Let the ascetics sing of the garden of Paradise

by Mirza Ghalib

English version by Jane Hirshfield
Original Language Urdu

Let the ascetics sing of the garden of Paradise --
We who dwell in the true ecstasy can forget their vase-tamed bouquet.

In our hall of mirrors, the map of the one Face appears
As the sun's splendor would spangle a world made of dew.

Hidden in this image is also its end,
As peasants' lives harbor revolt and unthreshed corn sparks with fire.

Hidden in my silence are a thousand abandoned longings:
My words the darkened oil lamp on a stranger's unspeaking grave.

Ghalib, the road of change is before you always:
The only line stitching this world's scattered parts.

-- from The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, by Stephen Mitchell

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Each couplet of this ghazal dances, don't they?

In our hall of mirrors, the map of the one Face appears
As the sun's splendor would spangle a world made of dew.


Those lines could just as easily appear in a Buddhist poem. In the myriad objects of the world, everything is a mirror reflecting the one Reality. Each person, each thing, is like a drop of dew shining like the sun.



Recommended Books: Mirza Ghalib

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry East Window: Poems from Asia The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures Lightning Should Have Fallen on Ghalib Mirza Ghalib: A Creative Biography
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Let the ascetics