Lesson 76: Khayyam - khosh bāsh, Part 3

 
In this lesson, we go over the following lines of the poem:
chon āghebaté kāré jahān neestee hast
چون عاقِبَتِ کارِ جَهان نیستی اَست
Since the end of the affairs of the world is nothingness
 
engār ké neestee, chō hastee, khosh bāsh
اِنگار کِه نیستی، چو هَستی خوش باش

suppose that you are not,  but while you are, be happy

After you've listened to this lesson, we would love to see videos of you reciting this poem in a beautiful location- please send your videos to leyla@chaiandconversation.com

Andak Andak, a poem by Rumi, and song by Shahram Nazeri, is a wonderful one to listen to about the concept of hastee and neestee.

 


GREETINGS:

salām
hello
سَلام
chetor-ee
how are you?
چِطوری؟

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


ANSWERS:

khoobam
I’m well
خوبَم

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)
testeeeee

Lesson 76

 

Hello and welcome to Lesson 76 of Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation- this is the last discussion of the poem we are calling ‘khosh bash’ by Omar Khayyam. So first, let’s listen to my father reciting the full poem:

 

 Khayyam, agar ze bade mastee, khosh bash

Ba mah rokhee agar neshastee, khosh bash

Chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

Engar keh neestee, cho hastee, khosh bash

 

 

Let’s begin today’s discussion with the word rubaiyat- the book of poetry of Khayyam is referred to as rubaiyateh Khayyam- so this word, rubaiyat refers to the type of poetry Khayyam says, and that is the quatrain. So rubaiyat refers to a 4 line Persian quatrain, and it has either the rhyme scheme AABA or AAAA. A lot of Persian poetry is written in this form, including a lot of Rumi’s poetry. So let’s repeat this together, Rubaiyat

 

rubaiyat

 

And you can see, this poem has an AABA form. So the first, second and fourth lines end with the mantra ‘khosh bash’, and only the third line is different from that. So, since this poem is simple enough, let’s just continue learning the vocabulary and phrases in order- so let’s learn the third line. First let’s listen to my father reading the third line of the poem:

 

Chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

 

I want to start this discussion with talking about the concept of neestee. Neestee is the opposite of hastee, And let’s begin with that one. This is a very important topic in Sufism, that of hastee and neestee. Hastee simply means being. Hastee

 

hastee

 

and neestee, the opposite, means not being. neestee

 

neestee

 

So Sufis use this concept a lot in a spiritual sense. Hastee is the state of presence, of truly being in the world, rather than simply existing. And it’s very much aligned with the concept of breath. If you’re familiar with yoga or Buddhism or any of these practices, this will be familiar to you as well. Or even the famous Shakespeare quote, to be or not to be, that is the question. In Sufism, and by extension in Persian poetry, that is the central question. To be or not to be, hastee or neestee. It’s a choice, it’s a practice, it’s a state of living. So again, to be, hastee or not to be, neestee. So again, hastee

 

hastee

 

and neestee

 

neestee

 

And both of these words come up in the second part of this poem. So let’s listen to that third line again

 

Chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

 

So this is fairly modern language, so all these words would be useful in contemporary conversation. Aghebat is the word for ending, or more accurately, for conclusion. Aghebat

 

aghebat

 

And jahan is the word for world. Jahan

 

jahan

 

Kar is the word for work kar

 

kar

 

So put these three together, aghebateh kareh jahan

 

aghebateh kareh jahan

 

And here we have the ezafe linking these words together- ezafe is the ‘e’ sound you hear at the end of the words. Aghebateh kareh jahan

 

aghebateh kareh jahan

 

So the noun is jahan

 

jahan

 

And the ezafe shows that the other two words are linked to the noun jahan. So aghebateh kareh jahan means the conclusion of the work of the world. Aghebateh kareh jahan

 

aghebateh kareh jahan

 

So in other words, the obvious conclusion that the world is working toward. The sentence begins with the word ‘chon’ which means because. Chon

 

chon

 

chon aghebateh kareh jahan

 

chon aghebateh kareh jahan

 

neestee hast. Hast is simply ‘is’, so neestee hast means ‘is to not be’. Neestee hast

 

neestee hast

 

So the full sentence is chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast. All together this means because the conclusion of the work of the word is not being. Chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

 

chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

 

So it’s saying, this world inevitably leads to not being, or in other words, to death. So because eventually you will die and cease to be. Chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

 

chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

 

All right next sentence:

 

 

Engar keh neestee, cho hastee, khosh bash

 

And there’s those two words again, neestee and hastee, to not be and to be. Engar is simply translated as ‘as if.’ Engar

 

engar

 

and keh means that. Very useful word in conversation. Keh

 

keh

 

Engar keh neestee

 

engar keh neestee

 

and here, neestee is a little different- it’s the second person conjugation of to not be. so neestee means you are not. Neestee

 

neestee

 

So engar keh neestee, it’s as if you are not. engar keh neestee

 

engar keh neestee

 

So he’s saying life is short, it’s inevitable that you’ll die, so it’s as if you’re already dead. Engar keh neestee

 

engar keh neestee

 

It’s as if you’re already not. Engar keh neestee

 

engar keh neestee

 

Next he says, cho hastee, khosh bash. Cho is a poetic way of saying chon, which we heard before in chon aghebateh kareh jahan. Again, here it means because. Chon

 

chon

 

And here, he drops the n because again, the Persian language is very flexible, and you can play with words like that. Cho hastee, because you are, cho hastee

 

cho hastee

 

So here again, hastee is the second person conjugation for to be. You are, hastee. hastee

 

hastee

 

and cho hastee, khosh bash, means because you are, be content. cho hastee, khosh bash

 

cho hastee, khosh bash

 

So the full sentence all together says ‘engar keh neestee, cho hastee, khosh bash’. This means, it’s as if you aren’t, because you are, be content.’ So in other words, it’s as if you’re already dead, but because you’re not dead, be content! So the sheer fact that you are alive and breathing, just that fact alone should give you joy, should give you contentment. Let’s repeat this last line together, engar keh neestee, cho hastee khosh bash.

 

engar keh neestee, cho hastee khosh bash.

 

So we mentioned in the last lesson with Fared, there is the concept of near death experiences, where people are so close to dying and it gives them a whole new perspective on life. That’s exactly what Khayyam is saying in these last two lines, he’s saying, eventually you will die, so take for granted that you’re already dead- realize that you are living and breathing, and this alone should make you happy. Again, I think of no simpler and no more beautiful of a message for us all to remember!

 

We’re going to hear my father recite the full poem one more time- and this time you’ll be able to understand every word of the poem. All of the poems we’ve been learning so far have been extremely special to us, and we’d love for you to learn them all. However, if you’re going to focus on only one, I hope that this one is it, because again, it’s simple, and it’s so applicable to everyone. And it’s a perfect one to memorize- short and sweet. So once you do, please film yourself reciting it in a beautiful location, and send it to leyla@chaiandconversation.com . We’ll also link to that email address on the show notes for the lesson. Also, if you’re not already a member of Chai and Conversation, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial on our website- that way you can listen to this poem line by line as you’re memorizing it, and see the words written out phonetically in English, which is also super helpful in truly learning it.  We have only one concluding lesson left in Unit 7, our poetry unit. We’ll come back to poetry soon, but we have a few other projects up our sleeves which we’ll be announcing soon!

 

So without further ado, let’s listen to my father recite the whole poem:

 

 

 Khayyam, agar ze bade mastee, khosh bash

Ba mah rokhee agar neshastee, khosh bash

Chon aghebateh kareh jahan neestee hast

Engar keh neestee, cho hastee, khosh bash