From THE "GULlSTAN" ( Rose Garden )

of SA'DI ( Shaikh Muslih al Din, born c1190 )


Rose Garden

( Collection of unconnected moral stories, historical and fictitious, with an admixture of verse. )

WORLDLY PRUDENCE

A PERSON had arrived at the head of his profession in the art of wrestling; he knew three hundred and sixty capital sleights in this art, and every day exhibited something new; but having a sincere regard for a beautiful youth, one of his scholars, he taught him three hundred and fifty-nine sleights, reserving however one sleight to himself. The youth excelled so much in skill and in strength, that no one was able to cope with him. He at length boasted, before the Sultan, that the superiority which he allowed his master to maintain over him was out of respect to his years, and the consideration of having been his instructor; for otherwise he was not inferior in strength, and was his equal in point of skill. The king did not approve of this disrespectful conduct, and commanded that there should be a trial of skill. An extensive spot was appointed for the occasion. The ministers of state, and other grandees of the court, were in attendance. The youth, like a lustful elephant, entered with a percussion that would have removed from its base a mountain of iron. The master, being sensible that the youth was his superior in strength, attacked with the sleight which he had kept to himself. The youth not being able to repel it, the master with both hands lifted him from the ground, and, raising him over his head, flung him on the earth. The multitude shouted. The king commanded that a dress, and a reward in money, should be bestowed on the master, and reproved and derided the youth for having presumed to put himself in competition with his benefactor, and for having failed in the attempt.

He said, "0 king, my master did not gain the victory over me through strength or skill ; but there remained a small part in the art of wrestling which he had withheld from me, and by that small feint he got the better of me."

The master observed, "I reserved it for such an occasion as the present; the sages having said, Put not yourself so much in the power of your friend, that if he should be disposed to be inimical, he may be able to effect his purpose. Have you not heard what was said by a person who had suffered injury from one whom he had educated? Either there never was any gratitude in the world, or else no one at this time practices it. I never taught anyone the art of archery, who, in the end did not make a butt of me."


They have related that a certain vizier had shown clemency towards those of an inferior degree, and had sought to accommodate everyone. It happened that, having fallen under the king's displeasure, they all exerted their interest to obtain his release, and those, to whose custody he was committed showed him great indulgence in guarding him, and the other grandees represented his virtues to the king, till at length the monarch pardoned his fault.

A righteous man, when apprised of the circumstances, said, " Sell even your patrimonial garden to gain the hearts of your friends. In order to boil your wellwisher's pot, it is advisable to burn all your furniture. Do good even unto the wicked; for it is best to close the dog's mouth with a morsel."


One of the sons of Haroon ur Rusheed went to his father in a rage, complaining that the son of a certain officer had spoken disrespectfully of his mother. Haroon asked his ministers what was the just punishment for such an offense. One was for having him put to death; another said that his tongue ought to be cut out; and another, that he should be fined and banished. Haroon said, "My son, charity requires that you should pardon him; but if you have not strength of mind to do this, then abuse his mother in return, but not so much as to exceed the bounds of vengeance, for then the injury would be imputable to our side." In the opinion of the wise, he is not a brave man who combats with a furious elephant; but he is a man indeed, who, even in wrath, uttereth not idle words. A man of a bad disposition abused another, who took it patiently, and called him a hopeful youth. "I am worse than you can say of me, for I know my own defects better than you can possibly discover them."


There were two brothers, one of whom was in the service of the king, and the other ate the bread of his own industry. Once the rich man said to his poor brother, "Why do you not enter into the service of the king, to relieve yourself from the affliction of labor?"

He asked, "And why do you not work, that you may be relieved from the baseness of servitude? for the sages have said that to eat one's bread, and to sit down at ease, is preferable to wearing a golden girdle and standing up in service; to use your hands in making mortar of quicklime is preferable to placing them on your breast in attendance on the Umeer. Precious life has been spent in these cares, What shall I eat in the summer, and with what shall I be clothed in the winter? 0 ignoble belly, satisfy yourself with a loaf of bread, that you may not bend your back in servitude."


Somebody brought to Noushirvan the Just the good tidings that the God of majesty and glory has taken away such an one, who was your enemy.
He asked, "Have you heard that he will by any means spare me? The death of my enemy is no cause of joy to me, since neither is my own life eternal."


CONTENTMENT

I heard of a Durwaish (mendicant priest) who was suffering great distress from poverty, and sewing patch upon patch, but who comforted himself with the following verse: "I am contented with stale bread, and a coarse woolen frock, since it is better to bear the weight of one's own necessities than to suffer the load of obligation from mankind." Somebody said to him, " Why do you sit quiet, whilst such an one in this city has a liberal mind, and possesses universal benevolence, being ever willing to assist the pious, and always ready to comfort every heart? If he were apprised of your condition, he would consider it an obligation to satisfy your wants."
He replied, "Be silent, for it is better to die of want than to expose our necessities to anyone; for they have said that to sew patch upon patch and be patient, is preferable to writing a petition to a great man for clothing." Of a truth, it is equal to the torments of hell to enter into paradise by the help of one's neighbor.


A certain learned man who had a large family to support, with very scanty means, represented his case to a great man who entertained a favorable opinion of him. He disapproved of the application, deeming it unworthy of a man of spirit. When you are dissatisfied with your fortune, approach not your dearest friend, or you will turn his pleasure into sorrow. When you expose your distress, preserve a lively and smiling appearance; he never fails in his pursuit who maintains a joyful countenance. It is said that the great man increased his pension a little, but treated him with less respect than formerly. After some time, perceiving this diminution of affection, he said: "Evil is that food which you obtain in the time of distress; the kettle is indeed upon the hearth, but your reputation is diminished. He increased my bread, and lessened my honor ; it is better to be destitute of means than to suffer the disgrace of solicitation."


A thief said to a mendicant, "Are you not ashamed to hold out your hand to every sordid wretch to obtain a grain of silver? " He replied, "It is better to stretch out the hand for a grain of silver, than to have it cut off for having stolen a dang and a half."


THE SUPREMACY OF LUCK

They tell a story of a wrestler, who from adverse fortune was reduced to the extremity of misery. With a craving appetite, and destitute of the means of subsistence, he came complaining to his father, and requested leave to travel, if perchance by the strength of his arm he might be able to accomplish his wishes. Talents and skill are of no value without being exhibited; they put lignum aloes on the fire, and rub musk. The father said, "0 son, get out of your head impracticable imaginations, and draw back the foot of contentment within the skirt of safety; for the sages have said, 'Riches are not to be obtained by bodily exertion, but the remedy against want is to moderate our desires. No one can seize the skirt of wealth by force; it is lost labor to anoint the eyes of the blind with salve.' If every hair of your head possessed two hundred accomplishments, they would be of no use when fortune is unpropitious. What can a strong but unfortunate man do? The arm of fortune is better than the arm of strength."

The son said: "0 father! the advantages of traveling are many, the recreation of the mind, profitable attainments, to see wonders and to hear strange things; the view of cities; the conversation of mankind, the acquisition of honor, and attainment of manners; the increase of wealth, the means of gaining a livelihood, forming intimate connections, and the experience of the world, in the manner as has been observed by men of piety, 'As long as you stick to your shop, and to your house, never, 0 simpleton! will you become a man. Go and travel over the world, before the time shall arrive for your quitting it.' "

The father made answer: "0 son, the advantages of traveling in the manner that you have set forth are doubtless very great; but most especially so for five classes of men: First, the merchant, who, possessing wealth and dignity, with beautiful slaves and handmaids and active servants, may pass every day in a new city, and every night in a different place, and may every minute, in delightful spots, recreate himself with worldly luxuries. The rich man is not a stranger, neither in the mountains nor in the deserts; wherever he goes he pitches his tent and takes up his quarters; whilst he who possesses not the comforts of life, but is destitute of the means of supporting himself, is a stranger, and unknown in his native country. Secondly, a learned man who on account of his sweet speeches, powerful eloquence, and store of knowledge, wherever he goes is universally sought after and respected.

"The presence of a wise man resembles pure gold, because whithersoever he goeth they know his intrinsic value and consequence. An ignorant son of a rich man is like leather money passing current in a particular city, but which in a foreign country no one will receive for anything. Thirdly, the beautiful person, to whom the hearts of the virtuous are inclined, set a high value on his company, and consider it an honor to do him service. According to the saying, 'A little beauty is preferable to great wealth.' A beautiful person is the balm for a wounded heart, and is the key of the locked door. The beautiful person, wheresoever he goes, meets with honor and respect, even if his father and mother should turn him out with displeasure. I saw a peacock's feather in the leaves of a Koran. I said, 'I consider this an honor much greater than your quality deserves.'
He replied, 'Be silent; for whosoever has beauty, wherever he puts his foot, doth not everyone receive him with respect? The son who is endowed with elegance and beauty careth not for his father's anger.'

" He is a rare pearl, let him not remain in the parent shell ; and of a precious pearl everyone will be the purchaser. Fourthly, a sweet singer, who with the throat of David arrests the waters in their course, and suspends the birds in their flight; consequently, by the power of this perfection, he captivates the hearts of mankind in general, and the religious are desirous of associating with him. My attention is engaged in listening to a sweet voice : who is this beautiful person playing on the double chord? How delightful is a tender and plaintive voice at the dawn of day, in the ears or those intoxicated with love! A sweet voice is better than a beautiful face; for the one gives sensual delight, and the other invigorates the soul. Fifthly, the mechanic, who gains subsistence by the labor of his arm, that his good name may not be disgraced by the want of bread. According to this saying of the wise: --

" 'If a mechanic goes a journey from his own city, he suffers not difficulty nor distress; but if the king of Neemroze should wander out of his kingdom, he would sleep hungry.' The above-mentioned qualities, which I have explained, are the means of affording comfort to the mind in traveling, and are the bestowers of sweet delight; but he who does not possess them will enter the world with vain expectations; and no one will hear his name, nor see any signs of him. Whom-soever the revolutions of Heaven in malice afflict, the world betrays. The pigeon who is not to see his nest again, fate conducts to the grain and snare."

The son said: "0 father, how can I contradict another maxim of the sages, which says, 'The necessaries of life are distributed to all, yet the attainment thereof requires exertion; and although misfortune is decreed, it is our duty to shun the way by which it enters'? Although our daily bread doubtlessly may come to us, yet reason requires that we should seek it out of doors. Although no one can die before it is decreed by fate, you have no occasion to run into the jaws of the dragon. In my present situation, I am able to encounter a furious elephant, and to combat a devouring lion; and I have besides this inducement to travel, that I am no longer able to suffer indigence. When a man falls from his rank and dignity, what has he more to concern himself about? he is a citizen of the world. A rich man repairs at night to his palace, but wheresoever the Durwaish is overtaken by night, that place is his inn."

This he said, took leave of his father, asked his blessing, and departed. At his departure he was heard to say, "The artist to whom fortune is not propitious goeth to a place where his name is not known." He traveled until he arrived on the banks of a river, so rapid that stones dashed against stones, and the noise was heard at many miles' distance. It was a tremendous water, in which even waterfowls were not in safety; and the smallest of its waves would impel a millstone from the shore. He saw a number of people sitting at the ferry, each of whom had a small piece of money, and they were making up their bundles for the passage. The young man, having no money, used supplications, but without effect, they saying, "You cannot here commit violence on anyone, and if you have money, there is no need of force." The inhuman boatman laughed at him, and turned away, saying, "You have no money, and you cannot cross the river by means of your strength. Of what avail is the strength of ten men? Bring the money of one." The young man, incensed at this sarcasm, wished to be revenged on him. The boat had put off; he called out, " If you will be satisfied with this garment, which I have on my back, I will freely give it you." The boatman being greedy, brought back the boat. Covetousness sews up the eyes of the cunning, and covetousness brings both bird and fish into the net. As soon as the young man's hands were in reach of the boatman's beard and collar, he dragged him towards him, and knocked him down without ceremony. One of his comrades stepped out of the boat to help him, but experienced such rough treatment that he desisted. They both thought it advisable to pacify the young man, and compromised with him for the fare. When you see fighting, be peaceable, for a peaceable disposition shuts the door of contention. Oppose kindness to perverseness: the sharp sword will not cut soft silk.

By using sweet words, and gentleness, you may lead an elephant with a hair. In expiation of what had happened, they fell at his feet, and after bestowing hypocritical kisses on his hands and face, brought him into the boat, and carried him over, until they came to a pillar of Grecian building that stood in the river, when the boatman called out, "The boat is in danger! let one of you who is the strongest and most courageous get upon this pillar, and lay hold of the boat's rope, that we may save the vessel." The young man, in the vanity of his strength, of which he had boasted, thoughtless of the offended heart of his enemy, paid no attention to this maxim of the sages, "If you have committed an offense towards an other, and should afterwards confer a hundred kindnesses, think not that he will forget to retaliate upon thee that single offense; for the arrow may be extracted from the wound, but the sense of injury still rankles in the heart." What excellent advice gave Yuktash to Khiltash! If you have scratched your enemy, do not consider yourself safe. When from your hand the heart of another hath suffered injury, expect not to be free from affliction thyself. Fling not a stone against the walls of a castle, lest perchance a stone may be thrown at you from the castle. As soon as he had gathered the rope round his arm, and had reached the top of the pillar, the boatman snatched the rope out of his hand and drove forward the vessel. The helpless young man remained astonished: for two days, he suffered much distress, and underwent great hardship; the third day sleep overpowered him and flung him into the river. After a day and a night he reached shore with some small remains of life. He fed on leaves of trees and roots of grass, until he had somewhat recruited his strength, when he bent his course to the desert, and arrived thirsty and hungry, and faint, at a well. He saw a number of people gathered round it, who were drinking a draught of water for a small piece of money. The young man, having no money, beseeched them for water, which they denying, he attempted to obtain it by force, but in vain; he knocked some of them down and beat them. They at length overpowered him, beat him unmercifully, and wounded him.

A swarm of gnats will engage an elephant, notwithstanding all his strength and valor. The little ants, when they meet with an opportunity, will strip off the skin of the fierce lion. Sick and wounded, he fell in with a caravan, which from necessity he followed. In the evening they arrived at a place that was infested by robbers. He saw the people of the caravan trembling through fear, and looking as if they expected to die. He said, "Be not afraid, for I am one amongst you, who will encounter fifty men, and other men will support me." The men, encouraged by his boasting, rejoiced at being in his company, and they supplied him with victuals and drink. The cravings of the young man's appetite being very powerful, he ate and drank so much, that at length the inner demon was quieted, and being overpowered with fatigue, he fell asleep.

An old experienced man, who had seen the world, and was in the caravan, said: "0 companions, I am more afraid of your guard than of the robbers, for they tell a story of an Arab, who, having collected together some money, would not sleep alone in his house, for fear of being robbed by the Lowrians, but got one of his friends to stay with him, from the apprehension he had of being alone. He stayed with him several nights, but as soon as he got intelligence of the direms, he seized them, and made off. The next morning, they saw the Arab despoiled and lamenting. They asked what can be the matter, excepting that the thieves may have stolen your money? He replied, 'By God, not they, but the person who was the guard.'
I never thought myself secure from the serpent, because I knew his disposition. A wound from the teeth of an enemy is most severe, when it is given under the semblance of friendship. How do you know, my friends, but what this young man may be one of the thieves, who by stratagem has introduced himself amongst us, in order that, when he finds an opportunity, he may give intelligence to his comrades? My advice, therefore, is this, that we leave him asleep and depart." The advice of the old man was approved by his juniors, and as they were suspicious of this strong man, they took up their baggage, and, leaving him asleep, departed. The young man, when the sun shone on his shoulders, lifted up his head, and discovered that the caravan was departed. He wandered about a long time without being able to find the road. Thirsty and without food, he laid his head on the ground, in a style of despondency: "Who will converse with me now that the yellow camels are departed? A traveler has no friend, besides a traveler. He is the readiest to distress a traveler, who has not himself experienced the difficulties of traveling."
He was uttering this sentence, when the king's son, having lost his attendants in pursuit of game, happening to come to the spot, overheard him, and seeing him of a good appearance, and in distressed circumstances, asked from whence he was, and how he came there. He gave a short account of what had befallen him; and the king's son, compassionating him, bestowed on him a garment, and money, and ordered a trusty person to accompany him, and see him safe to his own city.
The father was rejoiced at the sight of him, and thanked God for his safe return. At night he related to his father what had happened in the boat, of the violence of the boatman, and of the peasants, and the treachery of the caravan. The father said: "0 son I did I not tell you, at the time of your departure, that the strong but poor man has his hand tied; and that his foot, though resembling the paw of a lion, is broken? What an excellent saying is that of the needy gladiator, -- 'A grain of gold is worth more than fifty pounds of strength.' "

The son replied: "0 father! of a truth, without encountering difficulty, you cannot acquire riches; and without you endanger your life, you cannot gain the victory over your enemy; and without sowing seed, you cannot fill your barn. Don't you perceive that, in return for the little distress that I suffered, how much wealth I have brought with me; and for the sting that I endured, what a stock of honey I have acquired? Although we cannot enjoy more than Providence has assigned us, we ought not to be negligent in acquiring it. If the diver were to think of the jaw of the crocodile, he would never get in his possession precious pearls. The lower mill-stone does not move, and therefore sustains a great weight. What food can a ravenous lion find in his den? What game can be taken by a hawk that cannot fly? If you wait in your house for provision, your hands and feet will become as thin as those of a spider."
The father said: "0 son, Heaven has befriended you this time, and good fortune has been your guide, so that you have been able to pluck the rose from the thorn, and to extract the thorn from your foot; and a great man met with you, pitied and enriched you, and healed your broken condition. But such instances are rare, and we ought not to expect wonders. The hunter doth not always carry off the game: perchance himself may one day become the prey of the tiger. In like manner as it happened to one of the kings of Persia, who, possessing a ring set with a valuable jewel, went once on a party of pleasure with some of his particular associates to Mussula Shiraz, and ordered that they should fix the ring on the dome of Asud, with a proclamation that whoever shot an arrow through the circlet of it should have the ring. It chanced there were at that time four hundred experienced archers attending him, whose arrows all missed: but as a boy was playing on the terrace roof of the monastery, and shooting his arrows at random, the morning breeze conducted one of them through the ring. The prize was bestowed on him, together with other rich gifts. After this the boy burnt his bow and arrows, and on their asking him why he had done so, he replied, 'That this my first repute may be lasting.' It may happen that the prudent counsel of an enlightened sage does not succeed; and it may chance that an unskillful boy, through mistake, hits the mark with his arrow."



SILENCE IS GOLDEN

A sensible young man, who had made considerable progress in learning and virtue, was at the same time so discreet, that he would sit in the company of learned men without uttering a word. Once his father said to him, "My son, why do you not also say something of what you know?" He replied: "I fear lest they should question me about something of which I am ignorant, whereby I should suffer shame.

"Have you not heard of a Sufi that was driving some nails into his sandals, when an officer, laying hold of his sleeve, said, 'Come and shoe my horse?' Whilst you are silent, no one has any business with you; but when you speak, you must be ready with your proofs."


A certain poet went to the chief of a gang of robbers, and recited verses in his praise: the chief ordered him to be stripped of his clothes and expelled the village. The dogs attacking him in his rear, he wanted to take up some stones, but they were frozen to the ground. Thus distressed he said, "What a vile set of men are these, who let loose their dogs and fasten their stones."

The chief, having heard him from a window, laughed and said, " 0 wise man, ask a boon of me."

He answered: "I want my garment, if you will vouchsafe to bestow it. A man entertains hopes from those who are virtuous. I have no expectation from your virtue, only do me no injury. We are satisfied with your benevolence in suffering us to depart." The chief of the robbers took compassion on him, ordered his garment to be restored, and added to it a robe of fur, together with some direms.



RULES FOR CONDUCT IN LIFE

Two persons took trouble in vain, and used fruitless endeavors, -- he who acquired wealth, without enjoying it, and he who taught wisdom, but did not practice it. How much soever you may study science, when you do not act wisely, you are ignorant. The beast whom they load with books is not profoundly learned and wise: what knoweth his empty skull whether he carrieth firewood or books?

Science is to be used for the preservation of religion, and not for the acquisition of wealth. Whosoever prostituted his abstinence, reputation, and learning for gain, formed a granary and then consumed it entirely.

A learned man, without temperance, is a blind man carrying a link: he showeth the road to others, but doth not guide himself. He who through inadvertency trifled with life, threw away his money without purchasing anything.

Three things are not permanent without three things: wealth without commerce, science without argument, nor a kingdom without government.

Showing mercy to the wicked is doing injury to the good, and pardoning oppressors is injuring the oppressed. When you connect yourself with base men, and show them favor, they commit crimes with your power, whereby you participate in their guilt.

Reveal not to a friend every secret that you possess, for how can you tell but what he may some time or other become your enemy? Likewise inflict not on an enemy every injury in your power, for he may afterwards become your friend. The matter which you wish to preserve as a secret, impart it not to anyone, although he may be worthy of confidence; for no one will be so true to your secret as yourself.

It is safer to be silent than to reveal one's secret to any one, and telling him not to mention it. 0 good man I stop the water at the spring head, for when it is in full stream you cannot arrest it. You should never speak a word in secret which may not be related in every company.

Speak in such manner between two enemies, that, should they afterwards become friends, you may not be put to the blush. Hostility between two people is like fire, and the evil-fated backbiter supplies fuel. Afterwards, when they are reconciled together, the backbiter is hated and despised by both parties. To kindle a flame between two persons, is to burn yourself inconsiderately in the midst.

When you see an enemy weak, twist not your whiskers in boasting: there is marrow in every bone, and every coat covers a man.

Anger, when excessive, createth terror; and kindness out of season destroys authority. Be not so severe as to cause disgust, nor so lenient as to encourage audacity. Severity and lenity should be tempered together, -- like the surgeon, who when he uses the lancet applies also a plaster. A wise man carries not severity to excess, nor suffers such relaxation as will lessen his own dignity. He over-rates not himself; neither doth he altogether neglect his consequence. A shepherd said to his father, "0 thou who art wise, teach me one maxim from your experience." He replied, " Be complacent, but not to that degree that they may insult you with the sharp teeth of the wolf. "

A wicked man is a captive in the hand of the enemy, for wherever he goeth he cannot escape from the clutches of his own punishment. If the wicked man should escape to heaven from the hand of calamity, he would continue in calamity from the sense of his own evil disposition.

Bruise the serpent's head with the hand of your enemy, which cannot fail of producing one of these two advantages. If the enemy succeeds, you have killed the snake; and if the latter prevails, you have got rid of your enemy.

In the day of battle consider not yourself safe because your adversary is weak; for he who becomes desperate will take out the lion's brains.

When you have anything to communicate that will distress the heart of the person whom it concerns, be silent, in order that he may hear from some one else. 0 nightingale! bring thou the glad tidings of spring, and leave bad news to the owl!

Take care how you listen to the voice of the flatterer, who, in return for his little stock, expects to derive from you considerable advantage. If one day you do not comply with his wishes, he imputes to you two hundred defects instead of perfections.

Unless some one points out to an orator his defects, his discourse will never be correct. Be not vain of the elegance of your discourse from the commendation of an ignorant person, neither upon the strength of your own judgment.

Everyone thinks his own wisdom perfect, and his own child beautiful. A Jew and a Mohammedan were disputing in a manner that made me laugh. The Mohammedan said in wrath, "If this deed of conveyance is not authentic, may,God cause me to die a Jew! "
The Jew said, "I make oath on the Pentateuch, and if I swear falsely, I am a Mohammedan like you."
If wisdom was to cease throughout the world, no one would suspect himself of ignorance.

He who when he hath the power doeth not good, when he loses the means will suffer distress. There is not a more unfortunate wretch than the oppressor; for in the day of adversity, nobody is his friend.

Life depends upon the support of a single breath, and worldly existence is between two non-existences. Those who sell religion for the world are asses; they sell Joseph, and get nothing in return.

I have heard that in the land of the East they are forty years in making a china cup: they make a hundred in a day at Bagdad, and consequently you see the meanness of the price. A chicken, as soon as it comes out of the egg, seeks its food; but an infant hath not reason and discrimination. That which was something all at once, never arrives at much perfection; and the other by degrees surpasses all things in power and excellence. Glass is everywhere, and therefore of no value; the ruby is obtained with difficulty, and on that account is precious.

Publish not men's secret faults; for by disgracing them you make yourself of no repute.

If every night was a night of power, many of such nights would be disregarded. If every stone was a Budukshan ruby, the ruby and the pebble would be of equal value.

The vicious cannot endure the sight of the virtuous; in the same manner as the curs of the market howl at a hunting dog, but dare not approach him.

When a mean wretch cannot vie with another in virtue, out of his wickedness he begins to slander. The abject envious wretch will slander the virtuous man when absent; but when brought face to face, his loquacious tongue becomes dumb.

The wise man who engages in a controversy with those who are ignorant of the subject, should not entertain any expectation of gaining credit. If an ignorant man, by his loquacity, should overpower a wise man, it is not to be wondered at, because a common stone will break a jewel. Why is it surprising if a nightingale should not sing, when a crow is in the same cage? If a virtuous man is injured by a vagabond, he ought not to be sorry, or angry. If a worthless stone bruise a golden cup, its own worth is not thereby increased, nor the value of the gold lessened.

If a wise man, falling in company with mean people, does not get credit for his discourse, be not amazed; for the sound of the harp cannot overpower the noise of the drum; and the fragrance of ambergris is overcome by fetid garlic. The ignorant wretch was proud of his loud voice, because he had impudently confounded the man of understanding. Are you ignorant that the musical mode of Hijaz is confounded by the noise of the warrior's drum? If a jewel falls into the mud, it is still the same precious stone; and if dust flies up to the sky, it retains its original baseness. A capacity without education is deplorable, and education without capacity is thrown away. Ashes, although of high origin, fire being of a noble nature, yet having no intrinsic worth, are no better than dust. Sugar obtains not its value from the cane, but from its innate quality. Musk has the fragrance in itself, and not from being called a perfume by the druggist. The wise man is like the druggist's chest, -- silent, but full of virtues; and the blockhead resembles the warrior's drum, -- noisy, but an empty prattler. A wise man in the company of those who are ignorant, has been compared by the sages to a beautiful girl in the company of blind men, or to the Koran in the house of an infidel. When the land of Canaan was without virtue, the birth of Joseph did not increase its dignity. Show your virtue, if you possess nobility; for the rose sprang from the thorn, and Abraham from Azur.

A friend whom you have been gaining during your whole life, you ought not to be displeased with in a moment. A stone is many years becoming a ruby; take care that you do not destroy it in an instant against another stone.

Reason is under the power of sense; as a man becomes weak in the hand of an artful woman. Shut the door of that house of pleasure, which you hear resounding with the loud voice of a woman.

Two things are morally impossible: to enjoy more than Providence has allotted, or to die before the appointed time. Destiny will not be altered by our uttering a thousand lamentations and sighs, nor by our praises or complaints. The angel who presides over the treasury of winds, what does he care if the lamp of an old widow is extinguished?

The envious man begrudgeth the bountiful goodness of God, and is inimical to those who are innocent.

I heard a little fellow with dry brains speaking disrespectfully of a person of rank. I said, "0 sir, if you are unfortunate, what crime have fortunate men committed?" Wish not ill to the envious man, for the unfortunate wretch is a calamity to himself. Where is the need of your showing enmity towards him who has such an adversary at his heels?

A learned man without works is a bee without honey. Say to the austere and uncivil bee, "When you cannot afford honey, do not sting."

They asked Iman Mursheed Mohammed Ben Mohammed Ghezaly, on whom be the mercy of God! by what means he had attained to such a degree of knowledge?
He replied, "In this manner,-- whatever I did not know, I was not ashamed to inquire about." There will be reasonable hopes of recovery when you get a skillful physician to feel your pulse. Inquire about everything that you do not know; since, for the small trouble of asking, you will be guided in the respectable road of knowledge.

Whenever you are certain that anything will be known to you in time, be not hasty in inquiring after it, as you will thereby lessen your authority and respectability. When Lokman saw that in the hand of David iron became miraculously like wax, he did not ask how he did it, being persuaded that without asking it would be made known.

Tell your story in conformity to the temper of the hearer, if you know that he is well disposed towards you. Any wise man who associates with Mujnoon will talk of nothing else but of the face of Leila.

Man is, beyond dispute, the most excellent of created beings, and the vilest animal is a dog; but the sages agree that a grateful dog is better than an ungrateful man. A dog never forgets a morsel, although you pelt him a hundred times with stones. But if you cherish a mean wretch for an age, he will fight with you for a mere trifle.

It is said in the Gospel, "0 sons of Adam, if I should grant you riches, you would be more intent on them than on me; and if I should make you poor, your hearts would be sorrowful; and then, how could you properly celebrate my praise, and after what manner would you worship me? Sometimes in affluence you are proud and negligent; and again in poverty, you are afflicted and wounded. Since such is your disposition, both in happiness and in misery, I know not at what time you will fInd leisure to worship God."

A Durwaish (mendicant priest) whose end is good is better than a king whose end is evil. It is better to suffer sorrow before, than after, the enjoyment of happiness.

The sky enriches the earth with showers, and the earth returns it nothing but dust. A jar exudes whatever it contains. If my disposition is not worthy in your sight, quit not your own good manners. The Almighty beholdeth the crime, and concealeth it; and the neighbor seeth not, yet proclaimeth it aloud. God preserve us! if men knew what is done in secret, no one would be free from the interference of others.

Those who do not pity the weak, will suffer violence from the powerful. It does not always happen that the strong arm can overpower the hand of the weak. Distress not the heart of the weak, lest you fall by one more powerful than yourself.

The gamester wants three sixes, but three aces turn up. Pasture land is a thousand times better than the plain; but the horse has not command of the reins.

A Durwaish, in his prayer, said, "0 God, show pity towards the wicked, for on the good thou hast already bestowed mercy, by having created them virtuous."

When you perceive what is just, and that it must be given, it is better to give it with kindness than with contention and displeasure. If a man does not pay the tax willingly, the officer's servant will exact it by force.

What can an old prostitute do but vow not to sin any more? or a degraded superintendent of police, besides promising not to injure mankind? A youth who makes choice of retirement, is a lionlike man in the path of God; for an old man is not able to move from his corner.






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