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The Unsuccessful Effort


This short but beautiful poem brings out an important component of `Allamah  Iqbal's philosophy,
viz. that everything is ardently desirous of exhibiting itself. He calls this desire, and the efforts to achieve it, as the very source of real life. The climax is reached in the fifth verse according to which God Himself is anxious to manifest Himself to Man but it is only the human effort which would reveal Him to an individual, if the latter so desires and works for. This is a message to the Muslim youth to develop the philosophy of life in which the goal is unattainable. Outwardly, any effort at achieving such a goal appears futile but it is not so in reality. Really speaking it is not the goal but the longing which is never satisfied.

The dawn is vexed by separation from the sun
The twilight's eye is raining blood for the evening star

The day's Qais has the pining for the night's  Lailah
The morning star is restless for perpetual radiance

The sky's polar star was saying to the stars' caravan
"Companions !  I am tantalized for the pleasure of  walking"

Springs desire rivers, rivers love the ocean
The ocean wave is in love with the full moon

The eternal Beauty which is veiled in tulips and roses
Is considered to be restless for general manifestation

Ask Khizar
2 of blessed steps for the secret of life
Everything is alive with un-achieved effort

Explanatory Notes
1. Qais or Majnun and Lailah-

2. An important attribute of Khizar A.S. is his traditional restlessness and incessant activism (See Poem 144. "Khizar-i-Rah, Jawab-i-Khizar, sahra e Navard" (The Traveler's Guide, The Response of Khizar, Wandering in the Wilderness). Similarly an object is living only as long as it is in incessant search of its Creator and "activism" is that effort. It becomes lifeless if it loses these attributes and it will disappear once it finds the Creator.

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