Get here the answers and notes of the poem The Soul’s Prayer by Sarojini Naidu which is a part of the syllabus of NBSE class 9 alternative English:
SUMMARY OF THE SOUL’S PRAYER: The Soul’s Prayer maybe seen as part of a mystical tradition. The speaker recollects in awe and humility the childhood dialogue she had with God. She recollects all the things she asked from God when she was still naive and so didn’t understand that understanding everything is not fathomable.
The first three stanzas represent the child’s desire for knowledge and the subsequent four stanzas record God’s response and final truth. The poem succeeds, in a simple way, to allow the reader, a glimpse at least, of the mystery of the Creator, and indeed many place, however tiny it maybe, in the scheme of the universe.
I. Explain with reference to context.
1. Child, I will hearken to thy prayer,
And thy unconquered soul shall know
All passionate rapture and despair.
a. Who is the speaker?
b. Why is the soul ‘unconquered’? (‘Unconquered’ by what?)
c. What does the speaker promise the child?
Answer: a. The speaker here is God.
b. The soul is unconquered because it is never satisfied with pain and joy.
c. The speaker promises the child of fulfilment of her prayers and she would experience all the passionate raptures and unfeeling despairs.
2. 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.
a. What is the effect of ‘sevenfold height’?
b. What do you understand of life and death from these lines?
c. How is life and death contrasted? (What are the terms used?)
Answer: a. The effect of ‘sevenfold height’ implies that God is larger than life and beyond our understanding.
b. Life and death both are the contrasting attributes of yet a singular God.
c. Life and death are contrasting aspects of the singular God. While life is compared to prism of God’s light, death is likened to the shadow of his face.
II. Answer the questions.
1. Rewrite the dialogue between the child and the Master in your own words (in dialogue form).
Answer: Not needed for exams.
2. Describe the child. (attitude, knowledge, innocence)
Answer: In the poem The Soul’s Prayer, the child is curious, naive, and eager to learn. She wants God to give her answers to the existence of life. She is aware that there are different levels to her soul and trying to get a better understanding from God about life, death, and existence. She wants to live life to the fullest and experience every form of extreme emotions whether joy or sorrow. She even wants to have the mystic knowledge of the grave that has been unexplored. She asks God to not withhold any grief or gift that she craves.
The child is too innocent to understand that God can neither be fully understood nor His eternal knowledge can be learnt in eternal years, and all these she wants to have in an instantaneous life.
3. Will the Master respect the child’s request? What will He teach her?
Answer: Yes, the Master will respect the child’s request.
God will, however, not answer the prayers of the child in the exact same way as she desires and she will have a change in heart for salvation. He promises the child that she will be taught of raptures and despairs, joy, love, and pain. He assures her that her pain will clean the impurities from her desires and thereby make it pure. Her chastened soul will thereby aspire for salvation.
III. Going Beyond
Ron’e Dutta is the Co-Founder and Editor of Online Free Notes. He is a journalist, a blogger, a creative writer, and a teacher. He is currently writing his first thriller novel on time-travelling. Read the prologue of the novel here. Connect with him on social media.