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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