smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play
on the seashore of worlds.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl
fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while
children gather pebbles and scatter them again. they seek not
for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
The sea surges up with laughter and pale gleams the smile of the
sea beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the
children, even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle.
The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams
in the pathless sky, ships get wrecked in the trackless water,
death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless
worlds is the great meeting of children.
The sleep that flits on baby's eyes - does anybody know from where
it comes? Yes, there is a rumour that it has its dwelling there,
in the fairy village among shadows of the forest dimly lit with
glow-worms, there hang two timid buds of enchantment. From there
it comes to kiss baby's eyes.
The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps - does
anybody know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumour that a
young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a
vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the
dream of a dew-washed morning - the smile that flickers on baby's
lips when he sleeps.
The sweet, soft freshness that blooms on baby's limbs - does
anybody know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother
was a young girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent
mystery of love - the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on
When I bring to you coloured toys, my child, I understand why
there is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why
flowers are painted in tints - when I give coloured toys to you,
When I sing to make you dance I truly now why there is music in
leaves, and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart of
the listening earth - when I sing to make you dance.
When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands I know why there
is honey in the cup of the flowers and why fruits are secretly
filled with sweet juice - when I bring sweet things to your greedy
When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling, I surely
understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light,
and what delight that is that is which the summer breeze brings
to my body - when I kiss you to make you smile.
Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou hast
given me seats in homes not my own. Thou hast brought the
distant near and made a brother of the stranger.
I am uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter;
I forget that there abides the old in the new, and that there
also thou abidest.
Through birth and death, in this world or in others, wherever
thou leadest me it is thou, the same, the one companion of my
endless life who ever linkest my heart with bonds of joy to the
When one knows thee, then alien there is none, then no door is
shut. Oh, grant me my prayer that I may never lose the bliss of
the touch of the one in the play of many.
On the slope of the desolate river among tall grasses I asked
her, 'Maiden, where do you go shading your lamp with your mantle?
My house is all dark and lonesome - lend me your light!' she
raised her dark eyes for a moment and looked at my face through
the dusk. 'I have come to the river,' she said, 'to float my
lamp on the stream when the daylight wanes in the west.' I stood
alone among tall grasses and watched the timid flame of her lamp
uselessly drifting in the tide.
In the silence of gathering night I asked her, 'Maiden, your
lights are all lit - then where do you go with your lamp? My
house is all dark and lonesome - lend me your light.' She raised
her dark eyes on my face and stood for a moment doubtful. 'I
have come,' she said at last, 'to dedicate my lamp to the sky.'
I stood and watched her light uselessly burning in the void.
In the moonless gloom of midnight I ask her, 'Maiden, what is
your quest, holding the lamp near your heart? My house is all
dark and lonesome - lend me your light.' She stopped for a minute
and thought and gazed at my face in the dark. 'I have brought my
light,' she said, 'to join the carnival of lamps.' I stood and
watched her little lamp uselessly lost among lights.
What divine drink wouldst thou have, my God, from this
overflowing cup of my life?
My poet, is it thy delight to see thy creation through my eyes
and to stand at the portals of my ears silently to listen to
thine own eternal harmony?
Thy world is weaving words in my mind and thy joy is adding music
to them. Thou givest thyself to me in love and then feelest
thine own entire sweetness in me.
She who ever had remained in the depth of my being, in the
twilight of gleams and of glimpses; she who never opened her
veils in the morning light, will be my last gift to thee, my God,
folded in my final song.
Words have wooed yet failed to win her; persuasion has stretched
to her its eager arms in vain.
I have roamed from country to country keeping her in the core of
my heart, and around her have risen and fallen the growth and
decay of my life.
Over my thoughts and actions, my slumbers and dreams, she reigned
yet dwelled alone and apart.
Many a man knocked at my door and asked for her and turned away
There was none in the world who ever saw her face to face, and
she remained in her loneliness waiting for thy recognition.
Thou art the sky and thou art the nest as well.
O thou beautiful, there in the nest is thy love that encloses the
soul with colours and sounds and odours.
There comes the morning with the golden basket in her right hand
bearing the wreath of beauty, silently to crown the earth.
And there comes the evening over the lonely meadows deserted by
herds, through trackless paths, carrying cool draughts of peace
in her golden pitcher from the western ocean of rest.
But there, where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take
her flight in, reigns the stainless white radiance. There is no
day nor night, nor form nor colour, and never, never a word.
Thy sunbeam comes upon this earth of mine with arms outstretched
and stands at my door the livelong day to carry back to thy feet
clouds made of my tears and sighs and songs.
With fond delight thou wrappest about thy starry breast that
mantle of misty cloud, turning it into numberless shapes and
folds and colouring it with hues everchanging.
It is so light and so fleeting, tender and tearful and dark, that
is why thou lovest it, O thou spotless and serene. And that is
why it may cover thy awful white light with its pathetic shadows.
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the
earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous
waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of
life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my
blood this moment.
Is it beyond thee to be glad with the gladness of this rhythm?
to be tossed and lost and broken in the whirl of this fearful
All things rush on, they stop not, they look not behind, no power
can hold them back, they rush on.
Keeping steps with that restless, rapid music, seasons come
dancing and pass away - colours, tunes, and perfumes pour in
endless cascades in the abounding joy that scatters and gives up
and dies every moment.
That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, thus
casting coloured shadows on thy radiance - such is thy
Thou settest a barrier in thine own being and then callest thy
severed self in myriad notes. This thy self-separation has taken
body in me.
The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloured
tears and smiles, alarms and hopes; waves rise up and sink again,
dreams break and form. In me is thy own defeat of self.
This screen that thou hast raised is painted with innumerable
figures with the brush of the night and the day. Behind it thy
seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, casting away all
barren lines of straightness.
The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky. With
the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant, and all ages pass
with the hiding and seeking of thee and me.
He it is, the innermost one, who awakens my being with his deep
He it is who puts his enchantment upon these eyes and joyfully
plays on the chords of my heart in varied cadence of pleasure and
He it is who weaves the web of this _maya_ in evanescent
hues of gold and silver, blue and green, and lets peep out
through the folds his feet, at whose touch I forget myself.
Days come and ages pass, and it is ever he who moves my heart in
many a name, in many a guise, in many a rapture of joy and of
Deliverance is not for me in renunciation. I feel the embrace of
freedom in a thousand bonds of delight.
Thou ever pourest for me the fresh draught of thy wine of various
colours and fragrance, filling this earthen vessel to the brim.
My world will light its hundred different lamps with thy flame
and place them before the altar of thy temple.
No, I will never shut the doors of my senses. The delights of
sight and hearing and touch will bear thy delight.
Yes, all my illusions will burn into illumination of joy, and all
my desires ripen into fruits of love.
The day is no more, the shadow is upon the earth. It is time
that I go to the stream to fill my pitcher.
The evening air is eager with the sad music of the water. Ah, it
calls me out into the dusk. In the lonely lane there is no
passer-by, the wind is up, the ripples are rampant in the river.
I know not if I shall come back home. I know not whom I shall
chance to meet. There at the fording in the little boat the
unknown man plays upon his lute.
Thy gifts to us mortals fulfil all our needs and yet run back to
The river has its everyday work to do and hastens through fields
and hamlets; yet its incessant stream winds towards the washing
of thy feet.
The flower sweetens the air with its perfume; yet its last
service is to offer itself to thee.
Thy worship does not impoverish the world.
From the words of the poet men take what meanings please them;
yet their last meaning points to thee.
Day after day, O lord of my life, shall I stand before thee face
to face. With folded hands, O lord of all worlds, shall I stand
before thee face to face.
Under thy great sky in solitude and silence, with humble heart
shall I stand before thee face to face.
In this laborious world of thine, tumultuous with toil and with
struggle, among hurrying crowds shall I stand before thee face to
And when my work shall be done in this world, O King of kings,
alone and speechless shall I stand before thee face to face.
I know thee as my God and stand apart - I do not know thee as my
own and come closer. I know thee as my father and bow before thy
feet - I do not grasp thy hand as my friend's.
I stand not where thou comest down and ownest thyself as mine,
there to clasp thee to my heart and take thee as my comrade.
Thou art the Brother amongst my brothers, but I heed them not, I
divide not my earnings with them, thus sharing my all with thee.
In pleasure and in pain I stand not by the side of men, and thus
stand by thee. I shrink to give up my life, and thus do not
plunge into the great waters of life.
When the creation was new and all the stars shone in their first
splendour, the gods held their assembly in the sky and sang 'Oh,
the picture of perfection! the joy unalloyed!'
But one cried of a sudden - 'It seems that somewhere there is a
break in the chain of light and one of the stars has been lost.'
The golden string of their harp snapped, their song stopped, and
they cried in dismay - 'Yes, that lost star was the best, she was
the glory of all heavens!'
From that day the search is unceasing for her, and the cry goes
on from one to the other that in her the world has lost its one
Only in the deepest silence of night the stars smile and whisper
among themselves - 'Vain is this seeking! unbroken perfection is
If it is not my portion to meet thee in this life then let me
ever feel that I have missed thy sight - let me not forget for a
moment, let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in
my wakeful hours.
As my days pass in the crowded market of this world and my hands
grow full with the daily profits, let me ever feel that I have
gained nothing - let me not forget for a moment, let me carry the
pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.
When I sit by the roadside, tired and panting, when I spread my
bed low in the dust, let me ever feel that the long journey is
still before me - let me not forget a moment, let me carry the
pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.
When my rooms have been decked out and the flutes sound and the
laughter there is loud, let me ever feel that I have not invited
thee to my house - let me not forget for a moment, let me carry
the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.
I am like a remnant of a cloud of autumn uselessly roaming in the
sky, O my sun ever-glorious! Thy touch has not yet melted my
vapour, making me one with thy light, and thus I count months and
years separated from thee.
If this be thy wish and if this be thy play, then take this
fleeting emptiness of mine, paint it with colours, gild it with
gold, float it on the wanton wind and spread it in varied
And again when it shall be thy wish to end this play at night, I
shall melt and vanish away in the dark, or it may be in a smile
of the white morning, in a coolness of purity transparent.
On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time. But it is
never lost, my lord. Thou hast taken every moment of my life in
thine own hands.
Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into
sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into
I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had
ceased. In the morning I woke up and found my garden full with
wonders of flowers.
Time is endless in thy hands, my lord. There is none to count
Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers. Thou
knowest how to wait.
Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.
We have no time to lose, and having no time we must scramble for
a chances. We are too poor to be late.
And thus it is that time goes by while I give it to every
querulous man who claims it, and thine altar is empty of all
offerings to the last.
At the end of the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate to be shut;
but I find that yet there is time.
Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck with my
tears of sorrow.
The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet,
but mine will hang upon thy breast.
Wealth and fame come from thee and it is for thee to give or to
withhold them. But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own, and
when I bring it to thee as my offering thou rewardest me with thy
It is the pang of separation that spreads throughout the world
and gives birth to shapes innumerable in the infinite sky.
It is this sorrow of separation that gazes in silence all nights
from star to star and becomes lyric among rustling leaves in
rainy darkness of July.
It is this overspreading pain that deepens into loves and
desires, into sufferings and joy in human homes; and this it is
that ever melts and flows in songs through my poet's heart.
When the warriors came out first from their master's hall, where
had they hid their power? Where were their armour and their
They looked poor and helpless, and the arrows were showered upon
them on the day they came out from their master's hall.
When the warriors marched back again to their master's hall where
did they hide their power?
They had dropped the sword and dropped the bow and the arrow;
peace was on their foreheads, and they had left the fruits of
their life behind them on the day they marched back again to
their master's hall.
Death, thy servant, is at my door. He has crossed the unknown
sea and brought thy call to my home.
The night is dark and my heart is fearful - yet I will take up the
lamp, open my gates and bow to him my welcome. It is thy
messenger who stands at my door.
I will worship him placing at his feet the treasure of my heart.
He will go back with his errand done, leaving a dark shadow on my
morning; and in my desolate home only my forlorn self will remain
as my last offering to thee.
In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of
my room; I find her not.
My house is small and what once has gone from it can never be
But infinite is thy mansion, my lord, and seeking her I have to
come to thy door.
I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky and I lift
my eager eyes to thy face.
I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can
vanish - no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through
Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean, plunge it into the
deepest fullness. Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch in
the allness of the universe.
Deity of the ruined temple! The broken strings of _Vina_
sing no more your praise. The bells in the evening proclaim not
your time of worship. The air is still and silent about you.
In your desolate dwelling comes the vagrant spring breeze. It
brings the tidings of flowers - the flowers that for your worship
are offered no more.
Your worshipper of old wanders ever longing for favour still
refused. In the eventide, when fires and shadows mingle with the
gloom of dust, he wearily comes back to the ruined temple with
hunger in his heart.
Many a festival day comes to you in silence, deity of the ruined
temple. Many a night of worship goes away with lamp unlit.
Many new images are built by masters of cunning art and carried
to the holy stream of oblivion when their time is come.
Only the deity of the ruined temple remains unworshipped in
No more noisy, loud words from me - such is my master's will.
Henceforth I deal in whispers. The speech of my heart will be
carried on in murmurings of a song.
Men hasten to the King's market. All the buyers and sellers are
there. But I have my untimely leave in the middle of the day, in
the thick of work.
Let then the flowers come out in my garden, though it is not
their time; and let the midday bees strike up their lazy hum.
Full many an hour have I spent in the strife of the good and the
evil, but now it is the pleasure of my playmate of the empty days
to draw my heart on to him; and I know not why is this sudden
call to what useless inconsequence!
On the day when death will knock at thy door what wilt thou offer
Oh, I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life - I will
never let him go with empty hands.
All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days and summer nights,
all the earnings and gleanings of my busy life will I place
before him at the close of my days when death will knock at my
O thou the last fulfilment of life, Death, my death, come and
whisper to me!
Day after day I have kept watch for thee; for thee have I borne
the joys and pangs of life.
All that I am, that I have, that I hope and all my love have ever
flowed towards thee in depth of secrecy. One final glance from
thine eyes and my life will be ever thine own.
The flowers have been woven and the garland is ready for the
bridegroom. After the wedding the bride shall leave her home and
meet her lord alone in the solitude of night.
I know that the day will come when my sight of this earth shall
be lost, and life will take its leave in silence, drawing the
last curtain over my eyes.
Yet stars will watch at night, and morning rise as before, and
hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.
When I think of this end of my moments, the barrier of the
moments breaks and I see by the light of death thy world with its
careless treasures. Rare is its lowliest seat, rare is its
meanest of lives.
Things that I longed for in vain and things that I got - let them
pass. Let me but truly possess the things that I ever spurned
I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you
all and take my departure.
Here I give back the keys of my door - and I give up all claims to
my house. I only ask for last kind words from you.
We were neighbours for long, but I received more than I could
give. Now the day has dawned and the lamp that lit my dark
corner is out. A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.
At this time of my parting, wish me good luck, my friends! The
sky is flushed with the dawn and my path lies beautiful.
Ask not what I have with me to take there. I start on my journey
with empty hands and expectant heart.
I shall put on my wedding garland. Mine is not the red-brown
dress of the traveller, and though there are dangers on the way I
have no fear in mind.
The evening star will come out when my voyage is done and the
plaintive notes of the twilight melodies be struck up from the
I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold
of this life.
What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery
like a bud in the forest at midnight!
When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a moment
that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable
without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form of my
Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to
me. And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as
The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes
it away, in the very next moment to find in the left one its
When I go from hence let this be my parting word, that what I
have seen is unsurpassable.
I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus that expands on
the ocean of light, and thus am I blessed - let this be my parting
In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play and here
have I caught sight of him that is formless.
My whole body and my limbs have thrilled with his touch who is
beyond touch; and if the end comes here, let it come - let this be
my parting word.
When my play was with thee I never questioned who thou wert. I
knew nor shyness nor fear, my life was boisterous.
In the early morning thou wouldst call me from my sleep like my
own comrade and lead me running from glade to glade.
On those days I never cared to know the meaning of songs thou
sangest to me. Only my voice took up the tunes, and my heart
danced in their cadence.
Now, when the playtime is over, what is this sudden sight that is
come upon me? The world with eyes bent upon thy feet stands in
awe with all its silent stars.
I will deck thee with trophies, garlands of my defeat. It is
never in my power to escape unconquered.
I surely know my pride will go to the wall, my life will burst
its bonds in exceeding pain, and my empty heart will sob out in
music like a hollow reed, and the stone will melt in tears.
I surely know the hundred petals of a lotus will not remain
closed for ever and the secret recess of its honey will be bared.
From the blue sky an eye shall gaze upon me and summon me in
silence. Nothing will be left for me, nothing whatever, and
utter death shall I receive at thy feet.
When I give up the helm I know that the time has come for thee to
take it. What there is to do will be instantly done. Vain is
Then take away your hands and silently put up with your defeat,
my heart, and think it your good fortune to sit perfectly still
where you are placed.
These my lamps are blown out at every little puff of wind, and
trying to light them I forget all else again and again.
But I shall be wise this time and wait in the dark, spreading my