MY FAVOURITE BOOK
My favourite book is Tagore’s Geetanjali. ‘The world is too much with us’ said Wordsworth. We actually ‘lay waste our power’ in earning and spending on frivolous 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 Geetanjali gives me wings to fly away from this murky world to the land of imagination. It is not a frivolous fancy. The poems of Geetanjali elevate an ordinary man to the spiritual level Even the common man can visualize God in his own 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.
Geetanjali begins with the Hindu sense of reincarnation when Tagore says ‘this frail vessel thou emptiest, again and again, and fittest 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 thy 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 Geetanjali a classic. Tagore comes to the lowest level of human life and depicts true life without vanity. The ‘poet’s vanity dies in shame ‘before thy sight’. Like Kabir he asks the worshiper in the temple Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads…..open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee! He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground…He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment 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 Ids eyes he feels “Here art thou “. But ‘the question and the cry “Oh, where V melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance “I” am. The world for Tagore is a journey. Man comes from God. Ms home is God. Wordsworth calls life ‘trailing clouds’ which has to go back to its real home. Tagore ends his offering saying ‘Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountain nests let all my life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to thee’.
Besides this craving 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 words come out from 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 Geetanjali is, in a nutshell, an encyclopedia of metaphysics, patriotism, and the depiction of common man’s toil all leading to the realization of the Almighty who resides in man’s heart.