Tagore, Rabindranath - Song VIII to XI, Gitanjali
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The child who is decked with prince's robes and who has jewelled
chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play; his dress
hampers him at every step.
In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust he keeps
himself from the world, and is afraid even to move.
Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keep one
shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of
the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.
O Fool, try to carry thyself upon thy own shoulders! O beggar,
to come beg at thy own door!
Leave all thy burdens on his hands who can bear all, and never
look behind in regret.
Thy desire at once puts out the light from the lamp it touches
with its breath. It is unholy--take not thy gifts through its
unclean hands. Accept only what is offered by sacred love.
Here is thy footstool and there rest thy feet where live the
poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
When I try to bow to thee, my obeisance cannot reach down to the
depth where thy feet rest among the poorest, and lowliest, and
Pride can never approach to where thou walkest in the clothes of
the humble among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
My heart can never find its way to where thou keepest company
with the companionless among the poorest, the lowliest, and the
Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost
thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors
all shut? Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!
He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where
the pathmaker is breaking stones. He is with them in sun and in
shower, and his garment is covered with dust. Put off thy holy
mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!
Deliverance? Where is this deliverance to be found? Our master
himself has joyfully taken upon him the bonds of creation; he is
bound with us all for ever.
Come out of thy meditations and leave aside thy flowers and
incense! What harm is there if thy clothes become tattered and
stained? Meet him and stand by him in toil and in sweat of thy