Photo by Hae Kwang Cheong
Text and Context in Dialogue

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The New Year by Narayan Vaman Tilak

Photo by Hae Kwang Cheong
What has been is not enough,
Do something more;
Labour on, oh labour on,
Do something more.
Vain is the mango tree
Which holds but one cluster of blossoms,
Fruitful might it be called.
Yet verily it is fruitless.
Nor for a handful of jewels
Is the earth called mother of riches;
But for the mines of gems
That lie hidden deep in her bosom.
Ending and death are one,
No need for cavil or question;
To feel that one's work were done
Were in truth to die prematurely.
Unresting the spheres roll on,
Nor is sleep ever known to their Maker;
That the Maker's servants should rest,
What false and unworthy ideal?
Cleave not to the thought that the past
Holds enough of good in its keeping;
What is good, what is fair, what is best,
This is known alone to the Godhead.
Speak not of less and more,
Thus yielding again to temptation;
Why strive ye to limit the life
That knoweth no limitation?

Photo by Hae Kwang Cheong

Narayan Vaman Tilak (1861-1919) is best remembered today for his pioneer efforts to make the church and Christianity more Indian in heart and appearance. He pioneered evangelistic works and developed contextual communication techniques based on the Marathi bhakti tradition of poetry and song.

From Bhakti Niranjana. Republished with permission from To All Men All Things Vol. 4, No. 3, December 1994.
bhakti. bhakti, nom. devotion, love, loyalty