Upagupta – a poem by Tagore

Upagupta

Upagupta


Upagupta is a beautiful work by Tagore. The story goes as follows:

Upagupta is a disciple of Buddha, and goes from one place to another. He is sleeping in a small town when a dancing girl wakes him up and requests him to sleep at her home. Upagupta refuses, and tells her “I will visit you when the time is ripe.”.
A year later, and again on travel to the same place, Upagupta finds the dancing girl lying on the ground outside the town, having sores all over the body and shunned by the townsfolk. He applies balm on her body and when asked who he was, he replies “The time has come to visit you and I am here.”

Please read the whole poem, it’s beautiful. What I like about the poem is – how Tagore contrasts Time. When the dancing girl is giddy with pride, Upagupta knows its not going to last.

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20 Responses to “ Upagupta – a poem by Tagore ”

  1. THIS MASTERPEICE POEM SHOULD BE TELECASTED ON THE TELEVISION SO THAT OUR YOUTH WHO THINKS THAT LOSING VIRGINITY AND HIP HOPPING IN THE STREETS WITH YOUR PARTNER IS THE SOLE MOTO OF LIFE. THE LIFE IS SO WORNDERFUL AND LOVE IS SOMETHING VERY PIOUS AND BEYOUD THE ATTRACTION OF BODY.
    UPAGUPTA HELPED THE BEAUTIFUL LADY, WHEN SHE LOST HER BEAUTY.
    HOW MANY OF VALENTINES COUPLE CAN TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF LOVE AND SMILE IN THE ATTROCITIES OF LIFE. UNFORTUNATELY THE ANSWER IS ‘NONE’

  2. Truly the character of the young ascetic epitomises the ancient Indian culture.

  3. The poem is an epitome of the Budhhist philosophy where the world is given what Life is all about.
    The message given through the poem is the one with universality of human behaviour where the reality is never taken for granted… it is what the Budhha once said “we tend to see the world what we lilke.. but not as it is” … and therefore there is suffering in the world.

  4. help every dancing girl who is lying on the ground

  5. In an effort to extricate ourselves from the quagmires of depression and materialism, this piece provides a very sagacious insight of spiritual divinity and concomitantly inspires us to lead a path of redemption. The life of Buddha is so enamoring that it sometimes forces us to consider our life from a different light altogether, from the spiritual point of view.

  6. this storey tells life is not a external attraction just add some meaning to life

  7. I had recited this poem way back in school…the words had helped me gain the first prize at an inter-school event. As the years went by I never forgot the words and

    with age came this understanding…the Ascetic never came..when she wanted him to come to her…when she had it all. He came when she needed his help.And she had

    nothing to give in return. Goodness never requires anything…she was gracious in offering a place to the ascetic when he lay asleep on the earth and she accidentally

    woke him up… He never took it because he was the desciple of Budda-To him that was a way of life…but he gave his word that when the time would be ripe he would

    come to her…and Upagupta came as promised…he came when she needed someone to come and help her the most…:)

  8. this poem again portrays the human appeal which is so typical of tagore’s work….

  9. In the time where our desires, that clouds our true vision about life and self,that happened to Vasavadatta. See, there are so many Vasavadattas are in our country

    where “Sanathanadharma” were being flourished and interestingly Upaguptas are few. There was a fortune that got to Vasavadatta is she became the disciple of Buddha.
    And now what is our responsibility? Bring back human values in our society.It is not easy but with the Grace of Guru it is possible. I am sure.

  10. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo nice

  11. right from my 10 th class this poem is haunting me. people may or may not do such great things doesn’t matter who does, but we should do to the extent we can. UNFORTUNATELY THE ANSWER IS ‘NONE’
    is not true. Though bad is increasing, GOOD is yet living ( if we try to see it )

  12. as a teacher i feel a sense of responsibility while elucidating the character the dancing girl who has actually drunk the wine of her youth by exhibiting careless attitude towards life when the time is really ripe as predicted by the ascetic upagupta she has been afflicted by a contagious dreadful disease where there was any ray of hope nor recovery this particular character portrays how to practice a good decent and a qualitative life by younger girls fraternity in the present society while choosing employment life partner and all aspects in their lives without being departed from knowledge as well as wisdom this is why the poem has been one of the masterpieces ever written by nobel laureate a gifted composer and india s foremost artist tagore

  13. Simply superbbb……… bt men lyk upagupta are very rear now!!!!!!!!!

  14. THE TITLE OF THE POEM IS ABHISAR WHICH MEANS JOURNEY ON LOVE.IT WAS A STORY STARTS FROM A RAINY SEASONS, A SEASON OF MATING FULL OF LUSTING DESIRES, ENDS TO SPRING FESTIVAL OF COLORS . VASVADUTTA’S ABHISAR,ON A RAINY NIGHT, WAS FOR EARNINGS AGAINST LOVE AND UPAGUPTA’S ABHISAR, IN A SPRING NIGHT, WAS FOR BALMING OINTMENT OF LOVE TO THE WOUNDS OF HUMAN CHARACTER EARNED ROUND THE YEAR. SO THE BIFURCATING MEANINGS OF ABHISAR ARE CLEARLY EXPLAINED BY THE GREAT POET HERE. WHICH ONE IS ACCEPTABLE WILL BE DEPEND ON YOUR NATURE.

  15. Thanks Ashoke for sharing this information with us.

  16. excellent poem for all ages and it teaches moral values

  17. Yes. At a time when moral education is needed utmost, most schools have dropped it from the curriculum. Doesnt help marks-getting-machines that schools are producing.

  18. One night, Upagupta an ascetic, a disciple of Lord Buddha, lay asleep on the dusty ground by the city of Mathura. The sky was overcast with clouds, and the doors were all shut. In the prevailing darkness, a dancing girl passed that way. Though she was carrying a lamp in her hand, her feet tinkling, touched the chest of the ascetic. He woke up startled; he saw the light of the woman’s lamp. She wore precious jewels. She saw the face of the young ‘ascetic’. His eyes were full of tolerance and compassion. His face reflected peace and austerity.

    The young woman begged to be forgiven for her fault. At the same time, struck by his physical charm, she invited him to come with her to her house. She said lovingly that the bare dusty earth was not a fit bed for a handsome young man as he was. Upagupta simply advised her to go to her house. He, however, promised to visit her at the proper time. Suddenly, there was a flash of lightning in the clouds. The dancing girl was frightened to hear the thunder of the coming storm.

    Days passed, and it was the festival of flowers in spring season. The trees on the roadside were laden with flowers. The people were in a merry mood. Some of them played sweet notes on the flute. A large number of people went to the woods to celebrate the festival. The night was lit with the full moon. The streets of the town were lonely. Upagupta was going on his way while love-sick ‘koels’ were singing out their complaint from the mango trees. The ascetic passed through the city gates and stood at the base of the city wall.

    Suddenly, Upagupta saw a woman lying in the shadow of the wall. She was the same dancing girl who had once invited the ascetic to her house. At the moment she was afflicted with a deadly disease. Her whole body was covered with wounds. She had been forced to leave the town lest she should spread the disease there by her touch. She was alone and forsaken. The ascetic took pity on her. He did not hesitate to give her service and help. He sat by her side, took her head on his knees, offered water to her thirsty dry lips, and finally applied medicine to her wounds. The woman felt extremely grateful to him. She asked the kind ascetic who he was. Upagupta told her that he had kept his word and come to her at an appropriate time.

    Notes
    disciple: follower of a religious leader.
    murky sky: dark gloomy sky.
    tinkling: making a pleasant metallic sound.
    anklets: ornamental chain worn around the ankle of a lady.
    startled: extremely surprised.
    forgiving: merciful.
    starred: shining like stars.
    clouded: covered.
    mantle: loose cloak.
    drunk with the wine of her youth: proud of her youth and beauty.
    austerely beautiful: reflecting the beauty of an ascetic.
    ascetic: a religious person who practices a life of self-sacrifice.
    graciously: kindly.
    when the time is ripe: at an appropriate time.
    showed his teeth: the sky broke into forks of lightning.
    growled: made a rumbling sound.
    trembled: shivered.
    wayside: roadside.
    aching with blossoms: heavy with flowers.
    afar: far away.
    gazed: looked down.
    koels: singing birds.
    plaint: complaints, messages.
    base: support.
    rampant: fort-like structure.
    struck: affected.
    black pestilence: a deadly epidemic disease.
    moistened: made slightly wet.
    smeared: applied.

  19. Thanks for sharing

  20. Very nice translation of the whole poem, per the last post, thanks

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