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کافی 1 - راگ سری

مظفر اے غفار
February 26th, 2008

راگ سِری

١ ربّا میرے حال دا محرم توں
٢ اندر توں ہیں باہر توں ہین' روم روم وِچ توں
٣ ربّا میرے حال دا محرم توں
٤ توں ہیں تانا توں ہیں بانا' سبھ کجھ میرا توں
٥ ربّا میرے حال دا محرم توں
٦ کہے حُسین فقیر نمانا' میں ناہیں سبھ توں
٧ ربّا میرے حال دا محرم توں

 

ਰਾਗ: ਸਿਰੀ

1 ਰੱਬਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਹਾਲ ਦਾ ਮਹਿਰਮਤੂੰ

2 ਅੰਦਰ ਤੂੰ ਹੈਂ ਬਾਹਿਰ ਤੂੰ ਹੈਂ' ਰੋਮ ਰੋਮ ਵਿਚ ਤੂੰ

3 ਰੱਬਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਹਾਲ ਦਾ ਮਹਿਰਮ ਤੂੰ

4 ਤੂੰ ਹੈਂ ਤਾਣਾ ਤੂੰ ਹੈਂ ਬਾਣਾ' ਸੱਭ ਕੁਝ ਮੇਰਾ ਤੂੰ

5 ਰੱਬਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਹਾਲ ਦਾ ਮਹਿਰਮ ਤੂੰ

6 ਕਹੇ ਹੁਸੈਨ ਫ਼ਕੀਰ ਨਿਮਾਣਾ' ਮੈਂ ਨਾਹੀਂ ਸਭ ਤੂੰ

7 ਰੱਬਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਹਾਲ ਦਾ ਮਹਿਰਮ ਤੂੰ


 

Raag: Sri

1 Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

2 Andar toon haen baahar toon haen, rom rom vic toon

3 Rabba maerae hall da mehram toon

4 Toon haen taana toon haen baana, sabh kujh maera toon

5 Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

6 Kahae Husayn faqeer nimaana, maen naahin sabh toon

7 Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

GLOSSARY:

Rahaao/fefrain (Line 1, etc.):

Rabba: inter). (O Rabb): s,m Lord, possessor, owner, master, governor, regulator, disposer, orderer, preserver; God.

Haal: s.m. State, condition, circumstance, case, predicament, situation, existing or present state (generally, or as a snapshot of passing moments); - state of ecstasy, frenzy, or religious transport; - present time, (in Gram.) the present tense; good condition, prosperous circumstances; - business, affair, matter, thing, statement, account, story, history; - adj. & adv. Present, current, now passing; - at present, &c..

Mehram: s.m. A spouse, a consort, anyone to whom the haram or women’s apartments are open (as a father, or a son, etc,); - a confidant, an intimate friend, an intimate; - s.f. A bodice, the part of the dress in which the breasts are confined; -adj. Confidential, intimate, familiar.

Line 2:

Rom: s.m. The smallest living tissue of the body, the littlest part of the body; [most appropriate word for a ‘cell’ (a 19th century discovery)]; hair of the body (of men and animals), down; bristle, wool, fur; pile, nap; moss.

Rom rom: (In) every fiber; everywhere, in every littlest part, &c. (as above).

Line 4:

Taana: s.m. The threads or yarn which are laid out lengthwise upon a weaver’s loom, the wrap.

Baana: s.m. The threads or yarn which are women in bredthwise, upon a weaving loom; the woof (as opposed to tanna, warp); a silken thread used in weaving and sewing.

Line 6:

Faqeer: s.m. One who lives in poverty [commended in the Quraan (35:16), and Hadith. Prophet Muhammad (m.p.b.u.h.) said, “Poverty is my pride”]. Poverty signifies, (a) material impoverishment deliberately sought which aims at being liberated from the temptation and possession of material things so that one can focus on ceaseless inner struggle; (b) it connotes every virtue which the seeker in the way of God embraces, as through poverty, meaning ceasing to be self-centered, one can become a channel for God’s grace, and the submitted lover of the Divine Beloved; - categories of faqeers known as malaamati (self-reproaching) or qalander (who abandon all worldly relations) are usually itinerant darvaeshes who reject conventional mores and mock the patterned life that pertained to the khaanqaah-mazaar (convent-tomb) complexes or shrines. These faqeers are spiritual ecstatics who are also social eccentrics; - one who lives in faqar (pious poverty); - a mystic lover of God; - one who has purged himself of egotism, lust, anger, greed, delusion (including self-delusion), pride, etc.; a devotee; - a religious mendicant; a beggar.

Nimaana: adj. Without egotism, pride, or arrogance; - humble, artless, destitute.

1 Oh God the consort of my state is You

2 Within are You, without are You, in every fiber You

3 Oh God the consort of my state is You

4 You’re the wrap, You the woof, all that’s mine is You

5 Oh God the consort of my state is You

6 Says Husayn the destitute devotee, I’m nought, all is You

7 Oh God the consort of my state is You

NOTES:

Rahaao/ refrain (Line 1):

Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

Oh God theconsort of my state is You

The line iterates a Sufi belief that God knows everything about us. His knowledge is intimate. The word mehram is interesting. It applies to any male who has access to, and is welcome in, the inner sanctum of a home (the women’s apartments or quarters, also called the haram). In metaphor, haram stands for the inner sanctum of the self. The poet tells us that God knows all that goes on in the inner sanctum. The word haal stands for a state as well as a predicament, etc.. This God’s knowledge is not only exoteric, it is also esoteric. It is complete. Included in the belief is the fact that man does not need to tell God anything. God knows.

Linked with this concept is the age-old debate about predestination (everything is pre-ordained or pre-destined, a fully fatalistic philosophy) and foreknowledge (God knows how man will act but he does not influence the decision. Man has freedom of action although he has been given the rules of the game. Man does as he chooses. But God has foreknowledge of what he will do). The third philosophical school of thought just says that God has knowledge and usually does not enter the entire debate mentioned above for they believe that all such debates tend to limit God’s knowledge. Shaah Husayn’s line seems to present this last philosophy.

The word Rabba (O God) is an invocation. As an expression, here it gives us the view that all is not well. Man is in a predicament. He seems to be heaving a sigh of concern, saying, ‘God, although You know everything, I insist that you still look at my predicament!’

The second word of the rahaao (refrain) is maera (my, mine). This completely personalizes the line. Shaah Husayn is speaking. He is confirming God’s intimate knowledge of the most immediate man, the poet himself.

Personalization of the line makes the issue more intimate and pressing. There is some complaint and supplication in it aside from a feeling of semi-resignation at one own’s state. As readers we are drawn away from an abstract or distant concept to one that applies to us, to ‘me’. As the rahaao (refrain) returns again and again, we start reading it not as a line about Shaah Husayn but about ourselves.

We can also read the line with an emphasis on toon (you! Or You!). Then the line carries wonder and awe in it. Since both maerae (mine) and toon are in the same line, this also leads us to apparent dualism. But as the line is repeated we begin to feel that the intimate of my feeling must be ‘I’. Or it leads to a feeling that You and I are one. This is not stated directly by the poet, but the effect is achieved creatively with words which dance as they repeatedly return, and through music as this line is sung.

We can read the line not as expression of joy but as an amazing experience. The mood of the rahaao changes as it returns after each one-line verse which follows it. It makes the kaafi go round and round, like in a dance. Each time the dance movement seems to change. So does the experience of the dancer. Now, like Shaah Husayn who, accordingto tradition, sang his verses in the streets of Lahore as he danced with bells on revolution comes via dancing words and lines. Our dance comes to resemble the cosmic dance of the planets around the sun.

Lime 2:

Andar toon haen baahar toon haen, rom rom vich toon

Within are You, without are You, in every fiber You

The poet now confirms that God not only has full has full and intimate knowledge, He is within and without, inside and out. Everywhere. The second part of the line confirms that he is in every fiber, every cell. Since God knows what is in every cell, he has knowledge: A Sufi concept is that God has knowledge of everything, of every iota. That thought is made explicit in this line.

The word rom is very interesting. Though it is suggested that this word be used as the word for cell today, it carries all the baggage of wonder, of hair standing on end in awe and thrill. As we look at the word in this way, the word haal assumes its other meaning – one of being in a frenzy, or in a state of ecstasy. Now the line reads that God has knowledge of my ecstasy. In an unobtrusively creative way the poet has begun to dance in ecstasy. He is now also unconcerned that others who see him dancing think he is strange or even deranged. God knows. He knows all with intimacy, not only the ecstasy of the poet. Since He is in every fiber, God too shares or initiates this ecstasy. In a creative way man has mystical union with God. That experience is ecstasy.

Haal/ (as moment) also means the snapshot of every split second. It has change endemic in it. Haal (the present) is dynamic, ever-changing. God has knowledge of every moment. His knowledge is dynamic. God intimately knows every living moment. Without mentioning time, Shaah Husayn brings it in by using a time-bound tense.

The repetition of rom seems to have two purposes. One is to use a compositional technique of repeating a word for emphasis. The second purpose seems to be to confirm that God is everywhere, within us, and outside us. He is in every iota of our being, everywhere. The concept of Waahdat al-Vujood (Unity of Being), more than bhakti, finds a creative expression. Since haal is a snapshot of a continuity, Unity is shown not as static but as dynamic. ‘Being’ is presented by the poet as dynamic without resorting to long explanations. He avoids the word muqaam [situation, station (status)], which has larger static connotations. He used the word haal instead.

Rahaao/refrain (Line 3):

Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

Oh God the consort of my state is You

The Lord is surely the mehram. He knows every fiber of the poet’s being. He is not only intimate with every cell, but also with the overall state of the poet, and of us.

Line 4:

Toon haen taana toon haen baana, sabh kujh maera toon

You’re the wrap, You the woof, all that’s mine is You

The poet says that God is the intimate of every iota in the previous line. Here he says You the warp, You the woof, Isn’t then the poet also saying that You your own mehram (intimate)? The line goes on to say that ‘my everything is You!’ The concept of Unity of Being finds another expression as the wrap and woof make the fabric. The fabric ( a physical condition) is also God, says the poet. There is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ It seems to apply to everything in the universe, i.e., the physical universe is also God. In the second part of the line ‘my everything is you’ is affirmed. The general and the specific are united. ‘Everything is you’ gets both a mehram and a structure. The universe – both general and personalized – is all God. This is drawn from bhakti, and from the writings ofIbn Arabi. Here it gets an explicit image of Unity, and what constitutes it.

The image of taana-baana is an exceptional one in explaining the idea of God which the poet uphold. When put together as taana-baana the words have motion built into them, for only with motion the two coalesce into fabric. When the poet says You are taana, You are baana, he is using an image to show us God that has motion. He is not the excruciatingly abstract and passive ‘thought thinking thought’ of Aristotle. Or the uninvolved God of the Deists. He is the sub-stance (that which ‘stands up from below’), the substance of Spinoza. Taana-baana is the body of man, and his interwoven spirit. God is everywhere, in our very structure, in every iota of the Order of the Universe. Taana-baana is also a product of the weaver, and the structure of nature. God, man, and the process of nature have been made into one mode.

Taana-baana also gives a solution to the mind-body problem raised to such importance by Rene Descartes. Mind-body of man is like taana-baana, interpenetrating, and functioning as one. And God is everywhere in it, for He is the wrap and woof of the self.

We may marvel at the use of the word rom in the previous line. It also means fiber. So does taana-baana. The two reinforce each other.

Shaah Husayn says You are taana, You the baana. This reflects the concept of Waahdat al-Vujood which carries in its bosom the belief that everything is in God, and God is in every bit of man. Man, existing as separate from God, is missing from this de scri ption. Taana-baana puts divine life within man. And everything within Him.

Rahaao/refrain (Line 5):

Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

Oh God the consort of my state is You

The poet repeats that God knows of our every fiber because. He is in every fiber. Only God exists. Nothing else. The concept of Waahdat al-Vujood (Unity of Being) is affirmed with an image which is hard to squabble with.

Line 6:

Kahae Husayn faqeer nimaana, maen naahin sabh toon

Says Husayn the destitute devotee, I’m nought, all is You

The poet calls himself both humble and a destitute devotee. This is the nimaana in the eyes of society. Shaah Husayn owns up the adjective to make fun of it. But the complexity magically brought to resolution in this kaafi is the act of a devotee who is destitute of egotism. That is the meaning which Shaah Husayn uses for nimaana in his verse. Moreover, this word also brings the social history of weavers to the fore. In the second part of the line we realize what the poet is up to. By saying that ‘I am nothing (or nought), everything is You’, the poet is finding a way of saying ‘I am in God, even as God is in me’. Only He exists.

The maen (I) which surfaces in this line is the starched, distorted, arrogant, exclusive and excluding‘I’ that is being negated. There is not ‘other’. To be one with the one’ is my aspiration, the poet seems to say. God is what I see in others. We are all one, so forget all types of individuation. The essence is in being human.

The little poem, one rahaao (refrain) and three single-line antras (verses), is full of music and dance. It also has the mystical sounding toon ending every line. As in all Sufi poetry Shaah Husayn is integrating meaning, poetics, music, rhythm and structure. Linguistically toon (You) separates itself as we read or sing the kaafi. Toon stands out. Toon is all that remains. Toon is all there is. Even the confirmation that Husayn the humble faqeer exists becomes an illusion in the audio-ambience of Toon.

Rahaao/refrains (Line 7):

Rabba maerae haal da mehram toon

Oh God the consort of my state is You

The poet reiterates that God is an intimate of the pot. How intimate, we have seen above. This kaafi gives a new meaning to what intimacy can mean. The last time around the refrain also becomes a dance. And we merge with it. We too dance. We too become dance. We realize that the rhythm-keeper is God. And man becomes the instrument of God in dance. He reward man with the experience of unio mystica (mystical union) which gives ecstasy.

Note:

One form of the musical integration of the rahaao (Refrain) with the antras (verses) can be to compose the refrain as follows:

Haal da mehram toon

Rabba

Maerae haal da mehram toon

 

In this structure the above form of the rahaao would open and close the kaafi when it is sung. After each antra only the second line of the refrain would be sung, viz.

Andar toon haen baahar toon haen rom rom vic toon

Rabba

Maerae haal da mehram toon

And then the next antra, and so on.


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