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10 verses of Rabindranath Tagore that shows why he’s hailed as a torch-bearer of Bengali literature

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Rabindranath Tagore’s vision was much ahead of his time. He was a poet, novelist, lyricist, philosopher, essayist, story-writer, painter and spiritualist. You name it, he aced it. He was the first Asian to be honoured with the Nobel prize for literature in 1913. He has penned several novels, songs, poems, short stories and travelogues; originally written in Bengali his work has been translated into multiple languages. He is known as the torch-bearer of Bengali literature. Be it joy, sorrow, love or any emotions, he has beautifully penned them in his works. His famous works include Gitanjali (poetry), Gora (novel) and Ghare-Baire (novel), Galpaguchchha (short stories), Naivedya (poetry), Kheya (poetry), Chaturanga (novel), Jogajog (novel), Haimanti (short story), Kabuliwala (short story) and the list goes on and on. He composed 2,230 songs which are often termed as ‘Rabindra Sangeeth’. Even today his works serve as an inspiration for millions of people. He also penned the national anthem of India ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and for Bangladesh ‘Aamaar Sonaar Banglaa’.

On the occasion of 157th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, we bring to you 10 verses of the poet-writer-philosopher that shows why he is called as the literary genius. Here we go.

Where the Mind is Without Fear


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.


Silent Steps

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.


Unending Love

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.


A Moments Indulgence

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.


Let Me Not Forget

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.


Brink Of Eternity

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.


Parting Words

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 the 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 come heer,
let it come – let this be my parting word.


Death

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.


Baby’s World

I wish I could take a quiet corner in the heart of my baby’s very own world.
I know it has stars that talk to him, and a sky that stoops
down to his face to amuse him with its silly clouds and rainbows.
Those who make believe to be dumb, and look as if they never
could move, come creeping to his window with their stories and with trays crowded with bright toys.
I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby’s mind,
and out beyond all bounds;
Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms
of kings of no history;
Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, the Truth sets Fact free from its fetters.


Face to Face

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.