. Religion is not part of the world - it is something of the beyond.
Religion cannot be learnt: it can only be imbibed. There is no study which is going to help you to become religious. All studies lead astray.
Religion is not a kind of learning. On the contrary, it is unlearning. Not that you have to know more, but that you have to come to a point where all knowing disappears, and you become innocent, and you are a child again. And again the wonder is fresh and the mystery of life is revealed to you.
The knower lives in his mind. And the mind goes on pretending that is knows. And because the mind pretends that it knows, it demystifies existence. Knowledge is the most irreligious phenomenon there is in the world - because without the experience of the mysterious there is no possibility of being in contact with God. The mystery is the door.
Knowledge has to be dropped so that you can open your eyes again like a child - fresh, young, full of wonder, knowing nothing, or, only knowing that you know nothing.
These few things have to be understood before we can enter into this beautiful story.
Why do I call religion a risk? and not only a risk but the greatest? Why? Because you have to lose yourself. There are other risks in life, but they are small risks. You have to lose your money, or you have to lose your prestige, or you have to lose your wife.or this or that. But in religion, nothing less than your totality is required - you have to lose yourself. Naturally, one shrinks back one is frightened. It is a jump out of the ego and into the ego less abyss. It is a discontinuity with the past, with all that you have thought you are. It is a breakthrough.
You lose your identity - it is a great crisis in identity. You have known yourself as this or that - a name, a form, a society, a nation - religion requires that you lose all your identity. A religious person is neither an Indian nor a Chinese, neither a Hindu nor a Mohammedan. A religious person is neither black nor white. All these things are stupidities.