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Forbes, Duncan / Bagh O Bahar, or Tales of the Four Darweshes
Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and Distributed Proofreaders
From scans of the Million Book Project


Translated from the Hindustani of Mir Amman of Dihli

By Duncan Forbes, LL.D.,

_Professor of Oriental Languages in King's College, London; Member
of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, author of
several works on the Hindustani and Persian Languages._



The _Bagh O Bahar_, or "Garden and Spring," has, for the last half
century, been held as a classical work throughout our Indian empire. It
highly deserves this distinguished fate, as it contains various modes
of expression in correct language; and displays a great variety of
Eastern manners and modes of thinking. It is an excellent introduction
not only to the colloquial style of the _Hindustani_ language, but
also to a knowledge of its various idioms and popular phrases.

The tale itself is interesting, if we bear in mind the fact, that no
Asiatic writer of romance or history has ever been consistent, or free
from fabulous credulity. The cautious march of undeviating truth, and
a careful regard to _vraisemblance_, have never entered into their
plan. Wildness of imagination, fabulous machinery, and unnatural
scenes ever pervade the compositions of Oriental authors,--even in
most serious works on history and ethics. Be it remembered, that
_jinns_, demons, fairies, and angels, form a part of the _Muhammadan_
creed. The people to this day believe in the existence of such beings
on the faith of the _Kur,an_; and as they are fully as much attached
to their own religion as we are to ours, we ought not to be surprised
at their credulity.

I have rendered the translation as literal as possible, consistent
with the comprehension of the author's meaning. This may be considered
by some a slavish and dull compliance; but in my humble opinion we
ought, in this case, to display the author's own thoughts and ideas;
all we are permitted to do, is to change their garb. This course has
one superior advantage which may compensate for its seeming dulness; we
acquire an insight into the modes of thinking and action of the people,
whose works we peruse through the medium of a literal translation,
and thence many instructive and interesting conclusions may be drawn.

To the present edition numerous notes are appended; some, with a
view to illustrate certain peculiarities of the author's style, and
such grammatical forms of the language as might appear difficult to a
beginner; others, which mainly relate to the manners and customs of the
people of the East, may appear superfluous to the Oriental scholar who
has been in India; but in this case, I think it better to be redundant,
than risk the chance of being deficient. Moreover, as the book may
be perused by the curious in Europe, many of of whom know nothing of
India, except that it occupies a certain space in the map of the world,
these notes were absolutely necessary to understand the work. Finally,
as I am no poet, and have a most thorough contempt for the maker of
mere doggerel rhymes, I have translated the pieces of poetry, which
are interspersed in the original, into plain and humble prose.


_July_, 1857.


_Which was Presented to the Gentlemen Managers of the College [of
Fort William]._

May God preserve the gentlemen of great dignity, and the appreciators
of respectable men. This exile from his country, on hearing the command
[issued by] proclamation, [1] hath composed, with a thousand labours
and efforts, the "Tale of the Four Darweshes," [entitled] the _Bagh
O Bahar_ [2] [i.e. Garden and Spring,] in the _Urdu, e Mu'alla_
[3] tongue. By the grace of God it has become refreshed from the
perusal of all the gentlemen [4] [of the college]. I now hope I may
reap some fruit from it; then the bud of my heart will expand like a
flower, according to the word of _Hakim Firdausi_, [5] who has said
[of himself] in the _Shahnama_,

"Many sorrows I have borne for these thirty years;
But I have revived Persia by this Persian [History.] [6]
I having in like manner polished the _Urdu_ tongue,
Have metamorphosed _Bengal_ into _Hindustan_." [7]

You gentlemen are yourselves appreciators of merit. There is no need
of representation [on my part]. O God! may the star of your prosperity
ever shine!


"_The Name of God, Most Merciful and Gracious_."

The pure God! what an [excellent] Artificer he is! He who, out of a
handful of dust, hath created such a variety of faces and figures
of earth. Notwithstanding the two colours [of men], one white and
one black, yet the same nose and ears, the same hands and feet,
He has given to all. But such variety of features has He formed,
that the form and shape of one [individual] does not agree with the
personal appearance of another. Among millions of created beings,
you may recognise whomsoever you wish. The sky is a bubble in the
ocean of his [eternal] unity; and the earth is as a drop of water
in it; but this is wonderful, that the sea beats its thousands of
billows against it, and yet cannot do it any injury. The tongue of
man is impotent to sound the praise and eulogy of Him who has such
power and might! If it utter any thing, what can it say? It is best
to be silent on a subject concerning which nothing can be said.


"From earth to heaven, He whose work this is,
If I wish to write his praise, then what power have I;
When the prophet himself has said, 'I do not comprehend Him.'
After this, if any one pretends to it, he is a great fool.
Day and night the sun and moon wander through their course, and behold
his works--
Yea, the form of every individual being is a sight of surprise:
He, whose second or equal is not, and never will be;
No such a unique Being, Godhead is every way fit.
But so much I know, that He is the Creator and Nourisher.
In every way his favour and beneficence are upon me."

And blessings on his friend, for whose sake He created the earth and
heavens, and on whom He bestowed the dignity of prophet.


"The pure body of _Mustafa_ is an emanation of Divine light,
For which reason, it is well known that his body threw no shadow. [8]
Where is my capacity, that I should sufficiently speak his praise;
Only with men of eloquence this is an established rule." [9]

And blessings and salvation be on his posterity, who are the twelve
_Imams_. [10]


"The praise of God and the eulogy of the prophet having here ended;
Now I begin that which is requisite to be done.
O God! for the sake of the posterity of thy prophet, [11]
Render this my story acceptable to the hearts of high and low."

The reasons for compiling this work are these, that in the year of the
_Hijra_, 1215, A.D. 1801, corresponding to the [12] _Fasli_ year 1207,
in the time of his Excellency the noble of nobles, Marquis Wellesley,
Lord Mornington, Governor-general, (in whose praise the judgment is at
a loss, and the understanding perplexed, and in whom God has centred
all the excellent qualities that great men ought to possess. In short,
it was the good fortune of this country that such a chief came here,
from whose happy presence multitudes enjoy ease and happiness. No one
can now dare to injure or wrong another; and the tiger and the goat
drink at the same _ghat_; [13] and all the poor bless him and live,)
[14] the pursuit of learning came into vogue, and the gentlemen of
dignity perceived that by acquiring the _Urdu_ tongue, they might
hold converse with the people of India, and transact with perfect
accuracy the affairs of the country; for this reason many books were
compiled during this same year, according to orders.

To those gentlemen who are learned, and speak the language of
_Hindustan,_ [15] I address myself, and say, that this "Tale of the
Four Darwesh" was originally composed by _Amir Khusru,_ [16] of _Dihli_
[17] on the following occasion; the holy _Nizamu-d-Din Auliya_,
surnamed _Zari-Zar-bakhsh_, [18] who was his spiritual preceptor,
(and whose holy residence was near _Dilli_, three _Kos_ [19] from the
fort, beyond the red gate, and outside the _Matiya_ gate, near the red
house), fell ill; and to amuse his preceptor's mind, _Amir Khusru_ used
to repeat this tale to him, and attend him during his sickness. God,
in the course of time, removed his illness; then he pronounced
this benediction on the day he performed the ablution of cure: [20]
"That whoever will hear this tale, will, with the blessing of God,
remain in health:" since which time this tale, composed in Persian,
has been extensively read.

Now, the excellent and liberal gentleman, the judge of respectable
men, Mr. John Gilchrist, (may his good fortune ever increase as
long as the _Jamuna_ and _Ganges_ flow!) with kindness said to me,
"Translate this tale into the pure _Hindustani_ tongue, which the
_Urdu_ people, both _Hindus_ and _Musalmans_, high and low, men,
women and children, use to each other." In accordance with his
honour's desire, I commenced translating it into this same dialect,
just such as any one uses in common conversation.

But first this guilty being, _Mir Amman_, of _Dilli_, begs to relate
his own story: "That my forefathers, from the time of King _Humayun_,
served every king, in regular descent, with zeal and fidelity; and they
[21] also (i.e. the kings), with the eye of protection, ever justly
appreciated and rewarded our services. _Jagirs_, titles and rewards,
were plentifully bestowed on us; and we were called hereditary [22]
vassals, and old servants; so that these epithets were enrolled
in the royal archives. [23] When such a family (owing to which all
other families were prosperous) dwindled to such a point! which is too
well [24] known to require mention, then _Suraj Mal_, the _Jat_, [25]
confiscated our _Jagir_, and _Ahmad Shah_ the _Durrani_, [26] pillaged
our home. Having sustained such various misfortunes, I abandoned that
city, which was my native land, and the place of my birth. Such a
vessel, whose pilot was such a king, was wrecked; and I began to sink
in the sea of destitution! a drowning person catches at a straw,
and I sustained life for some years in the city of _'Azim-abad_,
[27] experiencing both good and bad fortune there. At length I left
it also--the times were not propitious; leaving my family there,
I embarked alone in a boat, and came in quest of a livelihood [28]
to Calcutta, the chief of cities. I remained unemployed for some time,
when it happened that _Nawwab Dilawar Jang_ sent for me, and appointed
me tutor to his younger brother, _Mir Muhammad Kazim Khan_. I stayed
with him nearly two years; but saw not my advantage [in remaining there
any longer.] Then, through the assistance of _Mir Bahadur 'Ali Munshi_,
I was introduced to Mr. John Gilchrist (may his dignity be lasting.) At
last, by the aid of good fortune, I have acquired the protection of
so liberal a person, that I hope better days; if not, even, this is
so much gain, that I have bread to eat, and having stretched my feet,
I repose in quiet; and that ten persons in my family, old and young,
are fed; and bless that patron. May God accept [their prayers!]

"The account of the _Urdu_ tongue I have thus heard from my
ancestors;--that the city of _Dilli_, according to the opinion of
the _Hindus_, was founded in the earliest times, [29] and that their
_Rajas_ and subjects lived there from the remotest antiquity, and
spoke their own peculiar _Bhakha_. [30] For a thousand years past,
the _Musalmans_ have been masters there. _Mahmud_ of _Ghazni_ [31] came
[there first]; then the _Ghori_ and _Lodi_ [32] became kings; owing to
this intercourse, the languages of the _Hindus_ and _Musalmans_ were
partially blended together. At last _Amir Taimur_ [33] (in whose family
the name and empire remain to this day), conquered _Hindustan_. From
his coming and stay, the _bazar_ of his camp was settled in the city;
for which reason the _bazar_ of the city was called _Urdu_. [34] Then
King _Humayun_, annoyed by the _Pathans_, went abroad [to Persia]; and
at last, returning from thence, he punished the surviving [_Pathans_],
and no rebel remained to raise strife or disturbance.

When King _Akbar_ ascended the throne, then all tribes of people, from
all the surrounding countries, hearing of the goodness and liberality
of this unequalled family, flocked to his court, but the speech and
dialect of each was different. Yet, by being assembled together,
they used to traffic and do business, and converse with each other,
whence resulted the common _Urdu_ language. When his majesty _Shahjahan
Sahib Kiran_ [35] built the auspicious fort, and the great mosque, [36]
and caused the walls of the city to be built; and inlaid the peacock
throne [37] with precious stones, and erected his tent, made of gold
and silver brocade; and _Nawwab' Ali Mardan Khan_ cut the canal [38]
[to _Dilli_]; then the king, being pleased, made great rejoicings, and
constituted the city his capital. Since that time it has been called
_Shajahan-abad_, (although the city of _Dilli_ is distinct from it,
the latter being called the old city, and the former the new,) and
to the bazar of it was given the title of _Urdu-e Mu'alla_. [39]

From the time of _Amir Taimur_ until the reign of _Muhammad Shah_,
and even to the time of _Ahmad Shah_, and _Alamgir_ the Second, the
throne descended lineally from generation to generation. In the end,
the _Urdu_ language, receiving repeated polish, was so refined, that
the language of no city is to be compared to it; but an impartial
judge is necessary to examine it. Such a one God has at last, after
a long period, created in the learned, acute and profound Mr. John
Gilchrist, who from his own judgment, genius, labour and research,
has composed books of rules [for the acquisition of it]. From this
cause, the language of _Hindustan_ has become general throughout the
provinces, and has been polished anew; otherwise no one conceives
his own turban, language and behaviour, to be improper. If you ask
a countryman, he censures the citizen's idiom, and considers his own
the best; "well, the learned only know [what is correct]." [40]

When _Ahmad Shah Abdali_, came from _Kabul_ and pillaged the city of
_Dilli, Shah 'Alam_ was in the east. [41] No master or protector of the
country remained, and [42] the city became without a head. True it is,
that the city only flourished from the prosperity of the throne. All at
once it was overwhelmed with calamity: its principal inhabitants were
scattered, and fled wherever they could. To whatever country they went,
their own tongue was adulterated by mixing with the people there; and
there were many who, after an absence of ten to five years, from some
cause or other, returned to _Dilli_, and stayed there. How can they
speak the pure language of _Dilli_? somewhere or other they will slip;
but the person who bore all misfortunes, and remained fixed at _Dilli_
and whose five or ten anterior generations lived in that city, and who
mixed in the company of the great, and the assemblies and processions
of the people, who strolled in its streets for a length of time,
and even after quitting it, kept his language pure from corruption,
his style of speaking will certainly be correct. This humble being
[viz. _Mir Amman_], wandering through many cities, and viewing their
sights, has at last arrived at this place.


I now commence my tale; pay attention to it, and be just to its
merits. In the "Adventures of the Four Darwesh, [43]" it is thus
written, and the narrator has related, that formerly in the Empire of
_Rum_ [44] there reigned a great king, in whom were innate justice
equal to that of _Naushirwan_, [45] and generosity like that of
_Hatim_. [46] His name was _Azad-Bakht_, and his imperial residence
was at Constantinople, [47] (which they call Istambol.) In his reign
the peasant was happy, the treasury full, the army satisied, and the
poor at ease. They lived in such peace and plenty, that in their
homes the day was a festival, and the night was a _shabi barat_
[48]. Thieves, robbers, pickpockets, swindlers, and all such as
were vicious and dishonest, he utterly exterminated, and no vestige
of them allowed he to remain in his kingdom. [49] The doors of the
houses were unshut all night, and the shops of the _bazar_ remained
open. The travellers and wayfarers chinked gold as they went along,
over plains and through woods; and no one asked them, "How many teeth
have you in your mouth," [50] or "Where are you going?"

There were thousands of cities in that king's dominions, and many
princes paid him tribute. Though he was so great a king, he never for
a moment neglected his duties or his prayers to God. He possessed
all the necessary comforts of this world; but male issue, which is
the fruit of life, was not in the garden of his destiny, for which
reason he was often pensive and sorrowful, and after the five [51]
regulated periods of prayer, he used to address himself to his Creator
and say, "O God! thou hast, through thy infinite goodness blest thy
weak creature with every comfort, but thou hast given no light to
this dark abode. [52] This desire alone is unaccomplished, that I
have no one to transmit my name and support my old age. [53] Thou hast
everything in thy hidden treasury; give me a living and thriving son,
that my name and the vestiges of this kingdom may remain."

In this hope the king reached his fortieth year; when one day he had
finished his prayers in the Mirror Saloon, [54] and while telling his
beads, he happened to cast his eyes towards one of the mirrors, and
perceived a white hair in his whiskers, which glittered like a silver
wire; on seeing it, the king's eyes filled with tears, and he heaved a
deep sigh, and then said to himself, "Alas! thou hast wasted thy years
to no purpose, and for earthly advantages thou hast overturned the
world. And all the countries thou hast conquered, what advantage are
they to thee? Some other race will in the end squander these riches.

Death hath already sent thee a messenger; [55] and even if thou
livest a few years, the strength of thy body will be less. Hence,
it appears clearly from this circumstance, that it is not my destiny
to have an heir to my canopy and throne. I must one day die, and
leave everything behind me; so it is better for me to quit them now,
and dedicate the rest of my days to the adoration of my Maker."

Having in his heart made this resolve, he descended to his lower
garden. [56] Having dismissed his courtiers, he ordered that no one
should approach him in future, but that all should attend the Public
Hall of Audience, [57] and continue occupied in their respective
duties. After this speech the king retired to a private apartment,
spread the carpet of prayer, [58] and began to occupy himself in
devotion: he did nothing but weep and sigh. Thus the king, _Azud
Bakhht_ passed many days; in the evening he broke his fast with a
date and three mouthfuls of water, and lay all day and night on the
carpet of prayer. Those circumstances became public, and by degrees
the intelligence spread over the whole empire, that the king having
withdrawn his hand from public affairs, had become a recluse. In every
quarter enemies and rebels raised their heads, and stepped beyond the
bounds [of obedience]; whoever wished it, encroached on the kingdom,
and rebelled; wherever there were governors, in their jurisdictions
great disturbance took place; and complaints of mal-administration
arrived at court from every province. All the courtiers and nobles
assembled, and began to confer and consult.

At last it was agreed, "that as his Highness the _Wazir_ is wise and
intelligent, and in the king's intimacy and confidence, and is first in
dignity, we ought to go before him, and hear what he thinks proper to
say on the occasion," All the nobles went to his Highness the _Wazir_,
and said: "Such is the state of the king and such the condition of the
kingdom, that if more delay takes place, this empire, which has been
acquired with such trouble, will be lost for nothing, and will not be
easily regained." The _Wazir_ was an old, faithful servant, and wise;
his name was _Khiradmand,_ a name self-significant. [59] He replied,
"Though the king has forbidden us to come into his presence, yet go
you: I will also go--may it please God that the king be inclined to
call me to his presence." After saying this, the _Wazir_ brought
them all along with him as far as the Public Hall of Audience,
and leaving them there, he went into the Private Hall of Audience,
[60] and sent word by the eunuch [61] to the royal presence, saying,
"this old slave is in waiting, and for many days has not beheld the
royal countenance; he is in hopes that, after one look, he may kiss
the royal feet, then his mind will be at ease." The king heard this
request of his _Wazir_, and inasmuch as his majesty knew his length
of services, his zeal, his talents, and his devotedness, and had
often followed his advice, after some consideration, he said, "call
in _Khiradmand_." As soon as permission was obtained, the _Wazir_
appeared in the royal presence, made his obeisance, and stood with
crossed arms. [62] He saw the king's strange and altered appearance,
that from extreme weeping and emaciation his eyes were sunk in their
sockets, [63] and his visage was pale.

_Khiradmand_ could no longer restrain himself, but without choice,
ran and threw himself at [the king's] feet. His majesty lifted up
the _Wazir's_ head with his hands, and said, "There, thou hast at
last seen me; art thou satisfied? Now go away, and do not disturb
me more--do thou govern the empire." _Khiradmand_, on hearing this,
gnashing his teeth, wept said, "This slave, by your favour and welfare,
can always possess a kingdom; but ruin is spread over the empire from
your majesty's such sudden seclusion, and the end of it will not be
prosperous. What strange fancy has possessed the royal mind! If to this
hereditary vassal your majesty will condescend to explain yourself, it
will be for the best--that I may unfold whatever occurs to my imperfect
judgment on the occasion. If you have bestowed honours on your slaves,
it is for this exigency, that your majesty may enjoy yourself at your
ease, and your slaves regulate the affairs of the state; for if your
imperial highness is to bear this trouble, which God forbid! of what
utility are the servants of the state?" The king replied, "Thou sayest
true; but the sorrow which preys on my mind is beyond cure.

"Hear, O _Khiradmand!_ my whole age has been passed in this vexatious
career of conquest, and I am now arrived at these years; there is
only death before me; I have even received a message from him, for my
hairs are turned white. There is a saying; 'We have slept all night,
and shall we not awake in the morning?' Until now I have not had a
son, that I might be easy in mind; for which reason my heart is very
sorrowful, and I have utterly abandoned everything. Whoever wishes,
may take the country and my riches. I have no use for them. Moreover,
I intend some day or other, to quit everything, retire to the woods and
mountains, and not show my face to any one. In this manner I will pass
this life of [at best but] a few days' duration. If some spot pleases
me, I shall sit down on it; and by devoting my time in prayers to God,
perhaps my future state will be happy; this world I have seen well,
and have found no felicity in it." After pronouncing these words,
the king heaved a deep sigh, and became silent.

_Khiradmand_ had been the _Wazir_ of his majesty's father, and when
the king was heir-apparent he had loved him; moreover, he was wise
and zealous. He said (to _Azad Bakht_,) "It is ever wrong to despair
of God's grace; He who has created the eighteen thousand species
of living beings [64] by one fiat, can give you children without
any difficulty. Mighty sire, banish these fanciful notions from
your mind, or else all your subjects will be thrown into confusion,
and this empire,--with what trouble and pains your royal forefathers
and yourself have erected it!--will be lost in a moment, and, from
want of care, the whole country will be ruined; God forbid that you
should incur evil fame! Moreover, you will have to answer to God,
in the day of judgment, when he will say, 'Having made thee a king,
I placed my creatures under thy care; but thou hadst no faith in my
beneficence, and thou hast afflicted thy subjects [by abandoning thy
charge.'] What answer will you make to this accusation? Then even your
devotion and prayers will not avail you, for the heart of man is the
abode of God, and kings will have to answer only for the justice [65]
of their conduct. Pardon your slave's want of respect, but to leave
their homes, and wander from forest to forest, is the occupation of
hermits, [66] but not that of kings. You ought to act according to
your allotted station: the remembering of God, and devotion to him,
are not limited to woods or mountains: your majesty has undoubtedly
heard this verse, 'God is near him, and he seeks him in the wilderness;
the child is in his arms, and there is a proclamation [of its being
lost] throughout the city.'

"If you will be pleased to act impartially, and follow this slave's
advice, in that case the best thing is, that your Majesty should
keep God in mind every moment, and offer up to him your prayers. No
one has yet returned hopeless from his threshold. In the day, arrange
the affairs of state, and administer justice to the poor and injured;
then the creatures of God will repose in peace and comfort under the
skirt of your prosperity. Pray at night; and after beseeching blessings
for the pure spirit of the Prophet, solicit assistance from recluse
_Darweshes_ and holy men, [who are abstracted from worldly objects
and cares;] bestow daily food on orphans, prisoners, poor parents
of numerous children, and helpless widows. From the blessings of
these good works and benevolent intentions, if God please, it is to
be fervently hoped that the objects and desires of your heart will
all be fulfilled, and the circumstances for which the royal mind is
afflicted, will likewise be accomplished, and your noble heart will
rejoice! Look towards the favour of God, for he can in a moment do
what he wishes." At length, from such various representations on the
part of _Khiradmand_ the _Wazir, Azad Bakht's_ heart took courage,
and he said, "Well, what you say is true; let us see to this also;
and hereafter, the will of God be done."

When the king's mind was comforted, he asked the _Wazir_ what the other
nobles and ministers were doing, and how they were. He replied, that
"all the pillars of state are praying for the life and prosperity
of your majesty; and from grief for your situation, they are all
in confusion and dejected. Show the royal countenance to them, that
they may be easy in their minds. Accordingly, they are now waiting
in the _Diwani Amm_." On hearing this, the king said, "If God please,
I will hold a court to-morrow: tell them all to attend." _Khiradmand_
was quite rejoiced on hearing this promise, and lifting up his hands,
blessed the king, saying, "As long as this earth and heaven exist,
may your majesty's crown and throne remain. Then taking leave [of the
king,] he retired with infinite joy, and communicated these pleasing
tidings to the nobles. All the nobles returned to their homes with
smiles and gladness of heart. The whole city rejoiced, and the subjects
became boundless [in their transports at the idea] that the king would
hold a general court the next day. In the morning, all the servants of
state, noble and menial, and the pillars of state, small and great,
came to the court, and stood each according to his respective place
and degree, and waited with anxiety to behold the royal splendour.

When one _pahar_ [67] of the day had elapsed, all at once the
curtain drew up, and the king, having ascended, seated himself on the
auspicious throne. The sounds of joy struck up in the _Naubat-Khana_,
[68] and all the assembly offered the _nazars_ [69] of congratulation,
and made their obeisance in the hall of audience. Each was rewarded
according to his respective degree and rank, and the hearts of all
became joyful and easy. At midday [70] his majesty arose and retired
to the interior of the palace; and after enjoying the royal repast,
retired to rest. From that day the king made this an established rule,
viz., to hold his court every morning, and pass the afternoons in
reading and in the offices of devotion; and after expressing penitence,
and beseeching forgiveness from God, to pray for the accomplishment
of his desires.

One day, the king saw it written in a book, that if any one is so
oppressed with grief and care as not to be relieved by [any human]
contrivance, he ought to commit [his sorrows] to Providence, visit
the tombs of the dead, and pray for the blessing of God on them, [71]
through the mediation of the Prophet; and conceiving himself nothing,
keep his heart free from the thoughtlessness of mankind; weep as a
warning to others, and behold [with awe] the power of God, saying,
"Anterior to me, what mighty possessors of kingdoms and wealth have
been born on earth! but the sky, involving them all in its revolving
circle, has mixed them with the dust." It is a bye-word, that, "on
beholding the moving handmill, _Kabira_, [72] weeping, exclaimed,
'Alas! nothing has yet survived the pressure of the two millstones.'"

"Now, if you look [for those heroes], not one vestige of them
remains, except a heap of dust. All of them, leaving their riches
and possessions, their homes and offsprings, their friends and
dependants, their horses and elephants, are lying alone! All these
[worldly advantages] have been of no use to them; moreover, no one by
this time, knows even their names, or who they were; and their state
within the grave cannot be discovered; (for worms, insects, ants, and
snakes have eaten them up;) or [who knows] what has happened to them,
or how they have settled their accounts with God? After meditating on
these words in his mind, he should look on the whole of this world
as a perfect farce; then the flower of his heart will ever bloom,
and it will not wither in any circumstance." When the king read this
admonition in the book, he recollected the advice of _Khiradmand_
the _Wazir_, and found that they coincided. He became anxious in his
mind to put this in execution; "but to mount on horseback, [said his
majesty to himself,] and take a retinue with me, and go like a king,
is not becoming; it is better to change my dress, and go at night
and alone to visit the graves of the dead, or some godly recluse,
and keep awake all night; perhaps by the mediation of these holy men,
the desires of this world and salvation in the next, may be obtained."

Having formed this resolution, the king one night put on coarse and
soiled clothes, and taking some money with him, he stole silently out
of the fort, and bent his way over the plain; proceeding onwards,
he arrived at a cemetery, and was repeating his prayers with a
sincere heart. At that time, a fierce wind continued blowing,
and might be called a storm. Suddenly the king saw a flame at a
distance which shone like the morning star; he said to himself,
"In this storm and darkness this light cannot shine without art,
or it may be a talisman; for if nitre and sulphur be sprinkled in
the lamp, around the wick, then let the wind be ever so strong,
the flame will not be extinguished--or may it not be the lamp of
some holy man which burns? Let it be what it may, I ought to go and
examine it; perhaps by the light of this lamp, the lamp of my house
also may be lighted, [73] and the wish of my heart fulfilled." Having
formed this resolution, the king advanced in that direction; when
he drew near, he saw four erratic _fakirs_, [74] with _kafnis_ [75]
on their bodies, and their head reclined on their knees; sitting in
profound silence, and senselessly abstracted. Their state was such as
that of a traveller, who, separated from his country and his sect,
friendless and alone, and overwhelmed with grief, is desponding and
at a loss. In the same manner sat these four _Fakirs_, like statues,
[76] and a lamp placed on a stone burnt brightly; the wind touched it
not, as if the sky itself had been its shade, [77] so that it burnt
without danger [of being extinguished.]

On seeing this sight, _Azad Bakht_ was convinced [and said to himself]
that "assuredly thy desires will be fulfilled, by the blessing
[resulting from] the footsteps of these men of God; and the withered
tree of thy hopes shall revive by their looks, and yield fruit. Go into
their company, and tell thy story, and join their society; perhaps
they may feel pity for thee, and offer up for thee such a prayer as
may be accepted by the Almighty." Having formed this determination,
he was about to step forward, when his judgment told him, O fool,
do not be hasty! Look a little [before thee.] What dost thou know
as to who they are, from whence they have come, and where they are
going? How can we know but they may be _Devs_ [78] or _Ghuls_ [79]
of the wilderness, who, assuming the appearance of men, are sitting
together? In every way, to be in haste, and go amongst them and
disturb them, is improper. At present, hide thyself in some corner,
and learn the story of these _Darweshes_." At last the king did so,
and hid himself in a corner with such silence, that no one heard
the sound of his approach; he directed his attention towards them to
hear what they were saying amongst themselves. By chance one of the
_Fakirs_ sneezed, and said, "God be praised." [80] The other three
_Kalandars_, [81] awakened by the noise he made, trimmed the lamp;
the flame was burning bright, and each of them sitting on his mattrass,
lighted their _hukkas_, [82] and began to smoke. One of these _Azads_
[83] said, "O friends in mutual pain, and faithful wanderers over
the world! we four persons, by the revolution of the heavens, and
changes of day and night, with dust on our heads, have wandered for
some time, from door to door. God be praised, that by the aid of our
good fortune, and the decree of fate, we have to-day met each other
on this spot. The events of to-morrow are not in the least known,
nor what will happen; whether we remain together, or become totally
separated; the night is a heavy load, [84] and to retire to sleep so
early is not salutary. It is far better that we relate, each on his
own part, the events which have passed over our heads in this world,
without admitting a particle of untruth [in our narrations;] then
the night will pass away in words, and when little of it remains,
let us retire to rest." They all replied, "O leader, we agree to
whatever you command. First you begin your own history, and relate
what you have seen; then shall we be edified."


The first _Darwesh_, sitting at his ease, [85] began thus to relate
the events of his travels:

"Beloved of God, turn towards me, and hear this helpless one's
Hear what has passed over my head with attentive ears,
Hear how Providence has raised and depressed me.
I am going to relate whatever misfortunes I have suffered; hear
the whole narrative."

O my friends, the place of my birth, and the country of my
forefathers, is the land of Yaman; [86] the father of this wretch was
_Maliku-t-Tujjar_, [87] a great merchant, named _Khwaja Ahmad_. At
that time no merchant or banker was equal to him. In most cities
he had established factories and agents, for the purchase and sale
(of goods); and in his warehouses were _lakhs_ of _rupis_ in cash,
and merchandise of different countries. He had two children born to
him; one was this pilgrim, who, clad in the _kafni_ [88] and _saili_,
[89] is now in your presence, and addressing you, holy guides; the
other was a sister, whom my father, during his life time, had married
to a merchant's son of another city; she lived in the family of her
father-in-law. In short, what bounds could be set to the fondness
of a father, who had an only son, and was so exceedingly rich! This
wanderer received his education with great tenderness under the shadow
of his father and mother; and began to learn reading and writing,
and the science and practice of the military profession; and likewise
the art of commerce, and the keeping of accounts. Up to [the age of]
fourteen years, my life passed away in extreme delight and freedom
from anxiety; no care of the world entered my heart. All at once,
even in one year, both my father and mother died by the decree of God.

I was overwhelmed with such extreme grief, that I cannot express [its
anguish.] At once I became an orphan! No elder [of the family] remained
to watch over me. From this unexpected misfortune I wept night and day;
food and drink were utterly disregarded. In this sad state I passed
forty days: on the fortieth day, [90] [after the death of my parents,]
my relations and strangers of every degree assembled [to perform the
rites of mourning.] When the _Fatiha_ [91] for the dead was finished,
they tied on this pilgrim's head the turban of his father; [92]
they made me understand, that, "In this world the parents of all have
died, and you yourself must one day follow the same path. Therefore,
have patience, and look after your establishment; you are now become
its master in the room of your father; be vigilant in your affairs
and transactions." After consoling me [in this friendly manner,]
they took their leave. All the agents, factors and employés [of my
late father] came and waited on me; they presented their _nazars_,
and said, "Be pleased to behold with your own auspicious eye the cash
in the coffers, and the merchandise in the warehouses." When all at
once my sight fell on this boundless wealth, my eyes expanded. I gave
orders for the fitting up of a _diwan-khana_; [93] the _farrashes_
[94] spread the carpets, and hung up the _pardas_ [95] and magnificent
_chicks_. [96] I took handsome servants into my service; and caused
them to be clothed in rich dresses out of my treasury. This mendicant
had no sooner reposed himself in [the vacant] seat [of his father]
than he was surrounded by fops, coxcombs, "thiggars [97] and sornars,"
liars and flatterers, who became his favourites and friends. I began
to have them constantly in my company. They amused me with the gossip
of every place, and every idle, lying tittle tattle; they continued
urging me thus. "In this season of youth, you ought to drink [98] of
the choicest wines, and send for beautiful mistresses to participate
in the pleasures thereof, and enjoy yourself in their company."

In short, the evil genius of man is man: my disposition changed from
listening constantly [to their pernicious advice.] Wine, dancing,
and gaming occupied my time. At last matters came to such a pitch,
that, forgetting my commercial concerns, a mania for debauchery
and gambling came over me. My servants and companions, when they
perceived my careless habits, secreted all they could lay hand on;
one might say a systematic plunder took place. No account was kept of
the money which was squandered; from whence it came, or where it went:

"When the wealth comes gratuitously, the heart has no mercy on
it." [99]

Had I possessed even the treasures of _Karun_, [100] they would
not have been sufficient to supply this vast expenditure. In the
course of a few years such became all at once my condition, that,
a bare skull cap for my head, and a rag about my loins, were all that
remained. Those friends who used to share my board, and [who so often
swore] [101] to shed their blood by the spoonful for my advantage,
disappeared; yea, even if I met them by chance on the highway, they
used to withdraw their looks and turn aside their faces from me;
moreover, my servants, of every description, left me, and went away;
no one remained to enquire after me, and say, "what state is this
you are reduced to?" I had no companion left but my grief and regret.

I now had not a half-farthing's worth of parched grain [to grind
between my jaws,] and give a relish to the water I drank: I endured
two or three severe fasts, but could no longer bear [the cravings
of] hunger.

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Library mainpage -> Forbes, Duncan -> Bagh O Bahar, or Tales of the Four Darweshes