Ghazal 65

For What?

Festivities and companionship of the orchards and spring
        Is happier than what?
Where is the cupbearer? Tell us about this delay and wait
        The reason is for what? [1]

Cherish every happy moment that comes your way
No awareness within anyone then for all these efforts
        The end is for what? [2]

Be alert! Life is hanging from the strand of a hair
Sorrow for your Self, since in the scheme of life
        The sorrow is for what? [3]

The meaning of the water of life and the gardens of Eden
Other than meandering brooks and wholesome wine
        The remaining is for what? [4]

The hermit and the drunken both from the same tribe
Which one shall we give our hearts to since after all
        The choice is for what?  [5]

How could the cosmos uncover the veils of secrets, Be silent!
O plaintiff your ceaselessly senseless fight with the veils
        The use is for what? [6]

If the faults and sins of the slaves are out of their control
About the Mercy and pardoning of the Divine Forgiver
        The meaning is for what? [7]

Ascetic thirsts for Kawthar and Hafez for goblet
In the midst of all this tell me for certain
        The Lord’s wish is for what? [8]


[1] Cupbearer has several possible meanings given the context of the poem, the poet and the interpretation of the reader, from Kashaaf Istelahat:

1.    The Divine Beloved who serves the wine of Its Love to the Sufis so they are intoxicated
2.    The Perfected Morshid (Guide) a supremely capable Sufi Sage that can guide the Morid’s (Seeker’s) hearts towards the Beloved
3.    Any form of beauty that upon beholding it the Sufi is intoxicated

Basically Hafez is saying look what else is there in this world other than spending time with the loved ones, eating good food and enjoying the nature? He asks:Tell me what else is there? Then he says where is the cupbearer to make this even better by intoxicating him with the love of the Beloved. I guess this is the period of time Hafiz was looking, in desperation, for a teacher. And he is wondering what is the reason for this delay, when he cannot become drunken due to the lack of a mortal or Divine cupbearer i.e. guide. Remember that Hafez concealed much of his life and these poems are the map of his voyage towards the Divine. So in different stages he wrote differently.

[2] If Allah sends you a good time enjoy it because that is why It sent it to you. Don’t be stupid and deny yourself the goodness of the life from the Lord. And muse, Hafez asks, do you really think you have any sense of what is going on? So don’t be full of yourself thinking you are doing something way too important to enjoy life since what are the end results of all affairs? A vile & cold patch of dark constricting dust!
[3] Your life is hanging from a thread since you were conceived in the mother’s womb. A vein can burst in your heart or brain you are dead. A blood clot in the lung you are dead. A simple blow to your body you are dead. A small germ in your blood stream you are dead. Then why are you so scared and sorrowful? After all what is it that you really control? Who in the past stopped the vein from popping or the virus from infecting you? Then be frolic and drop the ceaseless sorrow act. Indeed sorrow for your ignorant heart and behavior i.e. be concerned about your inner Self instead of the outer shell which you have no control on.

[4] Without our Divine Beloved what is the meaning of this life and the Paradise? What is left out there without Beloved? Nothing.

[5] The religious hermit is the Sage or the monk in solitude and the drunken is the Sufi-likes. Hafez asks for a choice! Since both persons are from the same tribe of humanity and spirituality. Hafez is wondering aloud: Is there really a difference between all these religious folk and Sufi-likes?

[6] The entire cosmos down to our bodies and Self (Soul, Psyche) are veils blocking the Divine Light. What are we fighting for? What are we fighting with? Fighting with the veil? Hafez says don’t be stupid fight, meaning struggle & strive, for the real thing i.e. The Beloved not with Its subjects which all block Its light! Don’t argue with destiny, don’t wonder about the outcomes, and don’t bother with people, eyes on the prize.

[7] I believe Hafez means that all our sins as well as our good deeds happened by the permission of the Lord then are we at fault for our mistakes? What is the meaning of forgiveness by the Lord? He means: Don’t feel disappointed that you have made so many sins since after all Allah let you do them It could have stopped you but the feelings of guilt & remorse in your heart are the fuel for you to fly like a jet to your Divine Beloved Forgiver not to pull you down and depress you. When you are the lowest wondering about how sinful you are, indeed you are within the closest proximity to the Beloved Forgiver. Don’t think about the reasons for the sins you did just run run run towards the Beloved.

[8] Here is the war between the so-called religious folk and Sufi-likes. Hafez is wondering is there a choice? After all as in [5] really both persons are from the same tribe, other than the cosmetics, they really believe in the same thing. Look at the elegance of how Hafez dealt with this: The matter is not about being religious or being Sufi the matter has only one & only one choice what Beloved chose for Hafez! So stumble down your high horse of Sufism or your arrogant pristine religious presentation, know that the choice is with the Beloved. You are what Beloved decreed for you. One is Sufi-like and one is religious folk, both choices are equally to be respected since the Divine Edict ordained both choices.

Kawthar is the name of a spring in Paradise, perhaps a gift to the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, “We have offered you the Kawthar” (Koran [108:1]).

© 2004-2002,  Dara O. Shayda