Facing death, Two Poems from Naibedya, Rabindranath Tagore

These two poems are part of a collection of 100 poems called Naibedya, Dialogues with the Lord of the Heart, by Rabindranath Tagore.  This collection has been translated in English from Bengali by Shailesh Parekh and published by A Writers Workshop Saffronbird Book, 2002, Ahmedabad. They evoke in a few deeply moving words the way one can face death with an awareness of the presence of the Lord of Life and Universe.

Naibedya 18

Today, you have sent a messenger of death to my door.

Carrying your invitation, he has crossed the ocean and come to this shore.

Today, the night is dark

and my heart is anxious with fear.

Yet, with a lamp in my hands,

I will open the door and greet him humbly.

Today, you have sent a messenger of death to my door.

With folded hands,

I will worship him with my anxious tears.

I will worship him

by offering the wealth of my heart at his feet.

Carrying out your command, when he returns,

leaving my morning dark,

I will sit in my vacant place and offer myself at your feet.

Today, you have sent a messenger of death to my door.

Naibedya 1

O Lord of my Life,

I shall always stand before you.

O Lord of the universe,

with folded hands, I shall stand before you.

Under your endless sky,

in solitude and humility in the heart

and tears in my eyes,

I shall stand before you.

In your bewildering and varied hued world,

on the shores of the ocean of action,

amidst all the people of the world,

I shall stand before you.

When my purpose in this world is served,

O king of kings,

without a word,

I shall stand alone before you.

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