We all know what a mask is. In case it has to be clarified, “A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment.”
We all put on the mask and pretend that we are a different person from what we actually are. At the moment whatever is profitable to us we put on that mask and throw that out when it is not no longer useful. We then put on a different mask and deny what we had put earlier. This is an every moment reality for us.
In the house we as a spouse, parent, we put on one mask, in the job we are entirely different person competitive, aggressive, ruthless to succeed, in the general society we show a different mask, socially conscious of the issues and concerned about them, may be philanthropic. All these are deception one unconnected with the other. What is that we actually are behind all these masks? What is the real self? Behind all these masks we wear we are all normal persons whether we call ourselves Engineers, Doctors, Leaders, Rulers or Scientists. We are all ordinary persons with our worries, fears, jealousy, hate, etc.,
J. Krishnamurti says,
“………………….. Why do we put on masks? You know what a mask is? When a human being is capable and efficient in technology, that is a particular mask; he lives in that; he does not want to know what is behind that mask. He may be a first-class engineer, a first-class bureaucrat: and that is a mask. That mask becomes respectability which the world accepts as a marvelous human being. But remove the mask; then, whether he is a scientist or an astronomer, he is just like everybody else…………….It is only the vain, proud people who cultivate humility - they put on a mask of humility; but they are not really, in the real sense of that word, humble………………”
We will see the Sufi story of Mojud, it is not about just about different roles we play but about the flow of life.
Mojud: The Man with the Inexplicable Life
There was once a man named Mojud. He lived in a town where he had obtained a post as a small official, and it seemed likely that he would end his days as inspector of weights and measures.
One day when he was walking through the gardens of an ancient building near his home, Khidr, the mysterious guide of the Sufis, appeared to him, dressed in shimmering green. Khidr said, "Man of bright prospects! Leave your work and meet me at the riverside in three days' time." Then he disappeared. Mojud went to his superior in trepidation and said that he had to leave. Everyone in the town soon heard of this and they said, "Poor Mojud! He has gone mad." But, as there were many candidates for his job, they soon forgot him.
On the appointed day, Mojud met Khidr, who said to him, "Tear your clothes and throw yourself into the stream. Perhaps someone will save you." Mojud did so, even though he wondered if he were mad. Since he could swim, he did not drown, but drifted a long way before a fisherman hauled him into his boat, saying, "Foolish man! The current is strong. What are you trying to do?" Mojud said, "I don't really know."
"You are mad," said the fisherman, "But I will take you into my reed-hut by the river yonder, and we shall see what can be done for you."
When he discovered that Mojud was well-spoken, he learned from him how to read and write. In exchange, Mojud was given food and helped the fisherman with his work. After a few months, Khidr again appeared, this time at the foot of Mojud's bed, and said, "Get up now and leave this fisherman. You will be provided for."
Mojud immediately quit the hut, dressed as a fisherman, and wandered about until he came to a highway.
As dawn was breaking he saw a farmer on a donkey on his way to market. "Do you seek work?" asked the farmer, "because I need a man to help me bring back some purchases."
Mojud followed him. He worked for the farmer for nearly two years, by which time he had learned a great deal about agriculture but little else.
One afternoon when he was baling wool, Khidr appeared to him and said, "Leave that work, walk to the city of Mosul, and use your savings to become a skin-merchant."
In Mosul he became known as a skin-merchant, never seeing Khidr while he plied his trade for three years. He had saved quite a large sum of money, and was thinking of buying a house, when Khidr appeared and said, "Give me your money, walk out of this town as far as the distant Samarkand, and work for a grocer there."
Mojud did so.
Presently he began to show undoubted signs of illumination. He healed the sick, served his fellow men in the shop during his spare time, and his knowledge of the mysteries became deeper and deeper.
Clerics, philosophers and others visited him and asked, "under whom did you study?"
"It is difficult to say," said Mojud.
His disciples asked, "How did you start your career?"
He said, "As a small official." "And you gave it up to devote yourself to self-mortification?"
"No, I just gave it up." They did not understand him.
People approached him to write the story of his life.
"What have you been in your life?" they asked.
"I jumped into a river, became a fisherman, then walked out of his reed-hut in the middle of the night. After that, I became a farmhand. While I was baling wool, I changed and went to Mosul, where I became a skin-merchant. I saved some money there, but gave it away. Then I walked to samarkand where I worked for a grocer. And this is where I am now."
"But this inexplicable behavior throws no light upon your strange gifts and wonderful examples," said the biographers.
"That is so," said Mojud.
So the biographers constructed for Mojud a wonderful and exciting story: because all saints must have their story, and the story must be in accordance with the appetite of the listener, not with the realities of life.
And nobody is allowed to speak of Khidr directly. That is why this story is not true. It is a representation of a life. This is the real life of one of the greatest Sufis.