There was a Sufi saint, Hijira. An angel appeared in his dream and told him that he should save as much water as possible from the well, because the following morning all the water in the world was going to be poisoned by the devil and everyone who would drink it would become mad.
So the whole night the fakir saved as much water as possible. And the phenomenon really happened: everyone became mad the next morning. But no one knew the whole city had become mad. Only the fakir was not mad, but the whole city talked as if he had gone mad. He knew what had happened, but no one believed him, so he went on drinking his water and remained alone.
But he could not continue that way; the whole city was living in an altogether different world. No one listened to him, and finally there was a rumor that he would be caught and sent to prison. They said that he was mad.
One morning they came to get hold of him. Either he would be treated as if he was ill, or he would have to go to prison, but he could not be allowed freedom: he had become absolutely mad. What he said could not be understood; he spoke a different language.
The fakir was at a loss to understand. He tried to help the others to remember their past, but they had forgotten everything. They did not know anything of the past, anything about what existed before that maddening morning. They could not understand; the fakir had become incomprehensible to them.
They surrounded his house and caught hold of him. Then the fakir said, “Give me one moment more. I shall treat myself.” He ran to the common well, drank the water, and became all right. Now the whole city was happy: the fakir was okay now; now he was not mad. Really, he had gone mad, but now he was part and parcel of a common world.
If everyone else is asleep, you will never even be aware that you are asleep. If everyone is mad and you are mad, you will never be aware of it.
By initiation it is meant that you have surrendered to someone who is awakened. You say, “I do not understand, I cannot understand. I am part of the world that is mad and asleep. I am dreaming all the time.” This feeling can come even from a sleepy person, because the sleep is not always deep. It wavers, becoming very deep at times and then coming up and becoming very shallow. Just like ordinary sleep is a fluctuation of so many levels, so many planes, the metaphysical sleep that I am talking about also fluctuates. Sometimes you are just on the border line, very near to the Buddha; then you can understand something of what Buddha is talking about, what he is saying. It will never be exactly what was said, but at least you have had a glimpse of the truth.