Ghazal 79, Verse 6x


yak-ba;xt auj na;zr-e subuk-baarii-e asad
sar par vabaal-e saayah-e baal-e humaa nah maa;Ng

1) {entirely / 'all-fortunately'} a height/summit, the offering of the {carefreeness / light-weightedness} of Asad
2) don't ask for the burden/bane of the shadow of the Huma's wing on the head


ba;xt : 'Portion, lot, fortune; good fortune, luck, prosperity'. (Platts p.138)


auj : 'Highest point, top, summit, vertex; zenith; height, altitude, ascendancy; highest apsis of a planet; highest position, rank, or dignity; preferment, promotion; prosperity'. (Platts p.103)


na;zr : 'A vow; an offering, anything offered or dedicated; a gift or present (from an inferior to a superior); a fee paid to the State or to its representative on succeeding to an office or to property'. (Platts p.1128)


subuk : 'Light (not heavy); light-footed, expeditious, active, nimble; light, frivolous, trivial, trifling; shallow;... subuk-baarii , adj. Of a light weight; lightly loaded, unencumbered; free from care'. (Platts p.633)


vabaal : Unwholesome; burdensome; painful, vexatious; —s.m. An unhealthy climate or atmosphere; —anything painful or distressing; bane, pest, plague; —a crime, sin, fault; —punishment (for a crime); divine vengeance; curse; misfortune; ruin'. (Platts p.1178)

Gyan Chand:

From the falling of the shadow of the Huma's wing, a man becomes a king, but the English proverb is that the head on which there is a crown is forced to confront a nonexistence of peace ['Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown', from Henry IV]. As if the shadow of the Huma's wing is a burden. In order to show the level of elevation, Ghalib has used the construction yak ba;xt . A whole destiny full of loftiness-- CHECK THE REST OF THIS!! (241-42)



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

The phrase yak-ba;xt conveys completeness and universality, while the overtones of ba;xt of course suggest fate and destiny, especially an auspicious. For more on such yak expressions, see {11,1}; To be on a 'height' also suggests the astrological idea that one's 'star is in the ascendant'; for another such usage, see {169,4}.

Asad's 'offering' is the loftiest possible one, the one that rises to the greatest height;. Appropriately enough, it consists of his 'lightness' or carefreeness.

By contrast to such 'lightness', the shadow of the Huma's wing falling on one's head would be a heavy, undesirable burden. There are two kinds of pleasure here. The first is the depiction of the extreme lightness of Asad's carefreeness, such that by comparison even the shadow of a bird's wing would be a heavy weight. Thus the enjoyable wordplay of vabaal and baal becomes a form of meaning-play as well.

The second pleasure is the well-established fact that the man (it seems always to be a man) on whose head the shadow of the Huma's wing falls, is destined to become a king. And a king wears a heavy crown, he is burdened by affairs of state, he cannot feel 'lightness' or 'carefreeness'. But one of his perquisites is the receiving of 'offerings' and tribute from his subjects. So Asad's 'offering' of lightness or carefreeness might indeed be a lofty and acceptable one, since it's a gift of something that the king himself doesn't have.