Tagore, Rabindranath - Song XXXXXX to XXXXXXIX, Gitanjali
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Let all the strains of joy mingle in my last song--the joy that
makes the earth flow over in the riotous excess of the grass, the
joy that sets the twin brothers, life and death, dancing over the
wide world, the joy that sweeps in with the tempest, shaking and
waking all life with laughter, the joy that sits still with its
tears on the open red lotus of pain, and the joy that throws
everything it has upon the dust, and knows not a word.
Yes, I know, this is nothing but thy love, O beloved of my heart--
this golden light that dances upon the leaves, these idle clouds
sailing across the sky, this passing breeze leaving its coolness
upon my forehead.
The morning light has flooded my eyes--this is thy message to my
heart. Thy face is bent from above, thy eyes look down on my
eyes, and my heart has touched thy feet.
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. The infinite
sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous.
On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts
They build their houses with sand and they play with empty
shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and
smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play
on the seashore of worlds.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl
fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while
children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not
for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
The sea surges up with laughter and pale gleams the smile of the
sea beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the
children, even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle.
The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams
in the pathless sky, ships get wrecked in the trackless water,
death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless
worlds is the great meeting of children.
The sleep that flits on baby's eyes--does anybody know from where
it comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling there,
in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with
glow-worms, there hang two timid buds of enchantment. From there
it comes to kiss baby's eyes.
The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps--does
anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that a
young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a
vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the
dream of a dew-washed morning--the smile that flickers on baby's
lips when he sleeps.
The sweet, soft freshness that blooms on baby's limbs--does
anybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother
was a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent
mystery of love--the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on
When I bring to you coloured toys, my child, I understand why
there is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why
flowers are painted in tints--when I give coloured toys to you,
When I sing to make you dance I truly now why there is music in
leaves, and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart of
the listening earth--when I sing to make you dance.
When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands I know why there
is honey in the cup of the flowers and why fruits are secretly
filled with sweet juice--when I bring sweet things to your greedy
When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling, I surely
understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light,
and what delight that is that is which the summer breeze brings
to my body--when I kiss you to make you smile.
Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou hast
given me seats in homes not my own. Thou hast brought the
distant near and made a brother of the stranger.
I am uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter;
I forget that there abides the old in the new, and that there
also thou abidest.
Through birth and death, in this world or in others, wherever
thou leadest me it is thou, the same, the one companion of my
endless life who ever linkest my heart with bonds of joy to the
When one knows thee, then alien there is none, then no door is
shut. Oh, grant me my prayer that I may never lose the bliss of
the touch of the one in the play of many.
On the slope of the desolate river among tall grasses I asked
her, 'Maiden, where do you go shading your lamp with your mantle?
My house is all dark and lonesome--lend me your light!' she
raised her dark eyes for a moment and looked at my face through
the dusk. 'I have come to the river,' she said, 'to float my
lamp on the stream when the daylight wanes in the west.' I stood
alone among tall grasses and watched the timid flame of her lamp
uselessly drifting in the tide.
In the silence of gathering night I asked her, 'Maiden, your
lights are all lit--then where do you go with your lamp? My
house is all dark and lonesome--lend me your light.' She raised
her dark eyes on my face and stood for a moment doubtful. 'I
have come,' she said at last, 'to dedicate my lamp to the sky.'
I stood and watched her light uselessly burning in the void.
In the moonless gloom of midnight I ask her, 'Maiden, what is
your quest, holding the lamp near your heart? My house is all
dark and lonesome--lend me your light.' She stopped for a minute
and thought and gazed at my face in the dark. 'I have brought my
light,' she said, 'to join the carnival of lamps.' I stood and
watched her little lamp uselessly lost among lights.
What divine drink wouldst thou have, my God, from this
overflowing cup of my life?
My poet, is it thy delight to see thy creation through my eyes
and to stand at the portals of my ears silently to listen to
thine own eternal harmony?
Thy world is weaving words in my mind and thy joy is adding music
to them. Thou givest thyself to me in love and then feelest
thine own entire sweetness in me.
She who ever had remained in the depth of my being, in the
twilight of gleams and of glimpses; she who never opened her
veils in the morning light, will be my last gift to thee, my God,
folded in my final song.
Words have wooed yet failed to win her; persuasion has stretched
to her its eager arms in vain.
I have roamed from country to country keeping her in the core of
my heart, and around her have risen and fallen the growth and
decay of my life.
Over my thoughts and actions, my slumbers and dreams, she reigned
yet dwelled alone and apart.
Many a man knocked at my door and asked for her and turned away
There was none in the world who ever saw her face to face, and
she remained in her loneliness waiting for thy recognition.
Thou art the sky and thou art the nest as well.
O thou beautiful, there in the nest is thy love that encloses the
soul with colours and sounds and odours.
There comes the morning with the golden basket in her right hand
bearing the wreath of beauty, silently to crown the earth.
And there comes the evening over the lonely meadows deserted by
herds, through trackless paths, carrying cool draughts of peace
in her golden pitcher from the western ocean of rest.
But there, where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take
her flight in, reigns the stainless white radiance. There is no
day nor night, nor form nor colour, and never, never a word.