Life Cycle; Osho, Emily Dickenson and Death in Dance
Rahen Na Rahen Hum…. /Whether I Am Around Or Not….
From the sweet-scented poetry of Indian immortal film song-wrier, Majrooh Sultanpuri, we have chosen the pearl which really penetrates deep in a sensitive heart is “Rahen Na Rahen Hum”. It precisely falls in the silent-meditative ocean of Bulleh Shah and Osho. We will have a glance at the stunning lyrics, the English translation and a humble insight of the melodious “Rahe Na Rahe Hum” from the film Mamta (1966).
Before going through the shining maze of the lyrical beauty, a glance of the plot of the story seems appropriate.
Mamta is a 1966 Hindi/Urdu film, directed by Asit Sen, with music by Roshan. Irrespective of Urdu/Hindi language dispute the language and thought of the song is from the fragrant Indian/Sub-continent soil that holds itself from the inside, the inner science in Osho words. Kaifi Azmi was a refined Urdu poet while Anand Bakshi was most melodious and easy-to-ear lyricist. There is something in this song that stands Majrooh apart. Perhaps in a single song, the cycle of life is presented in the most melodious way by a film song writer. Like Walter de la Mare’s “No Listeners” this song has made Majrooh immortal.
The movie showcased Suchitra Sen, Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra. The film is about the middle class fears and class conflict. It has lead actress Suchitra Sen in a dual role. The film is also noted for its music by Roshan. The Roshans are to be mentioned here, Roshan was a Punjabi Hindu music composer. Some of his melodies keep on haunting us in the public places of the Indian Sub-continent. His son, Rakesh Roshan, is famous Indian film actor and director. His grandson, Hrithik Roshan, is one of the leading film actors after the Khans of the Indian Film Industry. The songs like, Rahen Na Rahen Hum sung by Lata Mangeshkar and her hit duet, Chuppa Lo Yun Dil Mein Pyar with Hemant Kumar.
The film performed “above average” at the box office. The film was remake of Asit Sen’s own earlier Bengali film, Uttar Falguni (1963), also starring Suchitra Sen, which had won the 11th National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali. There was a healthy competition between the Punjabis and Bengalis in the sixties. It happens to be a flick in which most of the crew were from these nations. Suchitra Sen and Ashok Kumar were Bengalis while Dharmendra and Roshan were Punjabis.
The movie relates the story of Deviyani’s life and revolves around the theme of “mamta” – motherhood, or a mother’s love, what a mother does for the protection and well-being of her child, and all the sacrifices made by her in order that her child can live a life filled with status, dignity and love.
The arrangement of events goes as; Monish Rai (Ashok Kumar) comes from a wealthy family, and is in love with Deviyani (Suchitra Sen), who is poor. Monish has to travel abroad to further his education in law, but he promises to stay in touch with Deviyani. After his departure, financial problems overwhelm Deviyani and her father. She approaches Monish’s mother for some financial assistance, but is refused. In desperation, Deviyani’s father marries her off to a much older man, Rakhal Bhattacharya, who has loaned money to Deviyani’s father. Rakhal is also an alcoholic and frequents prostitutes.
Deviyani becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl, Suparna. Unhappy with her marriage and her circumstances, she runs away, and becomes a devadasi, or temple dancer, performing for a male clientele. She is however found by Rakhal, who blackmails her for money, and who attempts to kidnap Suparna on more than one occasion. Deviyani approaches Mother Mary, the Mother Superior of a convent and leaves Suparna in her care. Deviyani subsequently disappears. When Monish returns to the city, he thinks he has seen Deviyani, but is told by others that the person he has seen is a Lucknow-based prostitute, Pannabai.
The movie ends like an Oscar Wilde or Manto story. That is; rising some questions to the custodians of society, the way it is depicted in “No Country for Old Men” or in the Indian classic, “Payaasa”.
Is Deviyani still alive? Who is Pannabai? What happened to Suparna?
The Song; the Real Thing
This gentle beauty sung by Lata Mangeshkar, the most illustrious Sub-continent celebrity of all time, captures an inspiring philosophy on losing a loved one.
An optimistic melody balances the tragic sentiments of its lyrics. While Ashok Kumar must leave Suchitra Sen to study law abroad, he inductees his loyalty to her upon the impending separation and asks her to sing for him before he leaves. In the graphics of the song, Suchitra Sen tears the petals from a flower on the eve of her separation from Ashok Kumar and tosses the torn petals into the pond. The imagery of Suchitra’s identification with a flower recurs throughout the song even her saari (the common Indian women costume) is decorated with a floral pattern.
“Rahe Na Rahe Hum” captures an appreciation of briefness, framed as a neglected yet wondrous consequence of continuity, and highlights the transcendence of attachment to worldly phenomena such as seasons, physical proximity, and even time itself.
The Hindi/Urdu plural pronoun “hum” can be translated as either “we” or “I.” In the film song the starring couple is together and it can be translated as “we” but the later chain of events reveals that it is “I” not “we”. “Hum” is used for “I” in the civilized and cultured cities like Lucknow, Hyderabad, Delhi and Karachi. But the lyricist has played a wonderful trick of the word, “Hum” as the meaning turn overhead with “I” and “we”. “I” stands for cosmic and personal aloneness while “we” stands for togetherness. As aloneness is frightening for a common man, in Osho words, by translating it in “I” makes poetry profounder and more meaningful.
The translation and interpretation of the song is under;
Rahe Na Rahe Hum Mahakaa Karen.Ge
Whether or not i am around, this fragrance will remain
Banke Kali Banke Sabaa Baagh-E-Wafaa Mei.N
As if a flower, as if a breeze in our devoted garden
West and East have their differences over life and death. In West there is a common belief that life ends at death. There is an urgency and hurry in the western culture and life. People are all the time busy in making their life like paradise. They have many things to do while the span of life is too short for many desires and expectations. Education, job, marriage, comfortable living, all these things add to the plight of the modern man.
But the lyrics of the above couplet is opposite to the western mind and life style. The East and especially India has consumed all the energy of finding the inner reality. That’s why they are sluggish in their life approach. Through the centuries they have found the ultimate reality which they proclaim openly. They have found out the reality of life which makes them sluggish most of the times. As Osho had said that you will not find people like Freud, Einstein, Schopenhauer, and Chomsky in the Indian Subcontinent.
Physical death is an ultimate reality which is accepted by all the religions and people of this planet. The Hindus believe in life circle. They believe that man needs a lot of effort to come out of this life circle. In their view, body deteriorates but the real of an organism stays intact. After a few moments it takes shape in a different form.
The lyrics a written by a Muslim Urdu poet but the theme is entirely Indian. The poet says that he or she will continue to live in the garden of life even after death. The shape will be different. If not man, it can be in the form of fragrance from a flower or breeze. Garden represents life that never ends until you achieve Samadhi or Nirvana.
Mausum Koi Ho, Is Chaman Mei.N Rang Barse RaheNge Hum Khiraamaa
Whatever the weather may be in our garden, i will fill it gracefully with colour
Chaahat Ki Khushbuu Yuu.N Hii Zulfo.N Se Udegii Khizaa Ho Ya Bahaare.N
The sweet fragrance of our love will still fly from my hair, whether autumn or spring
YuuN Hii Jhuumte Aur Khilte Rahe.Nge
I will continue to dance and blossom
In the state of bliss when you come across with reality, you are beyond emotions like love, hate, separation etc. The one who finds the ultimate truth, remains happy and jubilant all the time. The weather is good or bad, you are least affected by it, you have a symphony of love playing on the flute of your heart. Love makes one sensitive but it does not make people deter. Mansoor who is the favourite of all the mystics including Osho was not crying rather happy and satisfied when he was butchered by the king. He kept on singing the music which he found out through his personal experience.
The last line of the above stanza is very crucial. It says that the dancing and rebirth will continue. The word death is not a word that creates fear to a Buddha. The poet has wisely eliminated the word death. He says the person who comes across with the ultimate truth and reality keeps on dancing irrespective of the circumstances and outer conditions. Similarly the blossoming symbolises new birth to life. The circle of life which continues to move, death merely freshens it with a new and beautiful form.
Khoye Hum Aise Kyaa Hai Milnaa Kyaa Bichhadnaa Nahii.N Hai Yaad Humko
I am so deeply lost in love that I no longer know separation from unity
Kooche Mei.N Dil Ke Jab Se Aaye Sirf Dil Ki Zameen Hai Yaad Humko
Ever since entered the lanes of heart, I can only remember its world of love
Ise Sarzameen Pe Hum To RaheN Ge
In that realm I will remain
The separation is a phenomenon which is purely unrealistic. If there is unity based on love, no one can separate the unified. But as Osho says the drop will have to fall in the vast sea of life or reality to know itself. Once the drop is fallen in the sea, it’s not possible to separate it again. Once a person is lost in love he or she cannot be separated.
When the beloved is departing, his or her departure is not eternal. Once you become a part of the whole, the greater whole, mundane separations are nothing in the greater context.
The poet says that ever since one enters inside living the physical world behind, only love remains intact all else is lost. “Amor Vincent Omania” i.e. Love conquers all as the Chaucerian Nun’s had a belief.
The poet knows it that once you are entered in the realm of heart, that is, once you move inside you cannot go back to previous state of mind. As you move inside the mind is a slave. Osho said that the problems are created in the modern world because mind is ruling the roost instead of heart. Once you enter the realm of heart all else go to oblivion. Mind should be ruled by heart, the opposite is causing havoc and pain for the modern man. The one who is enlightened knows that love is only emotion that can turn stones to living objects. Rumi has said that love is a phenomenon that can turn water to wine. Love brings harmony, beauty and freedom in life. How can you hamper a person’s freedom of departing if you love him or her?
Again the last line is important, the realm of love is the most suitable place to live. Buddha was deeply thankful to the Bodhi tree under which he got enlightened. So the fragrant garden of love cannot be left.
Jab Hum Na HoNge, Jab Hamaari Khaak Pe Tum Rukoge Chalte Chalte
When I am gone, when you pause by my ashes/grave as you walk
AshqoN Se Bhiigi Chaandnii MeiN Ek Sadaa Si Sunoge Chalte Chalte
In the rainy moonlight that is wet from my tears, you will hear my call as you walk
Wohii Pe Kahii.N Hum Tum Se Mile.Nge
There somewhere, we both will meet again
Death by no means a fearsome idea for the enlightened ones. They live moment to moment, they have ample time. In mysticism, dying before the physical death in the most important task. They don’t regret at death. Emily Dickenson wasn’t a mystic but the poets do get glimpses of Reality, not the full picture. She welcomes the guest, death. “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” is the prime example in this regard.
She might be a good host of death as she was living a life of solitude. A person living in the wildest of environment is more exposed to the raw nature. The person, neither doing any real mundane job nor having a family life, is less scared to death.
While a mystic is a different case all together. He is beyond these religious idea. Death is like a crossing a bridge for entering into another field for him. Understanding the fears like death makes one have a flawless insight of the things and ideas.
Leaving the physical form of the body is a problem for the human beings only. The animals, plants or other organisms are free of these stresses which the human beings have made themselves capable of.
The poet says that the when the beloved will come to his grave or ashes, the air will be gloomy and sorrowful. Ashes is an Indian funeral ritual. The body is entirely burnt and reduced to ashes. Grave seems a better English translation. He further proclaims that the beloved will keep on hearing the gloomy voice in the moonlit night. When these natural spectacles will occur, the beloved will find the other beloved.
mehaknaa: spreading the fragrance kali: flower sabaa: breeze;
Baagh: garden wafaa: loyalty, devotedness
mausam: weather, atmosphere chaman: garden rang: colour
khiraamaa: gracefully chaahat: love, desire
khushbuu: sweet fragrance zulf: hair khizaa: Autumn
bahaar: Spring jhuumnaa: to sway khilnaa: to blossom
milnaa: to meet bichhaDnaa: to separate
kooche: lane zameen: world yaad: memory
sarzameen: realm, society khaak: ashes ashq: tears
bhiigii: wet, rainy chaandnii: moonlight
sadaa: call, voice
- Peter Cowie (1977). World Filmography: 1967. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. pp. 264–. ISBN978-0-498-01565-6. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- “Blast From The Past: Mamta (1966)”. The Hindu. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- “Asit Sen Profile”. Upperstall. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- “11th National Film Awards”. International Film Festival of India.
About the author
Michael-Jane is the pen name of Zain Ul Aabideen. He is teaching English Language and Literature after completing MPhil in Applied Linguistics. He has sound knowledge, understanding and rich taste in music, culture and philosophy. He will be regularly contributing for Dunya Today as a feature and article writer.