Gitanjali Poem No. 36 - Summary and Analysis

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This is my prayer to thee, my lord - strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

This is my prayer to thee, my lord - strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart. Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Gitanjali Poem no. 36

Summary

      Here, Tagore prays to God to put an end to poverty of the spirit and help him rise above all else to serve God with love. He says that his prayer to God is that God striking at the very root, the very beginning remove his spiritual poverty. He prays that God grant him strength to bear his joy and sorrows and yet not be too affected by them. He then prays that God again grant him strength that his love would be used in the service of God and thus be fruitful. Tagore goes on to pray for strength that would make him strong before the arrogant and proud and never bow before them or ever to be weak and disown the poor. He also prays for strength to raise himself above the insignificant daily events. And finally asks for strength and ill to completely surrender to the service of God.

Critical Analysis

      Tagore turns from a political consideration to again a more personal religious prayer. This poem is his plea that God grant him strength in various forms to carry out the needful and come into God's presence completely. These different petitions are wonderfully eloquent and the manner and the objects he pleads for is admirable. He prays that God put an end to his deep seated spiritual poverty and then pleads to God to grant him the strength to stand joys and sorrows and yet stand above them. He wants strength to use his love in the service of God but not mere prayer or in following religious conventions but by serving the poor and battling the proud and mighty. He prays for strength to raise himself above the petty worldly considerations and to completely surrender himself to God and rise his love to serve God. That is God grant him humility too.

Annotation

      Strike at the root of penury: remove poverty from the very root, the very base. Bend my Knees before insolent might: bow before arrogant power. Daily trifles: the small insignificant things that make up life.

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