saraapaa aarzuu hone ne bandah kar diyaa ham ko
vagarnah ham ;xudaa the gar dil-e be-mudda((aa hote

1) being wholly/'head-to-foot' longing made us into a servant
2) otherwise, we would have been the Lord-- if we were [wholly] a heart without desire/purpose



aarzuu : 'Wish, desire, longing, eagerness; hope; trust; expectation; intention, purpose, object, design; inclination, affection, love'. (Platts p.40)


mudda((aa : 'What is claimed, or alleged, or pretended, or meant; desire, wish; suit; meaning, object, view; scope, tenor, drift; —object of search'. (Platts p.1015)

S. R. Faruqi:

The three verses {481,2}, {481,4}, and {481,6} are not a verse-set, but they have an internal 'connection'; thus it will be best to discuss them all three in one place. 'Longing' is a weakness of humans-- or rather, it's the fountainhead of all their restlessnesses and feelings of failure. This theme occupies an important place in 'Sabk-i Hindi' poetry (and probably in Hindustani thought). Ghalib has versified aspects of it in at least two places:




One benefit of the absence of longing is contentment, as in Bedil's peerless [Persian] verse:

'If they would give me the world, I would not rise from my place.
I have put the henna of contentment on my feet.'

Some fifty or sixty years ago, the economic view of the distinguished economist at Allahabad University, Prof. J. K. Mehta, attracted much attention. He called his view 'the economics of wantlessness'. Prof. Mehta was a Parsi, but he made use of ancient Hindu ideas and expounded the idea that if humans would reduce their necessities, then the pursuit of material comfort, and the struggles and rivalries among nations and countries caused by that pursuit, would be lessened. In his view the real purpose of life was not to increase material possessions or augment profits, but rather to attain tranquility. And the best way to attain tranquility would be to lessen one's necessities. At one time Prof. Mehta's views were very influential in the London School of Economics, especially in the circle of Prof. Lionel Robbins.

It's clear that in Mir's verse is the same freedom from non-necessities that is discussed in ancient Hindustani thought. The difference is that Mir has greatly advanced his theme, since if humans didn't have the weakness of longing, then they would be able to attain a divine glory. Since the Lord is called independent/detached, Mir's verse has a 'poetic logic'.

In our culture this scene of a revolution in thinking is interesting-- for Iqbal has said exactly the opposite of Mir:

mataa((-e be-bahaa hai dard-o-soz-e aarzuu-mandii
maqaam-e bandagii de kar nah luu;N shaan-e ;xudaavandii

[it's priceless wealth, the pain and burning of longing
I wouldn't trade the station of servitude for the glory of lordship]

It can be suggested that the speaker (=longing and ardor, and enthusiasm) is like a narrow spring/fountain, and peace (=freedom from longing and enthusiasm) is like a fathomless ocean. Maulana [Rumi], in the 'Masnavi' (fourth daftar), says [in Persian]:

'Silence is an ocean, and speech is a water-channel.
The ocean seeks you; don't you seek the water-channel.'

Iqbal is still in the stage where suffering/compassion [dard-mandii] and inner burning are valued, and this is proper. Especially when the world would be absorbed in self-will and materialism and the pursuit of triviality; thus it's all the more necessary that people should be educated and instructed in suffering/compassion. But suffering/compassion is a proof that one is endowed with the stage of humaneness [insaaniyat], and in humaneness there's the pleasure of lover-ship.

In Mir's verse is the idea of a stage higher than the station of humaneness-- a stage in which one arrives at the True Source, or arrives at the possibility of arriving at the True Source. The Sufis call this the 'journey into God' [sair fii-all;aah].

Trimingham has in his book ['The Sufi Orders in Islam', 1971], with regard to the various stages of Sufism, given an outline that makes clear that the final stage is one where no limit, no possibility (longing, purpose, desire) any longer remains. While the first and lowest stage of the spirit is 'the carnal soul', this final and highest stage is 'the perfected soul'. In reaching it, [one traverses these stages]: (1) The Carnal Soul; (2) The Admonishing soul; (3) The Inspired Soul; (4) The Tranquil Soul; (5) The Contented Soul; (6) The Approved Soul; (7) The Perfected Soul. [Some further discussion of this progression.]

In the light of all these ideas, it becomes clear that Iqbal's verse refers to a stage that is much below the stage for which Mir's verse expresses longing.

In the previous verse [{481,1}] is the theme of rose-scent; and in the present verse there's mention of a heart without desire/purpose. In the first divan itself, Mir has brought them both together in a particularly mysterious verse [{563,9}]:

bah rang-e buu-e ;Gunchah ((umr ik hii rang me;N gu;zre
muyassar miir .saa;hib gar dil-e be-mudda((aa aave

[with the color/style of the scent of a bud, the lifetime would pass in one single color/style
if, Mir Sahib, a heart without desire/purpose would become attained]

Sa'ib has [in Persian] applied this theme to everyday necessities, and created a new idea:

'If you detach yourself from eating and sleeping and pass beyond them,
Then your boat will lightly and swiftly cross over the water.'

Thus in all three of the present verses there is such a glorious song of mankind's lofty rank that even in Mir's poetry its equal will be hard to find-- not to speak of finding it in the Progressives, or other so-called humanists. See:




[A particular discussion of {481,4}.]

[A particular discussion of {481,6}.]

Mir Soz has reversed Mir's theme and expressed an entirely commonplace idea. But the style is so beautiful and the wordplay so interesting that the verse works:

;xudaa kii qasam phir ;xudaa hii ;xudaa hai
agar ;xvud to us ;xvud-parastii se gu;zre

[I swear by the Lord, then only/emphatically the Lord is the Lord
if he himself would pass beyond that self-worship]

The pleasure of longing, and the ebullience of yearning, have a pleasure quite apart from Lordship; on this theme we have already read a verse by Iqbal. On the subject of servitude and divinity, this quatrain of Iqbal's is also well-known:

;xudaa))ii ihtimaam-e ;xushk-o-tar hai
;xudaavandaa ;xudaa))ii dard-e sar hai
valekin bandagii isti;Gfar-ull;aah
yih dar-e sar nahii;N dard-e jigar hai

[Lordship is solicitude about dry and wet
oh Lord, Lordship is a headache!
but servitude-- I crave God's mercy!
this is not a headache, it is a liver-ache]

On this quatrain of Iqbal's, and on Mir's verses under discussion, we might read this [Persian] verse of Sukh-raj Sabqat (a pupil of Bedil's) as a kind of marginal note, and see what kinds of freshness is created by the mingling of two different cultures:

'He is concerned about me, and I am free of care--
In servitude, there is Lordship.'

It wouldn't be strange if Mir had been acquainted with this verse, because he and Sabqat were contemporaries and shared a city.

[See also {502,3}; {1047,10}.]



These three verses {481,2}, {481,4}, and {481,6}, intriguingly, seem to constitute a disrupted verse-set, or almost an 'anti'-verse-set. If Mir had grouped them together, they would have formed a very tight and clear verse-set. But instead, Mir has separated them from each other by interpolating verses that have quite different themes (see {481}): {481,3} is addressed to the sky and expresses with much wordplay the speaker's wish that he had been dust, while {481,5} is addressed reproachfully to the 'realm of passion' and wishes that all its inhabitants had been unfaithful. It's impossible to know whether Mir created this 'distributed' three-verse non-verse-set deliberately or by happenstance. But it is one more testimony to the radical autonomy of the individual verse in the classical ghazal. Even when Mir had at hand the elements of a fine verse-set, he didn't choose, or didn't bother, to arrange one. Perhaps he didn't even notice the possibilities, but simply felt his mind running along certain lines as he composed the ghazal.

Throughout SRF's discussion of these verses, he uses heavy-duty Sufi terminology and argumentation. I have slightly shortened and compressed this, for the sake of simplicity. The verses are quite comprehensible without going too far into Sufistic theological depths. If you are interested in the hierarchy of the seven different kinds of soul and other such subtleties, there are many good books on the subject.

Note for grammar fans: In the first line the speaker has depicted himself as being 'wholly longing'. Then in the second line, he imagines a different situation if he were 'wholly a desireless heart'. That is why the hote at the end of the second line is justified-- it applies not to the heart, but to the speaker. I thank Naim Sahib for clarifying this for me (Feb. 2017).