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Caravan of Dreams distills the essence of Eastern thought in a feast of stories, sayings, poems and allegories, collected by one of the world's leading experts in Oriental philosophy. Idries Shah builds up a complete picture of a single consciousness, relating mythology to reality, illuminating historical patterns, and presenting philosophical legends in this unique antholCaravan of Dreams distills the essence of Eastern thought in a feast of stories, sayings, poems and allegories, collected by one of the world's leading experts in Oriental philosophy. Idries Shah builds up a complete picture of a single consciousness, relating mythology to reality, illuminating historical patterns, and presenting philosophical legends in this unique anthology. Its title is inspired from the couplet written by the Sufi mystic Bahaudin: 'Here we are, all of us: in a dream-caravan, A caravan, but a dream - a dream, but a caravan. And we know which are the dreams. Therein lies the hope.'...

Title : Caravan of Dreams
Author :
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ISBN : 1889980
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 576 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Caravan of Dreams Reviews

  • Ulrika Eriksson
    2019-05-07 05:24

    This is an old friend that hasn´t been resting on its book shelf for long. The Sufi and author Idries Shah was as a person and with his books a bridge between east and west. Here he presents eastern mind, traditions, humor and history in his very own special way – humoristic, erudite and wise. The title alludes to the words of Sufi mystic Bahauddin Naqshband “Here we are, all of us: in a dream caravan….” and in the book follows, like in a wonderful, wondrous caravan, all kinds of stories. It is very interesting to read about the vast work that was accomplished after the death of the prophet Mohammed with collecting and authenticating all of his sayings, so called Hadiths. It was a work that evolved to a science.”You ask me to curse unbelievers. But I was not sent to curse.” ”Do you think you love your creator? Love your fellow-creature first.”These and fifty-one more Hadiths to ponder are there as well as stories of Mulla Nasrudin, told to and recorded by the author. And much, much more.Read this and Idries Shah´s other books. They are needed more than ever in these fundamentalist times

  • Kevan Bowkett
    2019-05-14 04:20

    CARAVAN OF DREAMS, by IDRIES SHAH"Caravan of Dreams" by Idries Shah, originally published in 1968, is being reissued this November (2014) in a new edition. The book is, in the words on the back cover, "[a] rich collection of Eastern oral and written literature." It is itself like a caravan of small treasures (which seem to grow bigger as one reads). It is one of my favourite books, and one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. It's an unusual book. It is still, 46 years after its publication, hard to fit into our conventional literary categories. It seems more reminiscent of Middle eastern classics like Rumi's Mathnawi, Saadi's Rose Garden, or the Thousand and One Nights, in being a collection of many different types of written materials -- autobiography, poetry, jokes, proverbs, prophetic traditions, information or exposition, tales, table-talk, teaching encounters. By turns the text is abrasive, practical, soothing, wonder-provoking, informative, wry, funny, haunting, and exquisitely evocative. "Caravan of Dreams" is arranged into several sections: Traditions of the Prophet, Adventures of Mulla Nasrudin, travels (on the Red Sea and the pilgrimage to Mecca), Thoughts from Omar Khayyam, Meditations of Rumi, Short Stories, Extracts, and Table Talk by Idries Shah. The Short Stories alone have a great range of moods and styles, from the lurid 'Prince of Darkness' to the stately goofiness of 'The Tale of Melon City,' to the strange magic and wonder of 'The Story of Mushkil Gusha' and 'The Magic Horse.' The Extracts include a wide variety of material, like passages from Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," more tales, and remarks by Sufi teaching masters. There are relentless psychological appraisals in 'Saadi: On Envy' and surprisingly vivid anecdotes like 'The Artillery' (also very funny). The Table Talk too is full of stories, piquant observations, and aphoristic-like remarks that bear thinking about, such as: A Motto of the Human RaceTell me what to do; but it must be what I want you to tell me.Or, Fortune'When Fortune knocks, open the door,' they say. But why should one make fortune knock, by keeping the door shut?Or,Inner KnowledgeYou want to become wise in one lesson: First become a real human being.The diversity of forms and styles may be a sort of tonic, may help prevent the reader from falling into a somnolence brought on by the repetition of material in a single manner (for instance only tales; or only information; or only poetry). The book's arrangement seems to help us approach the material in a way that minimizes the 'Coercive Agencies' that Shah discusses in it. Commenting on any part or aspect of the book seems to create a too-narrow focus on that part, and to trivialize it. The 'lens' of commentary shrinks and deforms the object. (And the process of deformation of -- or through? -- thought is commented on in 'A Few Short Miles' in the Table Talk section.)Following some of the suggestions in the book can open up what almost seem like new worlds to the observer. Like the suggestion that we study "[t]he growth, development and activity of informal coercive agencies, not often recognised as such because of the poorly delineated identification and measurement tools in current use." Pursuing this can reveal a largely unsuspected world of manipulative patterns and behaviours that constrain us, and seem at least as harmful and expensive to society as recognized, formal tyrannies. (This section seems to have been so pertinent to Doris Lessing that she quoted from it at the beginning of volume 2 of her autobiography, "Walking in the Shade.") Areas of the book that seem less clear or enjoyable at first will reward repeated attention. Different meanings open up with time, thought, and successive readings, such as the 'Definitions of Mulla Do-Piaza' or the short statements in the Table Talk. Much of the material in the book can help us to see ourselves, by showing us what we are like in some states. Tahir Shah, one of the greatest travellers of the contemporary world, wrote that Bruce Chatwin's "The Songlines" and "Caravan of Dreams" are the two books he always takes travelling. (See his "In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams.") Reading this book, one seems close to the very heart of what literature is trying to say, and perhaps to what it, at its best, is trying to do.Here is one magical piece, by Omar Khayyam: I FlewI was a hawk. I flew from the secret worldDesiring to wing at once to heights.But as I found none worthy of the SecretI went back by the door through which I came.The publisher, ISF Publishing (, is releasing a new edition of "Caravan of Dreams" in November 2014.

  • Bob
    2019-04-25 22:20

    Idries Shah was a popularizer of Sufi-ism in much the same way as D. T. Suzuki was for Buddhism. This book is largely short entertaining stories and parables - a nice thing to have in your hip pocket as you stroll about. Whether by reading it, one is in any way getting a coherent sense of mystic Islam or subtly absorbing wisdom of any sort is anybody's guess.

  • Zulfiqar
    2019-04-24 00:31

    Three things cannot be retrieved:The arrow once sped from the bowThe word spoken in hasteThe missed opportunity.(Ali the Lion, Caliph of Islam, son-in-law of Mohammed the Prophet), Caravan of Dreams, page 210

  • Robs
    2019-05-01 02:08

    Shah hopes to assist readers of his work in many ways, one of which is to provide a kind of immunity to prolonged bouts of extremist thought and action, whether localised in an individual mind, or manifested within a larger group or culture. In 'Caravan' the breadth of which is kaleidoscopic, he starts with 'Traditions of the Prophet' which could be interpreted as 'things what Mohammed said' to his companions, family, friends and community. He explains that much labour, resource, and academic endeavour has been deployed in investigating their accuracy, and that over one hundred and seventy significant contributors to this area of study were women. He then provides a selection of the 'traditions' from a respected collection. Included are:''Whoever has no kindness has no faith, You ask me to curse unbelievers. But I was not sent to curse, No monkery in Islam, My back has been broken by 'pious' men, The holy warrior is he who struggles with himself, Anyone reviling a brother for a sin will not himself die before committing it, The Koran has been revealed in seven forms. Each verse has an inner and outer meaning, Speaking the truth to the unjust is the best of holy wars, and many more. Once exposed to lines such as these it seems impossible to concur that the Prophet would condone the types of theological fascism presently causing so much grief around the world. It also seems deeply simplistic to agree with those who assert that Mohammed's works can be used to justify caution and suspicion of 'muslims' and their communities. Not bad for a Scot.

  • Roberto
    2019-05-04 00:04

    An anthology full of wisdom from the Middle-East

  • Ita
    2019-05-20 02:08

    ‘Caravan of Dreams’ is an extraordinary anthology. As in the exquisite geometric design on the cover, each piece – from uncorrupted teaching story to cryptic proverb – has its place in an entertaining work, designed to show that what is possible to man goes well beyond what our society considers its limit. Just how low our expectations are is revealed in some startlingly frank observations by Idries Shah.To benefit from a book like this needs more than passive reading. Intellectual analysis of stories, which can simply be enjoyed, is not recommended, but there are contemplation materials and opportunities for reflection. Shah also provides insights into our Western culture, on which we can base study of our own lives, and of our surroundings. This is not the first time I have read this book, and I am still far from exhausting its riches.It is almost fifty years since ‘Caravan of Dreams’ was published. With hindsight it seems obvious that, had it been more widely read in both East and West, we could have been spared the conflict and misery, which misunderstanding between our cultures engenders. Let's hope this essence of a wise tradition reaches many readers.

  • Aubrey Davis
    2019-05-20 01:04

    Clear thinking, common sense and humour are not what we’ve come to expect from the Middle East and Central Asia. This glittering caravan of thought-provoking jokes, proverbs, table talk and tales delivers all this and more. It reveals what we share and can learn from Eastern lands. Here's a little sample:Sayings of the Prophet Mohammed: Women are the twin-halves of Men. Trust in God, but tie your camel first. Idries Shah: Show me a man who thinks that he knows what 'good' is, and I will probably be able to show you a horror of a person. Show me a person who really knows what 'good' is, and I will show you that he almost never uses the word. Life: Sometimes the man on the saddle, sometimes the saddle on the man. Proverb

  • Holly
    2019-05-07 22:24

    A treasure of a book that could work to wash away many of the preconceptions that hang over Islam today, through the many beautiful hadiths (oral traditions of the Prophet Muhammad). This volume includes several beautiful examples of travel writing (taken from the book Destination Mecca) and poignant reflections from the author himself regarding psychology, sociology, and the bars that keep humankind trapped in an avoidable maze.

  • Laurel
    2019-04-29 00:11

    A pretty diverse selection of Islamic stories, proverbs, and allegories that can mostly be summarized like this:- Don't be a fool.- You probably don't even know that you're a fool.- Things aren't what they seem, especially when you're a fool.- It's possible, but very difficult, to stop your foolishness. Try, all your life.

  • Beatrix
    2019-04-25 23:06

    Now getting into the theme of the philosophy of the book am starting to enjoy it. Shame I don't have a hard copy in my hand as there is nothing like the real book in your hands. Starting this book I thought I was going to read one of his novels which I just love but this this from a philisophical stance am enjoying the wisdom from this book.

  • David Melik
    2019-05-12 01:33

    This is quite an interesting book about Sufi history, philosophy, and [teaching] stories. It is entertaining, but all pieces are short, and if one seeks something deeper I would recommend Shah's other books about Sufism.

  • Anna
    2019-04-22 00:16

    This book is the marvellous content in the beautiful container. Read and re-read it!

  • Khawaja Hamad
    2019-04-30 03:24

    The best of Idries Shah.

  • Ronald Tailor
    2019-05-03 00:06

    Another really great book of Idries Shah's. As with all of this author's books, each time I revisit it I learn something new and often there are dozens of fresh insights that result from the reading. For those seeking wisdom, it's good to pace yourself with books like this: read it once, then put it aside for a while (everyone's time-table is different, but for me it's usually at least a few years). Then read it again and see how it (and you) have changed. Like its title, this book seems to travel with you, on your journey through life's hopes, disillusionments, fears, successes, lucid wakenings, and dreams.The contents and style of _Caravan of Dreams_ are hard to pin down. I think this is intentional and it certainly keeps one's interest from flagging! It has wise folk tales and stories. But it's not all stories. It unusually insightful sayings and aphorisms, wisdom bytes that you'll want to remember and perhaps pass on to others, but it's not 100% short quotes. It has historical accounts, including a long, fascinating piece about the author's personal pilgrimage, but again, the bulk of the book is not taken up with this material. There are also practical advise sections: not tales, not short quotes, but a page or maybe a page and a half that focuses on a particular topic, like human bias, the effects of time, systems of knowledge, unrecognized forms of mental conditions, and so on. But the book isn't 100% advice. In _Caravan of Dreams_, the Sufi contention that this constant switching of styles and material helps this material sink in to the level where it needs to go is stressed. This contention is one of the things that distinguishes this book (and others written by this author) from virtually every other book I have read. Very few books work with people on A deeply unconscious level and the few that do usually do not admit to this fact let alone invite you to join in on this process! Be careful before turning this book's pages. Like an extensive journey to a faraway place, this book will change you over time. When you finish it, you will not be the same person you were before you started it. I suppose one could say that of every book, but while many books I read leave strong impressions, all that's left a year or two later is a general feeling of "I liked that book" or "I disliked it." A year after reading _Caravan of Dreams_, it wasn't a matter of liking or disliking. Instead, I'd learned some things that changed the way I looked at life and how I approached and managed living. I can't point to any spot in the book and say, "There! That's the quote that caused me to become like this," but I can say I see the world around me with different eyes, thanks to the experience of reading this book. Extensive, adventurous travel has much the same effect on a person, I am told, by those who travel a lot.

  • Paul Berglund
    2019-05-12 06:04

    I imagine, for the moment, this remarkable book as....a caravan in itself....72 entries in the table of contents, each a richly laden camel, carrying a teaching story , or a short collection of tales or sayings, or a whole travel account.... I will further fancy that I am a traveler who has encountered this caravan, and I ride alongside, up and down the length, and .......pick a camel at random...literally. I throw 12 old bone dice.....(actually in this case a random number generator on the computer....) All right then! number 24, ( page 144 in the book) what are you carrying? A story......The Angel and the Charitable Man...Now, I have here styled myself a desert traveler..., but not a philosopher or a while I can in fact read, and enjoy... I am , sadly, unable to interpret or summarize this tale for you; but what an interesting little treasure! An angel tells a hermit to inform a charitable man that he is to soon be taken to Paradise...What follows...fascinating and...thought-provoking... one tale, picked at random (truly), worth the trip by itself, I would say. Makes one wonder what other ..wonders..the other camels are bearing. Fellow traveler....I recommend it! could read from it free...if you like , on the ISF site ( Or perhaps, if you have the means, you could buy a copy, or an online download. A caravan...of dreams....right there for you. Five stars?....Ah, but look up at the starry sky here in the desert as we travel along, you and I and the Caravan...dazzling..

  • Toni
    2019-05-04 02:34

    The book opens with The Traditions of the Prophet and as one of the reviewers has said: the transcendent wisdom therein combats fanaticism in all it's guises, East and West.The rest of the book extends this Caravan of Wisdom as a necklace of brilliants extends light. Red Sea Journey. Short Stories. The Magic Horse. The Prince of Darkness. Meditations of Rumi. Thoughts from Omar Khayam. Pilgrimage to Mecca. Mulla Nasrudin. Headings not in that order and the list is not exhaustive.Reading and re-reading deepen the magic.Here is one page.The Thief.A man of Merv, well known as the home of complicated thinkers, ran shouting one night through the city’s streets. ’Thief Thief!’ he cried.The people surrounded him, and when he was a little calmer asked: ‘Where was the thief?’‘In my house.’Ðid you see him?’‘No.‘Was anything missing ?’‘No.’ ‘How do you know there was a thief then?’‘I was lying in bed when I remembered that thieves break into houses without a sound, and move very quietly. I could hear nothing , so I knew that there was a thief in the house, you fool!’(Niamat Khan).Know your measure.Proverb.What is their opinion in their cups, those who have said that wine is an abomination? Proverb.

  • WJ
    2019-05-07 01:13

    The back cover of this new 2015 edition says that “Idries Shah builds up a complete picture of a single consciousness…in this unique anthology” It’s an interesting thought. Not something you’d immediately imagine for a book. If Shah did, or does in fact have the ability to build such a picture then it could be true that “And we know which are the dreams, therein lies our hope.” (Part of the central quote for the book) Of course, typically, you can’t tell from the quote, whether the hope resides in the dreams or whether the ability to distinguish the dreams provides the hope. The Preface to the book suggests the former but, who knows, perhaps both.

  • John Handforth
    2019-05-21 02:10

    An eye-opening and generous book featuring some of Shah's best writing. This is a book with something for everyone. There is a wealth of superb stories, retold folktales and Sufi teaching stories, including The Magic Horse (later published as an illustrated children's book) and Caravan of Dreams for which the book is titled.There are also two fascinating prose pieces Red Sea Journey and Pilgrimage to Mecca displaying Shah's dazzling descriptive prose. There are a wealth of proverbs translated from a wide variety of sources. All in all, a book that repays and rewards repeated reading.

  • Agustin
    2019-04-29 02:11

    The perfect book for this era of Islamophobia and irrational thought against a culture very much misunderstood by and in the West. Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad that challenge all misconceptions about Islam; humorous yet poignant observations by the great Mulla do-Piaza; unpublished tales of Nasrudin; fragments of Destination Mecca, and some amazing reflections on humanity by Idries Shah. Rumi and Omar Khayyam are also present in this beautiful tome who is waiting for an open mind who is not afraid to be challenged...

  • Carol M
    2019-05-10 04:10

    Through excerpts from traditional sources, selections from travel books, jokes, tales and the ever present direct affront, Idries Shah focuses one's attention. How so many different streams become this delightful nourishing brew, I can not say. Like the Caravan of the title, the reader looks here, looks there and travels through worlds, widening perspectives and learning skills as a traveler does. Delightful, rewarding, fresh reading after reading.

  • Peter
    2019-04-27 04:22

    A dream caravan, a caravan but a dream, a dream but a caravan. Stories that take you to places you might not have previously visited, information that might not have come your way before, thoughts that perhaps have not before been encountered. What a lovely book.The dog barks but the caravan moves on.

  • Dipankar
    2019-05-05 02:29

    Took it up with high expectations, after reading other glowing reviews. Probably an interesting book for the uninitiated, but I found it very very dull and unreadable, mostly because it was all too obvious.

  • Dr. M. Zain Koraishy
    2019-04-29 22:32

    No one can talk about the Eastern philosophy & sufism better than Idres Shah! He is undoubtedly the ultimate source when it comes to the subject!

  • Karen
    2019-05-17 04:21

    I enjoyed it, but lost interest easily.

  • Michael
    2019-05-06 06:32

    Seen on a bookshelf in Benjamin Linus' house. ("Dead Is Dead")

  • John
    2019-05-12 03:19

    even the blind pig finds an occasional acorn;mildly interesting collection of truisms, aphorisms, and Sufi insufferable ethno-centrism