Thursday 5 January 2017


A man came to Junnaid,

A Sufi mystic, and asked him,

"What do you say about pre-determination, kismet, fate, and the freedom of man?

Is man free to do whatever he wants to do?

Or is he simply a puppet in the hands of an unknown puppeteer, who simply dances the dance that the puppeteer chooses?"

Junnaid is one of the few beautiful mystics.

He shouted at the man, "Raise up one leg!"

The man was a very rich man; Junnaid knew it. All the disciples, the whole school knew about it – and he had shouted so loudly and so rudely,

"Raise one leg up!"

And the rich man had never followed anybody's orders; he had not gone there to follow orders.
And he could not conceive even a far off, far-fetched, off-the-wall relationship between his question and this answer.
But when you are facing a man like Junnaid you have to follow him.

He raised his right leg.

Junnaid said, "That is not enough. Now raise the other, too."

Now the man was at a loss, and angry also.

He said, "You are asking absurdities!

I had come to ask a philosophical question – that you simply dropped without answering.

You asked me to raise one leg, I raised my right leg. And now you are asking me to raise the other, too.

What do you want?

How can I raise both legs?"

Junnaid said,

"Then sit down. Have you received the answer to your question or not?"

The man said,

"The answer to my question has not been given yet. Instead you have been training me in this parade!"

Junnaid said,

"See the point: when I said, 'Raise one of your legs' you had the freedom to choose either the right or the left.

Nobody was determining it, it was your choice to raise the right leg.

But once you had chosen the right leg you could not choose the left too. It is your freedom that has determined the fact of your bondage. Now your left leg is in bondage."

Man is half free and half in bondage, but he is free first.

And it is his freedom, how he uses his freedom, that determines his bondage.

There is nobody sitting there writing in your head or making lines on your palms.

Even an omnipotent God must be tired by now, doing this stupid thing of making lines on people's hands.

And so many people are coming... writing in everybody's head what he is going to be, where he is going to be born, when he is going to die, what disease, what doctor is going to kill him. All these details!

You are free, but each act of freedom brings a responsibility – and that is your bondage. Either call it 'bondage', which is not a beautiful word, or call it 'responsibility'.

*That is what I call it. You choose a certain act – that is your freedom – but then the consequences will be your responsibility.*