Gitanjali Poem No. 4 - Summary and Analysis

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Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.

I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.

I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.

And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.

Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.
Gitanjali Poem no. 4


      This poem begins with the poet pledging to God that he shall always try to be pure because the source of his life is He and He is present in every part of his body. He promises to drive away all forms of untruths from his thoughts because God Himself is truth and has blessed him with the power to reason and rationalize. He shall also drive away all manner of evil and bad things from his heart. He shall keep his love and adoration for God in bloom and fresh because he knows that God lives in his heart and the innermost temple of his heart is God's station. And he shall also always work towards revealing God in his actions he shall do good things only because, the power in him to act and work has been granted by God himself.

Critical Analysis

      The fourth lyric in Tagore's Gitanjali is a solemn pledge, a pledge to remain true to God. The pledge in this poem is expressed in accordance with the Hindu belief that God is within man, that He exists in the innermost recesses of man's heart and body. God is immanent and therefore man has to think of his body as the temple of God. Therefore it is further necessary that man should make every effort to keep his heart, body, mind and soul pure and worthy of God. He should keep his body pure by not succumbing to physical and carnal pleasure. His mind should be free of lies and untruth, because God the embodiment of truth has shown him reason. Man shall also keep his heart pure by dispelling all evil thoughts and keeping his love in his heart ever fresh, as God lives his innermost heart. Finally, his actions shall reveal the presence of God within him. Thus, the poet pays glowing love and respect to God by attempting to keep every aspect of his body and mind, pure and beautiful for the glory and greatness of God.


      Life of my life: the source of the poet's life. Living touch: the connection that gives life. Light of reason: the faculty of reasoning, of rationalising in man, of inner enlightenment. Keep my love in flower: His love shall always be young or in bloom all the time. The 'flower' symbol occurs quite frequently in Tagore. Reveal thee in my actions: The poet shall act so that it reveals God's bounty and his presence, his loving touch in the poet.

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