Thursday, May 12, 2011

Song of Saadi

Recently a song was cooking within me.

This is a poem by Saadi, the great Persian mystic, poet and thinker of the 13th century, on the indivisibility of humanity. Raya, a neice of mine, who is Iranian, had put up the calligraphed Farsi lines on Facebook, together with a nice translation in English.

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.

If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.

Transcribing the Farsi in Roman:

bani aadam a'zaaye yekdigarand
keh dar aafarinesh ze' yek goharand

cho ozvi beh dard aavarad roozegaar
degar ozvhaa raa namaanad gharar

to keh az mehnat-e-digaraan bi ghami
nashaayad keh naamat nahand aadami

I was taken by this, especially that they said virtually exactly the same thing as another song I had composed with lines by Shantideva, the great Buddhist monk and teacher, who lived several centuries before Saadi. I thought I should take this and add it to my small collection of songs and chants based on sacred texts.

My neice also directed me to a YouTube video of a song by Shakila, a Farsi singer, singing a song based on similar poetry. I heard that a couple of times. That was in mid-March.

I also happened to hear this awesome Farsi song, also a composition of Saadi, by Ostad Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Homayoon e Shajarian.

Soon afterwards, I met Dr Siddiqui, the anthropologist, who knows Farsi, and got the exact sound / pronunciation and meaning of the Farsi lines. I noted it all down in my pocket note book. A few times, I would open the notebook to the page, and go over the lines, trying to learn them, trying to say them out with a smooth flow of the words. Not happening. Then some weeks later, alone at home, in the quiet stillness of mid-morning it was as if a faint melody entered my ear from nowhere. So as not to lose it (I do not know how to note down music), I recorded it in the voice recorder in my cellphone. That was in mid-April. I played and listened to the melody recording a few times.

Last Sunday, in the evening, as I was idle, I just picked up the notebook, and in a few minutes it was all over, the mastery over the words threaded by the melody, reciting it confidently and smoothly, singing it, inserting inflexions, everything was done.

So now I am eager to sing it, to sing it out!

No comments: