RabindranathThakurBorn-7May 1861Died-7 August 1941 (aged 80)Occupation- Writer, painterLanguages– Bengali, EnglishNationality–IndianEthnicity–BengaliLiterary movement- ContextualModernismNotable work(s)-Gitanjali,Gora,Ghare-Baire,JanaGanaMana,RabindraSangeet,AmarShonarBanglaNotable award-NobelPrize inLiterature 1913Spouse-MrinaliniDevi (m. 1883–1902)Children- five children, two of whom died in childhoodRelative(s)-Tagore family
Besidesmore than fifty collections of poetry,RabindranathTagore wrote thirteen novels, ten collections of short stories, more than sixty plays, and numerous volumes of literary criticism, letters, translations, reminiscences, lectures, sermons, travel sketches, philosophy, religion, and politics. In addition, he translated a considerable amount of his own work from its original Bengali into English.
PoetryBhanusimhaThakurerPadabali(1884)Gitanjali(1910)Poems & SongsRabindraSangeet"AmarSonarBangla""Birpurush""ChittoJethaBhayshunyo""EklaChaloRe""JanaGanaMana“Plays & OperasVālmīki-Praṭibhā(1888)Raja(1910)The Post Office(1912)Chitra(1914)
You need to have a big appetite to digest each and every word ofGitanjaliwritten by Nobel LaureateRabindranathTagore (1861 - 1941). The work was originally written in Bengali published over different Bengali books on poetry from where 103 poems have been picked, compiled and consolidated in this book. The translation has been done from Bengali to English byRabindranathTagore himself.Gitanjaliin literal meaning denotes an offering of a handful of songs.Gitanjaliwhen was released first in August 1910, just one day before the date that became our Independence Day later (15th August). And thenGitanjalimadeRabindranathTagore the first non-European to win a Nobel for Literature in 1913. The book shook the whole world and placed India,RabindranathTagore andGitanjalion international arena of literature.These poems are only numbered, not titled. Hence each poem brings a different meaning to each of its reader without getting drifted away by the preconception got generated by reading a title. Each of the poem is thought provoking, intriguing, deeply meaningful and motivational. These poems inGitanjaliare building blocks of anyone within. You read a poem post which it forces you to interrogate yourself, discuss it with yourself to get deeper and deeper to conclude it.In poem no XXXVI Tagore seems to be interacting/ conversing with God telling to accept his prayer to him and fill in the unfilled portion within his heart. Tagore prays to God to give him strength to absorb his joys and sorrows faced in life and not to get drifted away by them. He further adds to his prayer to God to shower his blessings so that love becomes meaningful in life.
Tagore's poetry is very varied, and covers many styles. He drew inspiration from 15th - and 16th century poets, as also from ancient writers likeVyasa. Bengal’sBaulfolk singers also influenced his style of poetry. He wrote many poems when he was atShelidahmanaging his family’s estates. Many of his poems have a lyrical quality. These poems tell about the "man within the heart" and the "living God within". Over the next 70 years, he repeatedly revised his style of writing poetry. In 1930s, he wrote many experimental works of poetry, and also used modernism and realism in his works.One of his poems has words like: "all I had achieved was carried off on the golden boat; only I was left behind.". Tagore is known around the world for his ‘‘Gitanjali’’ (Song Offerings), his best-known collection, winning him his Nobel Prize. A free-verse translation by Tagore of a verse ofGitanjalireads as follows:"My song has put off her adornments. She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers.""My poet's vanity dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at the feet. Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music."
Tagore's Mystical Quest
SwamiAdiswaranandaof the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York, in his preface to 'Tagore: The Mystic Poets' writes, "The inner-seeking spirituality of India infused all of Tagore's writing.Hewrote in many genres of the deep religious milieu of Hinduism. The values and core beliefs of the Hindu scriptures permeated his work." Says the Swami: "RabindranathTagore's philosophical and spiritual thoughts transcend all limits of language, culture, and nationality. In his writings, the poet and mystic takes us on a spiritual quest and gives us a glimpse of the infinite in the midst of the finite, unity at the heart of all diversity, and the Divine in all beings and things of the universe."
Yeats on Tagore’s Spirituality
Yeatswrites: "These verses … as the generations pass,travellerswill hum them on the highway and men rowing upon the rivers. Lovers, while they await one another, shall find, in murmuring them, this love of God a magic gulf wherein their own more bitter passion may bathe and renew its youth… Thetravellerin the read-brown clothes that he wears that dust may not show upon him, the girl searching in her bed for the petals fallen from the wreath of her royal lover, the servant or the bride awaiting the master's home-coming in the empty house, are images of the heart turning to God.Flowersand rivers, the blowing of conch shells, the heavy rain of the Indian July, or the moods of that heart in union or in separation; and a man sitting in a boat upon a river playing lute, like one of those figures full of mysterious meaning in a Chinese picture, is God Himself…"
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 cloudswhile 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 waterand 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 honor to you, heroic host of the interminable path!
Mockeryand reproach pricked me to rise,but found no response in me.I gave myself up for lostin the depth of a glad humiliation---in the shadow of a dim delight.The repose of the sun-embroidered green gloomslowly spread over my heart.I forgot for what I had traveled,and I surrendered my mind without struggleto 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!
Onthe seashore of endless worlds children meet.The infinite sky is motionless overheadand the restless water is boisterous.On the seashore of endless worldsthe children meet with shouts and dances.They build their houses with sandand they play with empty shells.With withered leaves they weave their boatsand 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 laughterand 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 beach.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 thegreat meeting of children.
That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides,thus casting colored shadows on thy radiance---such is thy Maya.Thousettesta barrier inthineown beingand thencallestthy 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-colouedtearsand 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 figureswith 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.