Gitanjali Poem 33 Summary and Analysis

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When it was day they came into my house and said, "We shall only take the smallest room here."
They said, "We shall help you in the worship of your God and humbly accept only our 
own share of his grace"; and then they took their seat in a corner and they sat quiet and meek.
But in the darkness of night I find they break into my sacred shrine, strong and turbulent, and snatch with unholy greed the offerings from God's altar.

When it was day they came into my house and said, "We shall only take the smallest room here."
Gitanjali Poem no. 33

Summary

      Here the poet talks about how worldly desires enter and corrupt the human heart and soul. They come in the manner of thieves and plunder his house, during the night. As the sun rose, they, meaning worldly desires came and begged the poet to give him the smallest room in his house. They told the poet that they would help him in worshipping his God and accept God's grace with humility and saying so, they settled merely into a quest corner. But then in the darkness of the night they came out of their corner and displaying great strength and boisterousness, they invaded the post sacred shrine, his temple where his God his soul resided and with their greed snatched all that the poet had offered his God.

Analysis

      The poet here brings out how desires corrupt man in a beautiful manner. He dreams the pictures of robbers and dishonest people who come into one's house with false stories. Worldly desires also enter into a man's heart in this manner, crafty throwing a veil over their true intentions. They rather claim they would help him. A dishonest man is initially very meek and humble and wins the confidence and trust of the other person and then they show their true colour. They grow bold and aggressively attack when everything is dark and all are asleep, and rob the house, which is a symbol of man's innermost heart and soul, and destroy everything with their greedy hands. Tagore's representation is beautiful and the vivid imagery makes the message come across loud and clear.

"They said, 'we shall help you in the worship of your God and humbly accept only our own share of his grace'; and then they took their seat in a corner and they sat quiet and meek"

      The poet speaks of those desires that creep into man's heart like gentlemanly thieves and ultimately steal whatever is spiritual in him. Desires come in the guise of humble refugees but become masters. They affirm that they would help the mind in the worship of God, and would be content with a small part of God's kindness. In the beginning they occupy only a small and inconspicuous place in the mind. Gradually, however, they enter into the most sacred part of the mind and snatch away the offerings even from the divine alter. One must, therefore, not be taken in by the soft and insidious words of desires, when they come and seek a lodgement in the mind.

Annotation

      My house: the poet's heart or mind. Smallest room: a little space. My sacred shrine: the part of his heart where his soul resides. Strong and turbulent: strong boisterousness.

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