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Gianluca Magi
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Mullah Nasruddin


«Always strive, in any field,
to obtain at the same time what is useful to others
and pleasant for yourself»

- Saying ascribed to Mullah Nasruddin



The fact that it is possible to perfectly transmit a teaching quintessence through anecdotes and folk sayings, created by life itself, is widely witnessed by Mullah Nasruddin, the Wisest Man among Wise Men. 
Mullah Nasruddin is a strange legendary master, highly considered in the Sufi circles.
This Site is permeated by Nasruddin’s presence in its whole and it is dedicated to him.

One of his many peculiarities is the fact of being present, under different cultural disguises, from Beijing (Nasreddin Effendi) to Samarcanda (Juhà), from Buchara (Juhì) to Istanbul (Nasreddin Hoça), from Tirana (Nastraddin Hoxha) to Jerusalem (Jocà), from Kortoum (Jawhì) to Mogadiscio (Juxa), from Fes (Zha) to Messina (Giufà).
Despite the fact that someone ascribes him a biography and even a grave (in Aksehir, Turkey), Nasruddin is a universal character outside space and time, which escapes from any characterization. We do not know who he really was, when and where he has been living. But what is real important is his perceptive and regenerative message, subverting any rigid mental schematism.

His parables, introduced in Turkey from the great Persian mystic and Sufi master Jalaluddin Rumi to show his pupil the deepest aspects of his teaching, should be understood as a kind of magic mirror, where you can reflect yourself and see your own essential reality.

In front of Nasruddin, you feel deprived of the mask you usually wear in the relationships with the others and with yourself. Included, for example, the mask of goodness! In fact, one of Nasruddin’s teachings is that we should not believe that a simple virtuous behaviour is the metre of our spirituality. It could only be, on the contrary, a mask of our egoism, with which we give ourselves the pleasure of pleasing the others.

In this way, Nasruddin is the archetype of the old wise man who lights up our way, right when we believe it is bright.


In order to show the usual ways in which mind works and the prejudices we are not aware of, Nasruddin is not scared of playing, if necessary, the role of a criminal or a philanthrope, of a bad lot or a respectable person, of a wise or an idiot, of a clever or a stupid man. In this way, Mullah Nasruddin embodies the teaching modality used in the Path of Blame (in Persian, Rahimalamat) of assuming a bad action in order to teach the pupil how to behave, without explicitly criticize him. The open criticism, in fact, would immediately mobilize the pupil’s resistance, preventing his learning. On the contrary, when a person sees someone make or say something, he will judge him through himself. This is what Rumi defined as «Staying in front of a mirror and saying that it is someone else’s image».
In fact, obtaining insights observing others’ behaviour is easier, since they are as mirrors. Each person we meet is a mirror that rotates around us. Observing the others is a way of observing ourselves and it is easier because we are not involved in it. If you are able to observe, you will see some of our “defects” and/or some of our qualities reflected in ourselves, of which we were not directly aware. But, through the others, we will become aware of them. For example, it is much easier to see other’s stupidity than ours. But, seeing the other’s stupidity, we would maybe become aware that it is the same one in which we persist. 
An example will give a better idea. In order to underline the problem of the conceited person, who does not understand that appearance is not necessarily reality, Nasruddin does not hesitate in playing the role of the village’s fool. As in the following story:

The one who was considered the village’s fool was sitting upon a wall at the side of the road, fishing inside a bucketful of water.
The village’s learned man came around and asked him, proudly:
“You fool, how many have bitten today?”
“Not many, Eminence. You are the first one!”

[extract from my book La Via dell'Umorismo (The Way of Humor) , Il Punto d'Incontro, Vicenza 2008].

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