Gitanjali Poem 38 Summary and Analysis

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That I want thee, only thee - let my heart repeat without end. All desires that distract me, day and night, are false and empty to the core.
As the night keeps hidden in its gloom the petition for light, even thus in the depth of my unconsciousness rings the cry - I want thee, only thee.
As the storm still seeks its end in peace when it strikes against peace with all its might, even thus my rebellion strikes against thy love and still its cry is - I want thee, only thee.

That I want thee, only thee - let my heart repeat without end. All desires that distract me, day and night, are false and empty to the core.
Gitanjali Poem no. 38

Summary

      Tagore again expresses his desire to find union with God in terms of the beloved and the lover. He tells himself that his heart should repeatedly say that he wants to be with God. And he says that all the worldly attachments and longings that distract him, from loving and serving God are empty and baseless and totally useless and valueless. His prayer and his petition to God for a union remains deep within his heart hidden and unseen in the same way as the night keeps its longings for light hidden in its darkness. And as the storm and rain seem to lash and disturb the peace of the atmosphere with its might and fury, but finally leaves it calm and beautiful and full of peace so does the poet's rebellion against God and his love hide his inner longing for God's love and a union with God.

Critical Appreciation

      Shades of erotic Indian religious poetry again appear in this poem. There are also elements of pantheism in the poem in that he expresses his religious thoughts in terms of Nature and her elements. The poet as beloved, cries for union with God and says that all worldly ties are false and useless. His only true desire is to be one with God and his heart repeatedly cries this out. He expresses this desire giving examples from Nature, saying that his desire for God, his love and longing for union with God is hidden deep in his heart as the night hides its desire for light. Then he again takes the examples of a fierce storm actually bringing peace and compared his rebellious desire bringing union with God and thus peace and love.

Annotation

      All desires that distract me: all worldly attachments that draw the poet away from his devotion to God. Empty to the core: completely empty, valueless. Depth of my unconsciousness: the innermost part of the poet's mind and heart. As the storm.. all its night: a storm apparently destroys the peace of the atmosphere but it is in reality bringing peace. It departs leaving the earth quiet, pure and serene.

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