Ghazal 64, Verse 5


fanaa ko sau;Np gar mushtaaq hai apnii ;haqiiqat kaa
furo;G-e :taala((-e ;xaashaak hai mauquuf gul;xan par

1) confide it to oblivion/destruction, if you are ardent for your own reality/essence
2) the radiance/glory of the rising/star/fortune of the wood-chips is dependent on the fireplace/furnace


fanaa : 'Mortality, frailty, corruption, decay, perdition, destruction, death'. (Platts p.784)


mushtaaq : 'Full of desire, desirous, wishful, longing, yearning (for); ardent, eager, keen; --s.m. A lover'. (Platts p.1038)


;haqiiqat : 'Essence (of a thing), essential property or quality; truth, reality, fact, true or real nature or state or circumstances or facts, gist, pith ;--rightness, sincerity; --account, narration, relation, story, state, condition, explanation'. (Platts p.479)


furo;G : 'Illumination, light, brightness, splendour; flame; --glory, fame, honour'. (Platts p.780)


:taala(( : 'Rising, appearing (as the sun), arising; --s.m. Star, destiny, fate, lot, fortune; prosperity'. (Platts p.750)

;xaashaak : 'Sweepings, chips, shavings, leaves, rubbish, trash'. (Platts p.484)


That is, seek freedom in oblivion in God. (65)

== Nazm page 65

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, one ought to achieve oblivion in God and obtain the final culmination of mystical knowledge; and he presents an illustration of this: just as when [dried] grass, etc. is used as fuel for an oven, it becomes flame and glows, in the same way the truth of mystical knowledge is made manifest through attainment of oblivion in God. (113)

Bekhud Mohani:

If you have ardor for becoming aware of your own reality, then confide your existence to oblivion. Because if the fortune of straw and wood-chips glows bright, then it is after their falling into the furnace. That is, if you want to recognize yourself, then become obliterated in God. Except for this, there's no way to reality through your senses. If you erase yourself, then you would become merged in the essence of the Lord. (145-46)


Compare {87,11}. (228)



Flame, and straw or wood-chips, go together in ways that work very well for Ghalib. Like {21,5}, this verse too plays with furo;G , in its related double meanings of literal brightness or flame (fire), and metaphorical brightness or radiance (glory). In both senses, of course, the wood-chips are dependant on the furnace: for the literal flame that will make them glow with radiance, and for the metaphorical glory of being recognized as fuel for a higher purpose.

The word :taala(( also adds to the word- and meaning-play. It means 'rising, arising', the way wood-chips, shavings, leaves, and other such odds and ends of the garden turn into flame and ascend into the air; it means 'star', a brilliant source of fiery radiance; and it means 'fortune' in general and 'good fortune' in particular (see the definition above); all these senses are elegantly appropriate to the verse.

Is this advice from Ghalib to himself? Many such verses use the intimate tuu -- see for example {13,1}-- as does this one. And the 'you' so addressed is one whose own reality or deepest truth [apnii ;haqiiqat] consists in finding oblivion, rather than finding a 'real' self. Or rather, the paradoxical advice emerges that the supreme, longed-for reality is nothingness, which is to be embraced with the ardor shown by the Moth flying into the candle flame. Or, of course, the ardor of the wood chips gladly 'confiding themselves' to their momentary blaze of fiery glory and brilliant death. The first line is a general piece of inshaa))iyah advice, with the second a particular illustration or proof of its rightness.

This verse also fits into the series beginning with {26,1}, in which the speaker enjoins the listener (himself? all of us?) to borrow nothing from others, for one should seek only what is one's own. One should prefer one's own inferior insights or talents, rather than becoming indebted to those of others and living with a merely derivative sense of self. In this verse, the logic is pushed as far as it will go: the verse tells you that your only 'real' self is to be found in oblivion. Or maybe in the splendid, rakish, climactic gesture with which you 'confide yourself' [sau;Npnaa] to oblivion?