Gitanjali Poem 16 Summary and Analysis

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I have had my invitation to this world's festival, and thus my life has been blessed. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard.
It was my part at this feast to play upon my instrument, and I have done all I could.
Now, I ask, has the time come at last when I may go in and see thy face and offer thee my silent salutation?

I have had my invitation to this world's festival, and thus my life has been blessed. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard.
Gitanjali Poem no. 16

Summary

      In this poem Tagore has praised life, then says that his role has been completed and prays to come into God's presence. He has been born into this world which is like a festival and therefore his being born is like an invitation to play and sing at this festival. And thus, he feels that his life has been blessed with this invitation. And now he has experienced this life, this festival both through his eyes and through his ears. The poet says that the role assigned to him in this world was to play his musical instrument and sing songs and he says that he has done so to the best of his ability. Therefore, he asks God if, since he has done his duty, his time to come into God's presence has come. If his time to face God and honour him silently without singing has come.

Critical Analysis

      This poem is an appreciation of the life that God has granted to the poet, Thus, he celebrates life. He calls it a festival, a joyous occasion where he has been invited to play his musical instrument and sing songs. This was his duty during this festival, to sing and thus serve God. And the poet is confident that he has done his duty well. Tagore also talks about death in the poem. But he doesn't look at God as something to be feared or dreaded or to be avoided. In fact he asks God when his time will come and looks forward to it eagerly because he knows that after death he shall come into God's presence and then leaving his songs and music he shall serve and salute God silently. Thus, Tagore expresses the belief that life is transitory and a proper fulfillment of one's duty is necessary for an ultimate union with God.

Annotation

      This world's festival: life here on earth is compared to a festival, an occasion for joy. My eyes have... ears have heard: the poet has seen and heard this festival, i.e. he has experienced life. This feast: life on earth. To play upon my instrument: the poet's role in the world is to sing and make music. Go in: death. Salutation : token honouring God.

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