Ghazal 3, Verse 3


thaa ;xvaab me;N ;xayaal ko tujh se mu((aamilah
jab aa;Nkh khul ga))ii nah ziyaa;N thaa nah suud thaa

1) in dream/sleep, thought/imagination had a transaction with you
2) when the eyes opened, neither was there loss nor was there gain/profit


;xvaab : 'Sleep; dream, vision'. (Platts p.494)


;xayaal : 'Thought, opinion, surmise, suspicion, conception, idea, notion, fancy, imagination, conceit. whim, chimera; consideration; regard, deference; apprehension; care, concern; — an imaginary form, apparition, vision, spectre, phantom, shadow, delusion'. (Platts p.498)


mu((aamalah : 'Transacting business (with), dealing (with), trading, or bargaining (with); --dealing, transaction, negotiation, business, commerce, traffic; bargain; contract; correspo ndence; --sexual intercourse; --proceeding, procedure; behavior; --affair, matter, concern; particular; --cause, or suit (in law), a case'. (Platts p.1046)


That is, the time of passion passed as if in a dream. (3)

== Nazm page 3

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, what we had understood about you, was nothing but a thought of our own-- and that too a thought in the state of dreaming. (6)


If the addressee of 'you' be taken to be the world, then the meaning will be that in reality worldly life is a deception. (240)

Naiyar Masud:

It has not been said that in a dream, 'I' had dealings with you. It has been said that in a dream 'Thought' had dealings with you. And all the beauty of the verse is hidden in this word.

== (1973: 103)


[A discussion of points made by some commentators: Partav Ruhela is right to emphasize the commercial thrust of saudaa ; Agha Baqir places too much emphasis on psychoanalytic perspectives; Nazm and Bekhud Mohani are wrong to take the verse as merely a nostalgic dream of past joys; Ghulam Rasul Mihr limits the verse unduly by claiming that nothing at all remained once the speaker awoke.]

Now let's reflect again on the verse. I was sleeping, I dreamed that I was doing a transaction with you. What transaction was I doing? I now no longer remember. What conditions came under discussion, what promises were made and what pledges were given, what restrictions came into force-- now I don't remember anything. This situation is absolutely realistic. We have a dream, but when our eyes open, usually all that remains in the memory is that such-and-such a thing happened; the details are not remembered. With regard to forgotten dreams we can say that whatever business we did in dream-affairs, it all ended; now there's neither loss nor gain/profit.

But if 'Thought' did the transactions, and not I, then what is meant by 'Thought'? Here the first point is that the speaker, seems to be saying that since he was sleeping, he was not the doer of whatever happened in the dream-world, the doer was his 'Thought'. Thus it's clear that here the philosophical meaning of 'Thought' is intended: that is, the power that keeps protected/safe the images/aspects collected by the senses, at the time when those images/aspects would not be present.

In the light of this meaning, 'Thought' is a power, and it is not bound by the intentions or wishes of the owner of the thought. Rather, making use of memory and imagination and image-painting, it keeps vanished things protected. Now we can say that when Thought was, in a dream, doing transactions with the beloved, in fact it was making non-present things present. As long as the dream continued, those things were present. When the dream ended-- that is, when the eyes opened-- then those things became nonexistent.

In this way, there are two important ideas in the verse: the first is that the doer of the transactions was 'Thought'; and the second, that the speaker doesn't remember what those transactions were. The interpretation of nah ziyaa;N thaa nah suud thaa is just this: that I no longer remember the details of that dream, and perhaps this was natural too, because the doer of those transactions was 'Thought', not I. In this way this verse expresses the theme of human action's being trifling/unprofitable; but the tone is so firm and forceful that there's no suspicion at all of emotionality. He's composed a devastating verse.

== [2006: 32-34]


EYES {3,1}

COMMERCE verses (including legal and bureaucratic imagery): {1,1}; {3,3}; {3,11x}; {13,4}; {13,6}; {16,1}; {21,10}; {38,7}; {45,5}; {53,1}; {57,2}; {58,5}; {60,7}; {61,5}; {62,4}; {66,7}; {67,2}; {74,3x}*, a sneer; {79,2}; {81,5}; {88,1}; {91,1}; {109,3x}; {110,8}; {113,3}; {114,7}; {129,5x}; {130,2}; {137,1}; {141,2}; {154,2}; {162,11}; {164,4}; {164,7}; {164,9-13}; {168,1}; {173,8}; {174,2}; {197,3x}; {199,6x}; {201,8}; {210,2}; {212,5x}; {213,1}; {214,8}; {226,4}; {228,4}; {233,9} // {321x,8}; {323x,6}; {394x,4}; {395x,1}, muft hai ; {410x,3}

DREAMS verses: {1,7x}; {3,3}; {4,13x}; {10,10}; {44,5x}, ;xvaab-e pareshaa;N list; {81,8x}; {84,1}; {97,3}; {98,10}; {117,5x}, 'dream of Zulaikha'; {121,7}; {129,5x}; {132,9x}; {145,9x}; {145,14x}; {155,2}; {158,3}; {165,4x}, Khusrau's dream; {184,4x}; {193,1}; {194,5}*, dream of Zulaikha; {197,3x}; {200,5x}, Khusrau's dream; {222,1}; {223,6x}; {226,7x}*; {226,8x}; {229,8x} // {238x,2}; {245x,2}; {245x,6}; {258x,3}; {286x,5}; {293x,6}; {299x,2}; {326x,5}; {328x,6}; {332x,3}; {338x,4}; {340x,6}; {348x,4}; {349x,1}; {356x,4}; {366x,4}; {374x,4}; {375x,5}; {396x,5}; {398x,1}; {399x,3}; {408x,2}; {415x,4}; {417x,1}; {421x,1}; {431x,5}; {434x,11}, Asi shows both meanings

The heaped-up ambiguities of the first line cry out for resolution or clarification. Is the transaction a mere dream? A mere thought? And above all, what is thought in a dream? What kind of transaction is it? The first line inclines us to guess that it might be a romantic transaction or 'affair'. After all, a whole subcategory of ghazal verses is called 'description of an affair' [mu((aamilah-bandii]. Could there have been great joy, or suffering, while the eyes were closed-- a whole dream of passion? We wait for what will surely be a romantic second line of love and loss.

In the oral performance arena of the mushairah, the interval between the first line and the second one is often considerably (and even coquettishly) prolonged. This increases the shock value of the second line when it comes: the 'punch-words' are withheld until the last possible moment, and then we suddenly realize that the 'transaction, affair' is not romantic at all, but refers entirely to the world of business. The transaction is both neutral-- there was neither 'profit' nor 'loss'-- and (seemingly) matter-of-factly reported. Moreover, this transaction wasn't even conducted by the speaker himself; it was done by 'Thought', acting apparently as some kind of middleman or agent. Thus the interpretive space generated by the verse becomes much larger, and full of quite different kinds of narrative possibility.

Was the dream literal, or metaphorical? And in the second line, were those eyes that opened literal, or metaphorical, or both? What did really happen, anyway? The commercial imagery-- transaction, profit, loss-- and the static, status-quo result leave the question of tone entirely open. Is the tone bitter, rueful, resigned, philosophical, neutral?

And since we never do find out what the transaction or affair was anyway, this is one of those haunting verses with a carefully contrived reflective surface. It's the kind of verse into which we are thrown back onto our own resources, and forced to read pretty much what we like. While this verse plays with dreams, {14,3} similarly plays with madness.