Written in 1908 in Shantiniketan, the lyrics of this song describe what is traditionally known as the sarat season ( or early autumn) when the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated. It appeared as a part of the collection called Geetanjali (Songs of Offering).
The Song of Advent Wonder fills my senses. My heart yearns for your presence. Your dawn-coloured foot falls under the shiuli bowers On dew strewn grass carpeted with fallen flowers. Wonder fills my senses. Light and shade play hide-and-seek in the woods, like lace. What do the blooms say as they gaze awestruck at your face! Shed your veil so that we can welcome you, Remove the wisp of cloth with both your hands. Sylvan nymphs blow on melodious conches from their doorways. The universe welcomes your advent with music from celestial strings. Within my being, I sense the tinkling of gold anklets. All thoughts, all tasks are eased by the nectar of your presence — Wonder fills my senses.
The woman welcomed in the poem is the Goddess Durga who descends from heaven for a five-day-long celebration. Interestingly, Tagore’s family were proponents of Brahmoism, a reform on Hinduism which adopted more Christian doctrines and rejected idol worship.
(This poem has been translated for Borderless Journal by Mitali Chakravarty, edited by Sohana Manzoor and Anasuya Bhar.)
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