Tales of Nasrudin

Keys to Fulfillment

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2006.
136 pages
ISBN: 1-59731-070-0
Price: $18.95 US
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ISBN: 1-59731-071-9
Price: $33.95 US
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Mulla Nasrudin, called Hodja Nasrudin in India and Turkey, is the major comic figure in Islamic folklore. Both ‘mulla’ and ‘hodja’ meanmaster, with the connotation teacher; Nasrudin, if he ever existed, was an educated man. The tales of Nasrudin were never told by any great Sufi masters, but somehow the common man began to identify with him. And as various modern writers have pointed out, the tales contain both spiritual symbolism and the sort of paradoxical narrative that can break down our habitual view of reality (rather like the Zen koan) and re-form it on a higher level. This work is aimed at using a collection of what superficially can be considered jokes for education and development of insight, and at the same time brings two vastly different Eastern and Western cultures to a better mutual understanding.

By allowing readers to laugh, reflect, and hopefully see themselves in a new light, Mulla helps bring about new insights without the need for expensive gurus, changes in diet, dress, behavior, and who knows what else. Of course, Mulla himself would not claim that simply reading his stories suffices to develop our capacities; he might even point out that in many cases this is not necessary. However, we suspect he would claim that by reading (and occasionally re-reading) his adventures, we could make some advances and enjoy the journey along the way.

Table of Contents

105 Chapters of the Tales of Nasrudin, with commentary.