If among the twenty-two works with which Sadi enriched the literature of his country the Gulistan rank first in popularity, the Bustan (lit. "Garden") may justly claim equal precedence in point of interest and merit.
No comprehensive translation of this important classical work has eitherto been placed before the reading public, but it cannot be doubted that the character of its contents is such as to fully instify the attempt now made to familiarize English readers with the entertaining anecdotes and devotional wisdom which the Sage of Shiraz embodied in his Palace of Wealth. This is the name which he applies to the Bustan in an introductory chapter, and it is one which springs from something more than a poet's fancy, for the ten doors, or chapters, with which the edifice is furnished lead into a garden that is indeed rich in the fruits of knowledge gained by a wide experience of life in many lands, and earnest thought.
The Bustan is written in verse-a fact which adds considerably to the difficulties of translation, since the invariable rule of Sadi, like that of every other Persian poet we have read, is to sacrifice sense to the exigencies of rhyme and metre. In not a few cases the meaning is so confused on this account that even the native commentators, who possess a fund of ingenuity in explaining what they do not properly understand, have been compelled to pass over numerous couplets through 12 The Bustan of Sadi sheer inability to unravel their intricacies and the abstruse ideas of the poet.
Probably in no other language in the world is poetic licence so freely permitted and indulged in as in Persian. The construction of sentences follows no rule; the order of words is just that which the individual poet chooses to adopt, and the idea of time-past, present, and future-is ignored in the use of tenses, that part of a verb being alone employed which rhymes the best.
Notwithstanding idiosyncrasies of this kind, the Bustan is written in a style that is delightfully pure and admirably adapted to the subject. The devout spirit by which Sadi was characterized throughout his chequered life is revealed in every page of the book. In the Gulistan he gave free rein to the quaint humour which for many centuries has been the delight of the Eastern peoples, and which an ever-increasing body of English readers is learning to appreciate and admire. In the Bustan the humour is more restrained; its place is taken by a more sober reasoning of the duties of mankind towards the Deity and towards their fellow-men. Devotion to God and the inflexibility of Fate are the underlying texts of every poem, and the ideality of the one and the stem reality of the other are portrayed in language the beauty of which, it is to be feared, the English rendering does not always adequately convey.
The poems abound in metaphor, a figure of style which Eastern writers employ to a degree that is always exaggerated, and sometimes tedious; but for the purpose of this translation, which aims at a happy medium between literal accuracy and the freed requisite in order to render Oriental Phraseology into polite English, numerous of the more far-fetched allusions have been discarded, to the benefit of the text.
Although a memoir of Sadi’s life include in another volume of this series, it may not be out of place to give here a brief outline of the poet’s career, especially as the Bustan contains several references of his childhood and travels.
Sheikh Muslih-ud-din Sadi was born in Shiraz, in Persia, A.D. 1175; that it is to say, 571 years after the flight of Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah. He was the son of one Abdu’llah (servant of God), who held a Government office under the Diwan of that time. Sadi was a child when his father died, as is made clear from the pathetic poem in the second chapter, ending, with these words:
between literal accuracy and the freed requisite in order to render Oriental phraseology into polite English, numerous of the more far-fetched allusions have been discarded, to the benefit of the text.
Although a memoir of Sadi's life is included in another volume of this series, it may not be out of place to give here a brief outline of the poet's career, especially as the Bustan contains several references to his childhood and travels.
Sheikh Muslih-ud-din Sadi was born in Shiraz, in Persia, A.D. 1175; that it is to say, 571 years after the flight of Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah. He was the son of one Abdu'llah (servant of God), who held a Government office under the Diwan ofthat time. Sadi was a child when his father died, as is made clear from the pathetic poem in the second chapter, ending with these words:
But poorly endowed with earthly riches, Sadi endured many hardships in consequence of this bereavement, and was eventually obliged to live, together with his mother, under the protection of a Saracen chief. How long he remained there it is impossible to say, for the reason that his biographers are the reverse of informing. This much is, however, known, that being imbued from early childhood with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, he eventually journeyed to Baghdad, then at the zenith of its intellectual fame, and was enabled to enter a private school there through the generosity of a wealthy native gentleman. Making full use of the opportunity so favourably presented, the young aspirant progressed rapidly along the path of learning, and at the age of twenty-one made his first essays in authorship. Some fragmentary poems which he submitted with a long dedication to Shams-ud-din, the Professor a Literature at the Nizamiah College of Baghdad, so pleased that able and discerning man that he at once fixed upon Sadi a liberal allowance from his own private purse, with the promise of every further assistance in his power. Soon after this, Said was admitted into the college, and ultimately gained an Idrar, or fellowship. In the seventh chapter of the Bustan he narrates an instructive story reminiscent of his studies at Nizamiah, and, prone to conceit though he often is, he tells the story against himself.
His scholastic life did not terminate until he had reached the age of thirty. Of the value of this prolonged period of study he himself was fully cognisant. "Dost thou not know," he asks in the seventh chapter, "how Sadi attained to rank? Neither did he traverse the plains nor journey across the seas. In his youth he lived under the yoke of the wise: God granted him distinction in after- life. And it is not long before he who is submissive in obedience exercises command." No better example of the truth of this passage could be cited than that afforded by his own case.
On leaving Baghdad, he went in company with his tutor, Abdul Qadir Gilani, on a pilgrimage to Makkah. This was the first of many travels extending over a period of thirty years, in the course of which he visited Europe, India, and practically every part of what are known as the Near and Middle East. A trip through Syria and Turkey is specifically mentioned in this book as inspiring the composition of the Bustan. Not wishing, as he tells us, to return empty-handed to his friends at Shiraz, he built the Palace of Wealth, and offered it to them as a gift. He does not conceal the high opinion which he himself placed upon this product of his gifted pen. The gracefully worded phrases with which he predicted the undying popularity of the Gulistan finds a parallel in the dedication of the Bustan to Atabak Abu Bakr-bin-Sad, the illustrious monarch of Persia beneath whose protection Sadi spent the latter half of his life.
"Although not wishing to sing the praises of kings," he writes, "I have dedicated this book to one so that perhaps the pious will say that Sadi, who surpassed all in eloquence, lived in the time of Abu Bakr Sad." Then, addressing the king, he adds: "Happy is thy fortune that Said's date coincides with thine, for as long as the moon and sun are in the skies thy memory will remain eternal in this book." This conceit is pardonable, since it has been amply justified by time.
After the thirty years of travel, Sadi, becoming elderly, settled down in Persia, where, as has been said, he gained the favour of the rulling prince, from whom he derived not only the dignity and the more tangible advantages of the post of Poet-Laureate, but his takhallus, or titular name, of Sadi. He died at the ripe age of 116, and was buried in his native city.
If the Bustan were the only monument that remained of his genius, his name would assuredly still be inscribed in the roll of the Immortals. One feature of his great intellectual faculties needs to be emphasized, and all the more so because it is apt to be overlooked. That is the increasing power which they assumed as he advanced in years, the truth of which can be understood when it is stated that he composed the Bustan at the age of 82, the Bulistan appearing twelve months later. Few, if any, instances of such sustained mental activity are to be found elsewhere in the entire world's history of letters.
Under the several headings of the various chapters a wide range of ethical subjects is discussed, the whole forming a compendium of moral philosophy the broad principles of which must remain for all time as irrefutable as the precepts of Scriptual teaching.
Sadi's spiritual message is not that of a visionary. His religion was an eminently practical one-he had no sympathies with the recluse and the ascetic. To fulfil one's duties towards one's fellow-men is to fulfil one's duty towards the Deity. That is the root-idea of his teachings. "Religion," he observes, "consists only in the service of the people: it does not lie in the rosary, or prayer-rug, or mendicant's habit."
|In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful||20|
|On the Reason for the Writing of the Book||21|
|Concerning Atabak Abu Bakr, Son of Sad||22|
|I.||Concerning Justice, Councel, and The Administration of Government|
|Nushiravan's Counsel to his Son||24|
|Discourse Concerning Travellers||25|
|Story Illustrating the Need for Deliberation||26|
|Story of the King whose Coat was Coarse||29|
|Story of Darius and the Herdsman||29|
|Story of Abdul Aziz and the Pearl||30|
|Story of How Tukla was Rebuked by a Devotee||31|
|Discourse Concerning Riches and Poverty||31|
|Story ofQazal Arsalan and the Fort||32|
|A Story of Damascus||33|
|Story of a Bully||34|
|Story Illustrative of doing good to the Evil||35|
|Story Concerning Fasting||36|
|Story Illustrative of Practical Charity||36|
|Story of a Man and a Thirsty Dog||37|
|Story Apropos of Nemesis||39|
|Story of a Fool and a Fox||40|
|Story of a Devout Miser||41|
|Story of Hatim Tai||42|
|Story of Hatim and the Messenger sent to kill him||43|
|Story Illustrative of Misdirected Kindness||45|
|Discourse Concerning Kindness to Orphans||46|
|Discourse Concerning Constancy||47|
|Story of a Danger||49|
|Story Illustrating the Reality of Love||49|
|Story Illustrative of Patience||49|
|Story of One who was Assiduous in Prayer||50|
|Story of Sultan Mahmud and his Love for Ayaz||51|
|Story of a Village Chief||52|
|Story of a Fire-fly||52|
|Story of a Moth and a Candle||53|
|Another Story on the same Subject||53|
|Story of a Raindrop||55|
|Story Illustrative of Pious Men regarding themselves with Contempt||55|
|Story of Sultan Bayazid Bustami||56|
|Discourse on Conceit||57|
|Story of the Darwesh and the Proud Cadi||58|
|Story of the Honey-seller||60|
|Story Illustrating the Forbearance of Good Men||61|
|Story Illustrating the Noble-mindedness of Men||62|
|Story of a Kind Master and his Disobedient Slave||62|
|Story of Maruf Karkhi and the Sick Traveller||63|
|Story Illustrating the Folly of the Ignoble||65|
|Story of One who had a Little Knowledge||66|
|Story Illustrating the Humility of the Pious||66|
|Story Illustrating the Value of Soft Words||67|
|Story Illustrating the Wisdom of Feigning Deafness||67|
|Story Illustrating Forbearance for the Sake of Friends||68|
|Story of Luqman, the Sage||69|
|Story of a Soldier of Isfahan||70|
|Story of the Doctor and the Villager||72|
|Story of the Villager and his Ass||72|
|Story Illustrating Luck||73|
|Story of One who blamed his Destiny||73|
|Story of a Darwesh and his Wife||74|
|Story of a Vulture and a Kite||74|
|Story of a Camel||75|
|Discourse Concerning Hypocrisy||76|
|Story of the King of Khwarazm||78|
|Concerning the Evil of Over-eating||78|
|Story of a Glutton||79|
|Story of a Recluse||79|
|Story Illustration the Evils of Avarice||80|
|Story of an Ambitious Cat||80|
|Story of a Short-sighted Man and his High Minded Wife||81|
|Story of a Holy Man who built a House||82|
|Story of a Sheikh who became King||82|
|Discourse Concerning Riches||83|
|Discourse Concerning the Excellence of Taciturnity||85|
|Story Concerning the keeping of Secrets||86|
|Story Illustrating the Fact that Silence is Best for Fools||86|
|Story Illustrating the Folly of Impertinence||87|
|Discourse on Slander||88|
|Story Concerning the same Subject||88|
|Why Thieving is better than Slandering||88|
|Sadi and his Envious Class-friend||88|
|Story of Sadi's Childhood||89|
|Story of a Suri' s Rebuke||90|
|Concerning Absent Friends||90|
|Where Slander is Lawful||90|
|Table-bearers Worse than Back-Biters||91|
|Faridun and his Wise Vazier||91|
|Discourse Concerning Wives||92|
|Discourse on the Training of Sons||93|
|Sadi Rebuked for his Fault-finding||94|
|A Mother's Warning to her Son||97|
|Discourse Concerning the Art of the Most High God||97|
|Discourse Concerning the Condition of the Weak||98|
|Story ofTughral, King of Shiraz, and the Hindu Watchman||99|
|Story of a Thief||100|
|Story of One who was not What he Seemed||100|
|Story of a Sage Donkey||101|
|Story Illustrating the Evils of Pride||101|
|Story of Sadi and the Idolaters||102|
|An Old Man's Lament||105|
|Advice and Warning||106|
|Sadi's Rebuke from a Camel-driver||107|
|Story Concerning Sorrow for the Dead||108|
|Story of a Pious Man and a Gold Brick||109|
|Moral from an Incident in Sadi's Childhood||111|
|Story of a Man who Reared a Wolf||111|
|Story of a Cheat||112|
|A Recollection of Childhood||112|
|Story of One who Burned his Harvest||113|
|Discourse on Repentance||114|
|A Worshipper's Lament||116|
|Story of an Idolater||116|
Item Code: NAJ540 Author: A. Hart Edwards Cover: Paperback Edition: 2006 Publisher: Kitab Bhavan ISBN: 8171513468 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 118 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 165 gms