A Poem-by-poem Study of Gitanjali--I
Bijay Kant Dubey
What is that makes Gitanjali really Gitanjali? It is not his novel idea, thought and reflection, but his use of Indian philosophy archetypal and racial, household and commonly that he has used and applied in. It is but Hindu view of life which lies expressed through the lines. The word Gitanjali means the anjali of geets, the offering of songs. A tribute, homage of poems is it in really and the songs have been dedicated to God who is the creator, preserver and destroyer. It is but feeling, emotion, lyrical overflows which but turn the work into Gitanjali. A work of some samskara, culture and polish is it, handed down to us in the same link of thought and tradition, carrying forward the same mystical flame of relationship between the soul and the Supreme Soul. Though we call it extraordinary, but we know it not that, the bhakti tradition is not at all a newer aspect. There are so many saints and singers of India whose thoughts lie in as kernels in Tagore’s Gitanjali, the echoes of whom can be heard in it. Have we ever tried to know Kabir, Jayasi, Rashkhan, Tulsidas, Surdas, Mirabai, Vidyapati, Kabir and so on before reading Gitanjali or comparing it with them? Perhaps our study will remain unfinished if we study them not. The great sadhakas and tantrics of India we know them not and nor do they went for name and fame. Many of them led a life of self-denial and self-abnegation.
Gitanjali as a text of Indian culture and philosophy is one from the School of Maya as he cannot denounce and renounce the world just as the bairagi does it or a sahdaka does it sadhna. Rabindranath is but a Vaishanava, one religious by being in worldliness. Though he derives from Shankaracharya, Jayadeva, Bhartihari, but does not refer to that he has exactly so. When he talks of truth, the picture of Satya Harishchandra flashes upon the mind’s eye, when he of renunciation, that of Yasodhara and Rahul, when of repeated birth and repeated death, that of Adi Shanakracharya. The day and night kirtana, taking of the name of Sita-Rama or Radha-Krishna continued for twenty hours with the harmonium and cymbals and drums played, tuned, sung can also hint towards. The West knows it not all these, just goes through it. In the Kathopnishada, there lies the discussion with regard to death held in between Nachiketa and Vajashrava. Papa, punya and prayaschita are the code words of ours. We often keep talking about karma and bhoga.
The first poem with which Gitanjali starts is a thanksgiving poem wherein the poet accepts the gifts from the Divine with admiration and barring it there is nothing more to state, some sort acknowledgement is it. Eternal birth and eternal death, rebirth and incarnation from age to age form the crux of the poem. The Lord-god has made him and this adds to his joys. Without His touch, the things could not have been so.
When the Lord commands to sing, his joy knows no bounds, tears well up into the eyes and he forgets the joys mundane to be one with Divine companionship. A mortal and mundane singer into the court of the Divine, what can give more joys than this? The melodies take the singer far and he even forgets the things existential twitching him.
How the song of the master the poet-singer just thinks of it in amazement! He can just feel it the song he sings is but mundane and mortal, the song divine is something cannot be matched with. But the impact and impression of the godly melody is in it all.
God is the life of life and here from germinates everything. His touch is in it all, each and every limb the creation of His and He has given a shape to all. He will also try to approach with the full purity of heart and submission. If the heart is not chaste and pure, then how to approach Him?
He seeks to sit quiet and bemused by his side and enjoying the moments together with. He does not know if it can be or not, but the indulgence of his to be by His side.
The Divine may pluck the flower he has to offer and needle with other flowers before it fades away. It will be the good luck of the flower if to be embedded.
My song has put off her adornments is aesthetic and loverly and the poet wavers in between the love of jewels and simplicity. Finally concludes with that his poetry is shorn of ornamental rhetoric and prosody to approach. Let his life be simple and straight.
Let the child play in dust if he has to be reliant, if has to grow. Let him make the houses of sand and level in the end. There is a unique joy of playing with the sand and to be ignorant of. Innocence must not be restricted. Childhood is not for to be saddled.
It is sacred love which but matters. Take you what it is given with love.
God is not merely in bhakti and too much of bhakti the gesture of the thieves. What it is important is to search Him, feel the existence of His. If the heart is chaste then the Ganges is in the olden wooden bowl water. There is no need of sprinkling the holy Ganga water to be pure. Purity is a matter of the innermost self and His bounty is indescribable. Make your heart not petty. Give your alms open-heartedly. There is no need of worshipping in the temple with the doors shut from all around. God is not there. God is there where the path makers keep making the paths under sun and shower, where the tillers keep tilling the lands. Work is worship and this we have forgotten it. We must recognize the dignity of labour as no work is small and lesser. Where to strive for deliverance? Deliverance too is a thing connected with us. Have we not heard, service to man is service to God. God is in service. Those who serve instead of visiting the temples are not less than. What one can attain through knowledge that can be through devotion and action too.
Man’s life is that of a traveller and this life of his a travel undertaken. The way is long and weary and that he has to cover it. It will take time in reaching the alien abode passing through unknown homes and streets, lonely tracts and fallows.
God is not among the proud fellows, but the poor. He is in humility and submission. Those who call Him humbly, He comes and hears them no doubt and those who are proud and elegant get no chance to meet Him. He is among the poor living and loving them. Riches can never lure Him. Tagore’s God is but a poor man.
Leave you the chanting and counting of beads as God is not there. God is in action, karmayoga. If one sits idle and keeps calling Him, He will not. Try to be a karmayogi, your karma is your dharma, is the message that he wants to give to us. There is no need of showing unnecessary devotion. God is in humility and utter submission.
The song he has come to sing remains unfulfilled and has passed so many days in stringing and unstringing the musical instrument. How to set the tune? How to break the melodies? He lies in the hope of meeting Him, but the meeting is not.
His desires are many and his cry painful. Even if he expects it not, but God gives it otherwise, tendering it so simply that one cannot take into one’s mindset that this can happen.
Into the Divine Hall, now it is the turn of the self to sing the song, but the things will differ as his melodies not the melodies divine and celestial. When the hour strikes for His silent worship at the dark temple of midnight, the Master may command him to stand before to sing. When in the morning air the golden harp is tuned, let the mundane singer be honoured, commanding his presence.
Clouds heap upon clouds and it darkens and even he is let waiting outside the door. It is but love for which he waits, it is love which keeps he burning the lamp. Devote and dedicate all your pains so that one may see Him.
Where the head is held and knowledge is free and the world is not broken by narrow thinking, where the words come out of truth and all action is guided by clear logic and reasoning, into that heaven of freedom, his country must awake.