Tagore, Rabindranath - Song XXXXXXXXX to XXXXXXXXXIX, Gitanjali
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Death, thy servant, is at my door. He has crossed the unknown
sea and brought thy call to my home.
The night is dark and my heart is fearful--yet I will take up the
lamp, open my gates and bow to him my welcome. It is thy
messenger who stands at my door.
I will worship him placing at his feet the treasure of my heart.
He will go back with his errand done, leaving a dark shadow on my
morning; and in my desolate home only my forlorn self will remain
as my last offering to thee.
In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of
my room; I find her not.
My house is small and what once has gone from it can never be
But infinite is thy mansion, my lord, and seeking her I have to
come to thy door.
I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky and I lift
my eager eyes to thy face.
I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can
vanish--no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through
Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean, plunge it into the
deepest fullness. Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch in
the allness of the universe.
Deity of the ruined temple! The broken strings of _Vina_
sing no more your praise. The bells in the evening proclaim not
your time of worship. The air is still and silent about you.
In your desolate dwelling comes the vagrant spring breeze. It
brings the tidings of flowers--the flowers that for your worship
are offered no more.
Your worshipper of old wanders ever longing for favour still
refused. In the eventide, when fires and shadows mingle with the
gloom of dust, he wearily comes back to the ruined temple with
hunger in his heart.
Many a festival day comes to you in silence, deity of the ruined
temple. Many a night of worship goes away with lamp unlit.
Many new images are built by masters of cunning art and carried
to the holy stream of oblivion when their time is come.
Only the deity of the ruined temple remains unworshipped in
No more noisy, loud words from me--such is my master's will.
Henceforth I deal in whispers. The speech of my heart will be
carried on in murmurings of a song.
Men hasten to the King's market. All the buyers and sellers are
there. But I have my untimely leave in the middle of the day, in
the thick of work.
Let then the flowers come out in my garden, though it is not
their time; and let the midday bees strike up their lazy hum.
Full many an hour have I spent in the strife of the good and the
evil, but now it is the pleasure of my playmate of the empty days
to draw my heart on to him; and I know not why is this sudden
call to what useless inconsequence!
On the day when death will knock at thy door what wilt thou offer
Oh, I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life--I will
never let him go with empty hands.
All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days and summer nights,
all the earnings and gleanings of my busy life will I place
before him at the close of my days when death will knock at my
O thou the last fulfilment of life, Death, my death, come and
whisper to me!
Day after day I have kept watch for thee; for thee have I borne
the joys and pangs of life.
All that I am, that I have, that I hope and all my love have ever
flowed towards thee in depth of secrecy. One final glance from
thine eyes and my life will be ever thine own.
The flowers have been woven and the garland is ready for the
bridegroom. After the wedding the bride shall leave her home and
meet her lord alone in the solitude of night.
I know that the day will come when my sight of this earth shall
be lost, and life will take its leave in silence, drawing the
last curtain over my eyes.
Yet stars will watch at night, and morning rise as before, and
hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.
When I think of this end of my moments, the barrier of the
moments breaks and I see by the light of death thy world with its
careless treasures. Rare is its lowliest seat, rare is its
meanest of lives.
Things that I longed for in vain and things that I got--let them
pass. Let me but truly possess the things that I ever spurned
I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you
all and take my departure.
Here I give back the keys of my door--and I give up all claims to
my house. I only ask for last kind words from you.
We were neighbours for long, but I received more than I could
give. Now the day has dawned and the lamp that lit my dark
corner is out. A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.
At this time of my parting, wish me good luck, my friends! The
sky is flushed with the dawn and my path lies beautiful.
Ask not what I have with me to take there. I start on my journey
with empty hands and expectant heart.
I shall put on my wedding garland. Mine is not the red-brown
dress of the traveller, and though there are dangers on the way I
have no fear in mind.
The evening star will come out when my voyage is done and the
plaintive notes of the twilight melodies be struck up from the
I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold
of this life.
What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery
like a bud in the forest at midnight!
When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a moment
that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable
without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form of my
Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to
me. And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as
The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes
it away, in the very next moment to find in the left one its