Translation from Bengali works of Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate of 1913.
Read translator's note after the poem.
For long is carrying my body
Small moments’ rage, enmity and anxiety –
Overshadowing soul’s liberty
With his own ambiguity.
With Truth’s mask Truth he will conceal,
His doll with Death’s clay build he will;
Yet, Death will trace in it if,
It will be his grief.
His play is for self deception,
But that it is play is never his conviction.
Offerings to Death he will relentlessly pile,
Spin in rotations of tear and smile;
With the steam and bubbles of woos
And ignominies he boos.
Daily his ego shoots fiery missiles
Only ash from void piles.
In search of my inner self
Into the light I delve
That every morning will reveal,
In it, Creation’s serenity to feel.
I take apart my soul from this body
Out of all futile anxiety
Caught in the soiled trap of many an hour
There for ablution in heavenly shower;
Where rests the silent mail
Whose invitation never did I hail.
Then I recall – O Sun,
The saints’ prayer ages back done –
“O Luminous, shrouds your golden bowl
Truth, our final goal;
Unfold it O Gracious!”
Of which I be conscious –
To extend my awakening
Along His rays from horizon every morning.
I pray - O Sun, lift this lid, my body
Comprising atoms and molecules shoddy
Of your radiating mass
That hide the Ultimate enormous –
Be that mystery revealed in my vision clear;
Your holiest exuberance may I peer.
My innermost truth that was latent
In your vastness without an extent
Along with the un-devised earth
Is yours only, at your mirth.
At your splendor’s brim
Humans sighted their nobility supreme –
That from age to age you did compile
By the Persian Gulf, Himalayas or Nile.
Said they – “Sons of the Immortal we are –
Did vision that Superman
From beyond the darkness, blazing golden.”
Poem No: 10 of Patraput written at Santiniketan in 1935, 6 years before the Poet’s death.
Translator’s note: Through his various dissertations Tagore lucidly explained different parts of Upanishad, the scripture for mankind left by the Indian sages nearly 5000 years back. Like me who do not have access to the original Upanishad for lack of command over Sanskrit, the language in which it was composed, may find Tagore’s essays/poems as the best guide to this great scripture. Thus is one of the numerous annotations on Upanishad by Tagore.
“Those who are craven take this world as comprising impediments only which impair their vision and hope. So they know only the impediments as the truth, but not the real truth. But he who is great, sees the truth instantly beyond all impediments. That is why there is a gulf of difference between their thoughts. When everybody is in chorus that they see only darkness, he can assert- “Beyond all darkness I have seen Him who is great and luminous. (Upanishad)”
This annotation resounds in this poem also which helps us share the poet’s glimpse of the ultimate truth beyond the daily torments of this mortal world.