miir kaa ;haal nah puuchho kuchh tum kuhnah ribaa:t se piirii me;N
raq.s-kunaa;N baazaar tak aa))e ((aalam me;N rusvaa))ii hu))ii

1) don't you ask anything about Mir's situation/'state'!-- from an old hospice/inn, in {old age / venerableness},
2) dancing, he came as far as the market; in the world/'state', disgrace/exposure occurred



;haal : 'State, condition, circumstance, case, predicament, situation; existing or present state... ; a state of ecstasy, frenzy, or religious transport'. (Platts p.473)


ribaa:t : 'A building for the accommodation of travellers and their beasts, an inn, a caravansary; a hospice; a religious house'. (Platts p.586)


piirii : 'Old age, senility, decrepitude; —the status or condition of a priest, or of a saint; —rule, authority, power, influence'. (Platts p.298)


((aalam : 'The world, the universe; men, people, creatures; regions; kingdom (in comp., e.g. 'vegetable-kingdom'); —age, period, time, season; state, condition, case, circumstances; a state of beauty; a beautiful sight or scene'. (Platts p.764)

S. R. Faruqi:

About the passion of old age, Qa'im has well said,

is bu;Rhaape kii ;xudaa hii sharm rakkhe ai butaa;N
((ishq ke kuuche me;N ham maaraa hai be-hangaam gaam

[may only/emphatically the Lord guard the honor of this old age, oh idols
in the street of passion, unseasonably, we took/'struck' a footstep]

Qa'im has composed a brimful verse. His accomplishment is also that his whole ghazal has the regular repetition of two rhymes-- that is, all the rhymes are on the order of andaam daam , anjaam jaam , hangaam gaam . But in Mir's verse, along with the theme of the passion of old age, there's also the theme of dancing.

Dancing has a Sufistic meaning, and in the verse there all allusions in this direction. The lineage of Mevlevi Sufis, which arises from Maulana-e Rum, gives special importance to a unique kind of dance or dance-like whirling. Besides the Mevlevis, among the Chishtis too, where central importance has been given to absorption and immersion, some elders have declared that dancing too is among the necessities of passion.

Thus an orthodox and circumspect elder like Hazrat Shah Vasi-ullah Sahib once narrated an event:

Some elder had a great absorption in dance, and people were teasing one of his disciples: 'How are your little dancing feet?'. One time when that disciple became very irritated, he complained to his Shaikh: 'Oh Hazrat, because of this pursuit of yours people sneer at me and disdain me'. That Shaikh said, 'All right, next time when someone says such a thing, then say in reply that the Shaikh has said, "If someone causes us to dance, then we dance"'.

Hazrat Shah Vasi-ullah Sahib says that whomever the disciple replied to with these words of his Shaikh, that person abandoned everything and presented himself, dancing, in the service of that Shaikh.

From the second divan [{1015,9}]:

diidanii hai vajd karnaa miir kaa baazaar me;N
yih tamaashaa bhii kisuu din to muqarrar dekhiye

[it's worth seeing, Mir's becoming entranced, in the market
even/also this spectacle, please definitely see, some day]

Hazrat Shaikh Abd ul-Haq Muhaddis Dihlavi has written in a;xbaar ul-a;xyaar , on the authority of Sultan-ji Hazrat Nizam ul-Din Auliya, that Shaikh Badr ul-Din Ghaznavi, even in his old age, had a great immersion in dance. People asked him, 'Oh Shaikh, you've grown old, so how do you dance?' The Shaikh replied, 'The Shaikh does not dance, passion dances. Wherever there would be passion, dance is necessary to it.' It's probable that the present verse of Mir's might be based on this event, because we have previously seen such verses-- ones that raise the suspicion that Mir had examined the a;xbaar ul-a;xyaar . (See


In the dance of the Mevlevis' circle, the movements of the hands and feet have an established symbolic meaning. Those who take part in this dance wear special full-skirted robes and high, pointed hats. Before the dance they sit in the form of a circle, and all the darveshes/dancers recite or sing verses. Then gradually they rise and insert one foot into a wooden pivoting bracket on the floor, and slowly begin to revolve. The pace gradually keeps picking up, until finally it seems to become unbelievably fast. During the dance their heads are thrown back, their right hands are raised, and their left hands are comparatively low. The raised and lowered hands are a symbol of the bestowal of blessing. Through the intensity of the dance itself, the goals are the abandonment of self, the abandonment of awareness, and the approach to God.

Among the Chishtis, the goals of the dance are immersion and the abandonment of awareness, and the dance itself is a symbol of being overpowered by a 'state' [;haal], and of absorption. In Hindustan perhaps the Mevlevi order was never present, but through his familial and personal connection with Sufism, Mir would certainly have been acquainted with their dance and other requirements. Thus the Mevlevis' dance did not exist outside the ;xaanaqaah , or takiyah ; and in Mir's verses there's mention of the baazaar .

For this reason my view is that in these verses the theme is the Chishtis' dance. But it's also possible that ribaa:t might refer to the Mevlevis' takiyah , and that the verse might describe some Mevlevi who has become so immersed in a 'state' that he left his takiyah and wandered in the markets [{1505,5}]:

ribaa:t-e kuhan me;N nahii;N miir-jii
havaa jo lagii ve bhii baahar ga))e

[Mir-ji is not in his old hospice
when the breeze/desire came, even/also he went outside]

Usually takiyah is used in the sense of 'inn, sarai'. [A discussion of Barkati's inapplicable definition of ribaa:t-e kuhan as 'the transient world'.] In fact the meaning of ribaa:t is 'monastery' (Steingass), and 'house', and 'place for confining animals', and 'arch, bridge' ([from the dictionary] shams ul-lu;Gaat ). It's clear that Steingass's meaning is appropriate, and the meaning in the shams ul-lu;Gaat too is suitable.

Especially if the meaning of a 'place for confining animals' would be taken, then the speaker seems to be speaking about himself with a novel kind of sarcasm: 'Up to now I have been confined in a stable for animals, or in a place like a stable, but was protected from public disgrace; now that I have been taken over by the 'mood' of dancing and have come out, things have gone from bad to worse, and I have been disgraced. It would have been better if I had remained shut up in my stable; people would not have known about my 'state'.' Despite this sarcasm, in the verse the domination of 'state' and the condition of 'absorption' [vujd] remain established. He's composed a peerless verse. For more, see




The first line makes it very probable that the speaker is not Mir himself, but someone who is reporting to a friend (addressed with the familiar tum ) about Mir's behavior: 'As for what Mir has been up to-- don't even ask!'. It seems that the speaker is rolling his eyes, and is probably deploring such scandalous conduct. But of course, we have no idea at all what Mir himself might think, since the verse reports only a 'gesture' of his, devoid of any explanation from him.

But we do have a suggestion, in the form of piirii me;N , which can mean not only 'in old age' (and thus perhaps in senility or even dementia), but also 'in the state of being a piir ', or a venerable religious (and especially Sufistic) elder who may exercise considerable spiritual authority. Thus we're pushed toward noticing the ;haal , with its heavy and explicit Sufistic possibilities so well elucidated by SRF, and also the ((aalam , which can mean 'state, condition, circumstances' (see the definitions above).

And it's impossible not to think of (who else?) Mansur, who created an even bigger scandal, and paid a worse price for it than mere 'disgrace'; though of course, he may not have considered his death a 'price' at all. Perhaps 'Mir' too was making a public demonstration of sheer ecstasy because he couldn't help it-- or was it to draw the market people toward Sufism, or to show the market people that he was absolutely outside their worldly concerns, or to demonstrate to his own disciples how far one in a mystical 'state' might legitimately (?) go? Perhaps he felt that concealing the mystical dance practices within a ribaa:t was no longer desirable, or no longer necessary, or no longer possible? Since we have to imagine for ourselves what the 'Mir' figure may have thought, the possibilities are bounded only by our imaginations. An effect most elegantly created by the real Mir, the poet.