The smuggler

Time and again Mulla Nasruddin would cross the border with his donkey having bails of straw. Each time the custom inspector would ask Nasruddin's profession and he would reply, “I am an honest smuggler!”

So each time Nasruddin, his donkey and the bags of straw would be searched from top to toe. Each time the custom folk would not find anything. Few days later Nasruddin would return without his donkey or bags of straw. He was not doing anything else, but still lived a luxurious life.  The custom inspector was always trying different search methods to catch Nasruddin.  But each time he failed to find any contraband.

Years went by and Nasruddin prospered in his smuggling profession to the extent that he retired.

Many years later the custom person too had retired. As it happened one day the two met in another country far from home. The two hugged each other like old buddies and started talking. After a while the custom person asked the question which had been bugging him over the years, “Nasruddin, now we both are retired.  And we are in a different country now.  So please let me know what were you smuggling all those years ago?”

Nasruddin smiled and said, “Donkeys.”


This donkey here is the ego.  Ego is just like a donkey, brainless.  Nasruddin was in the habit of getting rid of the dirt that mind had collected during the day.  The straws are the unwanted things that simply grow.  The ego is that container that keeps on carrying this dirt.  That is why when donkey is smuggled-out, straws are also gone.  One should get rid of straws to keep the area clean.  Similarly so many things like straw enter our mind which need to be weeded out to keep the mind clean. 

Nasruddin would do this openly but the world would not realize what he was doing.  The world would realize that he was doing something, but would not realize what.  But he wants us to realize.  He is openly yelling his honorable profession so that we search and find his modus operandi.     

The meditation mentioned in this story could be difficult to explain because it deals with mind.  Mind cannot be seen by people.  So wise men devices such stories to explain what is happening inside.  These stories have external plots which the people can well comprehend.  If by looking at these stories we merely laugh without understand the hidden intricacies then we will defeat the very purpose of them.  Then our happiness will keep on getting smuggled-out in front of us.  And we would stand helpless because we could not catch the hidden treasures in these stories. 

Nasruddin is showing a different way of getting rich.  Obviously this way is not being followed by the majority.  And so nobody will get what you are doing.  If you are worried about disturbing others then this way is not for you.

Because of this smuggling the wise will start to enjoy life more and more.  This is real richness.  Such richness will compel the inspector to search even more.  But looking in wrong direction, howsoever more perfect, would not yield anything.  The inspector was searching the donkey, but he was not looking at the donkey itself!  This like an ass searching the ass's ass and the whole business is ass!  This is exposing the donkey nature of ordinary people.  We try to look for happiness in things of life, whereas life itself is happiness - totally independent of the things of life.

** Read full explanation of this story from the Most In-depth Book on Mulla Nasruddin Ever!