Lesson 96: Saadi- Bani Ādam Part 2

In this lesson, we'll go over the first part of the poem bani ādam and learn the individual words and phrases of this section of the poem.

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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

Hello and welcome to Lesson 96 of Chai and Conversation! In the last lesson, we went over the poem bani Adam by Sa’adi with Muhammad Ali of Persian poetics. In this lesson, we’re going to go over all the words and phrases in the poem individually. In addition to learning their meanings in the context of the poem, we’ll learn how they relate to present day Persian and how to use some of them in every day conversation.

 

One of the most important parts of this lesson is that in addition to learning the meanings of these words and phrases, I want you to memorize this poem. Bani Adam in particular is one of the most famous poems in the Persian language, and almost all Iranians have it memorized. It’s a simple poem that really gets to the heart of what it is to be a human. In the west, we have this idea of individuality, of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, this myth of the lone hero- this poem really dismantles and shatters that notion. It contends that really, we’re all part of the same being, and that if one human is hurting, all of manking is hurting- and I think that’s a lovely message to think about at any time. And it also gets to the heart of why we learn languages too- to understand one another, to close the gap between humans. Understanding another language is a way to be a little less alone- and ater the last couple years we’ve had I think we can all use a little bit of that. 

 

But getting back to memorization- not only is this a particularly important poem to memorize, but memorizing poetry will also really help with your language skills. Memorizing these words and phrases will add them to your language toolbelt, and you’ll be able to use them in conversation much more easily. 

 

Before we get started with the lesson, I want to remind you that this audio lesson is only one part of our learning system- if you go to our website at chaiandconversation.com, you’ll be able to sign up for a free trial membership to our complete learning system. By being a member, you’ll get access to the PDF guide we’ve created for the lesson which includes the poem in English phonetic as well as in Persian script, along with a translation of the poem by Persian Poetics. In addition, we provide an audio vocabulary list of the lesson where you’ll be able to listen to it line by line, word by word, to make sure you completely understand it. And much much more! So enjoy!

 

So let’s begin by listening to the entire poem read by my aunt Farnaz, who has a beautiful poetry reading voice. 

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

Wonderful. So we’ll now go over this poem two lines by two lines to really understand the words and phrases in the poem. We’re going to do something a little different than we’ve done in other poetry podcasts. We’ll go over the entire poem in this lesson, and then in the next lesson, we’re going to review and memorize the poem together. The next episode will be a kind of quiz episode to make sure you’ve memorized each word and each line, so that you can recite the poem from memory at any time.

 

So again, let’s listen to the first two lines of the poem:

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Ok to start, one of the most famous openers of any poem. Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand. So, like Muhammad Ali pointed out in the last episode, sometimes the last word in the opening line is ‘paykarand’ and sometimes it’s ‘deegarand’- We’ll go over both of these and both of their meanings. So first bani adam. The word adam in Persian means person, human. It literally comes from Adam, of Adam and Eve, so the first human. And this is interesting because Persian is not a gendered language, we don’t even use pronouncs. But in this case, the word Adam is woman and man- humankind. So bani adam means something along the lines of the offspring of. It’s often translated as ‘the children of adam’. So the descendents. This word bani is not used in modern Persian- I’ve never heard it used in conversation. Bani adam

 

Bani adam

 

So when I say a word or phrase, I’m going to pause, and I want you to repeat it out loud after me. So Bani adam

 

Bani adam

 

And the word for person is just adam

 

Adam

 

And that is used in modern Persian. Adam

 

Adam

 

Next, the word azayé. So azā is a plural of the word ozv which we’ll hear later in the poem, and it means members, as in members of an organization or members of a group. Azā

 

Azā

 

Let’s learn the next two words in this first line of the poem to learn what they all mean together. Yek paykarand is the last two words, and this basically means one body. Yek is simply the word for one. Yek

 

Yek

 

And paykar is the word for a body, as in, for instance, when a sculptor creates a statue of a human, the trunk of the human, or the, you know, body, like chest, middle area, that’s the paykar- the essence, the trunk, the body. Yek paykar means one body. Yek paykar

 

Yek paykar

 

Now that we know the individual words, let’s go back to the full phrase- azayé yek paykarand. So we have quite a few extra sounds than what we learned here. First of all, translated this means, they are members of the same body. 

 

When we add the yé to the end to the word aza, we’re signaling that we’re connecting the word to the next word. This is called an ezāfé in the Persian language and you’ll see it a lot. So azayé yek paykarand shows that you’re connected azā, meaning member to yek paykar which means one body. Azayeh yek paykar means members of the same body. Let’s repeat that azayeh yek paykar

 

Azayeh yek paykar

 

There’s one final sound though, it’s not azayeh yek paykar, it’s azayeh yek paykarand. The and is the third person conjugation for to be. So azayeh yek paykarand is actually- they are members of the same body. Azayeh yek paykarand

 

Azayeh yek paykardand 

 

So this is all a tad complicated- we’re learning a lot concepts here. But, I just want you to hear the explanation once and just memorize it. If you want to go more into the verb ‘to be’, listen to Lesson 21 of Chai and conversation. And for more on the concept of ezafe, listen to Lesson 24. There we go super in depth. For now though, it’s good to just get an understanding of the words, and to memorize them, and that is a great step in getting to understand them. So again, the full sentence, bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

 

Now like I said, this is one of the ways this poem is shown, sometimes it’s bani adam azayeh yek deegarand. Yek deegar means each other. Yek deegar

 

Yek deegar

 

So this is saying children of adam are limbs of each other. Bani adam azayeh yek deegarand

 

Bani adam azayeh yek deegarand

 

So it’s the same meaning- we are all children of the same essence- we’re all related to each other. And it has the same rhythm and rhyme, and you’ll hear both versions equally. For purposes of this podcast we’re going to learn yek paykarand. Yek paykarand

 

Yek paykarand

 

Ok, let’s move on to the second sentence:

 

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Great, so Persian poetics translated this as ‘for in creation, from one soul they came’- if we want to translate it a bit more literally it would be- that in creation, they are of one soul or essence. 

 

So let’s go over it word by word- ké means that. Ke

 

Ke

 

And this is a very common word in the Persian language. Ké

 

 

Dar is the word for in. Dar

 

Dar

 

Again, a very common word, used all the time today. In or inside. Dar

 

Dar

 

Next is afareenesh. This means ‘in the creation of’. The word afareen by itself means creation. Afareen

 

Afareen

 

And when you say afareenesh, it means ‘creation of’. So the esh stands in for of. Ke dar afareenesh together means ‘that in the creation of’. Ke dar afareenesh

 

Ke dar afareenesh

 

And it’s referring to paykar, to the body. So it’s saying, children of adam are of the same being, the creation of that being is of one essence. So let’s go back to our second sentence- ke dar afareenesh ze yek goharand. So ze in hear is actually a short version of the word az which means of. Az

 

Az

 

And in this poem- zé

 

 

You’ll see this in persian poetry all the time, where they shorten the word az or from to zé in order to make the rhythm work correctly. Finally we have ‘yek goharand’. So yek is simple enough- we had it in the last sentence, and it just means one. Yek

 

Yek

 

And gohar is an interesting word- it can mean jewel, and is used for a woman’s name too- gohar

 

Gohar

 

And here it means essence, or soul. So it all has the same meaning in Persian- gem, jewel, essence, soul. Gohar

 

Gohar

 

And just like in the last part, we said the -and at the end is the conjugation of ‘to be’, same here- zé yek goharand means they are of one essence. Zé yek goharand

 

Ze yek goharand

 

So very similar to the first line. Ke dar afareenesh ze yek goharand- that in their creation they are of one essence. Let’s say the whole thing together- ke dar afareenesh ze yek goharand

 

Ke dar afareenesh ze yek goharand

 

So now let’s listen to these two lines again together:

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

All right wonderful! So nice repeating structure there in that first part. Let’s listen now to the next two lines of the poem:

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

 

Wonderful. Ok, beginning with the first line, let’s go over the whole meaning- Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

 

So first the word ‘chō’, means that or if. Another way to say if is agar

 

Agar

 

In this case, cho means if or in the event of. Cho

 

Cho

 

And now the word ozvee. So, in the first two sentences, we had the word ahza- and we said this is the plural of member, so members. And ozv is just a singular member. Ozv

 

Ozv

 

When we add ee to the end of a word, like ozvee, it becomes ‘a member’. Ozvee

 

Ozvee

 

Next is be dard. Be is the word for to. Be

 

Be

 

And dard is the word for pain. Dard

 

Dard

 

Again, two very common words in current conversational Persian- be dard. To pain. Be dard

 

Be dard

 

Ok, now let’s look at the whole sentence and the whole sentence meaning again- Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

 

Now let’s look at that last word- roozegar. The word rooz by itself means day- rooz

 

Rooz

 

And roozegar is a little hard to translate. It’s like ‘the days’, but more like ‘the times’. It’s a kind of big concept. Roozegar

 

Roozegar

 

And there isn’t a direct translation for it. So be dard avarad roozegar- we’re missing avarad. So ovord is the way we would say brought in modern persian and this is a version of that- avarad roozegar means the times brought. So brought, to bring, avarad. Let’s say this one word- avarad

 

Avarad

 

Be dard avarad- means to bring to pain. Be dard avarad

 

Be dard avarad

 

And be dard avarad roozegar means something like to be brought to pain by the times. Be dard avarad roozegar

 

Be dard avarad roozegar. 

 

Let’s look at the whole thing again- cho ozvee be dard avarad roozegar- so if a member to pain is brought by the times- that would be the literal translation. Cho ozvee be dard avarad roozegar

 

Cho ozvee be dard avarad roozegar

 

Next sentence- Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

So first the word degar. This mean anymore, any longer. Degar

 

Degar

 

And in conversational persian it’s often deegar. Deegar

 

Deegar

 

Or in the poem, degar

 

Degar

 

Next the word ozvhā. We learned ozv means member. Ozvha means members. Ozvha

 

Ozvha

 

Ra is another one of those tricky words to translate in the Persian language. It’s called a direct object marker, and it just is there to show that the previous section is related to the previous section. For the purposes of the poem, this is just something you need to memorize. We talk about the direct object marker in detail in lesson 8 of chai and conversation. So ra

 

Ra

 

So the last word in this sentence is gharar- and this means in balance or at rest. Gharar

 

Gharar

 

And namanad means does not remain. Namanad

 

Namanad

 

So the full sentence is degar ozvha ra namanad gharar- and this means the other members in cannot remain at ease or in balance or at rest. Degar ozvha ra namanad gharar

 

Degar ozvha ra namanad gharar

 

And let’s repeat it one more time:

 

Degar ozvha ra namanad gharar.

 

Ok, let’s listen to the full two sentences again. 

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

Wonderful. Let’s pause to listen to the whole poem again here:

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

Wonderful. At this point, I want you to practice those first two sections of the poem, and really focus on memorizing them and the individual words. If you’d like to reference the other lessons I’ve made in this episode, go to our webpage at chaiandconversation.com/lesson96- I’ll have links to them there. And you can really get more in depth in the concepts of this poem. Next lesson, we’ll go over the last two lines of the poem, and review the whole poem as well. 

 

Again, if you check out the website, the bonus materials for this lesson include being able to listen to the entire poem line by line and also word by word and phrase by phrase. That way, you’ll really commit it to memory. There’s also a pdf guide with all the concept we’ve learned in the lesson, as well as a transcript of this lesson, and much much more.

 

That’s the end of this lesson for now- thanks so much for listening. This episode was edited by Chadwick Wood, and the poem was read by my aunt, Farnaz Nouri. Our theme music is written and performed by Babak Rajabi. Thanks again, and until next time, khodahafez!

 

 

 

LESSON 97

 

Hello and welcome to Lesson 97 of Chai and Conversation! This is part 3 of our study of the poem bani Adam by Sa’adi. Let’s begin by listening to my aunt’s reading of the entire poem:

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

 

At this point, you should be able to understand the first two sections of the poem. These lessons are cumulative, so if you haven’t already, go back and listen to Lesson 94 and 95 as well to really get a grasp on the poem so far. 

 

So now let’s get right to the last two lines.

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

Ok, first this word to. To means you in the persian language. Like in many other language, Persian has a formal and informal version of you. This is the informal version. To

 

To

 

And shoma is the formal version. Shoma

 

Shoma

 

So here, Sa’adi is directly confronting the listener. And referring to them in an informal way- to

 

To

 

Next word is k’az. K’az is actually a combination of two words- ke and az. We’ve had both of these words earlier in the poem. Ke mean that. Ke

 

Ke

 

And az means of. Az

 

Az

 

Remember before we had a version that was just like z’ and that meant az. It was ke dar afarneenesh ze yek goharand- and there ze actually stood in for az. In this case, k’az is used to have just one syllable which fits in with the poem here. K’az. 

 

K’az

 

Next is mehnat. Mehnat is the word for pain or difficulty. Mehnat

 

Mehnat

 

Another word for this in Persian is sakhtee. Sakhtee

 

Sakhtee

 

And this also means difficult. So it someone is going through pain or difficulty, you call it mehnat

 

Mehnat

 

So we have mehnate deegaree. Deegaree means an other. Deegaree

 

Deegaree

 

So another person. Literally this means an other, but it’s referring to another soul, another person- deegaree

 

Deegaree

 

Mehnateh deegaree means the difficult of another person. Remember we have that e sound in there to connect the two- it’s saying ‘who’s difficulty are we talking about? An other’s difficulty’- the e helps to bind those two words together- mehnateh deegaree

 

Mehnateh deegaree

 

The pain suffering or difficulty of another. Mehnateh deegaree

 

Mehnateh deegaree

 

Finally in this sentence is bee ghamee. Bee means without. Bee

 

Bee

 

And gham is the word for sorrow. Gham

 

Gham

 

Gh is one of those sounds in the Persian language that isn’t in the English language- it’s one that you just have to practice until you get it. Gh gh gh

 

Gh gh gh

 

So this word, sorry, is gham

 

Gham

 

And the ee at the end, gham-ee is actually the second person conjugation for to be. So bee ghamee together means you are without sorrow. Bee ghamee

 

Bee ghamee

 

This is how the verb to be works in the persian language- it comes at the end of the word like that. To say I’m without sorrow, for instance, I’d say bee ghamam

 

Bee ghamam

 

Or he is without sorry- bee ghameh

 

Bee ghameh

 

But again we have bee ghamee, meaning you, informal, are without sorry. Bee ghamee

 

Bee ghamee

 

You can learn more about this verb and all its conjugations in lesson 21. Nut again let’s listen to this whole phrase again- 

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

 

So he says you who are without sorry at the pain of others. So you have no empathy. Let’s repeat all this again- to k’az mehnate deegaran bee ghamee

 

To k’az mehnate deegarn bee ghamee

 

And final sentence:

 

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

So the first word in this phrase is nashayad

 

Nashayad

 

And this means it’s not worthy- the word shayesteh is in there, which means deserving or worthy- shayesteh

 

Shayesteh

 

So nashayad means its not worthy- nashayad

 

Nashayad

 

Next, namat- nam means name. nam

 

Nam

 

Namat means your name. Namat

 

Namat

 

So the -at at the end signifies that he’s referring to you, informal- namat

 

Namat

 

And nahand means they put or they place. Nahand

 

Nahand

 

So namat nahand means they wouldn’t put your name- or they wouldn’t give you the name- what name? adamee. And again with this we go to the very first sentence- bani adam- adam meant human. So adamee, human kind. Adamee

 

Adamee

 

So the full sentence- nashayad ke namat nahand adamee becomes you’re not worthy of them giving you the name humanbeing, pretty much. Let’s say this all together-

 

Nashayad ke namat nahand adamee

 

Now this last sentence is not at all the way we would say anything in conversational persian now- it’s very poetic speaking. The only word we really recognize in there that is simple is ke, which means that- keh

 

Keh

 

So let’s say the full thing together- nashayad keh namat nahand adamee

 

Nashayad keh namat nahand adamee

 

So again, you’re not worthy of being given the name human. Nashayad keh namat nahand adamee

 

Nashayad keh namat nahand adamee.

 

So now again, let’s listen to those last two sentences:

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

 

So these last two sentences are directly addressing the listener in an accusatory way- saying you who are ignorant of others pain, you’re not worthy of them giving you the title of human being.

 

Let’s now hear my aunt read the entire poem. Hopefully you’ll understand the full thing now: 

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

 

So now we’ve gone over all the individual words and phrases of this poem. Now what I want to do is go over it together again line by line, and then two lines at a time. The best way to do this is to follow along with your pdf guide. You can find that on our website at chaiandconversation.com/lesson97

 

So, I’m going to read each sentence one by one, and I’d like you to repeat it out loud after me:

 

Bani adam azayeh yek paykarand

Ké dar āfareenesh zé yek goharand

 

Chō ozvee bé dard āvarad roozégār

Degar ozvhā rā namānad gharār

 

Tō k’az mehnaté deegarān bee ghamee

Nashāyad ké nāmat nahand ādamee

 

And hopefully now, after having heard each of these words and phrases, it’s a little easier for you to repeat and have confidence in your pronunciation!

 

So at this point, I want you to go practice this poem line by line by using the resources on the website. You can click on each individual word and phrase on the bonus materials of the website at chaiandconversation.com/lesson97. If you’re not a member already, you can get a free 30 day trial membership to our website and have access to all the resources you need to learn this poem as well as tons of other persian language learning materials on our website. 

 

After you’ve learned the poem, please take a video of yourself reciting it in a beautiful location and send it to me at leyla@chaiandconversation.com- we love getting your videos- it really means so much when the community comes together and shares reading such lovely poetry. 

 

And until next time, thanks so much for listening. Chadwick Wood edited this podcast. My dear aunt Farnaz Nouri read the poem in this episode. Babak Rajabi composed and performed our theme music. And until next time- I’m your host, Leyla Shams. Khodahafez!