va.sl-o-hijraa;N do jo manzil hai;N yih raah-e ((ishq me;N
dil ;Gariib un me;N ;xudaa jaane kahaa;N maaraa gayaa

1) 'union' and separation, these two stages/destinations that there are in the road of passion
2) the heart, {poor thing / a stranger}-- between them, the Lord knows where it was killed!



manzil : 'A place for alighting, a place for the accommodation of travellers, a caravansary, an inn, a hotel; a house, lodging, dwelling, mansion, habitation, station; ... —a day's journey;—a stage (in travelling, or in the divine life);—place of destination, goal; boundary, end, limit'. (Platts p.1076)


;Gariib : 'Foreign, alien; strange, wonderful; rare, unusual, extraordinary; —poor, destitute; meek, mild, humble, lowly; —a stranger, foreigner, an alien; —a poor man; a meek or humble person'. (Platts p.770)

S. R. Faruqi:

The ambiguity of the verse is praiseworthy. He hasn't made it clear whether the heart was going from 'union' to separation, or from separation to 'union', or there was a tug-of-war-- if sometimes separation, then sometimes 'union'. To call separation a stage on the road of passion is also fine. In 'was killed' there's also the suggestion that he/it was killed by highway robbers, or that his strength failed him and he [gave up and] washed his hands of life.

That is, death occurred either through a tug-of-war, or through the violence of highway robbers, or because of the length of the journey. Then, ;Gariib means 'traveler', and the meaning of 'helpless one' too won't be unsuitable, because a stranger or a traveler is in any case usually helpless. Then, how helpless a death it must be, about which not even the place where it occurred would be known!

The tone is melancholy, but full of dignity; and the style is one or realism, because in Mir's time there was always a mortal danger in making a journey. Another point is that it's possible that the death might have taken place in the midst of 'union', or in the midst of separation, but because of the lover's being 'gone from himself' it wasn't even possible for him to know where the death occurred.

To express something as though two people are exchanging their thoughts on it, or one person is telling another about it, is Mir's special style. Compare


He's used this theme with less intensity in the first divan [{277,5}]:

hai pech-daar az bas raah-e vi.saal-o-hijraa;N
un do hii manzilo;N me;N barso;N safar karo tum

[{although / to such an extent} the road of 'union' and separation is twisting
you might/must journey for years between only/emphatically those two stages/destinations]



To exclaim 'God knows!'-- or here, literally, 'the Lord might know'-- is to disavow all (possibility of) knowledge. And/or, of course, to say something pious about the Lord's omnipotence, or even to suggest that the Lord might indeed might be keeping a special eye on the travails of the passionate (mystical) lover on his journey through the 'stages' of the Sufi path.

With a burst of compassion, the speaker calls the heart a ;Garib --a word which has a root meaning 'to become distant, to go far away'. As SRF observes, a condition of helplessness, friendlessness, and general misery follows readily in the ghazal world (and often outside it) from the very nature of being a stranger or foreigner. Unsurprisingly, all these meanings (see the definition above) work excellently with the verse's depiction of the sufferings of the hapless heart. The speaker, so solicitous about the poor friendless heart, doesn't seem concerned at all about his own fate.