The Moon and the Door –Mulla Nasruddin

Mulla Nasruddin was born in Iran and became famous as a Sufi mystic. He was considered a little crazy but at the same time tremendously wise.

waxing_crescent_featuredMulla Nasruddin was once sent by the Emperor of Iran with great gifts to the Emperor of India. Nasruddin praised the Emperor of India as the full moon. The rumor reached Iran and enemies of Nasruddin said to their Emperor, “You have not chosen the right person to take the message. He has praised the Emperor of India as the full moon!”

The emperor said, “Let him come back. He will have to explain this to me. Otherwise he will lose his head.”

Nasruddin came back. The Indian emperor had been greatly impressed by the Mullah and had given him many presents. The Emperor of Iran was very angry and he said, “Nasruddin, your life is at risk!”

Nasruddin said, “Everybody’s life is always at risk. Do you think your life is not at risk?”

The emperor said, “Don’t discuss philosophy now! You have to answer me. You called the Indian emperor the `full moon.’ That is insulting to me.”

Nasruddin said, “You don’t understand the meaning. You are the rising moon, the first-day moon, which is just a small arc, remains for a few moments and disappears. The full moon means the days of decline have come. That Indian emperor was an idiot. He thought I was praising him, but I was simply declaring that `Your time has come. Now there is no more growth, only decline.’ And you are an idiot for being angry. You are the rising moon – you have to expand, conquer. You have enough time to become a full moon.”

The emperor was very much impressed by the interpretation. Nasruddin’s enemies were simply shocked. They had never thought that he would give this interpretation. Nobody had given thought to his statement and wrongly presumed that he had insulted the emperor.

Even today you can see Nasruddin’s grave in Iran. His is a strange grave, unique in the whole world. On the grave there is  a closed door standing with a big lock on it. Before dying, Mulla Nasruddin  made all the arrangements and said, “You put the key with me inside the grave, so nobody can open the door.”


Even the emperor came to see this strange door and lock on the grave. “What nonsense is happening! And this man is thought to be a wise man! Of course he was eccentric, but yet loved by everybody.”

The emperor inquired of Nasruddin’s disciples, “What is the meaning of this door?”

They said, “It is not new. He used to carry this door wherever he went. We asked him, `What is the matter?’ He said, `If I take the door with me, nobody can enter into my house. Obviously, everybody enters into a house through a door. So just to protect the house, I carry the door with me.’ And before dying he said, `Fix that door on my grave, lock it, and put the key with me. Any time I like I can open the door and just have some fresh air.'”

The emperor said, “All nonsense” but the emperor also liked the man.

The Mullah was crazy always. To make this statement, that life is eternal, he had put up the door: “Any moment, if I want to come out, at least I have the key and I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission. I can open the door, have a little walk, or enjoy around the city. You will not see me, but I will see you.”

The chief disciple then said to the Iranian emperor, “There is something in it. He is saying: Don’t think that my death is my death. You are putting my body in the grave but I am still alive. My life is eternal.”

From Osho and Anand Zen

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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2 Responses to The Moon and the Door –Mulla Nasruddin

  1. Max Coutinho says:

    Hello Padmum,

    A post filled with wisdom. The Mullah may have sounded crazy but he wasn’t; he was just misunderstood.
    This story reminds us that the world hasn’t changed: people are too easily offended, people don’t invest enough time in analysing words (much because, like the Mullah’s foes, it serves their purposes), they don’t see beyond the obvious.

    Your proud brother shared your blog with us, in his site. I will follow.



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