Hafiz’s “Ghazal 9”

On the opposite of longing for wine/love, both also have the ability to make a person lose hope in the world. Alcohol is consumed when times are rough; it can also make times rough. Love is appreciated when times are rough; when the heart is broken, times become rough. Hafiz’s “Ghazal 9” demonstrates the former part of both sides: intoxication being preferred when times are rough. The mood of this poem is very somber, illustrating the hostile and lonely times: “In these times the only untainted companion left/is a clear cup of wine and a book of ghazals.

” He seems to let go of personal possessions, clinging on to what is most dear: “Our Hafiz is so drunk on the wine of pre-eternity/that in no epoch will you ever find him sober. ” While this poem explicitly mentions wine as the companion, a reader can replace the term with love and extract the same meaning from the poem. During this harsh period, having someone to love and care for you may be the only “untainted companion.

” He can be so drunk on the “love of pre-eternity” (God), that one may never “find him sober.

” Simiarly, in Hafiz’s “Ghazal 42,” he writes “With one innocent drink that hurt no one,/I drew such trouble from the ignorant that it’s beyond telling … Don’t ask how this ruby wine destroys heart and faith. ” This illustrates the destructibility of wine and love. Hafiz clearly portrays the destruction that wine had upon his life; wine can also be replaced with love.

Paraphrased, it can be read as an innocent love that went wrong which ended up devastating his hope in any further love, as well as faith in relationships. When intoxicated (with love or wine), one can turn a blind eye to the devastations of life and only look at the upside.

Yet when the feeling is gone, disaster can result. Wine is a very clear way to demonstrate the intangibility of love’s ability to ruin. Wine has the power to affect all organs, also manipulating the senses. Love affects every single body part as well, not a single hair strand able to miss the emotion that finds its way into the flesh and skin. A similar comparison is wine takes the shape of the container that it is in – whether it be in the body or a cup. Thus, wine always comes in a cup, even in the Sura that describes wine in Paradise. Love takes on the shape of the lover and his receptiveness or preparedness for the emotion itself.

These comparisons are illustrated in “Ghazal 10” which speaks of a person who seems to be drunk walking around town with a “flask in hand. ” As his “curls disheveled, sweating, laughing … shirt torn,” the speaker has lost much of his self-control, losing mind and body. If replaced with love, one could easily see the speaker losing touch with the world as he dazes around intoxicated with such a high emotion. Similarly, in the last lines, one can picture the speaker’s flask being overfilled and spilling on the ground. As the “wine cup’s smile … have broken many vows of repentance,” Hafiz had vows of repentance to be ready for the love.

Yet his container so to speak, was not yet receptive or prepared. Once again, Hafiz draws a clear comparison between wine and love by mentioning “… an infidel to love if he will not worship wine. ” Yet at the same time, he states to not be a drunkard and be content with one’s own material wealth: “… don’t quibble with those who drink the dregs,/for on the eve of Creation this was all they gave us. ” The ascetic aspect of Sufism is referenced here to point out that drinking is only used metaphorically rather than explicitly. A basic Sufi concept is to rid the self of egoism to get to the level of fana.

Wine has the ability to throw a person down from glory, from egotistical seats to becoming humble. Love has the same capacity; once in love, one’s place in time and space is erased. In Hafiz’s “Love Awakening,” the speaker believes love to be an “easy thing” then realizes the “awakening. ” A method that the speaker reached this conclusion is through the drinking of wine which is spoken of in the first two lines. Allowing “wine upon the prayer-mat flow,” the speaker gives up inhibition because he has began to realize the process of attaining love to be difficult.

He knows the arduous path that he must follow by saying “Its ways and manners well doth know. ” Yet he has lost his egoism by the last lines of the poem, stating “Be lost at last to time and space. ” This represents the speaker’s loss of glory, from his state of believing to know the entire world to realizing that complications in the spiritual and sensual world do exist. At the same time, there is a difference drawn upon wine and love: “Fill up, and pass it round the ring” shows how easy it is to become intoxicated by wine. Yet the poem’s subject is the hardships of love and how difficult it is to attain true love.

This contrast denotes how absurd it is to become intoxicated by wine when actual intoxication with God’s love is much more genuine. The element of humor is also similar with wine and love. There is the “lifting of the veil” of modesty and shame and the disappearance of self-esteem and apprehension. When the intoxication of love becomes overpowering, the lover turns away from all of these, sits in joy and pulls away from everything opposed to it. A case in point is Hafiz’s “The Riddle of Life,” the title revealing the element of love and Divine Love that is present in the poem.

In the second stanza, the “tavern-wench” is personified as a lover, carrying many human traits such as “arching eyebrows. ” Egoism once again comes about when this “lover” says “So long as thou in all created things/seest but thyself the centre and the end,” reprimanding the speaker for doing so. Although the reader’s “poor heart in such a fashion spurns,” he learns his lesson at the end by mentioning “Hearken the wisdom of the tavern-daughter! ” After his mind and body are overpowered by the wine/love, he is able to sit back and overcome the self (similar to “Love Awakening”).

Wine can also be replaced with Divine Love, as it is mentioned with “the holy city of intoxication. ” God is already on his mind (“the wine-cup on the wing”), and then he wishes to reach God as it is similar to a state of ecstasy. . Wine can elate the spirit allowing the soul to take flight into “higher realities. ” When intoxicated with Divine Love, one can forget the material world as it is. In summary, wine is the main subject of this poem, yet can be analyzed as love (which wine is personified as) and Divine Love (religion referred to in the ridding of the self and “holy intoxication”).

Wine and the intoxication it brings are the image that expresses Divine Love in all its joyful abandon, painful longing, bewilderment, and surrender. Therefore, Hafiz used this image, but would not have been a hypocrite that consumed wine considering his religious background. With the words, “The only wise course for me now/Is to depart bag and baggage for the tavern/And sit there happily. /I must grasp the wine-cup/And avoid the society of the hypocrites,” it seems like he is one of them, but instead he is embracing Divine Love in order to avoid the hypocrites that he speaks about.

Yet while so many similarities exist, differences between wine and love show why being intoxicated with God rather than wine is much more preferable. Wine is only a comparison for love, but there are differences too. The debate can be countered by how absurd it is to be intoxicated physically when the intoxication of mystical unveiling is infinitely more real and desirable. Wine is complete ignorance and forgetfulness of all that is necessary. It shows the way of the descending degrees of remoteness and punishment to those who are far from God.

Love is perfect awareness and consciousness of the Beloved. It increases elevation in the ascending degrees of proximity for those who are near to Him. Once reaching Paradise, one will drink with God and have dialogue with him as Hafiz does in “Now that bowl at every flower”: Yesterday the Doctor of Divinity fell drunk And proclaimed in a Fatwa ‘Although drinking is illegal Living in an endowed institution is worse. ‘ Wine is the reward to be enjoyed in Paradise. Yet it is the main mechanism to connect the spiritual and human worlds so that all can relate to Divine Love with the language of poetry.

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