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Saadi Picture

The mausoleum of sa`adí is situated to the nort-east of Shiráz in a pass flanked by mountains at a distance from Shiráz of four kilometers beside a hill known as Pahandez or fahandezh, and according to the statement of ancient historians, it is there that the great Sheikh Sa`adi had his place of retirement, and when he died, was interred there. And in the very place where in his lifetime he had been the bright light of many assemblies, after his death also mystics and fellow-townsmen gathered round his tomb, and their attachment and devotion to him is reflected in the writings of historians and biographers of the eight century A.H, that is one century after his death, and some of these statements we proceed to quote.
ed 1347 A-D., that is about 57 years after Sa`adí`s death. In the course of his book, “Tuhfat ul anzár fi gharáib ul amsár”, sometimes referred to as “Rahleh-ye Ebn Batứta” he describes the tombs in his way “Among the shrines outside Shiráz the tomb of Sheikh Sáleh, Known as Sa`adi, who was one of the greatest Persian orators. He had a place of retirement, where he spent the closing years of his life. This place contain a beautiful garden, near which flows a copious stream, and the Sheikh had made a small marble tank there for ablutions. People of this city regard his tomb as a place of pilgrimage.”
The author of the book ,‚Shad ul ezár”, composed in the year 1338 A D, on page 462, has description of Sa`adi, a summary and translation of which is as follows: „He (that is Sa`adi) was richly endowed with culture, self-restrained and a striver after purity of living, and God had opened to him the gate of wisdom. His speech had an outward quality which delighted the common people, and also an inward quality, which the masters of intellect and sagacity could grasp. Several times he made the pilgrimage on foot to Mecca. He entered idol temples, and smashed the idols. Afterwards he returned to Shiráz. He had a lofty rank and was held in great respect. He set up a place of retirement, and fed the poor and indigent. The Muhammadans restored him. The birds and animals also were fed by him. He died in 1291 A.D., and they buried him in his own quiet abode.”  Amír Dolatshahí Samarqandi in his book ˛˛Tazkerat usSufara”, which was completed in the year 1486 A.D. writes, „The Shaikh at the close of his life selected a quiet spot outside the town, and never again left his cell, and occupied himself with worship and devotion. Kings, prominent people and pious men went to visit him.” In another place he says, „The tomb of Sheikh Sa`adí now in Shiráz is a pleasant place with a fine pool and unique building, and people readily restore there.”
It is clear that in past centuries the Mausoleum of Sa`adi was several times reconstructed and repaired according to the regard felt for Sa`adí by the Shiráz Princes.
Some months ago when the asphalt round the tomb was being repaired, and some digging took place, several sections of a stone inscription on which were carved verses of Sa`adi in the Suls character were found. This was evidently the stone placed over the doorway of the tomb, which during some disturbance in the past had been broken in pieces. In the time of Karím Khán Zand among the improvements he carried out in Shiráz, he also restored the tomb of this great poet in the year 1717. And after that on several other occasions the princes, Leading men and others, who held sa`adí in honour, restored and repaired his tomb.

Saadi mausoleum in Shiraz

The previous structure which stood until 1948 consisted of a two story oblong building of burnt brick. In the lower story, which was one meter above the ground, and in the same place where the tomb-chamber now is was a room containing the gravestone surrounded by an iron grill. This structure was in no way worthy of the exalted position of so great a man. So according to the proposals of the local society for the Preservation of the National Monuments of Fars, of which the writer is a member, and the effective efforts of the Central Society for the Preservation of the National Monuments, especially the constant endeavours of the distinguished scholar, Dr. Ali Asghar Hekmat Shirází, who was himself President of the Directive Council of that Society in Tehran, the present Mausoleum was built by Persian engineers and Shiráz workmen, and the task was completed in the year 1952.
The total area of Sa`adi`s compound is 7700 square meters, The part occupied by buildings is 261 square meters, and the rest is laid out as a garden. Underneath the compound a spring of clear water flows, which can be reached by steps near the northwestern end of the building, and the water needed for the flowers and trees is drawn from that source by a pump.
Bathing in that clear stream has been one of the pious practices of the people of Shiráz.
In the new building a fine red marble has been used for the columns and for the arches of the colonnade; the walls are covered with travertine, and tiles of a turquoise colour encircle the dome.
This couplet is to be seen in polished brass lettering on the Entrance Gate of the Mausoleum.

ز خاک سعدی شیراز بوی عشق آید    
                                           هزار سال پس از مرگ او گرش بوئی                            

This may be rendered into English as follows. “Though a thousand years should pass since sa`adi `s demiss.
There still would arise from his dust a fragrant breeze.
Inside the tomb-chambers, which is lined with marble to the roof, seven choice pieces selected from Gulistán, the Bứstán, the Taiyebát, the Badáye and Qasá'ed, which are works of sa`adi, have been placed.
Inside the Mausoleum beneath the date-stone of the new building these two lines of sa`adi have been engraved on a large block of polished black stone.

اگر مرا بدعائی مدد کنی شاید
                    که آفرین خدا بر روان سعدی باد

This may be rendered into English as follows: „If by prayer your aid you lend me. It might be God would commend me.”
And now a brief description of this life, works and literary and social position of sa`dai.
Sa`adí was born in a learned and accomplished family between the years 1209 and 1213 A.D. His name was Sheikh Mushref ud Din, and his father`s name was Abdollah, and since he lived in the time of the Atábak Abu Bakr Ben Zangi the sixth king of the Sulghurian dynasty, he took the pen-name of Sa`adí from that of the reigning monarch. His father dies when he was still a child. The early stages of his education took place under the guidance of well-known Shiráz scholars and orators, and he completed his more advance studies under great masters in the Nezámiyyeh College at Baghdád, which was the best and most famous center of learning in the east.
After concluding his studies, the restless and poetic spirit of Sa`adi induced him to leave his birthplace, and acquaint himself with other lands and peoples. So he spent the forty middle yeears of his life in travel, and during this long period, he made journeys to Syria, Palestine, `Iráq, Arabia, Asia, Minor, Tripoli, parts of North Africa, and also to India, Turkestán, Káshghar and Balkh. This prolonged, extensive and laborious travel perfected his knowledge, refined his nature, and endwod him with a reach store of experience. In the course of the adventures he met with many difficulties and satisfactions. He tasted chilling and heart-warming, bitter and sweet experiences of life, memories of which are some extent enshrined in the Bứstán and Gulistán in the choicest poetry and prose. He became involved in the Crusades, and was put to the labour of digging in the moat of Tripoli, But these ups and downs, and varying plights did not depress him, for he laid by in store many valuable experience, and acquired a pure spirit and a joyful mind.
Free of ties to persons and places he returned to his native city, Shiráz, and gave himself to the instruction of the people of his day.
It was during this time that he collected his sayings and writings and reflections on the past, and composed and presented to the Persian-speaking people his two great master-piece of literature in Persian prose and poetry, the Gulistán and the Bứstán in the years 1257 and 1258 A.D.
Sa`adí was the most eloquent of all Persian speakers and writers, and up to now one comparable to him has appeared. His poems and exhortations, like the bright rays of the sun, illuminate the world of Persian literature, and his prose also, is still the most fluent and elegant Persian prose in existence.

Saadieh Mausoleum 4

The position of Sa`adí in Persian literature is such that if, supposedly, the Persian world had no other literary and philosophic personality, he alone by his works would suffice to make Persian literature immortal.
Sa`adí made the acquaintance of many of the scholars, orators, and leading men of philosophy and religion, enjoyed their society, and engaged them in discussion. He was a scholar who in his life-time became famous and renowned, and he received from other scholars, learned circles and people in general marked consideration, respect and regard, and as he himself has said, his personal qualities were universally spoken of and his writings had the value of gold leaf. Not only in his own country but in neighboring lands, and among scholars of the day and reining monarchs, he was held in esteem, and after his day also his writings continued to be circulated, and passed from hand to hand. The Gulistán kings and princes of those countries used to commit his poems and writing the memory.
Sa`adí `s books in past centuries have repeatedly been translated and printed in most of the living languages of the world, and his sayings have constantly been the part of scholars and orientalists. His entire works constitute a rich store of Persian literature, the value of which is beyond compute.
Sa`adí was an intrepid and courageous speakers and flatterers, he exhorted the kings and rulers of the time to show justice and equity, and to give attention to the petitions and welfare of the people. He display with apt description and attractive illustration, like a moving scenc before the eyes of his readers, the varied fortunes, and the transference from hand to hand of the position, wealth and property of kings, and he draws there from the conclusion that a man, whatever rank and position he may hold, should be well-disposed, a servant or humanity, and a protector of the weak, the under-priveleged and the distressed. He considers mankind to be members one of another, and believes that all were created of one essence, so that when one member is in pain and discomfort, the other members would also be deprived of ease and security. And he also concludes that if anyone is unaffected by the afflictions of others, he is not worthy of the name of a man. And in another place among his lyrics he says that what gives distinction and value to a man is his soul and spirit, his virtues and good deeds, and not his costly and well-cut clothing, and if only a man `s physical features, such as his eyes, mouth, ear and nose are distinctive, and there is not trace in his composition of moral excellence and praiseworthy qualities, he is nothing more than a lifeless pictures. Sa`adí was not only a master of prose and verse, and a poet, but also a great authority on social science and character, and a great philosopher, whose ethical and social teachings have illuminated the way that men should go.
The complete works of Sa`adí cover about 1300, pages, and consist of a number of books: The Bứstán (Orchard); The Qasáed (Elegiacs); The Ghazaliyát (Lyrics);
The Taiyebát (pieties); The Badáye (Rarities); The Khavátim (Finalities). All of these give expression to Sa`adí `s clear thinking and human interest which he had acquired as a result of a life of study, experience, investigation, travel to far horizons and distant peoples, and contact and acquaintance with men of other countries and different religions. They are full of ethical, social and literary counsel. The advice he gives on educational matters, and his philosophical and ethical sayings are far too extensive to be included in this brief account. What has been said is a mere drop in the deep ocean of morality and virtue of this eminent world master of literature, and the writer with his limited literary acquirements will not be able to interpret and elucidate them, for articles and treatises could be written on Sa`adí `s every short and pregnant phrase, each one of which by itself would be sufficient to guide whole communities. We quote here, as example of his saying, a few short sentences from the Gulistán, each one of which contains a world of meaning, that those who know no Persian may become acquainted with one of the great personalities in the history of world literature.
The following sentences are all antithetic, and in rhymed prose, the beauty of which cannot be represented adequately in an English translation.
Wealth consists of talents not of money; and greatness is in intellect not in years.
He knows the worth of happiness who has known distress.
Show compassion to your weak subject, that no powerful enemy may trouble you.
Whenever acts treacherously should dread the day of reckoning.
He whose account is clear can render it without fear.
Kings are to care for their subjects: subjects to obey their kings.
Sweep, if needs be, your friend `s floor; but do not even knock at your enemy `s door.
The following locks of the fair sex are like a chain enslaving the mind.
While you show no attachment, you will win no contentment.
The brother, who is self-inflated, is neither brother nor related.
It is easier to assure oneself of a meal, than the butcher of the cost of it.
A beautiful character is better than a thousand silk robes.
The virtuous man, wherever he goes, is respected and given an honored place, but the worthless fellow hunts for scraps and meets diversity.
No pains, no gains.
A young woman would rather be shot at than put up with an old man.
Liberal expenditure is evidence of a selected income.
All may be trained alike, but their capacity will vary.
The miser `s silver will come to light, when he himself has passed from sight.
In the south-east alcove of the tomb chamber the following story from Gulistán is to be seen:


یاد دارم که با کاروانی همه شب رفته بودم و سحرگاه بر کنار بیشه ای خفته شوریده¬ای همراه ما بودنعره بزد و راه بیابان در پیش گرفت و یک نفس آرام نیافت چون روز شد گفتم این چه حالت بود گفت بلبلانرا دیدم بنالش درآمده¬بودند از درخت و کبکان از کوه و غوکان از آب و بهائم از بیشه اندیشه کردم که مروت نباشد همه در تسبیح و من به غفلت
دوش مرغی به صبح مینالید             عقل و صبرم ببرد و طاقت و هوش
یکی از دوستان مخلص را              مگر آواز من رسید به گوش
گفت باور نداشتم که تو را               بانک مرغی چنین کند مدهوش
گفتم این شرط آدمیت نیست              مرغ تسبیح گوی و من خاموش

This may be rendered into English as follows: ,,I remember that one night I had travelled the whole night long with a company of travelers and just before dawn lay down to sleep beside a wood. An excitable person, who was a fellow-traveler of ours on that journey, uttered a loud cry, and went off into the desert without a moment `s pause. When it was day I said to him ,,what came over you?” he replied „I perceived the nightingales breaking forth into cries from the trees, and the partridges in the mountains, and the frogs in the water, and the beasts in the forest, Then I thought it ignoble that all should be praising God, and I ignore him”
Last night at day-break a sweet-voiced bird suffused the air with its plaintive trill.
I raised a cry: with the bird I sang. I lost control of my mind and will.
A friend said «Never I dreamt a bird could you so greatly distract and thrill»
I said «Unfitting it seemed to me a bird songful, and I be still»
In the opposite Alcove, the north-western one, these verse from the Taiyebát are written.

بجهان خرم از آنم که جهان خرم از اوست         عاشقم بر همه عالم که همه عالم از اوست
بغنیمت شمر ایدوست دم عیسی صبح               تا دل مرده مگر زنده کنی کاین دم ازاوست
نه فلک راست مسلم نه ملک را حاصل             آنچه در سر سویدای بنی آدم از اوست
بحلاوت بخورم زهر که شاهد ساقیست              بارادت بکشم درد که درمان هم ازاوست
زخم خونینم اگر به نشود به باشد                   خنک آن زخم که هر لحظه مرا مرهم از اوست
غم و شادی بر عارف چه تفاوت دارد               ساقیا باده بده شادی آن کاین غم ازاوست
پادشاهی و گدائی بر ما یکسان است                 که برین در همه را پشت عبادت خم ازاوست
سعدیا سیل فنا گر بکند خانه ی عمر               دل قوی دار که بنیاد بقا محکم ازاوست









A material rendering into English of six of the above couplets is here subjoined.
Find in Nature my bliss, for Nature bliss of God.
Love I the whole comely earth: the whole earth, this is of God.
Value, O friend, at the dawn the Jesus-like breath that blows.
Stirring the slumbering heart: the zephyr `s kiss of God.
Sweet would a bitter draught seem, if God should offer the cup.
Pain will I gladly bear, for medicines are remedies of God.
What know the heavens of God? What angle perceives His will?
Only the spirit of man is an accomplice of God.
Monarch and minion alike are suppliants at his gate:
Humbly they bow before Him, and sing the praises of God.
What though the flood of decay demolish the earthly abode.
Be beartened! For there abides the eternal basis of God.
These words, selected from the Badáye, have been placed in the south-west in the south-west alcove:

ای صوفی سرگردان در بند نکو نامی       تا دًرد نیاشامی زین دَرد نیارامی
ملک صمدیت را چه سود و زیان دارد      گر حافظ قرآنی ور عابد اصنامی
زهدت بچه کار آید اگر راندة درگاهی       کفرت چه زیان دارد گر نیک سرانجامی
بیچارة توفیقند هم صالح و هم طالح         درماندة تقدیرند هم عارف و هم عامی
جهدت نکند آزاد ای صید که در قیدی       سودت نکند پرواز ای مرغ که در دامی
جامی چه بقا دارد در رهگذر سنگی         دور فلک آن سنگست ای خواجه تو آن جامی
این ملک خلل گیرد گر خود ملک رومی     وین روز بشام آید گر پادشه شامی
کام همه دنیا را بر هیچ بنه سعدی           چون با دگران باید پرداخت به ناکامی
گر عاقل و هشیاری وز دل خبری داری     تا آدمیت خوانند ور نه کم از انعامی

The following metrical rendering gives the general sense of the original:
«O pious man, obsessed with the public estimation,
Till anguish is your potion, there`s no alleviation.
To Heav`n`s Eternal Court accrues no lose or profit.
By learning the Qur`an, or by idol adoration.
From piety what gain, if excluded from God`s Threshold?
Impiety what loss, if at last there be salvation?
Dependent on God`s grace are both impious and piotts;
For dull and for discerning is predetermination.
No skills will free the bunter, ensuared in his own ambush:
No wealth will aid the caged bird to practice aviation,
Which cup remains intact, when it falls on a stone pavement?
The stony wheel of fate brings your cup disintegration,
Though Emperor of Rome you be, this country will crumble:
Though King of Damascus, day will reach night`s termination.
Since finally to God what you owe you then must render,
O Sa`adí, abandon the world`s gratification,
If wise thon art and prudent, the human heart discerning,
They`ll call you man, or else less than cattle is your station»
In the north-east alcove these verses from the Bứstán can be seen:

الا ایکه بر خاک ما بگذری                   بخاک عزیزان که یاد آوری
که گر خاک شد سعدی او را چه غم           که در زندگی خاک بوده است هم
به بیچارگی تن فرا خاک داد                  وگر گرد عالم برآمد چو باد
بزرگی که خود را به خوردی شمرد           بدنیا و عقبی بزرگی ببرد
تو آنگه شوی پیش مردم عزیز                که مر  خویشتن را نگیری به چیز
از این خاکدان بندة پاک شد                   که در پای کمتر کسی خاک شد
نگر تا گلستان معنی شکفت                   در او هیچ بلبل چنین خوش نگفت
عجب گر بمیرد چنین بلبلی                   که بر استخوانش نروید گلی

They have been put into English verse as follows:
«O thon who approaches our casket of dust!
O thou who rememb`rest the dear and the just!
Should Sa`adi lament, if his body decay?
The body he wore was no other than clay.
That body he gave to a low earthly bed.
Although like the wind round the world he had sped.
The great man, who did not himself much esteem,
The here and hereafter will eminent demm.
And all men will hold you in highest repute,
And those from the earth-world escape pure and free,
Who least have to rank and degree bowed the knee,
Since flowers in the garden of poesy gleamed,
There never such notes from a song-bird have streamed.
How strange would it be, if beside the bird`s tomb,
Gay flowers neglected to blossom bloom»


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