Tagore, Rabindranath - Song XXXX to XXXXIX, Gitanjali
Type of Spiritual Experience
Incidentally I do know that 40 is XL, but it would not have been listed in the right order if I had used this
A description of the experience
As the night keeps hidden in its gloom the petition for light,
even thus in the depth of my unconsciousness rings the cry--'I
want thee, only thee'.
As the storm still seeks its end in peace when it strikes against
peace with all its might, even thus my rebellion strikes against
thy love and still its cry is--'I want thee, only thee'.
When the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower
When grace is lost from life, come with a burst of song.
When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out
from beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and
When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, break
open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy
one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.
The rain has held back for days and days, my God, in my arid
heart. The horizon is fiercely naked--not the thinnest cover of
a soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a distant cool shower.
Send thy angry storm, dark with death, if it is thy wish, and
with lashes of lightning startle the sky from end to end.
But call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat,
still and keen and cruel, burning the heart with dire despair.
Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look
of the mother on the day of the father's wrath.
Where dost thou stand behind them all, my lover, hiding thyself
in the shadows? They push thee and pass thee by on the dusty
road, taking thee for naught. I wait here weary hours spreading
my offerings for thee, while passers-by come and take my flowers,
one by one, and my basket is nearly empty.
The morning time is past, and the noon. In the shade of evening
my eyes are drowsy with sleep. Men going home glance at me and
smile and fill me with shame. I sit like a beggar maid, drawing
my skirt over my face, and when they ask me, what it is I want, I
drop my eyes and answer them not.
Oh, how, indeed, could I tell them that for thee I wait, and that
thou hast promised to come. How could I utter for shame that I
keep for my dowry this poverty. Ah, I hug this pride in the
secret of my heart.
I sit on the grass and gaze upon the sky and dream of the sudden
splendour of thy coming--all the lights ablaze, golden pennons
flying over thy car, and they at the roadside standing agape,
when they see thee come down from thy seat to raise me from the
dust, and set at thy side this ragged beggar girl a-tremble with
shame and pride, like a creeper in a summer breeze.
But time glides on and still no sound of the wheels of thy
chariot. Many a procession passes by with noise and shouts and
glamour of glory. Is it only thou who wouldst stand in the
shadow silent and behind them all? And only I who would wait and
weep and wear out my heart in vain longing?
Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat,
only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this
our pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
In that shoreless ocean, at thy silently listening smile my songs
would swell in melodies, free as waves, free from all bondage of
Is the time not come yet? Are there works still to do? Lo, the
evening has come down upon the shore and in the fading light the
seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off, and the boat, like the
last glimmer of sunset, vanish into the night?
The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee; and
entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd,
unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the signet of eternity
upon many a fleeting moment of my life.
And today when by chance I light upon them and see thy signature,
I find they have lain scattered in the dust mixed with the memory
of joys and sorrows of my trivial days forgotten.
Thou didst not turn in contempt from my childish play among dust,
and the steps that I heard in my playroom are the same that are
echoing from star to star.
This is my delight, thus to wait and watch at the wayside where
shadow chases light and the rain comes in the wake of the summer.
Messengers, with tidings from unknown skies, greet me and speed
along the road. My heart is glad within, and the breath of the
passing breeze is sweet.
From dawn till dusk I sit here before my door, and I know that of
a sudden the happy moment will arrive when I shall see.
In the meanwhile I smile and I sing all alone. In the meanwhile
the air is filling with the perfume of promise.
Have you not heard his silent steps? He comes, comes, ever
Every moment and every age, every day and every night he comes,
comes, ever comes.
Many a song have I sung in many a mood of mind, but all their
notes have always proclaimed, 'He comes, comes, ever comes.'
In the fragrant days of sunny April through the forest path he
comes, comes, ever comes.
In the rainy gloom of July nights on the thundering chariot of
clouds he comes, comes, ever comes.
In sorrow after sorrow it is his steps that press upon my heart,
and it is the golden touch of his feet that makes my joy to
I know not from what distant time thou art ever coming nearer to
meet me. Thy sun and stars can never keep thee hidden from me
In many a morning and eve thy footsteps have been heard and thy
messenger has come within my heart and called me in secret.
I know not only why today my life is all astir, and a feeling of
tremulous joy is passing through my heart.
It is as if the time were come to wind up my work, and I feel in
the air a faint smell of thy sweet presence.
The night is nearly spent waiting for him in vain. I fear lest
in the morning he suddenly come to my door when I have fallen
asleep wearied out. Oh friends, leave the way open to him--
forbid him not.
If the sounds of his steps does not wake me, do not try to rouse
me, I pray. I wish not to be called from my sleep by the
clamorous choir of birds, by the riot of wind at the festival of
morning light. Let me sleep undisturbed even if my lord comes of
a sudden to my door.
Ah, my sleep, precious sleep, which only waits for his touch to
vanish. Ah, my closed eyes that would open their lids only to
the light of his smile when he stands before me like a dream
emerging from darkness of sleep.
Let him appear before my sight as the first of all lights and all
forms. The first thrill of joy to my awakened soul let it come
from his glance. And let my return to myself be immediate return
The morning sea of silence broke into ripples of bird songs; and
the flowers were all merry by the roadside; and the wealth of
gold was scattered through the rift of the clouds while we busily
went on our way and paid no heed.
We sang no glad songs nor played; we went not to the village for
barter; we spoke not a word nor smiled; we lingered not on the
way. We quickened our pace more and more as the time sped by.
The sun rose to the mid sky and doves cooed in the shade.
Withered leaves danced and whirled in the hot air of noon. The
shepherd boy drowsed and dreamed in the shadow of the banyan
tree, and I laid myself down by the water and stretched my tired
limbs on the grass.
My companions laughed at me in scorn; they held their heads high
and hurried on; they never looked back nor rested; they vanished
in the distant blue haze. They crossed many meadows and hills,
and passed through strange, far-away countries. All honour to
you, heroic host of the interminable path! Mockery and reproach
pricked me to rise, but found no response in me. I gave myself
up for lost in the depth of a glad humiliation--in the shadow of
a dim delight.
The repose of the sun-embroidered green gloom slowly spread over
my heart. I forgot for what I had travelled, and I surrendered
my mind without struggle to the maze of shadows and songs.
At last, when I woke from my slumber and opened my eyes, I saw
thee standing by me, flooding my sleep with thy smile. How I had
feared that the path was long and wearisome, and the struggle to
reach thee was hard!