lu:tf-e badan ko us ke hargiz pahu;Nch sake nah
jaa pa;Rtii thii hameshah apnii nigaah jaa;N par

1) the pleasure of her body-- we were absolutely unable to arrive at it
2) our gaze, always, used to go and fall on her spirit/vitality/self/essence



jaan : 'The breath of life, vitality; life, spirit, soul, mind; self; animation, vigour, energy, force, stamina; the best part, the essence (of a thing); that which imparts life, or beauty, &c. (to a thing)'. (Platts p.372)

S. R. Faruqi:



where there's discussion of the theme of the pleasure of the spirit being found in the body.

The ambiguity of the present verse is praiseworthy. The theme of not being able to obtain pleasure from the beloved's body, or of being unable to understand the pleasure of it, is eloquent [badii((] in its own right; and then to top it all, the cause for this that he's mentioned conveys a number of possibilities. One is that before we would have taken pleasure in her body, we used to become attentive to her jaan (that is, her personality, or the purity of her spirit).

That is, the degree to which her body was attractive was less than the degree to which her spirit was beautiful, as in the following verse from the fourth divan:


Or again, how would we have taken pleasure from her body, when we couldn't even see her body-- only her jaan was visible to us. That is:

(1) She was 'meaning' from head to foot; her face/form too had the power of 'meaning', as is suggested in {1421,2}.

(2) Her body was so refined that it couldn't even be seen at all.

(3) Her body, because of its refinement and delicacy, had the power of a jaan .

(4) We were a worshipper of the 'beauty of meaning', not of the 'beauty of face/form'.

Then, another aspect too is that because of the beloved's delicacy, even as we enjoyed her body we feared that her life might be endangered, that she wouldn't be able to endure the force of union.

One reading of 'not being able to arrive at the pleasure of the body' is that we were not able even to understand the pleasure of her body. And another reading is that we weren't even able to arrive at the [Sufistic] 'stage' of taking pleasure from her body. In the former case, it's also possible that we weren't able to know how much pleasure there was in her body, what kind it was, and where it was. This verse from the third divan comes to mind [{1132,4}]:

jis jaa-e saraapaa me;N na:zar jaatii hai us ke
aataa hai mire jii me;N yihii;N ((umr basar kar

[to whatever part of her whole body the gaze goes
there comes into my inner-self, 'stay right here for a lifetime']

That is, every limb of the body attracts the heart; thus every limb of the body is a complete territory, its pleasure cannot be obtained as a unified experience. In short, whichever aspect we look at, in the verse there are meanings upon meanings.

Ghalib's achievement is that in outward appearance too his verses seem to be full of meaning. That is, the moment we read a verse of his we feel that in order to reach its depth, attention and thought will be necessary. Mir's style is that a number of his verses are so deceptive that if even a small thing is overlooked-- that is, if there's even a small flaw in the hearer's attention-- then the verse will be passed over as superficial. The hearer won't even perceive that in the verse that he's casually allowing to pass by, dwells a whole colorful world of meaning.

[See also {885,5}; {1039,5}.]



The word jaa;N , with all its possibilities (see the definition above), really carries the verse.