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The Bostan of Saadi (The Orchard), Books I and II Hardcover – July, 1984

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Hardcover, July, 1984
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A pupil of the eminent Sufi Sheikh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi, Saadi was born in about 1184, and educated in Baghdad. At times he lived as a wandering dervish, visiting the centres of learning of the East, and was even captured by the Crusaders. His writings have influenced European literature, and have been studied in both East and West.

Of all his books, the Bostan (The Orchard) and the Gulistan (The Rose Garden) are his best known and most admired.

Saadi's Bostan (The Orchard) is one of the greatest of all Sufi Classics. Together with his Gulistan, these two books are regarded as supreme accomplishments of both literature and Sufi thought. They contain a richness of material and beauty of poetry which are almost unparalleled.

The Bostan is a mine of proverbs, quotations and practical wisdom. But like the Gulistan (The Rose Garden) it contains far more than moralistic aphorisms and teaching stories. The Bostan is recognised by eminent Sufis as concealing the whole range of the deepest Sufi knowledge which can be committed to writing.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Ishk Book Service (July 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863040349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863040344
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,012,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The Orchard" and "The Rose Garden" are the major works of a Persian mystic of the 13th century who called himself Saadi of Shiraz. In Iran (what once was Persia) Saadi is revered as one of the foremost poets of Persian culture. His works are part of world literature and have inspired Western authors like Diderot, Voltaire, Hugo and Balzac. Goethe included adaptations from Saadi in the "West-Oestlicher Divan". In the United States, Ralph Waldo Emerson addressed a poem of his own to Saadi.
"The Orchard" is entirely in verse (epic metre) and consists of stories illustrating the standard virtues recommended to Muslims (justice, benevolence, spiritual love, humility, resignation, contentment, education, gratitude, repentance and prayer) as well as of reflections on the behavior of dervishes and their ecstatic practices.
Saadi of Shiraz organized the book in 10 chapters, one chapter for each virtue. It turns out that this edition of "The Orchard" contains only the first 4 chapters. Amazon is not to blame for saying that this edition contains "Books I and II" of "The Orchard." The dust cover makes the same claim.
Surprisingly for a work of world literature, there is no complete translation of "The Orchard" in print. The web boasts a complete translation, which turns out to cover all 10 Chapters but omits substantial parts of each chapter. Islamic mystics do not sell well in English speaking countries after 9/11, so there may not be a good comprehensive translation soon.
The Persian language of Saadi of Shiraz apparently is not easy to translate. His prose style, we are told on the highly recommended website "[...]", is simple but impossible to imitate, flowing quite naturally and effortlessly.
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