Ghazal 151, Verse 4


be-.sarfah hii guzartii hai ho garchih ((umr-e ;xi.zr
;ha.zrat bhii kal kahe;Nge kih ham kyaa kiyaa kiye

1) it passes only/emphatically unprofitably, although it might be the lifetime of Khizr

2a) even/also Hazrat [Khizr] will say tomorrow, 'what deed did we accomplish?'
2b) even/also Hazrat [Khizr] will say tomorrow, 'as if we accomplished any deed!'


.sarfah : 'Expending, expense, expenditure; economy; utility, profit; addition, surplus, excess, redundance, profusion'. (Platts p.744)


kiyaa : 'Action, deed; doings'. (Platts p.887)


The meaning is that no matter how long a lifetime there may be, the chatterings/voices of the world don't give a person the chance to make preparations for tomorrow. (162)

== Nazm page 162

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, where is there escape from the chatterings/voices of the world, that the lifetime would be spent in divine worship! Even if the lifetime would be as long as Khizr's, it will certainly pass uselessly. Even/also Hazrat Khizr will say tomorrow, we don't know what we kept doing. (217)

Bekhud Mohani:

Even if there would be a lifetime like Hazrat Khizr's, it becomes wasted. Although Hazrat Khizr is a guide to all creatures, even this, in comparison to the lofty rank of life, is no admirable task. (291)



This one always reminds me of Zauq's famous verse:

ho ((umr-e ;xi.zr bhii to kahe;Nge bah vaqt-e marg
ham kyaa rahe yahaa;N abhii aa))e abhii chale

[even if there would be the lifetime of Khizr, we will say at the time of death
we hardly remained here!-- just now we came, just now we left]

The general meaning of be-.sarfah is 'unprofitably', but the range of meanings of .sarfah itself add enjoyable overtones. Are our lives lived 'without expenditure', without a chance to use up everything we have in us? Are they lived 'without economy', so that we're compelled to see our time wasted? Are they lived 'without utility or profit', so that we gain nothing from them? Are they lived 'without excess or profusion', so that our lifetime never yields any interest on our investment? (Or, of course, all of the above; our lives are restless and dissatisfied in so many ways.)

Moreover, the little word 'tomorrow' creates wonderful implications of its own. Even Hazrat Khizr, who will live till Judgment Day, has a lifespan so short that it is merely 'tomorrow' that he will look back on it with regret. The 'omniscient narrator' of the verse provides us with that perspective, and also with (apparently) reliable information about what he 'will say' when tomorrow comes.

In addition, the sound effects of kyaa kiyaa kiye are truly a delight. Note for grammar fans: the kiye should be interpreted as an adverbial past participle with the hu))e colloquially omitted: ham kyaa kiyaa kiye hu))e hai;N , 'we are in the state of having done what deed?'