Friday, 10 February 2017

The Rose Garden (Gulistan) of Sa'di

This post dedicated to the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.

The above verse can be found in the entrance of the United Nations Hall of Nations: building. Known as Bani Adam, (the Children of Adam), it is from chapter 1, story 10 of "The Rose Garden"( Gulistan) of Sa'di (1210-1291), a Persian poet in 1258. (Rhyming translation by -M. Aryanpoor) Iranian poet Sa'adi, from the 13th century, is one of the major influential Persian poets of the medieval period. He is recognised in the literary world for the quality of his writing style and in the spiritual realm for the depth of his thoughts. The well-known saying “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”, which was highly valued by Helen Keller, comes from Chapter 3, Story 19 of The Rose Garden.

His Rose Garden is said to be one of the widest read books of all time. It is wonderfully edifying poetic work full of short parables, verses and maxims, with a Sufi leaning. There are ten chapters:

I The Manners of Kings
II On the Morals of Dervishes
III On the Excellence of Content
IV On the Advantages of Silence
V On Love and Youth
VI On Weakness and Old Age
VII On the Effects of Education
VIII On Rules for Conduct in Life

Below is a translation from Sir Edwin Arnold:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a man.