Gitanjali Poem No. 95 - Summary and Analysis

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I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.

What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight!

When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a moment that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form of my own mother.

Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to me. And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well.

The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes it away, in the very next moment to find in the left one its consolation.

I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.
Gitanjali Poem no. 95


      The theme of Death is continued. The unknown, inscrutable power brings man into this world. When we cross the threshold of this life, we are completely new and stranger to this world but His inscrutable power holds us in His arms and embrace us with love. Like a mother His affection makes us feel familiar with the surrounding. It helps us to open our eyes in this mystery as a bud flourishes into a flower beautifully and calmly. The human birth is compared with blooming of a bud, is wonderful.

      The Death is another place where the same mother looks after her child. Her warmth of love and care is there too. Life brings soul to a new, strange world, so also Death carries him across the sea of eternity. The human soul loves both the aspects of creation. The knowledge or life fulfils only if we are aware of the another world of death.

      Now comes a most remarkable original and startling imagery. The bold and creative imagination of Tagore here compares the two aspects life and death to the two breasts of mother, the Divine mother The Almighty, the immanent and inscrutable force surrounds His child, the mankind with his affection to make him feel at home in the strange surroundings. He in guise of Divine mother embraces him with her breast. She takes the child away from one breast of life, the child weeps but is soon consoled when it is put to the other breast. The human soul enters life and easily finds the rest and peace in the other world to which it will go after Death.

Critical Analysis

      The cup of life is sweet but Death is equally sweet. The Death is inevitable and this world is not a place of fear and strangeness but the warmth and affection of divine is equal as it is there in the world of life. The imagery is said to be the very essence of the poetry. The beautiful images express the thoughts of a writer profoundly. Tagore's use of imagery is not merely decorative but it is the very life and soul of his lyrics. His use of abundant imagery is always legitimately poetic. He uses them to achieve concentration, to convey profound thoughts, or to express emotions which can't be expressed by literal expressions.

"Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to me. And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well."

      The theme of these lines is once again that of death, but now Death is not a beautiful, ecstatic journey from finite to infinite but it is a mystical experience which may be painful for a short time, but will in the end confer on him bliss and knowledge.

      The poet believes that this earth is a nest of God where comes the human soul in a physical form. He is looked after like a child by the Divine, the Mother, the Father of the mankind. When man takes his birth, inscrutable like an affectionate mother receives him into her arms. A man loves his life so he must love death as well. Death is again an expression of the Almighty father, the way to meet Him. To equalize the harsh experience of God's creation, death with the loving, beautiful aspect of His creation, the poet carves a beautiful image. No other image can evolve such similarity between two opposites still the same. Life is here one breast of the mother and death the other. That is why the change from life to death would never be apprehended by Tagore. In death still there is someone who will appear to him who is known in life.


      Threshold: the entrance to a room or place. Inscrutable: mysterious. Consolation: satisfaction, comfort.

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