Ghazal 6, Verse 8x


saa;Gar-e jalvah-e sarshaar hai har ;zarrah-e ;xaak
shauq-e diidaar balaa aa))inah-saamaa;N niklaa

1) a brimful/intoxicated cup of glory/appearance, is every grain of dust
2) the ardor for/of sight/vision turned out to be devastatingly mirror-{equipped/equipment}


sarshaar : 'Overflowing, brimful, full ... steeped, soaked ... ; intoxicated, drunk'. (Platts p.654)


diidaar : 'Sight, vision (= diid ); look, appearance; face, countenance'. (Platts p.556)


balaa : 'Trial, affliction, misfortune, calamity, evil, ill; a person or thing accounted a trial, affliction, &c.; evil genius, evil spirit, devil, fiend; a wonderful or extraordinary person or thing; an awful or terrible person or thing; an insignificant, or vile, person or thing; excessive, fearful or awful amount or quantity (of)'. (Platts p.163)


saamaa;N : 'Furniture, baggage, articles, things, paraphernalia; requisites, necessaries, materials, appliances; instrument, tools, apparatus; provision made for any necessary occasion, necessary preparations; pomp, circumstance; --measure, quantity, proportion; order, arrangement, disposition; mode; custom, habit; power, strength; probity; opulence; understanding, reason, intellect; --boundary, limit; landmark'. (Platts p.627)


Every grain of sand seems to be a brimming glass of glory/appearance. My ardor of/for sight too is like a devastating mirror-- that is, it has made every grain of the world into a mirror of the beauty/glory of the heart-stealer.

== Asi, p. 55


It is astonishing that the selection-makers neglected/overlooked this verse. Probably they neglected it because they considered shauq-e diidaar , instead of shauq-e i:zhaar , to be meaningless, and thought that the poet had used that word only on the basis of his natural inclination toward the art of eloquence [whereas in fact the verse is mystically very subtle]. If Ghalib today had sat down to make a selection of his poetry, then he would never have plucked out and tossed aside such a good verse. And not only this one verse-- many, or most [unpublished] verses are such that they have been unjustly slain!

== Zamin, p. 34

Gyan Chand:

In every dust-grain the intoxicating glory/appearance of the True Beloved is showing itself to us. Every grain is a mirror of His beauty. How many mirrors our ardor for sight created!

== Gyan Chand, pp. 70-71


JALVAH: {7,4}
MIRROR: {8,3}
ZARRAH: {15,12}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the range of idiomatic usages of balaa , see {58,1}. In the usage here, it seems to mean something like 'fearfully much, awfully much': basically, 'extremely much' with slight negative overtones. By comparison to 'monstrously much' or 'disastrously much' in English, the negative overtones seem to be a good bit milder; the literal meaning of balaa is overridden by colloquial usage (as in 'a hell of a lot').

What exactly does it mean to be aa))inah-saamaa;N ? Undoubtedly, it means having a mirror as saamaa;N . But then, look at the range of meanings for the versatile saamaa;N (see the definition above). The most basic sense seems to be 'equipment' (as when we use it to refer to bags and suitcases). But there are also other possibilities, like 'measure, quantity' or 'custom, habit' or 'power, strength' or 'understanding, reason' or 'boundary, limit'. Obviously, readings like 'mirror-measured' or 'mirror-accustomed' or 'mirror-powered' or 'mirror-minded' or 'mirror-bounded' would yield very different readings.

Then we need to ask, what is the connection between the two lines? They might be taken to represent separate situations in two different domains (the situation of the dust-grain is-- or is not-- like that of the ardor for sight). Or they might represent a single situation (in which the dust-grain is the possessor of the ardor for sight). Or of course they might represent some other relationship, such as cause and effect. As so often, we're left to decide for ourselves.

The reading that I particularly like is one in which the first line illustrates a particular situation, and the second line explains it. Every grain of dust is radiant with the brilliance of Divine glory/appearance; this is because its ardor for sight causes it to work remarkably well as a mirror, or to equip itself fearfully much with mirrors, or something of the sort. Thus it's able to show in itself, and reflect out into the world, the (Divine) sun's dazzling rays.

This kind of mirroring is something that sand-grains are extremely fond of doing: see {15,12} for a variety of examples. Their containing mica and other glittery, refractive minerals makes their behavior more plausible. In the present verse, we have explicitly 'grains of dust'. Does this mean that through sheer will-power, through 'ardor for sight', the dust-grains have turned themselves into sand-grains?