A scholar asks a fakir, ‘What is love?’ – Story

“I am love. And if you cannot see it in my dancing, then you will certainly not see it at all when I stop dancing.”


There is an old Baul story:

A fakir was dancing in a garden of flowers, dancing with the flowers, with the birds, and a scholar came to him and asked, “I have heard that you are always repeating ‘love, love’. What is this love anyway?”

The fakir went on dancing, because what else could the answer be except to dance?

Love was showering all around. The trees were understanding it, the lake was understanding it, the white clouds floating in the sky were understanding it – but the scholar was blind.

The fakir went on dancing.

The scholar said, “Stop this jumping up and down; give me an answer to my question. This is no answer, just jumping. I am asking, ‘What is love?’”

The fakir said, “I am love. And if you cannot see it in my dancing, then you will certainly not see it at all when I stop dancing. If you do not see it in my singing, then it will be far beyond your understanding when I become silent. I have already given you the answer.”

The scholar started laughing.

He said, “This answer is for idiots! I am a knower of the scriptures – I want the right answer. I am not an uneducated villager – I know the Vedas, the Upanishads, I have read the Gita. Give me a sensible reply. Otherwise say that you don’t know the answer.”

The fakir sang a song. In that song he said, “I have heard that once an incident happened – that the flowers had blossomed in a garden and the gardener was dancing with joy at the beauty of such unique flowers. The goldsmith of the town came and said, ‘Why are you so intoxicated! What great experience had happened? What is your reason for dancing?’

“The gardener said, ‘Look at these flowers!’

“The goldsmith said, ‘Wait! I will not agree without testing them.’

He took out a touchstone from his bag which he used for testing gold.”

There is a stone on which gold can be tested to find out whether it is real or false.

“He rubbed the flowers on his stone, but nothing could be known in this way – the flowers were crushed and they died. The flowers must have laughed, the trees must have laughed, the clouds in the sky must have laughed. And the gardener also laughed.”

The fakir laughed and said to the scholar, “What you are asking me is the same: you want to test love on the touchstone of logic.”

Flowers will die if they are rubbed on a stone… the stone only tests gold because there is some similarity between the gold and the stone – gold is hard like stone. Have you ever seen gold blooming? It is dead.  A flower is alive: if you test it on a stone it will die.  Only the traces of its death will be left behind, only the blood of the flower will remain on the stone; but there will be no information from  the stone about whether the flower was real or false.

The stone that tests gold is a different thing. But if you cannot see the divine in the world, then know that you are like a goldsmith wandering in a garden of flowers with a stone that tests gold. In this way you will never meet the flowers; the stone in your hand is preventing your meeting with the flowers. The way that you see is creating an obstacle. The way that you are is keeping the divine away from you.

Osho, Showering Without Clouds – Reflections on the Poetry of an Enlightened Woman, Sahajo, Ch 3 (excerpt)

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