Persian Poetics Presents:

Gulistān-i Saʿdī - An Introduction

Join us as we study study this classic text!

In every moment of life leaves a breath,

now that I look, few are left ‘till my death.

You were asleep while fifty years pass by,

five days are left, will you open your eye?

-Saʿdī, the Gulistān, Introduction

Saʿdī’s Gulistān (Flower Garden) is perhaps the most influential work of Persian prose. The collection of anecdotes helped earn him the nickname ‘afṣaḥ al-mutikallimūn’ (The Most Eloquent Speaker).

The Gulistān was so popular that it became the standard textbook for Persian education from the Balkans to the Bengal. For centuries students of all backgrounds learned Persian with this work, which help cement its place in the tradition.

Though Persian education has slowly faded following colonization, this work remains present in the Muslim mind. Many of Saʿdī’s proverbs - both in Persian and in translation - are quoted by Muslims of all educational backgrounds from the Balkans to the Bengal.

The first page of the Gulistān.

A folio from a story read in class three.

Studying this valuable work will provide students an insight into the Turco-Indo-Persianate tradition that Saʿdī’s work was once a centerpiece of. We will cover the entirety of the text.

Course Syllabus:

  1. Course Introduction.

  2. Text Introduction.

  3. Chapter 1: The Conduct of Kings.

  4. Chapter 2: The Character of Dervishes.

  5. Chapter 3: The Virtues of Contentment.

  6. Chapter 4: The Benefits of Silence.

  7. Chapter 5: On Love and Youth.

  8. Chapter 6: Feebleness and Old Age.

  9. Chapter 7: The Effect of Education.

  10. Chapter 8: The Art of Conversation.

A preview of the class:

This poetry arrangement will remain

years after the wind blows my grains away.

I desire for this work to long outlive

for in this existence, I’ll not long stay.

Perhaps one day a man of sympathy

will read this Gulistān and for me, pray.

-Saʿdī, the Gulistān, Introduction