(1) Thou hast made me endless (from Gitanjali)

by Rabindranath Tagore

English version by Rabindranath Tagore
Original Language Bengali

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.

     This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.

     At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.

     Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.

-- from Gitanjali, by Rabindranath Tagore

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I've jotted down a few comments about this opening verse from Tagore's Gitanjali, but you know what? Maybe you should just ignore what I have to say and reread the poem.

This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life...


The great Rabindranath Tagore evokes for us something of the mystic's experience.

There is the awareness of being endless, without any boundaries. You recognize yourself as being truly vast, beyond all limits of skin and thought.

You often feel yourself to be a "vessel," a cup or a bowl that has been repeatedly emptied of everything and scrubbed clean, only to be filled with an entirely new sense of life and identity.

The metaphor of a reed or flute is a common one in sacred poetry. In Yogic terminology, he is speaking of the shushumna, the energetic channel associated with the spine, and the energy centers called chakras are the "holes" of the flute that allow its music to be tuned and modified. It is God's warm breath that blows through us, animating us with the gift of consciousness. And something in us hums, producing an awareness of divine music.

The heart, along with the general sense of self, "loses its limits" and spreads itself open in an indescribable joy and love.

Recommended Books: Rabindranath Tagore

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Gitanjali The Lover of God The Fugitive Lover's Gift and Crossing
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1) Thou hast made