Persian: Bustân/بوستان & Golestân/گلستان

PersoLatin

Senior Member
UK
Persian - Iran
As we all know, Bustân/بوستان & Golestân/گلستان are two famous works by Sa’di, the former in poetry & the latter in prose.

I can not discern any difference in the meanings of these titles, گلستان ‌means “flower garden” (or rose garden, a narrow deginition) بوستان a place of (good) smells (or orchard, another narrow feginition).

But گلستان can be a بوسنان as گل/flowers smell good and بوسنان can only have good smells because of flowers or blossoms. My question is, what is the inspiration behind using two words with the same meaning & what part of these respective words refers to ‘poetry’ and what part to ‘prose’?

Of course Sa’di is the only one who knew for sure, but I’m hoping he might have given his reasons for the choices,
 
  • Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    For me "Gulistaan" means a place abounding with flowers" or a "Flower-Garden" and "Bostaan" a place which is full of different scents and fragrances or a "Scent-Garden". So, both names essentially mean one and the same thing.

    Poets and prose writers of Arabic and Persian (and also Urdu) have/had a kind of traditon of using titles that rhymed. If one writer composes a book in prose or poetry, another one, especially if he has some form of rivalary or animosity with each other, would come up with a rhyming title to upstage his adversary. In this case we know Sa'di is not competing against anyone but just decided to compose two works with rhyming titles.

    In the "muqaddimah" of Gulistan, under "dar sabab-i-taaliif-i-kitaab goyad", both "gulistaan" and "bostaan" are mentioned in one sentence.

    ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔گفتم گُلِ بوستان را چنانکہ دانی بقائے و عھدِ گلستان را وفائے نباشد۔

    You can tell that he is talking about one and the same place, a garden full of flowers that give off perfumes galore.

    و حکما گفتہ اند ، ھر چہ دیر نپاید دلبستگی را نشاید۔

    گفتا ۔ طریق چیست

    گفتم۔ برای نُزحتِ ناظران و فُسحتِ حاضران کتابِ گلستان تصنیف توانم کردن، کہ بادِ خزان را بر اوراقِ او دستِ تطاوُل نباشد و گردشِ زمان عیشِ ربیعش بطیشِ خریف مبدَّل نکند۔

    In other words, his Gulistan (and Bostan) are not places where flowers and their scent is transitory but they are there to be read, enjoyed and wisdom gained from them for ever.

    There is also "sabab-i-nazm-i-kitaab" for "Bostaan" too. The long and the short of this is that the author says he has roamed all over the world but there is no place like home (Shiraz) and no one compares with its people. So, what should he take for them as a gift as he did not wish to return home empty handed. "Bostaan" is that gift which he wrote and brought with him.

    One can not say why Gulistan is mainly prose and Bostan wholly verse. You could say the title for his "Bostaan" comes from..

    دریغ آمدم زاں ہمہ بوستاں
    تہی دست رفتن سوی دوستاں
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    In the "muqaddimah" of Gulistan, under "dar sabab-i-taaliif-i-kitaab goyad", both "gulistaan" and "bostaan" are mentioned in one sentence.

    ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔گفتم گُلِ بوستان را چنانکہ دانی بقائے و عھدِ گلستان را وفائے نباشد۔

    You can tell that he is talking about one and the same place, a garden full of flowers that give off perfumes galore.
    Thanks Qureshpor that makes perfect sense, that’s why I was intrigued.

    As I said in the OP, بوستان has been translated as ‘orchard’ and گلستان as ‘rose garden’, these less than accurate translations may be an attempt to make these words look different.
     

    Abu Talha

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    As I said in the OP, بوستان has been translated as ‘orchard’ and گلستان as ‘rose garden’, these less than accurate translations may be an attempt to make these words look different.
    I wonder if بوستان has been translated as "orchard" from the Arabic بُستان ,which of course is from the Persian بوستان, but can specifically mean "orchard", i.e., a grove of trees for agricultural produce, in addition to the general meaning of "garden".
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    The interesting part to me is what Sa’di’s thinking was, if we can ever imagine it, we can be safe in thinking he would have used the pure Persian meanings of the two terms rather than any interpretations.

    I found these in Dehkhoda under بوستان:

    اول کسی که باغ ساخت او [منوچهر] بود و ریاحین گوناگون که بر کوهسارها ودشتها رسته بود، جمع کرد و بکشت و فرمود تا چهار دیوار گرد آن درکشیدند و آنرا بوستان نام کرد، یعنی معدن بویها. (فارسنامه ٔ ابن البلخی ص 37).

    منوچهر، بسیاری شکوفه ها و گل و ریاحین ازکوه و صحرا بشهرها آورد و بکشت و دیوار فرمود کشیدن پیرامون آن . چون شکفت و بوی خوش یافت ، آنرا بوستان نام نهاد.
    (مجمل التواریخ ).
     

    mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    PersoLatin, this isn’t a Persian language comment, but is prompted by your post above. Sa’di may have thought of both words at the same time — easily possible — and may have been pondering the merits of one title over the other while compiling his first collection. Choosing boostaan for the title finally must have made more sense to him because the word evidently points to an assortment of fragrances all gathered in one place, just like the collection of verse that now carries that title.

    So that was that. But Sa’di kept golestaan the word and gradually developed the idea of writing a second book purposely composed to complement the first. He already had a title for it so maybe he had one of those ‘why not’ moments. I personally think of this book of prose sprinkled with short bits of verse as the opposite of a collection, that is, a carefully designed, segmented, and stylized text that is written from top to bottom in one go, out of one spark of inspiration. The second book’s outwardly discernible reason for being there is to entertain, which is different to the very personal, hidden whim I imagine Sa’di must have not been able to cast off ever since he had created the first work.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    PersoLatin, this isn’t a Persian language comment, but is prompted by your post above. Sa’di may have thought of both words at the same time — easily possible — and may have been pondering the merits of one title over the other while compiling his first collection. Choosing boostaan for the title finally must have made more sense to him because the word evidently points to an assortment of fragrances all gathered in one place, just like the collection of verse that now carries that title.

    So that was that. But Sa’di kept golestaan the word and gradually developed the idea of writing a second book purposely composed to complement the first. He already had a title for it so maybe he had one of those ‘why not’ moments. I personally think of this book of prose sprinkled with short bits of verse as the opposite of a collection, that is, a carefully designed, segmented, and stylized text that is written from top to bottom in one go, out of one spark of inspiration. The second book’s outwardly discernible reason for being there is to entertain, which is different to the very personal, hidden whim I imagine Sa’di must have not been able to cast off ever since he had created the first work.
    I'd go along with that.
     
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