Tales of Sufi wisdom

By Paulo Coelho

Pretending to be a fool matters not

We are all responsible

A group of men came along the street; heavily armed soldiers leading a condemned man to the gallows.

“That man is no good”, said a disciple to Nasrudin. “I once gave him a silver coin in order to help him start his life afresh, and he did nothing important.”

“He may be no good, but perhaps he is now on his way to the gallows because of you,” argued the master. “Perhaps he used the alms in order to buy a dagger, which he then used in committing his crime – because instead of helping him with love and care, you chose to give him alms in order to release yourself from your obligation.”

Each thing in its own place

All Nasrudin’s disciples were gathered at a feast. They ate and drank for several hours, and talked about the origins of the stars. The night drew on and everyone made ready to go home.

A fine plate of sweets was left on the table: Nasrudin made all his disciples eat it.

One, however, refused.

“The master is testing us,” he said. “He wants to see whether we can control our desires.”

“You are mistaken,” replied Nasrudin. “The best way of dominating a desire, is to satisfy it. I would rather you had the sweets in your bellies – their rightful place – than in your minds, which should be filled with nobler things.”

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  1. wanbliska says:

    I like that funny story of Mullah Nasrudin. I’ve been always loving that kind of wisdom. Even if sometimes I don’t like so much the mischief.

    Maybe that’s not a good behavior to give money to people that don’t have, but instead can use well their legs, brain and hands to make life.
    Many persons are starving yet. Some because we stole all their havings, some because they’re doing bad.
    It would be better to learn how to bring our life up, than receiving “all baked in the mouth”, as we say in France.

    They are sweets we like to take time to eat. As a child, we look at the candy paper, its colour, the noise that it makes, before opening, then, come smell and taste.


  2. natalia says:

    I think “…appearing to be a fool, if what you are doing is in fact intelligent” is perfectly fine, as long as your actions are not disadvantaging others.

    Warm regards,

  3. Yajna says:

    Dearest Paulo and friends,

    “There is nothing wrong with appearing to be a fool, if what you are doing is in fact intelligent.”


    I love it :)
    I love it alot :)

    Thank you for being

  4. Kathleen says:

    Yes, some people can think they are being very clever and don’t realise the joke is on them. I suppose the first is a lesson in pride.

    The second on how all people are connected and responsible to eachother, the ripple effect.

    I’m not sure I agree with sating a desire to conquer it – but then again when it comes to sweets I’m quite happy to use lesson number one and play dumb lol

  5. Tania says:

    “Wise men say only fools rush ” but I think in fact its right if what you are doing appears to be intelligent , what may seem crazy is in fact Bliss. Blessings Tania

    We can dis empower this way ,when in actual fact what they need costs nothing -“Love ”

    All this talk of food is making me feel hungry ..who can resist sweets -especially ones left on the table …
    Blessings Tania

  6. tara says:

    “We are all responsible”

    It is impossible for our limited minds to be fully aware of the many ways in which we are all connected. There is no action possible that does not send out waves of energy spiralling in all directions about us. That is why we must take care to move our selves with love and give up all attempts to try and control the outcome.

    “Each thing in its own place”

    It is all too easy to make things more complicated than they actually are; then our own minds block us from reaching our destinies!

  7. tara says:

    Pretending to be a fool matters not
    Pretending to be a fool offers one much more freedom and opportunity than if one spends all ones time worrying about the opinion of others and being concerned with trying to appear wise! If you focus all your energy on trying to be acceptable within the framework of society than you miss out on all the joys of looking outside of the box and may fail to discover the great delights which lie there!

    Also, my teacher told me, “… to be a fool in the ancient sense is to be a wise man who knows he is a fool!”

  8. abu says:

    Appearing fool ( when doin the intelligent thing)of course, is undeniable message,, but if only all events in life were so simpler!!!So simpler as the message!!
    I think we have always taken the reflective opinion of the onlookers as the judgement for the self esteem,
    Real confusion concerning all the philosphies and the philosophical thoughts ( at the least to me is) , are that they are so true but cannot be accepted into the life!!
    I hope , the movement from knowing the truth to accepting the truth is the revolution, So thanks Coelho, for making the truth as well as the movements simpler, as if they were only a grasp away.

  9. Agnieszka says:

    The world is so funny…and sad at the same time.
    So many of us do not believe in truth, always think that someone will fool them,
    people do not behave from the heart.

    Where is the trust? Where is love?

    Everything seems to be upside down..
    We don’t want to believe in what is simple, simple is out of the question…

    and love…
    love is gone…
    love… that brings helping hand, joy in someone’s eyes, warmth in the heart,…gone.
    Is the world too quick to notice eyes full of tears…?


  10. bruja says:

    por qué no me puedo detener? porque me dolerí­a más. por qué tiene que ser todo tan triste? porque yo no lo hago más alegre. “la culpa no es de los que se equivocan, la culpa es de los ausentes”. hay quienes nunca estarán en nada aunque estén en todos lados. y no sé si habrá gente como yo, que camina aiempre hacia el horizonte esperando alcanzarlo y lo único que logro es ver cómo se aleja con cada paso que doy. quisiera ser estúpida pero al menos estar siempre alegre alcanzando metas aparentes, y no es que yo sea deprimida sino que todos parecen ser reprimidos y no hablo de sexo. no he encontrado quien hable mi mismo idioma o sea de mi misma especie. no estoy confundida, nunca he estado más consciente y aumenta cada dí­a. supongo que una mariposa que me escuche hablar así­ me insultarí­a a más no poder y tendrí­a toda la razón. love.