Tag Archives: Rumi

Where do we go from here?

Punjabi is one of the languages that is tremendously close to my heart. A friend of mine recently talked about the language and brought up Bullay Shah as one of the poets that inspire. I freely admit that Shah’s words have often inspired me as much as Rumi’s or the Allama’s even though I perhaps understand Iqbal better. At the same time, I find that there is a certain passion and depth as well as common sense simplicity in Bullay Shah’s words that is difficult to replicate in Persian. While Rumi and Iqbal seek to solve the mysteries of the universe, Bullay Shah is more concerned with the reality and experience of love rather than the esoteric idea of love.

As a child, one of my instructors told me that the Punjabi language will die out in a few hundred years simply because there are fewer and fewer individuals who are able to write it. At that time I was somewhat shocked and saddened to realize that the words of poets such as Waris Shah and Bullay Shah may be lost for future generations. With that realization, I also thought about all the words and works that have fallen victim to time. I’m fairly certain that there were great poets and writers as well as philosophers in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Babylon whose works are now lost. Sadly, that seems to be the essence of evolution and perhaps one should not lament the loss but celebrate that those words existed at all. Or maybe the lamentation itself should lead us towards preserving what is left. It is with that feeling of not knowing exactly what to do or feel about things that I present this dismal Punjabi ghazal.

اودے کہر وی ہو آئیں آں، هن کتہے جائیے؟

سارے کم مکا بیٹھے آں،  هن کتہے جائیے؟

I returned from her house

Not knowing where to go next

I finished all that I had to do

Now where do I go?

j

مکے مدینے ہو آئیں آں، زم زم پانی پی آئیں آں

حج تے عمرہ کر آئیں آں،  هن کتہے جائیے؟

I traveled to holy lands

I drank from the sacred wells

I performed my pilgrimage

Now where do I go?

j

کی پلیکها پا آئیں آں؟ کی کی گلاں کہ آئیں آں

اودا  دل  دکھا  آئیں  آں، هن کتہے جائیے؟

Have I created a confusion?

Whatever did I say?

Did I hurt her somehow?

Now what do I do?

j

یار  نواسی چھڈ آئیں آں، بتاں وچ وڑ آئیں آں

اے کی ظلم کما آئیں آں؟ هن کتہے جائیے؟

I left my friend alone

I have seen the temple of falsehood

O what a crime have I committed

Now what can I do?

j

دل گنوا ویکھا,  ٹھیر  مصیبتان  پا  ویکھا

رب نو وی بھلا آئیں آں، هن کتہے جائیے؟

I lost my heart to her

I took on a mount of troubles

I even forgot God in the process

Now what can I remember?

j

سنگھی کوئی ملدا نہی, دل دا ول کھلدا نہی

ایدر اوھدار ہو آئیں آں، هن کتہے جائیے؟

I do not find a friend

To whom I can unburden my soul

I went from pillar to post

Now where should I go?

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The ways

طریق اس کا شوخی بھی سادگی بھی

طور  ہمرا  دلگی  بھی  عاشقی  بھی

Her ways

Beauty and graces

My path

Admiration and amazement

 

عجب  ناتا  ہے  ہمارا  اس  کے ساتھ

کے رہی کچھ دوستی بھی دشمنی بھی

And I have

A rather strange relationship

With him

My friend and my enemy

 

یہ  نیا  طرزِ انصاف  ہے لوگوں کا

دھریں الزام بھی کریں منصفی بھی

And this is a new way

Of the people

Who make accusations

While passing judgements

 

کس  طرح  سمجھاؤں  کے  وہ کیا  ہے؟

جو ہے میری موت بھی اور زندگی بھی

And how do I explain

What she is

My life

And possibly my death

 

اور جو کبھی دھیان تیرے سے ہٹا

تو غارت  عبادت  بھی  بندگی  بھی

And if I forget you

For a fleeting moment

My worship, my ritual

Would be ruined

 

ایک  ہی  ہے  رازِ الفت  و  رازِ خدا

یہی کہتے تھے عطار بھی شبلی بھی

The secret of God

And the secret of Love

Is the same

So said Attar and Shibli

 

اور نہ  کرو  فرق  تم  مابینِ صحابہ

کے ہم ہیں حیدری بھی عثمانی بھی

And do not differentiate

Between the companions

We are Haideri

And we are Uthmani

 

کتابوں  سے  خاک  سبق لیا استاد نے

طاق پے دھری انوار بھی مثنوی بھی

And he learned nothing

From his books

In his shelf lay dormant

Books by Ghazali and Rumi

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Changed Changes

تیرے راز، تیرے ہمنفس، تیرے جانی بدلے

باخدا   تیرے   سب   محبوبِ   فانی   بدلے

Your secrets, your friends

Your lovers have changed

I swear all your temporary arrangements

Have changed

j

موت  بھی  فرق  آتی  ہے  ملا کو  مجاہد کو

کہیں معنیِ عالم بدلے، کہیں عالمِ معنی بدلے

Even in death

The mullah and saint are different

One sees a change in the meaning of the world

The other changes a world of meanings

j

کیا پھر اسی طرز پے ووہی دھوکہ ملے گا؟

خدا واسطے راوی سے کہو یہ کہانی بدلے

And will I suffer

The same betrayal again?

Please tell the story teller

To change my tale

j

ہرعشق پے اپنے دل سے یہی کہتا ہوں

بیوفائی کی رسم، وہ عادت پرانی بدلے

On every new love

I say to my ego

Change your habit

Of being faithless

j

ملا نہیں اب تک  تجھے کوئی پیرِ رومی

کون ہے یہاں جو تیرا جوشِ جوانی بدلے

And you have not found

A teacher akin to Rumi

Who here can change

The passions of your youth?

j

رہے تو ہم رہے،  وہیں کے وہیں کھڑے

ہندی بدلے، ترک بدلے، یارِ ایرانی بدلے

And we remain

Where we were as always

The Indians changed, as did the Turks

And so did our Persian friends.

j

نہ رک  دعاؤں سے استاد  کے صبر لازم

کیا سمجھتا ہے کے اطوارِ سبحانی بدلے؟

Do not pause in your prayers

Patience is needed here

Do you think

The ways of the pure have changed?

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A Friend to the Angels… یارِ ملائک

Shams Tabraiz was one of the many influences on Rumi. I do not think it is possible to describe how difficult it was to write that sentence since the relationship between Rumi and Tabraiz is one of the most complicated ones with regard to theology, mysticism and even poetry. I am actually afraid to write anything about the two (other than using the poetic license of verse) since I would not presume to put anything down which seeks to explain one of the most beautiful connections that ever existed. Rumi of course, is one of the great masters of mysticism and esoteric knowledge. Quite literally a source of inspiration for generations of poets and writers from the East as well as the West. Tabraiz being his master/teacher/guide/friend/supporter (the number of slashes only show the jumble in my own thoughts concerning the two!) also holds his own place in the hearts of Eastern writers.

I recently reread some words by Rumi concerning death and rebirth into a higher from which in the original persian sound tremendously beautiful. I also found a related verse by Shams which was as follows; “Ma ba falak budaym yar e malaik budayum”, which in English means, I was living in the heavens, I was friends with the angels. The essential idea being that before we were born we were in the heavens as spirits therefore death will only take us back to the place which is our essential home. Of course, neither Rumi nor Shams had a death wish but I do feel that their poetry and words have an understanding of death as moving to a higher plane of existence.

I have been told that some of my poetry can be quite morbid as it deals with subjects such as death or growing old but I would like to explain that it is simply a move from one plane of existence to another. As Iqbal put it, “Maut kia shay hay? Faqat alam-e-maani ka safar” (what is death but a journey to a different plane of meanings). That, I believe has to be remembered as the essence of what poetic death means and quite a few orders of sufi as well as esoteric schools of thought agree with that idea. With the notion of remembering and forgetting, I present this poor effort for your amusement below.

j

باخدا   ہمیں   اب  وہ  رات   یاد  نہیں

اس رات میں کہی کوئی بات یاد نہیں

I do not recall that night

I do not recall anything

That was said

That night

j

سادہ دل لوگ ہیں، جشنِ آزاد مناتے ہیں

جیت انہیں یاد  ہے،  کوئی مات یاد نہیں

They are a simple people

They are celebrating their freedom

They remember a victory that took place ages ago

They do not remember recent defeats

j

موارخ  سے یہی  پوچھا  کرتا ہوں میں

کمالِ مغرب یاد ہیں، خرافات یاد نہیں؟

Is ask my historian friend

You easily recall the wonders of civilisation

You forget

Its discontents

j

کس جوش سے مانگتے ہیں اسلامی ریاست

خلافت  تو یاد  ان  کو،   مساوات  یاد  نہیں

With fervor he asks for

The power to govern

He remembers ruling others

Not being equal to the ruled

j

پھر عشق کی رہ چلے؟ آفریں حافظے پے

رنگِ  عشق   یاد   ہے،  آفات  یاد  نہیں؟

You are walking the path of love again?

What a wondrous memory my friend!

You recall the beauty of love

Not its miseries

j

ما  با  فلک   بودیم،  یارِ  ملائک   بودیم

استاد تجھے تبریز کی یہ بات یاد نہیں؟

I was living in the heavens,

I was friends with the angels.

Do you not remember

These words of Tabraiz?

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Look upon my own deeds… حساب آیا

Poetry and rhythm are deeply connected particularly when we consider persian and urdu poetry that have a long history of melodic voices transferring the message of the poet to the audience. in certain cases, the voice itself added new meaning to the words particularly with regard to the works of poets such as Urfi, Rumi, Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz. I say that because I feel that their poetry has layers of meanings and especially in the case of the Urdu poets Iqbal and Ghalib (more so than Faiz) because of the multiple meanings for words borrowed from Persian, Arabic or Sanskrit.

 

I am pretty sure I could write volumes (mostly filled with flawed information) with regard to various renditions of different verses by various artists but that might be a boring exercise for anyone who reads this. Nevertheless, I did try to work with a specific structure in this shoddy ghazal I present below. The commas in the line with the kafia should pleasantly present the structure (poorly made as it is) with regard to the ghazal itself.

نہ جانے شاعر کو پھر کیا خواب آیا

دلِ وحشی،  سکوں فاسق،  عذاب آیا

Another poetic prophetic dream

Has made my heart wild

Robbed me of calm

Placed me in misery

 

لوٹے یوں بھی کبھی درِ یار سے ہم

سوالی کو،  مایوس کن،  جواب آیا

And there were times

I came back from her door

Just as if

A beggar had been turned away

 

حالتِ جان یوں بھی کبھی بدلی یاروں

ویرانے میں، اچانک سے، گلاب آیا

And such was the turn of moods

As if a full bodied rose

Dropped into

A wasteland

 

ولولے تھے ہمیں دامنِ یزداں کے بہت

شرمندہ ہوے،  روزِ حشر،  حساب آیا

I had made plans

To reach for God’s apron

But I was ashamed

To look upon my own deeds

 

کسی خوشفہمی میں سفر ختم کر بیٹھے

منزل نہیں، نشان بھی نہیں، سراب آیا

A poor mistake to end the journey

You’re not at your detination

Not even close

It is a mere mirage

 

دورِ مطاہر تیرے دولت کدے میں

محفل سجی، شراب ائی، کباب آیا

I see happy times at your

House of wealth

There is wine

And good food

 

کچھ زاہدوں کے آج عقیدے بدل گئے

ماہ جبیں وہ، جواں ہوئی، شباب آیا

Certain pious men

Changed their beliefs today

The lady with a body like the moon

Has come of age

 

کوئی جستجو استاد کو پیاسا رکھے ہے

ورنہ وہ، ہر چشمے سے، سیراب آیا

There is something

That keeps him thirsty

Although he has had his fill

From many watering holes

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Not in your house… گھر میں نہیں

Some time ago, I heard a couplet that has (like many others) stuck in my mind. It often comes back to mind when I consider what our parents do for us and what certain religions demand we do with regard to our ancestors. I believe there are some faiths that even accept/encourage the idea of ancestor worship. Nevertheless, the couplet follows as:

دنیا    بڑی     باوری،   پتھر    پوجنے    جائے

گھر کی چکی کوئی نا پوجے، جس کا پسا کھاے

Dunya bari bawri pathar poojnay jaye

ghar ki chaki koi na poojay jiss ka peesa khaye

 

Which in translation (in my opinion) means:

The world is quite mad, It goes to temples to worship stones

No one worships the grindstone at home, without which there would be no food

 

This simply brings to my mind our parents who treated us well and fed us well throughout our childhoods. Exceptions aside, for the most part our parents gave us the best they could and did all they had to for our benefit. Personally, I believe that I was raised in a manner where (perhaps just short off) whatever I blurted/barked out of my mouth was provided to me by my parents. For that, I am ever in their moral debt and feel quite sad that I have done little to pay them back even in a small measure. The return on investment for my parents, I must confess, has been limited due to my own shortcomings. Heck, even on my education a large fortune was spent and the return to be them (at best) has been marginal. If you’re reading this… Sorry Dad! 🙂

The indulgence in self deprecation aside, the verse did get me thinking towards what is present in the home and what is not and that eventually led to the sordid ghazal I present below:

 

اب صداِ حق  کسی  گھر  میں  نہیں

سوزِ آرزومندی کسی جگر میں نہیں

I do not find the voice of truth

In any house in my land

The desire for wish fulfillment

Is not found in any heart

 

دلِ شکستایم بے شک مسکنِ یزداں

بقولِ رومی وہ تیرے گھر میں نہیں

A broken heart is indeed

The house where god lives

As Rumi told us

Gods are not in temples

 

سنبھال کے رکھ، اپنے  آبا  کی  کتابیں

کے ایسے ہیرے  تو  بہر و بر  میں نہیں

Take good care of the books

Of your ancestors

Those jewels

Are not found in seas or sands.

 

شاہی سے بڑھ کے ہے ترابی فقیری

ویسا جلال تو کسی سکندر میں نہیں

The ways of a Turabi faqeer

Are better than kingly ways

Such majesty

Is not found in any Alexander

 

ضبطِ حال کر کر کےاس راز کو پایا

جزاِ اشک نوشی، چشمِ تر میں نہیں

With patience

I found a secret

Swallowing your tears

Can be more intoxicating than shedding them

 

کس ترا بھول  جاؤں اسے  کے وہ

نورِ نظر تھا جو اب نظر میں نہیں

How can I forget that friend

Who was once

The light of my eyes

But lost from sight today

 

آ پھر کچھ  دیر  ہم  تم  تنہا  ہو  لیں

کے لطفِ جدائی ترے برابر میں نہیں

Let us part for a while

Since the joys of separation

Can not be found

While I am beside you

 

اک مسکان سے توں بہل جائے گا

تیرا علاج اشکِ متواتر میں نہیں

All it will take is a smile

To cure your sorrows

Your cure

Will not come from crying continuously

 

چھوڑ  دے  بد زات  بوتل  کو  اب  استاد

رنج تو دل میں ہے تیرے ساغر میں نہیں

Let go of the bottle

It is of no use

The sorrow is in your heart

Not in your cup

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Forgiveness… مجھے معاف کرنا

The notion of seeking and asking for forgiveness is a very complex one. Particularly when there are nuances you want to observe with regard to the act of seeking forgiveness. However, I believe that seeking forgiveness is important, despite many of us seldom understanding how it should be sought. It is not an internal forgiveness since I believe that human beings are very good at explaining things to themselves and giving excuses to themselves for their behavior.

I think that forgiveness has to be sought from others, for the things we did and perhaps more importantly, for the things we did not do. On the subject of forgiveness and the various manners it can be sought in, I was inspired to write a ghazal that I present below.  You might note that the words “Mujhe Maaf karna” i.e. forgive me hold several different meanings in each verse and I hope this poor effort amuses you in some measure.

j

بارگاہِ رب و مدہوش سلام؟ مجھے معاف کرنا

یا ملکِ  عذاب  و  انعام،  مجھے  معاف  کرنا

In god’s temples

You present drunken salutes? Shame!

Oh lord of gifts and punishments

Forgive me

j

کچھ غلطیاں تو ہو جائیں گی ہم سے اب

یہ  رت  و  ماہِ  تمام ،  مجھے معاف کرنا

The moon and the atmosphere

May lead me to commit

A few mistakes

Please forgive me if I do

j

رقیبِ  بد  زبان  سے  ہم  یہی  کہتے  ہیں

جاری رکھیں اپنا کلام، مجھے معاف کرنا

To the ill voiced rival I say

Please continue

What you have to say

Forgive the interruption

j

نہ  کہ  سکا  کسی  کو  کافر  با  طرزِ  شیخ

گر ایں اسلام؟ ترک اسلام، مجھے معاف کرنا

I could not follow

The hate I was taught

If that’s the right path I break from it

Forgive me

j

کیوں سنیں کوئی بات واعظ کی کے  وہ

کج  ادا  و بد  کلام، مجھے  معاف  کرنا

Why should I listen

To the narrow minded preacher

With poor manners

I’m better off not listening

j

کن  بزرگوں  سے  ناتا  ملاتے  ہو استاد؟

رومی و حافظ و خیام؟ مجھے معاف کرنا

Who do you dare

relate to?

Rumi, Hafiz and Khayam?

Hah! Please forgive me!

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