hai;N chaaro;N :tarf ;xaime kha;Re gird-baad ke
kyaa jaaniye junuu;N ne iraadah kidhar kiyaa

1) in all four directions are standing the tents/pavilions of the whirlwind
2) how can one know which way madness formed an intention [to go]?



gird-baad : 'A whirlwind, a devil or demon'. (Platts p.903)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse :taraf is scanned as :tarf .... This pronunciation too is correct. In the verse the image is very effective. The whole picture, too, becomes very interesting. In a whirlwind there's nothing but dust and wind. If the tent (that is, dwelling place) of madness is a whirlwind, then as for the field of its wandering-- well, don't even ask! Then it's also a source of enjoyment that a whirlwind is hardly able to stay in any one place; thus for madness to pause is obviously impossible.

Then another source of pleasure is that the speaker's mind is so dominated by the vision of madness and wildness that when he sees a whirlwind he considers that it's a tent of madness, and he also inquires, in what direction is madness inclined to travel now?

The most interesting aspect is that really a whirlwind has no preference about where it will arise and where it will end up; and the wildness of madness too has no regard for where it might take the madman. Since a whirlwind is in the form of a circle and turns around in all four directions, 'all four directions' is also fine.

In the second line, the tone is one more of dejection [afsurdagii] than of amazement [ta;haiyur]. There's the grief of the going of madness, and also the regret that there's no telling where madness is going now. It left us behind and moved on.



As SRF observes, the 'tents of the whirlwind' image itself is a powerful and haunting one, and quite sufficient to occupy the center of the verse. It's so beautifully mysterious that this certainly feels like a verse of 'mood'. And since it's an 'A,B' verse, each line is semantically complete and we're given no hint as to how they should or might fit together. 'There are lots of X's all around, no telling what Y might have in mind' is obviously an open-ended formulation.

In fact the degree of abstraction is such that we can't be at all sure of the relationships among the whirlwind, the tents, madness, and the intention. Is madness to be equated with the whirlwind? Or with the tents? Or is it something quite separate? Can madness have a real 'intention', or is its 'intention' meant to be equated with the tents, or the whirlwind? Are the 'tents' to be equated with the whirlwind, or are they something created by the whirlwind for madness, or created by madness for the whirlwind? (Here, as so often, the ke is fully as versatile as an izafat would be.) And when we can't establish these basic metaphorical patterns with any confidence at all, how can we decide on the relationship of the lines?

There's also the question of kyaa jaaniye . It could be just a throwaway expression ('Who knows what...'). Or it could be spoken by a detached observer who is meditating on the vicissitudes of passion. Or it could (in the wildest and most piquant reading possible) be spoken by the mad lover himself-- in which case it asks a question about the understanding that the mind can have of its own descent into chaos-- can it really know? --what can it know? --as if it can know!

And then, there's the question of 'tone'. SRF assigns to the second line a primary tone of 'dejection' [afsurdagii], with a secondary one of 'amazement' [ta;haiyur]. I just don't see-- or rather, feel-- the 'tone' or 'mood' of the verse that way. To me the first line sounds exhilarating, powerful, full of looming promise and menace. I envision the tents of the whirlwind, pitched in all four directions, as being 'terrible as an army with banners'. ('Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?' --Song of Solomon 6:10, in the King James version.) The lover's madness after all sometimes makes him feel omnipotent-- and perhaps even rightfully so, since it opens him to a direct mystical link with God. I don't of course reject SRF's reading, but I do maintain that it's not the only one, it's not 'baked into' the verse as he would probably maintain. For an extensive discussion of this question, see {724,2}.

Another, less effective use of the whirlwind, also from the first divan: