RENDERED FROM THE URDU
JESSIE DUNCAN WESTBROOK
Sufism is the litigious Thilosophy of Love,
Harmony, and Beauty
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A SUFI MESSAGE OF SPIRITUAL LIBERTY,
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THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND,
OR THE PHENOMENA OF VIBRATIONS,
WITH THE PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR IN COLOURS.
THE DIWAN OF INAYAT KHAN,
RENDERED INTO VERSE BY JESSIE DUNCAN WESTBROOK,
WITH THE PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR IN COLOURS.
THE CONFESSIONS OF INAYAT KHAN,
BY REGINA MIRIAM BLOCK.
SONGS OF INDIA,
RENDERED FROM THE URDU, HINDI AND PERSIAN BY INAYAT KHAN AND
JESSIE DUNCAN WESTBROOK.
SUFISM : OMAR KHAYYAM AND E. FITZGERALD,
BY C. H. A. BjERREGAARD.
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BY INAYAT KHAN AND JESSIE DUNCAN WESTBROOK.
MERAJ, THE TRANSPORTATION OF MOHAMMED,
BY INAYAT KHAN.
PHENOMENON OF SOUL
(" VOICE OF INAYAT " SERIES), BY SHERIFA LUCY GOODENOUGH.
LOVE, HUMAN AND DIVINE
(" VOICE OF INAYAT " SERIES), BY SHERIFA LUCY GOODENOUGH.
AKIBAT, LIFE AFTER DEATH
(" VOICE OF INAYAT " SERIES), BY SHERIFA LUCY GOODENOUGH.
A QUARTERLY MAGAZINE
DEVOTED TO MYSTICISM, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, LITERATURE AND MUSIC.
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PORTRAIT OF ZAFAR Fronti*piece
FOREWORD ... ... ... ... i
URDU LTRICS :
MIR Soz 35
MIR TAQI 36
WALI 4 6
ZAHIR c a
MIR DARD 5 &
MIR Soz ... 5 6
MIR TAQI 57
OF the many languages of India, Urdu (Hindustani) is the
most widely known, especially in Upper India. Both as
a written and a spoken language it has a reputation
throughout Asia for elegance and expressiveness. Until
the time of Muhammad Shah, Indian poetry was written in
Persian. But that monarch, who mounted the throne of
Delhi in 1719, greatly desired to make Urdu the vogue, and
under his patronage and approval, Hatim, one of his
ministers, and Wali of the Deccan, wrote Diwans in Urdu.
This patronage of poets was continued by his successors,
and exists indeed to the present day ; and the cultivation
of Urdu poetry has always been encouraged at the many
Courts of India. Some of the Indian Rulers are themselves
poets, and find their duty and pleasure in rewarding with
gifts and pensions the literary men whose works they
admire. The Court of Hyderabad has for long had a circle
of poets : the late Nizam was himself eminent as a writer
of verse. The Maharaja-Gaekwar of Baroda is a generous
patron of literary men, and the present Rulers of lesser
States such as Patiala, Nabha, Tonk, and Rampur, are
deeply interested in the cultivation of poetry in their
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many towns
in India had extensive and flourishing literary coteries,
and it is from the poets of that period that this handful of
verses is gathered. The Mushaira a poetical concourse,
wherein rival poets meet to try their skill in a tournament
of verse is still an institution in India. Delhi, Agra,
Lucknow, Lahore, Cawnpore, Allahabad, Benares, Cal-
cutta, and Hyderabad, have all been, and some still are,
nests of singing birds. Of the extent of Urdu literature
some idea may be gained from the fact that a History of it
written about 1870 gives the names_of some three thousand
authors, and that Tazkiras or anthologies containing selec-
tions from many poets are very numerous.
The poetry is very varied and of great interest. It
includes moral verses and 1 counsels, sometimes in inter-
mingled verse and prose ; heroic poems telling the old tales
of the loves of Khusru and Shirin, of Yusuf and Zuleika, of
Majnun and Leila, and the romances of chivalry ; elegies
on the deaths of Hasan and Hussein, and of various mon-
archs; devotional poems in praise of Muhammad and the
Imams ; eulogies of the reigning Ruler or other patron or
protector of the poor; satires upon men and institutions,
sometimes upon Nature herself, specially upon such
phenomena as heat, cold, inundations and pestilence;
descriptive verse relating to the seasons and the months,
the flowers and the trees. Above all there is a great wealth
of love poetry, both secular and mystic, where, in impas-
sioned ghazals or odes, the union of man with God is
celebrated under various allegories, as the bee and the lotus,
the nightingale and the rose, the moth and the flame.
Most of the poets represented in this book write as
Sufis, or Muslim mystics, and scoff at the unenlightened
orthodox. For them God is in all and through all, to be
worshipped equally in the Kaaba and in the Temple of the
Idols, or too great to be adored adequately through the
ritual of any creed. He is symbolized as the beautiful and
cruel Beloved; difficult to find, withdrawn behind the veil,
inspiring and demanding all worship and devotion. The
Lover is the Madman, derided by the unsympathetic
crowd, but happy in his ecstatic despair. He drinks the
wine of love and is filled with a divine intoxication. For
him this world is Maya illusion, and the true life is that
which is unmanifest. He finds no abiding .-place in this
mortal caravan-serai, this shifting House of Mirrors; for
his Soul is ever passing forward on the high Quest. Know-
ledge and skill are as dust, and self as nothing, compared
with the Love that goads and urges him on.
As a language, Urdu has a most composite ancestry,
and comprises elements derived from the original languages
of India, from Sanskrit, the tongue of the Aryan invaders,
from Persian, from Turkish, from Kurdish and other Tartar
tongues, from Arabic, even from Egyptian and Abyssinian ;
and later from such very foreign sources as Portuguese,
Dutch, French, and English. The political phases
through which India has successively passed have left their
record in this hybrid character of the language. The pro-
cess of its evolution really began, long before the Christian
era, when Sanskrit the language 'of the Aryan conquerors
began to commingle with the languages of the peoples
in Upper India, or Hindustan. From this union came the
prakrits, or vernaculars. The one which at the time of the
Buddha was current in Magadha parts of the present
British Behar and Orissa and the United Provinces of Agra
and Oudh was known as Magdhi, and the message
delivered by the great Teacher was recorded in that
vernacular. This spread rapidly with the growth of
Buddhism, and became the court and official language of
a large part of Upper India. The language which was
developed in the north and north-west was called at first
by the simple name Bhasha (Bhakha), which means the
usual tongue, but later took the name of Hindi, and is
written in the Sanskrit (Deva-nagari) character.
At the beginning of the eighth century the Muslims
appeared as conquerors in India. Mahmoud of Ghuzni,
about 1,000 A.D., won great victories, and from that time
Bhasha began to be modified in the towns. Four centuries
later Tamerlane of the Mogul race entered India and took
Delhi, laying the foundation of the Empire definitely estab-
lished by Babar in the beginning of the sixteenth century.
Hindi became saturated with Persian, itself already laden
with many Arab words introduced through conquest and
religion. The market of the army was established round
Delhi, and bore the Tartar name of Urdu, which means
horde or army, and thus, camp. It was especially at Delhi,
after its rebuilding by Shah Jehan and its growth into the
metropolis and) literary and commercial and) military centre,
that the hybrid tongue took definite shape ; it was named
Zaban-i-urdu (literally, the language of the army) or
simply Urdu, and was written in the Persian character.
Even in its infancy it manifested a wealth of poetic inspira-
tion derived from its varied ancestry.
The poets from whose work the lyrics in this book have
been selected were mostly writers of voluminous Diwans,
and they occupied various and diverse stations in life.
Some were Rulers, some soldiers, some darweshes
(devotees), some men of letters only. The name given is
in each case the takhallus (pen-name) ; each has some
special significance, as Sauda, the folly of love, Momin, the
believer, Zafar, the victorious; and frequently this name
is introduced, by way of signature, into the closing stanza
of a poem.
ABRU : born at Lucknow, lived at Delhi, was a darwesh of the Order
of Kalenders, and wrote an Urdu Diwan much appreciated for the
ingenious allegories in which it abounds.
AMIR : Amir Minai of Rampur, one of the best poets of the latest
period : a great mystical poet : his Qasidahs for Muhammad are sung
by devotees : Court poet of Rampur : travelled to Mecca and Medina,
and, after the death of his patron, Nawab Kalbe Ali Khan, came to
Hyderabad on hearing of the Nizam's fame and interest in poetry :
rival of Dagh, by whose side he lies buried in Hyderabad.
ARZU : a poet of Gwalior, where he held an important Government
post in the days of Shah Alam II. (r. 1759 1806). He wrote his poems
mostly in Persian, and was the author of a Dictionary of Mystical
ASIF : pen-name of H.H. Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, Nizam of
Hyderabad, who died in 1911 : pupil of the poet Dagh (q.v.) and was
an esteemed poet, and patron of poets.
DAGH : a court poet of Rampur : went to Hyderabad and became
the teacher of the Nizam in poetry (see Asif) : lived there in great
honour as Poet Laureate, and was given the title of Fasih-ul-Mulk
(the eloquence of the nation) : his poetry is described as natural and
graceful in expression : his proficiency was so great that no poet
could stand against him in the Mushaira : he was of extraordinary
FIGHAN : of Delhi : was the foster-brother of the Emperor Ahmad
Shah (r. 1748 1754) and was one of the principal officers at the
Imperial Court : famous for his piquant and witty conversation, and
greatly skilled in jeux de mots, at which he spent his days and nights.
GHALIB : came of a distinguished Turk family of Samarkand : wrote
in Persian as well as in Urdu, and held the position of Poet Laureate
at the Court of Bahadur Shah (r. 1837 1857) the last Mogul Emperor.
HALI : a modern poet : pupil of Ghalib : recently dead : greatly
admired, chiefly by the Muslims, for his poems calling for Muslim
and Indian renascence. He received from the British Government
the title of Shams-ul-ulema.
HASAN : Mir Shulam Hasan, born at Delhi ; passed his youth in
Faizabad and then came to Lucknow to join the literary circle there :
was as handsome in person as in mind, and his verse is still popular.
HATIM : one of the early poets : born about 1700, he lived till near
the end of the century : a soldier by profession, but in his old age
renounced the world and became a darwesh : his cell was near the
gate of the Imperial Palace, and many persons resorted to him for
INSHA : born in Murshedabad, lived in Lucknow about the end of
the i8th century : enjoyed the favour of Prince Suleiman Shikoh :
wrote verse in Turkish, Arabic, Persian, but was most famous for h'is
Urdu poems, which are elegant in style and conception.
JURAT : of Delhi, celebrated for his skill in music, astronomy and
poetry : became blind when still young : was pensioned by the Nawab
Muhabbat Khan and afterwards by Suleiman Shikoh : author of an
enormous volume of Urdm poetry composed of ghazals and of love-
poems in the modern taste. Wrote satires on the rain, the cold, small-
pox, etc. Versed in Hindu as well as Muslim poetry.
MAZHAR : of Delhi : family originally from Bokhara : learned in
jurisprudence as well as poetry : many favourite poets were his
pupils : was a Sunni, made profession of spiritual poverty, and was
even reputed to be able to work miracles : was killed by a fanatic
because he disagreed with the Shiah mourning for the death of
Hussein : died in 1780, aged nearly a hundred years.
MIR DARD : author of a famous Urdu diwan : skilled in the sacred
music as sung at the assemblies of the Sufis : lived the life of a sage,
the Padishah often coming to him for counsel, though he himself never
sought the Emperor's Court.
MIR SOZ : of Bokhari ancestry, had to leave his country in time of
peril in the dress of a fakir : came to Lucknow, where he became tutor
to the Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula.
MIR TAQI : born at Agra, in his later days lived at Lucknow, under
the protection of the Nawab of Oudh : wrote many kinds of verse, but
excelled in the ghazal and the masnawi, and was the author of a
biography of poets : wrote his own autobiography in Persian, and
also Persian poetry.
MOMIX : of Delhi : author of six long masnawis : skilled in
medicine, astronomy and astrology, and deeply read in poetry : at
first lived a gay and reckless life, in his old age gave himself to
prayer and fasting, and acquired great contemporary fame : his
work is considered to be the most delicate flower of Urdu expression.
MUSHAFI : belonged to a distinguished family of Amroha : lived
at first at Lucknow, then went to Delhi : there he held famous literary
reunions, at which gathered many poets of whom he was the inspirer
MUZTAR : born and educated at Lucknow : his ancestors occupied
an honourable rank at Delhi : was a pupil of Mushafi.
NASIKH : of Calcutta : belonged to the latter half of the igth
century : Deputy Magistrate and Member of tlie Legislative Council
SAUDA : born at Delhi about 1720 : a soldier by profession : much
esteemed in his lifetime, and was a favourite at Court : excelled in
all kinds of poetry, chiefly the ghazal, the qasidah, and satire.
TABAN : of Delhi : as famous for his beauty as for his poetic
talent : pupil of Hatim, and was a friend of Mazhar and Sauda : was
descended from the Prophet on both father's and mother's side.
WALI : of the Deccan, the first to write an Urdu Diwan : is
considered the Father of Urdu poetry : born at Aurungabad, wrote
in the latter half of the xyth century. He held a just balance between
Sunnis and Shiahs, and did not flatter any Ruler in his verses. He
knew the literature and art of Europe and wrote many mystical and
YAKRANG : one of the officers of the Emperor Muhammad Shah
(r. 1719 48) : lived in dignity and honour at Delhi.
ZAHIR : a well-known modern poet, lived at Rampur at the Court
of Nawab Kalbe Ali Khan, afterwards at the Court of the Nawab of
Tonk, and finally at Hyderabad, in the literary circle of the Nizam,
by whom he was much appreciated and rewarded.
ZAUQ : a celebrated poet at the Court of Bahadur Shah (r. 1837
57) : was his teacher in the arts of verse : compiler of an anthology
of poems : is said to have written one hundred thousand verses : is
still highly popular and much quoted.
ZAFAR : or Bahadur Shah, was the Padishah of Delhi, the Ias1
Mogul Emperor, and lived 1768 .1862 : son of Akbar II. : was over
<K> years of age when he came to the throne : himself a poet and a
good judge of music and painting, he gathered round him literary
men and artists : of fine countenance and distinguished manners,
and extremely loved and admired by his subjects : skilled in all
kinds of poetry, and some of his ghazals continue to be popular :
author of a voluminous Diwan, and a Commentary on the Gulistan
of Saadi : a clever caligraphist, wrote with his own hand passages
from the Koran for the ornamentation of the principal Mosque of
Delhi. His son Dara was also a poet. At the Mutiny in 1857 he
was taken prisoner and sent to Rangoon : there he continued to write
verses, and died at an advanced age. His portrait, which forms
the frontispiece to this book, is from a miniature kindly lent by the
Indian Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington.
Dulwich Village, London.
Thou tak'st no heed of me,
I am as naught to thee ;
Cruel Beloved, arise !
Lovely and languid thou,
Sleep still upon thy brow,
Dreams in thine eyes.
From out thy garment flows
Fragrance of many a rose
Airs of delight
Caught in the moonlit hours
Lying among the flowers
Through the long night.
Look on my face how pale !
Will naught my love avail?
Naught my desire?
Hold it as gold that is
Cleansed of impurities
Tried in the fire.
Pity my heart distrest,
Caught by that loveliest
Tress of thine hair,
So that I fear the shade
Even by thine eyebrows made
O'er eyes so fair.
Thou, Sorrow, wilt keep and wilt cherish the memory of me
Long after my death,
For thou dwelt at my heart, andi my blood 1 nourished thee,
Thou wert warmed by my breath.
My heart has disgraced me by clamour and wailing for years
And tossing in pain,
Mine eyes lost their honour by shedding these torrents of
Like fast-falling rain.
O Wind of Disaster, destroy not the home of my heart
With the blasts of thine ire,
For there I have kindled to burn in a chamber apart
My Lamp of Desire.
Had I control o'er her, the dear Tormentor,
Then might I rest ;
I cannot govern her, nor can I master
The heart within my breast.
I cast myself upon the ground in anguish
Wounded and sore,
Yet longed to have two hearts that she might pierce them,
That I might suffer more.
Utterly from her heart hath she erased me,
No marks remain,
So there shall be no grave from which my ashes
May greet her steps again.
O cruel One, when once your glances smote me,
Why turn your head ?
It were more merciful to let their arrows
Pierce me and strike me dead.
No tomb, Amir, could give my dust oblivion,
No rest was there :
And when they told her I had died of sorrow,
She did not know nor care.
This Life is less than shadows ; if thou yearn
To know and find the God thou worshippest,
From all the varying shows of being turn
To that true Life which is unmanifest.
Beware, O travellers, dangerous is Life's Way
With lures that call, illusion that deceives,
For set to snare the voyagers that stray
Are fortresses of robbers, lairs of thieves.
The seer's eyes look on the cup of wine
And say We need no more thy drunkenness ;
An exaltation that is more divine,
Another inspiration, we possess.
O praise not peacock youth ; it flits away
And leaves us but the ashes of regret,
A disappointed heart, a memory,
An empty foolish pride that lingers yet.
Upon the path, Amir, we journey far,
Weary the road where mankind wandereth ;
O tell me, does it lead through Life's bazar,
Or is it the dread gate and house of Death ?
Here can my heart no longer rest ;
It tells my happy destiny,
Towards Medina lies my quest,
The Holy Prophet summons me.
I should not marvel if for flight
Upon my shoulders wings should start,
My body is so gay and light
With this new gladness in my heart.
My weary patience nears its end;
Unresting heart, that yearns and loves,
Convey me far to meet my friend
Within Medina's garden groves.
My spirit shall not faint nor tire,
Although by many tender bands
My country holds me, I desire
The journey through the desert sands.
By day and night forever now
I burn in Love's hot furnace breath,
Although there gather on my brow
The cold and heavy sweats of death.
And ever in my home in Hind
At dawn's first light, at evenfall,
I hear upon the desert wind
The Prophet of Araibia call.
The light is in mine eyes,
Within my heart I feel Thy joy arise,
From gate to inmost shrine
This palace of my soul is utterly Thine.
longing seeking eyes,
He conies to you in many a varied guise,
If Him you cannot find
The shame be yours, O eyes that are so blind.
1 as His mirror glow
Bearing His image in my heart, and know
That glowing clear in His
The image of my heart reflected is.
O drink the Wine of Love,
And in the Assembly of Enlightened move,
Let not the darkness dim
Fall like a curtain 'twixt thy soul and Him.
Who gives away his soul
Forgets his petty self and wins the whole,
Losing himself outright
He finds himself in the Eternal Light.
Crazy art thou, Amir,
To wait before His gate in hope and fear ;
For never in thy pain
Shall He yield up thy ravished heart again.
How can I dare profess
I am the lover whom Thou dost prefer !
Thou art the essence of all loveliness,
And I Thy very humblest worshipper.
Upon the Judgment Day
So sweet Thy mercy shall to sinners prove,
That envying them even the Saints shall say
Would we were sinners thus to know Thy love !
When in the quest for Thee
The heart shall seek among the pious throng,
Thy voice shall call If Thou desirest me
Among the sinners I have dwelt for long.
At the great Reckoning
Mighty the wicked who before Thy throne
Shall come for judgment ; little can I bring,
No store of good nor evil deeds I own.
Among the thorns am I
A thorn, among the roses am a rose,
Friend among friends in love and amity,
Foe among foes.
I shall not try to flee the sword of Death,
Nor fearing it a watchful vigil keep,
It will be nothing but a sigh, a 'breath,
A turning on the other side to sleep.
Through all the close entanglements of earth
My spirit shaking off its bonds shall fare
And pass, and rise in new unfettered birth,
Escaping from this labyrinth of care.
Within the mortal caravan-serai
No rest and no abiding place I know,
I linger here for but a fleeting day,
And at the morrow's summoning I go.
What are these bonds that try to shackle me ?
Through all their intricate chains my way I find,
I travel like a wandering melody
That floats untamed, untaken, on the wind.
From an unsympathetic world I flee
To you, your love and fellowship I crave,
O Singers dead, Sauda and Musha.fi,
I lay my song as tribute on your grave.
Of no use is my pain to her nor me :
For what disease is love the remedy ?
My heart that may not to her love attain
Is humble, and would even crave disdain.
traitrous heart that my destruction sought
And me to ruin and disaster brought !
As, when the chain of life is snapt in twain,
Never shall it be linked, so ne'er again
My utterly broken heart shall be made whole.
1 cannot tear the Loved One from my soul,
Nor can I leave my heart that clings to her.
O Asif, am I not Love's minister !
Who has such courage in Love's ways to dare !
What heart like mine such bitterness can bear !
The eyes of the narcissus win new light
From gleams that in Thy rapturous eyes they trace,
The flame is but a moth with fluttering flight
Drawn by the lovelier lustre of Thy face.
This shifting House of Mirrors where we dwell
Under Thy charm a fairy palace seems :
Who hath not fallen tangled in Thy spell
Beguiled by visions, wandering in dreams !
The hearts of all Thy captive lovers stray
Hither and thither driven by whims of Thine,
Sometimes within the Kaaba courts to pray,
Sometimes to worship at the Idols' Shrine.
O Asif, thou hast known such grief and shame,
Shrinking beneath the cruel scourge of Love,
That all the earth will hail thee with acclaim
As most courageous of the sons thereof.
When shall the mocking world withhold its blame,
When shall men cease to darken thus my name,
Calling the love which is my pride, my shame !
O Judge, let me my condemnation see;
Whose names are written on my death decree,?
The names of all who have been friends to me.
What hope to reach the Well-Beloved's door,
The dear lost dwelling that I knew of yore ;
I stumbled once; I can return no more.
The joy of love no heart can feel alone,
The fire of love at first unseen, unknown,
In flames of love from either side is blown.
O Asif, tread thy pathway carefully
Across this difficult world ; for, canst thou see,
A further journey is awaiting thee.
I ask that God in justice punish me
With death, if my love waver or grow less ;
Faithful am I indeed
How can you comprehend such faithfulness?
To you alone I offer up my heart,
To any other what have I to give ?