Mullah, Nasrudin Hoja appears as the whimsical character in a growing tradition of stories. The tales of Nasrudin are sometimes adapted and used as teaching stories by followers of the Sufi way. Some mystic traditions use jokes, stories and poetry to express certain ideas, allowing the bypassing of the normal discriminative thought patterns. The rationality that confines and objectifies the thinking process is the opposite to the intuitive, gestalt mentality that the mystic is attempting to engage, enter and retain.
By developing a series of impacts that reinforce certain key ideas, the rational mind is occupied with a surface meaning whilst other concepts are introduced. Thus paradox, unexpectedness, and alternatives to convention are all expressed in the humor of Nasrudin.
Please add to the tales of Nasrudin and interpretations. It is said, there are as many interpretations as stars in the sky. And when you read a story, see yourself reflected in the story and make your own interpretations rather than relying on others to tell you the meaning of the story. In this way, you will learn for yourself and the usefulness of the story's teaching will be deeper.
The Eternal Comedian
It is sometimes said that the Universe is Allah laughing himself into existence. The idea of the cosmic joker that begins within a broadening smile allows us to hear the profound in the profane and the profane in the sanctimonious. Keep smiling.
The use of humor, stories and puzzles is well developed in shamanistic and pagan cultures. The mischievous spirit is both tension releasing and realizing of the solutions to life situations. Nasrudin Hodja belongs to this rich tradition stretching back into pre literate society. Humor brings insight and understanding and is a release of stored energy; clearing in nature.
- "If you want
- special illumination,
- look upon a human face:
- see deeply,
- within laughter,
- the essence
- of ultimate
Mevlana Jallaludin Rumi
An opinion lessening form of Islamic heresy that stresses poetry and reasonable tolerance of peoples differences. Values inner quality above external piety. Nasrudin is often regarded as an 'Idiot', one of the appellations dervishes use in describing their Divine Madness. He also represents the excesses of the clerical or literal mind.
The Helper of Religion
There has to be more than just humor to make it a Nasreddin tale. It depends on the area from where the modern tales come. Tales originating in China will show a Nasreddin which has as extra element that he is campaigning for the oppressed, bullying rulers and those who abuse their authority. See "The Effendi And The Pregnant Pot - Uygur Tales from China"; New World Press; Beijing, China. "The Enchanted Prince" by Leonid Solovyov is a novel about Nasreddin wherin he is a flagrant subverter, a thorn in the side of the powers that be, a disturber of the peace.Ulrich Marzolph in his Nasreddin Hodscha presents no less than 666 true Nasreddin tales (although Nasreddin claims never to have spoken the truth) and does so in a chronological order, even showing erotical adventures of our hero. Sufi teachers are at times coining modern Nasreddin tales in order to further their teaching, as the opening sentence "One day Mulla Nasreddin..." is sufficient for many audiences to lower their barriers.
Nasruddin tales are from many ages and many cultures. There are Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Berber, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Daghestani, Greek, Judeo-Arabic, Kurdish, Maltese, Mandaic, Macedonian, Persian, Serbian, Sicilian, Syrian, Tajik, Turkish, Uighur and Uzbek sources for Nasruddin tales. He is known as Nasreddin, Joha, Si Je'ha, Giufa, Ieha, Iugale, Gahan, Nastradin, Nastradi, Hojas, Jiha, Juha, Khodja, Mala, Apendi, Afandi, Effendi, Afanti
Audience with the King
Timur's Gift I
- Humor can speak to even the hardest of hearts.
Timur's Gift II
- Always keep your word
- Be wary of stories from exaggerators.
- Label your possessions!
The Guest of Honor
- Nobody is greater than God.
- One should show regard for those of humble means.
- Even a person of no consequence can be Hodja.
- Elevation comes through the abandonment of ego.
- Beware of the clever tongue.
Face of the Devil
- Nasrudin shows that the Devil is in us when we are angry. Timur's anger is where the Devil comes out.
- Judge not that ye may not also be judged.
- To teach anyone is correspondence with the Devil.
- It is all about your disposition: You are/become what you desire.
- Don't ask questions unless you want to know the answers.
Of any two options choose the third
- Conflict is a natural state of affairs - it's okay to accept this.
- Resolving disputes is not about who believes they are right.
- Remember, always consider there might be external or unknown factors
- Truth, correctness, and integrity are subjective.
- Judgment doubly so.
- Expecting the world to make perfect sense might not make sense.
- Even judges can be fools.
A call to prayer
- It is easier to deflect blame outside of yourself than to accept it.
- It's hard to judge your own voice, just as it's hard to judge your own actions. Listen to those around you who care enough to criticise you.
- Context is everything.
- His singing may have been awful, but at least it worked!
Ignore the Braying
- The truth can come from unexpected places.
- Don't lie about your affairs. The truth comes out eventually.
- Claims of religious authority is the first refuge of the scoundrel. Be wary of liars who lead.
- Philosophizing is useless.
- Moral conduct is ultimately selfish.
- Kindness and wisdom expressed through customs and tradition often lose their meaning, and their intent.
- Being mindful is not about philosophy.
- The noblest philosophy and erudition can be used for selfish ends.
- For the innovative, there always exists a perspective in which "doing unto others as you'd do unto yourself" pays off.
The Right Route
- Don't leave town without directions.
- If you do, then you might get turned around.
- People in need of favors should watch their manners.
- Why ask, if you seem to know better?
Wearing other people's hat
- People need a teacher to help them learn more about themselves.
- It is not only the Emperor who has no clothes.
- If people are unable to laugh at themselves in order to learn, they can laugh at him instead and learn that way.
Wisdom from the Hidden Realms
- What Allah sees as fair and what men see as fair is not necessarily one and the same.
- Accept what you receive.
- Do not compare yourself to others in terms of what is fair.
- Life is not equally fair to everyone. Nor are humans equal to each other.
- We don't always understand the bigger picture, so we should accept what life gives us.
- Being fair - is a human concept and not something Allah made
- Never give up hope.
- Dead men cannot hear.
- Be sure you understand the question before you choose your answer.
- Pay attention only to the real issue.
- The best last wish is, that these wishes wont be the last.
- Die before you die.
- Smooth talkers get their way.
- Sometimes, you just can't win.
- Coins don't know who's right.
- Make your own luck.
Orthodoxy and heresy
- Power is not the arbiter of truth.
- Heresy and orthodoxy are worldly distinctions.
- Religious definitions are more often politics than spirituality.
The Nature of the Unseen
- Don't talk about things you don't know about.
- If you can't see god in all, you can't see god at all.
- A fool can make a fool of learned men.
- The wisdom of the lord is the folly of men, and the folly of men is the wisdom of the lord.
- People know as much about god as a chick that is still inside the egg.
- Wise men can be trumped by a vegetable.
- Religious people do not really believe the things they say and think they believe.
- No description is equivalent to the thing it describes. To do so it would have to be the thing itself. Therefore, one can demonstrate but not describe the nature of Allah.
- If we truly want to believe in and appreciate God, we should cherish him in all things, thus making our belief in him real.
- Just because someone is making noise does not mean that they are communicating.
- The nature of Allah is beyond human comprehension.
- It makes no difference what Allah is.
- Language is imprecise and we can sometimes miss the context of a question.
- Speak only the truth you know.
- Once somebody is dead, it matters little who they were in life.
- Being a traveler, he wouldn't have recognized the person who died anyway. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
- We could answer many of our own questions, with a little thought.
- Fools remain fools although power is with them.
- Only Intelligence can win over power.
- Power is founded on lies.
- There is no reason to carry on with a deception after it has served its purpose.
- Don't set in authority over you those who will lie to achieve such positions.
- People tend to elect officials for foolish reasons. Image over substance.
- Wisdom given may not mean what you expect it to mean, and the truth may be unflattering.
- Be unique.
Return of the Camel
- Not all who claim to have been wronged, truly have been.
- Beware those who play on your sympathies, sometimes they do so for the wrong reasons.
- Sometimes, the true thief is the one claiming to have been stolen from.
- There is no thief and no camel to be returned. Things you make up don't become reality.
- It is impossible to please everyone.
- It is easy to manipulate an audience that trusts you implicitly.
- The correct answer is not always the opposite of the wrong answer.
- It is impossible to teach those who are completely ignorant, and it is impossible to teach those who believe they already know the answers. The real way toward wisdom is for the learned ones to pass on what they know to ones who are willing and able to learn.
- It's all relative.
- One must carefully choose the standards one measures oneself by. If the standard is too high it will never be achieved.
- All of life's woes come from comparison.
- The limitations of the self to effect the physical world remain relatively stable regardless of age or status.
The Great Pumpkin
- Things are as they should be.
- Man is unable to understand just how complex nature actually is.
- To achieve the fruit (spiritual perfection) one needs to be humble as the big fruit grow on the vines which are on the ground. Tall trees cannot bear the weight of big fruit and hence only produce walnuts.
- What we think should be best, and what really is best, are often very different things.
- To compare what is and what should be is always a fallacy, as it oversimplifies that which we, as mortals, cannot understand.
- It is easy to claim credit.
- Don't try to back out of your promises.
- Everything is from Allah.
- People are self-centered.
- One man's miracle is another man's happenstance.
- Truth is found in yourself, not in others.
- Do not look to men for Truth. They may be even more confused than you are.
Telling a lie
- Liars eventually come to believe their own lies
- Trust can be exploited
- The behaviour of crowds is strange, and rarely relates to the truth
- Don't judge the truth by what others believe
The Trial of Nasrudin
- There are many ways to see even the most simple of things.
- People rush to judgment in matters of import.
- Different ways of seeing the same thing are not necessarily incompatible.
- People are clueless and disorganized. Their judgements means nothing.
Nasreddin and the Sultan's Horse
- Do not despair of your circumstances. Things are rarely as hopeless as they appear.
- Beware of offending the powerful, regardless of how much they deserve it.
- Clever words well-timed may succeed where reason and moral appeals fail.
Nasreddin (or rather, Juha) and the Poem
This story comes from the Arab version of the character, who is known as Juha.
- Do not fear to speak truth to power
- Do not prolong the inevitable