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Sheikh Saadi and his Books Gulistan and Bostan

History of Sheikh Saadi.

During one of the most disturbing periods in Iranian history during thirteenth century, the famous Persian poet Saadi left his hometown of Shiraz to study in Baghdad. From Sheeraz, he traveled long distances and returned to his bustling city, after three decades. His city, Sheeraz, was spared the carnage that the Mongols inflicted on another Iranian city.  Sheikh Saadi Wrote two famous books Gulistan and Bostan.


Sheikh Saadi
Sheikh Saadi

Inspite, being a renowned poet of the region, Saadi felt that he had lost his life and had not done anything particular. Therefore, he vowed to spend the rest of his life in silence.

But then, at the insistence of one of his friends, he broke his oath. It was spring in Shiraz and the two friends went for a walk in the garden of paradise.

Instead of surprisingly collecting flowers and herbs, Sheikh Saadi mentioned the instability of these items in the style of the poet and philosopher Khayyam and told his friend that he would write a book that was two sided, educational and interesting. The names of books shall be Gulistan whose pages will remain forever.


Despite the atmosphere of inhumanity and terror, Sheikh Saadi was optimistic about the prosperity of human being.
Sheikh Saadi kept his word and he was right. Along with his second book Bostan, his work Gulistan has been considered one of the best works of Persian literature for centuries. In this book, Sheikh Saadi wrote:

“The human limbs are one piece
They are a jewel in the crown”

That is why, “Man is created from one essence and they are members of the same body.” It is not only his most widely quoted poem today, but also one of the most famous in the Persian as well as in the Persian literature-speaking world. He goes on to say:

“Four members are sympathetic to employment
Represent other members
If you work hard, others will suffer
Probably not a famous man”

That is, if one member suffers, the others suffer as well. Those who do not feel any pain or sorrow over the suffering of others, cannot be called human beings.

Medieval Persian Poets.

If other medieval Persian poets are remembered for their love poetry, the epic tales of the heroes of ancient Iran, the tales of bravery or the human psyche and their place in this great universe, Sheikh Saadi in the language of the famous English poet Lord Byron, he is remembered as the ‘moral poet’ of Iran.

Inspite the atmosphere of inhumanity and terror around him, Sheikh Saadi had confidence in mankind and had hope in him. Therefore, he focused all his attention on explaining ethics and good and evil and talking about creating great qualities in his readers.

He advised not to ask dervishes how he feels in his distress and famine unless you are ready to put ointment on his wound or take care of him.

Sheikh Saadi came up with the idea of writing Gulistan during a walk in the garden with a friend.

Sheikh Saadi also said that the lucky one is the one who eats and gives or sows and the unlucky one is the one who neither eats nor gives but accumulates.

As much as Saadi advocated goodness and benevolence, he was also a practical and realistic thinker. The conditions in which Sheikh Saadi was living, were extremely violent and brutal.

Sheikh Saadi and his Books Gulistan and Bostan.

Sheikh Saadi wrote in Gulistan, “A lie that creates peace is better than a truth that creates misery.” Similarly, he warned, “Do not inform anyone about someone’s betrayal unless you are sure that he will believe you. No, you are only preparing for your own destruction. will you do.

Just as much has been said about the uncertainty of Sheikh Saadi’s time in Gulistan and Bostan, so too has much been said about the current epidemic.

Earlier in the same century, the Roman poets managed to escape the Mongol invasion, when they were still in their infancy. He left his hometown of Balkh for a journey west with his family. It was a wise move.

It is said that Sheikh Saadi had certainly travelled outside of Iran and returned after a long time to say many things. His words are not of the dervishes of the closed well, but of the worldly man.

Literature of Sheikh Saadi.

Being a great Persian poet, Sheikh Saadi wrote two great books namely Gulistan and Bostan.   In  Gulistan, Saadi pointed out that some of his stories are not based on reality as he had told his friend during a walk in the garden.  He said that some of  his books would be not only for teaching but also for entertainment.

It is as if Gulistan and Bostan, though primarily for the guidance of life, sometimes contain travelogues and adventurous stories. In them, readers meet other characters besides gangs of looters, pirates, sea sailors, assassins and terrible rulers.

His some stories are based on jokes. For example, in the chapter on the benefits of silence, Sheikh Saadi describes a bad reader of the Holy Scriptures.

A pious man passed by and asked (the recite) what was his monthly salary? He replied: ‘Nothing.’ He further asked: ‘Then why did you take this trouble?’ He replied: ‘I am reading for God’s sake.’ “Don’t read for God’s sake,” he said.

Although Sheikh Saadi wrote in Gulistan that this was his first book after breaking the silence, the fact is that Bostan was written a year before that.

saadi qoutes.
saadi qoutes.

He is also known as Saadi Namah and this book of poetry is divided into ten chapters. On the other hand, there is Gulistan prose, which has a lot of poetry in between.

It consists of eight chapters and deals with similar topics. Both are written under the patronage of the Seljuk rulers of Shiraz. Like the poet’s name, the Sultan’s name was Saad, which is praised in it.

And in many cases Sheikh Saadi expresses his views on the proper conduct for kings and ministers. But, unlike the eleventh-century Qaboos Nama, it is not just for the guidance of rulers. “The purpose of Gulistan and Bostan is a mirror for everyone,” says Davis. It is part of the ancient tradition of domestic advice on how to live the Persian language and literature.

In Bostan, Saadi discusses topics such as contentment, benevolence, generosity and humility. Gulistan, on the other hand, contains stories of the morality of dervishes, the trials of old age, and contentment, as well as other common sayings.

The same kind of topics are found in both. According to Sheikh Saadi, there is a better life of hardship than begging and becoming indebted to someone else. Sheikh Saadi said that we should be careful about our desires because we can get ourselves into a worse situation.

Saadi further that before blaming others, one should look into one’s own collar. He calls silence golden. To them spiritual wealth is superior to material wealth and that destiny crushes your covenant. Some of Sheikh Saadi’s views are linked to religion, not always politically correct. But most of his words and his advice are free from the shackles of time and place.

Sheikh Saadi Wisdom

Among the first Persian poets to become famous in Europe, Saadi had a profound influence on enlightened and romantic writers such as Voltaire, Dedro, Goethe, and Victor Hugo in France and elsewhere.

Victor Hugo has even quoted Gulistan’s sayings in the introduction to his book Les Orientals. While Voltaire jokingly attributes the foreword to the story of his Zoroastrian hero Zadag to Saadi, Saadi’s influence in his major works goes far beyond superficial.

In the United States, Sheikh Saadi greatly influenced Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his poem in honor of the poet (Saadi), Emerson called Saadi a ‘lover of human hearts.  Moreover he called him with ‘wise words’ .

Introducing the translation of Gulistan’s Francis Galdon, Emerson wrote that “although Sheikh Saadi’s language was Persian, he addressed all nations.  As other writers, Homer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Montaigne, he was always fresh.

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