The Gulistan of Sa'di, by Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa'di Shirazi

Chapter vii

On the Effects of Education

Story 1

A vezier who had a stupid son gave him in charge of a scholar to instruct him and if possible to make him intelligent. Having been some time under instruction but ineffectually, the learned man sent one to his father with the words: ‘The boy is not becoming intelligent and has made a fool of me.’

When a nature is originally receptive

Instruction will take effect thereon.

No kind of polishing will improve iron

Whose essence is originally bad.

Wash a dog in the seven oceans,

He will be only dirtier when he gets wet.

If the ass of Jesus be taken to Mekkah

He will on his return still be an ass.

Story 2

A sage, instructing boys, said to them: ‘O darlings of your fathers, learn a trade because property and riches of the world are not to be relied upon; also silver and gold are an occasion of danger because either a thief may steal them at once or the owner spend them gradually; but a profession is a living fountain and permanent wealth; and although a professional man may lose riches, it does not matter because a profession is itself wealth and wherever he goes he will enjoy respect and sit in high places, whereas he who has no trade will glean crumbs and see hardships:

It is difficult to obey after losing dignity

And to bear violence from men after being caressed.

Once confusion arose in Damascus.

Everyone left his snug corner.

Learned sons of peasants

Became the veziers of padshahs.

Imbecile sons of the veziers

Went as mendicants to peasants.

If you wanted thy father’s inheritance, acquire his knowledge

Because this property of his may be spent in ten days.

Story 3

An illustrious scholar, who was the tutor of a royal prince, had the habit of striking him unceremoniously and treating him severely. The boy, who could no longer bear this violence, went to his father to complain and when he had taken off his coat, the father’s heart was moved with pity. Accordingly he called for the tutor and said: ‘Thou dost not permit thyself to indulge in so much cruelty towards the children of my subjects as thou inflictest upon my son. What is the reason?’ He replied: ‘It is incumbent upon all persons in general to converse in a sedate manner and to behave in a laudable way but more especially upon padshahs because whatever they say or do is commented on by everybody, the utterances or acts of common people being of no such consequence.

‘If a hundred unworthy things are committed by a dervish

His companions do not know one in a hundred.

But if a padshah utters only one jest

It is borne from country to country.

‘It is the duty of a royal prince’s tutor to train up the sons of his lord in refinement of morals-and Allah caused her to grow up as a beautiful plant-more diligently than the sons of common people.’

He whom thou hast not punished when a child

Will not prosper when he becomes a man.

While a stick is green, thou canst bend it as thou listest.

When it is dry, fire alone can make it straight.

The king, being pleased with the appropriate discipline of the tutor and with his explanatory reply, bestowed upon him a robe of honour with other gifts and raised him to a higher position.

Story 4

I saw a schoolmaster in the Maghrib country, who was sour-faced, of uncouth speech, ill-humoured, troublesome to the people, of a beggarly nature and without self-restraint, so that the very sight of him disgusted the Musalmans and when reading the Quran he distressed the hearts of the people. A number of innocent boys and little maidens suffered from the hand of his tyranny, venturing neither to laugh nor to speak because he would slap the silver-cheeks of some and put the crystal legs of others into the stocks. In short, I heard that when his behaviour had attained some notoriety, he was expelled from the school and another installed as corrector, who happened to be a religious, meek, good and wise man. He spoke only when necessary and found no occasion to deal harshly with anyone so that the children lost the fear they had entertained for their first master and, taking advantage of the angelic manners of the second, they acted like demons towards each other and, trusting in his gentleness, neglected their studies, spending most of their time in play, and breaking on the heads of each other the tablets’ of their unfinished tasks.

If the schoolmaster happens to be lenient

The children will play leapfrog in the bazar.

Two weeks afterwards I happened to pass near that same mosque where I again saw the first master whom the people had made glad by reconciliation and had reinstalled in his post. I was displeased, exclaimed ‘La haul’, and asked why they had again made Iblis the teacher of angels. An old man, experienced in the world, who had heard me, smiled and said: ‘Hast thou not heard the maxim?

A padshah placed his son in a school,

Putting in his lap a silver tablet

With this inscription in golden letters:

The severity of a teacher is better than the love of a father.’

Story 5

The son of a pious man inherited great wealth left him by some uncles, whereon he plunged into dissipation and profligacy, became a spendthrift and, in short, left no heinous transgression unperpetrated and no intoxicant untasted. I advised him and said: ‘My son, income is a flowing water and expense a turning mill; that is to say, only he who has a fixed revenue is entitled to indulge in abundant expenses.

‘If thou hast no income, spend but frugally

Because the sailors chant this song:

“If there be no rain in the mountains

The bed of the Tigris will be dry in one year.”

‘Follow wisdom and propriety, abandon play and sport because thy wealth will be exhausted, whereon thou wilt fall into trouble and will repent.’ The youth was prevented by the delights of the flute and of drink from accepting my admonition but found fault therewith, saying that it is contrary to the opinion of intelligent men to embitter present tranquillity by cares concerning the future:

Why should possessors of enjoyment and luck

Bear sorrow for fear of distress?

Go, be merry, my heart-rejoicing friend.

The pain of tomorrow must not be eaten today.

And how could I restrain myself, who am occupying the highest seat of liberality, have bound the knot of generosity and the fame of whose beneficence has become the topic of general conversation?

Who has become known for his liberality and generosity

Must not put a lock upon his dirhems.

When the name of a good fellow has spread in a locality

The door cannot be dosed against it.

When I perceived that he did not accept my advice and that my warm breath was not taking effect upon his cold iron, I left off admonishing him and turned away my face from his companionship, acting according to the words of philosophers, who said: Impart to them what thou hast and if they receive it not, it is not thy fault.

Although thou knowest thou wilt not be heard, say

Whatever thou knowest of good wishes and advice.

It may soon happen that thou wilt behold a silly fellow

With both his feet fallen into captivity,

Striking his hands together, and saying: ‘Alas,

I have not listened to the advice of a scholar.’

After some time I saw the consequences of his dissolute behaviour-which I apprehended-realized. When I beheld him sewing patch upon patch and gathering crumb after crumb, my heart was moved with pity for his destitute condition, in which I did not consider it humane to scratch his internal wounds with reproaches or to sprinkle salt upon them. Accordingly, I said to myself:

A foolish fellow in the height of intoxication

Cares not for the coming day of distress.

The tree which sheds its foliage in spring

Will certainly have no leaves remaining in winter.

Story 6

A padshah entrusted a tutor with the care of his son, saying: ‘This is thy son. Educate him as if he were one of thy own children.’ He kept the prince for some years and strove to instruct him but could effect nothing, whilst the sons of the tutor made the greatest progress in accomplishments and eloquence. The king reproved and threatened the learned man with punishment, telling him that he had acted contrary to his promise and had been unfaithful. He replied: ‘O king, the instruction is the same but the natures are different.’

Although both silver and gold come from stones

All stones do not contain silver and gold.

Canopus is shining upon the whole world

But produces in some places sack-leather and in others adim.

Story 7

I heard a pir-instructor say to his murid: ‘The mind of man is so much occupied with thoughts about maintenance that he would surpass the position of angels if he were to devote as many of them to the giver of maintenance.’

Yazed has not forgotten thee at the time

When thou wast sperm, buried, insensible.

He gave thee a soul, nature, intellect and perception,

Beauty, speech, opinion, meditation and acuteness.

He arranged five fingers on thy fist.

He fixed two arms to thy shoulders.

O thou whose aspirations are base, thinkest he will now

Forget to provide thee with a maintenance?

Story 8

I saw an Arab of the desert who said to his boy: ‘O son, on the day of resurrection thou wilt be asked what thou hast gained and not from whom thou art descended, that is to say, thou wilt be asked what thy merit is and not who thy father was.’

The covering of the Ka’bah which is kissed

Has not been ennobled by the silkworm.

It was some days in company with a venerable man

Wherefore it became respected like himself.

Story 9

It is narrated in the compositions of philosophers that scorpions are not born in the same manner like other living beings but that they devour the bowels of their mother and, after gnawing through the belly, betake themselves to the desert. The skins which may be seen in the nests of scorpions are the evidence of this. I narrated this story to an illustrious man who then told me that his own heart bore witness to the truth of it for the case could not be otherwise inasmuch as they, having in their infancy dealt thus with their fathers and mothers, they were beloved and respected in the same manner when they grow old.

A father thus admonished his son:

O noble fellow, remember this advice.

‘Whoever is not faithful to his origin

Will not become the companion of happiness.’

A scorpion, having been asked why he did not go out in winter, replied: ‘What honour do I enjoy in summer that I should come out also in winter?’

Story 10

The wife of a dervish had become enceinte and when the time of her confinement was at hand, the dervish who had no child during all his life said: ‘If God the most high and glorious presents me with a son, I shall bestow everything I possess as alms upon dervishes, except this patched garment of mine which I am wearing.’ It happened that the infant was a son. He rejoiced and gave a banquet to the dervishes, as he had promised. Some years afterwards when I returned from a journey to Syria, I passed near the locality of the dervish and asked about his circumstances but was told that he had been put in prison by the police. Asking for the cause, I was told that his son, having become drunk, quarrelled and having shed the blood of a man, had fled; whereon his father was instead of him loaded with a chain on his neck and heavy fetters on his legs. I replied: ‘He had himself asked God the most high and glorious for this calamity.’

If pregnant women, O man of intellect,

Bring forth serpents at the time of birth,

It is better in the opinion of the wise

Than to give birth to a wicked progeny.

Story 11

When I was a child I asked an illustrious man about puberty. He replied: ‘It is recorded in books that it has three signs. First, the age of fifteen years; secondly nocturnal pollutions; and thirdly, sprouting of hair on the pudenda; but in reality there is only one sign which is sufficient that thou shouldst seek the approbation of the most high and glorious rather than to be in the bondage of sensual pleasures; and whoever does not entertain this disposition is by erudite men considered not to have attained puberty.’

The form of man was attained by a drop of water

Which remained forty days in the womb.

If in forty years it has not attained sense and propriety

It can in reality not be called a man.

Virility consists in liberality and amiableness.

Think not that it is only in the material figure.

Virtue is necessary because the form may be painted

In halls with vermilion or verdigris.

If a man possesses not excellence and goodness

What is the difference between him and a picture on the wall?

It is no virtue to gain the whole world.

Gain the heart of one person if thou canst.

Story 12

One year discord had arisen in a caravan among the walking portion and I also travelled on foot. To obtain justice we attacked each other’s heads and faces, giving full vent to pugnacity and contention. I saw a man sitting in a camel litter and saying to his companion: ‘How wonderful! A pawn of ivory travels across the chess-board and becomes a farzin, and the footmen of the Haj travelled across the whole desert only to become worse.’

Tell on my part to the man-biting Haji

Who tears the skins of people with torments:

Thou art not a Haji but a camel is one

Because, poor brute, it feeds on thorns and bears loads.

Story 13

An Indian who was learning how to throw naphtha was thus reproved by a sage: ‘This is not a play for thee whose house is made of reeds.’

Speak not unless thou knowest it is perfectly proper

And ask not what thou knowest will not elicit a good reply.

Story 14

A little man with a pain in his eyes went to a farrier to be treated by him. The farrier applied to his eyes what he used to put in those of quadrupeds so that the man became blind and lodged a complaint with the judge who, however, refrained from punishing the farrier, saying: ‘Had this man not been an ass, he would not have gone to a farrier.’ The moral of this story is to let thee know that whoever entrusts an inexperienced man with an important business and afterwards repents is by intelligent persons held to suffer from levity of intellect.

A shrewd and enlightened man will not give

Affairs of importance to a base fellow to transact.

A mat-maker although employed in weaving

Is not set to work in a silk-factory.

Story 15

An illustrious man had a worthy son who died. Being asked what he desired to be written upon the sarcophagus of the tomb, he replied: ‘The verses of the glorious book’ are deserving of more honour than to be written on such a spot, where they would be injured by the lapse of time, would be walked upon by persons passing by and urinated upon by dogs. If anything is necessarily to be written, let what follows suffice:

Wah! How-every time the plants in the garden

Sprouted-glad became my heart.

Pass by, O friend, that in the spring

Thou mayest see plants sprouting from my loam.’

Story 16

A pious man happened to pass near a rich fellow who had a slave and was just chastising him after having tied his feet and hands. He said: ‘My son, God the most high and glorious has given a creature like thyself into thy power and has bestowed upon thee superiority over him. Give thanks to the Almighty and do not indulge in so much violence towards the man because it is not meet that in the morn of resurrection he should be better than thyself and put thee to shame.’

Be not much incensed against a slave.

Oppress him not, grieve not his heart.

Thou hast purchased him for ten dirhems

And hast not after all created him by thy power.

How long is this command, pride and power to last?

There is a Master more exalted than thou.

O thou owner of Arslan and of Aghosh,

Do not forget him who is thy commander.

There is a tradition that the prince of the world, upon whom be the benediction of Allah and peace, has said: ‘It will occasion the greatest sorrow on the day of resurrection when a pious worshipper is conveyed to paradise and a lord of profligacy to hell.’

Upon the slave subject to thy service

Vent not boundless anger but treat him gently

Because on the day of reckoning it will be a shame

To see the slave free and his owner in chains.

Story 17

One year I travelled from Balkh with Damascenes and the road being full of danger on account of robbers, a young man accompanied us as an escort. He was expert with the shield and the bow, handled every weapon and so strong that ten men were not able to span his bow-string. Moreover the athletes of the face of the earth could not bend his back down to the ground. He was, however, rich, brought up in the shade, without experience in the world, the drum-sounds of warriors never having reached his ears nor the lightning of the swords of horsemen dazzled his eyes.

He had not fallen prisoner into the hands of a foe.

No shower of arrows had rained around him.

I happened to be running together with this youth, who threw down by the force of his arm every wall that came in his way, and pulled up by the strength of his fist every big tree he saw, exclaiming, boastingly:

Where is the elephant that he may see the shoulders of the heroes?

Where is the lion that he may see the fists of men?

On that occasion two Indians showed their heads from behind a rock, desirous to attack us. One of them had a club in his hand whilst the other showed a sling under his arm. I asked our youth what he was waiting for.

Show what thou hast of bravery and strength

For here is the foe, coming on his own feet to the grave.

I saw the arrow and bow falling from the hands of the young man and his bones trembling:

Not everyone who splits a hair with a cuirass-piercing arrow

Can, on the day of attack by warriors, extricate his feet.

We saw no other remedy but to abandon our baggage, arms and clothes, whereby we saved our lives.

Employ an experienced man in important affairs

Who is able to ensnare a fierce lion with his lasso.

A youth, though he may have a strong arm and elephant-body,

His joints will snap asunder for fear in contact with a foe.

The issue of a battle is known by a tried man before the contest

Like the solution of a legal question to a learned man.

Story 18

I noticed the son of a rich man, sitting on the grave of his father and quarreling with a dervish-boy, saying: ‘The sarcophagus of my father’s tomb is of stone and its epitaph is elegant. The pavement is of marble, tesselated with turquois-like bricks. But what resembles thy father’s grave? It consists of two contiguous bricks with two handfuls of mud thrown over it.’ The dervish-boy listened to all this and then observed: ‘By the time thy father is able to shake off those heavy stones which cover him, mine will have reached paradise.’

An ass with a light burden

No doubt walks easily.

A dervish who carries only the load of poverty

Will also arrive lightly burdened at the gate of death

Whilst he who lived in happiness, wealth and ease

Will undoubtedly on all these accounts die hard.

At all events, a prisoner who escapes from all his bonds

Is to be considered more happy than an amir taken prisoner.

Story 19

I asked an illustrious man for the reason of the tradition: Account as an enemy the passion which is between thy two loins. He replied: ‘The reason is because whatever enemy thou propitiatest becomes thy friend, whereas the more thou indulgest in a passion, the more it will oppose thee.’

Man attains angelic nature by eating sparingly

But if he be voracious like beasts he falls like a stone.

He whose wishes thou fulfillest will obey thy command

Contrary to passion, which will command, when obeyed.

Story 20

Contention of Sa’di with a Disputant concerning Wealth and Poverty

I saw a man in the form but not with the character of a dervish, sitting in an assembly, who had begun a quarrel; and, having opened the record of complaints, reviled wealthy men, alleging at last that the hand of power of dervishes to do good was tied and that the foot of the intention of wealthy men to do good was broken.

The liberal have no money.

The wealthy have no liberality.

I, who had been cherished by the wealth of great men, considered these words offensive and said: ‘My good friend, the rich are the income of the destitute and the hoarded store of recluses, the objects of pilgrims, the refuge of travellers, the bearers of heavy loads for the relief of others. They give repasts and partake of them to feed their dependants and servants, the surplus of their liberalities being extended to widows, aged persons, relatives and neighbours.’

The rich must spend for pious uses, vows and hospitality,

Tithes, offerings, manumissions, gifts and sacrifices.

How canst thou attain their power of doing good who art able

To perform only the prayer-flections and these with a hundred distractions?

If there be efficacy in the power to be liberal and in the ability of performing religious duties, the rich can attain it better because they possess money to give alms, their garments are pure, their reputation is guarded, their hearts are at leisure. Inasmuch as the power of obedience depends upon nice morsels and correct worship upon elegant clothes, it is evident that hungry bowels have but little strength, an empty hand can afford no liberality, shackled feet cannot walk, and no good can come from a hungry belly.

He sleeps troubled in the night

Who has no support for the morrow.

The ant collects in summer a subsistence

For spending the winter in ease.

Freedom from care and destitution are not joined together and comfort in poverty is an impossibility. A man who is rich is engaged in his evening devotions whilst another who is poor is looking for his evening meal. How can they resemble each other?

He who possesses means is engaged in worship.

Whose means are scattered, his heart is distracted.

The worship of those who are comfortable is more likely to meet with acceptance, their minds being more attentive and not distracted or scattered. Having a secure income, they may attend to devotion. The Arab says: ‘I take refuge with Allah against base poverty and neighbours whom I do not love. There is also a tradition: Poverty is blackness of face in both worlds.’

He retorted by asking me whether I had heard the Prophet’s saying: Poverty is my glory. I replied: ‘Hush! The prince of the world alluded to the poverty of warriors in the battlefield of acquiescence and of submission to the arrow of destiny; not to those who don the patched garb of righteousness but sell the doles of food given them as alms.’

O drum of high sound and nothing within,

What wilt thou do without means when the struggle comes?

Turn away the face of greed from people if thou art a man.

Trust not the rosary of one thousand beads in thy hand.

A dervish without divine knowledge rests not until his poverty, culminates in unbelief; for poverty is almost infidelity, because a nude person cannot be clothed without money nor a prisoner liberated. How can the like of us attain their high position and how does the bestowing resemble the receiving hand? Knowest thou not that God the most high and glorious mentions in his revealed word the Pleasures of paradise-They shall have a certain provision in paradise-to inform thee that those who are occupied with cares for a subsistence are excluded from the felicity of piety and that the realm of leisure is under the ring of the certain provision.

The thirsty look in their sleep

On the whole world as a spring of water.

Wherever thou beholdest one who has experienced destitution and tasted bitterness, throwing himself wickedly into fearful adventures and not avoiding their consequences, he fears not the punishment of Yazed and does not discriminate between what is licit or illicit.

The dog whose head is touched by a clod of earth

Leaps for joy, imagining it to be a bone.

And when two men take a corpse on their shoulders,

A greedy fellow supposes it to be a table with food.

But the possessor of wealth is regarded with a favourable eye by the Almighty for the lawful acts he has done and preserved from the unlawful acts he might commit. Although I have not fully explained this matter nor adduced arguments, I rely on thy sense of justice to tell me whether thou hast ever seen a mendicant with his hands tied up to his shoulders or a poor fellow sitting in prison or a veil of innocence rent or a guilty hand amputated, except in consequence of poverty? Lion-hearted men were on account of their necessities captured in mines which they had dug to rob houses and their heels were perforated. It is also possible that a dervish, impelled by the cravings of his lust and unable to restrain it, may commit sin because the stomach and the sexual organs are twins, that is to say, they are the two children of one belly and as long as one of these is contented, the other will likewise be satisfied. I heard that a dervish had been seen committing a wicked act with a youth, and although he had been put to shame, he was also in danger of being stoned. He said: ‘O Musalmans, I have no power to marry a wife and no patience to restrain myself. What am I to do? There is no monasticism in Islam.” Among the number of causes producing internal tranquility and comfort in wealthy people, the fact may be reckoned that they take every night a sweetheart in their arms and may every day contemplate a youth whose brightness excels that of the shining morn and causes the feet of walking cypresses to conceal themselves abashed.

Plunging the fist into the blood of beloved persons,

Dying the finger-tips with the colour of the jujube-fruit.

It is impossible that with his beauteous stature he should prowl around prohibited things or entertain intentions of ruin to himself.

How could he who took as booty a Huri of paradise

Take any notice of the benes of Yaghma?

Who has before him fresh dates which he loves

Has no need to throw stones on clusters upon trees.

Mostly empty handed persons pollute the skirt of modesty by transgression, and those who are hungry steal bread.

When a ferocious dog has found meat

He asks not whether it is of the camel of Saleh or the ass of Dujjal.

What a number of modest women have on account of poverty fallen into complete profligacy, throwing away their precious reputation to the wind of dishonour!

With hunger the power of abstinence cannot abide.

Poverty snatches the reins from the hands of piety.

Whilst I was uttering these words, the dervish lost the bridle of patience from his hands, drew forth the sword of his tongue, caused the steed of eloquence to caper in the plain of reproach and said: ‘Thou hast been so profuse in this panegyric of wealthy men and hast talked so much nonsense that they might be supposed to be the antidote to poverty or the key to the storehouse of provisions; whereas they are a handful of proud, arrogant, conceited and abominable fellows intent upon accumulating property and money and so thirsting for dignity and abundance, that they do not speak to poor people except with insolence, and look upon them with contempt. They consider scholars to be mendicants and insult poor men on account of the wealth which they themselves possess and the glory of dignity which they imagine is inherent in them. They sit in the highest places and believe they are better than anyone else. They never show kindness to anybody and are ignorant of the maxim of sages that he who is inferior to others in piety but superior in riches is outwardly powerful but in reality a destitute man.

If a wretch on account of his wealth is proud to a sage

Consider him to be the podex of an ass, though he may be a perfumed ox.’

I said: ‘Do not think it allowable to insult them for they are possessors of generosity.’ He rejoined: ‘Thou art mistaken. They are slaves of money. Of what use is it that they are like bulky clouds and rain not, like the fountain of light, the sun, and shine upon no one? They are mounted on the steed of ability but do not use it; they would not stir a step for God’s sake nor spend one dirhem without imposing obligation and insult. They accumulate property with difficulty, guard it with meanness and abandon it with reluctance, according to the saying of illustrious men that the silver of an avaricious man will come up from the ground when he goes into the ground.

One man gathers wealth with trouble and labour

And if another comes, he takes it without either.’

I retorted: ‘Thou hast not become aware of the parsimony of wealthy men except by reason of mendicancy or else, to him who has laid aside covetousness, a liberal and an avaricious man would appear to be the same. The touchstone knows what gold is and the beggar knows him who is stingy.’ He rejoined: ‘I am speaking from experience when I say that they station rude and insolent men at their gates to keep off worthy persons, to place violent hands upon men of piety and discretion, saying: “Nobody is here”, and verily they have spoken the truth.’

Of him who has no sense, intention, plan or opinion,

The gatekeeper has beautifully said: ‘No one is in the house.’

I said this is excusable because they are teased out of their lives by people expecting favours and driven to lamentation by petitions of mendicants; it being according to common sense an impossibility to satisfy beggars even if the sand of the desert were to be transmuted into pearls.

The eye of greediness, the wealthy of the world

Can no more fill than dew can replenish a well.

Hatim Tai dwelt in the desert; had he been in a town he would have been helpless against the assaults of beggars and they would have torn to pieces his upper garments as it is recorded in the Tayibat:

Look not at me that others may not conceive hopes

Because there is no reward to be got from beggars.

He said: ‘No. I take pity on their state.’ I replied: ‘No. Thou enviest them their wealth.’ We were thus contending with each other, every pawn he put forward I endeavoured to repel, and every time he announced check to my king, I covered him with my queen until he had gambled away all his ready cash and had shot off all the arrows of his quiver in arguing.

Have a care; do not throw away the shield when attacked by an orator

Who has nothing except borrowed eloquence to show,

Practise thou religion and marifet because a Suja-speaking orator

Displays weapons at the gate but no one is in the fort.

At last no arguments remained to him and, having been defeated, he commenced to speak nonsense as is the custom of ignorant men who, when they can no more address proofs against their opponent, shake the chain of enmity like the idol-carver Azer who being unable to overcome his son in argument began to quarrel with him saying if thou forbearest not I will surely stone thee. The man insulted me. I spoke harshly to him. He tore my collar and I caught hold of his chin-case.

He falling upon me and I on him,

Crowds running after us and laughing,

The finger of astonishment of a world

On the teeth; from what was said and heard by us.

In short we carried our dispute to the qazi and agreed to abide by a just decision of the judge of Musalmans, who would investigate the affair and tell the difference between the rich and the poor. When the qazi had seen our state and heard our logic, he plunged his head into his collar and after meditating for a while spoke as follows: ‘O thou, who hast lauded the wealthy and hast indulged in violent language towards dervishes, thou art to know that wherever a rose exists, there also thorns occur; that wine is followed by intoxication, that a treasure is guarded by a serpent, and that wherever royal pearls are found, men-devouring sharks must also be. The sting of death is the sequel of the delights of life and a cunning demon bars the enjoyment of paradise.

‘What will the violence of a foe do if it cannot touch the seeker of the Friend?

Treasure, serpent; rose, thorn; grief and pleasure are all linked together.

‘Perceivest thou not that in a garden there are musk-willows as well as withered sticks? And likewise in the crowd of the rich there are grateful and impious men, as also in the circle of dervishes some are forbearing and some are impatient.

‘If every drop of dew were to become a pearl

The bazar would be full of them as of ass-shells.

‘Those near to the presence of the most high and glorious are rich men with the disposition of dervishes and dervishes with the inclination of the rich. The greatest of rich men is he who sympathizes with dervishes and the best of dervishes is he who looks but little towards rich men. Who trusts in Allah, he will be his sufficient support.’

After this the qazi turned the face of reproof from me to the dervish and said: ‘O thou who hast alleged that the wealthy are engaged in wickedness and intoxicated with pleasure, some certainly are of the kind thou hast described; of defective aspirations, and ungrateful for benefits received. Sometimes they accumulate and put by, eat and give not; if for instance the rain were to fail or a deluge were to distress the world, they, trusting in their own power, would not care for the misery of dervishes, would not fear God and would say:

If another perishes for want of food

I have some; what cares a duck for the deluge?

The women riding on camels in their howdahs

Take no notice of him who sinks in the sana.

The base when they have saved their own blankets

Say: What boots it if all mankind perishes?

‘There are people of the kind thou hast heard of, and other persons who keep the table of beneficence spread out, the hand of liberality open, seeking a good name and pardon from God. They are the possessors of this world and of the next, like the slaves of His Majesty Padshah of the world who is aided by devine grace, conqueror, possessor of authority among nations, defender of the frontiers of Islam, heir of the realm of Solomon, the most righteous of the kings of the period, Muzaffar-ud-dunia wa uddin Atabek Abu Bekr Ben Sa’d Ben Zanki, may Allah prolong his days and aid his banners.

‘A father never shows the kindness to his son

Which the hand of thy liberality has bestowed on mankind.

God desired to vouchsafe a blessing to the world

And in his mercy made thee padshah of the world.’

When the qazi had thus far protracted his remarks and had caused the horse of his eloquence to roam beyond the limits of our expectation, we submitted to his judicial decision, condoned to each other what had passed between us, took the path of reconciliation, placed our heads on each other’s feet by way of apology, kissed each other’s head and face, terminating the discussion with the following two distichs:

Complain not of the turning of the spheres, O dervish,

Because thou wilt be luckless if thou diest in this frame of mind.

O wealthy man, since thy heart and hand are successful

Eat and be liberal for thou hast conquered this world and the next.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/saadi/s12g/chapter7.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29