Khwaja Mir Dard is one of the three major poets of the Delhi School — the other two being Mir Taqi Mir and 'Sauda' — who could be called the pillars of the classical Urdu ghazal.
Dard was first and foremost a mystic, a prominent member of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi order, and the head of the Muhammadi path (tariqah muhammadiyah, a Mujaddidi offshoot) in Delhi. He regarded the phenomenal world as a veil of the eternal Reality, and this life as a term of exile from our real home. Dard inherited his mystical temperament from his father, Khwaja Muhammad Nasir Andalib, who was a mystic saint and a poet, and the founder of the Muhammadi path.
Dard received his education in an informal way at home, and in the company of the learned, acquiring in due course a command of Arabic and Persian, as also of Sufi lore. He also developed a deep love of music, possibly, through his association with singers and qawaals who frequented his father's house. He renounced earthly pleasures at the young age of 28, and led a life of piety and humility.
The secret of Dard's appeal as a poet lies not in his mysticism, but in his ability to transmute this mysticism into poetry, and to present transcendental love in terms of human and earthly love. Although he has written ghazals which are unambiguously mystical in their intent, his best couplets can be read at both the secular and spiritual levels, and are, for this reason, acceptable to all and sundry. In addition, Dard had also written ghazals which deal with a patently sensuous and earthly love, and deserve to be classed with the best poetry of this kind. Dard generally excels in short ghazals of about seven to nine verses, written in comparatively short measures. His style is simple, natural and musical; his content, thoughtful and thought-provoking. His poetry includes a collection of Urdu ghazals and a divan in Persian.
Dard's Persian prose works are extensive, consisting of the Ilm ul Kitab, a 600+ page metaphysical work on the philosophy of the Muhammadi path, and the Chahar Risalat, collections of more than a thousand mystical aphorisms and sayings.
"My friend, we've seen enough fine sights, through which we loved to roam.
You stay on to enjoy them; we are ready to go home."