Unnecessary by R.Tagore translated by Ranu

Rabindranath  Tagore has in a very subtle way pointed out the things we do unnecessarily.

Standing inside the grassy forest on an empty bank of the river, I called and asked her,

Who are you walking on this deserted street covering a lamp with the corner of your sari?

The light in my house is not lit,

leave your lamp here Bala.

In the almost dark evening, she looked up at me with her two dark eyes for a moment

she said, ‘I will immerse the lamp in the river

this is why I am here at the end of the day.’

While standing in the  grassy forest,

I watched the lamp floating away without any justification.

Well into the evening when it started getting dark I called and asked her,

‘you lit all the lamps in your house who is the recipient of this lamp?

The lamp is not lit in my house,

leave your lamp here Bala!’

She looked at me for a moment as if by mistake;

she said,’ this lamp of mine

I will lift it towards heaven.’

I looked up and saw in the corner of the heavens

the lamp was burning for nothing.

On the last day of the dark fortnight I went to her and asked,

‘oh my dear where are you going with the lamp close to your chest?

the lamp is not lit in my house,

leave your lamp here Bala.’

In the dark she looked at me momentarily with her curious eyes  then;

she said,’I brought this light

I have to decorate it with the other lamps.’

I looked and saw, among thousands of lamps

her lamp was burning unnecessarily.


English: Rabindranath Tagore ,Tamilndu,India

English: Rabindranath Tagore ,Tamilndu,India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6 thoughts on “Unnecessary by R.Tagore translated by Ranu

  1. Dear Ranu & Robert:

    I will certainly come back again & again to this poem…I only am reading it once through this time.

    My first thought is how often we do “practical” or “pressing” usual things & how seldom we do what others see as unnecessary simply because an action has great meaning for us.

    We have often lost the value of deep ritual — even when it is a ritual we ourselves see as necessary for whatever deep reason.

    Maybe this is part of why we have sometimes lost our deepest oneness with each other and the divine? This poem calls me to seek such restoration of such a ritual as I am called to make without apology to others…for myself, for the Diving, maybe also to others as a witness to someone else.

    As with all your translations of these Tagore poems, I am in love with him over & over again…Also it’s hard to not love those beautiful intense deep mountain river eyes & the soul behind them. That’s the photo of him I love better than any other.

    What a majestic gift, Ranu…keep on keeping on.
    May you be blessed.


    • Dear Connie,I am speechless,I was not aware I will ever get comments like yours.Thank you very much.
      I was just moving along,doing my translations and wondering,who will tell me how I am doing. You have
      done that for me many times over.A mere thanks does not tell you,how I feel.
      I had started this,When Mr. Dar wrote and told me to do the translations.I did not try it before,I always read his poems and
      loved them.
      Many,many thanks,

  2. Pingback: 80 Years of ” Natir Pooja ” , A Rabindranath Tagore Film « Vidur's Blog

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