Ghazal 228, Verse 2


kis kaa suraa;G-e jalvah hai ;hairat ko ay ;xudaa
aa))iinah farsh-e shash-jihat-e inti:zaar hai

1) whose is the sign/trace of glory/appearance to Astonishment, oh Lord?

2a) the mirror is a carpet of six directions of waiting
2b) the carpet of six directions of waiting is a mirror


suraa;G : 'Sign, mark, footstep, trace, track, clue; search, inquiry; spying'. (Platts p.650)


;hairat : 'Perturbation and stupor (of mind), astonishment, amazement, consternation'. (Platts p.483)


Waiting is a world in which there are six directions, and in its six directions Astonishment has spread a carpet of mirror: 'May his/her glory/appearance somehow become visible'. (255)

== Nazm page 255

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, oh Lord, You ought to know about whose glory/appearance Astonishment wants to learn, that it has in the six directions bound waiting into a mirror; and it wants somehow for a reflection of that one's glory/appearance to come into view. (312)

Bekhud Mohani:

He has supposed waiting to be a world, in which there are six directions; in which Astonishment has spread a carpet of mirror: 'May his/her glory/appearance somehow become visible'. (463)


.... Now the meaning will emerge, of whose glory/appearance has Astonishment seen a sign/trace? That is, of whose glory (or the trace of whose glory) was such Astonishment born, that in waiting, the world is appearing to be nothing but a mirror?

Here the question can arise, if Astonishment has already received a sign/trace of the glory/appearance, then what does the waiting mean? To this there are three answers. (1) As yet only the sign/trace has been received; thus this state of astonishment. The whole world thus seems to be a mirror, since it's waiting for the whole glory/appearance, that the glory/appearance would become embodied. (2) It had seen the glory/appearance only one time; it desires, and waits, to see it again. (3) The quality of astonishment is composed of two parts: in the mirror, and in the astonished individual. In the state of waiting too, there's the same motionlessness and quiet that is in astonishment. Someone who is waiting doesn't stir from his place.... Thus we can call the person who is astonished a waiting one, because both don't stir from their places. In this way we can call the person who is all astonishment from head to foot a waiting one, and a waiting one we can call a mirror.

[The prose order of the second line can be either:] farsh-e shash-jihat-e inti:zaar , aa))iinah ( ban gayaa ) hai ; or else aa))iinah , farsh-e shash-jihat-e inti:zaar ( ban gayaa ) hai . This latter reading supports the assumption I've made in (3) above.... From it the point emerges that the whole mirror has become embodied 'waiting', to the extent that if we assume waiting to be a world (six directions), then the mirror appears to be its carpet. That is, in the mirror glory/appearance had been reflected one time; the mirror became carried out of itself to such an extent that it became entirely astonishment. Or some person saw glory/appearance one time, and became astonished to such an extent that he became astonishment from head to foot-- that is, a mirror from head to foot. Then the glory/appearance vanished from the mirror (or from sight). Now the mirror is constantly waiting with such intensity for that glory/appearance, or even now the viewer is in such astonishment, that the astonished person is astonishment from head to foot (or, is a mirror from head to foot), as if it has become a carpet of six directions of waiting.

The verse is extremely convoluted, but the theme is straightforward. This too is a form of 'meaning-creation'. (1989: 356-57) [2006: 383-85]


JALVAH: {7,4}
MIRROR: {8,3}

Well, as Faruqi observes, the verse is convoluted indeed-- and yet the general theme is straightforward, and not very compelling. The verse feels like strings of reprocessed abstractions that he's used more effectively elsewhere. It leaves a bland, ho-hum impression.

On several other occasions as well, Ghalib invokes the 'six directions' (see {41,4}). As a wonderful verse for comparison, to remind us of what Ghalib can do when he's really being Ghalib, consider {152,4}. There we have the 'six directions', but we also have a sense of energy and activity in the verse: we have the 'rakish ones' and the 'heedless one' and plenty of intoxication to allure us into figuring it out. Similarly in {128,1}, we have that hypnotic first line, and also a parrot to intrigue us. And in {41,4}, the mirror is a door that seems to open into a magic (and/or delusory?) land. As for the faux-naif rhetorical question of the first line, its lineage runs right back to {1,1}.

By comparison to any of these, the present verse feels inert and perfunctory. It's hard to work up much ;zauq-o-shauq for analyzing it. If you want to have a go at an equally obscure but far more fascinating one, take a look at the next verse, {228,3}.