"LIFE of my life"
By Bijay Kant Dubey
The song number four from Gitanjali, beginning with ‘Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure’ is similar in thought and idea, reflection and rhyming as the other poems are in this poetical series coming down to us as song offerings. After thanking God for this life, creation and the world, singing the songs himself, making the Divine sing, Tagore swears as for keeping the body pure as because only in a pure body a pure heart can. And if the body is not pure, how to approach the Divine? The poet turns to the philosophy of satya, ahimsa and dharma. Where there is a discussion of satya, the talks of ahimsa and shantih will naturally crop as will come relatedly and where is dharma, karma will naturally get tagged to as dharma and karma are related to each other. It is Nirmal Nridaya, Sacred Heart that he talks about, Niscchal Mona, Guileless Inner Mind, Pavitratama, Pure Soul, Sinless And Chaste. Actually, when we start the worship, we start from the confession, soul-cleansing prayer that we are sinners, sinful are our activities, the sinful soul is that of ours, redeem, Thou, my Lord! How to keep pure?, is the thing of discussion here. How to keep chaste and virtuous and righteous? The Pulley and Virtue by George Herbert too tell of the same thing. To see it in the words of George Herbert, God dwells in the temple of heart and ony sweet and virtuous soul is immortal.
The poem starts on a note of undertaking and self-denials. Praying to Life of life, God the Almighty, the poet says that he will try to keep his body pure knowing it that it is He whose living touch is each and every limb of ours. He will try to keep all the untruths away out of his thoughts as because God is the Ultimate Truth and it is His Light which has ignited the dormant portions by kindling reason, flashing upon darkness to dispel it. The light of reason is the best to endow with.
He will try to drive all the evils away from his heart, nurturing goodwill, fraternity, humanism, liberalism, tolerance, love and sympathy for all, which but one makes humane and noble. As a flower is so will try to keep his heart pure and dew-washed, crystal clear and beautiful from its within. To Thomas Hood, in I Remember, I Remember, flowers appeared to be as those made from light and joy, which he held in his childhood. Flower and love are synonymous in image and idea. If the heart is pure and clean only then God can dwell in.
It will be his endeavour to reveal Him in his actions done knowingly or unknowingly as God is in each and every activity of ours. It is his Power which but gives strength.
The word, the .light of reason has a larger connotation as it refers to the periods slid by on the corridors of medieval history full of upheavals and repercussions. Our belief in superstition, witchcraft and others too wreaked havoc and damaged the basic things of our philosophy and culture and we grew more superstitious, fatalistic, blind and inactive.
LIFE of my life, I shall ever try to
keep my body pure, knowing that thy
living touch is upon all my limbs.
I shall ever try to keep all untruths
out from my thoughts, knowing that
thou art that truth which has kindled
the light of reason in my mind.
I shall ever try to drive all evils away
from my heart and keep my love in
flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat
in the inmost shrine of my heart.
And it shall be my endeavour to
reveal thee in my actions, knowing it
is thy power gives me strength to act.
Satyameva jayate, truth only prevails, ahimsa paramo dharamah, non-violence is the greatest religion and others have effected this poem in the making. Had he not stressed or borrowed Indian gnan, karma, dharma, mukti, vidya and viveka, he could not have this poem. Only bhakti not, adherence to bind devotion and religiosity cannot take us far and for it, we need to dispel avidya, ignorance through vidya learning which is but light and viveka, mental power of reasoning the faculty of logical wisdom. As because one should know it that fatalism, soothsaying and strong belief in oracles and prophecies have wreaked havoc in terms of chastity and purity. Say you, who is really pure? The fatalists, pundits, palmists, horoscope-makers and astrologers’ India like we not; that of the fortune-tellers, soothsayers’. The aboriginals too have not lagged behind. If we lay them bare, hair will stand on. Gnan, knowledge and karma, activity must go together with. What is gnan, knowledge? Gnan is viveka, logical faculty of reasoning and buddhi, wisdom whose horizon transcends the barriers. Vidya, learning gives gnana, knowledge and from gnana, we get viveka, the faculty of reasoning and mukti, deliverance.