Mystic Experience Inspires Nirjharer Svapnahanga

Tagore has a mystic experience of cosmic unity that inspires his poem “Nirjharer Svapnabhanga” (The Awakening of the Fountain).


The Awakening of the Fountain

Oh what music this morn
Did the morning bird play!
Seemed to float gently in
From the skies far far away!

I know not how
A lost tune of that song
Made its way till here.
Making its way in the dark of the caves,
Going down into its depths,
It has touched my soul.

Why this morn a lost sunray
Suddenly having lost its way
Has landed on my soul!
After so long has this cave
Been by a ray of light hit,
A singular ray of gold
Have today my dark waters lit.

Can’t box in my feelings now
The rain trembles with life, and how!
The throbbing water rises and falls
Oh, what music does it make!
This morn, I can’t tell you why
But my soul’s come awake!

Awake and up, I look around to find
Stone walls all round that imprison me
Find the dark settled on my heart
As if in meditation it sits.
I don’t know why after so long
I can hear my heart’s beats.

Awake now, I find myself blinded all around
Within me I now find, my own self bound.
Lost in bliss in the music of my stream,
My voice echoes back to me.
At times, in the distance far away
Breaking through my prison of dark
I can spot but a single star of the evening.

The dark learns to smile
Looking on towards that very star,
With its face egging hopes on
The dawn doesn’t seem so far.
The water shivers, life swings on,
And snug in life’s lap, swings joy itself
Nestled in life, swing my hopes in peace
The stars’ shadows swing in glimpses of bliss.

There are times when in the sky,
All the lights go out,
The clouds cast their shadows dark
My waters then look black.
In the dark it rains, all the lights seem gone
Day and night it pours – on, on and on..
The sorrows of monsoon, the tears of rain.

Lying lost in thoughts
I hear it night and day
Keep counting the days and
Keep counting the nights.
The music of the rains and my own song
Match tune for tune as they flow along.
So I keep singing, sing my heart away
Caring not for night, nor caring for day.
And thus I keep living with myself
And on the waters black, the murk lives on.
Thus I begin to hear
The beats of mine own heart
And thus I hear my tune
In someone else’s art.

Oh this morn the sun’s rays
How on my soul do ring,
How inside the dark of the cave
The morning bird does sing.
I know not why after so long
My heart feels awake with a zing.

The heart feels alive now
In waves the waters play
My heart’s desires are bursting forth
Now they won’t be locked away.
The earth shakes and trembles
The rocks crumble and fall away
The foamy sea surges and charges
Roaring in great wrath today.
Hither and thither they rush in craze
Round and round they go in daze,
Want to be free, but fail to find
The key to my prison’s lock.

Want to snatch for the morn
Want to rent the skies apart
Soar upwards – and come crashing down
And end up in lament.
Wishes to race away in the burst of life
Wishes to rip the ground apart
Arms raised for embrace
Wishes to float up to the skies.

Crazed in the light of the dawn
My soul wants to be one with all.
Why’s the almighty stone-hearted so,
Why am I fenced wherever I go?
Tear down now all my chains,
It’s time to go beyond my pains,
Raise ’em waves, keep ’em coming
Keep the hits raining down.
Now that my heart is up for it
Neither the dark nor the rocks matter no more!

Now that my desires have burst forth,
All fears shall be wiped away!


Why does the world today
Look all new to me?
Why do I hear in a bird’s half-tune
A timeless universal song!
I’ve decided now to see the world,
Step out of my cave
Stop living now in my own dreams
It is now time to be brave.
From me shall flow the stream of bliss,
Breaking all chains, I shall ring the gong
I shall flood the whole world now
In the yearning torrents of my song.

I shall let my hair down,
I shall pick the flowers up,
Spreading my rainbow-coloured wing,
Letting my smile in the sunlight sing,
I shall let my heart flow.
From peak to peak shall I run,
From depth to depth shall I roll
Singing in mirth and laughing with joy
I shall clap to the eternal tune.

I shall flow down the stream
Keep flowing on and on
Opening my heart
Singing my song,
Howsoever more life I may pour,
Endlessly shall it go on.
I have so much to say today
So many songs to sing,
So much life in me today
So many desires, so much vim,
That my heart’s filled to the brim.

Where else shall I find so such blessedness
So much beauty and such joys!
I shall flow on in the stream of youth
I know not towards whom!
My longings are limitless and so are my hopes
I want to see it all now!
I wish to deluge both my banks
Wish to take them all along.
If I can pour now all I have,
If I can flood all eternity,
If I can drown all lands there be,
What else would I seek!
That’s what my heart desires..

I’m not sure what’s snapped in me today
My soul’s sprung forth to life,
I hear in the distance the ocean’s song –
Unshackling my bounds,
Glistening the hard ground,
Colouring the forests green all round,
Making the flowers bloom,
Wringing all my soul,
To quench the cosmos’ thirst
To my heart I beckon all of you!

I shall go to lands I know not, Oh I shall –
I shall shower my life all over,
I shall sing the song of bliss,
My impatient heart will meet the ocean
Where one with all my life shall be,
My song will find its destiny.

Oh, why these bars
Surround me on all sides!
Break down the shackles now,
Hammer down the blows!
Lo, what song now the bird streams,
Look, here come the sunbeams!


(translation by Avik Kumar Si, March 2020)