Last night I was reading “The Book of Mirdad.” It was so beautiful and so strong that I couldn’t stop reading for hours. Then suddenly I felt that my breath had changed, and I found myself on the edge of crying, and I didn’t know whether it was sadness, desperation, bliss, or all three at the same time. I tried to find out by reading the words again, but I realized that my mind didn’t really understand when I looked at them. How is it possible that words which the mind doesn’t understand can touch one so deeply?
There are millions of books in the world, but The Book of Mirdad stands out far above any other book in existence. It is unfortunate that very few people are acquainted with The Book of Mirdad, for the simple reason that it is not a religious scripture. It is a parable, a fiction, but containing oceanic truth.
It is a small book, but the man who gave birth to this book…and mind my words, I am not saying the man who wrote this book. Nobody wrote this book. I am saying the man who gave birth to this book – he was an unknown, a nobody. And because he was not a novelist, he never wrote again; just that single book contains his whole experience. The name of the man was Mikhail Naimy.
It is an extraordinary book in the sense that you can read it and miss it completely, because the meaning of the book is not in the words of the book. The meaning of the book is running side by side in silence between the words, between the lines, in the gaps.
If you are in a state of meditativeness – if you are not only reading a fiction but you are encountering the whole religious experience of a great human being, absorbing it; not intellectually understanding but existentially drinking it – the words are there but they become secondary. Something else becomes primary: the silence that those words create, the music that those words create. The words affect your mind, and the music goes directly to your heart.
And it is a book to be read by the heart, not by the mind. It is a book not to be understood, but experienced. It is something phenomenal. Millions of people have tried to write books so that they can express the inexpressible, but they have utterly failed. I know only one book, The Book of Mirdad, which has not failed; and if you cannot get to the very essence of it, it will be your failure, not his.
He has created a perfect device of words, parables, situations. If you allow it, the book becomes alive and something starts happening to your being. And naturally, because you have never come to such a state, you are puzzled about what it is – sadness? Blissfulness? There are tears, but those tears can be either of sadness or they can be of immense joy. You have come to a point where you have never been before, so naturally you cannot categorize it. You cannot put a label on it according to your old experiences. But the name does not mean anything. What matters is that you have taken a step beyond yourself. You have never been in this space; you have entered into the unknown, and it is so unknown that you don’t have the vocabulary even to give it a name.