Poetry is a creation of emotions, of feelings, of pain, of anguish, of desires, of serenity, of madness, of the beloved, of the universe,  and a lot more things. They, as in the people who believe in the power of words and the magic words could weave if placed well together, say that you can find your emotions hidden in poetry often. The current times humanity is facing is taking away from us our beloved, our friends, our closed ones, and leaving us with an emptiness in our hearts that nothing seems to fill. 

In such times, it is an ardent belief that words can give your strength and what’s better in the world of poetry than the words of dervishes and sufi saints whose poetry was filled with pain, remorse and separation, and yet finding a beauty in it. 

Sufism is a way of life, a belief, a connection with God and it is only the poems of Sufis that can help you navigate your feelings of loss, grief and separation in these hard times.

PULL QUOTE – It is only the poems of Sufis that can help you navigate your feelings of loss, grief and separation in these hard times.

Image Courtesy: Sadaf Farasat

Chalti chakki dekh kar,

Diya kabir roye,

Dui paatan ke beech me,

Sabit  bacha na koye.

(The grinding of stones makes Kabir lament, How in the duel of wheels, nothing stays intact)

The above Doha by Kabir Das, 17th century mystic poet, tells us that in the grinding of the wheels of time, nothing stays intact. Everything goes through a transformation. This grinding of time as it is going now, it too is meant to transform you. Just the way Lord Krishna said in Geeta, that this time too shall pass, nothing is supposed to remain permanent. Everything changes and nothing stays as it is right now. 

But our intention was not to search for this impermanence of time but to find our emotions of grief  in these poems. 

Amir Khusrao, famous poet and singer whose name spread during the Mughal reign, was one of those many poets who connected their beloved to God and often talked of their separation and the reunion of the soul with the God or of one loved one with the other. Many of his ghazals had been used in Indian cinema multiple times. 

Khusrao says,

Saajan yeh mat jaanio,  tohe bicchdat mohe ko chain,

Diya jalat hai raat me, aur jiya jalat bin rain

(Beloved, you do not know my pain of separation from you, like the burning candle in the night, I  burn from that pain too)

Such beautifully crafted poems with mesmerising metaphors make you find an ethereal meaning and essence of life. You will believe that ‘Yes, such thoughts were somewhere inside me. But I never knew and I  never had words to express them even.’ 

Another piece by Khusrao says, The clouds and rain and I and my love waiting to say farewell,  For my part, weeping, and for the cloud’s part, and for my love’s.

But of course, when we talk about finding solace in hard times and poems of pain that make everything beautiful,  how can we not take the name of Rumi, the name that is almost synonymous to Sufism.

This 13th century poet and mystic has words for all your emotions – happiness, love, separation, pain, etc. 

I want to hold you close like the lute, so we can cry out with loving,

Your body is away from me, but there is a window open

from my heart to yours. 

There is nothing you can do to explain these words. It is meant to reach your heart directly. 

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,

here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Lastly, we know these are undoubtedly the times that put our entire existence in question, make us wonder and question everything we accomplished till now. We are separated by physical distance, emotional distance and sometimes, by distance that can’t be measured. In these times, we need to rebuild ourselves and literature holds that power strongly. 

So, as a Sufi said and I would say the same, 

Strive to discover the mystery before life is taken from you.

If while living you fail to find yourself, to know yourself,

how will you be able to understand

the secret of your existence when you die?

-Farid ud Din Attar