G I T A N J A L I

Rabindranath Tagore

__________________________________

-1-

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy

pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest

again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.

 

This little flute of a reed thou hast carried

over hills and dales, and hast breathed

through it melodies eternally new.

 

At the immortal touch of thy hands my little

heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to

utterance ineffable.

 

Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these

very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and

still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.

 

-2-

When thou commandest me to sing it seems

that my heart would break with pride; and I

look to thy face, and tears come to my eyes.

 

All that is harsh and dissonant in my life

melts into one sweet harmony---and my

adoration spreads wings like a glad bird on

its flight across the sea.

 

I know thou takest pleasure in my singing. I

know that only as a singer I come before thy presence.

 

I touch by the edge of the far-spreading wing

of my song thy feet which I could never

aspire to reach.

 

Drunk with the joy of singing I forget myself

and call thee friend who art my lord.

 

-3-

I know not how thou singest, my master! I

ever listen in silent amazement.

 

The light of thy music illumines the world.

The life breath of thy music runs from sky to

sky. The holy stream of thy music breaks

through all stony obstacles and rushes on.

 

My heart longs to join in thy song, but vainly

struggles for a voice. I would speak, but

speech breaks not into song, and I cry out

baffled. Ah, thou hast made my heart captive

in the endless meshes of thy music, my master!

 

-4-

Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my

body pure, knowing that thy living touch is

upon all my limbs.

 

I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from

my thoughts, knowing that thou art that

truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.

 

I shall ever try to drive all evils away from

my heart and keep my love in flower,

knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost

shrine of my heart.

 

And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee

in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives

me strength to act.

 

-5-

I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy

side. The works that I have in hand I will

finish afterwards.

 

Away from the sight of thy face my heart

knows no rest nor respite, and my work

becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.

 

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.

 

Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with

thee, and to sing dedication of live in this

silent and overflowing leisure.

 

-6-

Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not!

I fear lest it droop and drop into the dust. I

may not find a place in thy garland, but

honour it with a touch of pain from thy hand

and pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I

am aware, and the time of offering go by.

Though its colour be not deep and its smell

be faint, use this flower in thy service and

pluck it while there is time.

 

-7-

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 thysight.

O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet.

Only let me make my life simple and straight,

like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.

 

-8-

The child who is decked with prince's robes

and who has jewelled chains round his neck

loses all pleasure in his play; his dress

hampers him at every step.

 

In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with

dust he keeps himself from the world, and is

afraid even to move.

 

Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery,

if it keeps one shut off from the healthful

dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of

entrance to the great fair of common human life.

 

-9-

O Fool, try to carry thyself upon thy own

shoulders! O beggar, to come beg at thy own door!

 

Leave all thy burdens on his hands who can

bear all, and never look behind in regret.

 

Thy desire at once puts out the light from the

lamp it touches with its breath.

It is unholy---

take not thy gifts through its unclean hands.

Accept only what is offered by sacred love.

 

-10-

Here is thy footstool and there rest thy feet

where live the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.

 

When I try to bow to thee, my obeisance

cannot reach down to the depth where thy

feet rest among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.

 

Pride can never approach to where thou

walkest in the clothes of the humble among

the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.

 

My heart can never find its way to where

thou keepest company with the

companionless among the poorest,

the lowliest, and the lost.

 

-11-

Leave this chanting and singing and telling

of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this

lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?

Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!

 

He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard

ground and where the pathmaker is

breaking stones. He is with them in sun and

in shower, and his garment is covered with

dust. Put of thy holy mantle and even like

him come down on the dusty soil!

 

Deliverance? Where is this deliverance to be

found? Our master himself has joyfully taken

upon him the bonds of creation;

he is bound with us all for ever.

 

Come out of thy meditations and leave aside

thy flowers and incense! What harm is there

if thy clothes become tattered and stained?

Meet him and stand by him in toil and in

sweat of thy brow.

 

-12-

The time that my journey takes is long and

the way of it long.

 

I came out on the chariot of the first gleam of

light, and pursued my voyage through the

wildernesses of worlds leaving my track on

many a star and planet.

 

It is the most distant course that comes

nearest to thyself, and that training is the

most intricate which leads to the utter

simplicity of a tune.

 

The traveller has to knock at every alien

door to come to his own, and one has to

wander through all the outer worlds to reach

the innermost shrine at the end.

 

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut

them and said `Here art thou!'

 

The question and the cry `Oh, where?' melt

into tears of a thousand streams and deluge

the world with the flood of the assurance

`I am!'

 

-13-

The song that I came to sing remains

unsung to this day.

 

I have spent my days in stringing and in

unstringing my instrument.

 

The time has not come true, the words have

not been rightly set; only there is the agony

of wishing in my heart.

 

The blossom has not opened;

only the wind is sighing by.

 

I have not seen his face, nor have I listened

to his voice; only I have heard his gentle

footsteps from the road before my house.

 

The livelong day has passed in spreading his

seat on the floor; but the lamp has not been

lit and I cannot ask him into my house.

 

I live in the hope of meeting with him; but

this meeting is not yet.

 

-14-

My desires are many and my cry is pitiful,

but ever didst thou save me by hard refusals;

and this strong mercy has been wrought into

my life through and through.

 

Day by day thou art making me worthy of

the simple, great gifts that thou gavest to me

unasked---this sky and the light, this body

and the life and the mind---saving me from

perils of overmuch desire.

 

There are times when I languidly linger and

times when I awaken and hurry in search of

my goal; but cruelly thou hidest thyself from

before me.

 

Day by day thou art making me worthy of

thy full acceptance by refusing me ever and

anon, saving me from perils of weak,

uncertain desire.

 

-15-

I am here to sing thee songs. In this hall of

thine I have a corner seat.

 

In thy world I have no work to do; my

useless life can only break out in tunes

without a purpose.

 

When the hour strikes for thy silent worship

at the dark temple of midnight, command

me, my master, to stand before thee to sing.

 

When in the morning air the golden harp is

tuned, honour me, commanding my presence.

 

-16-

I have had my invitation to this world's

festival, and thus my life has been blessed.

My eyes have seen and my ears have heard.

 

It was my part at this feast to play upon my

instrument, and I have done all I could.

 

Now, I ask, has the time come at last when I

may go in and see thy face and offer thee my

silent salutation?

 

-17-

I am only waiting for love to give myself up

at last into his hands. That is why it is so late

and why I have been guilty of such omissions.

 

They come with their laws and their codes to

bind me fast; but I evade them ever, for I am

only waiting for love to give myself up at

last into his hands.

 

People blame me and call me heedless; I

doubt not they are right in their blame.

 

The market day is over and work is all done

for the busy. Those who came to call me in

vain have gone back in anger. I am only

waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.

 

-18-

Clouds heap upon clouds and it darkens. Ah,

love, why dost thou let me wait outside at

the door all alone?

 

In the busy moments of the noontide work I

am with the crowd, but on this dark lonely

day it is only for thee that I hope.

 

If thou showest me not thy face, if thou

leavest me wholly aside, I know not how I

am to pass these long, rainy hours.

 

I keep gazing on the far-away gloom of the

sky, and my heart wanders wailing with the

restless wind.

 

-19-

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with

thy silence and endure it. I will keep still

and wait like the night with starry vigil and

its head bent low with patience.

 

The morning will surely come, the darkness

will vanish, and thy voice pour down in

golden streams breaking through the sky.

 

Then thy words will take wing in songs from

every one of my birds' nests, and thy

melodies will break forth in flowers in all my

forest groves.

 

-20-

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas,

my mind was straying, and I knew it not.

My basket was empty and the flower

remained unheeded.

 

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me,

and I started up from my dream and felt a

sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the

south wind.

 

That vague sweetness made my heart ache

with longing and it seemed to me that is was

the eager breath of the summer seeking for

its completion.

 

I knew not then that it was so near, that it

was mine, and that this perfect sweetness

had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

 

-21-

I must launch out my boat. The languid

hours pass by on the shore---Alas for me!

 

The spring has done its flowering and taken

leave. And now with the burden of faded

futile flowers I wait and linger.

 

The waves have become clamorous, and

upon the bank in the shady lane the yellow

leaves flutter and fall.

 

What emptiness do you gaze upon! Do you

not feel a thrill passing through the air with

the notes of the far-away song floating from

the other shore?

 

-22-

In the deep shadows of the rainy July, with

secret steps, thou walkest, silent as night,

eluding all watchers.

 

Today the morning has closed its eyes,

heedless of the insistent calls of the loud east

wind, and a thick veil has been drawn over

the ever-wakeful blue sky.

 

The woodlands have hushed their songs, and

doors are all shut at every house. Thou art

the solitary wayfarer in this deserted street.

Oh my only friend, my best beloved, the

gates are open in my house---

do not pass by like a dream.

 

-23-

Art thou abroad on this stormy night on thy

journey of love, my friend?

The sky groans like one in despair.

 

I have no sleep tonight. Ever and again I

open my door and look out on the darkness,

my friend!

 

I can see nothing before me.

I wonder where lies thy path!

 

By what dim shore of the ink-black river, by

what far edge of the frowning forest, through

what mazy depth of gloom art thou

threading thy course to come to me, my

friend?

 

-24-

If the day is done, if birds sing no more, if

the wind has flagged tired, then draw the

veil of darkness thick upon me, even as thou

hast wrapt the earth with the coverlet of

sleep and tenderly closed the petals of the

drooping lotus at dusk.

 

From the traveller, whose sack of provisions

is empty before the voyage is ended, whose

garment is torn and dustladen, whose

strength is exhausted, remove shame and

poverty, and renew his life like a flower

under the cover of thy kindly night.

 

-25-

In the night of weariness let me give myself

up to sleep without struggle, resting my trust

upon thee.

 

Let me not force my flagging spirit into a

poor preparation for thy worship.

 

It is thou who drawest the veil of night upon

the tired eyes of the day to renew its sight in

a fresher gladness of awakening.

 

-26-

He came and sat by my side but I woke not.

What a cursed sleep it was, O miserable me!

 

He came when the night was still; he had his

harp in his hands, and my dreams became

resonant with its melodies.

 

Alas, why are my nights all thus lost? Ah,

why do I ever miss his sight whose breath

touches my sleep?

 

-27-

Light, oh where is the light? Kindle it with

the burning fire of desire!

 

There is the lamp but never a flicker of a

flame---is such thy fate, my heart? Ah, death

were better by far for thee!

 

Misery knocks at thy door, and her message

is that thy lord is wakeful, and he calls thee

to the love-tryst through the darkness of night.

 

The sky is overcast with clouds and the rain

is ceaseless. I know not what this is that stirs

in me---I know not its meaning.

 

A moment's flash of lightning drags down a

deeper gloom on my sight, and my heart

gropes for the path to where the music of the

night calls me.

 

Light, oh where is the light! Kindle it with

the burning fire of desire! It thunders and the

wind rushes screaming through the void.

The night is black as a black stone. Let not

the hours pass by in the dark. Kindle the

lamp of love with thy life.

 

-28-

Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart

aches when I try to break them.

 

Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed.

 

I am certain that priceless wealth is in thee,

and that thou art my best friend, but I have

not the heart to sweep away the

tinsel that fills my room

 

The shroud that covers me is a shroud of dust

and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.

 

My debts are large, my failures great, my

shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to

ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my

prayer be granted.

 

-29-

He whom I enclose with my name is

weeping in this dungeon. I am ever busy

building this wall all around; and as this wall

goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight

of my true being in its dark shadow.

 

I take pride in this great wall, and I plaster it

with dust and sand lest a least hole should be

left in this name; and for all the care I take I

lose sight of my true being.

 

-30-

I came out alone on my way to my tryst. But

who is this that follows me in the silent dark?

 

I move aside to avoid his presence but I

escape him not. He makes the dust rise from

the earth with his swagger; he adds his loud

voice to every word that I utter.

 

He is my own little self, my lord, he knows

no shame; but I am ashamed to come to thy

door in his company.

 

-31-

Prisoner, tell me, who was it that bound you?'

 

`It was my master,' said the prisoner. `I

thought I could outdo everybody in the

world in wealth and power, and I amassed in

my own treasure-hose the money due to my

king. When sleep overcame me I lay upon

the bad that was for my lord, and on waking

up I found I was a prisoner in my own

treasure-house.'

 

`Prisoner, tell me, who was it that wrought

this unbreakable chain?'

 

`It was I,' said the prisoner, `who forged this

chain very carefully. I thought my invincible

power would hold the world captive leaving

me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night

and day I worked at the chain with huge

fires and cruel hard strokes. When at last the

work was done and the links

were complete and unbreakable,

I found that it held me in its grip.'

 

-32-

By all means they try to hold me secure who

love me in this world. But it is otherwise

with thy love which is greater than theirs,

and thou keepest me free.

 

Lest I forget them they never venture to

leave me alone. But day passes by after day

and thou art not seen.

 

If I call not thee in my prayers, if I keep not

thee in my heart, thy love for me still waits

for my love.

 

-33-

When it was day they came into my house and said,

`We shall only take the smallest room here.'

 

They said, `We shall help you in the worship

of your God and humbly accept only our own

share in his grace'; and then they took their

seat in a corner and they sat quiet and meek.

 

But in the darkness of night I find they break

into my sacred shrine, strong and turbulent,

and snatch with unholy greed the offerings

from God's altar.

 

-34-

Let only that little be left of me whereby

I may name thee my all.

 

Let only that little be left of my will whereby

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 whereby I

may never hide thee.

 

Let only that little of my fetters be left

whereby I am bound with thy will, and thy

purpose is carried out in my life---

and that is the fetter of thy love.

 

-35-

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 domestic 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.

 

-36-

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

fruitful 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.

 

-37-

I thought that my voyage had come to its

end at the last limit of my power,---that the

path before me was closed, that provisions

were exhausted and the time come to take

shelter in a silent obscurity.

 

But I find that thy will knows no end in me.

And when old words die out on the tongue,

new melodies break forth from the heart; and

where the old tracks are lost, new country is

revealed with its wonders.

 

-38-

That I want thee, only thee---

let my heart repeat without end.

All desires that distract me, day and night,

are false and empty to the core.

 

As the night keeps hidden in its gloom the

petition for light, even thus in the depth of

my unconsciousness rings the cry---

`I want thee, only thee'.

 

As the storm still seeks its end in peace when

it strikes against peace with all its might,

even thus my rebellion strikes against thy

love and still its cry is---

`I want thee, only thee'.

 

-39-

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.

 

-40-

The rain has held back for days and days,

my God, in my arid heart. The horizon is

fiercely naked---not the thinnest cover of a

soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a

distant cool shower.

 

Send thy angry storm, dark with death, if it

is thy wish, and with lashes of lightning

startle the sky from end to end.

 

But call back, my lord, call back this

pervading silent heat, still and keen and

cruel, burning the heart with dire despair.

 

Let the cloud of grace bend low from above

like the tearful look of the mother on the day

of the father's wrath.

 

-41-

Where dost thou stand behind them all, my

lover, hiding thyself in the shadows? They

push thee and pass thee by on the dusty

road, taking thee for naught. I wait here

weary hours spreading my offerings for thee,

while passers-by come and take my flowers,

one by one, and my basket is nearly empty.

 

The morning time is past, and the noon. In

the shade of evening my eyes are drowsy

with sleep. Men going home glance at me

and smile and fill me with shame. I sit like a

beggar maid, drawing my skirt over my

face, and when they ask me, what it is I

want, I drop my eyes and answer them not.

 

Oh, how, indeed, could I tell them that for

thee I wait, and that thou hast promised to

come. How could I utter for shame that I

keep for my dowry this poverty. Ah, I hug

this pride in the secret of my heart.

 

I sit on the grass and gaze upon the sky and

dream of the sudden splendour of thy

coming---all the lights ablaze, golden

pennons flying over thy car, and they at the

roadside standing agape, when they see thee

come down from thy seat to raise me from

the dust, and set at thy side this ragged

beggar girl a-tremble with shame and pride,

like a creeper in a summer breeze.

 

But time glides on and still no sound of the

wheels of thy chariot. Many a procession

passes by with noise and shouts and glamour

of glory. Is it only thou who wouldst stand in

the shadow silent and behind them all? And

only I who would wait and weep and wear

out my heart in vain longing?

 

-42-

Early in the day it was whispered that we

should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and

never a soul in the world would know of this

our pilgrimage to no country and to no end.

 

In that shoreless ocean, at thy silently

listening smile my songs would swell in

melodies, free as waves, free from all

bondage of words.

 

Is the time not come yet? Are there works

still to do? Lo, the evening has come down

upon the shore and in the fading light the

seabirds come flying to their nests.

 

Who knows when the chains will be off, and

the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset,

vanish into the night?

 

-43-

The day was when I did not keep myself in

readiness for thee; and entering my heart

unbidden even as one of the common crowd,

unknown to me, my king, thou didst press

the signet of eternity upon many a fleeting

moment of my life.

 

And today when by chance I light upon

them and see thy signature, I find they have

lain scattered in the dust mixed with the

memory of joys and sorrows of my trivial

days forgotten.

 

Thou didst not turn in contempt from my

childish play among dust, and the steps that

I heard in my playroom are the same that

are echoing from star to star.

 

-44-

This is my delight, thus to wait and watch at

the wayside where shadow chases light and

the rain comes in the wake of the summer.

 

Messengers, with tidings from unknown

skies, greet me and speed along the road.

My heart is glad within, and the breath of

the passing breeze is sweet.

 

From dawn till dusk I sit here before my

door, and I know that of a sudden the happy

moment will arrive when I shall see.

 

In the meanwhile I smile and I sing all alone.

In the meanwhile the air is filling with the

perfume of promise.

 

-45-

Have you not heard his silent steps? He

comes, comes, ever comes.

 

Every moment and every age, every day

and every night he comes, comes, ever comes.

 

Many a song have I sung in many a mood of

mind, but all their notes have always

proclaimed, `He comes, comes, ever comes.'

 

In the fragrant days of sunny April through

the forest path he comes, comes, ever comes.

 

In the rainy gloom of July nights on the

thundering chariot of clouds he comes,

comes, ever comes.

 

In sorrow after sorrow it is his steps that press

upon my heart, and it is the golden touch of

his feet that makes my joy to shine.

 

-46-

I know not from what distant time thou art

ever coming nearer to meet me. Thy sun and

stars can never keep thee hidden from me for aye.

 

In many a morning and eve thy footsteps

have been heard and thy messenger has

come within my heart and called me in secret.

 

I know not only why today my life is all

astir, and a feeling of tremulous joy is

passing through my heart.

 

It is as if the time were come to wind up my

work, and I feel in the air a faint smell of thy

sweet presence.

 

-47-

The night is nearly spent waiting for him in

vain. I fear lest in the morning he suddenly

come to my door when I have fallen asleep

wearied out. Oh friends, leave the way open

to him---forbid him not.

 

If the sounds of his steps does not wake me,

do not try to rouse me, I pray. I wish not to

be called from my sleep by the clamorous

choir of birds, by the riot of wind at the

festival of morning light. Let me sleep

undisturbed even if my lord comes of a

sudden to my door.

 

Ah, my sleep, precious sleep, which only

waits for his touch to vanish. Ah, my closed

eyes that would open their lids only to the

light of his smile when he stands before me

like a dream emerging from darkness of sleep.

 

Let him appear before my sight as the first of

all lights and all forms. The first thrill of joy

to my awakened soul let it come from his

glance. And let my return to myself be

immediate return to him.

 

-48-

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 clouds while

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 pave 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 water and 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 honour to

you, heroic host of the interminable path!

Mockery and reproach pricked me to rise,

but found no response in me. I gave myself

up for lost in the depth of a glad

humiliation---in the shadow of a dim delight.

 

The repose of the sun-embroidered green

gloom slowly spread over my heart. I forgot

for what I had travelled, and I surrendered

my mind without struggle to 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!

 

-49-

You came down from your throne

and stood at my cottage door.

 

I was singing all alone in a corner, and the

melody caught your ear. You came down

and stood at my cottage door.

 

Masters are many in your hall, and songs are

sung there at all hours. But the simple carol

of this novice struck at your love. One

plaintive little strain mingled with the great

music of the world, and with a flower for a

prize you came down and stopped at my cottage door.

 

-50-

I had gone a-begging from door to door in

the village path, when thy golden chariot

appeared in the distance like a gorgeous

dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

 

My hopes rose high and methought my evil

days were at an end, and I stood waiting for

alms to be given unasked and for wealth

scattered on all sides in the dust.

 

The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy

glance fell on me and thou camest down with

a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had

come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst

hold out thy right hand and say `What hast

thou to give to me?'

 

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy

palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and

stood undecided, and then from my wallet I

slowly took out the least little grain of corn

and gave it to thee.

 

But how great my surprise when at the day's

end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a

least little gram of gold among the poor

heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had

had the heart to give thee my all.

 

-51-

The night darkened. Our day's works had

been done. We thought that the last guest

had arrived for the night and the doors in

the village were all shut. Only some said the

king was to come. We laughed and said

`No, it cannot be!'

 

It seemed there were knocks at the door and

we said it was nothing but the wind. We put

out the lamps and lay down to sleep. Only

some said, `It is the messenger!' We laughed

and said `No, it must be the wind!'

 

There came a sound in the dead of the night.

We sleepily thought it was the distant

thunder. The earth shook, the walls rocked,

and it troubled us in our sleep. Only some

said it was the sound of wheels.

We said in a drowsy murmur,

`No, it must be the rumbling of clouds!'

 

The night was still dark when the drum

sounded. The voice came `Wake up! delay

not!' We pressed our hands on our hearts and

shuddered with fear. Some said, `Lo, there is

the king's flag!' We stood up on our feet and

cried `There is no time for delay!'

 

The king has come---but where are lights,

where are wreaths? Where is the throne to

seat him? Oh, shame! Oh utter shame!

Where is the hall, the decorations? Someone

has said, `Vain is this cry! Greet him with

empty hands, lead him into thy rooms all bare!'

 

Open the doors, let the conch-shells be

sounded! in the depth of the night has come

the king of our dark, dreary house. The

thunder roars in the sky. The darkness

shudders with lightning. Bring out thy

tattered piece of mat and spread it in the

courtyard. With the storm has come of a

sudden our king of the fearful night.

 

-52-

I thought I should ask of thee---but I dared

not---the rose wreath thou hadst on thy neck.

Thus I waited for the morning, when thou

didst depart, to find a few fragments on the

bed. And like a beggar I searched in the

dawn only for a stray petal or two.

 

Ah me, what is it I find? What token left of

thy love? It is no flower, no spices, no vase of

perfumed water. It is thy mighty sword,

flashing as a flame, heavy as a bolt of

thunder. The young light of morning comes

through the window and spread itself upon

thy bed. The morning bird twitters and asks,

`Woman, what hast thou got?' No, it is no

flower, nor spices, nor vase of perfumed

water---it is thy dreadful sword.

 

I sit and muse in wonder, what gift is this of

thine. I can find no place to hide it. I am

ashamed to wear it, frail as I am, and it hurts

me when press it to my bosom. Yet shall I

bear in my heart this honour of the burden of

pain, this gift of thine.

 

From now there shall be no fear left for me in

this world, and thou shalt be victorious in all

my strife. Thou hast left death for my

companion and I shall crown him with my life.

Thy sword is with me to cut asunder my bonds,

and there shall be no fear left for me in the world.

 

From now I leave off all petty decorations.

Lord of my heart, no more shall there be for

me waiting and weeping in corners, no more

coyness and sweetness of demeanour. Thou

hast given me thy sword for adornment. No

more doll's decorations for me!

 

-53-

Beautiful is thy wristlet, decked with stars

and cunningly wrought in myriad-coloured

jewels. But more beautiful to me thy sword

with its curve of lightning like the outspread

wings of the divine bird of Vishnu, perfectly

poised in the angry red light of the sunset.

 

It quivers like the one last response of life in

ecstasy of pain at the final stroke of death; it

shines like the pure flame of being burning

up earthly sense with one fierce flash.

 

Beautiful is thy wristlet, decked with starry

gems; but thy sword, O lord of thunder, is

wrought with uttermost beauty, terrible to

behold or think of.

 

-54-

I asked nothing from thee; I uttered not my

name to thine ear. When thou took'st thy

leave I stood silent. I was alone by the well

where the shadow of the tree fell aslant, and

the women had gone home with their brown

earthen pitchers full to the brim. They called

me and shouted, `Come with us, the

morning is wearing on to noon.' But I

languidly lingered awhile lost in the midst of

vague musings.

 

I heard not thy steps as thou camest. Thine

eyes were sad when they fell on me; thy

voice was tired as thou spokest low---`Ah, I

am a thirsty traveller.' I started up from my

day-dreams and poured water from my jar

on thy joined palms. The leaves rustled

overhead; the cuckoo sang from the unseen

dark, and perfume of babla flowers came

from the bend of the road.

 

I stood speechless with shame when my

name thou didst ask. Indeed, what had I

done for thee to keep me in remembrance?

But the memory that I could give water to

thee to allay thy thirst will cling to my heart

and enfold it in sweetness. The morning

hour is late, the bird sings in weary notes,

neem leaves rustle overhead and I sit and

think and think.

 

-55-

Languor is upon your heart and the slumber

is still on your eyes.

 

Has not the word come to you that the flower

is reigning in splendour among thorns?

Wake, oh awaken! let not the time pass in vain!

 

At the end of the stony path, in the country

of virgin solitude, my friend is sitting all

alone. Deceive him not. Wake, oh awaken!

 

What if the sky pants and trembles with the

heat of the midday sun---what if the burning

sand spreads its mantle of thirst---

 

Is there no joy in the deep of your heart? At

every footfall of yours, will not the harp of

the road break out in sweet music of pain?

 

-56-

Thus it is that thy joy in me is so full. Thus it

is that thou hast come down to me.

O thou lord of all heavens, where would be thy love

if I were not?

 

Thou hast taken me as thy partner of all this

wealth. In my heart is the endless play of thy

delight. In my life thy will is ever taking shape.

 

And for this, thou who art the King of kings

hast decked thyself in beauty to captivate my

heart. And for this thy love loses itself in the

love of thy lover, and there art thou seen in

the perfect union of two.

 

-57-

Light, my light, the world-filling light, the

eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!

 

Ah, the light dances, my darling, at the

centre of my life; the light strikes, my

darling, the chords of my love; the sky

opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes

over the earth.

 

The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of

light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the

crest of the waves of light.

 

The light is shattered into gold on every

cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.

 

Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling,

and gladness without measure.

The heaven's river has drowned its banks

and the flood of joy is abroad.

 

-58-

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.

 

-59-

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.

 

-60-

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 and dances.

 

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 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 the great

meeting of children.

 

-61-

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

where, 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 baby's limbs.

 

-62-

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, my child.

 

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 hands.

 

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.

 

-63-

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 unfamiliar.

 

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.

 

-64-

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.

 

-65-

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.

 

-66-

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 aloneand apart.

 

many a man knocked at my door and asked

for her and turned away in despair.

 

There was none in the world who ever saw

her face to face, and she remained in her

loneliness waiting for thy recognition.

 

-67-

Thou art the sky and thou art the nest aswell.

 

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.

 

68

 

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.

 

-69-

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.

 

-70-

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 joy?

 

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.

 

-71-

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.

 

-72-

He it is, the innermost one, who awakens my

being with his deep hidden touches.

 

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 pain.

 

He it is who weaves the web of this {\it

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 sorrow.

 

-73-

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.

 

-74-

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.

 

-75-

Thy gifts to us mortals fulfil all our needs

and yet run back to thee undiminished.

 

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.

 

-76-

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 face.

 

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.

 

-77-

I know thee as my God and stand apart---I do

not know thee as my own and come closer. I

know thee as my father and bow before thy

feet---I do not grasp thy hand as my friend's.

 

I stand not where thou comest down and

ownest thyself as mine, there to clasp thee to

my heart and take thee as my comrade.

 

Thou art the Brother amongst my brothers,

but I heed them not, I divide not my

earnings with them, thus sharing my all with thee.

 

In pleasure and in pain I stand not by the

side of men, and thus stand by thee. I shrink

to give up my life, and thus do not plunge

into the great waters of life.

 

-78-

When the creation was new and all the stars

shone in their first splendour, the gods held

their assembly in the sky and sang `Oh, the

picture of perfection! the joy unalloyed!'

 

But one cried of a sudden---`It seems that

somewhere there is a break in the chain of

light and one of the stars has been lost.'

 

The golden string of their harp snapped,

their song stopped, and they cried in

dismay---`Yes, that lost star was the best, she

was the glory of all heavens!'

 

From that day the search is unceasing for

her, and the cry goes on from one to the

other that in her the world has lost its one joy!

 

Only in the deepest silence of night the stars

smile and whisper among themselves---`Vain

is this seeking! unbroken perfection is over all!'

 

-79-

If it is not my portion to meet thee in this life

then let me ever feel that I have missed thy

sight---let me not forget for a moment, let me

carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

 

As my days pass in the crowded market of

this world and my hands grow full with the

daily profits, let me ever feel that I have

gained nothing---let me not forget for a

moment, let me carry the pangs of this

sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.

 

When I sit by the roadside, tired and

panting, when I spread my bed low in the

dust, let me ever feel that the long journey is

still before me---let me not forget a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my

dreams and in my wakeful hours.

 

When my rooms have been decked out and

the flutes sound and the laughter there is

loud, let me ever feel that I have not invited

thee to my house---let me not forget for a

moment, let me carry the pangs of this

sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.

 

-80-

I am like a remnant of a cloud of autumn

uselessly roaming in the sky, O my sun

ever-glorious! Thy touch has not yet melted

my vapour, making me one with thy light,

and thus I count months and years separated from thee.

 

If this be thy wish and if this be thy play,

then take this fleeting emptiness of mine,

paint it with colours, gild it with gold, float it

on the wanton wind and spread it in varied wonders.

 

And again when it shall be thy wish to end

this play at night, I shall melt and vanish

away in the dark, or it may be in a smile of

the white morning, in a coolness of purity transparent.

 

-81-

On many an idle day have I grieved over

lost time. But it is never lost, my lord. Thou

hast taken every moment of my life in

thine own hands.

 

Hidden in the heart of things thou art

nourishing seeds into sprouts, buds into

blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.

 

I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and

imagined all work had ceased. In the

morning I woke up and found my garden

full with wonders of flowers.

 

-82-

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 to lose, and having no time

we must scramble for a 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 to be shut; but I find that yet there is time.

 

-83-

Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for

thy neck with my tears of sorrow.

 

The stars have wrought their anklets of light

to deck thy feet, but mine will hang upon thy breast.

 

Wealth and fame come from thee and it is for

thee to give or to withhold them. But this my

sorrow is absolutely mine own, and when I

bring it to thee as my offering thou rewardest me with thy grace.

 

-84-

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 nights 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 desires, into sufferings and joy

in human homes; and this it is that ever

melts and flows in songs through my poet's heart.

 

-85-

When the warriors came out first from their

master's hall, where had they hid their power?

Where were their armour and their arms?

 

They looked poor and helpless, and the

arrows were showered upon them on the day

they came out from their master's hall.

 

When the warriors marched back again to

their master's hall where did they hide their power?

 

They had dropped the sword and dropped

the bow and the arrow; peace was on their

foreheads, and they had left the fruits of their

life behind them on the day they marched

back again to their master's hall.

 

-86-

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.

 

-87-

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 regained.

 

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 tears.

 

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.

 

-88-

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 deathless neglect.

 

-89-

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!

 

-90-

On the day when death will knock at thy

door what wilt thou offer to him?

 

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 door.

 

-91-

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.

 

-92-

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 and overlooked.

 

-93-

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.

 

-94-

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

King's gateway.

 

-95-

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 own mother.

 

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 well.

 

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 consolation.

 

-96-

When I go from hence let this be my parting

word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.

 

I have tasted of the hidden honey of this

lotus that expands on the ocean of light,

and thus am I blessed---

let this be my parting word.

 

In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had

my play and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.

 

My whole body and my limbs have thrilled

with his touch who is beyond touch; and if

the end comes here, let it come---

let this be my parting word.

 

-97-

When my play was with thee I never

questioned who thou wert. I knew nor

shyness nor fear, my life was boisterous.

 

In the early morning thou wouldst call me

from my sleep like my own comrade and

lead me running from glade to glade.

 

On those days I never cared to know the

meaning of songs thou sangest to me.

Only my voice took up the tunes,

and my heart danced in their cadence.

 

Now, when the playtime is over, what is this

sudden sight that is come upon me?

The world with eyes bent upon thy feet stands in

awe with all its silent stars.

 

-98-

I will deck thee with trophies, garlands of my defeat.

It is never in my power to escape unconquered.

 

I surely know my pride will go to the wall,

my life will burst its bonds in exceeding pain,

and my empty heart will sob out in music like a hollow reed,

and the stone will melt in tears.

 

I surely know the hundred petals of a lotus

will not remain closed for ever and the secret

recess of its honey will be bared.

 

From the blue sky an eye shall gaze upon me and summon me in silence.

Nothing will be left for me, nothing whatever,

and utter death shall I receive at thy feet.

 

-99-

When I give up the helm I know that the

time has come for thee to take it.

What there is to do will be instantly done.

Vain is this struggle.

 

Then take away your hands and silently put

up with your defeat, my heart, and think it

your good fortune to sit perfectly still where you are placed.

 

These my lamps are blown out at every little

puff of wind, and trying to light them I

forget all else again and again.

 

But I shall be wise this time and wait in the

dark, spreading my mat on the floor; and

whenever it is thy pleasure, my lord, come

silently and take thy seat here.

 

-100-

I dive down into the depth of the ocean of

forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.

 

No more sailing from harbour to harbour

with this my weather-beaten boat.

The days are long passed when my sport was

to be tossed on waves.

 

And now I am eager to die into the deathless.

 

Into the audience hall by the fathomless

abyss where swells up the music of toneless

strings I shall take this harp of my life.

 

I shall tune it to the notes of forever,

and when it has sobbed out its last utterance,

lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.

 

-101-

Ever in my life have I sought thee with my

songs. It was they who led me from door to

door, and with them have I felt about me,

searching and touching my world.

 

It was my songs that taught me all the

lessons I ever learnt; they showed me secret

paths, they brought before my sight many a

star on the horizon of my heart.

 

They guided me all the day long to the

mysteries of the country of pleasure and

pain, and, at last, to what palace gate have

they brought me in the evening at the end of my journey?

 

-102-

I boasted among men that I had known you.

They see your pictures in all works of mine.

They come and ask me, `Who is he?' I know

not how to answer them. I say, `Indeed, I

cannot tell.' They blame me and they go

away in scorn. And you sit there smiling.

 

I put my tales of you into lasting songs.

The secret gushes out from my heart.

They come and ask me, `Tell me all your meanings.'

I know not how to answer them.

I say, `Ah, who knows what they mean!'

They smile and go away in utter scorn.

And you sit there smiling.

 

-103-

In one salutation to thee, my God,

let all my senses spread out and touch this world at thy feet.

 

Like a rain-cloud of July hung low

with its burden of unshed showers

let all my mind bend down at thy door

in one salutation to thee.

 

Let all my songs gather together their

diverse strains into a single current and flow

to a sea of silence in one salutation to thee.

 

Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night

and day back to their mountain nests let all

my life take its voyage to its eternal home

in one salutation to thee.