We are all organs of one another – Saadi

October 28th, 2012  |  Published in All Posts, Civitas, Everything, photographia

This is one of the most famous verses of Persian poetry, maybe even the most famous. It was written by the 12-13 century Shirazi poet Saadi:

بنی آدم اعضای یکدیگرند
که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند

چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار

تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی

This is my translation:
Sons of Man are organs of one another; From one essence were they all created.
If Time* woundeth an organ , for the other organs steadiness remaineth not.
Thou, who carest not about the suffering of others, Deservest not to be called human.
(I have to work on my Shakespearean English, I know).
This famous poem of Saadi is inscribed in the entrance to the UN building in New York (one day I will make a picture of that too), and its first two verses also represented Iran on the Voyager Golden Record sent by NASA to outer space in 1977, hoping aliens understand Classical Persian and are touched by the commitment of other races to one another. Here’s the Persian greeting to aliens, following another, less poetic greeting (this is the source).
 These lines are also written on this monument in Tehran, which stands in the Nation Park (park e mellæt) in Tehran.
All men are the limbs of one body.

All humans are the organs of one body. Tehran monument in honor of disabled people.

The monument is dedicated to the disabled, and besides these two verses, in Persian and in Braille, it also includes different illustrations of different disabilities.

I took a few pictures of it. I like this one best because it has the reflection of a human. In other countries it may be impossible to tell whether this is a man or a woman, but in Iran it can only be a man dressed like this.

Here are some other pictures of the monument and a footnote.

Monument in honor of the disabled, Nation Park, Tehran.

Monument in honor of the disabled, Nation Park, Tehran.








*Iran is nowadays under Islamic occupation, but this Time is a remnant of Zoroastrianism, the original religion of Iran, where Zurvān, or zamān i a-kanārag, just like Greek Chronos, is Time personified and deified. Zamān i a-kanārag literally means “the Time that has no limits” or “the Time that has no beginning or end”, which is later divided into countable units such as days and months.
Monument in honor of the disabled, Nation Park, Tehran.Monument in honor of the disabled, Nation Park, Tehran.Monument in honor of the disabled, Nation Park, Tehran.











Some scholars think Time is a Semitic idea that penetrated both Zoroastrianism and the Helenistic cultures. The very idea of Time is very different in Semitic realms than that of the West. Semitic have an independent idea of time, while most Indo-Iranian cultures developed, or borrowed it later.

Monument in honor of the disabled, Nation Park, Tehran.

* Zoroastrian Zurvān existed as a God beforehand as well, but only later did it come to be the god of Time, who is the first creator of everything else. In Zurvanism, a
cult that existed during the Sassanian period, Zurvan was alone nowhere. Then he wanted a son who would create heaven and earth and everything
in between. He sacrificed for a long time, but then he had a doubt regarding the efficacy of his sacrifices. In that minute he got pregnant with Ahura Mazdā, the main Zoroastrian god, and with Ahriman, the evil spirit.
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