"If you see yourself in everybody and everybody in yourself, then you start loving each one." This Upanishad mantra of Oneness and Love offered by Rabindranath Tagore as his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1913 for his book Gitanjali is probably the shortest by any recipient.
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Amongst the several gifts that Rabindranath Tagore offered to the world, it is difficult to choose the most special : that he authored the national anthems of two countries (India and Bangladesh), birthed Visvabharati and the colossal treasure chest of Rabindra Sangeet or simply his bestowing Gandhiji with the title of ‘Mahatma’.
For the moment, we will stay with a beautiful prayer to the Almighty, written and composed by Tagore himself. What makes it special is that it was brought into our lives by one of our conscience keepers, Arundada, when he visited us last month.
Antar mamo bikoshito karo antartaro he-
Nirmal karo. Ujjal karo, sundar karo he.
Jagrata karo, udyato karo, nibhay karo he.
Mangal karo, niralas nisanshai karo he.
Yukto karo he sabar sange mukto karo he bandha.
Sanchar karo sakol karme shanto tomar chando.
Charonpadme mamo chita nispandito karo he.
Nandito karo, nandito karo, nandito karo he.
O Innermost One,
Let my heart develop, let it be pure, radiant and beautiful.
Let it be vigilant, diligent and valiant.
Let it be benevolent, energetic and resolute.
Unite it with all, free it from all fetters.
Let your peace prevail in all activities,
At your feet let my heart be steady,
Let it feel and spread joy all around.
How do you capture what Tagore was in mere words, when his works find their expressions in other art forms (‘Antar mamo’ song expressed as a graceful dance here) or strike a chord transcending borders and cultures (‘Antar mamo’ song sung by a Danish choir here). As we try and decipher what was the secret of his magic, here is a clue from the master himself, in one of his poems...
Little Flute Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life. This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new. At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable. Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.