I was re-reading some old posts and was surprised that my initial reaction to Arziyan (from the soundtrack of Delhi 6) wasn’t exactly jumping-off-the-walls enthusiastic. I had forgotten that for some strange reason it took time for me to warm up to it. Perhaps because it feels like I’ve always been enamored with this song, with the depth and beauty of its lyrics, with its lovely melody, with the sense of peace and calm it endows me with each time I listen to it. Arziyan has now firmly become a part of those select songs that I listen to in difficult times, the songs that give me strength and hope, that heal my heart and nurse my troubled mind. Each time I listen to it, its lyrics make a stronger and stronger impact on me, and they transport me to a different place. I’ve posted a particularly favorite stanza on my desk, and a friend who asked about it asked me to translate the song for him. I’m going to do my best, because as always, its not easy to properly translate the feelings behind the lyrics, and also I often stumble on the Urdu. And so, as always, anyone passing by is asked to help!
Arziyan (Supplications) is written by Prasoon Joshi, rendered by Kailash Kher and Javed Ali, to music set by the maestro A.R. Rahman.
Arziyan saari chehre pe likh ke laaya hoon/Tumse kya mangoon tum khud hi samajh lo
(All my supplications I bring to you written on my face/What shall I ask from You; You know it all)
Ya Maula/Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula (2)
(O God/God, God, God my God)
Ch: Daraare daraare hai maathe pe Maula/Marammat muqaddar ki kardo Maula
(There are creases* on my forehead, God/Help me restore my destiny/fate, God)
*creases: worry or frown lines
Tere dar pe jhuka hoon, mita hoon, bana hoon (2)/Marammat muqaddar ki kardo Maula (2)
(On Your doorstep I have kneeled, been destroyed, been made/Help me mend my destiny (or fate), God)
I: Jo bhi tere dar aaya, jhukne jo sar aaya/Mastiyan piye sabkon jhoomta nazar aaya
(He who came to Your doorstep, he who bowed his head to You/Appears to be intoxicated and dancing with pleasure)
*This is not a great translation! Mastiyan is better translated as something intoxicating. Here, we are told that those who have been given God’s grace appear intoxicated with their love for Him, and they are dancing in pleasure. Dancing and being mesmerized in prayer and devotion is a feature of Sufi practices and beliefs.
Pyaas le ke aaya tha, dariya woh bhar laaya/Noor ki baarish mein bheeghta sa tar aaya
(He who came with thirst, has a river in front of him/Is drenched in the downpour of Divine Light)
Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula…
II: Ek khushboo aati thi (2), main bhatakta jaata tha/Reshmi si maya thi, aur main takta jaata tha
(A perfume would come, and I would go stumbling after it/Wealth (material goods) were like velvet, and I followed greedily)
Jab teri gali aaya, sach tabhi nazar aaya/Mujh mein hi woh khushboo hai, jisse tune milwaya
(When I came Your way, only then did I see the Truth/That the perfume I seeked lies within me, and You helped me recognize it)
Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula…
III: Toot ke bikharna mujhko zaroor aata hai/Varna ibadatwala saroor aata hai
(I know too well how to break, be shattered/And I am also aware of how to worship)
Sajde mein rehne do, ab kaheen na jaoonga/Ab jo tumne thukhraya tho savar na paoonga)
(Let me be prostrated in Your presence, I will not go anywhere else/Now if You forsake me, then I cannot be saved)
IV: Sar uthake maine tho kitni khwahishen ki thi/Kitne khwaab dekhe the, kitni koshishen ki thi
(I had raised my head and made so many wishes/I had dreamt of so much, had tried so much)
Jab Tu rubaroo aaya nazren na mila paaya/Sar jhukake ek pal mein maine kya nahin paaya
(But when You came near me, I couldn’t raise my eyes to meet Yours/In that one moment when I bowed my head to You, there was nothing I did not gain)
This stanza is my favorite, I am struck by it every time I listen to it, and this is the one I have taped to my desk so I can be reminded of it daily. I don’t know if the translation does it justice. It speaks of Man’s continuous quest, infinite desire, untiring ambition. Man wants more and more, asks for more and more, tries for more and more. This stanza summarizes this quest. I raised my head and I demanded so much from you: that my wishes may come true, that my efforts bear fruit, that my dreams all become reality. But when You appeared before me, God, and I had to bow my head against Your luminosity, in that one moment I realized I had gained everything I ever wanted.
Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula
Mora piya ghar aaya, mora piya ghar aaya (multiple times)
(My beloved has come home, my beloved has come home)
God is the Beloved, and this is a phrase in many Sufi bhajans, celebrating, in my interpretation, God’s entry to your heart, mind, and soul.
Arziyan speaks to me on a deep, spiritual level. It has a special appeal to me because I find that it traverses all religions and faiths; it does not speak of any single faith or denomination or describes any particular flavor of the Holy. It supplicates to a universal God, a God for anyone who chooses to believe in Him/Her. It is a piece about faith in a greater power, and the hope and the strength that faith can bring to you, when you need it most.