Gitanjali Poem 47 Summary and Analysis

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The night is nearly spent waiting for him in vain. I fear lest in the morning he suddenly come to my door when I have fallen asleep wearied out. Oh friends, leave the way open to him - forbid him not.

If the sound of his steps does not wake me, do not try to rouse me, I pray. I wish not to be called from my sleep by the clamorous choice of birds, by the riot of wind at the festival of morning light. Let me sleep undisturbed even if my lord comes of a sudden to my door.

Ah, my sleep, precious sleep, which only waits for his touch to vanish.

Ah, my closed eyes that would open their lids to the light of his smile when he stands before me like a dream emerging from darkness of sleep.

Let him appear before my sight as the first of all lights and all forms. The first thrill of joy to my awakened soul let it come from his glance. And let my return to myself be immediate return to him.

The night is nearly spent waiting for him in vain. I fear lest in the morning he suddenly come to my door when I have fallen asleep wearied out. Oh friends, leave the way open to him - forbid him not.
Gitanjali Poem no. 47

Summary

      The idea of union, the longing for salvation is again conveyed in terms of the beloved waiting for her lover to come and awake her during the night. Tagore says that he has spent the night waiting for God to come but He hasn't come. He fears lest God come in the morning when he had fallen asleep due to his exhaustion. And his request to his friends is that they should not stop him from entering his house but to leave the way open for him. He requests that if the sound of God's footsteps do not wake him, then let him continue sleeping. He only wants to be woken by his lord. He doesn't want to wake with the loud clamouring songs of the birds, or the sound of the blowing wind or the sounds of dawn. He prays that if God ever comes of a sudden, then let him sleep on.

      The poet says that his sleep is very precious and yet it only needs God's slightest touch for him to wake. He would like to wake with the picture of his Lord before him and smiling at him and see him emerging before his eyes like a dream out of the darkness. The poet wishes to see God as the first of all the light and life forms. He wants to feel the first thrill of joy only as a result of God's glance at him. And in turning to himself he prays that he be turning to God.

Analysis

      Again, Tagore used the imagery of the beloved waiting for the lover through the night and the beloved's longings for her lover symbolises the poet's intense longing for his God. Tagore thus identifies with the woman waiting through the night eagerly for her lover to come and passes the night thus waiting in rain. The extreme anxiety and weariness she experiences and her feeling that her lover may come after she has fallen asleep and thus may not meet, aptly indicates the degree of anxiety in the poet's heart that he may miss meeting God. Another beautiful imagery in the poem is that of the beloved telling her friends not to wake her, rather wishing to wake up listening to her lover's footsteps. The poet's wish to see God's face first is thus beautifully brought out. Again this feeling is emphasised through the imagery presented where the beloved wishes not to be awakened by the noise of the birds or wind or the touch of the light but by the touch and sound of her lover. Thus, the implication that the poet upon spiritual reality wish to see the splendour of God. The final imagery of the poet returning to himself and thus returning to God is the most beautiful expression of how in man's search for God he needs to look at himself and he shall find that God resides in himself.

"Let him appear before my sight as the first of all lights and all forms. The first thrill of joy to my awakened soul let it come from his glance. And let my return to myself be immediate return to him."

      The beauty of these lines is hidden in the duality. The erotic imagery here reveals the religious and devotional idea. Tagore in the guise of bride is waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom, in other words the immanent, inscrutable, inevitable lover, the God. But she is afraid that He may come late at night after she has fallen asleep. If that happens, she tells her friends not to wake her up. She would like, in the first place, to be awakened by the footfalls of her lover. If that fails to wake her up, she would prefer that the lover should wake her up, rather than by any other person. When he wakes her up, the first sight to meet her eyes would be that of the lover, whom she would see as the first of all lights and all visible forms. The lover's glance would bring the first thrill of joy to her soul after it has woken up. Thus the beloved's return to wakefulness would simultaneously become her return to her lover also.

Annotation

      Waiting for him: waiting for God. Forbid him not: do not stop him. Rouse: wake. Clamorous choice of birds: insistent call of the birds. Festival of morning light: dawn.

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