Osho : Omar Khayyam, one of the Sufi mystics, says in his RUBAIYAT: “Don’t be worried about your small sins. They are so small that God, out of his love, cannot even count them. And God is compassionate, he will forgive you.” Omar Khayyam says, “I guarantee that you will be forgiven, don’t be worried. What you are doing are just small things, and God cannot take note of these small things. He cannot be so nasty, so small minded, so pigheaded!”

Omar Khayyam is right. God means love, God means forgiveness; there is no question of fear. But people are afraid of God also for the simple reason that their God is again a projection of ambition.

Osho : Omar Khayyam’s book was burned in his day. Whenever a copy was found, it was burned by the priests, because this man was teaching such a dangerous idea. If it spreads among human beings and everybody starts rejoicing in life, what will happen to the priests? What happen to the saints? What will happen to their mythologies of hell and heaven and god? All will disappear in thin air.

At least with me, Omar Khayyam is one of the enlightened Sufi mystics, and what he is saying has immense truth in it. He does not mean that you should commit sin. What he means simply is that you should not feel guilty. Whatever you do — if it is not right, don’t do it again. If you feel it hurts somebody, don’t do it again. But there is no need to feel guilty, there is no need to be repentant, there is no need to do penance and torture yourself.

Osho : Omar Khayyam, another great Sufi. He was a mathematician, a great mathematician, a genius. He had used his reason to its uttermost, and then he was taken in. And the great mathematician became a drunkard, and the great mathematician started talking of wine, of drunkenness, and the great RUBAIYAT was born.

One cannot believe, reading Omar Khayyam’s RUBAIYAT, that he was a great mathematician. One cannot conceive of what kind of mathematician he was, because his poetry is so pure. How can a mathematician attain to such purity of poetry?

A mathematician is a logician, he functions through syllogism. He is very practical, he is very objective. He does not allow his subjectivity to enter into his observations; he is very detached. And mathematics is the only perfect science in the world. All other sciences are so-so; mathematics is the only perfect science. How can a perfect scientist become a sufi?

But now you can understand how it happened. When you come to the extreme point of your reason, and if you are still available, not closed — if you have not concluded, this way or that way, if you have not yet become a theist or an atheist, if you still have the awareness that reason remains inconclusive — then you will be taken in by his presence. He will appear as a master and will take you in. And then it can happen in a single moment. When one is standing on the boundary, then in a single moment one can enter into the unknowable.

Osho : When Fitzgerald, a very talented poet, translated Omar Khayyam, a Sufi mystic, he did something almost impossible, because Omar Khayyam, in the original, does not seem to be so impressive as he becomes in the translation of Fitzgerald. And the reason is, Fitzgerald had no idea that Omar Khayyam was talking about God, not about a woman.

The Sufis call God saki. Saki is the woman in the pub who pours wine for the customers. Particularly in the Arabic and Persian nations, the sakis are chosen just as in the West you choose Miss World, Miss universe, Miss America. The saki is chosen just like that. The most beautiful girl in the city will become the saki. The most beautiful women move into the profession of being the saki. And Sufis call God “saki”.

Fitzgerald had no idea that saki means, to a Sufi, God. He simply translated literally that saki is a woman, and when Omar Khayyam says, “Saki, fill my cup full,” he thinks he is asking a woman to fill his cup full. And when Omar Khayyam says, “Even the wine is not so sweet as your kiss,” he is thinking of a woman; hence, his poetry becomes more romantic, more colorful. One who understands the Sufi terminology will not find much in Omar Khayyam.

You will be surprised that in Persia, Omar Khayyam is not known as a great poet. But in the whole world, Omar Khayyam is Persia’s most important poet, and this miracle has happened because of Fitzgerald. And you would not have enjoyed Omar Khayyam. He was a mathematician; that was the first mistake that Fitzgerald made: he did not realize that Omar Khayyam was a mathematician.

Now, a mathematician writing poetry — you understand, it cannot be juicy. From where can a mathematician get juice? Then over and above that, he is a Sufi, a seeker of God. There is no place for any woman in his life; he lived a celibate life.

Fitzgerald never bothered about the man’s life. Before he translated his poetry he should at least have looked to see whether this man was capable of writing poetry about women. He was a celibate mathematician! A Sufi! But Sufis remaining celibate think of God as a woman, dream of God as a woman, the most beautiful woman of course — there can be no comparison with God. So they pour all their sexuality on the image of God, the beloved. He is not a man.

In Omar Khayyam’s book — it is an illustrated book — naturally Fitzgerald saw the most beautiful pictures of women pouring wine. He thought that this was really a woman. And he looked at the poetry; it talks about the woman. Sufis are very angry: Fitzgerald made Omar Khayyam world famous, while their real poets of Persia are unknown to the world. This man was not thought to be a poet at all. Once you understand that this woman is not a real woman but God looked at through the eyes of a celibate Sufi… it is an hallucination.
2 thoughts on “Osho on Omar Khayyam – Sufi Mystic Omar Khayyam”
  1. Awww…I am so disappointed. I’m an existentialist whose been recommending this booklet to my muslim friends….didn’t know I was just a victim/vector of cultural insensitivity. Still, it’s not easy to make a translation rhyme AND scan so fitzgerald is to be commended. Thanks for the perspective yo!

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