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Tribute to Hadj Nemat

By - Feb 28, 2014 - Category Articles - Print Print - Version française

Hadj Nemat, Ostad Elahi’s father, passed away on 28 February 1920. The following two documents honour the memory of this great spiritual figure who also happened to be an inspired mystical poet. The first is Renaud Garcia-Fons and Claire Antonini’s musical tribute based on Hadj Nemat’s “Monajat”: it was recorded a the Maison de Radio France on February 25th. The second document, a poem entitled “Unfaithfulness of the World”, is one of the masterpieces of Hadj Nemat’s The Book of the Kings of Truths. The English translation we republish here was done by Martin Hoffman, on the basis of Leili Anvar’s French version.

Musical excerpt

➤ Listen to the excerpt

Monajat of Hadj Nemat : Suite in ut
Malak Jan : Zekr
Vieux Gauthier : Chacone

Excerpt of the radio programme “Un mardi idéal” by Arièle Butaux, 25 February 2014, France Musique

Unfaithfulness of the world

The Book of the Kings of Truth was written by Hadj Nemat in 1919. In this book composed of more than 15000 verses, Hadj Nemat recounts the life of the saints, prophets, and great spiritual figures of humanity. Narrative sequences alternate with more meditative passages in the form of prayers, recommendations or invocations. An expression of Hadj Nemat’s mystical personality, of his unconditional love for the Divine and his relentless quest for the knowledge of spiritual truths, The Book of the Kings of Truth also tells something about the particular atmosphere which characterised Ostad Elahi’s early years.

In the poem entitled “Unfaithfulness of the world”, Hadj Nemat speaks his heart on the impermanence of the world.

I have reason to complain of this world that turns
Of the noise and the clamor that rises as it churns

Of its countermovements that deceive
And the shifting fluctuations we perceive

What can I say about this world, so crooked and bent
At times it appears lovely, at times beyond contempt

Fortune and glory it bestows on some
And lifts them higher than the lofty sun

To others it feeds toil and blood
A makeshift bed of soil and mud

To some it gives joy, a cause for celebration
Others it condemns to grief and lamentation

I know not the riddle of this ancient vale
That makes both men and women wail

A world in upheaval, a world that destroys
Nothing remains amid this ominous void

The heart of time and space it rends
So the pain within them never ends

Rust and dust cover this world of old
Its gloomy months and years, its days so cold

O how many luminous prophets and seers
How many saints with illustrious careers

How many kings glorious and heroic
How many sages, wise and stoic

How many mystics absorbed by God’s presence
How many lovers in search of His essence

How many men and women throughout the ages
Advanced in their years or at their younger stages

Have come into this world to be put to the test
All of them perished and were laid to rest

None of them could find any comfort here
What they found instead was turmoil and fear

All who come here suffer some measure of pain
For none can escape the trap of this ephemeral plane

An instant of happiness is chased by a hundred ills
A year’s worth of sorrow follows a moment’s thrills

In this world in which no desire can be realized
In this world in which no problem can be neutralized

He who rode horseback did so for a day
And thereafter walked the rest of the way

No one here has seen the least stability
This world grants nothing but infidelity

Now it’s the spring, now it’s the fall
So it’s always been, for one and all

Though the world constantly changes its hue
Shades of pain is all that it yields for you

Many have journeyed down this trodden lane
They lie beneath the earth, having lived in vain

And you, my heart, do not allow this world to catch you unaware
For it knows full well how to entrap you in its snare […]

In the end, all that remains is a person’s name
The memory of his beneficence or his ill fame

The benevolence of the good remain with them eternally
The malevolence of the bad will accompany them perpetually

O heart, devote yourself to beneficence with all your might
For it will deliver you here and in your eternal plight

Such goodness will endure in the people’s memory
And in the other world bring you joy and prosperity

This poem was published in French in Orient, Mille ans de poésie et de peinture, Diane de Selliers éditeur, 2004.
Translation from Persian into French by Leili Anvar-Chenderoff; translation from French into English by Martin Hoffman.

Further readings:

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  1. AA Feb 28, 2014 6:04 pm 1

    The musical clip is very beautiful

  2. yocto Feb 28, 2014 6:05 pm 2

    I did not want the music to end. It was like drops of rain on a dried land, panacea for my wounded heart, it was telling me “don’t be afraid, I am here, with you”.

  3. Mat Feb 28, 2014 8:28 pm 3

    The audio excerpt is a conversation with the “One”. Begins with the complains of this earthly world, its ups and downs and toward the end the joy and comfort in the other world! Thank you for sharing.

  4. b Feb 28, 2014 9:51 pm 4

    Such a beautiful and meaningful translation! This is an amazing poem. Thank you

  5. noel Mar 03, 2014 1:10 pm 5

    Thank you for this beautiful, moving and inspiring tribute.

  6. Holly Mar 01, 2015 11:06 pm 6

    Thank you soooo much for this poem – it’s so meaningful, so educational , so uplifting and simply a guide for all.

  7. P Feb 25, 2018 12:56 pm 7

    As the anniversary of Hadj Nemat’s passing approaches, it is particularly poignant to reconnect with this wonderful tribute to this inspirational figure.

  8. FA Feb 28, 2018 5:36 am 8

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article and beautiful music. What an honest and brave individual to have shared all this wisdom and knowledge with us at a time where no one could even dare to speak their mind!

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