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Mirza Ghalib and Metaphysical Philosophy

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    Mirza Ghalib and Metaphysical Philosophy

    Interesting stuff.

    Mirza Ghalib


    There is a Ghalib who is love-lorn, lamenting separation and enduring heartache. He has the tragic charm of a romantic alcoholic hopelessly in love. This is the Ghalib most of us know and who even the average street-romeo identifies with.

    And then there is the lesser known Ghalib of heavy-duty philosophy, of mysticism and ‘masaile-tasawwuf’, tackling deeply philosophical questions on life and the reality of universe. Mirza’s spiritual side is not entirely unknown but he has never found favour with the conservative class, which is quite understandable, given his strong dislike for the stereotyped notions of piety they usually profess. He abhors the mindless ritualism and puts the mullahs in the dock. He finds the hypocrisy of the self-righteous ‘wa’iz’ (mosque-preacher) particularly exasperating and has taken him to task very often. Besides the more popular one mentioning his bumping into him at the tavern’s entrance, this one is particularly stinging:

    Umeed-E-Hoor Ne Sab Kuch Sikha Rakha Hai

    Wa’iz Ko Yeh Hazrat Dekhne Mein

    Bhole Bhale Seedhe Saadhe Hain

    (Wishing for the houris has taught the wa’iz a lot his seemingly guiltlees appearance is but a veneer)

    It conveyed Mirza’s discomfort with the clergy amply, although said in a lighter vein. He used satire with élan to drive his point home. But the mullahs apparently did not share his sense of humour. Mirza was often accused of disbelief and godlessness by his detractors before a battery of Muftis (muslim jurists) ‘officially’ declared him an apostate. He took little offence:

    Ghalib bura na maan agar wa’iz bura kahe

    Aisa bhi koi hai jise acchha kahen sabhi

    (Take not to heart if the wa’iz speaks ill of you, Ghalib. Is there any who everyone sees as good.)

    His disillusionment with over the top conventional religiosity which he saw as hypocritical seems to have driven him to seek refuge in Sufi mysticism and seek all answers there. A thoughtful study of his works reveals that he held the classical Sufi position on the philosophy of universe and its reality, which is that he considered it a mere shadow or reflection of the greater Reality and not a material reality in itself. For Ghalib, the universe was only a subjective truth as perceived by the mind of the believer, and whose objective existence was highly suspect;

    Hastee Ke Mat Fareb Mein Aa Jayeo,

    Asad Aalam Tamaam Halqa-E-Daam-Khayal Hai

    (Be not beguiled by this life, o asad this universe is but a realm of imagination.)

    Bereft of its spiritual veneer, this line of thought finds resonance with philosophical thought of idealism advocated by such western philosophers as Descartes, Immanuel Kant and Berkley, and indeed is very similar to the Greek metaphysical thought of Plato and Aristotle.

    Like the Plato of ‘Republic’ who cannot tell dream from reality, Ghalib often finds himself doubting the reality of life, wondering if the world is a mere illusion and he a prisoner of his perceptions.

    Hai Ghaib-E-Ghaib Jis Ko Samajhte Hain Hum

    Shuhood Hain Khwaab Mein

    Hanooz Jo Jage Hain Khwaab Mein

    (What we deem apparent is the hidden-most they are dreaming yet, who think themselves awake.)

    Another of his gems captures the sufi thought of ‘La Mawjooda Il Allah’ (nothing exists except god) considered to be the pinnacle of the monotheistic thought, beautifully:

    jab ke tujh bin nahin koi maujood

    phir ye hangama ae khuda kya hai

    (If nothing’s present except you what then is this apparent creation all about.)

    His clarity on the idealist philosophy is quite a revelation and puts him in the league of the stalwarts of metaphysical thought like Berkley and Bradley.

    Having reached so high a spiritual plane on one hand and earning notoriety as a godless drunkard on the other, is a paradox difficult to understand. One of the explanations could be that perhaps he was very keen to be not seen as religious and like the truly God-fearing understood the spiritual dangers of a pious reputation and that inevitably led to pretence and hypocrisy. But this contradiction has only added to his unfathomable byronic aura.
    We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

    #2
    Re: Mirza Ghalib and Metaphysical Philosophy

    Doubting the reality of life and having higher level of spirituality is a contradiction.
    Turn the table...
    Sun to sahi jahan main hai tera fasana kya.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Mirza Ghalib and Metaphysical Philosophy

      Good point and thats why it is said that 'insaan tazadaat ka maj'mooa hai'. Some of Ghalib's lines suggests that he was atheist, some suggests that he had firm believe in the existence of God. He was from Ahl e Tashee and his famous Salam 'Salam usse ke Padshah kahen jis ko' shows his love for ihl e Bait. The same salam contains some lines, which are not acceptable to other sects and when PTV got this salam recorded in Nayyara Noor's voice they didn't include those lines.
      We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Mirza Ghalib and Metaphysical Philosophy

        did the author give credit to Ghalib for the following she'r?

        Umeed-E-Hoor Ne Sab Kuch Sikha Rakha Hai Wa’iz Ko
        Yeh Hazrat Dekhne Mein Bhole Bhale Seedhe Saadhe Hain

        maiN ne mazmoon abhii paRhaa nahiiN magar yeh she'r to 'allaamah Iqbal kaa hai.
        Life is NOT measured by the number of breaths we take but the moments that take our breath away!!!
        16 breaths a minute, 23040 a day...NO one knows which one will be their LAST!

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Mirza Ghalib and Metaphysical Philosophy

          Originally posted by Khalil KhaaN FaaKhta View Post
          did the author give credit to Ghalib for the following she'r?

          Umeed-E-Hoor Ne Sab Kuch Sikha Rakha Hai Wa’iz Ko
          Yeh Hazrat Dekhne Mein Bhole Bhale Seedhe Saadhe Hain

          maiN ne mazmoon abhii paRhaa nahiiN magar yeh she'r to 'allaamah Iqbal kaa hai.
          yes he does give credit of this shair to Ghalib and makes it basis for conclusion that Ghalib was not comfortable with clergy. I think many of Ghalib's letters are addressed to people who can be covered as clergy
          We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

          Comment

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