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Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Ghazal Eight

Monday
,
29
March
2021

Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Ghazal Eight

Monday
,
29
March
2021
Bhai Nand Lal
Persian
Ghazal
Sikhism
Guru Gobind Singh
⟵ Back to articles

Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Ghazal Eight

Monday
,
29
March
2021

A new translation and brief essay on the eighth ghazal from Bhai Nand Lal’s Divan-i-Goya.

A new translation and brief essay on the eighth ghazal from Bhai Nand Lal’s Divan-i-Goya.

Translation

Before Your face, the full moon is embarrassed.
Rather, the sun of the universe too is a slave.

Our eyes witness nothing but the Truth-Divine.
Oh, fortunate is the eye that beholds the Divine.

Neither do we flaunt piety nor do we indulge in hypocrisy.
If we are sinners, the Divine is the forgiver.

From where would we bring another?
The world reverberates with echoes of Oneness.

Nothing is ever uttered except Truth-Divine.
By the lips of Goya, as the Divine is the forgiver.

Transcription

Badar dar pīsh-i rukhat sharmandeh ast
Balkeh khurshīd-i jahān ham bandeh ast

Chashm-i mā hargiz baighair az haq nadīd
Ai khoshā chashmī keh haq bīnandeh ast

Mā nemī lāfīm az zuhd ō rayā
Gar guneh garīm haq bakhshandeh ast

Dīgarī rā az kujā ārīm mā
Shūr dar ālam yekī afgandeh ast

Harf-i ghair az haq nayāyad hīch gāh
Bar lab-i gōiā keh haq bakhshandeh ast

Gurmukhi

ਬਦਰ ਦਰ ਪੀਸ਼ਿ ਰੁਖਤ ਸ਼ਰਮਿੰਦੇਹ ਅਸਤ ।
ਬਲਕੇਹ ਖੁਰਸ਼ੀਦਿ ਜਹਾਨ ਹਮ ਬੰਦੇਹ ਅਸਤ ॥

ਚਸ਼ਮਿ ਮਾ ਹਰਗਿਜ਼ ਬਗ਼ੈਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹੱਕ ਨਦੀਦ ।
ਐ ਖੁਸ਼ਾ ਚਸ਼ਮੀ ਕੇਹ ਹੱਕ ਬੀਨੰਦੇਹ ਅਸਤ ॥

ਮਾ ਨਮੀ ਲਾਫ਼ੀਮ ਅਜ਼ ਜ਼ੁਹਦੋ ਰਯਾ ।
ਗਰ ਗੁਨੇਹ ਗਾਰੀਮ ਹੱਕ ਬਖਸ਼ੰਦੇਹ ਅਸਤ ॥

ਦੀਗਰੀ ਰਾ ਅਜ਼ ਕੁਜਾ ਆਰੀਮ ਮਾ ।
ਸ਼ੂਰ ਦਰ ਆਲਮ ਯਕ ਅਫ਼ਗੰਦੇਹ ਅਸਤ ॥

ਹਰਫ਼ਿ ਗੈਰ ਅਜ਼ ਹੱਕ ਨਯਾਯਦ ਹੀਚ ਗਾਹ ।
ਬਰ ਲਬਿ ਗੋਯਾ ਕੇਹ ਹੱਕ ਬਖ਼ਸ਼ੰਦੇਹ ਅਸਤ ॥  

Persian

بدر در پیشِ رخت شرمنده است
بلکه خورشیدِ جهان هم بنده است

چشمِ ما هرگز بغیر از حق ندید
ای خوشا چشمی که حق بیننده است

ما نمی لافیم از زهد و ریا
گر گنه گاریم حق بخشنده است

دیگری را از کجا آریم ما
شور در عالم یکی افگنده است

حرفِ غیر از حق نیاید هیچ گاه
بر لبِ‌ گویا که حق بخشنده است

Commentary

In his eighth ghazal, Goya mostly refers to the Divine as haq, the Arabic word for truth, which is translated here either as Truth-Divine or simply Divine. In the previous ghazals translated in this series, we have seen Goya refer to the Divine as his Beloved (in the second ghazal) or, alternatively, we have seen him speak directly to the Divine, both in the first ghazal and in the first couplet of the one at present.

These different modes of address indicate the various attributes of both the Guru and Goya’s relationship to the Guru. Each mode of address suggests a different form of intimacy. In the second ghazal, Goya described the Divine by way of physical attributes--the angelic face, the radiant gaze, the ruby lips. In the ghazal above, Goya turns to a description of his own relationship to the Divine, understood here as haq, after opening the ghazal in a mode similar to that of the second ghazal, which directly addresses the Divine: “Before Your face, the full moon is embarrassed / Rather, the sun of the universe too is a slave.”

For the remainder of the ghazal, he eschews second-person pronouns and refers instead directly to haq and elaborates the nature of this Truth-Divine. For example, Goya writes that he (the speaker) is not righteous--neither pious nor hypocritical--rather, he (the speaker) looks to Truth-Divine’s vast capacities for forgiveness. Attempts to perform piety, either authentically or hypocritically, appear to be futile for Goya in the wake of a Truth-Divine that is visible everywhere one looks. For Goya, conceptions of piety and righteousness, deception and hypocrisy, sin and impurity are entirely irrelevant in the context of a life that witnesses and remembers Truth-Divine. Recall Goya’s couplet in his first ghazal: “When there was no sign from the sky or earth / It was only desire for your face that brought me into prostration.” Goya is motivated by love for Truth-Divine, not a desire to perform for the world around him.

One of the more striking lines of the ghazal is written in the form of a question. Goya asks, referring to Truth-Divine: “From where would we bring another?” If both the temporal and celestial worlds are in the reins of Truth-Divine, as Goya has told us in a previous couplet, it is impossible to conceive of anything but haq. Indeed, in the next line, he reflects that the entire world reverberates with the echoes of Oneness, of Truth-Divine. This couplet stands apart from the rest of the ghazal as its object remains undefined; it is neither the second-person “you” nor the third-person “Truth-Divine,” emphasizing the inescapable nature of haq. Haq is everywhere.

Commentary by Damanpreet Singh
Revised:

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Written By

Persian Literature Scholar

Fatima Fayyaz is a scholar of Persian literature who studies Central Asian hagiographical Persian literature, contemporary Afghan Persian poetry and prose, Persian epics, and South Asian mystic literature. 

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Associate Professor of Art History, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Nadhra Shahbaz Khan is Associate Professor of art history at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. A specialist in the history of art and architecture of the Punjab from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century, her research covers the visual and material culture of this region during the Mughal, Sikh, and colonial periods.

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Creative Director

Inni Kaur is Creative Director at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). She has served SikhRI in several capacities since 2010, including Chair of the Board, and most recently as CEO. 

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Writer & Graduate Student

Damanpreet Singh is a writer and graduate student who studies race, religion, empire, and the history of capitalism in the nineteenth century.

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