Monday, August 6, 2012

Rabindranath Tagore- The man before the poet


Realms have been written on Rabindranath and yet some more. So when one picks up the pen, or maybe the 'mouse' in this case to pen something on his death anniversary, there are a few distinct s that come to the mind. It is of course rather bleak to repeat the unnecessary little fact that he wrote tremendously. To my mind, to read Rabindranath is like achieving the purity of orgasm- One is fatigued with the smile in the heart, echoing in the lips and yet astonishingly, there is scope for more.

But for someone like me who has read some bit of him( a very small portion of his entire work) I found his own life extremely intriguing. In fact having read the different facets of his life, I began pitting them with different works of his and suddenly like a huge puzzle, the individual( His works) started making sense when compared with the whole( his life). There are some people who write well but are very average as individuals, Rabindranath was poet who did not only WRITE poetry, he also LIVED it.

There are many who scoff at the idea of humility in greats, because for their limited minds it is difficult to accept that humility maybe an after affect of greatness. But in the most genuine cases, it mostly is. In context to Rabindranath, one instance of this humility and ability to assess the self that I am always reminded of is on the occasion when he was fascinated by German literature. This was primarily sparked off by wanting to read Dante in German, since according to him in translation, 'Dante remained a closed book to me'. In fact so great was his desire to learn German that he asked for help in learning German from a missionary lady. It is here that he makes a rather pertinent observation about himself, when he writes-

"Fortunately I met a missionary lady from Germany and asked for her help. I worked hard for some months, but being rather quick-witted which is not a good quality, I was not persevering. I had the dangerous facility which helps one to guess the meaning too easily. My teacher thought I had almost mastered the language, which was not true. I succeeded however in getting through Heine, like a man walking in sleep, crossing unknown paths with ease, and I found immense pleasure. Then I tried Goethe, but that was too ambitious."


It is because of this un-sureness about his abilities that perhaps he could reach where he did. I smile then when I hear and read about people comparing him to God, making him to be things he was not. He was always human and no where is this facet of him more prominent than in his poetry. He found it ridiculous when people asked him to explain his poetry. He writes-

'But does one write poetry to explain any matter? What is felt within the heart tries to find outside shape as a poem. So when after listening to a poem anyone says he has not understood, I feel nonplussed. If someone smells a flower and says he does not understand, the reply to him is: there is nothing to understand, it is only a scent...The utterance of feeling, is not the statement of a fundamental truth or a scientific fact or a useful moral precept.. if while crossing a river you catch a fish, you are a lucky man, but that does not make a ferry boat, a fishing boat, nor should you abuse the ferryman if he does not make fishing his business..The fact of the matter was that, a longing had been born within my heart, and unable to find another name, I had called the thing I desired an Echo.'

In remembering Rabindranath the man, the poet on his death anniversary, make not a God of him..but if you can make him one among st you..fallible only to love. In remembering him, I give him his own words-

I do not wish to die to this lovely world.
I wish to live as man among men,
with the sun shining, the flowers in bloom
and perchance some loving heart responding!

How varied is the game of life on this earth,
its meeting and partings, its laughter and tears!
Oh to sing of man's joys and pains
and leave behind a melody undying!


( Words of Tagore courtesy- 'Rabindranath Tagore - A biography By krishna Kriplani)

8 comments:

Panchali said...

That was a marvelous , earthy blog, brimming with details of Kobiguru's life and literary works. Indeed, 'The man before the poet' title seems so apt!!

A wonderful tribute i MUST SAY!!
Your lines are so beautiful...:)

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Thanks so much Panchali :)

The Unknowngnome said...

Your post today is a prime reason I read and follow your blog. It's a jewel!

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Oh thanks so much Unknown gnome..didn't know thta..am so glad you can relate to the Master..truly poetry has no boundaries..I might have a surprise for you too soon :) Thanks for visiting though.

Aditi Mitra said...

An interesting piece of information...loved the post!!!

Raj said...

As like you, I have found Rabindranath Tagore’s life extremely fascinating. As you brilliantly draw a parallel of his life to his poetry, I was smiling as I had had this feeling subconsciously all along. He was his poetry and his poems reflected his soul. It is a mesmerizing sensation once you get immersed into his poems as your senses will transcend your body and will wander in this lovely world he paints through his poems.

Such a marvelous tribute this was. Your writing is precious! :)

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

Aditi, so glad you liked it Raj..what can I say..you exude poetry yourself..that's why it's easy as breathing for you..Thank you my friends for making it worth its while :)

Ghazala Hossain said...

The picture warmed my heart. Thank you for this post :)