MY FAVOURITE BOOK
My favourite book is Tagore’s Githanjali. The world is too much with us said Wordsworth. We actually ‘lay waste our power’ in earning and spending on favourite articles. Our books, our teachers all ask us to work hard to be successful in life. We are surrounded by materialism. I just want to remain away from this dirty world. Tagore’s Gitanjali gives me wings to fly away from this murky world to the land of imagination. It is not a frivolous fancy. The poems of Gitanjali elevate an ordinary man to be the spiritual level, even the common man can visualize god in his activities. The poems have a metaphysical approach. It removes the difference between man and God. Man is just a particle embodied in God and his creation.
Gitanjali begins with the Hindu sense of reincarnation when Tagore says ‘this frail vessel thou emptiest, again and again, and fullest it ever with fresh life’. According to Hindu thought all the activities are guided by all pervading spirit of God. The poet just offers a bouquet of songs to the Creator. He longs to meet him through these songs. ‘I touch by the edge of the far spreading wing of my song the feet which I could never aspire to reach’. For Tagore God is; Life of my life’, and he would try to ‘reveal thee in my action, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.
It is not merely metaphysical thought that makes Gitanjali a classic Tagore comes to the lowest level of human and depicts true life without vanity. This poet’s vanity dies in shame ‘before thy sight’. Like Kabir he asks the worshipper in the temple ‘Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads…….open the eyes and see they God in not before thee! He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground….he is with them in sun and in shower, ad his garments is covered with dust.
The philosophy of Adwait of Shankar as propagated by Vivekananda has influenced Tagore’s writing. When in search of his creator he shuts his eyes he feels “Here art thou”. But the question and the cry “Oh, where?” melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance “I’m. The world for Tagore is a journey. Man comes from God. His home is God. Wordsworth calls life ‘trailing clouds’ which has to go back to its real home. Tagore ends his offerings saying ‘Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountains nests let all my life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to thee’.
Besides this caving to fly to his real home Tagore has not missed his faith and devotion to the Motherland. He wishes ‘Into that heaven of freedom my Father, let my country awake’
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free:
Where the world is not broken up
Where worlds come out form the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habits.
Tagore’s Gitanjali is, in a nutshell, an encyclopedia of metaphysics, patriotism, the deception of common man’s toil- all leading to the realization of the Almighty who resides in man’s heart.