Ghazal 196, Verse 4


haa;N khaa))iyo mat fareb-e hastii
har-chand kahe;N kih hai nahii;N hai

1) indeed, may one not swallow the deceit/beguilement of existence!
2) {although / however much} they might/would say that 'it is', it is not


khaa))iyo is the third-person future imperative of khaanaa (GRAMMAR)


fareb : 'Deception, deceit, fraud, trick, duplicity, treachery, imposture, delusion, fallacy; allurement, beguilement, &c.'. (Platts p.780)


fareb khaanaa : 'To be deceived or deluded (by), be taken in (by), be duped, be gulled, be cheated (by), be misled (by)'. (Platts p.780)


Yes, yes, don't by any means be deceived! If anybody says something, don't accept it. Otherwise you'll become ensnared in such an enchantment [:tilism] of illusions that you'll remain deprived of the glory/appearance of reality. This whole verse is for the disclosure of a warning. (221)

== Nazm page 221

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Indeed, beware-- don't fall into the trick/deceit of existence! Although people might say that existence is, you should consider that it is not.' (279)

Bekhud Mohani:

Beware-- don't fall into the deceit/illusion that the world's existence, or your own, is existence. No matter what anybody might say, don't believe it. The truth is that the world has no reality at all, it's nothing but a mere illusion. The doctrine of the sect of Sophists is that nothing is real, the world is an illusion. And this is the opinion of the Sufis too: that when everything is the glory/manifestation of one single being (the Lord), then it's incorrect to consider the world and the beings in the world to be real. If only one being (the Lord) exists, then if you are persuaded of the existence of every other thing, then your whole life long you'll keep wandering around lost. (387)


Compare {100,3}, {141,7}, {208,3}. (229, 260, 299, 333)



For more on har-chand , see {59,7}.

The i.zaafat in fareb-e hastii does brilliant work in complexifying this little verse. There are several ways to read it. The 'deceit/trick of existence' might mean:

=The deceit/trick that is practiced by (a semi-personified) Existence, in order to fool us humans: Existence throws dust into our eyes, so that people think the world, human life, etc., exist, even though they are really nothing more than a shadow-play of some kind.

=The deceit/trick that itself constitutes existence: people think that being, life, the world around them exists, but it doesn't; counterintuitively, existence itself doesn't exist.

=The deceit/trick that pertains to existence: people are credulous about everything, but life itself is inherently tricky and you shouldn't follow their foolish example; even when they affirm something, no matter what it may be, they're always misled and wrong. (Since subjects can be colloquially omitted in Urdu, what we really have in the second line is a kind of generalized affirmation, 'is!', and negation, 'is not!'.)

Arshi offers some excellent verses for comparison; I would add {3,8x} and also {162,4}, which seems to try seriously to see through the trick. For more on the complexities of fareb , see {71,3}.