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Swami Ram Tirath

 

 

Introduction
This poem has a personal reference to a very close friend of ‘Allamah Iqbal, named Swami Ram Tirath (1873- 1906) and was written at the time of the latter’s death when ‘Allamah Iqbal was in England. Swami Ram Tirath had a very brilliant career and passed all public examinations from High School to M.A. in Mathematics in the first division. He worked in different capacities during the period 1895-99 at the American Mission High School at Sialkot and Foreman Christian College at Lahore. He also worked at the latter institution as Alexander Fellow for a short period. He soon resigned and devoted himself to the study, practice, and teaching of the Hindu
Vedant philosophy. One component of it is oath of celibacy. The Swami could not keep this oath when he went to the United States for preaching. He soon returned to India without his family and died by drowning in 1906, while bathing in River Ganga at Hardwar, one of the Holy places of Hindus. It is said to be an act of atonement for his sin of marriage.

The poem pays tribute to him, calling him a drop which united with the ocean in a way similar to the union of Man on death with God, according to the Vedant philosophy. The poem also deals with the broader share of Tawhid and ardent Love of God. It explains how the secrets of the universe are disclosed to Man through this Love, which can be exercised without the intermediation of religious bureaucracy and institutions, like temple, church etc. Such institutions divide humanity into classes which discriminate against each other. The true Love of God, represented by "The Temple of God " is above all these considerations.

Translation
O Impatient drop ! You are in the bosom of the sea
You were a pearl earlier, now you are an invaluable pearl

Ah! How gracefully you opened the secrets of life
I am still a prisoner of the discriminations of life

The life’s clamor on destruction became the Last Day’s tumult
The spark on being extinguished became azar ‘ s fire temple
1

The denial of Existence is the Love’s gesture of the informed heart
In the river of
La is concealed the pearl of Illallah 2

The meaning of the end is hidden from the unsightful eye
Mercury is only raw silver, when its restlessness stops,

The Ibrahim of Love
3 is the destroyer of the idol of existence
The ecstasy of Tasnim
4 of Love is the cure of awareness


Explanatory Notes

1. Azar- He was the father of S. Ibrahim A.S. He was a master sculptor and idol maker in Chaldea. Though he was not connected with the pre-Islamic fire temples of Iran this expression confers special excellence , in the material sense , on fire temples.

2. This alludes to the Kalimah-i-Tawhid. The first part of the Kalimah, "La" is the negation and denial of everything except God and is the prelude to the second part Illallah which is what the Kalimah accepts and testifies.

3. This alludes to the Holy Qur’an 21:51-71 according to which the Love of S. Ibrahim A.S. for God resulted in the destruction of the temple’s idols and the fire of Namrud. See also verse 3 above.

4. This verse is highly mystical. Tasnim is one of the streams of Paradise. Ecstasy denotes perfection of Love and the ecstasy produced by the water of Tasnim is the perfection of the Love of God. This perfection is the cure for the awareness which is an impediment to ecstasy resulting from the Love of God.



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