Ghazal 398x, Verse 3


;xalvat-e dil me;N nah kar da;xl bajuz sijdah-e shauq
aastaa;N me;N .sifat-e aa))inah dar pinhaa;N hai

1) don't make an entry/intrusion into the privacy of the heart, except for a prostration of ardor
2) in the doorway, like a mirror, the door is hidden


;xalvat : 'Loneliness, solitude; seclusion, retirement, privacy; a vacant place, a private place or apartment, a closet, &c. (to which one retires for privacy); a cell (for religious retirement)'. (Platts p.493)


da;xl : 'Entrance, ingress, admission, access; entering (upon), taking possession (of), possession, occupation, occupancy; making way or progress (in a study) ... — intrusion, interference, meddling, disturbance, molestation'. (Platts p.508)


aastaan : 'Threshold; door, entrance; entrance to a shrine; abode of a faqiir or holy man'. (Platts p.48)


.sifat : 'adj. Like, resembling (used as last member of compounds)'. (Platts p.745)


For a door to be hidden in a mirror means that although outwardly/apparently there's no door, its reflection becomes visible-- from which the poet has drawn the conclusion that in it there's a hidden door.

The point is that to arrive only/emphatically at the threshold of the heart is enough for the attainment of mystic knowledge and the prostration of gratitude. A longing/desire to enter within the interior privacy is inappropriate.

== Zamin, p. 444

Gyan Chand:

Whenever you enter into the solitude of the heart, go along making a prostration of ardor; otherwise, don't enter. You will say that there's not even any door to enter there. In truth, the way a mirror seems to be the frame of a door, but the door is for the entry into its chamber of a reflection, in the same way in the threshold of the heart the door is hidden.

== Gyan Chand, p. 464


MIRROR: {8,3}

For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}. See also the overview index.

This verse made me think of the Dastan-e Amir Hamzah, and the kind of 'enchantment' or :tilism -- a magic world created by a magician-- so characteristic of the narrative world of the dastan. Ghalib was very fond of dastans. If a wandering prince blunders into such an enchantment, his first reaction is usually to turn around and look for the door he came in through, so as to leave. But of course, that door can no longer be found.

The word aasthaan also carries overtones of reverence (see the definition above), since the word is commonly used to refer to the 'doorway' of a shrine or other religiously powerful place. Thus the 'prostration' is quite appropriate; the doorsill of the beloved is exactly where the lover collapses in helpless, reverent prostration (see for example {43,6}). So the inner 'privacy of the heart' may be almost a sacred place.

But the most compelling, mysterious part of the verse is that .sifat-e aa))inah . It is a 'midpoint' phrase that can be read with different clauses, and has the added ambiguity of an i.zaafat . Here are some possible readings of the second line:

=In the doorway, the door that is like a mirror is hidden. (You might not even be able to find the door at all.)

=In the doorway, the door is hidden by being like a mirror. (You can't see that it's a door; you think it's a mirror.)

=In the doorway, the door is hidden the way a mirror is hidden. (A door-sized mirror is 'hidden' when you look at it and think it's a door into a different room.)

In any case, to fall to the ground and make a 'prostration of ardor' at the doorsill would ensure that your lowered eyes would be safe from looking into the mirror-door. This mirror could well be deceptive-- you think you're seeing into the heart, while you're really only seeing your own image. Or it could even be dangerous-- if you mistake your own face for the depths of the heart, who knows what disastrously wrong conclusions you might draw?