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Can you solve these riddles of Khusrau?

Here is a sampler of Khusrau's Hindvi Pahelis collected from various sources. Although their answers are also given here, many riddles carry the answers/clues within. See how many of them you can solve without seeing the answers.

In these riddles you will find certain symbols that Khusrau is obsessed with, for instance naar (woman) which in Arabic/Persian also means fire. He plays around with both meanings of this and many other such words in various ways. If you know Urdu/Hindi and Persian well, you will discover many such word-acrobatics in these riddles.

Ek guni nay yeh gun.......

Ek guni nay yeh gun keena,
Hariyal pinjray mein dedeena;
Dekho jadoogar ka kamaal,
Daalay hara, nikaalay laal.

One trickster performed this trick,
Inserted a (green) parrot into the cage;
Oh, what an act the sorcerer shows,
Puts in green, takes out red !

Bheetar chilmun, baahar chilmun, beech kaleja dhadkay,
Amir Khusrau yun kahay woh do do ungal sarkay.

A screen inside, a screen outside, a pounding heart in between,
Says Amir Khusrau, its moving inch by inch.


Ujjal ateet moti barani, paayi kabnt diyay moye dharani,
Jahaan dhari wahan nahin paayi, haat bajaar sabhay dhoondh aayi;
Aye sakhi ab keejay ka? Pi maangay to deejay kya?

He found some beautiful, sparkling pearls,
and gave them to me to keep,
But alas, I can’t find them now where I kept,
Have searched every corner, even in the bazaar;
What to do, Oh my friend?
What will I give, when the beloved asks?

Apnay samaye mein ek naar aaye,
Tuk dekhay aur phir chhup jaaye;
Mohey achambha aawat aisay,
Jal mein agni basat hay kaisay.

Sometimes I see a woman,
She peeps in and then disappears.
I get amazed –
How can water contain such fire in it?
(Note the double meaning of the word naar -
in Hindvi, a woman and in Persian/Arabic: fire)

Ek purukh hai sundar moorat...

Ek purukh hay sunder moorat, jo dekhay woh usi ki soorat;
Fikr paheli paayi na, boojhan laaga aayi na.

This fellow is beautiful like an idol,
whoever sees him, looks like him;
Haven’t understood this riddle,
am guessing but can’t figure out.
(Note: The last two words aayi na have the answer in them.)

Bani rangeeli sharam ki baat, bay mausam aayi barsaat ;
Yehi achambha mujh ko aaye, khushi ke din kyon roti jaaye.

All dressed up colourfully, a little shy; but a rain without the season,
This is what baffles me, what makes her cry on a happy day?

Gupt ghao tan main lagyo aur jiya rahat bechayn,
Okhad khaaye dukh badhey, so karo sakhi kachu bayn.

My body is inflicted with an invisible wound, my heart is restless,
The medicine (Okhad) only increases the pain,
do something oh my dear.


Ek naari mein jab nar jaaye,
Kaala munh kar ultaa aaye;
Chhati ghaao apni sahay,
Man ke bachan par aaye kahay.

When this man goes into the woman,
Comes out with a tarnished (blackened) face,
Even the chest has to tolerate the wounds,
But at least, the words of the heart get expressed.

Bidhna nay ek purkh banaya,
Tiriya di aur naeh lagaya;
Chook huee kuch wa say aisee,
Des chod hua pardesee.

God created the man,
Provided him body and soul;
But alas the man committed a mistake,
Had to leave home and be a foreigner.

Nar naari kehlaati hai,
aur bin warsha jal jati hai;
Purkh say aaway purkh mein jaai,
na di kisi nay boojh bataai.

Is known by both masculine and feminine names,
And lightens up (or burns up) without rain;
Originates from a man and goes into a man,
But no one has been able to guess what it is.

(This riddle is full of puns and various interesting clues playing around with the gender of the object. Knowledge of Hindi, Urdu would be helpful in solving it. Note, for instance, the word jal of the jal jaati hai in second line could mean burning as well as water in Hindi. Similarly, if you read the first two words in the last line together, you might get the answer to this riddle.)

Ek naari kay sir par hai naar,
Pi ki lagan main khadi laachar;
Sees chuve aur chalay na jor,
Ro ro kar woh karay hai bhor.

A woman carries fire on her head,
Hopelessly waiting for her lover;
Her body melting, can’t seem to control herself.
Crying, crying till its dawn.

Pawan chalat weh dehe badhavay
Jal peevat weh jeev ganvavay
Hai weh piyari sundar naar,
Naar nahin par hai weh naar.

With the blow of wind she flares up,
And dies as soon as she drinks water;
Even though she is a pretty woman,
She’s not a woman, though she’s feminine.
(both Arabic and Hindi meanings of word Naar apply here)

Baala tha jab.....

Baala tha jab sab ko bhaaya
Bada huva kachu kaam na aaya,
Khusrau keh diya uska naav (naam)
Arth karo nahin chaado gaanv.

When young, he was loved by everyone,
Grew up, and was of no use;
Khusrau has already told his name,
Guess it, or leave the town.
(Answer is hidden in the third line.)

Saawan bhaadon bahut chalat hai
Maagh poos mein thodi,
Amir Khusrau yun kahay,
Tu boojh paheli mori.

It moves mostly in the rains,
Not much in winter, summer;
So says Amir Khusrau,
You solve this riddle of mine.
(Again, the last word in the last line is the clue)

Bison ka sir kaat liya....

Beeson ka sir kaat liya,
Naa maara naa khun kiya.

It has beheaded twenties of people,
But neither killed nor shed any blood.
(Two words in the second line, if put together, have the answer)

You will soon see more riddles of Khusrau here. In fact if you know any rare Khusrau Paheli, you could contribute it. Even new creative Pahelis based on Khusrau's formulae would be welcomed. Did you check out the Dosukhnay, and Keh Mukarnis of Khusrau?

[ Khusrau's Hindvi - An Academic Riddle ] [ Riddles in Devanagri ]

Yousuf Saeed, 2005