Aug 30, 2014

Don't Be Bewitched By Your Cupidity

قناعت ساحل امن است افسون طمع مشنو
مبادا کشتي درويش در کام نهنگ افتد


qanā’at sāhīl amn ast afsūn-e tam’a mashnaw
mabādā keshtīyi dervish dar kām-e nahang oftad

Contentment is a safe shore, listen not to be bewitched by cupidity
Lest the dervish’s ship fall prey to the whale.

                                                                                 Translated by Nasim Fekrat

Aug 23, 2014

Bedil: You Can't Sip the Ocean, if You are Not a Whale

You cannot sip the ocean, if you cannot be like a whale
You cannot gallop up the mountain, if you cannot be like a tiger
the world’s ocean becomes one gulp for you
O the patience of imagination, if you do not lose capacity

دریا نکشی، اگر نهنگی نکنی
بر کوه نتازی، ار پلنگی نکنی
یک جرعۀ تست، قلزم ِ کون و مکان
ای حوصلۀ خیال تنگی نکنی


Daryâ nakashî, agar nahangî nakunî
bar kooh natâzî, ar palangî nakunî
yak jur'a-e tust, qulzam-e kown wa makân
ai hawsêla-e khîyâl tangî nakunî
                                                                                   Translated by Nasim Fekrat
 
The above Rubāʿī  or quatrain is one among many famous Ruba'iyyat of Mirza Bedil. The translation might not be exact and clear enough, but reading the verses and delving into the meaning of images and imaginations that form a complicated concepts of mystical fascination of life which are unique in poetry of Bedil, I tried to remain loyal to the origin of the poems rather than conceptualizing them. After reading Bedil's poems, it has always been an awe-inspiring experience for me to be thrown into another world beyond myself, beyond my routine, and beyond explanation.

Meaning:
The first line: You cannot be the person that you want to be if you do not have the courage to take the risk.
The second line: You cannot survive in the mountains if you are not a tiger. In another way, if you want to survive among many other wild beasts in the mountains, you must be strong like a tiger. Consider your situation in a society where you are surrounded by numerous social traps. These traps can be your social coterie, meretricious decor, styles, marks or social networking sites that could have complete control of your life.
The third line: Here, Bedil, says, if you have the quality of self-control and forbearance, then, a world's ocean would seem a gulp to you, but Bedil lays down a condition in the last line: These are all possible if you are patient enough, that if you possess the power of self-control and most importantly, control over your free will.

Aug 16, 2014

Bedil: Humbleness, a Path to Harmony

به هزار کوچه دویده ام، به تسلی نرسیده ام
ز قد خمیده شنیده ام، که چو حلقه شد به دری رسد

Ba hazār kūcha dawīdam-am, ba tasallī narasidam-am
Zī qad khamida shinīda-am, kī chū halqa shud ba darī rasad

Running into thousand of streets, brought me no tranquility
I heard from an elder that the one, who turns to a ring, reaches the door.
                                                                                  Translated by Nasim Fekrat

In this poem, Bedil, demonstrates the ultimate humbleness that one should possess if undertaking a journey to reach harmony. He says that he ran through thousands of streets, spent nights and days, and endeavored pain to reward himself with tranquility, and peace. For Bedil, the word ‘tranquility’ is an allusion to the achievement of the reality of the existence; also, it is an insinuation to his beloved one, whoever might be; and finally, ‘tranquility’ is an allusion to his God. Bedil says that life has a meaning, and that meaning is not easily attainable. The significance of the first line’s meaning manifests itself in the second line.

Bedil says I perceived from an old man that the path to harmony is to become a door’s ring. This multifaceted line, at first glance might drive the reader into complete perplexity and wonder. However, it is no wonder when the readers find themselves confused, Bedil has unique style and he has used the most complex and implicitly difficult meanings to extract his imagination of humbleness.

So, to put it an understandably meaningful way, Bedil says that I spent all my life to reach harmony, but I was failed. Then he says: “An old man told me that in order to achieve the state of harmony and tranquil, one should be humble enough.” The word ‘ring’ has a special and an implicit meaning here. Bedil uses ‘ring’ to symbolize the old-age and the U-bend of life. Symbolically and humbly, Bedil pictures himself as a door ring at the gate that he might refer it to God. In another way, Bedil uses ‘ring’ to symbolize bowing; the gesture of humbleness, and obedience to God. Finally, being a ‘ring’ at door that implicitly pictures humbleness is a supreme virtue.

So, what is Bedil’s wisdom for us?
Modesty is the core of success and a path to harmony. Be modest in your clothing, in your talking; do not show off your knowledge and your wealth to others. Demonstrate humbleness and kindness to others, life is short, and at the time you realize you have ran thousands of streets and still running to find harmony, but you cannot, pause and ponder how modest and humble you were.

Aug 9, 2014

The Path of Humbleness Leads to Perfection

"Bedil, way to honor lies in humbleness
This path, led the new moon to its perfection"

بيدل دليل مقصد عزت تواضع است
زين جاده، ماه نو به جهان كمال رفت


Bedil, dalil-e maqsad-e ezat tawāz‘a ast
zin jādeh, māhi naw ba jahān-e kamāl raft
                                                                                                                                                     Translated by Nasim Fekrat

I chose this verse because to remind myself of a humble person that I have met recently in a coffee shop. He was a short man with white beard, probably in his 60s. I can’t remember what sparked a conversation with him but a brief chat with him was worth million moments that I routinely spend in vain.

He was leafing through pages of a new book that he just opened it from its mailing envelope. I asked him the title of the book, he lift up his demure face and told me: “I’m embarrassed to show you the title of the book.”

The book contained a series of scholarly articles inspired by his work and it was published to honor him and his academic research in the field.
For the past few days I have been thinking about him and his humbleness. Today, I came across one of Bedil's poems that says the path to perfection is humbleness, what the old man has been following.

PS: Every Saturday, I plan to translate a poem of Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil, one of the greatest 17th century’s Persian mystic poets.

Aug 7, 2014

The Audacity of Karzai's Crony

Karim Khalili, the second Vice President of Afghanistan and Karzai’s crony has the audacity to call on UN to verify the authenticity of the audiotape that Abdullah Abdullah’s team has claimed he was involved in electoral fraud. For the past 13 years, Khalili has done nothing to his oppressed minority and long persecuted ethnic group “Hazara,” rather than acting as a subservient to Karzai and delivering Hazara votes to him.

To my dismay, I discovered that Afghan officials from top to bottom have no moral obligation towards people and their votes. The audiotape is a clear evidence of Khalili’s involvement in the electoral fraud. In the audiotape, from his disgruntled tone of voice and his embarrassment of the result of the first round election, the phrases that he uses, and from his utterance, it is crystal clear that the voice belongs to him. An individual who feels morally obligated and responsible towards his action, must have certain capacity; unfortunately, Afghan officials lack this basic humane act.

Mar 20, 2014

It's a New Year in Afghanistan

Happy New Year and Happy Nowruz. In 2010, I wrote an article for CNN explaining how Nowruz is celebrated throughout Afghanistan.
Also, what a happy coincidence that - probably for the first time in the history - Nowruz concurring with two other important, and exciting days: The International Day of Happiness and Spring Equinox.

Here's an excerpt of the article on CNN:
One of most famous of Nowruz traditions among Afghans is to forget and forgive mistakes of one another and start the New Year with new hopes and new goals. During the first three days of the year, families and relatives meet and visit each other’s houses. These are parts of Afghan traditions that date back centuries. For further reading please go the main article.