andeshah kii jaagah hai bahut miir-jii marnaa
dar-pesh ((ajab raah hai ham nau-safaro;N ko

1) it's an occasion of much anxiety/dread/thought, Mir-ji, to die
2) a strange/astonishing road is before us new travelers



andeshah : 'Thought, consideration, meditation, reflection; solicitude, anxiety, ... ; doubt, misgiving, suspicion; apprehension, dread, fear; danger, peril'. (Platts p.91)


((ajab : 'Wonderful, marvellous, astonishing, amazing, miraculous, strange, extraordinary, rare'. (Platts p.758)

S. R. Faruqi:

To call life a brief journey is a common thing. Sauda created in it a new aspect:

hastii se ((adam tak nafas-e chand kii raah hai
dunyaa se gu;zarnaa safar aisaa hai kahaa;N kaa

{from existence to nonexistence is a road of a few breaths
to pass on from the world is hardly a journey at all]

The new idea in the verse is that even death is said to be 'passing beyond the world'. Sauda's verse is on an intellectual level, and more than the human condition it illumines a meditative distance. By contrast, Mir's verse is on the human condition-- that the journey of death is an unknown journey, so that every person seems to fear it.

He has called death a journey, a road, and a place. These three images, despite their being diverse, on the idiomatic level are joined together; thus it's very effective.

By including himself too among the new travelers, he has protected the verse from a didactic or authoritative style. Otherwise in such verses, instead of the events of experience, elements of lesson-giving and admonition often come to the fore, and the verse falls from the level of eloquence [balaa;Gat]. In its present form, the verse is in every way accomplished, and an accomplishment.

[See also {1450,7}; {1577,1}.]



SRF feels that Mir has, commendably, included himself among the group of 'new travelers'. Until I saw his commentary, that reading had never occurred to me. Since there's no particular reason for 'Mir', if speaking to himself, to address himself respectfully, to me it seems that the obvious first reading is to take the address of 'Mir ji' to be that of a junior person approaching a senior one. Or rather, a group of junior people-- new lovers who are just beginning to realize the deadly path they have chosen, and are hoping for a few helpful words from a battle-scarred veteran.

Are these novices seeking sympathy, encouragement, advice? Are they asking 'Mir ji' to be a kind of Sufi guide on the mystical path? In any case, their astonishment and trepidation have led them to beg for help in understanding the path of passion-- romantic, mystical, crazy, but always doomed-- that they have only recently chosen.

The 'Mir ji' has one further excellent benefit to offer: it permits the elegant juxtaposition of jii marnaa , which causes us to recognize jii as also the root of jiinaa , 'to live'.

Note for meter fans: The spelling jaagah is a permissible variant form of jagah , for metrical situations like this one.