Tagore, Rabindranath - Song XXXXXXX to XXXXXXXIX, Gitanjali
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Thy sunbeam comes upon this earth of mine with arms outstretched
and stands at my door the livelong day to carry back to thy feet
clouds made of my tears and sighs and songs.
With fond delight thou wrappest about thy starry breast that
mantle of misty cloud, turning it into numberless shapes and
folds and colouring it with hues everchanging.
It is so light and so fleeting, tender and tearful and dark, that
is why thou lovest it, O thou spotless and serene. And that is
why it may cover thy awful white light with its pathetic shadows.
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the
earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous
waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of
life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my
blood this moment.
Is it beyond thee to be glad with the gladness of this rhythm?
to be tossed and lost and broken in the whirl of this fearful
All things rush on, they stop not, they look not behind, no power
can hold them back, they rush on.
Keeping steps with that restless, rapid music, seasons come
dancing and pass away--colours, tunes, and perfumes pour in
endless cascades in the abounding joy that scatters and gives up
and dies every moment.
That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, thus
casting coloured shadows on thy radiance--such is thy _maya_.
Thou settest a barrier in thine own being and then callest thy
severed self in myriad notes. This thy self-separation has taken
body in me.
The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloured
tears and smiles, alarms and hopes; waves rise up and sink again,
dreams break and form. In me is thy own defeat of self.
This screen that thou hast raised is painted with innumerable
figures with the brush of the night and the day. Behind it thy
seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, casting away all
barren lines of straightness.
The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky. With
the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant, and all ages pass
with the hiding and seeking of thee and me.
He it is, the innermost one, who awakens my being with his deep
He it is who puts his enchantment upon these eyes and joyfully
plays on the chords of my heart in varied cadence of pleasure and
He it is who weaves the web of this _maya_ in evanescent
hues of gold and silver, blue and green, and lets peep out
through the folds his feet, at whose touch I forget myself.
Days come and ages pass, and it is ever he who moves my heart in
many a name, in many a guise, in many a rapture of joy and of
Deliverance is not for me in renunciation. I feel the embrace of
freedom in a thousand bonds of delight.
Thou ever pourest for me the fresh draught of thy wine of various
colours and fragrance, filling this earthen vessel to the brim.
My world will light its hundred different lamps with thy flame
and place them before the altar of thy temple.
No, I will never shut the doors of my senses. The delights of
sight and hearing and touch will bear thy delight.
Yes, all my illusions will burn into illumination of joy, and all
my desires ripen into fruits of love.
The day is no more, the shadow is upon the earth. It is time
that I go to the stream to fill my pitcher.
The evening air is eager with the sad music of the water. Ah, it
calls me out into the dusk. In the lonely lane there is no
passer-by, the wind is up, the ripples are rampant in the river.
I know not if I shall come back home. I know not whom I shall
chance to meet. There at the fording in the little boat the
unknown man plays upon his lute.
Thy gifts to us mortals fulfil all our needs and yet run back to
The river has its everyday work to do and hastens through fields
and hamlets; yet its incessant stream winds towards the washing
of thy feet.
The flower sweetens the air with its perfume; yet its last
service is to offer itself to thee.
Thy worship does not impoverish the world.
From the words of the poet men take what meanings please them;
yet their last meaning points to thee.
Day after day, O lord of my life, shall I stand before thee face
to face. With folded hands, O lord of all worlds, shall I stand
before thee face to face.
Under thy great sky in solitude and silence, with humble heart
shall I stand before thee face to face.
In this laborious world of thine, tumultuous with toil and with
struggle, among hurrying crowds shall I stand before thee face to
And when my work shall be done in this world, O King of kings,
alone and speechless shall I stand before thee face to face.