Love is Existential


It was pre-partition time when a grand gala literary festival was organized in Lahore. As a part of that festival, one evening a grand Mushaira (symposium of poets/shayars) was planned. Many renowned and celebrated poets and shayars were invited from all over the United India. Young and relatively unknown shayars were also attending the event in order to learn, appreciate and enjoy the presentations of their celebrity shayar icons. Preparations were in full swing since morning for this evening gathering.

In the midst of this hustle-bustle, Firaq Gorakhpuri spotted Josh Malihabadi who was sitting in a corner in a very sad mood gazing at the floor. Firaq jokingly asked Josh, “Amma Miyan, kya khabar hai unka?” (Oh my friend, what is the news about her – your beloved?)

Without lifting his face or even his eyes, Josh replied, “ कोई नहीं जो यार की ला दे ख़बर मुझे । — Koi nahin jo Yaar ki laa de khabar mujhe.” (There is no one who can bring me news of my beloved).

Listening to this, everyone around just stopped, froze. There was an outburst of appreciation for what Josh had just spoken…Koi nahin jo Yaar ki laa de khabar mujhe…

Wah wah, wah wah….all around and suddenly the friendly gathering turned into a friendly competition. Shayars now wanted to complete this Matla and find an appropriate second line.

The Matla (Persian/Arabic/Urdu: مطلع) is the first sher, or couplet, of a ghazal, a collection of poems in Urdu or Persian poetry. It is important part because it establishes the overall form and mood of the entire ghazal. The defining feature of the matla is that both verses of the couplet rhyme, or expressed in technical terminology, both verses end with the qaafiyaa and radif of the ghazal. In fact, the purpose of the matla is to define the qaafiya and radif for the rest of the ghazal.

How to complete this matla, who will complete this matla? Everyone forgot about the arrangements they were making or their assigned task and were now focusing on this informal challenge. It became a rage, a frenzy and everyone, famous, obscure, old, young shayars present started trying their best to complete the matla but none could come up with any heart-stirring line.

In the midst of this chaos, a young and unknown shayar got up and said – सैलाब-ए-अश्क़, अब तू ही बहा दे उधर मुझे,

सैलाब-ए-अश्क़, अब तू ही बहा दे उधर मुझे,
कोई नहीं जो यार की ला दे ख़बर मुझे   ।

Saila-e-ashq, ab tu hi baha de udhar mujhe (2)
koi nahin jo Yaar ki laa de khabar mujhe.

Oh Ocean of tears, now you only flow me to her
there is no one to bring who could get information about my beloved.

Love is existential; fear is only the absence of love. And the problem with any absence is that you cannot do anything directly about it.

Fear is like darkness. What can you do about darkness directly? You cannot drop it, you cannot throw it out, you cannot bring it in. There is no way to relate with darkness without bringing light in. The way to darkness goes via light. If you want darkness, put the light off; if you don’t want darkness, put the light on. But you will have to do something with light, not with darkness at all.

The same is true about love and fear: love is light, fear is darkness. The person who becomes obsessed with fear will never be able to resolve the problem. It is like wrestling with darkness — you are bound to be exhausted sooner or later, tired and defeated. And the miracle is, defeated by something which is not there at all! And when one is defeated, one certainly feels how powerful the darkness is, how powerful the fear is, how powerful the ignorance is, how powerful the unconscious is. They are not powerful at all – they don’t exist in the first place.

Never fight with the non-existential. That’s where all the ancient religions got lost. Once you start fighting with the non-existential you are doomed. Your small river of consciousness will be lost in the non-existential desert — and it is infinite.

Hence, the first thing to remember is: don’t make a problem out of fear. Love is the question.

Something can be done about love immediately; there is no need to wait or postpone. Start loving!

And it is a natural gift from God to you, or from the whole, whichever term you like. If you are brought up in a religious way, then God; if you are not brought up in a religious way, then the whole, the universe, the existence.

Remember, love is born with you; it is your intrinsic quality. All that is needed is to give it a way — to make a passage for it, to let it flow, to allow it to happen. We are all blocking it, holding it back. We are so miserly about love, for the simple reason that we have been taught a certain economics. That economics is perfectly right about the outside world: if you have so much money and you go on giving that money to people, soon you will be a beggar, soon you will have to beg yourself. By giving money you will lose it.

This economics, this arithmetic has entered into our blood, bones and marrow. It is true about the outside world — nothing is wrong in it — but it is not true about the inner journey. There, a totally different arithmetic functions: the more you give, the more you have; the less you give, the less you have. If you don’t give at all you will lose your natural qualities. They will become stagnant, closed; they will go underground. Finding no expression, they will shrink and die.

It is like a musician: if he goes on playing on his guitar or on his flute, more and more music will come. It is not that by playing on the flute he is losing music — he is gaining. It is like a dancer: the more you dance, the more efficient you become. It is like painting – – the more you paint, the better the painting.

Once, while Picasso was painting, a critic and friend stopped him in the middle and said, “One question has been bothering me and I cannot wait anymore, I cannot contain it. I want to know: you have painted hundreds of paintings; which is your best painting?”

Picasso said, “This one that I am painting right now.”

The critic said, “This one? And what about the others that you have painted before?”

Picasso said, “They are all contained in it. And the next one that I do will be even better than this — because the more you paint the greater is your skill, the greater is your art.”

Such is love, such is joy! Share it. In the beginning it will come only like dewdrops, because the miserliness has been very long, very ancient. But once even dewdrops of love have been shared, you will soon become capable of sharing the whole oceanic flood of your being — and you contain infinities. Once you have known the higher mathematics of giving and gaining, you will find that just by giving you gain. Not that something is returned; in the very giving you are becoming richer. Then love starts spreading, radiating. And one day you will be surprised: where is the fear? Even if you want to find it you will not be able to find it at all.

So it is not a question of dropping the fear; nobody has ever been able to drop it. It is only a question of sharing your love, and the fear is dropped on its own accord.

Osho: Come, Come, Yet Again Come Chapter #10 Chapter title: Everybody Can Laugh Q 1

लब्ज़ों की गीरह खोल रही हो जैसे,
अलफ़ाज़ में रस घोल रही हो जैसे।
अब के शेर लिखता हूँ तो लगता है यूँ ,
तुम पास खड़ी बोल रही हो जैसे ।।

Labzon ki girah khol rahi ho jaise
alfaaz me ras ghol rahi ho jaise
ab ke sher likhata hun to lagta hai yun
tum paas khadi bol rahi ho jaise.

As if you are opening the depth of words
and stirring nectar in the alphabets
as now when I write a couplet, it feels like
You are standing besides me and speaking those words.

One of my all-time favorite movies, situations and songs from “Mere Mehboob ” (1963) where the guy was in the deepest love with a girl whom he had hardly seen and was desperate to see her again, meet her again, but there was no way to find her….Oh my….very touching! Am loving it. Hope you enjoy as well.

12 thoughts on “Love is Existential”

  1. सैलाब-ए-अश्क़, अब तू ही बहा दे उधर मुझे,
    कोई नहीं जो यार की ला दे ख़बर मुझे ।

    आपने तो उस तार को छेड दिया…जिसे दफनाया था बरसों से हमने.
    Rajivji, truly u are evergreen romantic.

  2. It was great writing still you are same person after years… nice quotes and wordings wonderful placed I am not too much into shayri but enjoyed reading it all the best

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