Harriet Monroe, ed. (18601936). Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. 191222.
Temple of Gold
By Rabindranath Tagore
SIRE, announced the servant to the King, the saint Narottam never deigns to step into your royal temple. He is singing Gods praise under the trees by the open road. The temple is empty of all worshippers. They flock round him like bees round the fragrant white lotus, leaving the golden jar of honey unheeded.
The King, vexed at heart, went to the spot where Narottam sat on the grass. He asked him, Father, why leave my temple of the golden dome, and sit on the dust outside to preach Gods love?
Because God is not there in your temple, said Narottam.
The King frowned and said, Do you know twenty millions of gold have been spent on that marvel of art, and the temple was duly consecrated to God with costly rites?
Yes, I know, answered Narottam. It was the dread year when thousands of your people lost their homes in fire and stood at your door for help in vain. And God said, The poor creature who can give no shelter to his brothers would aspire to build my house! Thus he took his place with the shelterless under the trees by the road. And that golden bubble is empty of all but hot vapor of pride.