Sunday, 22 February 2009

Remembering and Forgetting God...

This has been one of my favorite Urdu ghazals for a very long time but only today did I take time to really appreciate the lyrics. I was unaware of how it poses some very interesting theological points. It is, as most ghazals, full of alternative meanings, is the beloved God or an earthly beloved that is for the reader to savor and experience. For me, it is God and I have translated it as such. It offers an important lesson to all believers that God has created many signs and events to re-invigorate spirituality and beauty in the believers, but still we are all the targets of a short-term memory. May God’s beauty and love fill our hearts in desire to create a better world.

At the bottom I add the prolific Pakistani singers, Noor Jehan and Munni Begum singing this poignant ghazal. Another testimony to the richness of spirituality in that part of the Muslim world.

Bhool ney waley sey koi kehday zara
Is tarah yaad anay sey kya fai’da?

Somebody must tell the forgotten ones
There is no point in remembrance in this way

Jub meray dil ki dunya basatay nahi
Pir kayalo’n mein anay sey kya fai’da?

When you don’t create a world of love
Then what is the point in just featuring in those dreams?

Char din kay jala kay kya mil gaya?
Mit saka na zamanay sey mera nishan

What did you achieve with those few days spent burning all the signs?
My signs are still prevalent in the world

Mujhe pey bijli gi’ra’o to ja’nay sahi
Aashiya pur giranay sey kya fai’da?

If you strike lightening on me then so be it
But what use is it to strike the beautiful home?

Pehlay dil ko bo’ra’i sey kur pak tu
Pir kaloos sey aqeedat sey kur joostaju

First cleanse the heart of all things not from it
Then with purity seek the truth (God)

Aisay sajdo sey Allah milta nahi
Hur jaga sur jookanay sey kya fai’da?

With just prostrating poses you will not find God
What is the point of bowing that head at all times (to those not worthy)

Tum ney Musa ko na haq hi taqleef di
Lutf ata agur yaad kurtay humay

You (the believers) gave the prophet Musa (Moses) distress without any reason/justice
Surely refinement, elegance, beauty, and gratification would have emerged had you remembered me (God)

Jin ki nazro/ ankho mein tab’ay nazara na ho
Unko jalwa dekahanay sey kya fai’da?

For those whose sight fails to see the beautiful scenes
What is the point in showing them extraordinary miracles?

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