Translated excerpts from দীন দান a verse written by Robindra Nath Tagore on the 5th August 1900…
…“The God is not there in that temple” said the hermit.
The angry king bellowed…
“No God, you say? A saint… and yet you talk like an atheist!
Behold the bejewelled idol brightly glows on the gem-studded throne.
Empty, you say it is?
“Not empty, My King,” said the holy man, “filled with royal arrogance.
It is your arrogance and pride that you have consecrated on the altar, not the Lord of the world.”
Frowning, the King replied, “Twenty million gold coins and pompous rituals have I offered to create this gorgeous sky-scraping divine abode.
And you tell me God is not there in this temple?”
With a calm demeanour the hermit replied –
“Remember the year when twenty million poor subjects of yours,
ravaged by a devastating drought –
home, clothes and hearth less, came begging at your doorstep,
Only to be turned away mercilessly by your reluctant silence?
The same year when these homeless famished masses had nowhere to go
and took refuge in the forest and in caves; under the trees along the roads;
in derelict temples within the depth of century-old banyan trees…
How easily you spent twenty million coins to dedicate this golden abode for the Gods!
That very day God said,
‘My eternal abode amidst the azure sky, built on the foundations of truth, peace, compassion and love, remains forever lit with numerous eternally burning lamps.
How can a petty miser, who fails to provide shelter to his own homeless subjects,
hope to hold me in this building?’
That very moment, Oh King, God left your fake shrine to join the poor
in their homes beneath the trees along the roads.
Like empty froth churned out by the vast sea waves,
your golden temple now stands devoid of all divinity,
like a hollow bubble of wealth and vanity.”
Infuriated, the King bawled, “Leave my kingdom this very instant, you pretentious fiend!
Calmly the priest replied, “As you please, O King! Kindly banish this devout, to where you have exiled divinity.”