Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Lesson from Mulla Nasrudin

Mullah Nasrudin is a Sufi character starring in a vast number of amusing tales told particularly throughout the Middle East. Through the stories and anecdotes, we learn his humorous viewpoints which offer some commentary and lessons on life. He is funny, wise, philosophical, and often a fool. I'll never forget the first Nasrudin story my dad told me when I was little. It's probably my favorite one, and the lesson in it is something that I've been thinking about lately. 

Here it is:

Mulla Nasrudin and his son were traveling with their donkey. Nasrudin preferred to walk while his son rode the donkey. They passed a group of people. Mulla heard them whisper: "Look- this young man is riding the donkey while his sickly old father has to walk!"
Nasrudin and his son, hearing this, felt embarrassed, so they switched spots. This time Nasrudin rode the donkey while his son walked. Soon they passed another group of people. "That poor young boy has to walk while his father rides the donkey!"

Nasrudin was upset to hear this. He wanted to avoid anybody else's scorn, so he decided to have both himself and his son ride the donkey at the same time. They passed a third group of people. "Look at those two. Have they no mercy on the poor animal?"

Hearing this, Nasrudin told his son to get off the animal and they both walked with the donkey trailing behind. They passed another group who pointed to them, laughing: "Look at these idiots. They have a donkey, and they are walking all the way to the market!"
At this, the frustrated Nasrudin put his son back on the donkey and continued walking, muttering under his breath, “No matter what you do, some people will disapprove, so you might as well do what you want.”

Wise words indeed.


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