Once, someone requested of Mulla Nasrudin: “Give me your ring as a memento, so that whenever I look at it I will remember you.”

Mulla replied: “You cannot have the ring. But whenever you want to remember me, just look at your finger and remember that I did not give you the ring!”

Source: Houman Farzad
Classic Tales of Mulla Nasreddin
Mazda Pub, 2015


What do you think is needed, if anything at all, to remember your connections, your relationships, your friendships?

I thank my God every time I remember you,  constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you …” Philippians 1:3-4


Once upon a time there was Freddie, a wise leader who in spite of his great wisdom often struggled with emotional highs and lows. Freddie was prone to periods of great elation where he would make very poor decisions, and periods of great despair where he would get extremely upset.

One of his associates, Mara was her name, designed and forged a simple ring for Freddie to wear at all times. In her mind this was an ingenious device that would help stop him from getting lost in his high and low moments.

Freddie asked, “How does it work?”

“Wear the ring with you always. In times when you need it most, it will show you the answer and you will know what to do,” replied the Mari.

Almost immediately, another associate showed up saying that the company they both worked for had just lost a lot of money. Everything seemed dark and hopeless, just when at the end of the day, after many phone calls, the tired Freddie looked at his new gift, the ring.  Engraved on the ring was an illuminated message – four simple words which he had not seen before: “This too shall pass.”

All of the sudden, Freddie found new hope, courage and a burst of renewed energy. He went home and surrendered to a good night sleep.

The day after, an unexpected phone call  led to a couple of meetings and the eventual signing of a new contract that not only brought back the money lost but much more.  Elated, Freddie called all his partners and associates, employees and clients and threw a massive celebration for many days. Just when he was losing himself in the midst of the great celebration, Freddie touched the ring and felt the engraving – the four simple words which he had noticed just a few days earlier: “This too shall pass.”

He decided from then on to engage in a daily ritual of intentionally touching gently the ring, feeling the inscription, early in the morning, upon awakening, and at the end of each just before going to sleep.  He carried the four words “this too shall pass” like a mantra, repeating them under his breath, in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health, in winning and in losing, in light and in darkness: “this too shall pass.”

Source: Unknown
Here I retell the story  based upon variations.


“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” Syd Banks


Nasrudin, a wise yet sometimes foolish man, was invited by village elders to speak in their village mosque for three consecutive weeks. Nasrudin, who knew he had many wise ideas in his head, had foolishly neglected to prepare a sermon. That first morning, he stood at the door of the mosque, puffed out his chest and decided to wing it. He turned to the people and asked, “My beloved, who amongst you knows that of which I speak?” and the people looked down and said, “We are poor simple people. We do not know that of which you speak.” He then threw his robe across one shoulder and pronounced, “Well, then there is no need of me here” and marched right out the door.

The people were curious and the next week when Nasrudin was to speak even more gathered. Again, Nasrudin had not bothered to prepare his thoughts. He strode to the front and turned to the people and asked, “My beloved, who amongst you knows that of which I speak?” and this time the people stood up and said, “We do! We know that of which you speak!” Old Nasrudin didn’t miss a beat. He threw his robe across his shoulder and said, “Well, then there is no need of me here.” and marched out the door.

On the morning of the third week, Nasrudin stood no more prepared than that first day. He confidently walked to the front and turned to the people and asked once more, “My beloved, who among you knows that of which I speak?” This time they had a plan! Half of the people said, “We are poor simple people. We do not know that of which you speak.” and the other half stood up and said, “We do! We know that of which you speak!” Old Nasrudin stood for a moment and said, “Then if those of you who know would tell those who don’t, there is no need of me here.” With that, he threw his robe across his shoulder and left the building.

Source: Annette Simmons and Doug Lipman
The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling
(Basic Books; 2nd edition (April 4, 2006) pages 49-50


Here’s a shorter version of the same story

Mulla Nasrudin preached on Fridays at the village mosque. One day, having nothing to preach about, he asked the congregation:

“Do you know the subject I am going to discuss today?”

“No” said the people.

“Then I refuse to preach to such an ignorant assembly. How could you not know given the events of the past week?” asked Nasrudin and left hurriedly.

Next Friday he went up the pulpit and asked: “Do you know the subject of my sermon today?”

People fearing a repetition of what had taken place a week before nodded and said: “Yes yes, indeed we know.”

“Well, then. There is no point in telling you what you already know”, said Nasrudin and left.

On the third Friday he ascended the pulpit and asked: “Do you know what I am going to speak about today?”

Not knowing what to say, some said yes and some said no.

“Then those who know can tell those who don’t”, said Nasrudin and left.



This is a wise and foolish man – he looks foolish but he is very wise in his foolishness; he looks very wise but he is behaving like a fool.

Wisdom and foolishness are together in life; if you dissect them then wisdom will be separate and foolishness will be separate, but both will be dead. The greatest art of life is to let them grow together in such a balance that your wisdom carries a certain quality of foolishness, and your foolishness carries a certain quality of wisdom. Then you are total. Then you are whole.



Mulla had lost his ring in the living room. He searched for it for a while, but since he could not find it, he went out into the yard and began to look there. His wife, who saw what he was doing, asked: “Mulla, you lost your ring in the room, why are you looking for it in the yard?”

Mulla stroked his beard and said: “The room is too dark and I can’t see very well. I came out to the courtyard to look for my ring because there is much more light out here.”

Source:  Classic Tales of Mulla Nasreddin
Retold by Houman Farzad
Translated from Persian by Diane L. Wilcox.
(Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, California, 1989) page 26



Like Mulla Nasreddin, many are constantly looking for the key to happiness, the key to bliss, the key to freedom, the key to inner peace and tranquility, the key to love, and the key to God in the wrong place: in the place where we think there’s most light!

What if the one and only right place to find the key to life is the deep, dark cave of our innermost being: our heart?


A famous Sufi mystic, Rabiya, was searching for something on the street outside her small hut. The sun was setting and darkness was descending, as few people gathered around her. “What have you lost? What are you searching for?  Perhaps we can help,” they said to Rabiya.

Rabiya said, “I have lost my needle.”

One amongst the people said, “Well, the sun is setting now and it will be very difficult to find the needle.  Where has it fallen?  That’ll help us narrow down the area on this big road.  If we know the exact place, it will be easier to find it.”

Rabiya told them, “It is better not to ask me that question — because, actually, it has not fallen on the road at all.  It has fallen inside my house.”

Everyone started giggling as if she was joking.  Then a skeptic says out loud, “We always knew that you were a little insane!  If the needle has fallen inside the house, then why are you searching for it on the road?”

“For a very simple reason: inside the house there is no light and on the outside a little light is still there,” Rabiya replied.

The people laughed and started dispersing.  Rabiya called them back and said, “Listen! That’s exactly what you are doing: I was just following your example. You go on seeking bliss in the outside world without asking the most fundamental question: where exactly have I lost it?”

After a pause, she continues, “You have lost it inside, and yet you are looking for it on the outside for the very same reason — your senses are outward bound, your ears hear sounds on the outside, your hands touch things on the outside.  That’s the reason why you are searching outside. For a very long time, I was also just searching on the outside.  But the day I searched inwards, I was surprised.  That is where I lost it and that is the only place it can be found.”

Source | Osho, Joy: The Happiness that Comes from Within
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 2008) pages 10-11
Distracted by fleeting, external excitements we forget to tap into the fresh, secret waters deep within, where the Source of life and love and joy is waiting to be found.
Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. | Matthew 6:6 (nrsv)
Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. | Matthew 6:6 (the message)


Nasrudin used to take his donkey across a frontier every day, with the panniers loaded with straw. Since he admitted to being a smuggler when he trudged home every night, the frontier guards searched him again and again. They searched his person, sifted the straw, steeped it in water, even burned it from time to time. Meanwhile he was becoming visibly more and more prosperous. Then he retired and went to live in another country. Here one of the customs offices met him, years later. “You can tell me now, Nasrudin,” he said.“Whatever was it that you were smuggling, when we could never catch you out?”

“Donkeys,” said Nasrudin.

Source | Idries Shah, The Sufis
(Anchor, 1971) page 67


How often have you missed the obvious?


Once the Mullah tried gardening.
He planted all sorts of seeds in his garden
and waited for the beautiful flowers to spring up and bloom.
A few did come up.
But alas, the garden was mostly filled with unsightly weeds.
They grew more quickly than the flowers.
And they too budded. bloomed. and distributed wafts of seed.

In desperation the Mullah made his way to the palace
to consult with the palace gardener.
This man was known for his skill with plants.

“I have tried everything,” complained the Mullah.
“I pull them out.
l hoe them out.
I plant more flower seeds.
And what do l end up with?
Weeds! Weeds! Weeds!”

The gardener considered all this for a while.
Then he offered his wise advice:
“I think the best thing for you to do …
is learn to love the weeds.”

Source | Margaret Read MacDonald, Earth Care: World Folktales to Talk About
(August House, 2005) page 98


One other version of the story

A gardener took inordinate pride in his lawn was plagued with large crop of dandelions.

He tried get rid of them. He tried everything. Still they returned. Still they plagued him.

Finally he wrote to the local council, thinking that they must have the answer. He listed all the measures he had taken and asked “What shall I do now?” On official letterhead, by return post, the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

Source | unknown


“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” | Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes in life things don’t turn out exactly as planned. The job isn’t the dream position you’d thought it was. The paradise island turns out to be a bit of a nightmare. Your partner snores at night and leaves the top off the toothpaste. Your team loses in extra time.

You can try to resist, swimming against the tide to make things different. Or, sometimes you can relax and go with the flow. Not give up exactly, just give in to the inevitable. And it’s amazing what can happen. The thing you wanted to change might just end up changing you.

Many grownups hate dandelions. But look at children. Children love them. They like to blow the seeds and see where they land.