India's great poet, philosopher, educator, composer, painter, essayist, playwright, and novelist (1861-1941) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Editor Herbert Vetter notes in his introduction: "Rabindranath Tagore is one of the few representatives of the universal person to whom the future of the world belongs."

These exquisite poem-prayers show examples of Tagore's love of Hinduism, his reverence for Buddha, his respect for Jesus, and his debt to the mystic Kabir. Some of the themes which run through these prayers are dependency on God, gratitude, joy, reverence, and an acknowledgement of life's hardships. "Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but fearless in facing them." And always, Tagore realizes the paradoxes at the core of reality: "We rejoice, O God, that the tears of the earth keep her smiles in bloom."