Secrets of the Self- 4

Prologue
When the world‐illuming sun rushed upon
Night like a brigand,
My weeping bedewed the face of the rose.
My tears washed away sleep from the eye of the narcissus,
My passion wakened the grass and made it grow.
The Gardener tried the power of my song,
He sowed my verse and reaped a sword.
In the soil he planted only the seed of my tears
And wove my lament with the garden, as warp and woof.
Tho’ I am but a mote, the radiant sun is mine:
Within my bosom are a hundred dawns.
My dust is brighter than Jamshidʹs cup
It knows things that are yet unborn in the world.
My thought hunted down and slung from the
saddle a deer
That has not yet leaped forth from the covert
of non‐existence.
Fair is my garden ere yet the leaves are green:
Unborn roses are hidden in the skirt of my
garment.
I struck dumb the musicians where they were
gathered together,
I smote the heart‐string of the universe,
Because the lute of my genius hath a rare
melody:
Even to comrades my song is strange.
I am born in the world as a new sun,
I have not learned the ways and fashions of
the sky
Not yet have the stars fled before my
splendour,
Not yet is my quicksilver astir;
Untouched is the sea by my dancing rays,
Untouched are the mountains by my crimson
hue.
The eye of existence is not familiar with me;
I rise trembling, afraid to show myself.
From the East my dawn arrived and routed
Night,
A fresh dew settled on the rose of the world.
I am waiting for the votaries that rise at dawn;
Oh, happy they who shall worship my fire!
I have no need of the ear of To‐day,
I am the voice of the poet of To‐morrow.
My own age does not understand my deep meanings,
My Joseph is not for this market.
I despair of my old companions,
My Sinai burns for sake of the Moses who is coming.
Their sea is silent, like dew,
But my dew is storm‐ridden, like the ocean.
My song is of another world than theirs:
This bell calls other travellers to take the road.
Many a poet was born after his death,
Opened our eyes when his own were closed,
And journeyed forth again from nothingness,
Like roses blossoming oʹer the earth of his grave.
Albeit caravans have passed through this desert,
They passed, as a camel steps, with little sound.
But I am a lover: loud crying is my faith
The clamour of Judgment Day is one of my minions.
My song exceeds the range of the chord,
Yet I do not fear that my lute will break.
’Twere better for the water drop not to know my torrent,
Whose fury should rather madden the sea.
No river will contain my Oman.
My flood requires whole seas to hold it.
Unless the bud expand into a bed of roses,
It is unworthy of my spring‐cloudʹs bounty.
Lightnings slumber within my soul,
I sweep over mountain and plain.
Wrestle with my sea, if thou art a plain;
Receive my lightning if thou art a Sinai.
The Fountain of Life hath been given me to drink.
I have been made an adept of the mystery of Life.
The speck of dust was vitalised by my burning song:
It unfolded wings and became a firefly.
No one hath told the secret which I will tell
Or threaded a pearl of thought like mine.
Come, if thou wouldʹst know the secret of everlasting life
Come, if thou wouldʹst win both earth and heaven.
Heaven taught me this lore,
I cannot hide it from comrades.

O Saki arise and pour wine into the cup!
Clear the vexation of Time from my heart
The sparkling liquor that flows from Zemzem
Were a beggar to worship it, he would become a king.
It makes thought more sober and wise, it
makes the keen eye keener,
It gives to a straw the weight of a mountain,
And to foxes the strength of lions.
It causes dust to soar to the Pleiades
And a drop of water swell to the breadth of the sea.
It turns silence into the din of Judgment Day,
It makes the foot of the partridge red with blood of the hawk.
Arise and pour pure wine into my cup,
Pour moon beams into the dark night of my thought,
That I may lead home the wanderer
And imbue the idle looker‐on with restless impatience;
And advance hotly on a new quest
And become known as the champion of a new spirit;
And be to people of insight as the pupil to the eye,
And sink into the ear of the world, like a voice;
And exalt the worth of Poesy
And sprinkle the dry herbs with my tears.
Inspired by the genius of the Master of Rum.
I reherarse the sealed book of secret lore.
His soul is the flaming furnace,
I am but as the spark that gleams for a moment.
His burning candle consumed me, the moth;
His wine overwhelmed my goblet.
The master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold
And set my ashes aflame.
The grain of sand set forth from the desert,
That it might win the radiance of the sun.
I am a wave and I will come to rest in his sea,
That I may make the glistening pearl mine own.
I who am drunken with the wine of his song
Draw life from the breath of his words,
ʹTwas night: my heart would fain lament.
The silence was filled with my cries to God.
I was complaining of the sorrows of the world
And bewailing the emptiness of my cup.
At last mine eye could endure no more,
Broken with fatigue it went to sleep.
There appeared the Master, formed in the mould of Truth,
Who wrote the Quran in Persian.
He said, “O frenzied lover,
Take a draught of loveʹs pure wine.
Strike the chords of thine heart and rouse a tumultuous strain.
Dash thine head against the goblet and thine eye against the lancet!
Make thy laughter the source of a hundred sighs.
Make the hearts of men bleed with thy tears
How long wilt thou be silent, like a bud?
Sell thy fragrance cheap, like the rose!
Tongue‐tied, thou art in pain:
Cast thyself upon the fire, like rue!
Like the bell, break silence at last, and from every limb.
Utter forth a lamentation!
Thou art fire: fill the world with thy glow!
Make others burn with thy burning!
Proclaim the secrets of the old wine seller;
Be thou a surge of wine, and the crystal cup thy robe!
Shatter the mirror of fear,
Break the bottles in the bazaar
Like the reed‐flute, bring a message from the reed‐bed
Give to Majnun a message from the tribe of Layla!
Create a new style for thy song,
Enrich the assembly with thy piercing strains!
Up, and re‐inspire every living soul
Say ʹArise!ʹ and by that word quicken the living!
Up, and set thy feet on another path;
Put aside the passionate melancholy of old!
Become familiar with the delight of singing;
Bell of the caravan, awake!”
At these words my bosom was enkindled
And swelled with emotion like the flute;
I rose like music from the string
To prepare a Paradise for the ear.
I unveiled the mystery of the self
And disclosed its wondrous secret.
My being was an unfinished statue,
Uncomely, worthless, good for nothing.
Love chiselled me: I became a man.
And gained knowledge of the nature of the universe.
I have seen the movement of the sinews of the sky.
And the blood coursing in the veins of the moon.
Many a night I wept for Manʹs sake

That I might tear the veil from Lifeʹs mysteries.
And extract the secret of Lifeʹs constitution
From the laboratory of phenomena.
I who give beauty to this night, like the moon,
Am as dust in devotion to the pure Faith (Islam) –
A Faith renowned in hill and dale.
Which kindles in menʹs hearts a flame of undying song:
It sowed an atom and reaped a sun,
It harvested a hundred poets like Rumi and Attar.
I am a sigh: I will mount to the heavens;
I am but smoke, yet am I sprung of fire.
Driven onward by high thoughts, my pen
Cast abroad the secret behind this veil,
That the drop may become co‐equal with the sea
And the grain of sand grow into a Sahara.
Poetising is not the aim of this mathnavi.
Beauty‐worshipping and love‐making is not its aim.
I am of India: Persian is not my native tongue;
I am like the crescent moon: my cup is not full.
Do not seek from me charm of style in exposition.
Do not seek from me Khansar and Isfahan.
Although the language of Hind is sweet as sugar,
Yet sweeter is the fashion of Persian speech.
My mind was enchanted by its loveliness,
My pen became as a twig of the Burning Bush.
Because of the loftiness of my thoughts,
Persian alone is suitable to them.
O Reader, do not find fault with the wine‐cup,
But consider attentively the taste of the wine.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal [original taken from Persian- أسرار خودي

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

When The Rain Stops!

There are rain clouds above me.

Covering up the sky,

The sun,

The moon,

and the stars.

Every time I step forwards, 

The cloudbursts in synchronised symphony.

I wish for the courage to soak up all the rain.

And when the rain stops, and clouds clear up,

I want to look at the sky and remember what promises I made!

I want to chase those dreams!

End.

Some thoughts while I was writing these 2 poems. No self help and psychology can help an individual when they give up on themselves. Right now in this moment, I feel like I have given up. So I write, I write so that I can influence my feelings. I write so that I can alter my thoughts.

The words are a medium; inspired by thoughts, experiences, feelings, imagination, creativity.  

Just like we first take shelter from the rain and storm, it is only after the rain, that there is more life. The tallest trees soak up the rain in that proportion.  The nature provides many parables. 

Just like a bird that struggles to fly away from the nest. If it gives up trying, it won’t ever look up at the sky. 

Pride and Alive

If I were to write about blissful life, does that mean I too, will live in a bliss? 

If I keep telling myself I can do this. No matter what, I can get through this. Will it make me feel different? 

If I keep smiling, will the pain and sorrow dissipate? 

If I stand under the sun, will I take on its shine? 

If I climb up the hills and mountains, will I grow as tall? 

If I keep silent, will I remain focused and calm? 

If I scream out, will my voice be heard? 

If I fight back, whose side will I be on?  Who will be with me? 

If I walk alone, will I have any pride? 

If I accept who I am- will I stay alive? 

End.