Graduation, early career and moves here and there made that my friend Atéka and I had not seen each other since our student years in Paris.
It is on the occasion of a stay in Istanbul that we could meet again and have a chat around a kahvalti. Given that I was in search of an unusual read, I shared with her my desire for literary renewal and she kindly offered to bring me a book from France.
It is therefore thanks to her that I discovered The conference of the birds by Farîd-Ud-Din ‘Attar, a Persian writer of the twentieth century.
As a former perfumer who left his lucrative activity to get closer to Sufism and Mysticism, Attar wrote – among other things – this long poem that depicts birds allegorically representing people, facing the moral questions of life throughout their quest of spirituality.
These different fragments have sometimes made me think of Pensées by Blaise Pascal in their short form – although it is Attar’s intention to be concise but not Pascal’s one – makes the various philosophical and spiritual messages even more incisive and meaningfull for the reader.
Although, you must be well acquainted with religious figures Attar refers to in this tale, to spot them in the right time.
On the other hand, many of the messages conveyed are universal and soothing because they remind us of the realities of modern life, even centuries after their writing.
Kahvalti: Turkish breakfast