Subtleties Of The Inimitable Mulla Nasruddin

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  • Author: IDRIES SHAH

Today we find him in a high-level physics report, illustrating phenomena that can't be described in ordinary technical terms. He appears in psychology textbooks, illuminating the workings of the mind in a way no straightforward explanation can.

One of three definitive volumes (see The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin and The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin), Idries Shah takes us to the very heart of this mysterious mentor, the Mulla Nasrudin. Skillful contemporary retellings of hundreds of collected stories and sayings bring the unmistakable -- often backhanded -- wisdom, wit and charm of the timeless jokester to life.

The Mulla and his stories appear in literature and oral traditions from the Middle East to Greece, Russia, France -- even China. Many nations claim Nasrudin as a native son, the Turks going so far as to exhibit a grave with his date of death as 386. But nobody really knows who he was or where he came from.

According to a legend dating from at least the 13th century, Nasrudin was snatched as a schoolboy from the clutches of the 'Old Villain' -- the crude system of thought that ensnares man -- to carry through the ages the message of how to escape. He was chosen because he could make people laugh, and humor has a way of slipping through the cracks of the most rigid thinking habits.

Today -- as they have for centuries -- the Sufis use these stories as teaching exercises, in part to momentarily 'freeze' situations in which states of mind can be recognized. In these delightful volumes, Shah not only gives the Mulla a proper vehicle for our times, he proves that the centuries-old stories and quips of Nasrudin are still some of the funniest jokes in the world.


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