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Pages (PDF): 36
Publication Date: 1921
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Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, artist, playwright, composer and novelist. His body of literature is deeply sympathetic to the poor and upholds universal humanistic values. His poetry drew from traditional Vaisnava folk lyrics and was often deeply mystical.
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LAST night I dreamt that I was the same boy that I had been before my mother died. She sat in a room in a garden house on the bank of the Ganges. I carelessly passed by without paying attention to her, when all of a sudden it flashed through my mind with an unutterable longing that my mother was there. At once I stopped and went back to her and bowing low touched her feet with my head. She held my hand, looked into my face, and said: "You have come!"
In this great world we carelessly pass by the room where Mother sits. Her storeroom is open when we want our food, our bed is ready when we must sleep. Only that touch and that voice are wanting. We are moving about, but never coming close to the personal presence, to be held by the hand and greeted: "You have come!"
IN my early years, I did not know that my sight had become impaired. The first day when, by chance, I put on a pair of eye-glasses I found that I had suddenly come nearer to everything. I felt I had gained the world twice as much as had been given to me the moment before.
There is such a thing as coming to the nearer presence of the world through the soul. It is like a real home-coming into this world. It is gaining the world more than can be measured--like gaining an instrument, not merely by having it, but by producing upon it music.
SPIRITUAL life is the emancipation of consciousness. Through it we find immediate response of soul everywhere. Before we attain this life, we see men through the medium of self-interest, prejudice or classification, because of the perpetual remoteness around us which we cannot cross over. When the veil is removed, we not only see the fleeting forms of the world, but come close to its eternal being, which is ineffable beauty.
Some seek for the evidence of spiritual truth in the outside world. In this quest one may stumble upon ghosts or some super-sensual phenomenon of nature, but these do not lead us to spiritual truth, as new words in a dictionary do not give us literature.
TO-DAY is the special day of the yearly festival of our asram, and we must make time to realise in the heart of this place the truth which is beauty. And for this we have lighted our lamps. In the morning, the sun came out brightly; in the dusk the stars held up their lights. But these were not sufficient for us. Until we light our own little lamps, the world of lights in the sky is in vain, and unless we make our own preparations, the great wealth of the world preparations remains waiting like a lute for the finger touch. I NEED have no anxiety about the world of nature. The sun does not wait to be trimmed by me.
But from the early morning all my thoughts are occupied by this little world of my self. Its importance is owing to the fact that I have a world given to me which is mine. It is great because I have the power to make it worthy of its relationship with me; it is great, because by its help I can offer my own hospitality to the God of all the world. IN our everyday world we live in poverty; our resources have to be husbanded with care; our strength becomes exhausted, and we come to our God as beggars for our joy of life. On festival days, we display our wealth and say to Him that we are even as He is; and we are not afraid to spend. This is the day when we bring to Him our own gift of joy. For we truly meet God, when we come to Him with our offerings and not with our wants.
LIFE'S highest opportunity is to be able to offer hospitality to our God. We live in God's world and forget Him, for the blind acceptance which is onesided never finds its truth. It is a desert which receives rain but never offers fruit in return and its receiving has no meaning. God's world is given to us and when we offer our world to God then the gift is realised.
WHEN I had thrust the great world unnoticed behind the bars of my office habit I developed in me the belief that I was indispensable. Of the many means by which Nature exacts work from man, this pride is one of the most efficient. Those who work for money, work only to the extent of their wages, up to a definite point, beyond which they would count it a loss to work. But those whose pride impels them to work, they have no rest; even over-time work is not felt as a loss by them.
So busy used I to be under the belief that I was indispensable, that I hardly dared to wink. My doctor now and again would warn me, saying: "Stop, take it easy." But I would reply: "How will things go on if I stop?" Just then my health failed me, the wheels of my car broke down and it came to a stop beneath this window. From here I looked out upon the limitless space. There I saw whirling the numberless flashing wheels of the triumphal chariot of time,--no dust raised, no din, not even a scratch left on the roadway. On a sudden I came to myself. I clearly perceived that things could get along without me. There was no sign that those wheels would stop, or drag the least bit, for lack of anyone in particular. But is this to be admitted so easily as all that! Even if I admit it in words, my mind refuses assent. If it be really quite the same whether I go or stay, how then did my pride of self find a place in the universe, even for a moment? On what could it have taken its stand? Amidst all the plentifulness with which space and time are teeming, it was nevertheless not possible to leave out this self of mine. The fact that I am indispensable is proved by the fact that I am.
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