Al Hillaj Mansoor was a famous Sufi mystic who was driven to death by Mohammedans, cutting him limb by limb because he was saying things that went against the Koran – not against religion though, but books are a very small phenomenon: religion does not fit into them. Al Hillaj Mansoor had only one proclamation: “Anal’haq,” in other words, “I am the whole.” And this was beyond the tolerance of the Mohammedans – that someone should call himself “the whole.” The torturous death that they gave to Mansoor…no other man in this world has ever been put through this.
Two events happened on that day.
Junnaid, the guru of Mansoor, must have been merely a teacher – the kind of guru that can be purchased by the dozen and who is present everywhere, in each and every village. They whisper anything in your ears and they become a guru to you. So, Junnaid was telling him, ”Look, your experience that you are the whole may be true, but don’t say it.”
Al Hillaj replied, “This is beyond my capacity, because when I am enveloped in ecstasy, and when the rainclouds of ecstatic delight overtake me, then neither you are in my remembrance nor Mohammedans nor the world; neither life nor death. It is not that then I proclaim ‘Anal haq.’ No, then the proclamation simply happens. This experience is running in my every life’s breath.”
Finally Al Hillaj was caught.
The day he was caught, he was circumambulating himself, walking around himself in circles. People asked him, “What are you doing? This is the time to go on a pilgrimage to the Kaaba and for circumambulating the sacred stone of the Kaaba. And here you are standing and circumambulating your own self!”
Mansoor said, “No stone can experience ‘I am the whole,’ but I do. So if I circumambulate myself, the pilgrimage to Kaaba is complete. Without going anywhere, sitting in my own house, I have invited godliness into my own courtyard.”
A man speaking such truths invariably falls into trouble.
Mansoor was hanging on the gallows, stones were being thrown at him, but he kept on laughing. Junnaid, too, was standing in the crowd and he was afraid that if he did not throw something at Mansoor the crowd would presume that he was in support of Mansoor. So he had secretly brought a flower; he couldn’t throw a stone because he knew that what Mansoor was saying was his inner experience – and if others are unable to understand it, that is their fault. So he hit Mansoor by throwing the flower at him.
As long as stones were hitting Mansoor, he was laughing, but the moment the flower hit him, tears started to flow from his eyes. Someone asked, “What? Stones make you laugh and flowers make you cry?”
Mansoor said, “Those who are throwing stones are ignorant people. The one who has thrown the flower carries the illusion that he knows. I feel pity for him. I have nothing with me other than my tears to give to him.”
And when his legs were chopped off, his hands were chopped off, he looked up toward the sky and gave a loud belly laughter. His bloodied body, a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people… People asked, “Why are you laughing?”