“The Souls Prayer” is a devotional poem of Sarojini Naidu. It appeared in her collection of poems The Bird of Time published in 1912.  It illustrates the reality of life and death. In her childhood the poetess prays to God that she wants to know the secrets of life and death. She is ready to experience both joy and sorrow. She wants to know the meaning of love. It is evident in the first few lines of the poem-

“In childhood’s pride I said to Thee:
‘O Thou, who mad’st me of Thy breath,
Speak, Master, and reveal to me
Thine inmost laws of life and death”

It is evident that she wanted to know the laws of life and death. She is eager to solve the mystery of life and death. God accepts the prayer of the poetess. He answered her prayer. He says that her innocent soul will experience joy, pain, fame, love and all. Pain will purify her soul. Her pure soul will know the simple secret of God’s peace. It is evident from the following lines of the poem-

“Thou shalt drink deep of joy and fame,
And love shall burn thee like a fire,
And pain shall cleanse thee like a flame,
To purge the dross from thy desire”

Life is like a prism of the divine light. Death is only the shadow of this divinity. The poetess means to say that there are two aspects of life joy and sorrow. A man should be bold enough to experience the bitterness as well as the bliss of the world. It is evident from the following lines-

“I, bending from my sevenfold height,
Will teach thee of My quickening grace,
Life is a prism of My light,
And Death the shadow of My face.”

Some Important Questions & Answers

Q .1. What does the poet want from God?

Ans- The Poetess wants to know the secrets of life and death from God.

Q.2. What are the experiences that a man has in his life?

Ans- Joy and Sorrow are the experiences that a man has in his life. It is the nature of life that joy comes after sorrow or sorrow comes after joy. Both of them keep on chasing themselves.

Q.3. What does God speak about the joy and sorrow of life?

Ans- God speaks about the joy and sorrow of life that it’s the nature of life. We will have to face the difficulties of life and we will have to welcome joy and sorrow equally because they cannot exist independently.

Q.4. What is the secret of peace in life?

Ans- To get wisdomis thesecret of peace in life and it happens when we think freely and critically.

Some Important Views

  • It seems that the poetess is talking to the Almighty but it is her conscience which is imaginary. Even in her real life she wanted to know about the realities of life and death. It is her poetic beauty which makes us aware that joy and sorrow are phases of life and we should prepare ourself to welcome them in our life equally.
  • The Times wrote that- “Her poetry seems to sing itself as if her swift thoughts and strong emotions spring into lyrics of themselves”
  • The Yorkshire Post remarked that-“ Mrs Naidu has not only enriched our language but has enabled her to grow into intimate relation with the spirit, the emotions, the mysticism and the glamour of the East.”