Ghazal 51, Verse 9x


nah fikr-e salaamat nah biim-e malaamat
z ;xvud-raftagii'haa-e ;hairat salaamat

1) neither concern/worry about wellbeing, nor terror/dread about disgrace/reproach

2a) {gone-from-self}-nesses of amazement, wellbeing [to you]!
2b) {gone-from-self}-nesses of amazement, may you be safe/well!


biim : 'Fear, terror, dread; danger, risk'. (Platts p.211)


;hairat : 'Perturbation and stupor (of mind), astonishment, amazement, consternation'. (Platts p.483)


salaamat : 'Safety, salvation; tranquillity, peace, rest, repose; immunity; liberty; soundness; recovery; health; --adj. & adv. (used predicatively) Safe, sound, well; --in safety, safely, securely'. (Platts p.668)


There is no concern about wellbeing, nor fear of disgrace. My amazement has become gone-from-itself, and has passed beyong the borders of these ideas.

== Asi, p. 101


In {51,8x} he declares the 'crowd/rush of faithfulness' [in Zamin's text] to be no cause of fear; and here, the crowd/rush of amazement.

== Zamin, p. 145

Gyan Chand:

Having seen the beauty of the beloved, the state of amazement overpowered me, and for this reason I became gone from myself. Now I neither have any concern about living in wellbeing, nor any fear of people's taunts and reproaches. This gone-from-self-ness-- wellbeing to it!

== Gyan Chand, pp. 175-76


BEKHUDI: {21,6}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

ABOUT ;hairat : It's sometimes used for 'surprise', but its primary meaning is something stronger, something that freezes you in your tracks. I use 'amazement' as a good all-purpose compromise translation, but often a more accurate choice would be 'stupefaction', almost in the literal sense of experiencing something that 'stupefies', that creates a stupor. Thus the reaction of ;hairat is not a little jump, a startled step back, a sudden movement. Rather, it's a profound, wordless stillness that may (in the ghazal world) last for an indefinitely long time, and that may also look like awe. It is sometimes associated with a gesture of touching a finger to the lower teeth of one's open, jaw-dropped mouth; for an example see the painting in {50,1}. On the connection between ;hairat and mirrors, see {352x,4}. For a discussion of the sophisticated (and Sufistic) connotations of ;hairat , see Shahab Ahmed, What is Islam? (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), pp. 278-281.

Thus the 'footprint', with its wide-open eye (or wide-open mouth) shape and perpetually unmoving state of helpless collapse, can be perhaps the ultimate model of ;hairat , as in {53,3} and {116,8}. The mirror too is an image of amazement, as in {63,1} and {217,8x}. The perpetually fixed gaze of a painted eye in a picture might also be such an image, as in {92,2}. And another such image of course can be the mystical, entranced, self-oblivious state(s) envisioned in the present verse. In {184,2} the lover finds that such 'amazement' makes effective speech impossible. In A Garden of Kashmir, as a translation for ;hairat I used 'stupefaction', which also could be defended.

In Persian the past participle az-;xvud-raftah means, literally, 'gone from the self'. (We received a related lesson about the grammar of raftan , 'to go', in {3,4}.) Then the suffix ii makes 'gone-from-self-ness'. But then-- doesn't 'gone-from-self-nesses' (with the plural ending haa ) seem a bit over the top? Perhaps it's meant to suggest that such episodes happen repeatedly; perhaps it's meant to make us reflect on whether there are many different ways to be gone from the self. For more on such (awkwardly) pluralized abstractions, see {1,2}.

The first line is a negative list-- neither A, nor B-- with no indication of whom or what those negations may apply to. Perhaps they describe the speaker/lover, or perhaps they describe the 'gone-from-self-nesses' in the second line. As so often, the decision is left entirely up to us.

For more on the double reading of salaamat in the second line, see the discussion in {51,4}.