barso;N lagii rahe hai;N jab mihr-o-mah kii aa;Nkhe;N
tab ko))ii ham saa .saa;hib .saa;hib-na:zar bane hai

1) when for years the eyes of the sun and moon have remained attentive/'fixed'
2) then, Sahib, some 'Sahib of vision' like us comes to be



.saa;hib-na:zar : 'Clear-sighted, discerning, intelligent; —a man of discernment; a pious man'. (Platts p.742)


.saa;hib : 'Companion, associate, comrade; possessor, owner, lord, great man, governor, chief; (in some Hindī dialects) God'. (Platts p.741)


na:zar : 'Sight, vision, view; look, regard, glance; observation, inspection; supervision; —favourable regard, favour, countenance; —view, opinion, estimation; —intent, design'. (Platts p.1143)

S. R. Faruqi:

We have already seen a verse with this theme in the first divan:


Some of the excellences of the present verse we have discussed with regard to {302,3}. It can also be called almost a translation of a [Persian] verse by Khan-e Arzu:

'It's very difficult for the whole recipe easily to come to hand--
Before a/the man is born, the sky circles a great deal.'

In Khan-e Arzu's verse there's a slight shortage of 'connection'. Mir has, in the present verse, used the fixing of the eyes of the sun and moon; and in the second line the theme of the sahib coming into view has completed the idea. For the eyes of the sun and moon remaining fixed, there can be several meanings: (1) The sun and moon have waited for years ( aa;Nkhe;N lagii rahnaa = to wait). (2) The sun and moon have looked with a fixed stare-- that is, the sun and moon have concentrated a great deal; they haven't let their attention lapse for even a moment.

(3) The sun and moon have for years kept us in their gaze-- that is, they look steadily at us. In the light of this theme, the speaker is calling himself one who has been 'looked at' [na:zar kardah] by the sun and moon, the way Sufis used to give to their specially chosen people a spiritual gaze, and make them 'looked at', and endow them with spiritual power.

With regard to the eyes remaining fixed, to become a .saa;hib-na:zar is fine. Or we might say that if in the first line there were no mention of eyes remaining fixed, then there would be no such pleasure in .saa;hib-na:zar . The repetition of .saa;hib too is fine, for the first one is vocative and the second is a governing noun. It's also possible that .saa;hib might mean 'companion', and the addressee of the verse might be some friend or beloved-- that 'among your companions a clear-sighted one like us appears when the eyes of the sun and moon would have remained fixed for years; a person like us is not easily created'.

Another possibility can be that .saa;hib can refer to God Most High. In the Urdu translation of the Qur'an by Shah Abd ul-Qadir Sahib Dihlavi, here and there God Most High is referred to as all;aah .saa;hib . And in the 'Qutb Mushtari' by Vajahi there is,

jo .saa;hib suu;N raa.zii ho;N yak dil ache
us aasaan hove jo mushkil ache

[if one is wholeheartedly accepting toward the Sahib
that would be easy which is difficult]

In this regard, Mir too, like Iqbal, is expressing his worth and value before God Most High-- 'Oh God, a clear-sighted one like us is not easily created (this is Your own law)'. For the creature to express his worth and value before the Creator, and insist on his own uniqueness-- this theme is common in older poetry. One aspect of it is also that the lover would express, before the beloved, his valuableness and rarity. Thus Hafiz's famous [Persian] verse,

'One night Majnun said to Laila, "Oh peerless beloved,
Lovers will come before you, but there will be no Majnun".'

[See also {1502,3}.]



This verse is a particularly brilliant illustration of the power of wordplay to become meaning-play as well, as SRF has so concisely put it. The verse would be nowhere without its wordplay of eyes and gazing and vision, but the elegant multivalence of the verse, the sar-chashmah or fountain-head (see? --more eye imagery!) from which flow its multiple possibilities, is also largely generated from the interaction of aa;Nkhe;N and na:zar .

In the first line, why have the eyes of the sun and moon remained 'fixed' for a long time?

=They are waiting (eagerly? longingly? curiously?) for the rare event of someone like the speaker appearing in the world.

=They are using their powers of concentration and creativity to generate someone like the speaker.

In the second line, what is a .saa;hib-na:zar ?

=A 'clear-sighted, discerning, intelligent' person (see the definition above).

=Someone who has been endowed with spiritual power through having been 'looked at' by a Sufi pir.

=Someone who is a 'Sahib' in his own right, and thus perhaps the equal of the 'Sahib' whom he is addressing.

=Someone who is a 'possessor' or 'lord' of 'vision' (in whatever sense).

Of all the possibilities, my favorite is the last one. In it na:zar is made to work just the way 'vision' does in English. Depending on the context, 'vision' can mean anything from the simple ability to see, through varying senses of 'insight', to a status of lofty, almost transcendent perception. A prophet is a 'man of vision'-- and so perhaps is a very great poet.

Note for grammar fans: In the first line, why not lagii rahii hai;N ? I don't know. Presumably it's something idiomatic?