“Work is food for noble minds”.

Poem 4
Std X – Chapter 12 - English
Author Name: Rabindranath Tagore
Pre-reading task
• Here are some quotations on the importance
of work. Add to them (it can be from your
mother tongue / regional language)
• “There is no shortcut to hard work.”
• “Work is food for noble minds”.
• “Work before play”
A Short Story – Work is Worship
One fine sunny day in winter, a grasshopper was basking in the warm sun. But he was
very hungry, as he had not eaten anything since last night.
So, he looked about to find something to soothe his hunger. Suddenly, he saw few ants
carrying grains into their hole.
He went up to the ants and asked humbly, "Can you, please, spare few grains for me. I
haven't eaten anything since yesterday. So, I am almost starving to death."
One of the ants asked the grasshopper, "What were you doing the whole summer?
Why didn't you store up the food for the winter season?"
The grasshopper replied, "Truly speaking, I spent all the summer singing songs and
that's why I couldn't store anything."
The ant chucked out a smile and remarked, "Then dance the winter away." The
grasshopper pulled a long face and walked away.
So we say "Work is real worship".
• Tagore held that God does not live in temples. He lives in
stone breakers who work in sun and rain on the road. It was
only work that brings Peace of mind. It is only work that
brings glory. It is only work that brings salvation.
• Tagore, in this poem, emphasizes the importance of
Karmayoga (socially productive and useful work) that alone
will help man achieve liberation from rebirth.
• The poet admonishes the devotee for sitting inside the
temple and asks him to come out of the temple and to
throw off accessories of worship the beads, the mantle, the
flowers etc. and do socially useful and productive work like
agriculture, road making etc.]
About the Author
• Rabindranath Tagore (18611941) is a Poet, philosopher,
and teacher.
• He wrote poetry, drama and
fiction in the Bengali language
and was also a celebrated artist
and musician.
• He won the Nobel Prize for
literature in 1913 after the
publication of ‘Gitanjali’ in
English, a volume of spiritual
• In 1919 he established at
Santiniketan a university for
promoting cultural co-operation
between the East and the West
and named it Vishwa - Bharathi.
• Rabindranath Tagore
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? 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. He is with them
in sun and shower, and his
Garment is covered with dust. Put off
thy holy mantle and even like him come
down on the dusty soil!
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 forever.
Come out of thy meditations and
leave aside thy 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.
Word Meaning
• 1. Chant : say a prayer in a singing voice
• 2. Bead: a small round ball of wood, glass etc
with a hole through it, so that it may be put on a
string or wire.
• 3. Till: prepare and use land for growing crops.
• 4. Garment: dress.
• 5. Mantle: a loose piece of clothing without
• 6. Deliverance: final release from rebirth
(A .Four alternatives are suggested for each of the following
statements. Choose the correct or the best answer)
• 1) According to Tagore, man can find release from rebirth by
a) chanting and singing
b) telling beads
c) doing socially useful and beneficial work
d) going to a temple and saying prayers
• 2) “What harm is there if thy clothes become tattered and stained”. The
words ‘tattered’ and ‘stained’ symbolise
a) tilling the ground
b) hard work
c) cutting stones
d) torn clothes
(Answer the following questions in a word, phrase or sentence)
• 1) What does Tagore ask us to stop doing?
• 2) What does Tagore mean by ‘open thine eyes’?
• 3) Where, according to the poet, is deliverance
to be found?
• 4) Why has God created this Universe?
(C Read the following statement and answer the questions that follow)
• “Put off thy holy mantle and even like him
come down on the dusty soil.”
a) Who is the speaker?
b) Who is he asking to put off the holy
c) Who does ‘him’ refer to?
(D. Answer each of the following questions in two or three sentences)
• 1. Where, according to the poet, is God to be
• 2. What does the poet advise the devotee
to do?
• 3. What, according to the poet, is the ultimate
aim of man?
• 4. What message does the poem convey?
• Which line/lines of the poem do you like best and
• 2. Write two words that rhyme with each of the
a) dark
b) till
c) thy
d) bound
e) ever
Name the figure of speech in each of the following lines
• a) Tippu fought against the British like a tiger.
• b) Her voice is as sweet as that of the
• c) Young men are the salt of the nation.
• d) Death lays his icy hands on kings.

similar documents