Poems exhibited at AKU Karachi.

Two of my poems were exhibited at The Aga Khan University, Karachi Pakistan. Couldn’t get better pictures, however, will attach the originals.

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I, Lalla and Raqs.

 

gwaran vo’nam kunuy vatsum
Neybra doupanam anndaray atsun;
Suy gav Lali mey vaakh ta vatsun,
Tavay mey hyotum nagay natsun.

My mentor gave me but one percept:
From without withdraw yourself to within and fix it on the Innermost Self.
Taking to heart this one percept,
Naked I began to roam.

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All that you are thinking has already been locked somewhere by the raqs of qalam on paper. Most of the times, poets do that. They are prophetic.

In a calm tsk, slowly and gradually nature always throws a time upon its creation, when the fabricated curtains of false hood are pulled apart and reeky truth of apparent paradise is revealed. The truth of loneliness. It’s like being in a street full of hip-hop, buzzing honks, jolly-go-people and with a blink of eye, you find yourself in a center of a deserted and banished street. All alone.  Where there is no boat to come you across, no earth beneath your feet to hold you upright, no sky to shelter you, no hands left to cradle and pat your back, no healer with the hands of Messaih and with no chunk of hope. But with every pain comes a reward. At this moment in time, mother nature also open visions of creator to your eyes. For it’s the creator, who piles the events in your life in a way that you get a chance to hark and see, for the first time in your life, that how close, closer than your breath is your creator. It’s this very time, aloof from the glittering world of logic and numbers, with a heart full of love and tears that you prostrate before the creator and you feel his blessings caressing you.

In this quagmire, when the truth of life is being bestowed upon a man and a transcendence from an immature lurk under earth to a falcon above the skies occurs, man becomes reverend.

As I look back at life with no regrets, but lessons worth treasures, I find that there is no one with you but the creator. People are there only for their own ends and they take your leave with no remorse. In this thought, I come across Lalla, and Raqs on her narration of the same in her verse. And I prostrate before Allah.

 

aayas vate gayas naa vate
suman satha lusum dho
vuchum chandas har no atha
Yath nav taras dim kyha bha

From a way I came,
by that way I did not return.
And I find myself in midst of enbankment,
not having gone even half the way,
And the day is done, the light has failed.
I search my pockets but not a cowry find:
What shall I pay for the ferry ?

da’mi dithu’m nad pakevu’ni
da’mi dyuthum suum na’th tar
da’mi dithu’m thar fuwalwani
da’mi dyuthum gul na’th khaar

I saw a stream flowing;
Now neither a bank nor a bridge I see.
I saw a bush in bloom;
Now neither a rose nor a thorn I see.

da’mii dhitthu’m ga’j dazu’vu’nii
da’mii dyuthum dh’ha na’th naar
da’mii dhitthu’m Pandavan hu’unz ma’ji
da’mii dhitthu’m kraji mass

I saw the hearth ablaze,
Now neither fire nor smoke I see.
I saw a Pandava Mother,
Now a potters’ wife I see.

Ami pana so’dras nAvi ches lamAn
Kati bozi Day myon meyti diyi tAr
Ameyn tAkeyn poniy zan shemAn
Zuv chum bramAn gara gatshaha.

With a rope of loose-spun thread am I towing
my boat upon the sea.
Would that God hear my prayer
and bring me safe across!
Like water in cups of unbaked clay
I run to waste.
Would God, I were to reach my home!

Lal Ded. Lalla Arifa. Lalleswari. Lalla Ded. A 14th century  saint  poetess of Kashmir.

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Moses and the Shepherd.

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“Ah! You just erred, brother. You will have to pray all that again.”  murmured a stranger as soon as Wali Meer turned his neck to say the final salutations upon his left shoulder, concluding evening Salah. Gowned in a full white Jubba and equally matching turban, with a face full of frizzy beard, grimaced befuddling smile and an occult enthusiasm to teach, this stranger stood looking at him. Wali Meer hushed in a humble slurry voice “Alas! I couldn’t realize that. But brother, please bless me with the pearls of wisdom, how did I err?”

“Pleasure will all be mine for explaining that to you” spieled the stranger, with an apparent eagerness and glow in eyes for being asked a question on religion. “Brother. You see. I noticed while you were in Sajud (prostration) that the thumb of your right foot was not in touch with the ground. That is a flaw and an undesirable action to commit.”

Wali Meer laughed and concluded the debate without saying a word other than a sarcastic “Touché.

The stranger left and Wali began to fret the strings of a discourse.

“Some people among us,” started Wali “are the most fortunate people, for they are certain of the belief that they are on the right path. Belief or a firm false belief, I shall not comment upon that. They look like ordinary people around but at the depth of their souls they think that they have an inherited duty for guiding you to the right path. Exhilarated for self appointed mission. What you know is true, fine, but what they know is the ultimate truth. And they are sure about it. I am drawn to pity that enlightenment and end-lightenment have no frontier. I shall now relate a beautiful story by the master Mewlana Rumi.”

Moses and the Shepherd.

Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying:

“Lord, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and pick the lice off.
“I want to bring you milk to kiss your little hands and feet when it’s time for you to go to bed.
“I want to sweep your room and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats are yours. ”

“Who are you talking to?” Moses could stand it no longer.
“Only something that grows needs milk. Only some one with feet needs shoes. Not God!”

The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed and wandered out into the desert.

A sudden revelation came then to Moses.

“You have separated me from one of my own.
“Did you come as a Prophet to unite, or to sever?
“I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.
“What seems wrong to you is right for him.

“What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
“Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to me.
“I am apart from all that. Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better or worse than one another.
“It’s not me that’s glorified in acts of worship. It’s the worshipers!
“I don’t hear the words they say. I look inside at the humility.

“Forget phraseology. I want burning, burning. Be friends with your burning.
“Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!
“Lovers who burn are another.

“Don’t scold the Lover. The “wrong” way he talks is better than a hundred “right” ways of others.
“When you look in a mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
“The flute player puts breath into a flute, and who makes the music?
“Not the flute. The flute player!

“Whenever you speak praise or thanksgiving to Me, it’s always like this dear shepherd’s simplicity.”

from Rumi’s “Moses and the Sheperd”, translated by Coleman Barks.

{Published in the September 2012 issue of The Counsellor Magazine}

Visions of the Beloved!

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Poetry can do wonders. Last night when I happened to peek at your illumination in the bazaar, after what seems like the time from creation of Adam to the crucifixion of Jesus, I stood ensorcelled by the sheer force of your mesmeric charm. Shattered be the pen and doomed be the paper, if words attempt to verbalize your beauty. It’s far beyond the borders of verbal recollection. As I gradually slipped into the ritual of withering, poetry came to my rescue. It’s miraculous. Savior of the hexed, I must add.

دیشب که تو از مهر ببام آمده بودی
دیدم که به از ماه تمام آمده بودی

dishab ke tu az mehr babam aamada bodi
didam ke beh az maahe tamaam aamada bodi

Last night when you sprang over the terrace,
I witnessed you are far superior to the beauty of moon.

تا شمع شب افروز رخت خلق ببیند
با جلوهٔ صبح از سر شام آمده بودی

taa sham-e shab afrooz rokhat khalq bebinad
baa jilva-e sobh az sar shaam aamada bodi

For people that linger to see your flickering candle face,
You manifest at dusk with the comeliness of artistic dawn.

گویا ز فلک ماه به زمین آمده امشب
چون دیده گشودم تو ببام آمده بودی

goya ze falak maah ba zamin aamada imshab
choon dida gshoodam to babaam aamada bodi

Insinuated like a moon’s visit to earth last night,
Astounded I opened my eyes to behold your glimpse.

مردم نگران من و من خود به تو حیران
تو بهر تماشای کدام آمده بودی

mardom negaraan man-o man khod ba tu hairaan
tu bahr tamaashai kodam aamada bodi.

People flock to behold me but I stand dazzled by you,
Which of these did you come to spectate?

~This is one of my most favorite poems and I have tried to translate it with my limited art of Farsi. Two inebriations at a time. This magical poem comes with an enchanting recital by the maestro Mehdi Hassan Sahab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqvCfYRrN4M

{Published in the September 2012 issue of The Browsing Corner }