Sadhguru narrates the story of Mansur Al-Hallaj, one of the early Sufis who was persecuted for proclaiming, “Anal Haq” – “I am God. I am the Ultimate Truth.”
Sadhguru: When it comes to the science of approaching the interiority, for ages, most spiritual paths in the world have talked about devotion or bhakti. Bhakti is the quickest way because for most people, the most intense experience within themselves is emotion.Even today, though people think they are intellectual, emotion is still the most intense aspect within them. Most people do not know a true sense of intensity in their physical body. Some people know intensity in their mind. Very few know intensity of their life energies. But everyone knows some intensity in emotion. Even if their love or compassion is not intense, at least when they get angry, it is intense. With some emotion, they are able to become intense. Because of this, there has been a lot of emphasis on bhakti.
Society has always persecuted people when they showed any kind of spiritual madness.
In India, the bhakti movement spread across the geography of the subcontinent. There are many beautiful examples, such as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Akka Mahadevi and Mirabai, who were carried to great heights by generating a flood of emotion within themselves.
And many people from other cultures came to the subcontinent, drawn by what was happening here. One of the early Sufis, Mansur Al Hallaj is one such example. He lived in Persia around the tenth century AD. During his travels, he came to Gujarat in India and spent many years with a teacher there. He met some genuine, wild yogis from the bhakti movement who were in a completely different state of bliss. Then he travelled up into Punjab where he most likely encountered many more.
When Mansur returned to Persia, he wanted to share this experience. And he said, “Anal Haq”, which has the same meaning as the Sanskrit, “Aham Brahmasmi” – “I am God. I am the Ultimate Truth.”
People thought he was crazy because was claiming to be God. But he wouldn’t stop. He sang and danced madly on the street.
He went to Mecca and set up a small deity of his own – perhaps he consecrated it in some way. And many people started going there instead. That’s not something anyone would live through, and he was killed in a horrible way.
As part of the torture, they actually peeled off his skin, alive, and buried him up to his waist. An order was given that anyone who passes by that street must throw a stone at him. Mansur’s dear friend, Shebli, was going that way, and he had to throw something. But he did not have the heart to throw a stone, so he threw a flower at him.
When this happened, Mansur burst out into poetry: “Of all the things, those stones don’t hurt me because they are thrown by the ignorant. You threw this flower. This has hurt me so deeply because you know, and still you have thrown something at me.”
Society has always persecuted people when they showed any kind of spiritual madness. Societies have always been apprehensive of devotees because they do not go by any logic. Devotees by themselves are absolutely beautiful, but they will not fit into social situations because if you want to be a devotee, you have to have a certain level of madness in you. It is a very beautiful madness but it is still madness.
If you are out of your mind, you will be perfectly sane, you will become like a Mansur – something which is beyond most people’s understanding.