Iqbal meets Bartari Hari, a king turned Sage
DIVINE ADVENTURE BY DR. JAVID IQBAL
Bartari Hari emerges as a significant figure, once a deep study is undertaken of his spiritual quest. Hence he could not have missed Iqbalian scrutiny. He did not, as seen in ‘Bal-e-Gabriel’ (Wings of Archangel) which is virtually captioned on Bartari Hari’s central idea:
Phool Ki Pati Say Cut Sak’ta Hai Heeray Ka Jigar
Marde Nadan Pah Kalam’e Naram-e- Nazuk Bay Asar
In essence the couplet implies that just as tearing apart of a diamond should not be expected of a flower petal, words couched in soft and sensitive language fall flat on an insensitive individual. What Iqbal wanted to emphasise was that his treatise ‘Bal-e-Gabriel’ however sensitive need not be expected to strike a sensitive chord in an individual devoid of sensitivity. The central idea is drawn from Hari’s book ‘Neti Ashtak’- verse/ shalok 6th of the opening chapter, implying that it is well nigh impossible to rehabilitate a fool whatever the mental effort. It would be like trying to stop a drunken elephant with a lotus stem or piercing a diamond with its thin roots. Carrying the argument further, Hari is emphatic; you might see a crocodile with a diamond or spot water in a mirage and might even watch a rabbit growing horns, what you should not expect is bringing in sanity into an insane.
Bartari Hari was an Indian king who renounced the world and took ‘Sanyas’ because of a series of tragic episodes in his life. His guru was Gurakh Nath, the famous ancient Indian sage, on whose name, the city of Gorkhpur is founded. During his long association with his guru Hari wrote a masterly treatise ‘Ashtak Tarheem’ in three parts; ‘Neti Ashtak’, ‘Sharangar Ashtak’ and ‘Virag Ashtak’. ‘Neti Ashtaq’ talks of civilized interaction between the ruler and the ruled. In ‘Sharangar Ashtak’ he talks of his interaction with the fair sex, of which he had profound personal knowledge. However the essence is not sensuous, as could have been expected of his extravagant youthful experiences. Instead, he takes the debate to a higher level, making a fair provision for all that is delightful in feminine nature… care, concern & sensitivity. In ‘Virag Ashtak’ the debate is mainly on nothingness of worldly life, hence the essence is on renunciation of needs, which bind an individual to this world. Sanyas is stressed, as the way out, sticking to the tradition of ancient seers and sages of this ancient land.
Hari’s writings affected Iqbal profoundly. In Iqbal’s masterly Persian work--Javid Namah - Maulana Rumi accompanies Iqbal in his quest for spiritual excellence. He points to Hari in paradise and in introductory note, Rumi says of Iqbal:
“Aye ye Indian wizard! Look at the flute player, like ye an Indian, a look from him maketh a ‘Pearl’ of a ‘Dew drop!’ Melody, the way, ye play it draweth him to us; kingship or sanyas, sparkleth in his person Knoweth the secrets of life, of the state and the statecraft a la Cyrus” [alluding to Jamsheed the Iranian king, famous for his statecraft]
Iqbal says to Hari:
‘You have made the East wiser by your elucidation; where from does the poetry get its melancholy/sensitivity? Is it from self appraisement or bestowed by God?
‘The essence of a poet lies in his poetry, he cannot but be recognized by his poetry. The essence of poetry, its heart, its soul lies in striving, which has no destination. Destination kills the striving, hence a poet’s striving remains eternal even if he attains the ultimate/the universal truth; the only truth he knows is his own striving- that is the soul of his art. This striving is his ‘Ishq’ an eternal sojourn, which knows no end’!
Lastly Iqbal expresses his anguish in relation to the stressed Indians (Dhar Peech wa Tabh/tied in knots, in wider sense; stressed) and does he have a word of advice openly stated (Bi-Hijab/without a veil/unveiled) on what is the secret of the times? Where is the key that opens the lock--in other words where lays the solution?
Bartari Hari replies in five verses of immense beauty depicting the art of Iqbal coloured with thought of Hari in line with the age old wisdom:
(1) God is much above where you seek ‘HIM’ in places and objects of worship;
(2) Mere prayer or work, devoid of dedication, determination and devotion in character building is not going to be productive;
(3/4) GOD has given you the world and entrusted his creatures to shape it;
‘GOD has entrusted his creatures to shape the world’ is not meant to be literal, but allegorical. The verses are meant to offset the often held belief of helplessness in the face of what is already decided. The concept of predestination takes away the initiative for purposeful action. Fatalism governs. Individual effort slackens- the national fibre weakens. National resolve becomes a casualty.
(5) ‘Amal’ the work ethic shapes ‘Surag and Narakh/Janat and Jhanam’ so base your life on evolving it.
The philosophy finds echo in Iqbal’s famous and often quoted couplet:
Amal Say Zindagi Bante Hai Janat Bi Jhanam Bi
Yeh Khaki Apni Fitrat Say Na Noori Hai Na Naari Hai!
Is not Bartari Hari or Iqbal as relevant today, as they were in bygone days? More relevant than ever, one would think!
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
Feedback on: Iqbal.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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