Gitanjali Poem 42 Summary and Analysis

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Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
In that shoreless ocean, at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in melodies, free as waves, free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not come yet? Are there works still to do? Lo, the evening has come down upon the shore and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when the chains will be off, and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset, vanish into the night?

Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage to no country and to no end.
Gitanjali Poem no. 42

Summary

      Tagore talks about the voyage to the eternal world which he and God shall make in a boat. Early in his life, the poet has been informed mystically that he and God would be travelling together in a boat and none would know about their voyage to the eternal world. In the ocean of eternity, the poet would sing songs and when God silently acknowledged it with a smile, then his songs would swell and reach on height of music beyond the mere words and content of a song. Then the poet questions whether this time had come or not and if there are still other works to do? Then he says, that it is evening and all else over going home, and even the seabirds are flying to their nest. Finally the poet wonders when the chains of worldly life will fall off and his boat shall merge into eternity.

Analysis

      The poem is again a mystical poem about the voyage to eternity. The poet knows early on from life that he shall be going on a voyage with God. This is an often recurring motif in Tagore's poetry. The idea of the voyage, the boat, the sea occurs repeatedly as image in his poems. Here, in his quest, his pilgrimage, the human soil is the pilgrim and the boat the medium which God shall guide. The sea is the symbol of eternity and the soul has to cross in order to attain union with God. The idea behind imagery can also be interpreted as the journey of the soul after death and that Tagore's belief in the concept that in order to attain salvation one needs to leave the human body behind and the soul has to go on and cross eternity. Tagore earnestly longs to do so because he knows with God's acknowledgement his songs shall reach the Zenith of their beauty.

"Early in the day it was whispered that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and never a soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage to no country and to no end"

      These lines have a beautiful imagery which is romantic as well as spiritual at a time. The theme of these lines is mystical. The poet has heard that he and God are to sail in a boat, with nobody else to accompany them. No one else in the world would know about this voyage which would be without a goal and without an end. Tagore points out that man should always be ready for the Divine whispering, the spiritual illumination which is sudden. The poet uses the motif of the voyage to stand for the quest of eternity. Besides the humdrum of life there is the another truth, the Divine, the Life-Deity. He (God), too, needs your devotion, love and concentration. The human soul may be regarded as the pilgrim, thou' is the Life-Deity. The sea symbolizes the finite lite which must be crossed in order to feel the presence of Infinite. The spiritual voyage here symbolizes the quest for God. The poet who is craving for His communion with God and is unaware of His holy presence with him always thinks that journey to death is essential to reach that Bter nal that he realizes the ecstatic truth of God and realises that he him-self is a part of Almighty force, for whom he is looking for. Later he accepts that living this life and side by side feeling His ecstatic presence with himself is the real joy and harmony.

Annotation

      Early in the day: early in life. To no country and to no end: an unknown destination, a journey into eternity which has no earthly end. Shoreless Ocean: the sea of eternity. Bondage of words: a music beyond the world or the lyrics. Seabirds come flying to their nest: time for homecoming, the human soul merging with the over soul. The chains: worldly, earthly bonds.

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