Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.
I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.
I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart. And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.
Rabindranath Tagore was born in Calcutta, India into a wealthy family. After a brief stay in England (1878) to attempt to study law, he came back to Calcutta(now called Kolkata), and instead pursued a career as a playwright, poet,writer, philosopher ,educator and songwriter.
In 1912,he then went back to England. Now a man of 51, his was accompanied by his son. On the way over to England he began translating, for the very first time, his selections of poems, called Gitanjali, into English.
Tagore's had a friend in England, who was a famous artist he had met in India, Rothenstein. Rothenstein learned of the translation of poems, and wished to see it. Reluctantly,and after with much persuasion, Tagore let him have the translations. Rothenstein could not believe his eyes. The poems were incredible. He called his friend, W.B. Yeats, and finally talked Yeats into looking at the work of poetry.
The rest, as they say, is history. Yeats was amazed. He later wrote the introduction to Gitanjali when it was published in September 1912 London. Thereafter, both the poetry and the man were an instant sensation, first in London literary circles, and soon thereafter in the entire world. His spiritual presence was unbelievable . His words evoked great beauty and respect. Nobody had ever read anything like it. A glimpse of the sacred mysticism and sentimental beauty of Indian culture were revealed to the West for the first time. Less than a year later, in 1913, Rabindranath received the Nobel Prize for literature. He was the first non-westerner to be so honored. Overnight he was famous and began world lecture tours promoting inter-cultural harmony and understanding. In 1915 he was knighted by the British King George V. When not traveling he remained at his family home outside of Calcutta, where he remained very active as a literary, spiritual and social-political force.
In 1919, following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops, Sir Tagore renounced his Knighthood.
"Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky.”