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“I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say `What hast thou to give to me?’

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.”

— Rabindranath Tagore – Gitanjali – Poem N° 50

Whatever is not given is lost because, as we ourselves must one day die, all that we have clung to, to the very end, will die with us, but what we have given away will escape corruption for it has been sent ahead into eternity.

Gitanjali, or Song Offerings, is a collection of 103 inspirational poems translated by the author, India’s greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, from the original Bengali. This collection won the Nobel prize for Tagore in 1913.

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