Rooh dekhi hai kabhi

I heard this poem in the voice of Gulzar himself at a lit-fest in Bangalore. His baritone voice made the visuals that he writes about ever more alive.
As a poet Gulzar has a rare talent of creating lingering visuals using his words, this along with the flowing easy to read words, make him a beloved shayar to millions of poetry lovers.
Being in his presence, you can feel a calm and radiant aura so alike a mystic.
I especially like the word Kundan in the last line of this poem…..a word used to denote the Dalai Lama himself.
If you would like to listen to more such poems in his voice, you can find them at this link here.


Rooh dekhi hai, kabhi rooh ko mahsoos kiya hai?

Jaagate jeete hu e doodhiya kohre se lipatkar
Saans lete hu e is kohare ko mahsoos kiya hai?

Have you seen the soul, ever sensed it?
Have you ever felt the mist, alive, alert,
Soaked yourself in its breathing, milky whiteness?

Ya shikaare mein kisi jheel pe jab raat basar
aur paani ke chapaakoon pe baaja karti hon taliyaan
subkiyaan leeti hawaoon ke kabhi bain sune hain?

Or else, when ripples of water tinkle
While on a boat on a lake on the onset of night
Have you ever heard the sobbing wind wail?

Chodhaveen raat ke barfaab se ek chaand ko jab
dher se saaye pakarne ke liye bhaagate hain,
tum ne saahil pe khare girje ki deewar se lagkar
Apni gahnaati hui kokh ko mahsoos kiya hai?

When a great many shadows run
To catch the full moon on a snow white night
Standing against the wall of a church on the shore
Have you sensed your womb resounding?

jism sau baar jale tab bhi wahi mitte ka dhela
rooh ek bar jalegi to woh kundan hogi

Rooh daekhi hai, kabhi rooh ko mahsoos kiya hai?

The body, burnt a hundred times, is still a clod of earth
The soul, burnt once, becomes gold
Have you seen the soul, ever sensed it?

15 thoughts on “Rooh dekhi hai kabhi”

  1. was listening some old songs written by Gulzer where they randomly placed some of his poem also. and this “ruh dekhe hain kavi” lead me here. thank you so much for your beautiful article and the super translation of the poem!

    Liked by 1 person

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