Unraveling the Mysteries of Shahida Shabnum ‘Knot By Knot’: A Spiritual Echo

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TOUSIF RAZA

Indeed it feels as if her poetry is akin to pages gifted by the energies of nature, unravelling the mysteries hidden within. But before moving ahead in this poem let me open up with this statement “I am astounded by how the divine has nurtured Shahida Shabnum with eternal symbols, creating a path of spiritual journey adorned with both thorns and grace.” Today reading her poem “Knot By Knot”, I am repeatedly glad by the sense that she seeks a light, a light that harbors countless spiritual secrets. After delving into her poem it weaves into my heart a realization of the sheer gift bestowed by the forces of nature. I won’t halt this delightful spiritual journey, but I’d love for you to explore the secrets within this beautifully poetic passage before continuing forward. So that in the taste of the journey, not even an iota of richness feels amiss so let’s read the poem

“Knot by Knot, I counted the knots,
The knots of the ascetic’s hem.
All that I gained was only jingle,
I spoke in gesture to open,
The doors of secrets,
He echoed back, Jingle, jingle, jingle.”

This poem, “Knot by Knot,” intricately weaves a narrative that hints at the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. The phrase “Knot by Knot” symbolizes the meticulous, step-by-step journey towards unraveling the secrets and understanding, much like the careful untying of knots possessing truth hidden behind the secrets of spirit. It represents a deliberate, patient approach to unraveling the mysteries of existence, love, and love where each knot signifies a step closer to the enlightened destiny of a spiritual journey.

The ascetic’s hem serves as a powerful metaphor for mentor directing as a path maker for a life dedicated to asceticism, renunciation, and spiritual practice. The ascetic, often associated with wisdom and profound insights, embodies a quest for divine truths. The speaker, eager to gain wisdom and unlock the secrets held within the ascetic’s demeanor, counts each knot on the ascetic’s garment. This act embodies a reverence for the spiritual knowledge believed to be contained within each knot, signifying the earnest pursuit of understanding the divine.

However, the outcome of this meticulous counting of knots yields unexpected results. Rather than profound revelations or deep insights, all the speaker encounters is a mere “jingle.” This outcome contrasts sharply with the anticipation built through the patient’s process of counting knots. This juxtaposition highlights the discrepancy between the effort invested in seeking wisdom and the seemingly trivial or enigmatic nature of the received knowledge.

The repetition of “jingle, jingle, jingle” echoes the disappointment or surprise experienced by the seeker. It suggests that the wisdom sought after is not easily revealed or comprehended. Instead, the answers received are simple, cryptic, or perhaps even elusive, represented by the repeated sound of a jingle. This paradoxical outcome challenges the conventional expectations of gaining profound knowledge through diligent effort.

The poem may thus imply that the pursuit of spiritual wisdom is not always straightforward. It might not be attained through linear, logical means or the accumulation of external symbols, such as counting knots. Rather, true enlightenment might lie in the subtle, cryptic messages that echo back in response to our seeking—a sort of divine riddle or invitation to deeper contemplation.

In essence, “Knot by Knot” conveys the idea that the quest for spiritual understanding involves patience, dedication, and a willingness to interpret subtle messages beyond the surface. It invites us to embrace the complexity and enigmatic nature of divine wisdom, which often transcends conventional expectations and requires a deeper level of introspection and interpretation.

The poetess attempts to convey through the rhythm and melody of her poem that both instrumental and vocal forms, represented in the form of “jingle,” serve as a means to express that music, too, is a gift from God, carrying within it the mysteries of divine unity and uniqueness. Every word of this verse guides the reader, exploring that from the cooing of a dove to the roar of a lion, from the strings of a Santoor to the jingle of anklets, no sound exists devoid of the presence of God’s unity and uniqueness. It’s a journey from the tangible structure to the spiritual essence, unraveling the secrets concealed within.

This beautiful and esthetic poem serves as a multidimensional inspiration, urging a silent individual to confront his inner self upon the impulse to speak. The seeker, adopting the role of a poet, implores the mentor to unveil the secrets within, seeking familiarity with the hidden echoes. The mentor responds with guidance, stating that every person harbors a concealed voice, persistently beckoning them toward self-awareness. From the rise of its inception to the pinnacle of its existence, all secrets lie within this beckoning call. One can only decipher these enigmas by acquainting themselves with their own concealed voices. Moreover, this piece delivers a lesson in fortifying the bond with the mentor, promising an understanding of secrets. It emphasizes that the revelation of these mysteries is contingent upon befriending these hidden echoes and establishing a resilient connection.

This profound poem addresses a Sufi, urging him to move ahead and unravel the secrets intricately woven by his murshid as hidden treasures within the depth of spirituality. It also encourages him to explore new dimensions, the dimensions that are beyond consciousness, delving into the mysteries concealed within, accessible only through the instrument chosen specifically for light-seeking. While these secrets are revealed through the instrument of echoes, it is essential to abide by the conditions predetermined by the orchestrator of these enigmatic secrets, protecting the essence of the mystical journey. The significance of echo as an instrument in the philosophy of love is likened to the soul within the body, making it impossible to articulate every secret, yet the poet, Jingle, understands the visible and hidden aspects of these mysteries. Hence, the brevity of words encapsulates profound depths, saluting the pen that crafted this poem with such eloquence.

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