Rabindranath Tagore

False Religion

by Rabindranath Tagore


Those who in the name of Faith embrace illusion,

Kill and are killed.

Even the atheist gets God's blessings

Does not boast of his religion;

With reverence he lights the lamp of Reason

And pays his homage not to scriptures,

But to the good in man.


The bigot insults his own religion

When he slays a man of another faith.

Conduct he judges not in the light of Reason;

In the temple he raises the blood-stained banner

And worships the devil in the name of God.


All that is shameful and barbarous through the Ages,

Has found a shelter in their temples

Those they turn into prisons;

O, I hear the trumpet call of

Destruction! Time comes with her great broom

Sweeping all refuse away.


That which should make man free,

They turn into fetters;

That which should unite,

They turn into a sword;

That which should bring love

From the fountain of the Eternal,

They turn into prison

And with its waves they flood the world.

They try to cross the river

In a bark riddled with holes;

And yet, in their anguish, whom do they blame?


O Lord, breaking false religion,

Save the blind! Save the blind!

Break! O break!

The altar that is drowned in blood.

Let your thunder strike

Into the prison of false religion,

And bring to this unhappy land

The light of knowledge.


From: Later Poems of Rabindranath Tagore, translated by Aurobindo Bose, Indian Series, UNESCO Collection of Representative Works.

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