Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Ghazal Thirty, Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Friday
,
30
July
2021

Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Ghazal Thirty, Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Friday
,
30
July
2021
bhainandlal
persian
ghazal
sikhism
gurugobindsingh

Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Ghazal Thirty, Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

Friday
,
30
July
2021
bhainandlal
persian
ghazal
sikhism
gurugobindsingh
A new translation and brief essay on the thirtieth ghazal from Bhai Nand Lal’s Divan-i-Goya.

Translation

No one looks after the state of the helpless wanderers,
As no one ever reaches the Beloved’s lane.

A thousand heavens are not worth half a grain of barley,
As where we are is far beyond the reach of monarchs.

The one who is called the physician of love is known to have said,
That no one but God can heal the pain of these wanderers.

If you want to light up the heart’s eye,
The finest kohl is no match to the dust of His threshold.

It’s worth spending one’s life remembering the Beloved,
As there is no alchemy equivalent to that.

All the world’s wealth can be given up for the dust of His door,
As unless one surrenders to Him, no one reaches anywhere.

Goya surrenders to the dust of His door,
As the destination cannot be reached unless one turns into dust.

Transliteration

Kasī beh hāl-i gharībān-i bī navā nārisad
Az ānkeh hīch bedān kūyi dilrubā nārisad

Hazār khuld-i barīn rā beh nīm jō nākharand
Rasīdeh īm beh jāyī keh bādshāh nārisad

Tabīb-i ishq chunīn gufteh ast mī gōyand
Beh hāl-i dard-i gharībān beh juz khudā nārisad

Barāyi roshanī-i chashm-i dil agar khwāhī!
Beh khāk-i dargah-i ū hīch tūtīā nārisad

Beh yād-i dōst tavān umr rā besar burdan
Keh dar barābar-i ān hīch kīmyā nārisad

Tamām-i daulat-i gītī fidā-yi khāk-i darash
Keh tā fidāsh nagardad kasī beh jā nārisad

Fidā-yi khāk-i darash mī shavad az ān gōiā
Keh har keh khāk nagardad beh mudā nārisad

Gurmukhi

ਕਸੀ ਬੇਹ ਹਾਲਿ ਗ਼ਰੀਬਾਨਿ ਬੀ ਨਵਾ ਨਾਰਸਦ ।
ਅਜ਼ ਆਂਕੇਹ ਹੀਦ ਬੇਦਾਨ ਕੂਇ ਦਿਲਰੁਬਾ ਨਾਰਸਦ ॥

ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ਖ਼ੁਲਦਿ ਬਰੀਨ ਰਾ ਬੇਹ ਨੀਮ ਜੋ ਨਾਖ਼ਰੰਦ ।
ਰਸੀਦੇਹ ਈਮ ਬੇਹ ਜਾਈ ਕੇਹ ਬਾਦਸ਼ਾਹ ਨਾਰਸਦ ॥

ਤਬੀਬਿ ਇਸ਼ਕ ਚੁਨੀਨ ਗੁਫ਼ਤੇਹ ਅਸਤ ਮੀ ਗੋਯੰਦ ।
ਬੇਹ ਹਾਲਿ ਦਰਦਿ ਗ਼ਰੀਬਾਨ ਬੇਹ ਜੁਜ਼ ਖ਼ੁਦਾ ਨਾਰਸਦ ॥

ਬਰਾਈ ਰੋਸ਼ਨੀਇ ਚਸ਼ਮਿ ਦਿਲ ਅਗਰ ਖ਼ਾਹੀ ।
ਬੇਹ ਖਾਕਿ ਦਰਗਾਹਇ ਓ ਹੀਚ ਤੂਤੀਆ ਨਾਰਸਦ ॥

ਬੇਹ ਯਾਦਿ ਦੋਸਤ ਤਵਾਨ ਉਮਰ ਰਾ ਬਸਰ ਬੁਰਦਨ ।
ਕੇਹ ਦਰ ਬਰਾਬਰਿ ਆਨ ਹੀਚ ਰੀਮਯਾ ਨਾਰਸਦ ॥

ਤਮਾਮ ਦੋਲਤਿ ਗੀਤੀ ਫ਼ਿਦਾਇ ਖ਼ਾਕਿ ਦਰਸ਼ ।
ਕੇਹ ਤਾ ਫ਼ਿਦਾਸ਼ ਨਗਰਦਦ ਕਮੀ ਬੇਹ ਜਾ ਨਾਰਸਦ ॥

ਫ਼ਿਦਾਇ ਖ਼ਾਕਿ ਦਰਸ਼ ਮੀ ਸ਼ਵਦ ਅਜ਼ ਆਨ ਗੋਇਆ ।
ਕੇਹ ਹਰ ਕੇਹ ਖ਼ਾਕ ਨਗਰਦਦ ਬੇਹ ਮੁੱਦਆ ਨਾਰਸੱਦ ॥

Persian

کسی به حالِ‌ غریبان بی نوا نرسد
از آنکه هیچ بدان کوی دلربا نرسد

هزار خلد برین را به نیم جو نخرند!‌
رسیده ایم به جایی که بادشاه نرسد

طبیبِ عشق چنین گفته است می گویند
به حالِ‌ درد غریبان به جز خدا نرسد

برای روشنی چشمِ‌ دل اگر خواهی!
به خاکِ درگه او هیچ توتیا نرسد

به یادِ دوست توان عمر را بسر بردن
که در برابرِ آن هیچ کیمیا نرسد

تمامِ دولتِ گیتی فدای خاکِ درش
که تا فداش نگردد کسی به جا نرسد

فدای خاکِ درش می شود از آن گویا
که هر که خاک نگردد به مدعا نرسد

Commentary

Bhai Nand Lal’s thirtieth ghazal represents a departure from the ghazals translated in this series so far; the translation team often had trouble making sense of the flow of these couplets and many of our interpretations are provisional and speculative.

The repeated word in this ghazal is the negative past tense form of the verb rasīdan (رسیدن), which translates to “to arrive.” In the English translation, we have translated nārisad (نرسد) in several different ways--the state of not having reached, to be beyond the reach of, to not match, or to not be equivalent to. The variety of translations for nārisad sacrifices the rhythm of the ghazal in English, but no one translation would capture the various meanings of the verb in Persian.

In the opening couplet, Bhai Nand Lal reflects on the state of wanderers (gharīb). In Persian, the word “gharīb” suggests a state of wandering and unbelonging. In this couplet, “gharīb is qualified by “bī navā,” which indicates a state of helplessness or begging. No one, Bhai Nand Lal writes, looks after the helpless wanderers, as their quest--to reach the Beloved’s lane--is understood to be a futile one. The reader may ask who constitutes the “no one” Bhai Nand Lal is referring to, the “no one” who is supposed to take care of the helpless wanderers. The thought expressed in the third couplet might provide an answer. Bhai Nand Lal writes: “One who is called the physician of love is known to have said / That no one but God [khudā] can heal the pain of these wanderers.”

Bhai Nand Lal moves from a somewhat opaque first couplet to another similarly dense one. In the first line of the second couplet, he compares the value of a thousand heavens to that of half a grain of barley. Specifically, he suggests that a thousand heavens do not reach the value of half a grain of barley. “As,” he continues, “where we are is far beyond the reach of monarchs.” It is possible to alter the translation of the second line of this couplet slightly, as the first part of the line suggests an arrival, in addition to a state of being (“where we are”). This change yields a different translation: “As where we have arrived is far beyond the reach of monarchs.” Bhai Nand Lal might be suggesting that in the realm of the material--that domain through which monarchs might understand value--an entity as insignificant as half a grain of barley is ultimately more valuable than a thousand heavens.

The question of comparative value recurs throughout the ghazal. For example, in the fourth couplet, Bhai Nand Lal compares the “finest kohl'' to the dust of the Beloved’s threshold. Similarly, in the sixth couplet, he writes: “All the world’s wealth can be given up for the dust of His door.” Throughout these couplets, Bhai Nand Lal suggests that the realm of attachment to the Beloved is outside the reach of the realm of the material. Further, in both these couplets, we learn that the destination of the arrival this ghazal elaborates is perhaps the door (dar) or threshold (dargah) of the Beloved or the Beloved’s lane (kūyi dilrubā). Similarly, in the final couplet, Bhai Nand Lal writes of his own surrender to the dust of the Beloved’s door. In the second line of the final couplet, he suggests that this surrender requires a transformation of the self into dust: “As the destination cannot be reached unless one turns into dust.”

Commentary by Damanpreet Singh
No items found.

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. 

View profile ⟶
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.

View profile ⟶
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. 

View profile ⟶
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.

View profile ⟶

Share on Social Media

Latest Articles

Thursday
,
16
September
2021

Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

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

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

READ More ⟶
Monday
,
16
August
2021

I Am Blind, O Creator

Sabad is Infinite; we are finite. This is our understanding at the moment, which was different yesterday and may evolve tomorrow as we deepen our relationship with the Sabad. In this transcreation, we have chosen to keep the repeating words in the Sabad the same. We aspire to learn and retain the Divine attribute used in the original Sabad and avoid terms like God or Lord.

Sabad is Infinite; we are finite. This is our understanding at the moment, which was different yesterday and may evolve tomorrow as we deepen our relationship with the Sabad. In this transcreation, we have chosen to keep the repeating words in the Sabad the same. We aspire to learn and retain the Divine attribute used in the original Sabad and avoid terms like God or Lord.

READ More ⟶
Wednesday
,
21
July
2021

Miri-Piri: The Spiritual-Political Sikh Doctrine

Miri comes from Perso-Arabic “Amir” or “Emir” and signals political power. Piri comes from the Perso-Arabic “Pir” and signals spiritual power. Miri-Piri encapsulates the Political-Spiritual doctrine in Sikhi, rooted in both the worldly and the timeless, and in sovereignty beyond the nation-states.

Miri comes from Perso-Arabic “Amir” or “Emir” and signals political power. Piri comes from the Perso-Arabic “Pir” and signals spiritual power. Miri-Piri encapsulates the Political-Spiritual doctrine in Sikhi, rooted in both the worldly and the timeless, and in sovereignty beyond the nation-states.

READ More ⟶

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed with our weekly updates, important events and more at SikhRI.

Thank you! Your submission has been received.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.