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To Seek God Abandon Your Seeking


Muhammad Iqbal follows in the long practiced spiritual tradition of ‘renunciation’ – a universal element of all spiritual wayfaring. In this ghazal, Iqbal echoes what he calls the Buddha’s ‘call of truth’(awaz e haq) as he demonstrated Anicca. A call that finds its parallel in the Sufi tradition of Zuhd. This universal practice of detachment may be read as a commentary on the verse : “By no means will you attain true piety unless you give freely of that which you love” (Quran: 3:92)

I offer my own rendering of Iqbal’s ghazal:

Majnoon ne shehrchora, tusehrabhichor de
Nazzaaraykihavis ho, to lailabhichor de

Majnu had forsaken the city, you should forsake the desert too
If you crave the vision of Beauty, forsake Layla too

Vaaiz! Kamal-e-tark se miltihaiyaanmurad
Duniya jo chor di hai to uqbabhichor de

O Preacher! Only by forsaking will you get what you desire
Having forsaken the world, forsake the hereafter too

Taqleedki ravish se to behtarhaikhudkushi
Rasta bhidhoond, Khizr ka saudabhichor de

Suicide is far better than blind imitation
Forsake Guru-business; Seek your own path

Manind e khamaterizabaan par haiharf-e-ghair
Begaana shay penaazish-e-bejabhichor de

Your tongue, like the pen, relates other’s words
with pride; Forsake this vainglory and vanity

Lutf-e-kalamkya jo na ho dilmeindard-e-ishq
Bismalnahinhaitu to tarapnabhichor de

Vain are the pleasures of God-talk if your heart doesn’t ache with Love
If you carry no wound within, forsake your displays of suffering

Shabnam kitarahphoolonperoaurchaman se chal
Is baaghmeinqayaam ka saudabhichor de

Like dew: weep on flowers, and leave the garden
Forsake your desire to live here forever

Hai aashqimeinrasmalag sab se baithna
But-khaanabhi, Haram bhi, Kaleesabhichor de

The way of Love is to be apart from all
Temples, mosques, and churches: forsake all these too

Saudagarinahin, yehibaadatKhudakihai
Aye bekhabarjazakitamannabhichor de

Devotion to God is no business transaction
O ignorant! Forsake your desire for rewards too

Lekinkabhikabhiisetanhabhichor de

Let the mind guard the heart sometimes
Yet sometimes, leave it be on its own too

Jeenawohkya jo ho nafas-e-ghair par madar
Shohrat Ki zindagi ka bharosabhichor de

Living off others is no life at all
Forsake your hopes for fame and acclaim too

Shaukhisihaisawal-e-mukararmein ae Kaleem!
Shart-e-raza ye haiketaqazabhichor de

It is inappropriate to keep pleading for God, O Moses!
The condition of contentment is that you forsake this desire too