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The Heart of God: Prayers of Rabindranath Tagore

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Awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-- 1941) is considered the most important poet of modern-day India. He was also a distinguished author, educator, social reformer, and philosopher. Today, Tagore along with Mahatma Gandhi is prized as the foremost intellectual and spiritual advocates of India's liberation from imperial rule.

This inspiring collection of Tagore's poetry represents his "simple prayers of common life." Each of the seventy-seven prayers is an eloquent affirmation of the divine in the face of both joy and sorrow. Like the Psalms of David, they transcend time and speak directly to the human heart.

The spirit of this collection may be best symbolized by a single sentence by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the renowned philosopher and statesman who served as president of "Rabindranath Tagore was one of the few representatives of the universal person to whom the future of the world belongs."

112 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 1997

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About the author

Rabindranath Tagore

2,312 books3,777 followers
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 "because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West."

Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India's Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh's Amar Shonar Bangla.

The complete works of Rabindranath Tagore (রবীন্দ্র রচনাবলী) in the original Bengali are now available at these third-party websites:

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Dona.
522 reviews89 followers
June 27, 2022

Some of these prayers are extremely beautiful:

...Let Your love, like stars, shine in the
darkness of my sleep and dawn in my awakening. ...

But mostly, this collection bores me silly. Tagore was awarded the Nobel for his writings in 1913, and I am not diminishing the importance of this accomplishment. But I can't stay awake while reading this! It's the style -- so passive.
1,979 reviews47 followers
April 9, 2018
Be still, my heart, these great trees are prayers.

I rediscovered Rabindranath Tagore, and I love his poems. This was a short collection of his poetry. I loved how religious they are - hopeful? Confident? in this existence of his God.

Notable ones were:

- Trees (just one line, reproduced above)
- My Greetings (My Guide, I am a wayfarer on an endless road, my greetings of a wanderer to You.)
- Hold My Hand (I love the repetition of "Hold My Hand", though I felt it could be emphasised more)
- This is My Prayer: Give me the supreme confidence of love, this is my prayer - the confidence that belongs to life in death, to victory in defeat, to the power hidden in the frailest beauty, to that dignity in pain which accepts hurt but disdains to return it.
- Time to Sit Quietly
- The Rebel: Rebelliously, I put out the light in my house, and Your sky surprised me with its stars.
- Not Altogether Lost (like "Hold My Hand", I liked the repetition).
- The Solitary Wayfarer: You are the solitary wayfarer in this deserted street. Oh, my only Friend, my best Beloved, the gates are open in my house. Do not pass by like a dream.
- The Grasp of Your Hand
- The Fullness of Peace
- The Stream of Life: I feel my limbs made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.
- Tears of the Earth: We rejoice, O God, that the tears of the earth keep her smiles in bloom.
- Let My Country Awake: Into that haven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
- Worship: From the words of the poet, people take what meanings please them; yet their last meaning points to You.
Profile Image for Brett.
234 reviews3 followers
June 29, 2012
It's Tagore - what's not to love? Clearly, one of the most overlooked poets/artists in western culture. He is to India who Dante is to Italy.
Profile Image for Brian Wilcox.
Author 1 book649 followers
November 9, 2019
I am reluctant to give any book a 5-star rating. How could I do otherwise with Tagore's The Heart of God, seeing the universality and beauty of this collection of prayers? In these prayers, the Sacred is not a prosaic deity distant from us, foreign to us, but the lyrical beauty moving among us, as intimate with us as we are to ourselves.
186 reviews
October 14, 2021
Strikingly beautiful poetry in the mystic tradition:

"Do not turn away Your face from my heart's dark secrets, but burn them till they are alight with Your fire."
Profile Image for Kristen.
255 reviews4 followers
July 15, 2014
Gorgeous, but I seem to have only scratched the surface...I need more.
Profile Image for Al.
21 reviews4 followers
June 24, 2016
If you think you can't appreciate the prayers of someone who practices a different faith than you do, think again. Tagore has a humility and insight that touches the heart.
64 reviews
March 2, 2018
This immensely valuable set of prayers have their own unique intimate trope. They lend real insight into the authors spirit and are strong evidence for why he deservedly was awarded the Nobel.
32 reviews
November 25, 2021
A nice collection. Didn’t quite resonate with me but there’s some great stuff in here.
36 reviews3 followers
April 17, 2011
I really wanted this book because I love the often-quoted poem by Tagore that begins, "It is for the union of you and me that there is light in the sky.." However, I hated the poems in this book. The language was not flowing, every single one was about "You," (God), and I just didn't find that they had universal appeal. I would love to know where the above poem is published.
17 reviews
December 1, 2007
A fantastic collection; excellent and judicious editing. I read and re-read this collection, almost daily.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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