Ghazal 223, Verse 6x


bazm-e hastii vuh tamaashaa hai kih jis ko ham asad
dekhte hai;N chashm-e az ;xvaab-e ((adam nakshaadah se

1) the gathering of existence is {such a / 'that'} spectacle-- that we, Asad,
2) see with eyes non-opened from the dream/sleep of nonexistence



Oh Asad, about the state of existence-- don't ask! It is a spectacle. We see it, but with eyes that are still in the dream/sleep of nonexistence. That is, the presence of existence is still in the state of nonexistence, and this 'existence' is entirely 'nonexistence'. (267)


We see with 'eyes non-opened from the dream/sleep of nonexistence'-- that is, we see with the closed eyes of dead people. The gist is that the spectacle of the gathering of existence is such that even when we look at it, we don't really see it; that is, we take no interest in it. (391)

Gyan Chand:

The eye is in the dream/sleep of nonexistence, and that sleep still prevails, wakefulness has not yet occurred. Existence is that spectacle that is being shown during the dream/sleep of nonexistence; that is, existence has no presence/reality. Mankind is in the world/state of nonexistence, in which existence is an illusory dream-- as in the second line of {98,10}.

== Gyan Chand, p. 391


[Compare his discussion of Mir's M{485,3}.]


DREAMS: {3,3}
EYES {3,1}
TAMASHA: {8,1}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Gyan Chand is right to point to the brilliant {98,10}, a verse that can't help but pop into the head of any Ghalib fan. It's tough competition, but the present verse has its own pleasures. For one thing, it's almost a catalogue of Ghalib's favorite kinds of imagery. For another, there's a kind of primeval dreaminess to it-- the eyes are not 'closed' (as though they had once been opened, then had been caused to close), but rather 'non-opened' (so that perhaps they had never opened at all).

And that 'non-opened' is a piquant effect in its own right. It would take anybody a moment or two to figure it out. It's naa plus kushaadah , 'not' plus 'opened' (in Persian). But to make it fit the meter, two successive operations have been performed: the naa has lost its long vowel, and then the resulting word has had its syllables arranged (not na-ku-shaa-dah but nak-shaa-dah ) so that it can be scanned as long-long-short. This makes the word sound strange and problematical-- which of course is perfect for a kind of primordial dream state. And it postpones the moment of comprehension by imposing that tiny penultimate pause while we do the furious mental work that enhances the effect of so many of Ghalib's verses.