Tagore, Rabindranath - Song XIII to XX, Gitanjali
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The song that I came to sing remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing and in unstringing my
The time has not come true, the words have not been rightly set;
only there is the agony of wishing in my heart.
The blossom has not opened; only the wind is sighing by.
I have not seen his face, nor have I listened to his voice; only
I have heard his gentle footsteps from the road before my house.
The livelong day has passed in spreading his seat on the floor;
but the lamp has not been lit and I cannot ask him into my house.
I live in the hope of meeting with him; but this meeting is not
My desires are many and my cry is pitiful, but ever didst thou
save me by hard refusals; and this strong mercy has been wrought
into my life through and through.
Day by day thou art making me worthy of the simple, great gifts
that thou gavest to me unasked--this sky and the light, this body
and the life and the mind--saving me from perils of overmuch
There are times when I languidly linger and times when I awaken
and hurry in search of my goal; but cruelly thou hidest thyself
from before me.
Day by day thou art making me worthy of thy full acceptance by
refusing me ever and anon, saving me from perils of weak,
I am here to sing thee songs. In this hall of thine I have a
In thy world I have no work to do; my useless life can only break
out in tunes without a purpose.
When the hour strikes for thy silent worship at the dark temple
of midnight, command me, my master, to stand before thee to sing.
When in the morning air the golden harp is tuned, honour me,
commanding my presence.
I have had my invitation to this world's festival, and thus my
life has been blessed. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard.
It was my part at this feast to play upon my instrument, and I
have done all I could.
Now, I ask, has the time come at last when I may go in and see
thy face and offer thee my silent salutation?
I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his
hands. That is why it is so late and why I have been guilty of
They come with their laws and their codes to bind me fast; but I
Evade them ever, for I am only waiting for love to give myself up
at last into his hands.
People blame me and call me heedless; I doubt not they are right
in their blame.
The market day is over and work is all done for the busy. Those
who came to call me in vain have gone back in anger. I am only
waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.
Clouds heap upon clouds and it darkens. Ah, love, why dost thou
let me wait outside at the door all alone?
In the busy moments of the noontide work I am with the crowd, but
on this dark lonely day it is only for thee that I hope.
If thou showest me not thy face, if thou leavest me wholly aside,
I know not how I am to pass these long, rainy hours.
I keep gazing on the far-away gloom of the sky, and my heart
wanders wailing with the restless wind.
If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and
endure it. I will keep still and wait like the night with starry
vigil and its head bent low with patience.
The morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish, and thy
voice pour down in golden streams breaking through the sky.
Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of my
birds' nests, and thy melodies will break forth in flowers in all
my forest groves.
On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from
my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it
seemed to me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking
for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that
this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own