Beyond Stars [Wings of Gabriel]

ستاروں سے آگے جہاں اور بھی ہیں
ابھی عشق کے امتحاں اوربھی ہیں
Sitaron Se Agay Jahan Aur Bhi Hain
Abhi Ishq Ke Imtihan Aur Bhi Hain
[Beyond stars, there are other worlds to behold, Many struggles lie ahead in the path of love!]
تہی زندگی سے نہیں یہ فضائیں
یہاں سینکڑوں کارواں اور بھی ہیں
Thi Zindagi Se Nahin Ye Fazaen
Yahan Saikron Karwaan Aur Bhi Hain
[These winds do not lack life. Hundreds of other caravans are here!]
قناعت نہ کر عالمِ رنگ و بو پر
چمن اور بھی آشیاں اور بھی ہیں
Qana’at Na Kar Alam-e-Rang-o-Bu Par
Chaman Aur Bhi Ashiyan Aur Bhi Hain
[Do not be content with the world of hues and fragrance. Other gardens there are, other nests, too!]
اگر کھو گیا اک نشیمن تو کیا غم
مقاماتِ آہ و فغاں اور بھی ہیں
Agar Kho Gya Ek Nasheeman To Kya Gham
Maqamat-e-Aah-o-Faghan Aur Bhi Hain
[Why be sad upon losing a single aerie? There are other places to lament and sigh!]
تُو شاہیں ہے، پرواز ہے کام تیرا
تیرے سامنے آسماں اور بھی ہیں
Tu Shaheen Hai, Parwaz Hai Kaam Tera
Tere Samne Asmaan Aur Bhi Hain
[You are a shaheen, soaring high is your specialty. Heavens stretch out before you!]
اسی روزوشب میں آُلجھ کر نہ رہ جا
کہ تیرے زماں و مکاں اور بھی ہیں
Issi Roz-o-Shab Mein Ulajh Kar Na Reh Ja
Ke Tere Zaman-o-Makan Aur Bhi Hain
[Do not get caught in today’s and tonight’s tangling. There are times and places ahead of you!]
گۓ دن کہ تنہا تھا میں انجمن میں
یہاں اب میرے رازداں اور بھی ہیں
Gaye Din Ke Tanha Tha Main Anjuman Mein
Yahan Ab Mere Raazdaan Aur Bhi Hain
[Those days are no more, when I was a lone star. Many here are my confidants now!]

This is a poem by one of the most famous poets after Rumi, in the East. Allama Iqbal a philosopher and a poet. This is an excerpt from Baal-e-Jibril (Wings of Gabriel). Shaheen is a subspecie of Eagle family. It’s native to the Indian Subcontinent, China, Burma and Srilanka. Shaheen is unique because it can fly upto a speed of 200 mph. Shaheen makes it nests in high elevations. Here, Iqbal presents Shaheen as a metaphor to latent human potential.

I thought of reading and translating this poem because I haven’t posted anything for over a month. This poem serves me a reminder to not get caught up in daily trappings. It reminds us to not get complacent, not lament over lost things. There is much more life will offer, so long as you embrace the blessings and be grateful.

If you want to read more motivational poems like this. Share and comment. Perhaps next time, I will pick one of his famous Persian poem. 👇

A collection of Iqbal’s Farsi poetry

Thoughts about running! A Timely Story

I have been running ever since I was present. My essence is running itself. I don’t wait for anyone. I run away from anything and everything. Please don’t try to stop me, because I won’t.

What am I running towards? I long for unity. I long to enter the limitless and eternal realm, where I won’t matter anymore. No one would have to be concerned about me. I guess that’s partly the reason, in fact the main reason why I keep running. Everyone I came across, so many, all the faces I have met, have been worried sick about me. It will be the same or probably get worse as I move along and see more faces. They worry themselves to old age, grey hair and yet, I am still running away from it all.

I wish I could stop to console those who worry. It’s not in my nature to look back. I am always looking ahead. I have quite the positive outlook if you were to think of me as someone always looking for the sun to rise. Will I stop when this world comes to end? I am not sure! I may slow down to catch a breath. For now, all I know is that I have to keep running.

Like that kid who’s always been running away from everything his whole life. Looking for an escape, longing for it. I have been watching him his entire existence. In the rear view mirror of course! I can’t look back. I wanted to stop and console him but there’s no helping it. I have seen him grow up. I don’t know what lies ahead for him. If I could give him some advice, I wonder what would I tell him? What thoughts? What words will soothe him? I don’t know! Is it really advice that he is looking for? Is it else that he is seeking? Does he know that, what he seeks, is also looking to find him? An old poet said this. Rumi was it? So many have been lost in me that I forget most. Few I remember well. It’s because their names are spoken of again and again. It’s like they are trying to yell at me, “Hey look, even though you have been running away from me for my whole existence, I am still able to keep up the pace with you.” It’s those that beat me to my destiny even before I could get there myself. And did I tell you that, I have been running ever since I was present? How can they transcend me? Am I not their equal? What am I to them? Am I just a perception to them? Yes, that’s it. I am a mere perception because those are also the ones, who are not concerned about me. They grow old too, but they don’t worry about me. So many try race against me, but I beat them all. I am the fastest runner, the best at running. At least this is what I think. There maybe someone else faster than me. In fact, there could be many. No wonder, why I change too. Am I running away or chasing after my destiny? It’s been so long that even sometimes, I forget. I need reminders too. In different places, I am perceived differently. Just like that kid who has been running away his whole life. Sometimes he reminds me of myself. He maybe just one, but almost everyone I have looked back at in the mirror, try to keep up with appearances. There is something else about him. It’s because he tries so hard to not care, and not care about what others think, but even then, people are just presumptuous. That’s how it is! He doesn’t care whether his name’s up in the lights or known to no one. Or does he? Maybe now, it’s I, who is assuming it. I wish I could stop to ask him but I can only look back at him. He looks forward to me because he is trying to find an escape. What is he trying to escape from? I wish I could tell you because I have seen it all, in the rear view mirror of course! Some things are better left unsaid. I do not reveal secrets, it’s up to him. He found people that he was able to confide in. He found people that he put his trust in. Were it them he was looking for? Did he get his escape afterwards? He is still looking for an escape. Sometimes it overwhelms him. He wakes up in the middle of the night with thoughts zooming in and out. He pours them all out, writing. Trust? Isn’t that what he always struggled with? Hmm. Now I know exactly what to tell him. I would tell him to trust me. Because I only look forwards, if he were to trust me, he will find his escape. But that seems wrong. His beliefs are different. We share the same beliefs but, perhaps I am not saying it in the right way. What he must trust is the divine will that is leading him forwards and nurturing him. Like it is leading me forwards. You see, I like to advise people in the way it is easy to understand. However, because we share the same beliefs, it’s easy to find words for him.

What about someone else? Someone who doesn’t share my beliefs? Someone who perhaps, has been consumed by nihilism? Or someone who has been consumed by consumption itself? Or someone who chases after fantasies, or someone looking to find a purpose in others?

What would I tell them? What is their purpose? Do I even know it? Perhaps they are also the ones not worried or concerned about me. They live life to the fullest or at least they try and aim to. To them this is it. This is all of their existence. The morals and the idea of wrong and right, significantly changes, living with those beliefs. But I guess, they find their purpose in perpetuity, thinking this world would go on forever. That’s to align their good morals. They think that I won’t stop running. I might not but perhaps, I will be perceived differently. What about those who don’t have a moral compass? I don’t know, I guess this is too much to listen to. I could try capture all thoughts as I run but, you see, running feels great when you lose yourself in it. I run and take in the views serenely. Running is meditation to me. I have a rhythm. I change in different places but that’s also part of my rhythm. That’s another thing perhaps, I would remind that kid about. I know he writes and focuses on rhythm a lot. Meditating and practising martial arts and all. He perhaps, hasn’t found his escape because he hasn’t found his rhythm.

I am glad that he is thinking about me and I in return, am able to offer him some of my thoughts. He writes it all down at the break of dawn. Waking up to find serenity but his thoughts were everywhere. So, he picked up his phone and started thinking and typing. I like how this conversation took place quietly. I didn’t have to utter a word because I am busy running. He is there trying to grab onto my thoughts I leave behind. I wish him a Good Morning! And remind him once more, “Remember, trust and rhythm. Trusting the rhythm of the entire existence.”

Metamorphosis- A review

Metamorphosis is a short story written by Franz Kafka. It’s written over a century ago, yet many people  today can somewhat relate to the transformed Gregor Samsa.

Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect. His mind is filled with the worry about getting late to work. How is he supposed to explain his odd and strange situation to those around him?

Gregor works as a travelling salesman. He is the bread winner for his family and feels stuck in a monotonous routine that he has come to accept as everyday reality. He mindlessly follows the routine but after being transformed. His is a predicament! As an insect, he struggles to get up from the bed and get ready for work. Never being late, his manager shows up. After he finally manages to open the door, his dad pushes him back into the room with a stick seeing his horrible sight. Nobody seems to understand his speech. His insect sounds leave him feeling alone suddenly.

His family realises that their son has been transformed into an insect. However, they don’t know what to do to change him back or what help to get him.

Many of us at times feel like the insect stuck in a circle, routine or circumstances beyond which there is no life. Or if there is, there is no stepping outside. Here the insect from my point of view means Gregor has turned useless and is not a commodity useful to those around him anymore.

If in real life, it weren’t transforming into an insect, many people are suddenly left feeling alone and useless after tragic accidents or life circumstances.

Though it is an interesting concept, and indeed that many battle within their lives and minds. I think Franz Kafka also wrote this story because of his own personal life. He felt like an insect after he failed to live up to his father’s expectations.

Furthermore Gregor’s family suffers from deteriorating living standards as the bread winner goes out of work. His family is forced to work. He is left alone in his room. Inside the room, Gregor is looked after for some time by his sister but then upon, new tenants moving in the house and things moving forwards rapidly, everyone seems to forget about Gregor and instead speak about the nuisance that the insect is causing them. The tenants leave the house after they threaten to sue Mr. Samsa but he forces them out.

In the end Gregor dies a lonely death.

When I think about the insect that Gregor turns into, it sounds awfully depressing viewing life from such perspective. It makes me wonder a century ago, why Franz Kafka thought like an individual who didn’t seem to have a purpose in life. It seems that Franz Kafka was full of doubts, confusion. Even though he wrote many series of novels, he didn’t publish any of them. Despite having a Jewish heritage, Franz Kafka was disconnected from his community, beliefs and sense of higher being. Mind you, I am only contemplating about this story and Kafka’s way of thinking in particular. This story is filled with symbols and metaphors to me. The main metaphor being Gregor turning useless and a burden referred in the story as an insect. I found this other review quite good on Franz Kafka himself. One thing for sure, Metamorphosis caused me to look into and read on who Franz Kafka is. I have heard his name in many online lectures and videos. In understanding the author, I want to understand what he has written about. But I am pretty sure, all of this might swiftly change or transform into something else once I pick up another one of his books that dives into a different theme.

In summary, I cannot grasp Kafka’s thinking by just reading Metamorphosis, I would have to read more on Franz Kafka himself and read more of his books to figure out what other themes and ideas he delves into.