Friday, January 16, 2009

Blessed Glance | Chaap Tilak by Amir Khusro

You've taken away
my looks,
my identity,
by just a Glance.

By making me drink
the wine of love-potion,
You've intoxicated me
by just a Glance.

My fair, delicate wrists
with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by You with just a Glance.

I give my life to You,
Oh my cloth-dyer,
You've dyed me in Yourself,
by just a Glance.

I give my whole life to you Oh, Nizam,
You've made me your bride,
by just a Glance.

Chaap tilak sab cheeni ray
mosay naina milaikay

Prem bhatee ka madhva pilaikay
Matvali kar leeni ray
mosay naina milaikay

Gori gori bayyan, hari hari churiyan
Bayyan pakar dhar leeni ray
mosay naina milaikay

Bal bal jaaon mein toray rang rajwa
Apni see kar leeni ray
mosay naina milaikay

Khusrau Nijaam kay bal bal jayyiye
Mohay Suhaagan keeni ray
mosay naina milaikay

- Hazrat Amir Khusro (1253-1325) sufi mystic, Indian musician, scholar and a poet (Tajik). He was an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent who is also called the "father of qawwali", the devotional music of Indian Sufis.

Amir Khusro was a spiritual disciple of famous sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya, may God be pleased with them both; and this qawwali is a dedication to Khusro's beloved spiritual master Nizamuddin, addressed as 'Nizam' in the lyric.

[>] Click here to watch / listen (a longer version video with great improvisation of classical sub-continental style) to this intoxicated song by Farid Ayaz and brothers (excuse the amateurish audio quality). In the original lyric the word for glance is "naina milaikay" which can also be translated as "union of eyes" or "union of glances". This very qawwali has made many hearts dissolve into perfect bliss, has made innumerable eyes shed tears of ananda (pure bliss). So be it for you too if you can understand Who's Glance the mystic is talking about. May your heart taste the fragrance of that Sacred Glance.

"He who tastes, knows; he who tastes not, knows not." as it goes in the sufi circles from their beloved master, Mustafa, the chosen one.

The journey of mystics are said to begin when 'The Unseen Beloved' glance upon our inner heart and awaken it. Its a rare moment of pure Grace. One can not ask for it, its simply given by Divine Will. ".. Allah guides whomsover He wills" (14:4), "Whomsoever Allah wills to guide, Allah opens his heart to self-surrender.." (6:125). This blessed glance sometime is called awakening of heart, experience of oneness - which are all different terms to describe an experience that is beyond words. Only who tastes it, knows. In Sufi tradition the blessed glance is a well guarded secret. Traditionally this happens through the glance of an adept master, through the glance of a God-realized being and it gives birth to nisbah (a special spiritual affinity). The path of the Sufi is a journey that draws one into longing and ecstasy, into the passion and power that can be ignited by a single blessed glance.

Forty retreats, forty retreats, forty retreats,
one glance from the Master is worth
more than a hundred retreats.
- traditional sufi poem

Its said that during their mystical retreat (khalwa), Shams e Tabriz and Rumi sat face to face gazing upon each others eyes for days and nights, where a very strange, mystical transmission (tawajjuh) happened. That was the beginning of Jelaluddin Rumi's becoming Mevlana Rumi, by the inner illumination from his beloved master, Shams. The book, 'The Spiritual Practices of Rumi: Radical Techniques for Beholding the Divine' has some hints of these practices of glance.

A medieval turkish mystic poet beautifully summarized the process of Blessed Glance when he said:

A nightingale falls in love
with the Rose.

The whole love affair begins
with just one look from God.

- Yunus Emre

manke maandir mey teri
tasbeer ki pujaa karu,
tu mujhe dekhe na dekhe
mey tujhe dekha karu.

In my heart shrine Your Glorious Image will I adore,
Whether Your blessed glance be upon me or not,
Ceaselessly I'll glance upon You, O only You!

- additional lyric from Qawwali 'Chaap Tilak' of Farid Ayaz and brothers

. art credit: 1) painting of khalil gibran
2) poster of sufi conference, 2008

# More
. Sufi Music: Chaap Tilak, another one by Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad : This beautiful rendition of Chaap Tilak by Farid Ayaz includes verses from Hazrat Sultan Bahu, Mevlana Rumi and Kabir depending on the appropriateness of mood. A sufi kalam sung intelligently and from the heart. with Whirling performance.
. Nusrat Sings Chaap Tilak via youtube
. Chaap Tilak by Abida Parveen: audio (esnips)
. Sher Ali Mehr Ali sings Chaap Tilak
. Nusrat singing Chap Tilak, part1, part2, part3
. Latest rendition of Chaap Tilak via Sufi Music
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