Gulistan of Saadi
The Morals of Dervishes
Several travellers were on a journey together and equally sharing each other’s troubles and comforts. I
desired to accompany them but they would not agree. Then I said: ‘It is foreign to the manners of great
men to turn away the face from the company of the poor and so deprive themselves of the advantage
they might derive therefrom because I for one consider myself sufficiently strong and energetic to be
of service to men and not an encumbrance. Although I am not riding on a beast, I shall aid you in
carrying blankets.’ One of them said: ‘Do not be grieved at the words thou hast heard because some
days ago a thief in the guise of a dervish arrived and joined our company.’
How can people know who is in the dress?
The writer is aware of what the book contains.
As the state of dervishes is safe, they entertained no suspicion about him and received him as a friend.
The outward state of Arifs is the patched dress.
It suffices as a display to the face of the people.
Strive by thy acts to be good and wear anything thou listest.
Place a crown on thy head and a flag on thy back.
The abandoning of the world, of lust, and of desire
Is sanctity, not the abandonment of the robe only.
It is necessary to show manhood in the fight.
Of what profit are weapons of war to a hermaphrodite?
We travelled one day till the night set in during which we slept near a fort and the graceless thief,
taking up the water-pot of a companion, pretending to go for an ablution, departed for plunder.
A pretended saint who wears the dervish garb
Has made of the Ka’bah’s robes the covering of an ass.
After disappearing from the sight of the dervishes, he went to a tower from which he stole a casket
and, when the day dawned, the dark-hearted wretch had already progressed a considerable distance. In
the morning the guiltless sleeping companions were all taken to the fort and thrown into prison. From
that date we renounced companionship and took the road of solitude, according to the maxim: Safety
is in solitude.
When one of a tribe has done a foolish thing
No honour is left either to the low or the high.
Seest thou not how one ox of the pasturage
Defiles all oxen of the village?
I replied: ‘Thanks be to the God of majesty and glory, I have not been excluded from the advantages
enjoyed by dervishes, although I have separated myself from their society. I have profited by what
thou hast narrated to me and this admonition will be of use through life to persons like me.’
For one rude fellow in the assembly
The heart of intelligent men is much grieved.
If a tank be filled with rose-water
A dog falling into it pollutes the whole.