Yesterday we went to Mirza Ghalib‘s resting place. It is located in Nizamuddin neighborhood in Delhi, not far from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s dargha. Today was his URS celebration, which we attended in 2007. So in honor of the great Urdu poet and master of the ghazal, here is a poem by him:

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. (trans. Daud Rahbar)

Mirza Ghalib was born in Agra December 17, 1797, and  died in Delhi on February 15, 1869. He was a very liberal mystic who believed that the search for God within liberated the seeker from the narrowly Orthodox Islam, encouraging the devotee to look beyond the letter of the law to its essence. His Sufi views and mysticism is greatly reflected in his poems and ghazals. As he once stated: 

“The object of my worship lies beyond perception’s reach; 
For men who see, the Ka’aba is a compass, nothing more.”


Ghalib believed that if God laid within and could be reached less by ritual than by love, then he was as accessible to Hindus as to Muslims.

He once wrote in a letter to a friend: 

“In paradise it is true that I shall drink at dawn the pure wine mentioned in the Qu’ran, but where in paradise are the long walks with intoxicated friends in the night, or the drunken crowds shouting merrily? Where shall I find there the intoxication of Monsoon clouds? Where there is no autumn, how can spring exist? If the beautiful houris are always there, where will be the sadness of separation and the joy of union? Where shall we find there a girl who flees away when we would kiss her?” 

Info on Ghalib ~

Peacock in the courtyard of Ghalib! photo by Shabda

Peacock in the courtyard of Ghalib! photo by Shabda

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