dil kih yak qa:trah ;xuu;N nahii;N hai besh
ek ((aalam ke sar balaa laayaa

1) the heart, that is not more than a single drop of blood,
2) on the head of a single/particular/unique/excellent world/age/condition-- brought down disaster



yak : 'One; a, an'. (Platts p.1250)


ek : 'One, single, sole, alone, only, a, an; the same, identical; only one; a certain one; single of its kind, unique, singular, preëminent, excellent'. (Platts p.63)


((aalam : 'The world, the universe; men, people, creatures; regions; kingdom (in comp., e.g. 'vegetable-kingdom'); —age, period, time, season; state, condition, case, circumstances; a state of beauty; a beautiful sight or scene'. (Platts p.757)


balaa : 'Trial, affliction, misfortune, calamity, evil, ill; a person or thing accounted a trial, affliction, &c.; evil genius, evil spirit, devil, f iend; a wonderful or extraordinary person or thing; an awful or terrible person or thing; an insignificant, or vile, person or thing; excessive, fearful or awful amount or quantity'. (Platts p.163)

S. R. Faruqi:

The second line has several meanings. One is that the difficulty of passion is because of the heart. Another is that whatever affliction and turmoil exists in the world, it's all because of the heart. A third is that on the basis of having a heart we became a lover, and our being a lover became a difficulty for a whole world.

A fourth is that the heart itself made us a connoisseur of beauty; if there had been no heart then it's as if there would have been no passion; and if there had been no passion, then beauty would have had no importance. The heart created passion, passion created beauty, and beauty became a source of tumult for the whole world.







The first line gives us a deprecatory view of the heart: it's a single small, vulnerable thing-- really no more than a tiny, red, quivering drop of blood. In the ghazal world, to 'turn the heart to blood' is an idiomatic expression for worrying, fretting, grieving, etc. Here the heart-- the speaker's heart? any lover's heart? any human heart?-- has not only been turned to blood, but most of the blood has apparently then been lost, no doubt in the usual form of bloody tears. So the remaining 'single blood-drop' represents the heart in extremis, at an ultimate level of helplessness and doomedness.

Then the second line gives us an equally extreme view of the heart's power. That terminally wretched little blood-drop had a deadly career: it brought down disaster on the head of 'a whole world'. How? Why? Under what circumstances? Our own conjectures are all we have to go on. Moreover, it's by no means clear what kind of ((aalam (see the definition above) was so affected. From the smallest scale (a 'state, condition' of the lover himself) through the intermediate (an 'age', a 'season') to the cosmic ('world, universe')-- the possibilities are all laid out ready for us to consider, and nothing enables us to choose definitively among them. We are left to fill in the very large blanks for ourselves.

And the tone in which someone (who?) is making this observation-- is it meditative and philosophical? Melancholy at the vulnerability of human life? Proud of the potency of the heart? Ruefully amused at the incongruities of scale? Delighted at the spectacle of cosmic destruction? Neutral, as the report of a chronicler? Not only are we obliged to decide for ourselves-- we're also obliged to decide afresh every time we recite the verse.

The first line offers us a 'heart', the second juxtaposes a 'head'. Are these to be likened to each other (since both are parts of the body) or contrasted (as emotion versus reason)? Even more cleverly, the first line offers us yak , and the second line counters with ek (see the definitions above). These two look like minor variants of each other, yet they in fact are said to have different ranges of meaning, with yak basically used for 'one, single' and ek having a much wider range. For discussion of this divergence, see G{78,6}.