End of Year by Rabindranath Tagore

Today as I reached the silent peacefulness of this place, away from the clamor of the capital’s human assembly, the sky was covered in evening’s glow. Cloud clusters had lent a soft hue to the green of the forest by placing shadows on it; had I stayed in the capital, I couldn’t have seen this face of the year’s last day with the clarity that I did here. There, a covering of whirlwind encircles everything; that covering hides the united form of beginning and end in creation. The music of human life needs to pause for returning to the start again and again. But amid the cacophony of crowd one feels taan* after taan play on without pausing to return to the first beat. There, man moves with the crowd’s push; that movement is devoid of rhythm…When evening descends on a city, it can’t reveal itself, the day’s noise barges in to choke its voice. Daytime’s labor looks for crude excitement in evening’s leisure.
Tired of body and mind, I had thought I wouldn’t gain entry into the year’s last day today. Suddenly, thick clouds caressed the woods; the expansive bliss spread across the horizon didn’t appear as emptiness but as beauty. I see this evening filled to the brim with the wholeness that rests within the endless stream of the world’s work. In meditation I realized, that which I know to be the end in the outside world hides the seeds of new life in this place.


In every moment I see that life’s entire prosody is contained within conclusion. Without pause, rhythm would lose its identity…In mankind’s history, several civilizations have vanished after a period of grandeur. The reason was that those civilizations had lost the pause; they only scattered their enterprise, didn’t care to pick up the same…So the rhythm broke. The first beat came back in the wrong place, and it wasn’t cessation; it was destruction.

It is my good fortune to have come here today. In the city from which I returned, the evening’s face is that of frenzy, not of well-being. There, death’s identity has lost its solemnity. Human habitations make every effort to deny death. That’s the reason one can’t see the truth of death in such places…

May the end show us that face of liberation, which contains wholeness. Calmly I say, “Dear End, within you resides the infinite. I see in your eyes a trace of tear on this last day of the year; separation, dejection, and weary melancholy eclipse dusk’s darkness. Despite that, assimilating and crossing over all those, I hear your voice within and without. Om. The heart’s pain has only lent it beauty—tears haven’t dulled it, yet made it gentler. Every evening, death reveals its calm and graceful face across the immense star-draped sky. Embracing it, we lay down—relieved—all the day’s burdens.

At the end of the year, I see that same vast face resting on the untiring, imperishable throne of darkness. I pay my obeisance to it.”

* Taan is a virtuosic technique used in the performance of a vocal raga in Hindustani classical music. It involves the singing of very rapid melodic passages on the syllable “a.” It is similar to the technique ahaat, used in Arabic music. [From Answers.com]

Translated by Bhaswati Ghosh

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19 thoughts on “End of Year by Rabindranath Tagore

  1. Endings can be sad, even scary. But every end brings with it a new beginning, a new chance to tread on new ground, a ground of hope for better things.I’m very happy to see you blogging again, Sury! I know lately you’ve been swamped but what a wonderful way to start the new year :)All the best in 2008!!

  2. Bhaswati, You are my hero of maintaining a presence in blogspace without a frantic pace. Indeed your pauses help define your presence. Now I have to read this passage over and over – rather than finding meaning in it, I feel like I’m jumping into it to take a refreshing bath. Jerry

  3. Cesar, you said it so well about endings containing the seeds of new life, new beginnings. Glad to be back and “see” you all, Sid!Bernita, it’s always my joy to share what little I can. :-)Thanks, Jason. :)Happy New Year to you too, Shameless ! Glad this piece spoke to you. :)Jerry, I honestly hadn’t thought of how appropriate this piece was in relation to my blogging pauses. But from a reader as insightful as you, I can only expect such discerning observations. So glad you enjoyed this piece of peace. 🙂

  4. I love reading your blogs, though I don’t reply often.Just to let you know htat I’ve tagged you. Please go to my blog site for the details and let us know a bit more about you.Paul

  5. Hi,I was googling for stuff on Pagla Dashu (for a future post) and I found your translation. I liked the translation, and so read on…and here I am.Your blog is so good and unhurried, it takes us back to a more leisurely age, when writing was a craft perfected at ease with gold-nibbed fountain pens, not dashed off the keyboard.

  6. I have always loved the theme of death as life, destruction as hope, and pain as love. The imagery in this piece contrasts these opposites in a way that helps the reader see not only their opposition, but also their duality and in fact their similarity. Rebirth, life, and happiness can only spring from their opposites, like fresh buds do in ash after a fire. Beautiful piece, well done. Thank you for sharing your very insightful thoughts.

  7. Thanks, Marti!Tor, thanks for your kind words. Thank you, Paul. Sucharita, I am not sure if I am worthy of your compliments, but they sure make my heart smile. Welcome to my blog!Thanks, Ben!Thanks, Casey. I checked your site, some good work going on there. Will be sure to engage!Isolde, you express it so wonderfully yourself. Thanks.

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