Summary / Explanation of Poem 50 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore:-
One day the poet-beggar was begging from door to door in the village path. Suddenly he saw at a distant a golden chariot coming towards him with the king of all kings seated in it. Soon the chariot came and stopped before the poet-beggar. The king came down from the chariot and looked at the poet-beggar with a smiling face. Then the poet-beggar felt that the luck of his life had come at last.
But contrary to his expectation the king himself held out his hand asking for alms. The poet-beggar was utterly confused an stood undecided. He could not make out how a king could beg from a beggar. He took it for a kingly jest.
Then he took out the smallest grain of corn from his bag and offered it to the king reluctantly.
At the end of day the poet-beggar returned home and emptied his bag on the floor. To his great surprise, he found a little grain of gold in the heap of alms. Then he realized his foolishness. He wished that he had had the heart to give his all to the king. Because in that case he would have back his all in gold.
The poet-beggar expected rich alms from the king. But contrary to his expectation, the king himself begged alms from the poet-beggar. The poet-beggar was greatly surprised and took it for a kingly jest.
God sometimes comes down on earth in the guise of a poor beggar to test a man if he is ready to sacrifice his all to God. So it was not really a kingly jest.
Gitanjali Poem No. 50
by Rabindranath Tagore
"I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!
My hopes rose high and me thought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.
The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say `What hast thou to give to me?'
Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.
But how great my surprise when at the day's end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.