A destitute man
Covered with dirt and clad in rags
Entered into a temple
Where day and night
An elderly devotee
Had been saying his prayers.
He piteously told,
'I have no shelter
Please allow me to stay in a corner.'
Annoyed, the devotee said,
'Be off, you dirty fellow'.
In a minute
The beggar took the form of the deity
And said, ' Yes, I am leaving'.
The devotee said, 'My lord
With me what game you are playing!'
'As the poor I beg for mercy everywhere
If you give the homeless a shelter
I also get a shelter there'.
Translation of the sonnet 'Debatar Biday' from the collection Chaitali (The Summer Harvest) by Rabindranath Tagore. The original poem in Bengali script may be viewed at