The Subtleties and the Exploits of Mulla Nasrudin: Two Volumes in One Paperback – 1 Apr 1985
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Here, Nasrudin's anecdotes are set in parallel to the workings of the mind - designed to amuse the audience in the tea-house, but also intended to be used on other levels.
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Nasrudin may be cashing cheques in a bank, but he is still a voice of sanity in today’s troubled and polarised world. One story is entitled ‘Tyranny of the Majority’:
‘At one point in his life, the entire population of his village had had enough of the pleasantries and confusions of Mulla Nasrudin.
They all went to the magistrate and he gave a ruling:
“Nasrudin, by the will of the people I have to declare that you must leave the village.”
“Are they unanimous?” asked the Mulla.
“Yes, I’m afraid so.”
“Then I refuse to go. There are plenty of them – and only one of me. If they don’t like the village as it is, they can leave and build another one. But I, a single individual, how can I start to build one small house for myself elsewhere?” ‘
I love to mull over these stories.
‘Mulla Nasrudin had been in England for several years. After settling in Liverpool, he had started to write poetry. He had composed thousands of verses and he and his friends had done everything to promote him.
His friend Wali found him sitting with his head in his hands, sobbing bitterly.
“Cheer up, Nasrudin,’ he said, ‘it can’t be as bad as all that!”
“But it is,” said Nasrudin, “for I have discovered that I am no poet.”
“All you have to do,” said Wali, “is to give up poetry – then you’ll feel better.”
“But I can’t do that. I’ve been elected Poet of the Century by the Academy of Culture. I’ve been famous since yesterday.” ‘
‘Nasrudin wanted to know more about art, so a friend took him to a gallery.
“Who painted that picture?” asked the Mulla, stopping in front of a huge and colourful canvas.
“Picasso – you can see by the signature.”
“The devil! How dare he copy my calendar?” ‘
These are very short tales - not much longer than Aesop's fables and they demonstrate human falibility and strength on a number of different levels inspiring great thought.
For instance the tale of Nasrudin becoming scared when seeing riders on the rode, imagining he would be captured by them and sold into slavery he flees over a nearby wall. the good Travellers who cannot understand the action pursue him to make sure he is all right and find him cowering in a grave. Nasrudin observes he fled there because of them and they came to the grave because of him. On the surface a strange tale and yet the deeper meaning of motivations unravels a whole new set of concepts to consider.
This reminds me of some of the sayings of yogi berra, they are shorter but in fact same appealing levels of meaning to them that question our understanding of events.
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