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Home Indian History & Culture The never ending journey to self discovery: Remembering Rabindranath Tagore

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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