Gitanjali Poem No. 100 - Summary and Analysis

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I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.

No more sailing from harbour to harbour with this my weather-beaten boat. The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.

And now I am eager to die into the deathless.

Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss where swells up the music of toneless strings I shall take this harp of my life.

I shall tune it to the notes of for ever, and, when it has sobbed out its last utterance, lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.

I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.
Gitanjali Poem no. 100


      The theme of the lyric is that the right way to meet the Lord, our Almighty is to loose one's own entity by dying. In the previous poem the poet compared this universe to a sea and life was compared with a sea-voyage. Now the same comparison is continued. He says he dives into the depth of the ocean of myriad forms to find out the formless and perfect pearl, the Divine spirit, the Infinite God. Throughout the whole life the poet is busy in this search, he sails from one side to other, his body, the weather beaten boat has been tossed on the waves. The life is spent in this mysterious, obscure search. There was the time when he used to enjoy the tossing of life waved but now he is eager to die he is longing for the sea of eternity.

      Now the poet wished to go to the great hall of the Almighty in the fathomless sea of eternity. The audience hall where the divine music is in the air. He longs to take his harp of life there and tune it to the notes till the last utterance in the form of sob comes out and then he will lay down his silent harp at the feet of the Silent.

Critical Analysis

      The remarkable, concrete imagery is used to convey the longing for mystic reunion with the Supreme Infinite and Silent God which he hopes realise through death. These last ten lyrics of Tagore are drowned in same theme of death, illumination after death and steadfast desire to meet the Almighty. But every time distinct images represent the same monotonous ideas differently and artistically. Now God is compared to a perfect pearl, the world to an 'Ocean of forms', earthly existence to a weather-beaten boat' and life to a 'harp'.

"I shall tune it to the notes of forever, and when it has sobbed out its lost utterance, lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent."

      The poem from which this stanza is an extract is yet another lyric on the theme of death. Death is here regarded as a consummation for which the poet has been striving all his life. He uses for himself the image of the sailor who has been voyaging from harbour to harbour, but now, as it is, his days of being tossed upon the waves are over, for he has reached his destination.

      In the closing lines of the poem, which are under reference here, the poet uses for his life the image of a musical instrument, the harp with which, he says, he will reach the audience hall which resounds with the music of toneless strings. He shall tune his own harp also to eternal notes, and sound on it one last emotion charged utterance, after which he will offer his silent harp at the feet of God, who is formless and silent. As he has said earlier in the poem, he would then have become eternal through death he will 'due into deathless'.


      The ocean of forms: the world of living people. Harbour: seaport. Weather-beaten: spoilt by wind and weather. The deathless: immortality. Fathomless: whose depth can't be measured. Abyss: chasm, an opening in the ground. Swells up: rises in a loud volume. Toneless: silent. Harp: musical instrument. Of forever: concerning eternity. The silent: God.

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