Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching Stories of the Sufi Masters Over the Past Thousand Years : Selected from the Sufi Classics, from Oral Tradition, from Unpublished Manuscripts and Schools of Sufi Teaching in Many Countries
Octagon Press Ltd, 1967 - Religion - 221 pages
A mysterious chest is buried unopened. A wondrous caravan brings fortune to a simple cobbler. An outcast princess creates a new life in the wilderness. Some of the 78 tales in this remarkable book first appeared in print over a thousand years ago; others are medieval classics. Yet each has a special relevance for us at the dawn of the 21st century. All are told with Idries Shah's distinctive wit and grace and the author's own commentary notes. These are teaching stories in the Sufi tradition. Those who probe beyond the surface will find multiple meanings to challenge assumptions and foster new ways of thinking and perceiving. Tales of the Dervishes is essential reading for anyone interested in Sufi thought, the significance and history of tales, or simply superb entertainment.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This short collection gathers parables from a variety of Sufi teachers and traditions. Idries Shah retells them in modern English, and humor and pragmatic wisdom shines through. His notes frequently claim that a tale has multiple layers of meaning. Some were entirely lost on me; in other cases, I could see one or two layers, but have overlooked any others. Collectively, many of the tales build towards a certain ethical fatalism: we ought to do what we can to help other human beings and make their lives better, but it is also important to recognize that we can't save others from themselves -- they have to want to become wise, and in some cases have to figure it out mostly on their own. Similarly, we shouldn't expect our own spiritual growth to follow a linear path: key insights or a period of challenges may prepare us to be useful in unexpected ways in the future. Overall, the parables collected here emphasize patience, persistence, and basic decency, and appear to have little use for dogma or sectarianism. The extent to which that represents Idries Shah's vision of wisdom versus the actual heart of the dervishes' teachings is unclear, but it's a text that will repay multiple readings.
Review: Tales of the DervishesUser Review - Goodreads
This is a fine collection of wise and not-so-wise fable and parables. Some are quite prescient while others have dated. But the collection as a whole is well worth the read.