saadi: 1 post

Reading Sa’di’s Gulistan

Master, ‘ostad,’ is a nickname the Persian poet Sa’di of Shiraz (1210-1291/92) rightfully deserves. His verses are elegant and his prose contains many thoughtful observations on morals, love, and life in general. Sa’di’s Gulistan, Rose Garden, written in 1258 was once a book of instruction and it remains one of the marvels of Persian literature. I recommend the translation by W.M. Thackston. You can open the book at random and find marvelous passages on different topics: The Art of Conversation, on Love, on the Conduct of Kings, on Dervishes.

I’m reading the Persian section out loud to savor the beautiful language of Sa’di. You can also find it recorded online in Persian, and even if you don’t understand the language, you will still enjoy Sa’di’s musicality.

Here is one favorite passage:
“Are you musk or ambergris?” I asked, “for I am intoxicated by your enchanting fragrance.”
“I used to be just mud,” it said. “A mere nothing, but I sat for a time with the roses,
And the perfection of my companions had an effect on me. Otherwise I am nothing but dust.”

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