The door and the wind are southern because of the tilt of the earth's axis. No, really.
Bengal is a bit north of the Tropic of Cancer. So the sun is always in the south and never directly overhead. Houses there naturally have their greatest sunlight exposure in the south. To maintain heat and light as efficiently as possible during the ...
It's not Hindi at all. It's Bengali. Those languages are as different as Spanish and Italian. They don't even look the same, because they use very distinct, albeit related, scripts.
Bengali, which along with Assamese uses the Bengali script (duh), looks like this:
প্রত্যহ প্রভাতকালে ভক্ত এ কুকুর
স্তব্ধ হয়ে বসে থাকে আসনের কাছে
যতক্ষণে সঙ্গ তার না করি ...
Tagore was interested in science, and even arranged to meet Einstein in 1930. So it is tempting to speculate that Tagore had the wave nature of light in mind when he wrote in Poem 57 of Gitanjali:
Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light.
However, there is no evidence for this claim. The poem treats light both as a ...
The poet's asking, "What is the meaning of life?"
Kumud Biswas's translation of জানি গো, দিন যাবে এ দিন যাবে / jaani go, din jaabe e din jaabe strikes me as a bit inept. Bengali nouns have the same form in singular and plural, and in at least two critical places I think she mistranslates by substituting one for the other.
The lyric is ...
In Hindu mythology, the god of death is Yama. His attendants are called yamaduut, literally Yama's messengers (duut). The Bengali original of ছেলেবেলা / chhelebelaa uses the phrase যমের দূত / yamer duut, "the messenger of Yama", rather than the substantive যমদূত yamaduut, but the reference is the same. The word yamaduut is the same in singular and ...
The Sanskrit word for mountain is parvat. Pārvati is a patronymic meaning "the daughter of the mountains". Such patronymics are very common in Indian mythology. For example, Sītā, the daughter of king Janaka, is often called Jānakī. Similarly, one of the Vedic sun deities is Savitṛ, and his daughter is Sāvitrī. In "The Cabuliwallah", ...
The English-language Wikipedia is wrong. The classification was Tagore's own.
The Bengali-language Wikipedia entry for গীতবিতান / giitabitaan says:
১৯৩১ সালে (আশ্বিন, ১৩৩৮ বঙ্গাব্দ) এই গ্রন্থের প্রথম সংস্করণটি দুই খণ্ডে প্রকাশিত হয়। ... প্রথম সংস্করণে গীতবিতান গ্রন্থের বর্তমান পর্যায়বিন্যাস করা হয়নি। পরবর্তীকালে এই সংস্করণের সকল গান কবি ‘পূজা’, ‘স্বদেশ’, ...
It was fine for ordinary conversation and non-creative writing, but perhaps not good enough to capture the expressivity of his Bengali originals.
Tagore was curiously diffident about his English. On 6 May 1913, the year after the English Gitanjali had been published to great acclaim, he wrote a letter in Bengali to his niece Indiradevi ...
Bhagavad Geeta 2:47
Source of Sandip's allusion
The passage Sandip alludes to is indeed from the Bhagavad Geeta. The exact source is Chapter 2, verse 47:
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
karmaNyevaadhikaaraste ma phaleShu kadaachana
maa karmaphalaheturbhuurmaa te sa~Ngo.ostavakarmaNi
The line of the song quoted is too fragmentary to identify the song with any specificity, at least not without some fairly intensive research. But it's evidently a song about Krishna.
In the Bengali original of My Boyhood Days, ছেলেবেলা, Tagore gives the first line of this song as:
ময় ছোড়োঁ ব্রজকী বাসরী / may chho.Do.N bR^ij_kii baasarii
হে রাজেন্দ্র, তব হাতে কাল অন্তহীন (he raajendra, taba haathe kaal antahiin), poem 39 from Tagore's 1901 collection নৈবেদ্য (naibedya)
"Endless Time" appears as Poem 82 in Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali (Song Offerings). This collection of 103 poems was originally published in 1912 by the India Society, London. Tagore's identically-...
The Bengali original of "The Victory", জয় পরাজয় (jay paraajay, "Victory and Defeat") appears in the first volume of a multi-volume collection called গল্পগূচ্ছ (galpaguuchchha, "A Bouquet of Stories"). This volume was published in 1926. A Bengali calendar month and year are given at the end of ...
The page you link to calls this a "devotional song", suggesting that it's religious and that the entity "touching" the narrator is God. This makes sense as an interpretation of the poem:
As I walk along my way
I receive your touch
Now and then
But I don’t know how and when.
The narrator feels close to God at specific moments, but ...
The narrator dreams of a visit to the ancient city of Ujjayani, on the banks of the Kshipra river. Ujjayani was the capital of the Avanti kingdom that flourished roughly 700 BCE–300 BCE. The Mahakal Shiva temple referred to in the poem still stands in modern Ujjain, though the current building dates back only to the 18th century.
As with any temple, services ...
Literally, there's no room left in the boat after the paddy is loaded, so the paddy cutter can't get on board. As for what that means metaphorically, there's no one answer. Here are some possibilities.
A representation of how a poet's works outlast the poet. The first stanza includes the phrase "The sheaves lie gathered." Sheaves refers of course ...
The addressee of the poem is God. The somewhat timid translation obscures this, but it's pretty clear in the original Bengali.
As Kumud Biswas's note to her translation says, the original of "Cruel Kindness" is poem 2 in the Bengali collection গীতাঞ্জলি / giitañjali (1910). This poem was not included in the English collection also called Gitanjali (...
I was able to identify many of the poems, using Google and Bing translate and searching for keywords these gave me. Using Google books, I further identified two anthologies which contain several of these poems. This made it fairly easy to identify some of the poems by lesser-known poets.
The first anthology is: Latter-Day Lyrics (1878), edited by W. ...
Tagore's progressive take on the plight of widows rebukes Chatterjee's retrograde portrayal of widow remarriage.
Like Rabindranath Tagore's চোখের বালি / chokher baali "A Speck of Sand in the Eye" (1903), Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's novel বিষবৃক্ষ / viShavR^ikSha, "The Poison Tree" (1873) takes as its subject the ...
Rabindranath Tagore translated some of his own devotional poetry into English, and it was published in 1910 in an English book called Gitanjali: Song Offerings. This translation of Endless Time comes from that book. See Wikisource. It was thus translated by Tagore.
Tagore also published a Bengali book of poetry called Gitanjali, but the English and Bengali ...
'Cabuliwallah' is a beloved tale of love and loss and nostaligia for a cessation of time. But time moves on relentlessly and leaves in its wake, heartbreak and human efforts to reconcile with this situation.
I liked the answer given above, which is Parbati referring to Goddess Parbati, since it lifts the story to mythic/cosmic dimensions.
Thinking aloud here....