Ghazal 81, Verse 8x


mashq-e az-;xvud-raftagii se hai;N bah gulzaar-e ;xayaal
aashnaa ta((biir-e ;xvaab-e sabzah-e begaanah ham

1) through the practice/usage of being-gone-from-self, we are, in the garden of thought,
2) familiar with the interpretation of the dream of weeds/'alien greenery'


aashnaa : 'Acquaintance; friend; associate; intimate friend, familiar; lover, sweetheart; paramour; mistress, concubine; —adj. Acquainted (with, - se ), knowing, known; attached (to), fond (of)'. (Platts p.57)


ta((biir : 'Interpretation, explanation (particularly of dreams); —attribute, quality'. (Platts p.326)


begaanah : 'Unknown, a foreigner, stranger, alien'. (Steingass p.223)


sabzah-e begaanah : 'Parasitic plants to be torn out or pruned'. (Steingass p.648)


sabzah-e ;xvaabiidah : 'Grass or herbs trodden upon and spread over the ground'. (Steingass p.648)


'Oh friend, oh our confidant, we have so much practice in being-gone-from-self that today in the garden of thought we have become the interpretation of the dream of the weeds.' Since greenery is also called 'sleeping greenery' [sabzah-e ;xvaabiidah], he has said 'dream of the greenery'. 'Weeds' are that greenery that would have sprouted and come up by itself. It's obvious that the interpretation of the dream of weeds would be nonexistence. The meaning is, 'Oh friend, while practicing gone-from-self-ness, today we have become entirely oblivion and nothingness'. (157)


'Garden of thought' because colorful themes are born/created in thought. That is, our gone-from-self-ness keeps us far off from the garden of thought, the way weeds remain far off from from the garden flower-beds. And the weeds have only as much of a relationship with the tulips and roses of the garden as the interpretation has to a dream. Weeds that would have sprung up outside the garden and out of place. The gist is that we do not know how to compose verses-- we only know to bring together garden, greenery, 'alien', and 'acquainted'.

aashnaa ta((biir-e ;xvaab = ta((biir-ashnaa-e ;xvaab . (223)

Gyan Chand:

sabzah-e begaanah is that greenery that would be fit for being dug up. In the garden of thoughts, we practiced losing ourself and going from ourself. In this way we've become acquainted with the interpretation of a dream of 'weeds'. The 'sleep of greenery' [;xvaab-e sabzah] is well-known. The cause of our going from ourself can be that no one pays attention to the pain of our heart. This mood is that of 'alien greenery'-- that no one is its friend/familiar.

== Gyan Chand, p. 253


BEKHUDI: {21,6}
DREAMS: {3,3}

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

The verse is energized by the piquancy of comparing the lofty, admirably mystical trance state of self-transcendance [az-;xvud-raftagii] with something as humble and despised, something as grittily and tenaciously physical, as a weed. An additional source of energy is the sense of action: to go outside oneself is a major journey (a 'trip'?), and it enables the speaker to feel empathy with plants that are idiomatically called 'alien greenery' (see the definition above). As usual, Ghalib has made this idiom work in both its colloquial and its literal sense. For more on the idiomatic expression sabzah-e begaanah , see {42,10x}.

Asi also points out the equally enjoyable idiom sabzah-e ;xvaabiidah (see the definition above) that forms part of the verse's invisible penumbra. As Gyan Chand notes, the idea of the weeds' sleep or dream is idiomatically established through this expression (since crushed grass lies flat on the ground, it seems to be asleep).

In this verse, even the lowly weeds are endowed with enough active potential to have a dream of their own, or at least to play a role in the speaker's dream. The perfect placing of the i.zaafat makes it possible for the dream in question to be the speaker's dream about weeds; or the weeds' own dream (whatever its content might be); or a dream that concerns weeds in some other, unspecified way. Thus the readings of the verse can be anything from the radically compassionate (the speaker can sympathize with the unexpressed sufferings of the humble weed) to the radically alienated (the speaker in his trance state has dreams in his mind that are like weeds in a garden), with stops at all sorts of points in between.

As so often in Ghalib's verses, the cleverly arranged pairs of opposites are in constant oscillation and mutual recombination in our minds. The juxtapositions include: inside (one's inner self, one's thought, one's dream) versus outside (going outside oneself, the garden, the weeds); and familiarity (with a regular 'practice', with dream interpretation) versus alienness (the weeds, the speaker's isolation in his trance state); and human contrivance (the careful 'practice', the garden, the interpretation) versus intractable wildness (the weeds, their 'alienness', the radical uncontrollableness of the trance state).

Note for grammar fans: how exactly should we read the grammar of aashnaa ? Normally we would have either kaa for the noun use (as in {42,1}, with its kis kaa aashnaa ), or se for the adjectival use (as Platts notes in the definition above). In this verse we have a se , but it's bonded to the mashq , and is thus required to be instrumental. As Zamin suggests, I read aashnaa-ta((biir as a reversed form of ta((biir-aashnaa , 'familiar with interpretation', which does the job in practice. S. R. Faruqi has told me (Aug. 2008) that this construction should officially be considered a faq-e i.zaafat , or 'removal/loss of the i.zaafat ', and that it should be treated as a recognized figure of speech. Another possible example: {222,2x}.