The Central Thought of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem: Have you not heard his silent steps? (Gitanjali Songs Offerings No.45)

Even a cursory reading of RabindranathTagore’s Gitanjali (Songs Offerings) shows its deeply religious and devotional character. The one hundred and three songs in this celebrated book are written in prayers to God and were intended by Tagore as his personal tribute to his maker. Gitanjali has therefore to be valued and cherished as a book of religious poems which undoubtedly lift the reader spiritually and transport him to an altogether different world from the one in which he lives. In numerous occasions in his songs Rabindranath assures many a time that he is absolutely certain that he has been nothing but hollow bamboos, and God has been singing through him. He has been flutes, but the song is not his. It has flowed through them, but it comes from some unknown source. He has not hindered – that’s all he has done. But he has not created it. The paradox! And, in fact it is the power of supreme father.

Tagore’s Have you not heard his silent steps? (Gitanjali No.45) can also be read from above perspective. It is a deeply religious poem. The poet is of the view that God never fails to visit human beings. Whether it is sunny April or rainy July, God would surely visit the poet, the poet hopes.

The poem begins with a rhetorical question: Have you not heard God’s silent footstep? The answer is given instantly that God comes, he comes; he always comes. With an emphatic voice he claims that God comes at every moment, in every age, everyday, and every night.

The poet then says that he has composed many poems in many different moods and different states of mind; but all his verses which he has composed and all the tunes to which they are sung always announces the arrival of God who never fails to come.

The contrasting condition of weather, be it environmental or psychological, God never seizes to visit the human son. He is sure to come in the sunny days of the month of April when sweet flowers are in bloom. He is also sure to come in the darkness of the rainy July nights’ riding his chariot which consists of the roaring of clouds.

The poet further states that despite of one misfortune after another, it is God’s footsteps which touch his heart most firmly in order to comfort him; and it is the glorious touch of his feet which fills him with joy.

 Thus, Have you not heard his silent steps? (GitanjaliNo.45) is another poem of hope and joy. The poet expresses his sense of certainty about God’s visits to him. God never fails to come, says the poet with confidence. However, the poet does not here shut his eyes to his earthly sorrows and refers to them in the phrase ‘sorrow after sorrow’. The repetition of the word he comes, comes, ever comes’, lend emphasis to the idea of the poem which expresses unshakable faith in God’s concern and love for human being.

Rabindranath Tagore: ‘No, I’m not afraid of death. Death is beautiful, as beautiful as life. I am weeping and crying because better and better songs were coming lately. Up to now I was just a child. Now a maturity was happening, and God was giving me more and more. The more I sang, the more was flowing out of me. In fact, now the veena was ready and the time has come to leave. This is unjust. Now I was feeling ready to really sing!’

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