log bahut puuchhaa karte hai;N kyaa kahye myaa;N kyaa hai ((ishq
kuchh kahte hai;N sirr-e il;aahii kuchh kahte hai;N ;xudaa hai ((ishq

1) people always ask a great deal, 'What would you say, sir-- what is passion?'
2) some say, 'A divine mystery/secret'; some say, 'It is the Lord, passion'



S. R. Faruqi:

If myaa;N is read as a single long syllable, that's best. Mir has usually versified this word that way, and at least till the time of Mus'hafi this pronounciation was accepted. Mus'hafi has so used it even at the beginning of a line; that is, in prime position:

myaa;N mu.s;hafii kyaa ;xaak lage dillii me;N ab dil
yih bastii ga))ii kuchh uja;R aisii kih nah puuchho

[Miyan Mus'hafi, how could the heart feel at all attached in Delhi now!
this town has been ruined in such a way that-- don't ask!]

In the verse there's apparently nothing special, but the address of 'Miyan' has created a new aspect. Since 'Miyan' is used for the beloved too, as for example in this verse of Mus'hafi's:

naam paayaa hai zamaane me;N miyaa;N
be-vafaa))ii hii vafaa ne terii

[in the world/age, Miyan, your faithfulness
has acquired the name of only/emphatically unfaithfulness]

Thus one interpretation of the meaning is that the beloved herself asked, 'my friend [bhaa))ii], what's this 'passion'?' In reply, this verse was spoken.

Then, ;xudaa hai ((ishq also has three meanings: (1) passion is our Lord, or for us is equal to the Lord; (2) the Lord is passion; that is, the existence of the Lord is embodied passion; (3) there is no other Lord, passion alone is the Lord.

Another pleasure is that he himself has not given any answer. He has made the beginning of the verse out of the observation that people ask very persistently what passion is. Then in answer to this question, in the second line he has simply noted down other people's comments, but he has given an effect of replying. This style of speech has been vouchsafed to few poets apart from Mir. See






The ghazals with the ((ishq refrain are indeed a remarkable set. An inventory can be found in {837,1}.

The second line could also be spoken by the inquirers, who are itemizing some of the responses they've heard before. But then of course the effect of the speaker giving a response would be lost. Even though, as SRF points out, it's not a personal opinion; but it still sounds like a response of a kind-- after all, it seems to narrow the field of possible or notable answers.

Note for meter fans: The scansion of myaa;N as one long syllable is archaic, but not all that rare. Nowadays this scansion isn't used. It does feel as though it's pushing the limits of what a single metrical syllable can contain.