Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Archive for July, 2011

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”
~William Butler Yeats quotes (Irish Poet. Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. )


Cherish whatever makes you unique, ‘cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes. ~Better Midler

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?

We should say to each of them: “Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke

The favourites:

“I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
I am too tiny in this world, and not tiny enough
just to lie before you like a thing,
shrewd and secretive.
I want my own will, and I want simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action;
and in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone.
I want to be a mirror for your whole body,
and I never want to be blind, or to be too old
to hold up your heavy and swaying picture.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
and I want my grasp of things to be
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long time,
like a saying that I finally understood,
like the pitcher I use every day,
like the face of my mother,
like a ship
that carried me
through the wildest storm of all.”

“I can’t make every minute holy.
I don’t want to stand before you
like a thing, shrewd, secretive.
I want my own will, and I want
simply to be with my will,
as it goes toward action.
And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know
secret things or else alone.
I want to unfold.
I don’t want to be folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie.”

“Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth I can swear your name.
Break off my arms, I’ll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I’ll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.”

Author: Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), was a Bohemian–Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable: themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets.

Lal Peeli Ankhiyan~Rajasthani song

Jad jad dekhoon banari lal peeli ankhiyaan
Main ko ni dara sa , bhala hi kado ankhiyaan.

(Whenever I see you, your eyes are red with anger
I am least scared of you, no matter even if you pop out your eyes).

Jaipur sheher se dhola mharo chunri ni lyave
Main ko ni orha sa, bhala hi kado ankhiyan

(You donot get me the dyed dress from Jaipur
I am not going to wear the old one, no matter even if you pop out your eyes).

Amir Khusrau, the maestro of Tarana.

This blog is just an attempt to familiarise the lovers of Amir Khurau to a form of singing, called Tarana, the fascinating  fast paced rendition often intended  to attain trance ( haal),   is attributed to be invented by him. Needless to say his other inventions being Qawwali, seventeen taals, tabla and sitar.

All I get is that Tarana  uses sargams and vocables like na, ta, re, da, ni, odani, tanom, yalali, yalalom shuffled in a fast pace coordinated  by rhythmic percussion from Dhol or Tabla.

A legend says that Amir Khusrau discovered this genre of music by default when   Khusrau at a performance of raga Kadambak by Gopal Naik,  allegedly,  remembered the music but not text. So he created the tarana through a merging of bols from the tabla, the sitar or the mridang.

Since I am absolutely bankrupt in classical music so I would just quote what Ustad Amir Khan Sahib,  a master of Tarana says:

“It is generally believed that Tarana is a composition of meaningless syllables followed sometimes by the bols (words coined to denote the various sounds of instruments) of the tabla and sometimes by Persian poetry. This view is not true. As a matter of fact at the time of the Amir, the texts of the songs used to be in the languages of South India, which were not easily understood by the people of the North. The court language was Persian, which was evidently the language of the contemporary intelligentsia. The Amir naturally thought of composing the texts of songs in the language understood by the intelligentsia. Thus the Tarana was born. The various words used are Dartanaa, Dar Tan Aa, Yala an abbreviation for Ya Allah. Yali for Ya Ali, Dar Aa etc., which when translated would mean:

Yala – Ya Allah

Yali – Ya Ali

O Dani : He knows

Tu Dani : You know.

Tom : I am yours, I belong to you
Main Tum Hun (I am you).

Na Dir Dani : You are the complete wisdom.

Dar – Bheetar, Aandar (inside)

Dara – Andar Aa (get in or come inside)

Dartan – Tanke Aandar (inside the body)

Tanan Dar Aa : Enter my body.

Tanandara – Tanke Aandar Aa (Come inside the body)

Nadirdani – Tu Sabse Adhik Janata Hai (You know more than anyone else)

Tandardani – Tanke Aandarka Jannewala (One who knows what is inside the body)

Another feature of Tarana as sung by many in India is the repetition of certain words at a great speed. The justification for this type is also not to be sought., It is not merely an exhibition of speed or virtuosity at pronouncing words, but the idea is that while in prayer a person goes into a trance, and that in that state of mind he just continues to repeat one word or one set of words.”

( source:
Yar-e-man bia bia Tarana sung by Konkana Bannerjee.

Main melody:
Yar-e-man bia bia.
Dar Tan tadim,
Ta-nan Ta na dim, Tom Ta Na Na Na
Ba labam raseeda jaanum
Fu bia ke zinda maanum
Pas azari ki man na maanum,
Ba cheh kar khahi amud.

which means:

O love, come soon, come at once.
Come and enter my body,
for I am yours, come
My life hangs on my lips,
Come thou that I may live again
for if thou shall come when I am no more,
to what avail shall it be.

Also see:

Poems by Attiya Dawood

Picture by Abro Khuda Bux

Here’s a translation of some poems by a Sindhi feminist poet Attiya Dawood

A strange woman in the mirror

The strange woman in the mirror, what is she thinking?
I ask her: what is it? She avoids me.
I paint my lips red, she begins to sob.
When I look her in the eyes, she asks me questions
which are even more strange.
Home, husband, children….. I have all that makes up happiness
But I don’t know what she wants.

If Only I knew Nothing

The experienced mind understands everything.
If I keep all my thoughts with me
And put them under lock and key,
Clever eyes come to know everything.
I should put the glasses of ignorance on them.
My sensitive heart
I should refuse ever to consider
All the observations and experiences of the past
Inscribed on my mind
I should wipe it away.
My intelligence becomes a curse for me…
If only I knew nothing.
Holding your hand
I would have continued walking in a dream.
Whatever stories you told me
I would have listened on like a child.
Taking my mind as your kite
You could have given me any direction, any wind
And I would have obeyed.
My intelligence becomes a curse for me…
If only I knew nothing.

A bone-weary truth

Truth is the basis of my creation.
No matter how many times in the name of truth
My being was chopped and cut,
Each time like the amoebae,
Every piece of the portioned-off being
Has become a being by itself.
Whenever I was put on the scaffold in the name of truth
Each time I have taken a new birth,
But this dying and being born every minute
Has made me bone-weary.
I want you, my friend
To take away my being from the cross.
Come in front of me,
Whisper sweet nothings in my ears,
Turn the shackles of hypocrisy
into bangles for my hands,
Love me with such a crushing deceit
That my soul not be able to bear it
And free itself
From my tired being.

About the author:
Attiya Dawood is a voice from the goths and villages of rural Sindh. It is a voice of pain and harrowing anguish. As a rural Sindhi woman she finds deprivation everywhere: she faces oppression piled on oppression. As a woman, oppression of women by men, as a Third World woman, oppression and exploitation by the advanced capitalist countries. As a rural woman she is marginalised in favour of the voice of the first person singular – I, but they are not autobiographical the events written about are not necessarilly drawn from her own life. The poems may be considered a form of dramatic monologue in which she assumes the voice and persona of a suffering woman and articulates the anguish arising out of some concrete situation.
English translations are by Asif Aslam

Source: Courtesy Abro Khuda Bux

The Paradox of Our Time ~Dr Bob Moorehead

A beautiful piece of  ‘food for thought’  which has served for years as a constant reminder to me to introspect my life and values. Whenever I feel I begin to digress from my purpose of life, I look back at this writing. Not sure if I have really found myself steadfast on it.

Finally, I decided to post it in my blog and share with others.

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men and small character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce; fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

*spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

*to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

*to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

*to say “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

*to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Author:  Dr. Bob Moorehead is former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church. He retired in 1998 after 29 years in that post. The essay appeared in ‘Words Aptly Spoken,’  Dr. Moorehead’s 1995 collection of prayers, homilies, and monologues used in his sermons and radio broadcasts.
However, it has many a times attributed in e-rumours to be written by George Carlin, a stand up comedian known for his foul mouth and four-lettered words. He himeslf denied having written this.

Senorita ~Music without borders

Quien eres tu? (Who are you?)
Donde has estado? (where have you been?)
He removido cielo y tierra y no te encontre
(I moved heaven and earth and not find you)

Y llegas hoy (but you arrive today)
Tan de repente (So suddenly)
Y das sentido a toda mi vida con tu querer
(and give meaning to my life with your love)

[Farhan Akhtar]Urdu
Na main samjha, na main jaana (I did not understand, nor do I know)
Jo bhi tumne mujhse kahaa hai Senorita(whatever you said to me Senorita)
Magar phir bhi, na jaane kyun(But still I do not know why)
Mujhe sunke, accha laga hai senorita( I likes hearing it, Seniorita)

No desvies la mirada (do not look away)
Quedate cerca de mi (stay close to me)

Mujhko baahon mein tum ghero( hold me in your arms)
Samjhi na senorita(Did you get it, Seniorita)

Chaahat ke do pal bhi, mil paaye( Even if one is able to get few moments of love)
Duniya mein yeh bhi kam hai kya( Is it not enough in this world?)
Do pal ko toh aao kho jaaye( Lets get lost in these few moments)
Bhoole hum hota gham hai kya senorita( It made us forget what sadness is Seniorita)
Suno suno senorita kehte hain hum kya( Listen o’ listen Seniorita, to what I say)

Jamas podre (i will never)
Interpretar (understand)
El sentido de las palabras que me dedicas
(the meaning of the words you dedicate to me)

Pero el calor (but the warmth)
De tu mirar (of your gaze)
Me hace sentir como la mas bella senorita
(Makes me feel like the most beautiful miss)

Nighaahon ne nighaahon se( My gaze to yours)
Kahi armaano ki daastan hai senorita(says the story of our longing, Seniorita)
Yeh chaahat ki, mohabbat ki( Of affection and love)
Saari duniya mein ek hi zubaan hai senorita( There’s only one language in the whole world)

[Abhay Deol]Hindi
Mujhse ab nazar na phero, aao paas tum mere( Do not turn away from me, come near me)

[Hrithik – Abhay]Hindi
Mujhko baahon mein tum ghero( Surround me with your arms)
Samjhi na Senorita( Did you get it, Seniorita).

Chaahat ke do pal bhi, mil paaye( Even if one is able to get few moments of love)
Duniya mein yeh bhi kum hai kya( Is it not enough in this world?)
Do pal ko toh aao kho jaaye( Lets get lost in these few moments)
Bhoole hum hota gumm hai kya senorita ( It made us forget what sadness is Seniorita)
Suno suno senorita kehte hain hum kya ( Listen o’ listen Seniorita, to what I say)

Jo bhi pal beeta (Whatever moments have passed)
Hey senorita (Hey Seniorita)
Har pal tumne hai dil jeeta ( You have won my heart each moment)
Bus itni si toh baat hai( That’s all, that matters)

No desvies la mirada (don’t look away)
Quedate cerca de mi (stay close to me)

Mujhko baahon mein tum ghero ( Surround me with your arms)
Samjhi na senorita ( Did you get it, Seniorita).

[chorus]x2 Hindi
Chaahat ke do pal bhi, mil paaye( Even if one is able to get few moments of love)
Duniya mein yeh bhi kam hai kya( Is it not enough in this world?)
Do pal ko toh aao kho jaaye( Lets get lost in these few moments)
Bhoole hum hota gham hai kya senorita( It made us forget what sadness is Seniorita)

A poet’s paradise

I forsake
My turf, my roots
I severed
My strings, my ties
As I walked, I erased
All my paths, for retreat
I carried along
No regalia, no paraphernalia
Possessed by a dream
Of a Shangri-la
A pie in the sky
A vision
Where I’ll be yours
You shall hold me, own me.
‘Peace’ was our faith.
So we shall be ‘ONE’.
Decades on
I stay for you
A ‘naked’ stranger
A ‘hungry’ immigrant.
You remain to me
A true mirage
A false promise.
I should’ve known
It was but
A poet’s paradise.

A lifetime encounter with Sain Zahoor ~Part 2

Contd..from Part 1

I repeat, these two days were like a trip to the world of Bulleh Shah, his life and philosophy in the company of Sain Zahoor.

Having been over awed by his deep mystical eyes, I had to gather some courage to ask him all the valid and invalid questions I had in my mind.

For most of the questions I pounced at him, he bounced the answers back with verses from Bulleh Shah’s poetry .

I began with an inquiry about the details of how his life began as a devotee, and he remarked that it was destined. He had a great passion for singing sufi songs from a young age, despite the opposition from his peasant parents.

It was his ‘famous dream’ of a hand calling him, that took him at the age of 10 from one Sufi shrine to the other all over Pakistan for next 7 years. At last some indications made him realise that the hand was from a Dargah ( shrine) at Uch Sharif. From there he was ordered to go to the Shrine of Bulleh Shah at Kasur, and reside there.
Learning about Bulleh Shah’s life, he said , he was astonished to know how similar he was to Bulleh Shah in terms of his love for music and it’s opposition from his family.

He recalled how he was first noticed by the professor cum TV producer Dildar Bhatti, on the shrine of Lal Hussain and was called to sing on PTV. The first words that were aired were:

Na Kar Bandeya Meri, Meri,
Na Teri Na Meri,
Char Dinan Da Mela, Duniya
Pher Mitti Di Dheri

( Do not indulge in self,
Life is neither yours nor mine.
It’s a 4 day trip and then shall all be a mound of earth.)

He mentioned of the honour he was given as the best folk singer by BBC for the year 2006, an Award in France and a Presidential Award in Pakistan, but what he really takes pride is in how he converted two Japanese boys to follow the path of Sufism and Islam.

He talked of the selflessness one needs to have in devoting one’s life to Sufi singing.

On a question of the purpose of sufi music—he mentioned that music was Sufi’s innovative method to attract common man towards the path of peaceful religion. It served the purpose to diffuse the inter-communal tensions and the hegemony of the orthodox religion that existed in the 16 th or 17th century. He said the music was like a magnet for those who wanted to escape from hatred and were attracted to peace and love. .

He said that even in todays world where there is hatred widespread everywhere, he wishes to contribute for world peace, his bit, through Sufi music, like a drop in the ocean.

Quoting Bulleh Shah he remarked, the eseensce of his life was to spread the message of love:

Masjid Dha Day, Mandir Dha Day
Dha Day Jo Kujh Disda
Par Kissay Da Dil Na Dhawee(n)
Rub Dilaa(n) Wich Wasda

Tear down the Mosque, tear down the temple
Tear down every thing in sight
But don’t (tear down) break anyone’s heart
Because God lives there

While talking, came up the fact that he was unlettered, and when I asked if he did he think that education would bring more awareness and openness in the minds of those who spread hatred he remarked:

Parrh Parrh Aalim Faazil Hoya
Kaddi Apney Aap noo Parrheya hi nahin
Jaa Jaa Warda Mandir Maseetaan
Kaddi Mun Apney Vich tun Wardeya ee Nahin

Reading books over and over you want to be a learned man
but you never study your innerself.
You run to enter mosques and temples
but you never enter into your innerself

He took out a paper from his pocket remarking, “This is my ‘parhai’ ( literacy)”, and he tried to read some meaning out of those pictures. It was beyond me, perhaps because I was illiterate in that language.

On asking about his travels he said that his music has take him to over to 35 countries explaining it simply as “ 5 passports have been filled up with with stamps and visas for different countries.”
I asked him of the place that he liked to visit the most?
He remarked with a diplomatic smile:
“Chal Way Bullehya Chal O’thay Chaliyay
Jithay Saaray Annay
Na Koi Saadee Zaat PichHanay
Tay Na Koi Saanu Mannay “

O’ Bulleh Shah let’s go there
Where everyone is blind
Where no one recognizes our caste (or race, or family name)
And where no one believes in us

I asked: “Is really any such place on Earth? “
He retorted: “Why do you need a place on land, if your heart is that place, where you do not differentiate ? Is it not enough ?”

As the time passed and my audacity to ask him personal questions increased, an informal Sain Zahoor with a great sense of humour emerged out too.

While talking to him, I could not meet his gaze. I was staring at his ektara, which he calls tumba.
He remarked: “I think you like my tumba more.”
It was embarrassing, but I retorted without a second thought “Yes, I like it a lot”.
And so he offered to teach me how to hold and play it. It was his idea to click a picture with the tumba in my hand.

We talked about his family and his sons, two of whom were part of the orchestra and the third one sings independently.

I was keen to know about his wife, and asked him if he took his wife with him on the tours.
He just smiled and nodded a ‘No’.
“Doesn’t she get angry on your frequent trips and you don’t take her”, I complained.
He smiled and said : “ I have learnt from Bulleh Shah, how to appease her.”
“How? ” was my obviously inquisitive question.
He narrated with a naughty sparkle in his eyes: “ I sing to her:
‘Bas kar ji hun bas kar ji,
Ik baat asan naal has kar ji.’

and my old lady smiles.

I found the verses very intriguing, so he offered to narrate the whole poem, which indeed was beautiful. And I share the first stanza here…
Bas kar ji hun bas kar ji,
Ik baat asan naal has kar ji.
Tuseen dil mere vich vasde ho,
aiven saathon duur kyon nasde ho.
Naale ghat jaadu dil khasde ho,
hun kit val jaaso nas kar ji.
Bas kar ji hun bas kar ji,

Enough! Now enough!
Smile! Speak to me!
You inhabit my heart.
What is the use of running away?
Using magic, you pulled my heart toward you.
Whom do you run toward now?
Enough! Now enough!

I couldn’t help ask: “Did Bulleh Shah also appease his wife by this poetry?.”
“No he was never married, but he loved his Master Inayat Qadri like a woman loves her beloved.”

And he narrated the interesting story of how Bulleh Shah has once faultered in front of his master by being ‘snobbish’ referring himself as ‘Syed Bulleh”. The master felt offended and disowned Bulleh Shah as a disciple. And his master had set extremely high standards for his disciple, he would not agree to any easy means of appeasement.

Since Bulleh Shah knew appeasing his beloved was no easy task, he dressed himself like a woman, adorned the nath (nose ring), wore ghungroo( ankle bells) and hid behind a veil.
“Why did he have to become a woman?” I asked.
He said “He wanted to show his master that he had given up all his masculine ego and acted like a helpless woman.”

Bulleh Shah sang and danced in front of his master, till the master’s heart melted . He recognised, this extreme devotion could be from none other than BullehShah, so he asked : “Are you Bulleh?”
From behind the veil came the reply: “No master, I am Bhullah( the defaulter).”

He narrated the words which Bulleh Shah used during the appeasement:
Tere ishaq nachaya kar ke thia thia
Tere ishaq ne dira mere ander kita
Bhar ke zehar piala, main taan aape pita
jhabde bohrin we tabiba, nahin taan main mar gai a

Compelled by love, I dance, I dance.
This love has set up camp inside me.
I Physician, come back! my life is ebbing away.
It is I who filled the cup with this poison and drank it.

Come back right away, else I will surely die.
Compelled by love, I dance, I dance.

As the time for the group came to pack up and leave for the Hotel, I joked: “Sain, are you taking back my tumba?”
He smiled and said: “Come to Pakistan, I will give you an identical one, but the condition is that you will have to learn to play it.”

He did not give me the ektara, but the time he gave to answer my unending questions and the interest with which he offered to answer my queries about him, his poetry and Bulleh Shah, I shall chesrish for rest of my life.

Ektara will remain as mine in the memories and the pictures, for sure 🙂

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