Chapter 19: Of the Bestowing Virtue, Part 3
.but he will pause again and again to the very end. The last word cannot be said. It is simply impossible to bring the last word so low, in the dark valleys where human beings live, in the language which is created for mundane affairs, in the words which are good in a marketplace but become absolutely meaningless in the deep silences of the heart.
But this is a longing that has been carried down for centuries by all the mystics, by all the poets, by all the musicians, by all the creative souls. They have all died in a deep discontent, because they have not been able to say the last word.
When India’s great poet, Rabindranath Tagore was dying.. He was as successful as one can be, as famous as one can be, as great a poet as the world has ever known. Shelley is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the world, for a single reason he has written two thousand songs, which can be transformed into music. Rabindranath has written six thousand songs which can be transformed into a far deeper, far more profound music. Not only can they be transformed into music, he has created new dimensions in music itself which had never existed before.
Naturally, one of his old friends sitting by his bedside told him, “Don’t look so sad, there is no need for tears in your eyes. You have completed your life, you have lived so fully and so fruitfully. Say good-bye to life with joy and gratitude.”
Rabindranath said, “Gratitude? Who has told you that I have completed my job, that I have lived my life? I have certainly come to sing a song, and in the effort of singing that song I have composed six thousand songs - they are my failures, because I could not sing that song. Again I tried and again I tried. Each time there was a song, and people loved them so I never told anybody that these are my failures, these are not my milestones of success.
And when you praise them, it hurts me.
“And just before you came I was praying to God ‘What kind of joke is this? You gave me the capacity, you gave me the potential, you gave me the longing - and my whole life I have been preparing - and when it seems everything is ready and I can sing my song, you have sent death to knock on my doors. Is it your compassion?’ “
Rabindranath died with the statement, “I have not been able to sing the song that I had come to sing. I tried my best, but each time something was missing.”
Perhaps perfection is not possible in existence. That’s why the last word cannot be spoken. Or perhaps the pause itself is the last word; the silence, the depth of the silence. If one can understand it, one has heard the last word - but nobody has been able to utter it. It does not come to the lips. It is too divine, too sacred, and lips are so mundane.
Long he balanced the staff doubtfully in his hand.