paidaa nahii;N jahaa;N me;N qaid-e jahaa;N se rastah
maanind-e barq hai;N yaa;N ve log jastah jastah

1) there is not created/born in the world, a road from the prison of the world
2) like lightning, here, those people have greatly leaped



jahaan , or jihaan : 'The world; an age; worldly possessions; any sublunary object; leaping, bounding; darting (as lightning)'. (Steingass p.380)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is interesting in several regards. At first glance, it seems that the verse is 'disconnected' [do-la;xt], and in the first line the repetition of jahaa;N too seems fruitless. But both these ideas are incorrect. Let's consider the first jahaa;N . For paidaa nahii;N jahaa;N me;N there are two meanings: 'created (that is, manifest) in this world' and 'not coming into view'. If we read the second jahaa;N with a short 'i' as jihaa;N , then here its meaning will be 'the time, the age'. And if we read it with a short 'a', then here its meaning will be 'wealth and property of the world'. (For both these meanings, see the shams ul-lu;Gaat .) Thus the meaning of the line is 'In this world, a road for leaving the prison of the wealth and property of the world is not to be seen'. That is, as long as a person is in the world, he can't be free of relationships with the world.

Now we turn to the second line. Janab Barkati [in his dictionary] has defined jastah jastah as 'very few, selected'. This meaning is not accurate, and here it's also not appropriate. Here jastah jastah is a repetition for intensification. That is, 'leaped extremely much'; and jastah means 'having leaped, free, released', etc.-- as in Ghalib's second line in G{220,1}. It evokes the quality of lightning; lightning is called 'skittish' [jahandah], and it is also called jastah .

The reason is that lightning twists and turns and comes into view here and there, it can't be grasped. The people of the world too are like this: they wander over the whole world, but they don't find any road/path. The enjoyable thing is that leaping, which is the proof of lightning's freedom, he has also established as the proof of the imprisonment of the people of the world. It's a superb verse.

[See also {1533,1}.]



This ghazal is one of the small minority that have only a rhyme, and no refrain.

The ve log is very striking (ah, like lightning). Which people are those? How and why have they 'greatly leaped'? SRF takes it to refer to people's 'leaping around' and wandering on the surface of the earth, looking for a 'road' that will permit them to escape. But why only a certain group, and what group? And in any case people who are wandering, or searching, don't keep leaping and bounding like rabbits. It seems a remarkably poor description.

From the time when I first looked at the verse, it seemed obvious to me that the 'leaping' referred to death, to the great leap that removes us once and for all from the prison of the world. Since there's no 'road' out of the prison, one can only take a giant leap over the wall, into the unknown. That is what 'those people', the departed ones, have done. Lightning doesn't descend along any predetermined 'road', but leaps instantly and unpredictably all the way from sky to earth. 'Those people' have simply taken the same kind of wild journey in reverse: from 'here' in this world, to an unknown 'freedom' beyond.