Nasruddin tells tales of many faiths and cultures

It's in the Sufi tradition to use the materials at hand to fashion a new consciousness.

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Mulla Nasruddin has gathered Buddhist stories, stories from the early Christian Desert Fathers, stories from the Rabbi Wolf tradition of Jewish wisdom, traditional Persian Sufi tales (with a great debt to the Sufi teacher and collector of Nasruddin tales, Idries Shah), and stories from the spiritual traditions of India. Sometimes he even makes up his own. He has carefully placed these in his own spiritual blender, and set it to "puree." The result may not be recognizable as the original, but it contains all the spiritual vitamins and minerals in a highly digestible form.

Nasruddin's stories have one thing in common: they make people laugh. Where does such humor come from? Analyses of humor are like dissections of animals: they tend to compromise the life force.

Humor is, of course, absurd contrast. That much is generally accepted. However, there is humor and humor. Slapstick humor, jokes, and funny stories are like checkers. There are defined rules, predictable forms, and accepted conventions ("A guy walks into a bar").

Nasruddin's humor is more like chess. There are infinite varieties, and with a skillful enough strategy, there's no defence. Humor in Nasruddin's stories is like spiritual fiber; it's a natural ingredient of everything, and it keeps you regular through laughter.

Nasruddin's stories form a loose narrative, in roughly chronological, or at least causative, order. His sessions usually begin with an amusing anecdote or two, and launch into a sequence of tales whose subjects flow one from another.

View a List of Stories with synopses >>

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