WORK IS WORSHIP 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". SUMMARY OF THE POEM • 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 poetry. • 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 POEM 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 sleeves. • 6. Deliverance: final release from rebirth (‘moksha’) Exercises (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 Exercises (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? Exercises (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 mantle? c) Who does ‘him’ refer to? Exercises (D. Answer each of the following questions in two or three sentences) • 1. Where, according to the poet, is God to be found? • 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? Appreciation • Which line/lines of the poem do you like best and why? • 2. Write two words that rhyme with each of the following. 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 nightingale. • c) Young men are the salt of the nation. • d) Death lays his icy hands on kings.