There was once a talented little boy, Rabindranath Tagore, who was very beautiful to look at and also very smart. His father was rich and well respected; he owned vast plots of land and had many servants. The boy spent most of his time with the servants. He was the youngest in the family and the servants all adored him.
One day, he was singing a song he had composed. The song expressed the idea that, “The eye cannot see You, although You are inside the eye. The heart cannot know You, although You are inside the heart.” He was singing it most soulfully, and the tune was hauntingly beautiful.
The father heard him singing from another room and was deeply moved. He asked his servants to go and bring the little boy to him. Then the father said to his youngest son, “Can you sing the song for me again?”
The boy didn’t often get the opportunity to come to his father because his father was always very busy. So although it was a great honour that his father had called him, he was also afraid of his father.
The father said, “I’m your father. Don’t be shy. Just sing your song, my child.”
The boy sang and the father was so deeply moved that he went into trance. When his trance ended, the father entered his office and wrote the boy a check for 500 rupees. In those days, 500 rupees for a child was really something. When he gave it to the boy, he said, “In the past, the Mogul Emperors honoured talented people with gifts. The Mogul Emperors are no more, but your talent is so remarkable that you deserve that kind of honour.”
His son was excited and delighted. He ran and showed the check to his servants. The servants lifted him up into the air. They were so proud that their little hero had become such a great poet.
Eventually, Tagore became India’s greatest poet and won the Nobel Prize. He composed some 1,800 songs, many of which are sung all over India, including India’s national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana.” Truly, Rabindranath Tagore was a creative genius who excelled in every field of the arts. In the latter part of his life, he even took up painting. As poet, singer and playwright, he won love and respect not only in India but all over the world.
He remains in the vanguard of poets for his lyrics, songs, plays and stories. India’s Tagore will remain eternally unique. In 1961, on his birthday, the whole world observed his centenary.
from Garden of the Soul by Sri Chinmoy
Published by Health Communications
Did you know?
Rabindranath Tagore is the only known person whose songs have been chosen as national anthems by two countries. His Jana Gana Mana is the national anthem of India, while another song written by him, Amar Sonar Bangla, is the national anthem of Bangladesh.