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Edited by  H. B. Paksoy

Table of Contents:

H. B. Paksoy "Ibadinov's Kuyas Ham Alav"
Peter B. Golden (Rutgers) "Codex Comanicus"
Richard Frye (Harvard) "Narshaki's The History of Bukhara"
Robert Dankoff (Chicago) "Adab Literature"
Uli Schamiloglu (Wisconsin-Madison) "Umdet ul Ahbar"
Kevin Krisciunas (Joint Astronomy Centre) "Ulug Beg's Zij"
Audrey Altstadt (UMass-Amherst) "Bakikhanli's Nasihatlar"
Edward J. Lazzerini (New Orleans) "Gaspirali's Tercuman"
David S. Thomas (Rhode Island) "Akcura's Uc Tarz-i Siyaset"

ISBN: 975-428-033-9
Library of Congress Card Catalog: DS329.4 .C46 1992
173 Pp. (paperback)  US$20 

ISIS Press

Isis Press
Semsibey Sokak 10
81210 Beylerbeyi Istanbul
Phone: +90 + 216 321 38 51
FAX: +90 + 216 321 86 66


Please refer to the printed version for the footnotes

Nasihatlar of Abbas Kulu Agha Bakikhanli 
Audrey L. Altstadt
Dedicated to the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of 
Agha Abbas Kulu Bakikhanli
Nasihatlar (Admonitions) is a short work comprising laconic and
simply stated moral "lessons" written for young people. It was
composed by Abbas Kulu Agha Bakikhanli (1794-1846) [Bakikhanov in
Russian sources] in 1836. Bakikhanli was an historian, philosopher,
pedagogue and translator. His work Nasihatlar, like the author
himself, has received only sporadic attention under Russian/Soviet
rule and is virtually unknown in the West.  
The present Chapter presents an examination of the work and the
author, set in historical context, and includes a complete
translation of Nasihatlar based on three recently published texts
(in both Turkish and Russian). (1) 

Nasihatlar, despite its brevity and long years of obscurity, is an
important work in the history of Azerbaijan's cultural evolution.
It is an articulation, in compact form, of a society's values --
those values held in such high esteem that they were deemed
essential to pass on to future generations by inculcating them from
earliest childhood. Bakikhanli emphasized the use of intellect and
rational thought, the acquisition of knowledge, honesty, justice
and moderation in social relations. 
Bakikhanli, in Nasihatlar, has left the earliest record of such
moral admonitions of Azerbaijan (2) after the Russian conquest.
They constitute a reassertion of societal values in the face of
conquest by a power that shared neither language, history nor
cultural traditions. 
Bakikhanli's ideas are all the more worthy of study because of the
greater role he strove to play -- and, unknown to himself, did play
-- in shaping the education of future generations of Azerbaijani
Turks. He wrote extensively on education, both its moral
foundations and practical execution. Nasihatlar is, in fact,
distilled from the key arguments presented in Bakikhanli's treatise
"Moral Education" ("Tahzib al-Ahlak"), written 1832-33. Bakikhanli
also wrote a detailed plan for establishing a school for local boys
in Baku. (Both works will be discussed briefly below.) 
Bakikhanli's school project, although not published in his
lifetime, provided a model for other educators. The proposal in
which he outlined the project was apparently usurped by tsarist
bureaucrats, altered, and put into effect in a form that suited the
needs of the tsarist system rather than the indigenous population.
The plan served as the basis for more than seven decades of debate
on education reform and even constituted the basis  -- again in
distorted form -- for Soviet-era education policy. Bakikhanli's
legacy is thus imbedded in contemporary policy, which is itself an
unwitting, silent tribute to his thought and work. 
The focal point of the present chapter is, as noted, the
translation and analysis of three published texts of Bakikhanli's
Nasihatlar. The discussion begins with some remarks on Bakikhanli
himself, the political and intellectual climate in which he wrote
Nasihatlar, and the works in which he further elaborated those
ideas expressed in Nasihatlar. These sections are followed by a
comparison of the three published texts and of the messages
contained therein. Parallels to other Central Asian works are
considered. The chapter ends with a composite translation of the
text based on the three published versions.

Bakikhanli was born on 21 June (3 July by the Gregorian calendar)
1794 in the village of Amirjan, just outside the town of Baku. He
was the son of the khan of Baku, Mirza Muhammad Khan II. During the
decade of his birth, the struggle for Caucasia between the
expanding Russian Empire and the new Qajar dynasty in Iran was
beginning. The Russian conquest would take place in the following
decade. Mirza Muhammad Khan had apparently been unseated because of
some regional conflict, and, as a result, went over to the
Russians. (3)  His six sons subsequently entered Russian service,
in the military or, like Abbas Kulu Agha, as translators. (4) 
Bakikhanli entered Russian service in 1819-20, reportedly after 20
years of orthodox Islamic education in Shari'a, Persian and Arabic
languages and literatures, Islamic texts. Since he served for most
of the following 25 years as translator of Oriental Languages,
however, he must have learned Russian as well. He acted as
translator in Russian relations with Daghestan (Caucasia was still
under direct military rule until 1840), in the negotiations with
Iran of the Treaty of Turkmanchai (1828), in the demarcation of the
Russo-Iranian border and other diplomatic assignments. 
During his years in tsarist service, especially during a prolonged
leave of absence in the 1830s, Bakikhanli also wrote numerous works
of philosophy, history (including histories of Baku and Derbend),
astronomy, mathematics, pedagogy -- even a Persian grammar. He
wrote many literary works including much poetry. He wrote most
often in Persian and Arabic and apparently less in Turkish (in
which he wrote a number of satirical pieces and poetry). The reason
for this is given by Bakikhanli himself (5)  -- the spoken Turkish
dialect of Azerbaijan (probably Bakikhanli's mother tongue) was at
that time not used as a scholarly or literary language in
Azerbaijan. The effort to establish the spoken Turkish vernacular
(as opposed to Ottoman, which was then full of Persian and Arabic
loans words and grammatical constructions) as a literary language
in Azerbaijan was launched in Bakikhanli's lifetime by his
countryman Mirza Fath Ali Akhunzade (1812-1878). 
Between 1835 and 1842, Bakikhanli left active service, took up
residence near Kuba and devoted himself primarily to his
scholarship, although he apparently also wrote several reports for
the local administration. (6)  In 1837, he wrote a report on an
uprising that year in Kuba against the Russian levy of local men
for service in Warsaw. (7) Apparently, he protested the
government's handling of the incident. (8) 
In 1841, after years of research, Bakikhanli completed his history
of Azerbaijan, Gulistan-i Iram (Garden of Paradise). He translated
it into Russian (from the original Persian) in 1842 under the title
Istoriia vostochnoi chasti Kavkaza (History of the Eastern
After his recall to service, just as Caucasia was being placed
under civil rather than military rule, Bakikhanli was asked to
write a report on the political structure of the former khanates.
This report explained the rights and privileges of the khans,
described the national and tribal composition of the population and
included other useful information. (9) 
Bakikhanli made the hajj (to Mecca) in 1846. He died of cholera in
the winter of 1846-47 (possibly in December 1846 or February 1847)
in Arabia while returning. (10)

The 1830s, during which Bakikhanli wrote Nasihatlar, was a dynamic
period in the history of Azerbaijan and the Russian Empire.
Nicholas I was, in many respects, at the height of power. He had 
survived his succession crisis, putting down the Decembrists in
1825, and had suppressed the Polish Rebellion in 1830-31. The
Doctrine of Official Nationality, enshrining Autocracy, Orthodoxy
and Nationality, was formulated and embraced in the mid 1830s. The
dissident literary and political circles in St. Petersburg would be
few and relatively powerless until the middle of the following
In Europe, Nicholas' Russia represented the might of autocracy and
stood as a bulwark against revolutionary change. It was a major
guarantor of the Congress of Vienna and its hallowed principles of
legitimacy and Great Power "balance." On the Asian fronts, the
Empire's forces had defeated the Ottomans and Iran in the late
1820s. The Treaty of Turkmanchai (1828) had given the Russian
Empire sweeping and intrusive privileges in Iran, including
exemption of its subjects from Iranian law and of Russian goods
from internal tariffs. The British would not gain similar
privileges until 1841. (11) In short, this was a time of relatively
free and overt exercise of Russian power in the political and
cultural realm. 
One of the few places which defied Russian power, however, was the
Caucasus. Noteworthy for its violence and duration was the
continuing resistance in the Caucasus Mountains led by Sheikh
Shamil. This movement would not be subdued until the time of the
Crimean War. In September 1837, Kuba, just south of Daghestan,
briefly rose up to protest the levy of horsemen for duty in Warsaw.
(12)  Other types of resistance were also manifested. (13)
Nonetheless, the tsarist government continued to press its policies
in Caucasia. 
There had been numerous administrative changes in Caucasia
(officially the "Transcaucasian krai" [region]) such as adjustments
of boundaries and appointments of former khans to govern them in
the name of the Russian administration in Tiflis. Bakikhanli's own
father had been given the administration of several settlements in
the new Kuba province in 1824. (14) 
Early in the 1830s, some within official circles had decided that
Caucasia ought to be placed under civilian rule, that is, to
undergo direct administrative incorporation into the Empire. One
commission, under Senators P. I. Kutaisov and E. I. Mechnikov
suggested that the Transcaucasian krai could be put to best use by
"forcing the residents there to speak, think and feel in Russian
[po-russkii" - lit: "Russian-like"]. Their plan included the idea
of "illuminating the residents of the region with the rays of the
Orthodox faith and establishing the living cross on the ruins of
Islam." (15) 
The Doctrine of Official Nationality reinforced and gave official
legitimation to this colonial policy of Russification and
Christianization. The goals were often pursued simultaneously.
Missionaries, for example, established schools to teach both
Christianity and Russian language. Missionary work continued
throughout the period of tsarist rule, (16) but it had virtually no
Slightly more successful was the system of "Russian-native" schools
which would dot Central Asia (17) by the turn of the next century.
The first  so-called "Russian-Tatar" (18) schools in the eastern
provinces of Caucasia (present-day Azerbaijan SSR) were created in
the early 1830s: 1830 in Shusha, 1831 in Nukha, 1832 in Baku, 1833
in Ganje and then in 1837 in Shemakhi and Nakhjavan. (19) 
These schools introduced Russian language and used it as the
language of instruction for more than half the courses --
mathematics, accounting, history, geography and Russian law. Their
object was to train Azerbaijani Turks for careers in the civil
bureaucracy or even the military. Although no indigenous students
completed the course of instruction during the first 20 years of
these schools' existence (20), they were funded and supported by
the state and they did proliferate. (21) 
In the face of these threats to traditional culture and values,
Bakikhanli's moral Admonitions seem no less an act of defiance than
his protest of the official handling of the 1837 Kuba uprising.
Indeed, Nasihatlar represents a more fundamental protest than that
against one isolated incident because that small book constitutes
an attack upon a policy and a mode of thought. It strives to defend
Azerbaijani Turks from a powerful regime's zealous efforts to
Russify and Christianize. 
The ideas expressed in Nasihatlar are more fully elaborated in
Bakikhanli's Tahzib al-Ahlak and in his plan for the establishment
of a school for local children under his own direction. Both works
were written the same year the first Russian-Tatar school opened in
Baku. It is helpful to look briefly at the main points of these
before turning to Nasihatlar. 
Tahzib al-Ahlak comprises twelve chapters, an introduction
("Philosophy") and a conclusion ("On the Secrets of
Enlightenment"). Among the twelve chapters are "Observance of
Moderation" (Chapter I), "On the Excellence of Good Works,"
(Chapter II), "On the Rules of Social Intercourse," (Chapter VIII,
the longest), On the Principles of Humility," (Chapter IX), "On the
Extolling of Conscientiousness," (Chapter X) and "On the Advantages
of Being Satisfied with Little" (Chapter XI). This treatise
constitutes the full elaboration of the ideas embodied in the
laconic Nasihatlar. 
This treatise, like Nasihatlar, emphasizes the importance of
rational thought. The Introduction, titled "Philosophy," bears the
same message as the introductory passage to Nasihatlar -- that
humans can think and choose, a facility that distinguishes
humankind from lower animals. Without rational inquiry, Bakikhanli
adds in Tahzib al-Ahlak, one cannot choose or decide on a course of
action. (23) Throughout this work, Bakikhanli emphasizes the
importance of human choice, the use of one's intellect, and
truthfulness. As in Nasihatlar, he discusses the importance of
friendship, urges caution toward enemies, and warns against bad
company. He extols the virtue of listening more than talking, of
being content with few material possessions, of self control and
self examination, and the need to improve one's self by application
of conscientiousness and moral principles. 
Bakikhanli's "Project for the Establishment of a Muslim School,"
was presented to the High Commissioner (glavnoupravliaiushchii) of
Caucasia Baron Rosen on 20 February 1832. (24) 
Bakikhanli's project reflects both his understanding of the need to
appeal to the government and his own goals to educate Azerbaijani
Turks. He begins with obligatory statement of the benign objective
of the empire which has "taken the Transcaucasian region under its
protection..." He follows this with several reasons why the
education of the newly acquired population is in the interest of
the empire: 
" is impossible to attach people to yourself by superfluous
condescension and rewards, if in them [the people] there is no
attachment to the order of things which is being introduced.
Although personal profit may attract them at some times, still
there is no doubt, that at the first appearance of [appropriate]
circumstances, they will wholeheartedly return to their former way
of thinking... the more widely education is disseminated among
them, the more the government will acquire people well disposed
(toward it), who will facilitate the spread among the populace of
the benevolent intentions of the government concerning the general
welfare... [and] their prosperity... [will] serve in Asia as an
eternal monument of the glory of the great Russian monarch." 
In his justification for this project, as in Nasihatlar, Bakikhanli
sounds the theme of intellect and understanding. He notes that the
local people "suppose that chance or fate elevated Europe and gave
it that strength or might by means of which it acquired
unchallenged primacy." Education, he states, will be the key to
improved social conditions and general contentment of the populace.

As for the proposal itself, it comprises eleven detailed items
discussing the intended location of the school (Baku), students and
their living conditions, course of study, teachers, guards and
servants (for those resident at the school), books and other
supplies, and even a discussion of what the students may do upon
completion of the three-year program. 
An important part of Bakikhanli's plan, essential components of
which reappeared over the ensuing decades without any attribution
to him, was the bilingual feature of the project. Students were to
be taught by native and Russian teachers in relevant languages and
courses of study.

In 1982 and 1983, two separate editions of Nasihatlar (in three
languages and three scripts) were published in Baku. One, published
in 1982, is a "popular" publication in a pocket-size, paperback
edition, published in 30,000 copies and costing 20 kopeks. It
contains three copies of Nasihatlar: two are in Azerbaijani Turkish
(one in Cyrillic, one Arabo-Persian script) and one is in Persian.
(25) The other volume, published in 1983, is a publication of the
Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR which includes a
biography of Bakikhanli and many of his major works and
correspondence in Russian translation. (26) This volume is hardback
volume of more than 340 pages, published in 4000 copies and costs
3 rubles.  
The translation at the end of the Chapter is based on the two
Turkic and one Russian versions in these volumes. The versions
differ in both wording and in substance. The discrepancies begin
even with their introductions. 
In his brief introduction to the 1982 volume (with Persian and two
Turkic texts), Memmedaga Sultanov states that Bakikhanli wrote the
work in both these languages. He gives no other information on the
manuscript and incorrectly reports the date of composition as 1254
A.H. rather than 1252, which is the date given in the text itself. 
According to an explanatory note accompanying the Azerbaijan
Academy of Sciences' Russian translation of 1983, Nasihatlar was
written in Persian and translated into Turkish by an unknown
author. A Persian-language manuscript from 1838-39 (1254 A. H.)
reportedly exists in the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences Manuscript
A more important discrepancy exists between the two translations --
the 1982 Turkish and Persian variants have only 88 items. The
Russian translation contains 103 -- the 88 items in the Turkish
version and 19 additional items. Neither the present writer nor, to
my knowledge, other non-Soviet scholars, have ever had access to
the original manuscript. Therefore, there is no independent
verification concerning the actual number of Admonitions or
original language(s) of the work. All published texts, however,
number each Admonition. References to specific items in the
following discussion therefore have two numbers -- the first
number, from the Russian translation, followed by a number in
brackets representing the item number in the Turkish translation.
When the Turkish translation has no corresponding item, the first
number stands alone. 
The Russian-language translation produced by the Academy of
Sciences, however, appears to be the more accurate for reasons to
be discussed below. 
A. Differences between two Turkic versions, in Cyrillic (Cy) and
Arabo-Persian (AP) script. 
The Turkish Cyrillic text is not, as one might expect, a
transcription of the Arabo-Persian. Rather, nearly every Nasihat
has some difference in phrasing or word choice, however minor. The
differences in many instances do not reflect a readily discernible
pattern. That is to say neither transcription contains a
consistently more Turkic or more Arabic and Persian vocabulary. The
Cyrillic transcription does seem to use language that, for the most
part, conforms to common spoken usage (often Turkish rather than
Persian or Arabic words) of Soviet Azerbaijani Turks: in Item 55
[42], Cy uses "kul" rather than "bende" in AP; in Item 62 [47] uses
the more common "yerine yetermek" instead of "icra etmek"; in Item
75 [60] Cy has "pis hasiyyet" instead of "badmizac"; in Item 81
[66] Cy uses "kin" instead of "adavet"; Item 85 [70] Cy uses "pis
ad" where AP has "badnamelik." 
Rarely the reverse is true, i.e. that AP contains terms more common
in Soviet Azerbaijan: Item 24 [9] AP ends with the phrase "senin
hakkinda pis fikre duser" and Cy ends with the more bookish (and
Persian) "senin hakkinda badguman olar." 
There are some differences in content in which the Cy transcription
omits some words or whole sentences (Items 14 [1], 39 [24], 46
[31], 55 [42], 80 [65], 87 [72], 95 [78]), or gives a different
message (Items 31 [16], 96 [79]) These are relatively few items,
and the great majority of items, despite different wording, convey
the same message. Much greater, however, are the discrepancies
between Russian translation and either of the Turkish
transcriptions, although the Russian is often closer to the
Arabo-Persian than to the Cyrillic. (More on content differences in
following section.) 
In attempting to offer explanations for these differences, one must
be prepared to accept not a single, all-encompassing motivation or
"plan," but rather several "pulls" in different directions to
account for various discrepancies. Some influences would conform to
official censorship or agitprop guidelines and others, on the
contrary, seem designed to promote some other goal. 
Some changes of vocabulary between the Turkic texts could be
sloppiness, as suggested by several obvious errors in typesetting
and other simple mistakes in the book itself (e.g. the compiler
dates the work as 1254 A.H., although Bakikhanli's introduction
gives the date as 1252. (27) The inconsistencies are too pervasive,
however, for all to be accounted for with this excuse. 
The discrepancies may reflect an attempt to alter the text to
conform to present-day usage either for sake of convenience for
contemporary readers, which would be supported by the frequent
similarity between AP and Ru texts. The changes might have been
introduced to suggest (to those who can only read the Cyrillic)that
the present-day language was precisely the same that Bakikhanli
used. The former might be a goal of those (perhaps on the
production staff) interested in communicating the message of the
Admonitions; the latter would support official language policy
which claims the distinctness -- and separateness -- of an
"Azerbaijani language" apart from other Turkic dialects. 
Creating deliberate differences between the two Turkish versions
could also serve as an obstacle to those who might try to use this
book's parallel texts to learn the Arabo-Persian script (knowledge
which the official apparatus would presumably prefer remain the
domain of scholars) (28). But the technique could also be used by
compilers or other participants in the production process to
introduce synonyms and thereby expand vocabulary under the guise of
trying to obstruct learning of the Arabo-Persian script. Elements
of all the "strategies" suggested here may be operating for a
complex "trade-off."  
Certain discrepancies in vocabulary can easily be construed (which
is not to claim these are necessarily true) to serve specific,
known goals. These might be gleaned from comparison of Cyrillic
Turkish with both Arabo-Persian text and the apparently more
scholarly Russian-language translation from original manuscripts:
Only Cy Item 14 [1] lists "sister" as an object of respect, which
would militate toward breaking the traditional male-dominated
family hierarchy. On the other hand, only in the Cyrillic text does
Item 31 [16] state that "if you remain unmarried" you are useless.
The implication of the need to "be fruitful and multiply" is hardly
Moscow's message to the Central Asians, but is a possible message
within Azerbaijani Turkish society, especially for urbanites with
their smaller families. (29) 
B. Differences between Russian and Turkish Translations 
Most obvious in comparing the Russian translation to the two Turkic
texts is the discrepancy in the number of Nasihatlar -- a
difference of 19 items. Two possibilities must be considered. On
the one hand, the extra items may be apocryphal and were invented
and inserted into the text in what must be called a bold -- and
quite uncharacteristic -- move on the part of several senior,
highly respected and widely published members of the Azerbaijan
Academy of Sciences. 
One can reasonably dismiss this highly unlikely possibility. Not
that the Soviet establishment has not made appropriate
"refinements" in translations of historical materials -- indeed
they are as famous for it as for the retouched photograph -- but
those changes are made to support the regime's official positions.
(30) In the case of the 19 "missing" Admonitions, the opposite is
true. Those items bear a message that is contrary to Soviet
At the most obvious level, many of the 19 Admonitions in question
contain religious messages. These messages would not have been
sanctioned by the regime. (Even the most Machiavellian thinker
could not risk a scheme involving "planting" a religious message to
show its evil. It might backfire and instill real religiosity.) The
individual members of a republican academy would be unlikely to
manufacture their own religious message for they would have a great
deal at stake and be unlikely to dare so easily discovered a
charade. Furthermore, there is no reason to think that the scholars
involved in the production of this volume are inclined to insert a
view that runs against the grain of Soviet propaganda from the time
of the Bolshevik Revolution.  If they or anyone were so inclined,
the risks would be too great, especially for a volume that would be
published in only 4000 copies. 
We are left then with the conclusion that the 19 Admonitions in the
Russian translation are authentic and were omitted from the Turkish
translations. The more subtle, perhaps more powerful, content of
these items is discussed below. 
The careful and accurate historical notes, the phrasing of the
Russian translation itself (Bakikhanli's reference to himself as
"your servant" rather than as "I," for example), the attention to
detail and the broad coverage of Bakikhanli's works of the
Russian-language volume, combined with the credentials of the
compiler and editorial board, further support the impression that
the Academy's is the more serious and scholarly of the two volumes.

The alterations of the Turkish translations must therefore be seen
as part of the agitprop function of that volume, especially in view
of its large tiraj (30,000), low cost, and multiple language and
dual-script text. It seems designed to deliver a certain message
(and not deliver certain others) to a wide audience, reading in
both Cyrillic and Arabo-Persian script and in Turkish and Persian.
Such an audience would be found on both sides of the Soviet-Iranian
border that divides Azerbaijan.

Despite the differences in the various texts, all published
versions share many common ideas and Admonitions. The text must
speak for itself, but major points are discussed in the present
The single most powerful, insistant message of Nasihatlar is the
centrality and power of knowledge, learning, and the use of
intellect. This message is delivered more completely in the Russian
translation, and will be discussed below. Both versions, however,
contain numerous admonitions urging the acquisition of knowledge
and the use of the mind over the heart: Ru Item 32 [Tk no. 17] on
the primacy of intelligence; or Item 60 [45] in which the Turkish
translations state there is no greater wealth than "intelligence
and aspiration," while the Russian translation lists "mind and
Nasihatlar also emphasizes religious duties (also developed more
fully in the Russian translation) and various aspects of moral
- be busy and avoid laziness; do not mix in business that is not

your own (e.g., 29 [14], 30 [15], 31 [16]); 
- know and fulfill obligations (e.g., 5, 7, 11, 12, 98, 99 [81],
101 [83]) 
- do not spread word of faults or errors of others nor expose your
own faults for others to see (e.g., 24 [9], 26 [11], 38 [23], 41
[26], 66 [51]); 
- act with moderation, caution and discretion, neither speaking too
much nor too openly, refraining from action when angry and avoiding
vengeance (e.g., 27 [12], 28 [13], 35 [20] - 38 [23], 50 [35], 51
[36], 65 [50], 69 [54], 78 [63], 81 [66], 89 [74], 94 [77]);  
- deal honestly in all undertakings, keep your promises; unless
there is contrary evidence, construe the actions of others in a
positive way; yet give punishment when it is deserved (e.g., 61
[46], 62 [47], 67 [52] - 72 [57], 95 [78], 96 [79]); 
- to some degree, the individual must be a guarantor of justice,
even ensuring that the guilty are punished and that the innocent
exhonerated (e.g., 95 [78], 96 [79], 102 [84]); 
- good friends are valuable -- treat them and your relatives
kindly, but do not associate with immoral people (e.g., 22 [7], 52
[37], 53 [38], 73 [58], 74 [59], 75 [60]); 
- be self-knowing and self-confident, not believing rumors or
compliments nor being envious (e.g., 34 [19], 43 [28], 44 [29], 77
[62], 81 [66], 82 [67], 93 [76]); 
- spend wealth wisely, and do not be miserly nor run after material
goods; do not become too attached to worldly riches because they
will ultimately be lost; do not indulge your senses or the biddings
of your heart (e.g., 54 [39], 58 [43], 59 [44], 83 [68], 84 [69],
87 [72], 88 [73]); 
- respect law, authorities and elders (although nothing in the
language or full context suggests subservience): 4, 5, 6, 14 [1],
15 [2], 16, 17 [3], 18 [4]). 
The issues which are not included are also worthy of note.
Nasihatlar is primarily a guide to appropriate ethical and moral
social behavior. Religious precepts are presented as the foundation
for ethics and morality, in such Items as 1-13, but religious
issues are not raised. There is no theme of religion vs state or of
the conflicts between this-worldly and other-worldly concerns.
There is no word about the renunciation of the world (merely a
warning not become too attached to its riches, Item 87 [72]) nor
mention of the cleansing power of solitude, fasting or celibacy.
Differences in the Message of Russian Text 
Most of the elements that distinguish the Russian text from the two
in Turkish are embodied in Bakikhanli's introduction and the 19
items of the Russian translation that do not appear in the Turkish
translations; secondarily are several major differences in those
items that do exist in both translations, as marked in the
translation below. Most obvious is that the first 13 Admonitions of
the Russian translation (which do not occur in the Turkish
versions) concern religious beliefs and obligations -- the
declaration that a world so ordered and harmonious must be the
creation of a Supreme Being; the admonition to pray, give alms,
revere the Prophets and follow the ulema; the doctrine of a Last
Judgment with reward or punishment for the behavior of a lifetime. 
Since this religious message was apparently deliberately omitted
from the "popularized" Turkish and Persian publication, it must
have been deemed powerful by the censors, or compilers engaging in
self-censorship based on known guidelines. (32)  Certainly, these
items contain language that the Soviet citizen would rarely read in
official publications (33) and might, for that very reason, exert
even greater impact.  
The first 13 items lay out the duties of a Muslim, especially (in
the mention of the 12th imam as Mahdi) the Shi'a, and establish a
religious basis for morality in general. These and later items
missing from the Turkish translations convey the idea that the
world or nature and human society are governed by Divine law, that
God assigned duties to human beings as would an earthly father
(Item 2), that the law ("Shari'a") of the Prophets is legitimate,
and that humans are inherently unequal (Item 91) because they are
not identical and were created for their own individual functions.
Although, it must be reiterated that the religious elements are
confined primarily to providing an underpinning for ethics and
morality (and are dispensed with in the first 13 items), they do
articulate ideas which the regime's antireligious propaganda has
long sought to combat. 
Turning to the main message, it is articulated unambiguously in the
extra Nasihatlar and in Bakikhanli's brief introduction. It is a
message whose power is perhaps more threatening than religion to
the Soviet regime, whose roots in Turkic thought long antedate the
Russian rise to political power and even the Turks' acceptance of
Islam. It is a message whose appeal may seduce religious and
irrelgious alike including the young generations reared on
"scientific socialism." It is, in fact, a message that is
impossible to combat within the framework of Marxism-Leninism. The
message is the power of knowledge and rational thought. 
The first statement of this message precedes even the first Nasihat
and is found in Bakikhanli's brief introduction addressed to the
youth. This introduction sets the framework within which the
Admonitions are given and establishes the central reason for
passing them on to future generations. Here in this introduction
the Turkish translation betrays a disconnectedness and illogic that
suggests one of the famous Soviet "refinements" of historical
"Don't you see that even though animals have such huge bodies and
strength, still they are captive in the hands of man. And here is
one of the reasons to do your work well. Those who are very
knowledgeable and able are always respected.... it is always
necessary to learn from those people..." 
By contrast, in the Russian-language translation, the sentences
logically follow one another and deliver a rather different
"Do you not see that strong and large animals are humble in the
hands of a human being? This is thanks to the knowledge of the
order of things. In society, too, whoever best knows his own
affairs and does good, he will always be respected. Consequently,
it is necessary to learn the means of the knowledge of things and
of the virtue of people..." 
The former message is one of subordination to those who have
greater experience, to figures of authority, in short, all those
who "know better." The latter message states that it is knowledge
"of the order of things" which, first, sets humanity above the
animals and, second, makes one capable and respected in society,
that is, as a social animal. Bakikhanli's Nasihatlar thus
constitutes a non-Marxist source of humanitarian ethics, morals and
exhortation to rationality. Therein lies this work's greatest
threat to the regime for it is in the realm of social justice and
change -- in creating the perfect communist man -- that
Marxism-Leninism admits no competitors. 
Carrying the point further, one need look only to the first
Nasihat: "...there exists one God who created everything. We must
know Him."  The message is to know God, not to worship blindly.
Prayer (Nasihat 11) is essential to this knowledge and
understanding, it is not advocated merely for the sake of tradition
or to supplicate for one's needs. There is no message of
subservience connected with knowing God, prayer, or even in urgings
of respect for the ulema. 
Also controversial is Item 92 which does not exist in any form in
the Turkish translations: " people are distinguished by their
[external] figure and voice, [they] are distinguished also by their
knowledge and morals." Because this item is coupled with a previous
Admonition (Item 91) which states that "All people cannot be
equal,..." Item 92 seems to elaborate on that point and may
therefore be construed as contrary to certain perceptions of

Whether consciously or not Bakikhanli's message carries on an
earlier Turkic tradition, both Turko-Islamic and pre-Islamic
Turkic. This is not to deny his conscious intellectual debt to
those whom he quotes in his works including Sufi poets like Sana'i,
Hafiz and Rumi. Rather the object here is to demonstrate two basic
points: (1) the emphasis on the use of intellect and rational
thought, associated in the West with the Enlightenment, has never
been the exclusive preserve of Western thought. Bakikhanli need not
have learned such ideas from European writers to whom, in any case,
he never refers; (2) Bakikhanli's works carry on a tradition that
exists not only in Islamic tradition, but one that is older than
Islam and which is consciously used as a precedent by later
generations of Azerbaijani Turks.  
Kutadgu Bilig, written in 1069 in Kashgar by Balasagunlu Yusuf,
known as Yusuf Khass Hajib, is a Turkic "mirror for princes" of the
Islamic period. This work, of just over 6600 lines, contains many
Turkic themes and motifs which distinguish it from Irano-Islamic
works of the same century, which were written after Yusuf's work.
Kutadgu Bilig emphasizes intelligence and wisdom as well as
religion as the basis for morality and just rule. Indeed, one of
the four central figures of Kutadgu Bilig represents Wisdom. Many
themes which characterize Nasihatlar occupy a central place in
Kutadgu Bilig. 
Chapter 6 of Kutadgu Bilig is titled "That man's chief glory is
wisdom and intellect," and states "When God created man He chose
him and distinguished him, granting him virtue and wisdom, mind and
understanding..." (Line 148-150). Later, we read "What is there in
the world more precious than wisdom? To call a man a fool is an
ugly curse... if a wise man has a seat in the courtyard, then the
courtyard is superior to the seat of honor" (Line 260-2); and "Use
your intellect in the execution of all your affairs" (Line 5194;
compare these to Nasihatlar 32 [17], 60 [45]).  
Most of all like Bakikhanli's words on intellect is this passage:
"It is out of intellect that all good things proceed, and it is
through wisdom that a man achieves greatness. With both together a
man ennobles himself... What is greater than wisdom? That it is
which distinguishes man from beast." (Lines 1841-43; Compare to
Introduction to Nasihatlar) (35) 
Balasagunlu Yusuf also emphasizes the permanence of a good name:
"The living die in the end and make the earth their bed, but if a
man dies and he is good, his name lives on" (Line 237; see
Nasihatlar 50 [35], 85 [70]); "...if I die with a good name, I
shall have no cause for repentance." (Line 920) (36) 
Kutadgu Bilig cautions against anger and acting in anger: "Good man
of intellect, put off anger... If you rush into an affair [when
angry]..., you will surely ruin your life. He who gets angry always
regrets his deed, and he who gets annoyed at a task always errs...
Self-control and moderation are required along with reason and good
sense in order to distinguish men and to conduct business." (Lines
322-28) "Restrain your temper: when anger overcomes you, pretend
you are tongue-tied." (Line 5216; see Nasihatlar 28 [13], 81 [66]) 
Kutadgu Bilig notes the importance of friends: "Know that friends
are like another back: if a man had many friends his back rests
against a mountain cliff; and a man who has a strong backing is
firmly rooted in Fortune" (Line 1698; compare to Nasihat 53 [38]);
the dangers of associating with those of bad charcter: "Stay away
from the one who has a bad reputation... Do not mix with the bad
man, good man, or you'll become bad like him" (Lines 4280-40); "Do
not mix with the wicked, but stay clear of them" (Line 4290); "Do
not consort with wicked friends; they will bring you loss..." (Line
1296; compare these with Nasihatlar 22 [7], 75 [60]). 
On the treatment of friends and enemies, Yusuf's work again seems
to foreshadow Bakikhanli's: "If you would make your enemy your
servant, offer him abundant gold and honor his beard. If you would
estrange an intimate, speak harshly to him and do not give him what
he asks" (Line 4277; compare to Nasihat 57 [42]); "If you wish all
men to love you, make your heart and your tongue one and your words
sweet" (Line 4278 compare to Nasihat 52 [37]). 
Also in Kutadgu Bilig are instructions concerning respect for and
conduct toward descendants of the Prophet and the ulema (Lines
4336-4355; Nasihat 4,6,16), to avoid envy (Line 1302; see Nasihat
43 [28], 44 [29]), to guard your tongue (Lines 1313, 3425; see
Nasihat 19 [5], 71 [56]), and the advantage of providing moral
education to children: "Instruct your child in wisdom while he is
young and he will be successful... Whatever a child learns in youth
he does not forget in old age but retains until he dies" (Line
1495; compare to Bakikhanli's Introduction to Nasihatlar). 
In comparing of the message of Kutadgu Bilig to that of Nasihatlar,
two points must be noted. First, seem to be no direct references to
Kutadgu Bilig in Bakikhanli's published works. The number and
detail of the similarities between the messages of the two works
are striking, however. Second, it must be noted that the such
similarities would not be found in examining other known "mirror
for princes" works. The other works of this genre written later in
the 11th century, the Persian Qabus-nameh and Nizam al-Mulk's
Siyaset-nameh or the 12th c. Nasihat al-Muluk by al-Ghazali have
distinct characeristics, all unlike Kutadgu Bilig in their main
thrust. Qabus-nameh emphasizes the pursuit of pleasure,
Siyaset-nameh is an administrative handbook, and Nasihat al-Muluk
strives "to establish the ethnical and religious basis of the
sultanate." (37) The best known Western work of this genre,
Machiavelli's The Prince, is, of course, of an entirely different
That much of the tradition which Nasihatlar embody is indeed Turkic
(rather than "Islamic") is attested not only by comparison among
the above-mentioned works or the relative lack of emphasis on
religious questions in Nasihatlar, but also by a brief examination
of the pre-Islamic Turkic inscriptions of the Orkhon tablets,
erected in the 8th century. 
The Orkhon Tablets, comprising five stone monuments with
inscriptions on all sides, are located in present-day Mongolia.
They tell of early Turkic rulers, wars and statesmen. Several clear
messages, similar to those of Bakikhanli's Nasihatlar, are
articulated in the inscriptions on these monuments or are implicit
in their heroic narrative. (38)  
The longest inscription is the Kul Tigin inscription which warns
the Turks of the "soft materials" with which the Chinese, their
remote neighbors and enemies, may lull and deceive them. The
inscription warns of the Turks thinking of being satiated and of
living in close proximity to the Chinese. (S 5-8, E 8-40) (39) In
the past, Turks were taken in by the Chinese "wiles and
deceptions," betrayed their kagans (rulers) and thereby fell under
Chinese rule: "Their sons worthy of becoming lords became slaves
and their daughters worthy of becoming ladies became servants to
the Chinese people." (E7) 
When the Turks fell under this spell, thousands were killed. The
inscription states that if the Turks themselves had not erred, no
outside force could have subdued or destroyed them: "If the sky did
not collapse, and if the earth below did not give way, O Turkish
people, who would be able to destroy your state and institutions?
O Turkish people regret and repent!  Because of your unruliness,
you yourselves betrayed your wise kagan who had (always) nourished
you, and you yourselves betrayed your realm which was free and
independent, and you (yourselves) caused discord." (E 22-23)  
The implicit message is that the individuals and the community are
responsible for their own actions and their own fate -- no "scourge
of God" is blamed for the loss of independence. The Turks are
themselves blamed for being taken in by seductive material
comforts. Their ruin was a result of their poor judgment,
foolishness, betrayal of their own just rulers, failure to exercise
caution, and lack of self-control. 
Other inscriptions emphasize the importance of strength and action
rather than inaction or laziness (Bilga Kagan and Tonyukuk
inscriptions), the importance of taking responsibility (the Ongin
inscription) and the glorification of a wise and brave leader (Kulu
Cor inscription). 
As suggested above, it is not known whether Bakikhanli had ever
read Kutadgu Bilig, although there are many similarities and the
work was known in his time. The Orkhon tablets, on the other hand,
were apparently not known in Bakikhanli's lifetime. (40) The point
to be made here is not Bakikhanli's consciousness of the precedent,
but the fact that his work represents a continuation of an earlier
Turkic tradition. Bakikhanli seems to echo the messages of Kutadgu
Bilig nearly eight centuries after Yusuf Khass Hajib and to bear
the spirit of the Orkhon tablets 1200 years after they were

The impact of Nasihatlar lies not in its originality, for the ideas
it expresses are not original. Rather, this work and others by
Bakikhanli are influential because they provide a link to the
intellectual, social, cultural past; indeed they reassert seminal
traditional values.  
For works to have impact, they must be known. Evidence indicates
that Bakikhanli's works were known, although rarely in published
Apparently, only one volume by Bakikhanli was published before
1920. (41) Nasihatlar was not published until the 1925, in a larger
volume on literary history. (42) Bakikhanli's school project was
first published in 1957 and Tahzib al-Ahlak was published for the
first time in 1982. Frequent mention of his name and ideas in the
periodical press of the late imperial period, however, raise the
possibility that his works circulated in manuscript or may have
been published in periodicals or volumes under names other than
Bakikhanli's. The publication of Nasihatlar by Firudin Kocherli in
1925 (cited above) demonstrate that at least some manuscripts were
in the hands on Azerbaijan's intellectual elite.  
The impact of Bakikhanli's ideas were left without always being
associated with his name and efforts. His bilingual school project
reappeared in modified form as the so-called Khanykov plan in 1845.
(43)  The basis had, however, been radically altered. No longer was
the aim of bilingual education and "mixed" (44) curriculum to
provide access to two worlds, but it was now to prevent Azerbaijani
Turks from going to Iran or the Ottoman Empire for a potentially
"subversive" or "anti-Russian" education and "to train students in
accord with the wishes of the state." (45) 
The Bakikhanli Project appeared yet again in the "First Muslim
Teachers' Conference" in Baku in 1906 and in the plan of that
Conference's Planning Committee, which worked out a detailed
program for bilingual education and "mixed" curriculum. (46)
Although no conscious link to Bakikhanli's project has yet been
documented, the 1906 Teachers' Committee's plan calls for many of
the same provisions as Bakikhanli's plan of 70 years earlier. 
Perhaps most telling of all is the revival of interest in
Bakikhanli and the reprinting -- or in some cases first publication
-- of his works in the 1980s. The message of Nasihatlar is now, 150
years after its composition, deemed potent enough to warrent
publication in Persian and Turkish in 30,000 copies, undoubtedly
for distribution in both Soviet and Iranian Azerbaijan. It is also
considered sufficiently powerful to require considerable
alteration. The scholars of the Azerbaijan SSR Academy of Sciences,
too, have testified to Bakikhanli's continuing relevance in their
production of a carefully translated and documented volume of his
writings. Preparations are reportedly being made for the
commemoration, in 1994, of the 200th anniversary of his birth, to
which this Chapter is dedicated.

NOTE:  In the following translation, most items have two numbers.
The first corresponds to the number of the Russian-language
translation (by the Academy of Sciences). It is followed by the
item's number from the Turkish translations unless there is no
corresponding item.  
The first 13 items of the Russian translation, for example, do not
exist in the Turkish translation and have only one number. Nasihat
No. 1 in the Turkish translation, however, corresponds to Nasihat
no. 14 of the Russian; that item is marked 14 [1]. Differences
between Cyrillic [Cy] and Arabo-Persian [AP] scripts are noted in
brackets [] as are differences with the Russian [Ru] translation.
When the two Turkic texts are the same, the abbreviation "Tk" has
been used. 

Transliteration (in comments): The Latin script as in Modern
Turkish is used, without diacritics so "sh" sound and "s" both
appear as "s."

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate! Praise to God,
lord of the world. Blessings to Muhammad, most revered among
people, first and last; blessing and greetings to his blameless and
immaculate descendants! 
Abbasgulu ibn merhum (son of the late) Mirza Mehemmed khan Bakuvi,
under the Pseudonym Kudsi, (47) speaks thus: when your humble
servant was informed and became versed in the condition of
knowledge, [he] discovered that, after finishing the Koran students
set about [reading] several books with words incomprehensible to
them that even their teachers themselves cannot understand, and in
several works, the issues are so diffuse and dissipated that
understanding and remembering them turns out to be difficult. 
[Turkic versions begin with elipsis followed by these words: When
I became aware of knowledge, it became known to me that children,
when they want to learn from certain books, encounter such confused
turns of speech that even their teachers...] 
Therefore, it follows from the thought (of the aphorism):
'Knowledge learned in childhood is like an image cut in stone,'
that the beauty of morals must be taught in childhood more than in
other years. After bad morals are rooted in one's nature, thanks to
repetition and habit, knowledge and principles of intercourse
influence them only with difficulty. 
[Turkic version: Because of this, it seems they are ignorant of the
content of this aphorism... It is necessary in childhood more than
at any other time to teach the beauty of morality. During the
repetition of excellent morals, this becomes a custom and part of
human nature and scholarly and literary rules that are difficult to
learn become a habit.] 
Thus, in the one thousand two hundred fifty second year of the
Hijra, I set forth in understandable phrases and content a short
essay of admonitions by the name, "A Book of Admonitions." 
I hope it will aid the munificent threshold [of God] (48), that
children will get some use out of it and will approach it with
[Turkic version differs here only slightly: I wrote a clear and
easily understood short book by the name Nasihatlar (Admonitions)
... and I hope that this work will be of use to children and will
influence the gradual development of their upbringing.] 
I am directing advise to children thus: 
My dear beloved (esteemed), you are a human being. God created man
above everything else. Do you not see that even though animals have
such huge bodies and strength, still they are captive in the hands
of man. And this is thanks to the knowledge of the order of things.
In society too, whoever best knows his own affairs and does good,
he will always be respected. Consequently, it is necessary to learn
the means of the knowledge of things and of the virtue of people,
who through examination and experience delineate what is good and
what is bad, and the words which for us are admonitions. 
[Tk versions ends thus after "captive in the hands of man": But
this is one of the reasons for doing your work well. Respect those
who are very knowledgeable (bilikli) and able (isbilen). In other
words, it is always necessary to learn from those people the rules
of managing your own affairs (is bilmek: task, job) and doing good;
they [are the ones who] are experienced in life and [possess]
talent. The words of such people advise us:] 
1. A world with such foundations and order could not be without a
sovereign. That means that there exists one God who created
everything. We must know him. 
2. If a father does not leave his own children on their own and
[rather] to each designates a certain duty, then how is it possible
that supreme God created us in vain and would not have entrusted us
with certain duties? 
3. We never see God, consequently, we need a person who can
transmit to us the word of and duties to God through the angels. We
call such a person a prophet. 
4. There have been many prophets; [and] all were true. But in as
much as everything has its own time, today Almighty God deigned the
Shari'a of our prophet, the Messenger of God, Muhammad ibn Abdallah
(blessings be upon him), [be considered] better than the Shari'a
[sic - laws] of other prophets and [He] guided [us?] to submit to
5. The commands and duties which Almighty God hands down to us
through the Prophet is the Koran, which is from beginning to end
the word of God, and no one can tamper with it or change it, for
the word of man does not resemble the divine word. 
6. Every person is obliged to bear love for and submit to the imams
and members of the family of the Prophet (may blessings be upon him
and his family), [for] they are the heirs of the lessons of the
Prophet; and the messenger, God's imam Mahdi (49) (greetings to
him), who will come at the end of the world and fulfill the Shari'a
of the Prophet in all the earth, belong to this group. 
7. Once Almighty God entrusts us with an obligation, then whoever
fulfills it, God will grant as a reward in [this] world contentment
and nobility; at the Resurrection he will enter paradise, and
whoever does not fulfill [this obligation] will be miserable and
obscene in this world and at the Resurrenction will be cast into
8. The Resurrection is the day that God will raise up all people
together from the dead and demand an accounting of all their
9. Those who have done good will enter paradise, in order to dwell
eternally in abundant gardens and enchanted palaces and will attain
unending contentment. 
10. Those who have done evil will be sent to hell so that in the
course of the ages they will burn in a fearsome fire, dragons and
scorpions will tear the flesh from their bodies and feed on it. 
11. One of the duties established by God is the performance of the
five ritual prayers, fulfillment of which is essential for the
understanding of God. 
12. Every day of the month of Ramadan it is necessary from dawn to
dark to observe a fast in order to enter into the state of those
who are hungry and to be charitable toward them. 
13. It is necessary that rich people give to the poor the zakat and
the khums (50) and alms, so that this will serve as a means of
subsistence and a cause for the well-being of the life and property
of others. 
14. [1] [Ru only: After God, the Prophet and the imams] Hold your
own parents more dear than anyone and whatever their
pronouncements, do them and never offend them. [Cy inserts elipsis
here in place of following sentence.] Those whose parents are not
pleased with him, neither will Almighty God be pleased with them.
Obey also your older brother and your paternal and maternal uncles.
[Cy includes this last sentence with addition of "sister". AP is
same as Ru.] 
15. [2] Respect all those who are greater than you in duty
[vazifa], learning or age so that those younger than you will
respect you. 
16. Show respect toward religious scholars, for the Prophet (upon
whom be blessings) and the imams (upon whom be greetings) are not
among us, and in the study of instructions of the Shari'a we must
be in their [the scholars'] presence. 
17. [3] Know that it is necessary for you to listen to heads of
state; if it were not for them, people would encroach upon each
other's property, lives and honor and there could be no law and
order in the country. [Cy reverses the order of the clauses so that
"property, lives and honor" is last.] 
18. [4] Whenever you are in any country, do not act contrary to
that region's laws so you will not be exposed to torment. [Tk:"be
[AP: "o yerinin kanunlari eleyhine isi gorme;" as opposed to Cy: "o
vilayetin ganun-gaydalarina zidd is gorme."] 
19. [5]  Do not do any deed or speak any word from which no good
will come in [this] world or in the next world, in order that you
will not suffer damage (loss). 
[Tk: Do not do anything that is not for the good of the people
(halk) nor speak any (such) word, so that no harm may come to you.
(AP ends with slightly different phrasing ["sana ziyan deger"
instead of "zerar yetiser"] and elipsis.)] 
20. When you see a person who is unfortunate and helpless, do not
laugh at him, for God can put you in the same position.

21. [6] Greet [Tk: selam ver- lit: wish peace] everyone that you
encounter.  If he says a[n offensive] word to you, listen and
answer with civility so that all will love you. 
[AP: "answer with tact and 'tewazu(ile),'" humility,
22. [7] Associate with those people that adults consider to be
decent [Tk: good ], stay far from the base and those who chatter
[Tk: from those who talk baseness and nonsense], so that you will
not become like them. 
23. [8] When you see one in need, do not hold back, help the one in
need to the extent you can, so that others will aid you when you
are in need. 
[Tk versions omit opening phrase and begin with "Help..." AP: uses
ihtiyac, Cy uses mohtaj. (51)] 
24. [9] Do not tell anyone's faults to another, because if that
person is your enemy, he will carry them to their destination. If
it is a friend, he will [thereafter] have a bad opinion [Tk: be
mistrustful] of you. 
[AP has slightly different wording: "haman adama catdirar... senin
hakkinda pis fikre duser" as opposed to Cy "haman sozu sahibine
catdirar... senin hakkinda badguman olar."] 
25. [10] Avoid telling lies, because if everyone knows this
characteristic [Cy: knows you as a liar], they will not believe the
truth you speak either. 
26. [11] If someone tells you the faults of another, stay far from
him because he will tell your faults to others. 
27. [12] If you have enmity toward someone, do not behave in such
a way that if, one day, you become friends, you will be ashamed
before him. 
[Tk: Do not make enemies with anyone, that one day if you make
friends with him, you will be ashamed. Phrasing differs slightly:
AP: "dost olsa ondan utanasan; Cy: "onunla dost olsan utanarsan."] 
28. [13] When a person becomes angry, he departs from reason. Do
not do any work in that condition. Only begin after your anger has
[AP for angry uses "ghazab" (Arabic) whereas Cy uses "hirs," which
is also Arabic but in common use today in Azerbaijan. AP phrasing
also differs: "keep yourself from work" ("ozunu her isten
cekindir") and use of "icra eyle" to begin work again compared to
Cy: "hic bir is gorme" and "ise basla," respectively.] 
29. [14] Do not try to do a job that you have not been charged with
because no good will come of it and you will fall behind in your
own work. 
[AP: "Do not try to do a job that you have been charged with..."
gives precisely the opposite meaning from Cy and Ru. The two Turkic
transcriptions do not otherwise differ. There may be a technical
30. [15] Fear laziness, it is the greatest shame. There is nothing
more foul [Tk: worse] in the world than idleness. 
[AP: uses the phrase "it is worse than all other shames" and
slightly different final phrasing. Both Turkic transcriptions use
"issizlik" which I have translated as "idlenss" rather than
"unemployment." Ru here uses "bezdel'e" or "idleness."] 
31. [16] God created everything to maintain the world in order so
that one thing cannot exist without other things. You too are one
of those things. If you remain idle (issiz), stone and mud are
better than you because they can be used to build a house. 
[AP agrees with Ru, with some rephrasing. Cy differs noticeably: In
this world, everything was created for a purpose. One thing cannot
live without being the help of another. You, too, are one of those,
and if you remain unmarried, then stones and mud are better...  AP
uses "ev tikmeye yarayarlar" instead of Cy's "ev tikmek isinde kara
32. [17] Hold the increase of knowledge and education more dear
than anything else because everything (else) is increased by the
use of them. 
[Cy: Strive for learning and the education of the mind above
everything else because everything else is done with their help.] 
33. [18] Do not do good to those who [AP: try to] do evil to
others. This constitutes good for the evil and evil for the good. 
34. [19] Do not be quick to believe everything you hear. Perhaps
the one who tells you something bears a grudge. Or, the one
relaying the word did not clearly understand its meaning. Prove the
word from other sources. [Cy ends: accordingly, investigate the
words you hear from different sources.] 
[AP: Do not believe everything you hear as soon as you hear it, for
the person who speaks that very probable thing perhaps has a grudge
or he himself is unaware of the truth of the matter. Try to learn
from some other place whether the words you heard are true or not.]

35. [20] It often happens that when we are sure of a matter at one
time, it later becomes known that the same matter has a different
[AP and Ru are similar, Cy has slightly different wording and word
36. [21] Do not get into the habit of joking and playing tricks
[AP: playing tricks and making empty jokes] or you will look
frivolous in the opinion of others and those of whom you made fun
will take offense and think ill of you [Tk end here] and will make
it their goal to do evil to you. 
37. [22] If you triumph over someone in an argument, do not behave
such that those around should know his ignorance. In that case, he
will keep enmity in his heart toward you and at an appropriate
moment take revenge. 
[AP and Ru are same. Cy: If you triumph over a man...  do not try
to display his ignorance to those around...] 
38. [23] During a conversation, do not interfere with the speech of
others! It is possible that a sly person will err and reveal his
intent and (thus) an enemy will reveal something to your advantage.
But if you talk much, your own inadequacies will be revealed. 
[Cy: ...sly person will err and display to you a truth you are
seeking. AP is roughly the same as Ru, but the language of both Tk
versions is more ambiguous.] 
39. [24]  Well-being consists not in high position but in a good
mood. It often happens that a poor man finds [AP: by his (own)
efforts] a morsel of bread and eats in peace [AP: with peace of
mind; Cy: in peace and happiness], but the one who commands might
is, from the turmoil of his affairs, plunged into confusion and
[Cy: Peace of mind is in the enjoyment of the circumstances, not in
property, wealth and position... but the owner of wealth and luxury
from the tangle of his own work lives in anxiety and torment (AP:
torment and fear).] 
[AP uses mihnet and korku in this last line, where Cy uses mihnet
and tesvis.] 
40. [25] When some kind of disaster overtakes you, hope in God and
be patient; regret does not return that which was destroyed;
because of that [regret], perhaps, you will fail to find out also
about future matters. 
[Tk: If some misfortune befalls you, be hopeful, wait and be
patient because to long for something that is lost, to regret, will
not bring it back, [and] perhaps your anxiety and moaning (for
things lost) will also cause you to fail to take precautions for
(other) matters.] 
[AP: Final phrasing varies: iztirab ozunden gelecek islerin
tedbirinden de gafil olarsan; compared to Cy: iztirab ve ahu-zarlik
gelecek islerin tedbirini de elinden alar.] 
41. [26] Do not tell others your misfortunes. If they are your
enemies, your misfortune serves as a cause for (their) mischief and
for an increase in their power [Tk: they will mock you, be pleased
and show their own strength]; if they are strangers, you will be
lowered in their eyes [Tk: you will begin to appear unfortunate and
worthless;] if they are your friends, it will be a cause for them
to be sad and that too will stir up your grief [Tk: be a new
trouble for you]. 
[AP: several words differ from Cy - for "misfortune," AP has "dert"
instead of "musibet"; for "be sad," uses gamlanmak where Cy uses
"kederlenmek." Instead of "appear unfortunate and worthless," AP
has "fall from respect," "hurmetden dusmek."] 
42. [27] Villainy in most cases produces result opposite those
hoped for. [Tk: Bad character usually causes undesired results.] A
miserly person lives in fear of being swindled. A haughty man
appears base in the eyes of the people, an egotist is rebuked and
people laugh at him. [AP: is afraid of being laughed at (but)
becomes a laughing stock.] The man with a heavy-heart [Cy: hirsli,
AP: azapli] is tormented because of other people's wrongs. 
43. [28] Envy is a sign of talentlessness. A person who believes in
his own talent tries to acquire more than others. An untalented
(unable) person sees that he cannot improve and wishes that others
too will fail to make them equal to himself. 
[Cy: If everyone believes in his own strength, he will try above
everything else to obtain what he wants... ] 
[AP: ...Those who believe in their own talents will be more
successful than others... An untalented person, failing to meet
with success wishes others too will fail....] 
44. [29] There is no flame that burns worse than envy. An envious
person can never live peacefully. His own sorrow and the joy of
others are both troubles to him. 
45. [30] A greedy and covetous person always complains and is
troubled by scarcity because no matter how much wealth he gathers,
it always seems insufficient. 
46. [31] Do not rely on the kindness and humility of your enemy
[Tk: Do not believe the (AP: humble and) friendly words of your
enemy], perhaps he is deceiving you or if he is weak he is waiting
for a suitable time. 
47. [32] Do not suppose yourself to be talented with every
compliment of others, perhaps they have a goal and they want to
veil their aim with these compliments. 
[AP: first sentence has slightly different wording from Cy, e.g.
for "suppose," gives "guman etmek" where Cy has "zenn etmek."] 
48. [33] In every rank know your own limit, hold yourself neither
lower nor higher than you should. 
49. [34] Do not let people immediately find out about your affairs,
for they are revealed by your tongue, both good and evil. In that
case, refrain from setting forth your own confidential words. 
[Tk: The people will quickly learn your condition, from your own
tongue they will learn whether you are in a good or bad state.
Therefore, carefully mind your tongue (speech) and avoid saying
things that are unnecessary!] 
50. [35] Fulfill every task in accord with intellect and reason. If
suddenly luck does not help it to come about, then you will remain
in the world with the name of an expert of your own affairs.  
[Tk ends: ...if it does not bring luck at least you will be
remembered by the world as one who knew.  AP: slight variation on
first phrase; instead of "intellect and reason" has (lit.) "with
the support of your reason."]
51. [36] Do not deny the things you do not know and do not put too
much faith even in [AP: do not be too sure of] the thing you know
to be right, because our knowledge is still very little or our
minds are in confusion. [Tk final phrase: "and our intellects are
very poor."] 
52. [37] The modest and sweet-tongued  person has many friends. 
53. [38]  Lucky is he who has many friends. What could be better
than the sharing of sorrow with another, the indication by him of
your inadequacies and the rendering to you of help [when] in need? 
[Cy: A person with many friends is lucky, and moreover, when a
calamity comes upon you, a friend is your companion to your trouble
and shows your defect and helps you in need. 
[AP: ...what could be better than your friend's partnership in your
troubles? ... in time of need extends a helping hand.] 
54. [39] A person who is too tied to property and earthly love [Tk:
loves the things of this world and hungrily searches for a high
position] cannot be fit for friendship, because he will always
strive for his own benefit to the harm of another [Tk: and will try
to harm others]. 
55. [40] In every task, turn for advise to those who know more than
you and are guileless (without grudge). [AP reverses order.] One
person's mind cannot be expert in every task. 
56. [41] Do not compare the significance (merit) of a word with the
circumstances under which it is spoken, there are times when the
ignoramus says such a thing that surprises the shrewd [Cy: an
ignoramus speaks such (AP: intelligent) words that the intelligent
will be charmed], or the intelligent sometimes make such an error
that the ignorant would not make. 
57. [42] By doing good, you make a free man your slave. If you give
trouble, with torment you drive away from yourself [your own (52)]
[AP: By means of goodness, you can make a free, virtuous man a
slave, but when you give trouble, slaves run from you. Cy ends: in
their submission they will repudiate you.  Also differences in
words, e.g. "slave" is rendered as "bende" in AP and in Cy as
58. [43] Avoid eating too much, because it is harmful to the health
of your body and mind. 
59. [44] Do not do all that your heart thirsts for, but do that
which your mind demands because the mind chooses [AP: is able to
distinguish] good and evil. 
[Tk begins: Do not indulge yourself, fulfill the desires of your
60. [45] There is no wealth  better than mind and knowledge [Cy:
above your intelligence and aspiration]. They are always with you
and no one can take them from you. 
61. [46] When you want to give advice to someone, if you want to
give your expertise concerning his work, [do it] in secret [because
if he is] in the company of other people he will not accept it and
may be offended by you. 
62. [47] Whatever promise you make, try to fulfill it, that another
time if you again make a promise, others will believe that it too
you will fulfill. 
[AP: final wording different in use of "icra etmek" for "fulfill"
unlike Cy "yerine yetirmek."] 
63. [48] As much as possible do not accept things which another
gives [Cy: do not take loans or things from another] because in his
eyes you will seem base and to you he will seem great. 
64. [49] Do not put off until tomorrow a task that you see today,
perhaps tomorrow you will not be able to do it. 
65. [50] Make piety your motto; whoever commits amoral offenses,
loses faith and shame, and he will be dishonored in the eyes of the
[Tk begins: Make rightness your motto, if everyone abandons himself
to "crookedness," (AP: his) shame and faith leave...] 
66. [51] If you know a person's flaws, try to conceal them, so that
God will cover your flaws. 
[AP: When you see the flaws and evils of another, do not try to
divulge them... Cy: ...try  not to spread them...] 
67. [52] When there is the probability that there is good, do not
construe a person's actions as bad, perhaps it was advisable and
you still do not appreciate its use(fulness). [AP: its real nature.
Cy: its meaning]. 
68. [53] A person is famous not for his linneage but for his
personal achievements. A worthy son does not need a high birth
[lit: descent], a degenerate is a disgrace to [his] family. 
[Cy: A person's honor is according to his own talent and not his
lineage. Intelligent progeny have no need of lineage, worthless
progeny destroy the lineage's name. AP varies slightly from Cy.] 
69. [54] That which you consider to be bad for yourself do not
employ with relation to others, so that recompense (retribution)
for it will not be ascribed (fall) to you. 
[Tk: What you do not regard as permissible (reva gormemek) for
yourself, do not regard as permissible for another, that otherwise
you will receive punishment from some other [person].] 
70. [55] Inasmuch as people of all religions, even the
idolworshipers, believe in a retribution for the commission of
sins, whatever good or evil you do to another you do to yourself. 
[Tk: Every religion, even Buddhism, has such good beliefs as: every
desire has its punishment. Whatever good or evil you do to anyone
you are doing to yourself.] 
71. [56] When uttering any word or performing any act, do not be
certain that you are alone and no one knows about you; it is very
possible that [the act] will be found out; likewise it will [then]
believed that every act which is committed [by you] is bad, and
[you will be] quickly disgraced. 
[Tk: If you speak every word or execute every action in secret, do
not be assured that you are in seclusion [alone, unobserved] and
another will not know this [word or act]. It often happens that
those words or that effort will be revealed and you will be
72. [57] Do not wish anyone ill, be honorable in matters of
commerce [lit: sale and purchase]; do not encroach on that which
has been entrusted to you, so that you will not fall into the wrath
of God and will not be cursed by the people. 
[Tk: Do not do harm to anyone, be pure on your own account (for
your own sake?), do not abuse your trusts (things entrusted to you)
that ... (elipsis in Cy text, none in AP.) that the people will
turn away from you.] 
73. [58] Be kind to your relatives and to those people attached to
them and [AP: try to] help them, that they will also be kind to
74. [59] Behave well toward your neighbors and those around you so
that they behave toward you in a like manner. You are one and they
are many [and] it is clear that the one [lone person] is in need of
the many. 
[Tk: Show goodness and get along (Cy: "mudara," suggests feigned
friendship; AP has "yahsi davran," "behave well") with your
neighbors and the local people that they will show friendship [here
both texts use "mudara"] to you. Know that you are one and they are
many... [elipsis in Cy text, none in AP.]  That the lone person
must be cautious toward the many is obvious.] 
75. [60] Avoid [people] with  a foul character and bad nature, for
[this] ruins all the beauty of morals. A person of bad nature
suffers from his own temper, to say nothing of [suffering from]
other people. 
[Cy: Beware of those with a bad character and of the quality of
having a bad character, for they spoil good morals (AP: good
character will come to nought); a person with bad character,
inflicts pain upon himself (AP: will suffer from his own
character), so what can he expect from the people. (In some
passages wording differs, e.g. for "bad character," AP uses
"bedmizac" where Cy gives "pis hasiyyet.")]

76. [61] In doing good to anyone, neither openly nor by signs
obligate him for the aid you rendered, or the value of the good
will be lost and injury will proliferate in place of kindness. 
[AP: not by innuendo hang an obligation around his neck...the
importance of the good is lost and in place of pleasantness, grief
will blossom.] 
77. [62] That person is considered intelligent who sees his own
faults more than those of others and attaches less importance to
his own skills than to those of others.  
[Cy: ...knows little of his own capabilities.] 
78. [63] If someone does a wrong to you, be a bit patient and rid
yourself of it with mildness. If there is no other alternative than
to answer his wrong, do only a like measure, to repel his evil, and
no more. 
[Cy: If someone injures you, respond with self-restraint; if you
must respond in kind, be rid of his wrong only and give no further
79. [64] Seek friendship as much as possible because from hostility
only regret is born. 
[Cy: Try to earn as many friends as possible because enmity
multiplies regret.] 
80. [65] Do not suppose any enemy to be powerless, it is probable
that he has a powerful friend or has ties with men of ability ["or
has ties..." lacking in Cy] and they will help him. 
81. [66] Do not keep hatred in your heart for another that your own
peace of heart and trust [Cy: peace of mind] will be lost. 
[AP: different words, e.g. for "hatred" uses "adavet" where Cy uses
"kin," for "heart" uses "yurek" where Cy uses "kalb" and final
phrase (lit.) is "your heart's peace will be lost."] 
82. [67] When you hear from someone something bad about yourself,
immediately express yourself to him; you will understand the truth
or falsity of the words you heard from his behavior. 
[AP: When you hear that someone has spoken badly of you, do not be
quick to confront that person with these words, the truth or
correctness of the words will be known to you through that one's
actions and speech.] 
[Cy: If someone reported unfavorably of you, do not confront the
individual who has done this,...] 
83. [68] Make use of the fortune (means) given to you by God in
this world and the next. The person who hoards deprives himself of
[his] fortune for [it, i.e. the fortune] is easily lost or is
passed on to heirs. 
[Tk: Wealth you gather is for spending in this world and the next.
If every one were miserly ["hasis;" AP: "pahil"] and hoarded
wealth, they would deprive themselves of (the pleasure of) this
wealth because either it will perish from some event or will be
left to the descendents.] 
[AP: for "the good in the next world," gives "ahiret menafi'ini,"
where Cy gives "ahiret isleri."] 
84. [69] When spending wealth, one should not squander it, so that,
from unskillful expenditures, it will not lost to a use for which
it was expected. [Cy: Because it might not be available when you
need to spend it in a more needed place.] 
85. [70] When you do wrong, no benefit will accrue from it. Instead
you will be left with sin and a bad name. 
[Cy: A wicked act will never do you good, but will leave you with
a bad name. For "bad name," AP uses "badnamelik" where Cy uses "pis
ad." Tk versions omit "sin"] 
86. [71] A person derives pleasure twice from a good action: first
when one performs it, second when one is repaid for it. 
87. [72] Since everything in the world is doomed to destruction, do
not attach yourself [AP: soil yourself by firm attachment] to
anything so that when it suddenly is destroyed, your life will not
be unbearable [AP: because when it meets decline you will suffer
[Cy: Inasmuch as it is true that nothing in the world is eternal.
With every thing that is destroyed, do not make yourself suffer ...
(elipsis in Cy text.)] 
88. [73] Do not destroy your life with matters that you will later
have to abandon. 
[AP: slight wording differences: "terk etmek" for "abandon" where
Cy has "el cekmek."] 
89. [74] Have patience when you are preparing a task, but hurry in
the execution! For much time is needed to understand the value of
a task, for its fulfillment an apppropriate moment is enough. 
[AP: Think well (carefully?) when you take on a task (Cy: Do not
hurry in the planning of a task) and then do not neglect its
fulfillment, because in order to comprehend a task much time is
necessary, but to execute it, (one) opportunity is sufficient (Cy:
but little [time is needed] for its accomplishment).] 
90. [75] Do not complain of poverty or misfortune, for in this
world there are many [Tk: those] in greater poverty or misfortune
than you, and if they were like you (in a like situation), they
would consider themselves fortunate... [Italics in Cy text, but not
in AP.] 
91. The world was created by God in accord with rules and order.
All people in it cannot be equal, just as in one body the ear
cannot manage that which is demanded of the eye, the hand cannot do
what the mouth does. God created each [of these] in one form which
is necessary for its appointed task. 
92. Similarly, as people are distinguished by [external] figure and
voice, [they] are distinguished also by their knowledge and morals.
Inasmuch as we know the Sovereign of the world to be wise, there is
no place for reproach in the fact that for some reason He made one
person this way and another that way. 
93. [76] When some job you have done does not yield the result you
wanted, check to see [AP: think over] whether the fault lies with
yourself. Often we do not fulfill the affairs according to the
dictates of the mind and later blame others [Tk: Often it happens
that we do not conduct our affairs with reason and then blame
others... (Cy  and AP texts end here with elipsis)],  and worst of
all, thinking God a hindrance to usefull affairs, we say "God did
not provide." 
94. [77] It is necessary to observe moderation in all
circumstances. Both extravagance and miserliness are evil. Although
gentleness is the best of morals, even anger has its own place.
Consequently, the intelligent one is the one who always, in all
circumstances, maintains moderation. 
[Tk: It is necessary always to observe temperateness. If we give
free rein to miserliness and waste, we will see no good. Even with
kindness and a wonderful character, sometimes anger is accepted
[beyenilir] in its place. That means the intelligent person is one
who, in all matters, adopts temperateness.] 
95. [78] Do not try to save a guilty person from a justly given
punishment, because others dare to do evil deeds and to torment the
poor. [AP ends: doing so will embolden others to do wrong and will
create trouble for the pitable.] 
[Cy: Do not try to cause reconcilliation to a guilty person,
because when you do, this will embolden wicked people and trouble
the weak.] 
96. [79] If one whom you know to be blameless is unjustly punished,
by every means [AP: to the extent possible] save him from calamity
and slander [Tk versions end here] so that God will consider others
in obligation to give you help in calamity. 
97. [80] That person is called unlucky who, even when he is able,
does not do good to others. [Tk end here] Meanwhile, after the
rendering of good it is necessary [for the recipient?] sincerely to
give a blessing, that it turns out to the benefactors to be of the
same essence as he himself. (?) 
[AP: different phrasing, e.g. "enden gelmek" for "able" where Cy
has "bacarmak."  
98. Without deeds and merits in vain one hopes for the benefits of
God, for to give undeservedly means to give in error. 
99. [81] In all your tasks, supervise their fulfillment yourself,
because noone will hold your profit above his own good. Besides
that, since there are various kinds of "precisions" it is very
difficult for another to be able to fulfill in every way the task
at the same level that you want. 
100. [82] It is not possible to do a job that requires help without
that help. Because, one person cannot do every job  alone, perhaps
he will be occupied with the details and forget the important
aspects. In other words it is necessary when you delegate any task
to another to oversee how he fulfills it. 
101. [83] Take on work according to your own strength and talent,
not simply according to your desires. It often happens that a
person runs after much but produces little. 
102. [84] Do good to every person according to his own condition,
for a small thing suits someone according to his taste more than a
significant thing. 
[Cy: for it often happens that an insignificant thing more often
than a big thing accrues to a person's benefit.] 
103. Although in affairs we have our own will, still if God does
not wish it, then we can do nothing. Therefore it is necessary, in
order that we ourselves take appropriate measures and beneficially
fulfill them, that we petition the Sovereign of the world. 
God knows the truth and to Him is restitution.

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