Where the Mind is without Fear – Tagore

Hello everybody! Happy New Year!!

This is my first post this year. I would like to begin it with something optimistic. If you saunter by my blog you will see that I have some love of poetry.

Let me begin this year with a good poem from Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali peripatetic polymath who is the first non-European to get a Nobel prize. He earned and enjoyed a lot of respect in Victorian Era, and thus meet a lot of dignitaries such as Albert Einstein, W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Thomas Mann, Jawaharlal Nehru, and even Gandhi himself! A person ahead of his time, if I may add.

Without more chatter, here’s one of his poem which I guess good enough to capture optimistic and utopic spirit which I, and everybody ought to strive this year:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

-Rabindranath Tagore, Where the Mind is without Fear

Youth

Youth is not a time of life – it is a state of mind,
it is a temper of the will,
a quality of the imagination,
a vigor of the emotions,
a predominance of courage over timidity,
of the appetite for adventure over love of ease.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years.
People grow old only by deserting their ideals.
Years wrinkle the skin,
but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
Worry, doubt, self-distrust,
fear and despair – these are the long,
long years that bow the head and
turn the growing spirit back to dust.

Whether they are sixteen or seventy,
there is in every being’s heart
the love of wonder,
the sweet amazement at the stars
and star like things and thoughts,
the undaunted challenge of events,
the unfailing childlike appetite
for what is to come next,
and the joy and the game of life.

You are as young as your faith,
as old as your doubt;
as young as your self-confidence,
as old as your fear,
as young as your hope,
as old as your despair.
When the wires are all down
and all the innermost core of your heart
is covered with the snows of pessimism
and the ice of cynicism,
then you are grown old indeed.

But so long as your heart receives messages
of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur
and power from the earth,
from man and from the Infinite,
so long you are young.

Samuel Ullman, Youth

God’s Chastening & Love

When God Wants a Man

When God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man…
When God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man that all the world shall praise…
Watch His methods;
Watch His ways!
 
How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects…
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into frail shapes of clay that only God understands. How his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands…
How he bends but never breaks when His good he undertakes.
How He uses whom He chooses…with every purpose fuses him;
By every art induces him to try His splendor out…
God knows what He’s about!
 
When God wants to take a man and shake a man and wake a man…
When God wants to make a man to do the future’s will;
He tries with all His skill…
When He yearns with all His soul to create him large and whole…
With what cunning He prepares him…
How He goads and never spares him! How He whets him and He frets him and in poverty begets him…
How often He disappoints whom He sacredly anoints!
With what wisdom He will hide him;
Never minding what betide him…
Though his genius sob with slighting and his pride may not forget;
Bids him struggle harder yet!
Makes him lonely so that only God’s high messages shall reach him…
So that He may surely teach him what the hierarchy planned;
And though he may not understand…
Gives him passions to command.
How remorselessly He spurs him…
With terrific ardor stirs him
When He poignantly prefers him.
 
When God wants to name a man and fame a man and tame a man…
When God wants to shame a man to do His Heavenly best;
When He tries the highest test that His reckoning may bring…
When He wants a [god] or king;
How He reins him and restrains him so his body scarce contains him…
While He fires him and inspires him…
Keeps him yearning, ever burning for that tantalizing goal.
Lures and lacerates his soul…
Sets a challenge for his spirit;
Draws it highest then he’s near it!
Makes a jungle that he clear it;
Makes a desert that he fear it…and subdue it, if he can –
So doth God make a man!
 
Then
To test his spirit’s wrath
Throw a mountain in his path;
Puts a bitter choice before him and relentlessly stands o’er him…
Climb or perish, so He says…
But, watch His purpose, watch His ways.
God’s plan is wondrous kind – could we understand His mind?
Fools are they who call His blind!
 
When his feet are torn and bleeding;
Yet his spirit mounts unheeding…
Blazing newer paths and finds;
When the Force that is Divine leaps to challenge every failure,
And His ardour still is sweet –
And love and hope are burning in the presence of defeat!
 
Lo the crisis, Lo the shouts that would call the leader out…
When the people need salvation doth he rise to lead the nation;
Then doth God show His plan…
And the world has found a man!
This famously-anonymous and brilliantly well-put poem concerns on how God nurtures over your life. Those that He love, He rebuke and chasten!
Mark me, that the ending will be divinely sweet and blissful.