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Work is worship is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore that describes the values and significance of work in our lives. Work is actually a form of worship since, without it, life would be pointless. A loving completion of our Work would result in our satisfaction and offer us a positive outlook. Since one cannot continue to live without work, work is a categorical kind of love. Once we start liking the work that we do, our spirit and psyche will be calm and peaceful.
About the Poet
Indian polymath Rabindranath Tagore was a poet, playwright, author, composer, philosopher, social reformer, and painter. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he used contextual modernism to transform Indian art, Bengali literature, and music. Gitanjali, whose poetry has been described as “profoundly sensitive, fresh, and lovely,” was the first non-European lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.
Tagore’s “beautiful prose and mystical poetry” are largely unknown outside of Bengal, despite the fact that his poetic songs were considered to be spiritual and mercurial. He was a Royal Asiatic Society fellow. Tagore was referred to as “the Bard of Bengal” and went by the nicknames Gurudev, Kobiguru, and Biswakobi.
It is free verse, which means the poem does not follow any rhyme scheme.
Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?
The poet criticizes all selfish ritualism in this poem. Tagore exhorts the holy man to reconsider the idea of encountering God in a solitary, dark chamber with all the doors closed, as opposed to the antiquated practice of chanting, singing, and reciting extended prayers while tightly gripping the chains of beads one by one.
Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee! He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the path-maker is breaking stones.
To determine whether God is actually there in front of him, he must make an effort to open his eyes inside the darkroom. He claims that God is not present in the pitch-black room where the devout man is reciting hymns while turning away from the toiling humanity outside. God is in every place. God is with the one shattering the stones in the open air and the tiller who is working the hard soil.
He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust. Put off thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!
He supports them both unwittingly as they are in the heat of the sun and the summer rain shower. Even God’s clothing is imagined by Tagore to have been dust-covered during the process. He then counsels the holy man to take off his robe and walk on the dusty ground.
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Deliverance? Where is this deliverance to be found? Our master himself has joyfully taken upon him the bonds of creation; he is bound with us all for ever. Come out of thy meditation and leave aside thy flowers and incense!
After all, seeking God’s deliverance is man’s ultimate spiritual objective. The soul is being freed from the cycle of birth and death in this way. God has committed himself to the creative process and taken on its delights and tragedies. For the love of God, let his clothing be torn and damaged rather than relegating being godly to self-meditation and pointless ritualistic offerings of flowers and incense.
What harm is there if thy clothes become tattered and stained? Meet him and stand by him in toil and in sweat of thy brow.
He should learn to seek God the hard way. God does not hear his prayers since he stands with the underprivileged and the destitute. True religion consists of loving others and doing good deeds for those who are less fortunate and are working extremely hard to make ends meet. According to Tagore, a man who tries to escape from society in order to discover his own redemption should be pitied.