Saturday May 26, 2018

The never ending journey to self discovery: Remembering Rabindranath Tagore

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By Prachi Mishra

In this playhouse of infinite forms, I have had my play and here have I caught sight of him that is formless. -Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore, India’s one of the most prominent cultural personalities, has artistically brought out the essence of eastern spirituality in his poetry unlike any other poet. He himself had stated that his spiritual vision inculcates “the ancient spirit of India as revealed in our sacred texts and manifested in the life of today.”

Swami Adiswarananda of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York, in the preface of ‘Tagore: The Mystic Poets’ wrote, “The inner-seeking spirituality of India infused all of Tagore’s writing. He wrote in many genres of the deep religious milieu of Hinduism. The values and core beliefs of the Hindu scriptures permeated his work.”

“Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophical and spiritual thoughts transcend all limits of language, culture, and nationality. In his writings, the poet and mystic takes us on a spiritual quest and gives us a glimpse of the infinite in the midst of the finite, unity at the heart of all diversity, and the Divine in all beings and things of the universe,” said the Swami.

Tagore was born in 1861 in a wealthy Bengali Brahmin family that was devoutly Hindu, yet also strongly political. His father and grandfather were involved with in the religious movement called Brahmo Samaj. After growing up in such an atmosphere, Rabindranath developed a strong individual perception of life.

In his writings, Tagore kept reiterating that humanity’s mission is to ultimately merge with God. He focused primarily on man’s oneness with God. In Sadhana, he stated “Man becomes perfect man, he attains his fullest expression, when his soul realizes itself in the Infinite being who is Avih (fearless), whose very essence is expression.”

“This is the ultimate end of man, to find the One, which is in him, which is his truth, which is his soul; the key with which he opens the gate of the spiritual life”, he added.

Tagore regarded human being as the highest of God’s creations. He believed that humans are endowed with an inherent divinity, which helps them to attain perfection. He wrote, “The world has found its culmination in man, its best expression. Man, as a creation, represents the Creator.”

Gurudev’s primary literary theme was man’s achievement of moksha (liberation) from the cycle of reincarnation. He believed that man is perpetually expanding the horizons of his mind and soul, and his ultimate destination is the divine union with God. His written works elucidated the idea of surrendering to God and serving humanity with love and respect.

He not only believed in serving humanity, but also in serving nature. His religious inspirations came mostly from nature. It was nature that gave his poetry its ethereal beauty. The poem Gitanjali (song offerings), for which he was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize for literature, celebrates the worship of nature.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Rabindranath Tagore was indeed a very knowledgeable personality. Not only did kids love his stories, but elders also enjoyed it to the fullest

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4 Christian Movies on Netflix That Teach You History

In fact, many of them are either dramatic adaptations of Bible canons or simply historical accounts of that particular era with some moral lessons thrown into the mix to fit the theme of the movies.

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Christian movies get a bad rap
Movies about religion or Christianity are not necessarily religious in nature.

Christian movies get a bad rap. Many people avoid watching them under the assumption that they are a personal soap box for the directors or writers to showcase their faith in God. While you can easily make this case for a certain number of them, movies about religion or Christianity are not necessarily religious in nature. In fact, many of them are either dramatic adaptations of Bible canons or simply historical accounts of that particular era with some moral lessons thrown into the mix to fit the theme of the movies. Either way, while they are not full on historical renditions, they can teach you a lot about that historical era. Without further ado, here are four Christian movies on Netflix that teach you history.

Joseph & Mary (2016)

Joseph & Mary is a historical biblical drama that follows the journey of Elijah, a devout rabbi, who swears revenge upon King Herod the Great, who slaughtered hundreds of innocents, including his two child proteges. Elijah’s quest for revenge gets a lot more complicated when he starts spending time with Joseph, Mary,and their young Son, who challenge the very beliefs that fuel his rage.

Starring Kevin Sorbo as Joseph – which you might remember from the light-hearted Tv Show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Captain Dylan Hunt in Andromeda –, and Lara Jean Chorostecki – of Hannibal and Designated Survivor fame -, the film, due to its heavy subject matter, might not be an easy watch for everybody.

However, history buffs will surely appreciate the care and detail that the writers and producers put into the décor, costumes,and script, as it feel very authentic from a historical standpoint. If you are interested to see more Christian movies that are historically accurate, make sure to check out this article on Netflix Guides, a website frequently updated with well-written guides and reviews.

Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)

Joseph: King of Dreams is a 2000 American animated biblical musical drama.  Serving as a prequel to the 1998 film The Prince of Egypt, the plot itself is an adaptation of the story of Joseph from the Book Of Genesis in the Bible. Not many people might think to get their history lessons from an animated musical, you will soon find out that Joseph: King of Dreams will shatter this perception. While the film does take some artistic liberties when it comes to historical facts, the animators made a great job of reconstructing the spirit and atmosphere of the era.

Featuring a stellar cast that includes Ben Affleck, Richard Herd (Get Out, Star Trek: Renegades) andMark Hamill (Luke Skywalker, and many other voice roles in animated shows and video games), King of Dreams is a great Christian film that will charm you with its smart direction, good music and enticing story.

The Book of Esther (2013)

Released in 2013, the film follows the story of Esther, a Jewish girl who is handpicked as the new queen consort to King Xerxes I of Persia. The story centers around Esther’s efforts to stop Lord Haman from exterminating her people. The film does take some artistic licenses from the Biblical account, but the main actress’ good performance compensates for any of the film’s shortcomings. If you are looking for an intrigue film with a historical Christian twist, then do not hesitate to try out The Book of Esther.

 Son of God (2014)

Christian movies get a bad rap
Christian Movies are worth watching.

Son of God is a direct adaptation of the ten-hour miniseries The Bible, which aired on the History channel throughout March 2013. Starring DiogoMorgado as Jesus Christ, Darwin Shaw as Saint Simon Peter, Sebastian Knapp as Saint John and Roma Downey as Mary, amongst others, the film is a retelling of the Biblical Story of Jesus, from his birthright until his crucifixion and ascended into Heaven.

Beyond Bofors: Beyond Bofors: An Untold Story Of India’s First Family

The story itself is seen through the eyes of an elderly John, one of Jesus’ most faithful followers, who is living in exile after being the sole survivor of the group. While the film does contain some recycled scenes from the miniseries (probably because they are produced by the same person, Mark Burnett, or simply due to budget constraints), Son of God stands on its own and is worth a view even if you have already seen the TV show. DiogoMorgado deserves special praise for his stellar acting, which is arguably one of the best interpretations of Jesus Christ after Jim Caviezel’s performance in The Passion of the Christ.

Conclusion

Many people tend to avoid watching Christian movies believing that they are either poor quality or too preachy. But in reality, only a small fraction of them are like this – most of them are quite balanced and made in such a way that even people who are not particularly religious can enjoy them. The movies that we have showcased in this write up, with their good casts and direction, appeal both to Christians, and people who enjoy good historical dramas. If you are looking for Christian movies but are unsure what to choose, do not hesitate to give these titles a try.