Seedling

Translation of a Bengali poem by Rabindranath Tagore (7th May 1861 7th August 1941) the Nobel Laureate of 1913.

63. Poem ‘Bojhapara’ (Understanding) from the book ‘Kshanika’ (Momentary) written in 1910.

Translator: RAJAT DAS GUPTA (Kolkata) [email protected] & [email protected]

[Translator’s note: Tagore wrote this poem when he was only 38 years old, hardly half-way through his life. The Poet’s life was replete with tragedies including death of his children and his wife who died in 1910, the year when this poem was written. But he had absorbed all these shocks calmly. Remarkable is the great maturity in the Poet’s philosophy of life even when he was just middle aged. But this should not surprise one knowing that thanks to his father’s [Maharshi Debendranath Thakur (‘Maharshi’ is the appellation for a sage-like person)] guidance Tagore’s thoughts were deep-rooted in Vedas and Upanishads (nearly 5000 year old Indian scriptures) since his boyhood which was transmitted to the different phases of his life until his death.]

Tell your mind to-day,
Benign or evil, come what may,
Take truth easy all your way.

Some love you, some can’t
Some revere much
Some are not such
And thus you’ll be shunt.
That’s their wont and yours too
Which settles our mundane due.

Some will bilk you
So you’ll in lieu;
Something you’ll share
Others to bare;
For ages it runs as at start
Are you that lucky to escape all hurt?

Tell your mind to-day,
Benign or evil, come what may,
Take truth easy all your way.

Past many a storm, you purport,
Reached the Utopian port;
The deceptive underwater rock
Served you severe shock.
Instantly your ribs feeble
Shook up in wail terrible;
For that, should you have vitriol
With all?

If you can still float
Of course you’ll gloat.
If you can’t, just drown
Without a frown.
Nothing unprecedented is this,
Precious trifle the event is.
Where none raises eyebrow
There hits the prow
To wreck the ship
Turning it to a heap.

Tell your mind to-day,
Benign or evil, come what may,
Take truth easy all your way.

Not everybody measures like you
Nor the vice versa is true.
At stress of somebody you ail
And at yours one’s breathes fail.
Yet, just ponder,
Why this tug-of-war?
If you stretch your hand in earnest
That may get you euphoric best.
The sky remains blue, the dawn endearing,
If death is imminent, in your mind will ring-
Life is preferred to death,
Whatever that may bequeath.
Loss of the precious, which mourned I
Flooding my eye,
Even sans that I feel,
The world is uphill.

Tell your mind to-day,
Benign or evil, come what may,
Take truth easy all your way.

As down the horizon you go,
If you elongate your shadow
To darken your life by default
On strife with your fate without a halt,
You only self-axe your toe,
But better do it soonest, if it must be so.
Lamenting a lot,
Filling jars of tears pretty hot
Do reach an understanding with your mind
A light to find
As the lamp you’ll lit
In your room the dark to defeat,
Just forget O brother
How much your dues with others’ differ.

So, tell your mind to-day,
Benign or evil, come what may,
Take truth easy all your way.

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