In India, the Sanskrit word ‘Kavi’ is generally accepted as denoting a poet, but the word, correctly interpreted, does not mean a person who, having been endowed with high powers of imagination and expression, is purely and simply a writer in verse, it means a seer, an enlightened and wise person, And Rabindra Nath Tagore was much more than a mere versifier having high powers of imagination and expression; he was a ‘Kavi’ in the strictest sense of the term. Gitanjali is a collection of hundred and odd poems and songs from his Bengali work mainly ‘Gitanjali’, ‘Naivedya’, ‘Kheya’ and ‘Gitimalya’ transcreated by the poet himself that thrilled the whole world and won him the coveted Noble prize.
Best Poems Of Rabindranath Tagore From Gitanjali
Thou hast made me endless
It is the first poem from the collection of poems “Gitanjali” by Rabindranath Tagore.
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.
Rabindranath Tagore believes that God pervades the whole of the human existence and man is nothing but an instrument in the hands of God, a servant whose duty it is to carry out the commands of his master. The human body is like a frail of a vessel which God empties again and again and then fills it ever with fresh life. Man dies and takes birth in another shape. In this way, human life is constantly renewed. this shows Tagore’s faith in the Hindu doctrine of transmigration.
He compares his body to a flute, made of reeds. God is the musician and He plays upon it everywhere, over the hill, as well as, in valleys. He always plays new and fresh melodies. Tagore believes it is under divine inspiration that he is always able to sing fresh and new songs. As God is everywhere and in every object of Nature, he gets His inspiration everywhere and sings over hills and dales.
Whenever God touches his soul with His immortal hand I.e. whenever He inspires him, he sings with immense joy, forgetting his own physical limitations. He loses his identity in his union of man and God, the eternal soul gets absorbed in Infinite.
God’s bounty knows no limit. His gifts are numerous and He has scattered them everywhere for ages. But the human soul is too little to enjoy in full abundance and profusion of divine bliss. again human soul is compared to a little child, whose hands are too small to hold the gifts which his parents offer to him. God has been bestowing His gifts upon His slaves for ages and still, His blessings are not exhausted. God’s gifts are endless.
when thou commandest me
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.
Introduction: There are a hundred and three poems in Tagore’s poetic collection entitled the Gitanjali. This is the second song by Gitanjali. From the point of view of the theme, the poems are divided into several groups. The first group (1-7) deals with the vastness and immensity of God’s love and His gifts and intimate relationship of love, existing between God and the poet.
Rabindranath Tagore says that he sings only when God commands him to do so whenever he gets inspiration from God. his heart is overflowed with joy and he feels a sort of pride on being inspired by God It is because of the immense joy that tears flow down his eyes. In such moments of inspiration . his soul is one with the divine and he feels that he is face to face with God. his creator. Thus, the passage gives an account of the mystic bliss, that illuminates his being as he sings in praise of God.
The poet admits that his soul is not absolutely pure. there is much discordant, ugly, foul and wicked in his soul, but when he gets divine inspiration. his soul is purified of that wickedness. The divine inspiration overcomes the discordant or jarring element, his soul is exalted and peace descends upon him. All that is ugly, wicked and undesirable is dissolved into peace and harmony and in this exalted state, his heart is overflowed with the feeling of devotion and submission. He gets new vigour and energy. Like a glad bird, he spreads his wings to sing in praise and adoration of God. When a bird gets fresh energy, it spreads its wing to fly across the sea. Similarly, under the divine inspiration, his soul strives to seek a union with God, his creator.
The poet also feels that God is delighted, whenever he sings in His praise. It is only as a singer or a sincere devotee that God loves him the best i.e. whenever he sings, in praise of God, in a state of oblivion and self-denial, he is closer to his Creator. The poet feels that harmony of discordant notes is the basis of the song and such harmony is also the basis of God’s creation. A musician brings order out of disorder, just as God Himself imposed law and order on chaos, a welter of warring elements, this is how the creation took place. This creation is the music of God. Thus, according to the poet, music is the only means through which he can reach God and his soul becomes one with God. It is a mystic experience, which only inspired singers can have.
The poet says with utter humility that even under the state of divine inspiration, he cannot have the full glimpse of his Creator. His only hope is to touch his feet with the outspread wings of his soul. Divine inspiration fills his heart with immense joy and he feels elevated spiritually, and he forgets that he is a humble slave of God. He considers that he is a friend of God for the mystic experience removes the veil between the two.
I know not how thou singest, my master!
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!
In this poem, God is presented as a master musician. The poet listens to the sweet music of this master musician, who is also his Maker. He listens to His music with amazement. His music illuminates the world. He enlivens it from sky to sky by the life-breath of his song. His music flows swiftly like a holy stream and removes all obstacles that come in the way. Even the stones are moved by divine music.
The poet longs to sing in the manner of God. He wants to join Him in his singing. But he is unable to do so. His voice fails him and he cannot speak or sing. All his efforts go in vain. He gets bewildered and cries out in extreme dismay. The poet aspires to become one with God, but he cannot do so, because he is entrapped in this world of Maya, which is the endless music of God. The sweet harmony of God’s music is constantly sounded through the universe and the poet is held captive by it. He listens to it with the utmost joy and fails to set himself free from its meshes.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free where the world has not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection;
Where 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.
This is lyric number thirty-five in Tagore’s Gitanjali. It is different from the rest of the previous poems. Most of the previous lyrics deal with the spiritual love, but this is a political lyric and was included in Gitanjali from one of Tagore’s Bengali works return much earlier. It is regarded as one of the most popular and effective lyrics of Tagore.
Rabindranath Tagore wants his countrymen to be fearless. They should be bestowed with such virtues as may enable them to live a respectable life. Education should be imparted to his country free of cost. There should be no division of caste, creed or nationality. There should be unity in his country and it should be free from petty disputes. Love should be the basis of there mutual relationship and people should always be making endless efforts to achieve perfection in every and justice for the sake of dead habit. In other words, they should be dynamic. They should be broad-minded and their mind should always be busy in thinking new and noble thoughts. The poet praise to god to make his country such heaven of freedom where people may have opportunities of their full spiritual and intellectual development.
Deliverance is not for me in renunciation.
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 colors 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.
Introduction to the poem
According to popular belief and conception, a mystic is he, who renounces the world and shuns the pleasures of the senses. but Rabindranath Tagore is not this type of mystic poet. He neither renunciates the world nor does he shun the pleasures of senses.
According to the poet, the actual deliverance or rescue is not in abandoning the world and its activities. the poet feels the pleasure of deliverance is in a thousand bonds of delight. These thousand bounds of delight are the various duties, which man has to discharge in this world for the true joy and delight lies in discharging the duties, which have been assigned to the man in this world.
According to the poet, human life is like an earthen pot or tumbler which God fills up again and again with the wine of different colours and tastes and not to drink this wine would be the height of ingratitude. This scented and tasty wine are the various duties, which man has to discharge in each day of his life. The poet wishes to express his devotion and gratitude to God by lightning a hundred lamps by His inspiration on His altar. In other words, the poet wants to show his devotion and gratitude to God by writing songs in His, praise under divine inspiration.
God has created this beautiful world for the joy and pleasure of man and it is man’s duty to enjoy the various pleasures with which God has blessed him in abundance. And a true devotee of God is he, who enjoys the pleasure of senses because this sensuous delight is the expression of the pleasure that God takes in the creation of the various objects of this world.
But this does not mean that the poet teaches a life of sensuous pleasure. Sensual delight should be sublimated and spiritualized. All that is gross and ignoble in worldly pleasures should be transformed into an expression of pure love. This transformation is possible only when a man uses all his powers and abilities in the service of his fellow beings. The true joy lies in the service of Mankind.
Thus it is that thy joy in me 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
Introduction: In this poem, Rabindranath Tagore lays stress on the essential truth that the love of the beloved would be meaningless without the lover and beauty would lose its value if there is none to admire and appreciate it.
There is deep love between God-lover and the poet-beloved. The poet’s beloved’s heart is full of the love of the divine lover. In this way, God-the divine lover has come down from His high throne to the poet beloved. The poet-beloved says to his divine lover where would be his lover if he were not there? hence, God, the lover is as much in need of man’s love as man is in need of God’s love.
The poet beloved says to his divine love that He has made him His partner in the act of creation and he feels in his heart the endless play of thy delight. God’s will is being realized through the medium of man.
It is for this that the God-lover has decked Himself with various beautiful objects of nature so that He may captivate the heart of the poet beloved. And, it is for this, that His love gets mingled with man’s love and this union of the two lovers is the perfection of love. Such love of man and God is the highest and the noblest love. This union of the human and the divine is the perfection of love and God longs for it as much as a man does.