ZINDA RUD IN JAVID NAMA – AN APPRAISAL IN
THE PERSPECTIVE OF STREAM OF THOUGHT
Dr. Tara Charon Rastogi
My research-dissertation WESTERN. INFLUENCE IN IQBAL, which earned me a Ph. D. in English Literature, differs qualitatively from the works touching upon such topics done by others in several respects including the criterion worked out towards discovering the-subtle element called INFLUENCE. Psychologically and sociologically analysed an influence is a totality response vis-a-vis our thoughts, feelings, emotions and sentiments against the backdrop of our own, acquired and inherited both; an influence therefore may process out in acquiescence, total or partial besides the possibility of its manifestation in 'revolt' as well. An Urdu couplet seems to touch upon the point:
(If the beloved sought to cuneal herself, is it not being coquettish?
Oh, why on earth she thought of keeping coquetry out of sight!
If the criterion worked out be correct and Iqbal's multi-dimensional poetry is analyzed in its light, there seems to emerge a wonderful interface of East and West. Iqbal's was a genius of the structure and stature born after generations; not every generation has such agenius. Iqbal's genius is 'East-and-West Continuum' and 'Islam‑in-dialogue-with-knowledge-of-mankind.' A genius, it is perhaps rightly said, is 'one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. In other words, the sterling quality going by the name of 'genius' is obtainable only through very hard labour undertaken towards a definite aim. Iqbal's genius evolved right up to its reaching zenith from his being a voracious reader and his zeal for restoring Islam to its dynamic role in spiritual and material well-being of humanity. His genius almost unconsciously assimilates impressions and thoughts coming from any quarter, of course if not violative of Islamic spirit. For instance, Zarwan, met with in Javid Nama as symbolizing the spirit of Time and Space (Space-Time Concept), seems to have been taken from Zoroastrian Religion; Zarwan or Zurvan according to Parsi religious conception, stands for Eternity or Infinite Time. Iqbal's genius rendered ZARWAN, ZURVAN or ZRAVAN (pronounced in variations) into one Spirit symbolizing Time (Eternal) and Space both in a way that Iqbalean product gets instinct with the conception of Einstein's SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM. This aspect comes in for full discussion in one chapter entitled 'Iqbal And Einstein' of my research-thesis; reference has been made here to cite an example of the assimilative capacity of Iqbal's genius. Like-wise, he drew upon the works of William James (1842 — 1910) whose Pragmatism and Varieties of Religious Experience and Psychology exercised a deep impact on the frame-work of Iqbalean thought which was fundamentally Islamic. While the influences of Varieties of Religious Experience and Pragmatism permeating into Iqbal's Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam and his poetry were discussed in 'Iqbal and William James', one of the chapters of Western Influence in Iqbal, Zinda Rud's connection with James' conception of 'Stream of Thought' remained at the time outside my critical sight. Attempts towards understanding this aspect may be appropriately made keeping in mind a few points which seem to be quite essential.
Javid Nama, which is one of the major works ranking with Zabur-e-Ajam and Bal-e-jibril, is a compact work; no characters and no poems hang lose. Zinda Rud makes his appearance in 'Falak-e-'Atarid' (Firmament of Mercury) and continues right up to the end of the poem. Accompanied by Rumi, Iqbal was in the midst of ecstatic scenario, appearing as the sweep of the Self and a vast expression of Divinity. Rumi introduces Zinda Rud saying:
(Rumi said: he is a grain soaring in heavens;
His heart brims with cosmic longings.
Except at his own Self he looked at none
Free, traversing swift in expanse and vastness;
A little humorously I call him 'Living Stream')
In reply to Afghani Zinda Rud (Iranian pronunciation: Zinde Rud)says:
(The Muslim nation's world-shaking heart
Is riven betwixt and between Islam and Country
Weak conviction has atrophied Muslims' soul;
They are hopeless of the strength of their vital religion
Enchanted and enthralled by Europe's ways are Turks, Iranians, and Arabs.
The East lies racked and ruined by Western Imperialism, Communism has rendered religion and its followers bereft of all effulgence.)
Then listening to what Afghani and Sa'eed Halim Pasha say about religion and 'motherland' (English usage: Fatherland), Communism and Imperialism, and East West, Zinda Rud (Living Stream) heays out a heavy sigh
(The boat of ours, as it were, is quite uncaptained;
None, alas, knows of the Qur'an's direction.)
Afghani goes into the secrets contained in the Qur'an with regard to Adam's Vicegerency, the sovereignty of God, the world's being our possession, and virtues of insightful knowledge. Cutting in Zinda Rud enquires:
(Revealed are the Qur'anic principles and the fact) There are realms and realms still veiled.
Why do you not unravel those secrets?
Why do these not get out of our conscience?
We and the time-worn condition of ours are there?
And the Nation seems contented with the rotten state of affairs.
Departed is the verve and vigour of the Tartars and the
Whether the Musalmans are no more or the Qur'an itself is dead!)
When asked by Rumi to regale themselves (Rumi, Iqbal, Afghani and Halim Pasha) with a 'naghma-e-mardi' (a song of manliness) Zinde Rud breaks forth:
(The rose and the tulip which seems to have lasting smell and beauty,
Are almost like the wafting breeze speeding along. Where are the meanings (mysteries) that we fondly seek? The mosque, the academy, and the tavern — all these are unknown to the seekings of ours!
From down the depths of your own Self seek the Spark (to lead you on in its effulgence) to illumine.
Religious institutions are now entirely bereft of the Moses'
ardent spiritual flame.
What piety and righteousness these recluses not given to
talking do have?
Who are with hair uncombed and cloaks dirt-laden!
Within one Haram (Place of worship) they have built in innumerable houses of worship!
The persons worshipping ONE GOD have developed split personalities:
This is no danger that we are overtaken by a crisis;
What does constitute the danger is that we are provision‑
less and leaderless.)
From The Firmament of Mercury the company consisting of Rumi, Iqbal Zinde Rud The Firmament of Mars (Falak-e-Mirrikh) across the Firmament of Venice (Falak-e-Zohra); Zinde Rud, keeping silent while journeying in the Firmament of Venice, speaks out after Rumi's introducing themselves to The Martian Wizard:
(I am from Heaven and my friend is from the Earth,
Quite inebriate even without his having tasted any liquor. With no attachment he is, Zinde Rud (Living Stream)
Questing for ever-new panoramas and vistas
We request for your company for a little while.)
Then touring through Marghadin (Territory of Mars) follows; a territory with no lords and bondsmen, no troops and armies; a land of plenty and pleasure it is where science is harness for weal alone, not for woe. Hakim-e-Mirrikhi (Mars' Seer) points- to the state of affairs:
(Mars has no destitutes; no lords and no slaves;
There is no Ruler and there are no the ruled, either.)
This makes Zinde Rud to observe:
(The indigent and destitute attribute their fate to God;
Being masters and slaves depends upon His Decree.
None except God shapes our destiny;
No efforts can avail against Destiny.)
These words are most unlike Iqbal's. Hakim Mirrikhi's reply consist with the poet's; all in all, he holds that the people have bartered away the self, or else Destiny has a number of, rather unlimited, formulations. Right efforts can bring about radical change for the betterment of humanity.
Zinde Rud and Rumi then reach The Firmament of Jupiter (Falak-e-Mushtari) and meet there the holy spirits of Hallaj, Ghalib and Quratal-'Ain who have declined living in Heaven and preferred eternal wandering. Zinde Rud's conversation with all these is illuminating enough. Conversation ranges over wide regions of philosophical boggings and beguilings. Hallaj, Tahira and Ghalib are there, their countenances glowing with blazing fervour. Seeing Zinde Rud in a state of consternation and bewilderment Rumi tells him:
(Rumi observed: Do not get lost,
Be alive to the melodies of these fire-brand poets.
Lo and behold, Ghalib, Hallaj and the Persian-maid Tahira were the persons who caused tumult and turmoil oil
in Islamic domain.
The poetry of theirs has deathless breath to our souls; they were inspired by cosmic incandescence.)
Iqbal stands for intense living; his conception of Islam does hardly conflict with the sort of life they lived, of course according as Iqbal envisages.
Passing through The Firmament of Saturn where the treacherous and condemned Spirits of Sadiq and Ja'far against the backdrop of India's bewailings are sighted and pointed out by Rumi to his companion Zinde Rud (Living Stream), they reach beyond the Firmaments (Aan suay Aflak: Towards Those Firmaments) where they meet German Philosopher Nietzsche, Sharfunnisa's Palace, saint Hazrat Syed Ali Hamdani, Mulla Tahir Ghani of Kashmir valley, Bhartri Hari, Abdali, Tipu Sultan (Martyred king of Karnataka), Nasir Khusro 'Alavi, the Houries of Paradise et a/. Nietzsche, as described by Rumi (who is in fact Iqbal himself, his spokesman, was a philosopher of great sublimity comparing with Avicenna (Ibn-Sina), and Hallaj; he was a man of parts and had he lived during Prophet Muhammad's times his intellect must have blossomed into full consummation (Suroor-e-Sarmadi). Towards the Gardens of Paradise they sight the Palace of Sharfunnisa described one by Rumi as one consecrated to God and committed to uphold His Commandments with prayers and sword and ecstatic solitude. In the presence of Shah-e-Hamadan, Living Stream (Zinde Rud) waxes eloquent:
I beg of you to unravel this mystery
God demands of us submission after His having created Satan!
The evil is garishly embellished and yet we are required to be righteous!)
Then, being told that one who attains to comprehending himself can forge ahead by changing the state of affairs to advantage, Living Stream (Zinde Rud) pours forth as many as twenty-six couplets: a few containing the quintessence are mentioned below:
(Why, in the world does man dare devour another man?
Why, does a nation feed on another nation?
Until (it seems) the persons keep away from leading a self-assertive life,
We would remain alien -like in our own land:
Labour's earnings would remain in the hands of the capitalists, (Oh How long.)
The fish of their pond gets into the net of others, 0 Why?) Shah-e-Hamadan's reply accords with the above views. Jan-e jalwa mast (the Self in its vision ecstasied) knows no barriers impregnable and unsurmountable. To the query what gives a firm basis to kingdom, Shah-e-Hamadan replies that the Self is active as Love during peace and is granite-hard during warnings. Then, Ghani cuts in; his reply may well be construed as his putting accent on 'being patriotic'; details would be inappropriate here since their being not apropos to the topic in hand. Zinde Rud beaks into a ghazal consisting of as many as seven couplets touching upon 1 the role of Reason and Love; Self-assertiveness with Love is the summum bonum.
Before finally departing from Paradise, the Living Stream (Zinde Rud) come across Bhartri Hari (Indian saint-poet), Nadir, Abdali and Tipu Sultan (the martyred king); Zinde Rud's questionings draw forth quietening proper replies quietening his curiosities. He finds Paradise shot through with Divine Gleams (Tajalli hai oost) he seeks nothing short of HIS VIEW (Did-e-oost). He then hears the DIVINE GLAMOUR's VOICE (Nida-e-jamal) which emboldens him to seek enlightenment on the following issues:
(How is it? Seldom do the nations when vanquished rise again!
How can passive resignation or final non-existence be avoided? Oh, How?)
Being told that man's is an atom destined to be an effulgent sun too if he asserts his SELF, he then ventures to ask:
(Who am I? Who are YOU? Where is the cosmos?
Why are we distanced?
Why shackled in fate am I?
Why? I pass away but You don't?)
(Ignorant as I am I crave your indulgence;
Could you explain DESTINY in a clear-cut way?
I have learnt of the Revolutions in Russia and Germany;
I know of the tumult and turmoil raging in the hearts of the Muslims.
The endeavors of both East and West are pretty known;
How would their destinies shape out, pray: Could you tell.)
Then, a melody suffusing his entire being resonates the message that the way out lies in forging ahead with self-assertiveness; he should get disenchanted with EAST and WEST. The individual Atom can cultivate the Sun's Effulgence.
The foregoing discussion centres on the role played by Zinde Rud, Living Stream. Where does William James' conception of Stream of Thought/Consciousness enter here in Iqbal's work Javid Nama? — is a question that seen', to call for going into detail of the conception. James' master-piece The Principles of Psychology was published in 1890; in an essay written in 1879 the phrase used was 'stream of mental action' which in the published work appeared as 'The Stream of Thought', being the caption of one chapter. A year later, in the shorter version of the book it came to be entitled 'The Stream of Consciousness' (p. 44 Jacques Barzun: A Stroll With
William James, Harper, New York: 1983). Again, let us turn to Barzun: ". . . When the stream is closely examined its features are found to be these: (1) Every thought is part of a personal consciousness. (2) Within each consciousness, thought is always changing. (3) It is sensibly (i.e. felt as) continuous. (4) It appears to deal with independent objects. (5) It is interested in some and rejects others continually. . . . The self is thus 'a system of memories, purposes, strivings, fulfillments or disappointments… (It) is the native flooding of thought, which in its irregularity also contains the unchartered powers we call imagination and intellect. . . . Mind is the original artist. It works by selection; it fashions percepts and concepts charged with meanings and associations; it handles and recalls them by signs and symbols. Around each object of consciousness a fringe of feelings perpetually flows, which assigns to each pulse its quality and importance, the whole unrolling scene unified by the sense of self-identity and directed by attention and interest.... To say ... that somebody is 'emotional' and somebody else 'intellectual' is to misdescribe. The 'emotional' is full of ideas, too… It is that 'reactive spontaneity' that makes experiences our experience… (It) is a collective name for the full exertion of all the powers of mind at their best: perception, reason, conception, discrimination, emotion, and imagination…
The 'quote' gives a resume of what the term Stream of Thought/Consciousness implies. Iqbal was a vastly learned man; his 'inspiration' (genius) was the outcome of seriously prolonged 'perspirations' (sweating over studies of several disciplines of East and West). It does not therefore seem unlikely that he hit upon the term 'Zinde Rud' instead of using 'I' or 'Iqbal'; when he could utilise Zarathustra's Zurwan/Zarwan (Zravan) modelling him on his own framework of thoughts and emotions. Likewise, he seems to have done with James' term, possibly being reminded of the river Zinda Rud flowing past Isfahan. Such a character as Zinde Rud without which the work Javid Nama would have looked insipid and colourless does certainly call for further insightful research. Live and inspired, Zinda Rud is Iqbal himself, a multi-splendoured genius whose radiance does defy being bedimmed by the efflux of time.
Notes and References
 Dadabhai Bharcha, M. S. Zoroasterian Religion and Customs, Bombay: 1928, p. 31 and Parpinder, G: The Worlds Living Religions, London: 1965, p. 65.
 Iqbal, 'avid Nama, p. 61.
 lbid., p. 62.
 lbid., p. 67.
 lbid., p. 75.
 Ibid., p. 83.
 Ibid., p. 104.
 lbid., p. 107.
 lbid., p. 107
 lbid., p. 116.
 lbid, p. 159.
 Ibid, p. 161.
 lbid, p. 191.
 Ibid., p. 193.
 Ibid, p. 194.
 Jacques Barzun., A Stroll with William James, Harper, New York, 1983, pp. 34- 82.