Rabindranath Thakur, as he was born, was a Nobel Prize winning poet. Yes, he wrote the Indian (as well as the Bengali, and maybe the Sri Lankan) national anthems, and yes, he was the first non European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and yes, he reformed the Bengali language by freeing it from the archaic, Sanskrit based structures all the while pioneering the use of colloquial language and new verse forms and prose… but that’s just it, he was so much more than just his achievements.
Tagore’s poetry achieved a transcendence, an almost ethereal quality without ever being verbose or overly earnest. His verse would meander, but never wander. It is timeless, but it’s permanence comes from the spirituality that his words embodied, and not as a direct consequence of being associated with a name that introduced to the west much that is great about India (and vice versa).
Here are some of the best Rabindranath Tagore Love Poems, forgive us if we’ve left out your favorite:
The above are the opening verses to Tagore’s seminal “Unending Love,” one of his most famous and admired poems. It was also Audrey Hepburn’s favourite poem, and was recited by Gregory Peck at Audrey’s funeral. Tagore’s divine love here transcendences time and form and establishes itself as the only eternal force in the universe. The original poem was written in Bengali, but has been translated by Tagore himself, thus it retains much of the freshness of the original prose.
Three short lines and profundity, no place for grandeur and verbosity. That was Tagore’s strength. Tagore is undoubtedly speaking of how the truth and only the truth is beautiful, but the imagery of truth looking at herself in a crystal and pristine mirror and smiling back… perhaps this is what needs to be pinned to the desks of the notoriously corrupts across this great land.
The quintessential lesson that everyone can only learn through experience. It needn’t only be literal death that this applies to, the death of love or of a relationship must be viewed in the same light. And how beautifully Tagore puts it in the last two sentences stating that a “death,” however you may understand it, is but the signal for change, even if it sometimes takes you rather by surprise.
Like Kabir’s dohas, these two simple lines made up of the simplest words carries within it a profound message. Love cannot be shoved down the throat of the other, no matter how much of it you have to give, or how great your need to do so. Love must be accepted, for it is this acceptance in which True Love flourishes.
Tagore pens beautifully what we all know within ourselves, skin deep beauty is never real, and if that’s good enough for you, know that it’s never lasting as well. Tagore also points out that love will never seek to constrain and bound, for love is the transcendence of the personal and is focused on the object of you affections. Not only will true love free your souls and give you courage when you embrace it, it will also let go of your true love when circumstances come calling.
Lips’ language to lips’ ears. Just let that sink in for a moment. Tagore has undoubtedly captured what it means to kiss and to be kissed, and why we feel the way we do when we kiss – that he describes in the following lines as only he can.
Tagore touches upon unrequited love in a most beautiful way. He talks of how our toils and efforts are sometimes nothing to the object of our desires and how that can make us feel so small – we definitely did not get what we wanted, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. However, other see value in our toils, even when we are removed from them. We are not ineffectual, not worthless, just misguided.
Here, Tagore compares the loves of his friends, family and well wishers to the live of god. He says that while he is grateful for all the earthly love he receives, it is god’s love that is waiting for him.
If there was a way to succinctly describe the mesmerizing words above, it would be light and airy, but carrying a certain weight that is apparent without being overbearing – just like the poet’s dream.
The metaphors and imagery that Tagore manages to conjure up remains so relatable and so real, that we at once comprehend the magnitude of his affections to his beloved.SHARE THIS STORY ON FACEBOOK
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