It is the cover page of compilations from Tagore

TAGORE SELECTIONS

My Dad loved poetry. The time between his retiring to bed and before falling asleep was filled in by my reading out aloud poetry to him. There were a couple of instances when he fell ill and was confined to bed for long. In that period too, he had me read aloud literature to him-both poetry and prose. I was a school kid then. Those were the days when audio books were not known.

MY DAD-from him I inherited LOVE of POETRY, SOLITUDE & NATURE

Perhaps due to genetics or may be due to the aforesaid, I have loved poetry and good reading. One of his favorites was Geetanjali by Rabindra Nath Tagore. I could follow short stories by Tagore-“The Home Coming”, for example. But I could not understand “Geetanjali”. I would interrupt the reading to ask him for an explanation. He would say: “The thought is too deep for you child. You will understand when you grow up. Just read on.”

THAT’s ME IN THOSE DAYS:
The 2 pictures have been pulled out of a family album

SHARING WITH YOU

I have read and read on ever since. There were passages of Tagore which I read again and again, to get to and appreciate the beauty & depth of his thought & feeling. These are priceless gems on the shores of a fathomless ocean that is literature. I share those gems with you, here, to save you the time of searching in the myriad pebbles that clutter the shores.

A GEM AMONGST PEBBLES

GEETANJALI and OTHER VERSES

I have taken upon myself the job of adding a relevant picture to the poems. This is an on going process and I have just begun. My attempt is to use pictures from my own camera. But sometime I may have to beg, borrow or steal.

1……………….

TODAY the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.

Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows neither rest nor respite and my work becomes an endless toil in a shore less sea of toil.

I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterward

2…………………

LET only that little be left of my where by I may name these my all

Let only that little be left of my will where by I may feel thee on every side, and come to thee in everything, and offer to thee my love every moment.

Let only that little be left of me where by I may never hide thee.

Let only that little of my fetters be left where by I am bound with thy will, and thy purpose is carried out in my life-and that is the fetter of thy love

3……………………..

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free:

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestics walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection:

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit:

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action-

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

4……………………..

THIS is my prayer to thee, my lord-strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.

Give me the strength to make my love fruithful in service.

Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.

And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

5……………..

WHEN the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me, with a shower of mercy.

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 rest.

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.

6………………….

TIME is endless in thy hands, my lord. There is none to count thy minutes.

Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers. Thou knowest how to wait.

Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.

We have no time o lose, and having no time we must scramble for our chances. We are too poor to be late.

And thus it is that time goes by while I give it to every querulous man who claims it, and thine altar is empty of all offerings to the last.

At the end of the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate be shut: but I find that yet there is time.

7………………

IT is the pang of separation that spreads throughout the world and gives birth to shapes innumerable in the infinite sky.

It is this sorrow of separation that gazes in silence all night from star to star and becomes lyric among rustling leaves in rainy darkness of July.

It is this overspreading pain that deepens into loves and desire, into sufferings and joys in human homes: and this it is that ever melts and flows in songs through my poet’s heart.

8……………………..

I HAVE got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I how 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 neighbors 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.

9…………………

AT this time of my parting, wish me good luck, my friends! The sky is flushed with the awn 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 traveler, and though there are dangers on the way I have no fear in my mind.

The evening star will come out when my voyage is one and the plaintive notes of the twilight melodies be struck up from the King’s gateway.

10………………………….

 WHO are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?

I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.

Open your doors and look abroad.

From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.

In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across an hundred years?

11………………

BUDS BLOSSOM

NO it is not yours to open buds into blossoms.

Shake the bud, strike it; it is beyond your power to make it blossom.

Your touch soils it; you tear its petals to pieces and strew them in the dust.

But no colours appear, and no fragrance.

Ah! It is not for you to open the bud into a blossom.

He who can open the bud does it so simply.

He gives it a glance, and the life-sap stirs through its vein

12…………….

“WHO among you will take up the duty of feeding the hungry?” Lord Buddha asked his followers when famine raged at Shravasti.

Ratnakar, the banker, hung his head and said; “Much more is needed than all my wealth to feed the hungry.”

Jaysen, the chief of the King’s army, said, “I would gladly give my life’s blood, but there is not enough food in my house.”

Dharmapal, who owned broad acres of land, said with a sigh. “ The drought demon has sucked my fields dry. I know not how to pay King’s dues.”

Then rose Supriya, the mendicant’s daughter.

She bowed to all and meekly said, “I will feed the hungry.”

“How!” they cried in surprise. “How can you hope to fulfill that vow?”

“I am the poorest of you all.” Said Supriya, “that is my strength. I have my coffer and my store at each of your houses.”

13……………………

“SIRE,” announced the servant to the King, “the saint Narottam has never deigned to enter your royal temple.

“He is singing God’s praise under the trees by the open road. The temple is empty of worshippers.

“They flock round him like bees round the white lotus, leaving the golden jar of honey unheeded.”

The King, vexed at heart, went to the spot where Narottam sat on the grass.

He asked him, “Father, why leave my temple of the golden dome and sit on the dust outside to preach God’s love?”

“Because God is not there in your temple,” said Narottam.

The King frowned and said, “Do you know, twenty millions of gold went to the making of that marvel of art, and it was consecrated to God with costly rites?”

“Yes, I know it,” answered Narottam, “It was in that year when thousand of your people whose houses had been burned stood vainly asking for help at your door.

‘And God said, ‘The poor creature who can give no shelter to his brothers would build my house?’

“And that golden bubble is empty of all but hot vapour of pride.’

The King cried in anger,  “Leave my land.”

Calmly said the saint. “Yes, banish me where you have banished my God

14…………..

I KNOW that at the dim end of some day the sun will bid me its last farewell.

Shepherds will play their pipes beneath the banyan trees, and cattle graze on the slope by the river, while my days will pass into the dark.

This is my prayer, that I may know before I leave why the earth called me to her arms.

Why her night’s silence spoke to me of stars, and her daylight kissed my thoughts into flower.

Before I go may I linger over my last refrain, completing its music, may the lamp be lit to see your face and the wreath woven to crown you.

15……………………

LET me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life’s battle field but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling your mercy in my success alone; but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failur

16……………..

THOSE who walk on the path of pride crushing the lowly life under their tread, covering the tender green of the earth with their footprints in blood:

Let them rejoice, and thank thee, Lord, for the day is theirs.

But I am thankful that my lot lies with the humble that suffer and bear the burden of power, and hide their faces and stifle their sobs in the dark.

For every throb of their pain has pulsed in the secret depth of thy night, and every insult has been gathered into thy great silence.

And the morrow is theirs.

O Sun, rise upon the bleeding hearts blossoming in flowers of the morning, and the torchlight revelry of pride shrunken to ashes.

17……………

LET thy play upon my voice and rest on my silence.

Let it pass through my heart into all my movements.

Let thy love like stars shine in the darkness of my sleep and dawn in my awakening.

Let it burn in the flame of my desires.

And flow in all currents of my own love.

Let me carry thy love in my life as a harp does its music, and give it back to thee at last with my lif

STRAY birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away.

And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no sons, flutter and fall there with a sigh.

Now a short “break” about Tagore Centenary—poems continue thereafter.

TAGORE CENTENARY

Tagore’s 100th Birth Day was celebrated on May 7, 1961. Govt of India issued 2 postage stamps to commemorate the event. Picture of one of the two stamps has been reproduced below.

My friend, Murli, from IIT Kharagpur, is an avid stamp collector and he has been kind enough to contribute the picture above and below.

A FEW RANDOM COUPLETS

O TROUPE of little vagrants of the world, leave your footprints in my words.

* * * * *  * * * *

THE world puts off its mask of vastness to its lover.

It becomes small as one song, as one kiss of the eternal.

* * * * * * *  * *  *

IT is the tears of the earth that keep her smiles in bloom.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE mighty desert is burning for the love of a blade of grass that shakes her head and laughs and flies away.

* * * *  * * * *  * * *

HER wistful face haunts my dreams like the rain at night.

* * * *  * *  * * *  *

ONCE we dreamt that we were strangers.

We wake up to find that we were dear to each other.

* * * * *  * * * * *  *  *

LISTEN, my heart, to the whispers of the world with which it makes love to you.

* * * * * * * * * * *

THE mystery of creation is like the darkness of night-it is great. Delusions of knowledge are like the fog of the morning.

* * * * * * *  * *

DO not seat your love upon a precipice because it is high.

* * * * * * * *  * *

THESE little thoughts are the rustle of leaves; they have their whisper of joy in my mind.

* * * *  * * *  * * * *

I Cannot choose the best.

The best choose me.

* * * * * * * * * 

REST belongs to the work as the eyelids to the eyes.

* * * * * *  * * *

“MOON, for what do you wait?”

“To salute the sun for whom I must make way.”

* * * * * * * *

HIS own mornings are new surprises to God.

ONE SUCH MORNING

* * * * * * * * * *

Do not blame your food because you have no appetite.

* * * * * * * * * *

YOU smiled and talked to me of nothing and I felt that for this I had been waiting long.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE stars are not afraid to appear like fireflies.

* * * * * * * * * *

YOUR idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God’s dust is greater than your idol.

* * * * * * * * * *

WE come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE sparrow is sorry for the peacock at the burden of its tail.

* * * * * * * * * *

THANK the flame for its light, but do not for get the lamp holder standing in the shade with constancy of patience.

* * * * * * * * * *

GOD grows weary of great kingdoms, but never of little flowers.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE woodcutter’s axe begged for its handle from the tree. The tree gave it.

* * * * * * * * * *

YOUR voice, my friend, wanders in my heart, like the muffled sound of the sea among these listening pines.

* * * * * * * * * *

SUMMER FLOWERS

LET life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves.

AUTUMN LEAVES

* * * * * * * * * *

THE artist is the lover of Nature; therefore he is her slave and her master.

* * * * * * * * * *

APPLE BLOSSOM..

HOW far are you from me, O Fruit?”

“I am hidden in your heart, O Flower,”

THE APPLE

* * * * * * * * * *

YOU are the big drop of dew under the lotus leaf, I am the smaller one on its upper side,” said the dewdrop to the lake.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE scabbard is content to be dull when it protects the keenness of the sword.

* * * * * * * * * *

DEATH’S stamp gives value to the coin of life; making it possible to buy with life what is truly precious.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE cloud stood humbly in a corner of the sky.

The morning crowned it with splendour.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE dust receives insult and in return offers her flowers.

* * * * * * * * * *

ROOTS are the branches down in the earth.

Branches are roots in the air.

* * * * * * * * * *

DO not insult your friend by lending him merits from your own pocket.

* * * * * * * * * *

DREAM is a wife who must talk.

Sleep is a husband who silently suffers.

* * * * * * * * * *

MESSENGER OF THE SUN

“IN the moon thou sendest thy love letters to me, said the night to the sun.

“I leave my answers in tears upon the grass.”

ANSWER OF THE NIGHT

* * * * * * * * * *

Now a short “break” about GEETANJALI manuscript having been lost. Couplets continue thereafter.

THE GEETANJALI MANUSCRIPT HAD BEEN LOST & FOUND!

Read about it:

On the 16th June 1912, Rabindranath Tagore reached London after a train journey from Dover. He had spent the three weeks of sailing from India to complete the last lot of his translations and was relieved that he had finally made it. In fact, he had been greatly disappointed in March of that year doctors did not permit him to travel to England, because his health was not good. This sadness was now finally overcome. Edward Thompson has written about  Tagore telling him how he had been compelled to leave Kolkata after March. He had to take rest — for this he chose picturesque Silaidaha on the mighty river, Padma in present-day Bangladesh. “I simply whiled away time”, said Tagore, “translating the Gitanjali songs. I felt sure my translations were only schoolboy exercises”.

As we know, it is these “school boy exercises” in translating his poems from Bengali to English that would soon confer on him the honour of being the first Asian, indeed the first ‘coloured man’, ever to win the coveted Nobel Prize. But very few people know that neither his award nor the Gitanjali would have seen the light of the day, had it not been for the honesty of the English people and the efficiency of the London Tube. His son, Rathindranath, has written that his father, his own wife Pratima and he were all extremely charmed at the “sight of the modern marvels of the Tube”. So engrossed were they in the delights that greeted them on their first experience of travelling by the ‘underground’ train from Charing Cross station, that they completely forgot to pick up their attaché case. It contained a lot of valuable papers and what is most important for us is that these included the manuscripts of the English translation of Tagore’s poems. These  would later be published as Gitanjali and the Gardener.  

It is only the next day when Rabindranath asked his son for the manuscripts just before they were to meet Rothenstein, that they realised that the leather case was missing! All three of them made a frenzied search of their luggage and belongings, but that briefcase was nowhere. Rathin Tagore was determined to call the police, but the poet pacified him, saying “please understand my condition.” His dream of presenting in English some of the finest poems of his life was gone for ever. As he sank into the couch in despair, it struck him that one last try could be made at the Left Luggage Office of the London Tube. 

Rathin was despatched and he described those fateful moments as how he “hastened to the office with my heart in my mouth”. One can understand full well the tension and the dread of what would have happened if someone else had picked up that attaché. What if had thrown out the papers to keep the bag for himself? After all, the Bengali handwriting would have appeared as gibberish to a Londoner. Rathin Tagore was, therefore, ecstatic to find that the railway authorities had not only found the much-used attaché, but had kept it safely. “One can imagine my relief”, he exclaimed, “when at last I discovered the lost property there”.

Not only was the family grateful, but we are all equally so. In fact the poet has written of this frightening incident, saying that “losing the Gitanjali script” remained a “constant nightmare” that never left him. (Based on narration by Jawhar Sirkar and given to me by Prabir Thakurta)

COUPLETS CONTINUED

NOT hammer-strokes, but dance of the water sings the pebbles into perfection.

* * * * * * * * * *

ASKS the Possible of the Impossible, ‘Where is your dwelling place?”

“In the dreams of the impotent,’ comes the answer.

* * * * * * * * * *

WOMEN, with the grace of your fingers you touched my things and order came out like music.

* * * * * * * * * *

ONE sad voice has its nest among the reuins of the years.

It sings to me in the night, – “I loved you.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“WHO is there to take up my duties?” asked the setting sun.

“I shall do what I can, my Master,” said the earthen lamp.

* * * * * * * * * *

“THE learned say that your lights will one day be no more,” said the firefly to the stars.

The stars made no answer.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE sunflower blushed to own the nameless flower as her kin.

The sun rose and smiled on it, saying, “Are you well, my darling?”

* * * * * * * * * *

THE water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark.

The small truth has words that are clear; the great truth has great silence.

* * * * * * * * * *

IT is the little things that I leave behind for my loved ones, – great things are for everyone.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE sunshine greets me with a smile.

The rain, his sad sister, talks to my heart.

* * * * * * * * * *

THEY hated and killed and men praised them.

But God in shame hastens to hide its memory under the green grass.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE bow whispers to the arrow before it speeds forth- “Your freedom is mine.”

* * * * * * * * * *

WOMEN, in your laughter you have the music of the fountain of life.

* * * * * * * * * *

A MIND all logic is like a knife all blade.

It makes the hand bleed that uses it.

* * * * * * * * * *

“I HAVE lost my dewdrop,” cries the flower to the morning sky that has lost all its stars.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE burning log bursts in flame and cries, – “This is my flower, my death.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“I CANNOT keep your waves,” says the bank to the river.

“Let me keep your footprints in my heart.”

* * * * * * * * * *

PRAISE shames me, for I secretly beg for it.

* * * * * * * * * *

LIFE has become richer by the love that has been lost.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE fountain of death makes the still water of life play.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE raindrop whispered to the jasmine,  “Keep me in your heart for ever.”

The jasmine sighed, “Alas,” and dropped to the ground.

* * * * * * * * * *

ROCKETS, your insult to the stars follows yourself back to the earth.

* * * * * * * * * *

THIS life is the crossing of a sea, where we meet in the same narrow ship.

In death we reach the shore and go to our different worlds.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE stream of truth flows through its channels of mistakes.

* * * * * * * * * *

MY heart is homesick to day for the one sweet hour across the sea of time.

* * * * * * * * * *

“ARE you too proud to kiss me?” the morning light asks the buttercup.

* * * * * * * * * *

MAN is worse than an animal when he is an animal.

* * * * * * * * * *

DARK clouds become heaven’s flowers when kissed by light.

* * * * * * * * * *

LET not the sword-blade mock its handle for being blunt.

* * * * * * * * * *

I DO not ask thee into the house.

Come into my infinite loneliness, my Lover.

* * * * * * * * * *

DEATH belongs to life as birth does.

The walk is in the raising of the foot as in the laying of it down.

* * * * * * * * * *

LET my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE lamp of meeting burns long; it goes out in a moment at the parting.

* * * * * * * * * *

WE live in this world when we love it.

* * * * * * * * * *

LET the dead have the immortality of flame, but the living the immortality of love.

* * * * * * * * * *

I HAVE seen thee as the half-awakened child sees his mother in the dusk of the dawn and then smiles and sleeps again.

* * * * * * * * * *

WHILE I was passing with the crowd in the road I saw thy smile from the balcony and I sang and forgot all noise.

* * * * * * * * * *

LOVE is life in its fullness like the cup with its wine.

* * * * * * * * * *

PUT out the lamp when thou wishest.

I shall know thy darkness and shall love it.

* * * * * * * * * *

CLOUDS come floating into my life from other days no longer to shed rain or usher storm but to give color to my sunset sky.

* * * * * * * * * *

THE storm of the last night has crowed this morning with golden peace.

* * * * * * * * * *

THAT love can ever lose is a fact that we cannot accept as truth.

* * * * * * * * * *

WHEN all the strings of my life will be tuned, my Master, then at every touch of thine will come out the music of love.

* * * * * * * * * *

MAN’s, history is waiting in patience for the triumph of the insulted man.

* * * * * * * * * *

A FEW SHORT POEMS/STORIES

I WAS walking along a path overgrown with grass; when suddenly I heard from some one behind, “See if you know me?”

I turned round and looked at her and said, “ I cannot remember your name.”

She said, “I am that first great Sorrow whom you met when you were young.”

Her eyes looked like a morning whose dew is still in the air.

I stood silent for come time till I said, “Have you lost all the great burden of your tears?”

She smiled and said nothing. I felt that her tears had time to learn the language of smiles.

“Once you said,” she whispered, “that you would cherish your grief for ever.”

I bushed and said,  “Yes, but years have passed and I for get.”

Then I took her hand in mine and said, “But you have changed.”

“What was sorrow once has now become peace,” she said.

* * * * * * * * * *

A PAINTER was selling pictures at the fair; followed by servants, there passed the son of a Minister who in youth had cheated this painter’s father so that he had died of a broken heart.

The boy lingered before the pictures and chose on for himself. The painter flung a cloth over it and said he would not sell it.

After this the boy pined heart-sick till his father come and offered a large price. But the painter kept the picture unsold on his shop wall and grimly sat before it, saying to himself. ‘This is my revenge.”

The sole form this painter’s worship took was to trace an image of his god every morning.

And now he felt these pictures grow daily more different from those he used to paint.

This troubled him, and he sought in vain for an explanation till one day he started up from work in horrow; the eyes of the god he had just dawn were those of the Minister, and so were the lips.

He tore up the picture, crying, “My revenge has returned on my head!”

* * * * * * * * * *

In the depths of the forest the ascetic practiced penance with fast-closed eyes; he intended to deserve Paradise.

But the girl who gathered twigs brought him fruits in her skirt, and water from the stream in cups made of leaves.

The days went on, and his penance grew harsher till the fruits remained untasted, the water untouched; and the girl who gathered twigs was sad.

The Lord of Paradise heard that a man had dared to aspire to be as the Gods. Time after time he had fought the Titans, who were his peers, and kept them out of his kingdom; yet he feared a man whose power was that of suffering.

But he knew the ways of mortals, and he planned a temperature to decoy this creature of dust away from his adventure.

A breath from Paradise kissed the limbs of the girl, who gathered twigs, and her youth ached with a sudden rapture of beauty, and her thoughts hummed like the bees of a rifled hive.

The time came when the ascetic should leave the forest for a mountain cave, to complete the rigour of his penance. 

When he opened his eyes in order to start on this journey, the girl appeared to him like a verse familiar, yet forgotten, and to which an added melody had made strange. The ascetic rose from his seat and told her that it was time he left the forest.

“But why rob me of my chance to serve you?” she asked with tears in her eyes.

He sat own again, thought for long, and remained on where he was.

That night remorse kept the girl awake. She began to dread her power and hate her triumph, yet her mind tossed on the waves of turbulent delight.

In the morning she came and saluted the ascetic and asked his blessing, saying she must leave him.

He gazed on her face in silence, then said, “Go, and may your wish be fulfilled.”

For years he sat alone till his penance was complete.

The Lord of the Immortals came down to tell him that he had won Paradise.

“I no longer need it,” said he.

The God asked him what greater reward he desired.

“I want the girl who gathers twigs.”

* * * * * * * * * *  *

  THE man had no useful work, only vagaries of various kinds.

Therefore it surprised him to find himself in Paradise after a life spent perfecting trifles.

Now the guide had taken him by mistake to the wrong Paradise –one meant only for good, busy souls.

In this Paradise, our man saunters along the road only to obstruee the rush of business.

He stands aside from the path and is warned that he tramples on sown seed. Pushed, he starts up; hustled, he moves on. 

A very busy girl comes to fetch water from the well. Her feet run on the pavement like rapid fingers over harp-strings. Hastily she ties a negligent knot with her hair, and loose locks on her forehead pray into the dark of her eyes.

The man says to her, “Would you lend me your pitcher?”

“My pitcher?” she asks, “to draw water?”

“No, to paint patterns on.”

“I have no time to waste,” the girl retorts in contempt.

Now a busy soul has no chance against one who is super emely idle.

Every day she meets him at the well, and every day he repeats the same request, till at last she yields.

Our man paints the pitcher with curious colours in a mysterious maze of lines.

The girl takes it up, turns it round and asks, “What does it mean?”

“It has no meaning,” he answers.

The girl carries the pitcher home. She holds it up in different lights and tries to con its mystery.

At night she leaves her bed, lights a lamp, and gazes at it from all points of view.

This is the first time she has met with something without meaning.

On the next day the man is again near the well.

The girl asks, “What do you want?”

“To do more work for you.”

“What work?” she enquiries.

“Allow me to weave coloured stands into a ribbon to bind your hair.”

“Is there any need?” she asks.

“None whatever,” he allows.

The ribbon is made, and thenceforward she spends a great deal of time over her hair.

The even stretch of well-employed time in that Paradise begins to show irregular dents.

The elders are troubled; they meet in council.

The guide confesses his blunder, saying that he has brought the wrong man to the wrong place.

The wrong man is called. His turban, flaming with colour, shows plainly how great that blunder has been.

The chief of the elders says, “You must go back to the earth.”

The man heaves a sign of relief: “I am ready.”

The girl with the ribbon round her hair chimes in: “I also!”

For the first time the chief of the elders is faced with a situation, which has no sense in it.

* * * * * * * * * *  *

FREEDOM from fear is the freedom I claim for you, my Motherland!-fear, the phantom demon, shaped by your own distorted dreams;

Freedom from the burden of ages, bending your head, breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning call of the future;

Freedom from shackles of slumber wherewith you fasten yourself to night’s stillness, mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous path;

Freedom from the anarchy of a destiny, whose sails are weakly yielded to blind uncertain wind, and the helm to a hand ever rigid and old a Death;

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a pupper’s world, where movements are started through brainless wires, repeated through mindless habits: where figures wait with patient obedience for a master of show to be stirred into a moment’s mimicry of life.

* * * * * * * * * *  *

NONE lives forever, brother, and nothing lasts for long. Keep that in mind and rejoice.

Our life is not the one old burden; our path is not the one long journey.

One sole poet has not to sing one aged song.

The flower fades and dies; but he who wears the flower has not to mourn for it for ever.

Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

There must come a full pause to weave perfection into music.

Life droops towards its sunset to be drowned in the golden shadows.

Love must be called from its play to drink sorrow and be borne to the heaven of tears.

Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

We hasten to gather our flowers lest they are plundered by the passing winds.

It quickens our blood and brightness our eyes to snatch kisses that would vanish if we delayed.

Our life is eager; our desires are keen, for time tolls the bell of parting.

Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

There is not time for us to clasp a thing crush it and fling it away to the dust.

The hours trip rapidly away, hiding their dreams in their skirts.

Our life is short; it yields but a few days for love.

Were it for work and drudgery it would be endlessly long.

Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

Beauty is sweet to us, because she dances to the same fleeting tune with our lives.

Knowledge is precious to us, because we shall never have time to complete it.

All is done and finished in the eternal Heaven.

But earth’s flowers of illusion are kept eternally fresh by death.

Brother, keep that in mind and rejoice.

PRINT VERSION

I had the above printed as a small booklet. Should any of you like to have the print version, he may message me with his email id or phone no.

AUDIO VERSION

We lived in Delhi. I left Delhi for 5 years to study Electronics & Communication Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. located in West Bengal, India. I had then made a audio cassette, of many, translated (into English) works of Tagore, so, my Dad could listen to it. It is a pity, it has since been lost and probably lying with a junk dealer, for recycling of the plastic. I hope I will be able to make another one, one of these days.

A RARE PIC OF TAGORE, with his DAUGHTER and DAUGHTER-IN-LAW

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