Nasruddin was visited by some students, who asked whether they might hear his lessons. He agreed, and they set out to the lecture hall, walking behind the Mulla, who had mounted his donkey with his face to its tail.

People began to stare. They thought that the Mulla must be a fool, and the students who followed him even greater fools. Who after all, walks behind a man who rides a donkey back to front.

After a little while the students began to become uneasy, and said to the Mulla:

“O Mulla! people are looking at us, Why do you ride in this manner?”

Nasruddin frowned. “You are thinking about what people think, than what we are doing.” He said. “I shall explain it to you, If you walk in front, this would show disrespect to me, because you would have your backs to me. If I walked behind, the same would be true. If I ride ahead with my back towards you, this shows disrespect for you. This is the only way of doing it.” 


This is the only way of doing it.

In all other ways Nasruddin would only be creating the followers.  When the master and the students are facing each other, they are having their backs towards the public.  They are showing their scant respect to the ways of this world.  There is no other way. 

It is not that wise man rides the donkey back to front.  Through this story Nasruddin is teaching a valuable lesson to his new students.  He is asking them relevant questions.  Do you know what you are going towards?  Do you have the guts to show your backs to the society?  Do you have the strength to face the jeers of this so called normal people?  Do you have it in you to go against the tides of majority, not also be part of tiny minority, but just be yourself?

No amount of lectures could nail these points as clearly and pointedly as this practical example.  That is why Nasruddin is doing this way.  Those who still remain with him are worthy to be taught.  Others may back out from this mad man and join the current of mad world!

It all depends to whom you want to be disrespectful to.  To the master who represents that Truth or to the societal norms that represents ignorance?  

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