The Light with a Soul

Anticlockwise from top right: Young Tagore on stage as an actor; With his son Rathindranath Tagore, and daughters Madhurilata Devi (Bela), Mira Devi & Renuka Devi; At Albert Einstein’s Berlin home (1926); Tagore with Tasher Desh drama group; Visiting Helen Keller in New York (1930) and reciting, “Aami chini go chini tomare, ogo Bideshini.”; Kabiguru in Shantiniketan; Spending time with Mahatma Gandhi; Last Journey from Shantiniketan.

“The song I came to sing 

remains unsung to this day. 
I have spent my days in stringing 
and in unstringing my instrument.”

From ‘Gitanjali’ (গীতাঞ্জলি)

Reading Tagore is seeing life more clearly, hearing life more sweetly, living life more completely.

His songs enable us to be more creative in our thinking and doing, to be more compassionate in our feelings and dealings.

And more at peace with ourselves, and the world.

Rabindranath Tagore
is considered the greatest creative artist of modern India, whose seemingly mesmeric personality, flowing hair, and otherworldly dress earned him a prophet-like reputation. 
His elegant prose, magical poetry and mellifluous compositions still spellbind us beyond ethereal horizons.

A humble attempt to pay tribute to the maestro on his 152
nd Birth Anniversary:

Auroras of emerald and jade
Contoured the emotively beautiful sky,
And I sat in marvel,
For me, it felt like a melody
That only the heavens could hear.
For it moved me,
Danced into my soul with a symphony
That only my heart could hear.

I imagined it
Musing, humming, and just being alive—
Brilliantly supreme, it only knew how.
I saw it celebrating life, living it:
Flutes, hymns, rhymes, of love and of light,
A genius conjuror in a white robe,
Blithely swirling the unknown vastness.
It felt like some eclectic music flowing from afar,
With a promise of eternal gifts.

I tried demystifying it,
But I don’t think I can ever fully grasp it.
Still I couldn’t resist this harmonic temptation:
Of being held captive by this magnetism and the air,
Of colliding and bursting into an epicurean light,
Of glowing into a lamp of glory and amity,
Of inspiring awe and colour.

It amazed me,
Just stumped me to numbness:
How a few verses read from stained papers,
How a few tunes flowing from an antique record player,
Could enamour me, stirring me this deeply
Without actually ever witnessing in person!
It spoke beyond the cursives and beyond the quavers,
Reaching somewhere within me, beyond me,
Staying with me, long after the hourglass had run its course.

It does so
By simply being what it is,
And by what it has shown me, like always:
An inspiration, a saintly apparition,
A window, a fascinating door to things unperceived,
A guiding radiant light with a flawless soul.

I see it now:
As a musing poet, with his unsaid words and unwritten scripts.
As a beamish composer, stitching idyllic notes with native lyrics.
As a benign artist, choosing to paint with vivid lights and energy.
As a parent cuddling his child, with ink and melody.

I may not fully understand this feeling.
It is an enigma to me,
How it charms, how it glows!
If there is ever a sound that goes with it,
Or only timeless silence, I wonder.
I’ve always wanted to write about this radiance,
But never found the right words, the right order.
I still struggle while untangling it,
Even now.

This brilliance
Has touched many, in ways and magnitudes countless.
This rising emotion, this gentle divinity,
This beautiful Light with a Soul,
This belief in liveliness, this sense and smell—
I was blessed to feel it, to catch glimpses of it
In this mortal lifetime.

With divinity this ageless pleasance shall blend,
Where the soul finds peace and the songs never end,
And in that paradise of delight, shall Tagore forever scend.

(Written on Boishakh 25, 1420, Bengali Calendar.)

18 comments on “The Light with a Soul

    • Any tribute will fall short forever.
      Yes, had he been alive mortally, there could have been so many things to ask and know from the maestro. But, even now, there are a zillion things to learn from him. Such is his legacy!

  1. I absolutely loved this tribute on one of my most beloved writer, and a great human being — Tagore. You have captured the essence of his mesmerizing persona so well, Tanumoy. I read his “Chitra” recently and rediscovered his wonderful tapestry of words through the flow of that play.
    Thank you for this significant post! Keep penning.

    • Glad that my attempt reached a certain level. Really grateful for the kind words.
      And you must try Gora (Fair-Faced) and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World), two of his best ever works.
      Stay in touch. Good day! 🙂

      • Shukriya, Tanumoy. I have read Gora few years back. Shall try and see if I could get Ghare-Baire. By the way, I wish to keep liking this post over and over again. Aisa kiyun? 🙂

        • It’s an immense joy for my soul that a poetess of your stature liked this tribute, and even wish to like it ever more… probably Tagore’s mesmeric spirit binds you and your writings to this. Kya pata… 🙂

    • Humbled and overwhelmed, sir!
      I’m so glad to know that I could do some justice to this tribute. It is greatly inspiring to get such appreciation from a veteran writer like yourself.
      I bow to you, sir.

    • Oh Bobbie, you humble me greatly, not just with your words, but with every second you spend here, reading my meek attempts with the pen. One ‘thank you’ will never be enough to tell you how much I enjoy your being here. Love & best wishes, Tanumoy.

  2. An amazing tribute!

    “I see it now:
    As a musing poet, with his unsaid words and unwritten scripts.
    As a beamish composer, stitching idyllic notes with native lyrics.
    As a benign artist, choosing to paint with vivid lights and energy.
    As a parent cuddling his child, with ink and melody.”


    “The song I came to sing
    remains unsung to this day.
    I have spent my days in stringing
    and in unstringing my instrument.”

    Beautiful work! Stunning, really.

  3. “As a parent cuddling his child, with ink and melody.”

    My favorite part! Definitely made me smile… Great work! I have never read Tagore, but then I have not read many other masterpieces either… I’m on it!

    I feel proud that we have such remarkable souls like Tagore to hold a light to life & its beauty! Your tribute was very inspiring. Thank You!

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