Identification is misery

Junaid, a famous mystic, was going through the market-place of the town with his disciples. And it was his way to take any situation and use it. A man was dragging his cow by a rope, and Junaid said “Wait” to the man, and told his disciples “Surround this man and the cow. I am going to teach you something.”

The man stopped – Junaid was a famous mystic – and he was also interested in what he was going to teach these disciples and how he was going to use him and the cow.

And Junaid asked his disciples “I ask you one thing: Who is bound to whom? Is the cow bound to this man or is this man bound to this cow?”

Of course, the disciples said: “The cow is bound to the man. The man is the master, he is holding the rope, the cow has to follow him wherever he goes. He is the master and the cow is the slave.”

And Junaid said “Now, see.” He took out his scissors and cut the rope – and the cow escaped.

The man ran after the cow, and Junaid said, “Now look what is happening! Now you see who the master is; the cow is not interested at all in this man – in fact, she is escaping.”

And the man was very angry; he said, “What kind of experiment is this?”

But Junaid said to his disciples, “And this is the case with your mind.

“All the nonsense that you are carrying inside is not interested in you. You are interested in it, you are keeping it together somehow – you are becoming mad in keeping it together somehow…The moment you lose interest, the moment you understand the futility of it, it will start disappearing; like the cow, it will escape.”

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Junaid (or Junayd) of Baghdad was a Persian mystic and one of the most famous of the early Islamic saints. He is a central figure in the spiritual lineage of many Sufi orders. Junaid taught in Baghdad throughout his lifetime and was an important figure in the development of Sufi doctrine.