har jazr-o-mad se dast-o-ba;Gal u;Thte hai;N ;xarosh
kis kaa hai raaz ba;hr me;N yaa rab kih yih hai;N josh

1) with every ebb and flow, embracing each other, tumults/clamors arise
2) whose secret/mystery is in the ocean, oh Lord, that there are these ebullitions/frenzies?



dast-o-ba;Gal : 'Caressing, embracing'. (Platts p.516)


;xarosh : 'Loud noise, cry, call, shout, yell; tumult; crash'. (Platts p.489)


josh : 'Boiling, ebullition; effervescence; heat, excitement, passion, emotion; lust; fervour, ardour, zeal; vehemence; enthusiasm; frenzy'. (Platts p.397)

S. R. Faruqi:

dast-o-ba;Gal = embracing

This and the following verse,


are mutually connected [marbuu:t]. Mir's interest in the ocean has already been mentioned, in


In the future too, we'll find verses in which Mir has presented excellent pictures of ocean, typhoon, turbulent waves. Mir never saw the ocean; thus the vividness of these images of the ocean is an astonishing achievement of the reach of his imagination. Even amidst the abundance of his images based on the ocean, on the basis of their unique, almost unbridled imagination and narrativity these two verses appear as masterpieces in their color/style and balance and manner.

The meaning of ;xarosh is 'turmoil and complaint'. By showing the turmoil created by the ebb and flow of the waves to be a mutual embrace, Mir has given a body to the sound. A proof of this is also present, because as a single wave of the ocean arises and comes in, a tumult arises. The wave crashes onto the shore and begins to go back, and again a tumult arises. But that wave hasn't yet entirely receded when a second wave arises and comes in, and its tumult arises. In this way both waves' turmoils become lost in each other's embrace.

Now, from here, the idea takes a new turn. When the ocean is turbulent and tumultuous like this, then there will certainly be some commotion inside it-- there will be some reason that it's so agitated. Perhaps someone's secret (love, mystical knowledge, or some other deep mystery like this) has been entrusted to it, and it has become restless from the weight of this secret; or on the basis of its spiritual excellence the ocean has in a certain sense become transported. The waves are embracing each other, and the tumult of the waves too is in a mutual embrace.

In the second verse, {239,2}, this image is expanded. The wave's arch-like shape makes it clear that this is not a wave, but rather is some beloved's eyebrow; and the bubble, which has a similitude with the eye, is someone's longing-filled eye. When the beloved's eyebrow is manifest in the form of a wave, then in order to see it the ocean makes use of the eye of the bubble. That is, the ocean itself is a beloved, and itself is a lover. Then, the pearls that are in the depths of the ocean are radiant/shining, well-formed, and delicate like the words/speech of some beloved or some beautiful one. And the oysters with pearls enclosed inside them are like someone's ardent ear that has at once taken the pearl-like words inside itself.

In short, the whole ocean is a picture-gallery of love, lover, beloved, beauty, and melody. It's possible that it's for this very reason that the ocean has ebullition; it's possible that this itself is the secret that has bestowed on the ocean such restlessness. In both verses the broad extent of the thought, its informality and freedom, are on such a level that an atmosphere exactly like that of the paintings of Marc Chagall has been created.

In comparison to the present verse, the [Persian] verse of Mukhlis Kashi, although it's founded on that very image of tumult, and with regard to allegory [tam;siil] is also fine, seems to be entirely prose:

'It's from non-attainment that the Sufi makes a tumult
When a flood attains to the ocean, then it becomes silent.'

In Mir's verse, the utterance 'oh Lord' is also fine, because it's both exclamatory and expressive of surprise. In both aspects the address to the Lord is meaningful, because the Lord is not only the creator of the ocean; in fact the secret that's creating tumult and ebullition in the ocean is bestowed by the Lord alone. From the third divan [{1158,5}]:

((ishq se jaa nahii;N ko))ii ;xaalii
dil se le ((arsh tak bharaa hai ((ishq

[of passion, no place is devoid
from the heart to the heavens is filled with passion]

For more discussion, see:


[See also {552,9}; {875,9}; {950,9}.]



This verse and the following verse, {239,2}, do indeed feel 'connected', as SRF points out, though they aren't marked as a verse-set. In particular, {239,2} hardly creates any poetic effect at all, without the present verse to precede it. It's intriguing that such a radically 'verse-set'-like pair should not be so labeled. Might Mir have originally intended them to be so? The oddity of the situation is only enhanced by the fact that this single ghazal, most unusually, contains two (other) officially marked verse-sets: vs. 5-6 (not included in SSA) and vs. 7-11. This ghazal is also a bit unusual in having only a rhyme, with no refrain.

SRF points out that 'oh Lord' can be exclamatory in various ways; it could also be taken as an address, and a very appropriate one since the Lord himself might well be (part of) the answer.

Moreover, kisii kaa raaz can be either 'X's secret' (known to and possessed by X, and perhaps stored in the ocean for safekeeping) or 'the secret of X' (secret knowledge about a thing or person called X, possessed by the ocean).

This verse reminds me of Ghalib's own use of similarly haunting, unanswerable rhetorical questions: