Meher Baba's Ghazals

Translated by Naosherwan Anzar

1981 © Zeno Publishing Services
On-line edition
May 28, 1995

These ghazals were written and sung by Meher Baba during his years of intense spiritual training between January, 1914, when Hazrat Babajan tore away the veil of his limited individuality with a kiss to his forehead, and February, 1922, when his consciousness stabilized in both the individual and universal states, and Upasni Maharaj declared him to be Adi Shakti (the Primal Force of the universe). He then assumed his avataric duties and began the process of attracting and training his inner circles of intimate disciples.

Ghazals, usually sung in Persian or Urdu in the sufi and Islamic traditions of spiritual discipline, have a very formal structure of two-line verses, each line divided in two parts. The last part usually ends with the same words throughout the entire song. Meher Baba wrote in Persian, Hindi, Urdu and Gujerati. It is customary for the author to identify himself by name in the last verse. Meher Baba's literary name, Huma, refers to the Persian "bird of Paradise," similar to the Egyptian phoenix, which is superior to all other birds in ability to fly, and which consumes itself in fire every few hundred years, only to rise anew from the ashes. It joins both the male and female natures together in one body, each sharing a wing and a leg. It avoids killing for food, rather preferring to feed on carrion. The Persians teach that great blessings come to that person on whom the huma's shadow falls.


The Beloved's Face 1
Empty Bowl 2
Sometimes 3
Purification 4
The Cage 5
The Intoxicated 6
The Slave 7
Freedom 8
His Grace 9
Recognition 10



The Beloved's Face

Ever since I saw the Beloved's face,
its lines have etched themselves on my heart.
I still nurse the wound of separation within me —
it has left me broken.

Flowing tresses may be a snare and a net:
those are pagan tresses
whose lure, like the bulbul, has sprung from the head,
bogged in the heart.

When ego is erased, duality disappears:
God's lover is himself God.
This is the heart's only home —
the heart in the lover, the lover in the heart.

O Seeker, you make a show of public worship,
then claim your share of desires.
The true lover carries within him, in secret,
the name of God.

Strange are the ways of the enlightened ones.
They weep and laugh in one breath,
scorn on the lip, grace in the heart,
profanity on the tongue, praise in the heart.

Some say God dwells in the temple,
others put him in the mosque.
What do you seek abroad, ignorant one?
Realize, oh Huma, God is within you.


Empty Bowl

Give my question an answer, O Master.
Give me at least a clue to my error.

The bulbul remains ever separated from you, Khwaja.
You've strewn my path with thorns,
give me a whiff of fragrance.

O wine-bearer, fill up this bowl
with the wine of love.
What will I do with an empty bowl?
Give me the flavor of wine.

Let Huma's vessel be borne on the wave of ecstasy,
I beseech you, Khwaja.
I'm brimming with sin, I need my fill of wine.



The Beloved exists in a thousand forms,
even now is changing a thousand faces.
Sometimes there is love, sometimes aversion,
sometimes loyalty, sometimes indifference.

I am the companion of the tavern keeper
whose wine is always heady.
Even among the holy ones there is hate and deceit.

If you wish to know all the facets of love,
listen to our words.
How can anyone know my condition?
Sometimes I struggle, sometimes I rest,

sometimes sail on the wave of love,
sometimes founder on the sea of desire.
Of all this only God is free,
sometimes in unity, sometimes separate.

You have to journey eternally,
but finally merge in Him.
Make it known to me, O Deliverer,
when is the day of judgment,
when the day of destruction?

Faithful is he who remembers his God.
The dissolute mind of Huma
is torn between thoughts of desire
and thoughts of God.



Beloved, bless your love with a kind word.
He has lost his soul, now his body is being consumed.

In the realm of love, both selves are wiped out.
The moth is consumed,
just as the flame itself is extinguished.

The destiny of mankind
was foreseen on the day of creation.
Alter the design, if you have the courage.

First cleanse yourself,
purify your heart, then counsel others,
O Huma, but first you must change
the form of your speech.


The Cage

Give me sugar and sweets
so that I may buzz like a fly.
Let me hear honeyed words,
so that I can begin a dialogue.

You will find His whereabouts
only if you renounce this world.
You cannot glimpse the Lord now,
you are still steeped in lust.

I am God's slave,
but the creator is the slave of the slave.
I have a claim to justice
for I am the aggrieved one.

My eyes yearn for a vision of God.
Is it possible that I am under
the influence of an illusion?

There is so much pain
as my breath hovers between life and death.
Everything has come to pass.
I am now breathing my last.

Huma's feathered spirit is trapped
in his body's cage.
Liberate me, O Lord, from this physical prison.


The Intoxicated

I am the bondsman and the slave.
I am God's doorkeeper.
My body is His, so is my heart and soul.

In a way it's He who's always in man's servitude,
for in reality each of us is a guest
in the house of God.

We pledged we would remember only Him.
If you are faithful to yourself,
you will remain true to your word.

The seeker beat his head against a wall
but found nothing,
for only that will happen which is ordained by God.

In the intoxication of freedom,
Huma became wingless,
but in my ecstasy, I fly godwards without wings.


The Slave

Having renounced the world,
I have become a seeker of God.
The flame of desire is extinguished,
the Divine Light is kindled.

For the sake of God,
I have starved my appetite, declined comforts.
I no longer crave for the material.
My thirst is for oneness with God.

Love with devotion;
through devotion, salvation.
All attachments are severed,
now that I am drawn towards Him.

When one is reduced to less than dust,
one can attain God.
In the service of God's server,
one can truly serve God.

Through suffering I have gained
a claim to godhood.
With the pricking of thorns has come
the fragrance of flowers.

Huma bestows all his love
on the true slave of God.
Your self is separate from the slave,
but you are becoming God's chosen slave.



There is mourning in the house
where yesterday there was celebration.
What can I say, friend,
of the ruin that was wrought?

Those who slept in luxury now lie in dust;
the hard earth is their bed,
the brick their headrest.

It's a torment to be denied union,
yet I cannot stop loving.
When there's a storm within,
why chase after a hurricane?

Either give me death or give me unity,
this I beseech you, O Just One.
Man's most difficult task is to be free of passion.
Huma is grateful to God
for releasing him from all desires.


His Grace

My Guide and Master, to you I am eternally grateful.
On you I would sacrifice a thousand lives.

By immersing me in the sea of reality,
you have turned me also into an ocean.
In a moment's wink you have transformed me
from a captive to a ruler.

O Princely Fakir, boundless ocean of mercy,
thou Perfect Master,
under your benign grace,
even a fool can win a kingdom.

Fairies, heavenly beings and mankind,
all are amazed by your glory and power.

If I cover my body with dust,
then, O Enlightened One,
surely I will have won the right
to receive a trampling of your grace.



Out of clay you have fashioned this image
and strangely enough breathed life into it.
In this statue you have nurtured
the urge to be one with you.

In your nature's workshop
is the master-craftsman, Iblis,*
who does not acknowledge you,
who goes by the name of Satan.

This is slander in my view,
for to you is due the greatest respect.
Our abode is in danger,
and we have named you merciful.

A moment's strife, a brief struggle,
this life's drama is indeed short-lived.
Like Adam, you have made me a two-day guest
in the world's waiting room.

How can anyone trace you
when your own condition is unstable?
But the moment Huma surrendered his ego,
you granted him recognition.

*Iblis = Satan, the devil

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