Rabindranath Tagore

by: Sri Chinmoy



O Sun of India's sky,
O World-Poet,
O Moon of Bengal's heart,
You were beautiful in your inner life,
You were beautiful in your outer life,
You were beauty incarnate in God's entire creation.
Gloriously and triumphantly you secure your place
In the world-assembly with your creative force,
Supremely meaningful and fruitful in various walks of life.

- Sri Chinmoy from: My India (1)

Rabindranath Tagore - short biography

Rabindranath Tagore is regarded as one of India’s finest writers. For his publication of Gitanjali Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 -the first Asian to receive the award. Tagore was also knighted by Britain in 1915, however Tagore was to surrender his knighthood in protest after the Amritsar massacre of 1919.

Tagore was the son of renowned Rishi Debendranath Tagore. Debendranath Tagore was well known as a religious and cultural reformer. When Rabindranath was a young child, his father requested him to sing a soulful song he had been singing. Debindranath was so moved by his sons singing he entered into trance. He was so happy he wished to honour Rabindranath’s singing by giving him a cheque for 500 Rupees.

Tagore went on to contribute most significantly to the cultural renaissance of Bengal and India. He was both a poet and musician composing many songs and poems as well as writing many essays on religion, nationalism and philosophy. In the evening of his life he also turned his attention towards art.  A project dear to his heart was his school at Santiniketan (Abode of Peace) Tagore spent most of his life there and here he also completed much of his writings. Rabindranath Tagore was also famous in the West, in particular the Irish poet W.B. Yeats was very fond of Tagore's writings and this helped raise his profile.

In the beginning Tagore received higher honour in the West than in his own native country. It was an unfortunate experience for Tagore that before his Nobel Peace Prize in 1913 he was unappreciated in his own homeland. A funny story relates to how a Bengali newspaper editor mercilessly criticised the writings of Tagore. However shortly afterwards Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize the very next week the same newspaper editor offered his heartest congratulations and appreciation

As a result of his popularity in the West he was invited to many lecture tours. This enabled Tagore to became an important figure head and representative of Indian culture. Through his poems and writings on the "unity consciousness Tagore sought to break down barriers between different countries especially bringing together the diverse cultures of East and West.

Rabindranath Tagore passed away on August 7th 1941, he had composed his last poem only hours before.


Sri Chinmoy's appreciation of Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore wrote:

To the birds You gave songs,  
The birds gave You songs in return.
You gave me only a voice,    
But You asked for more,         
And I sing.

- Tagore (From: Stray Birds 4)

"Rabindranath was a Golden Song sung by the Divine Singer in him. He was, indeed, the World-Song, the golden chain that bound East and West.  

He offered the world more than two thousand songs. He once said that when he was capable of singing, his own compositions were very few in number. But when he had become a prolific composer, his voice failed him and he was unable to sing most of his own songs.  

He made a prophetic utterance about his own songs: “With the march of time, everything changes. But the Bengalees will sing my songs epoch after epoch. They will sing my songs in the hour of their sorrow, grief, joy and delight. They will have no alternative.”

In the song I shall now sing, Tagore compares the Pole-Star, fixed and steady in the dark night, with the light of the mind and heart which illumines the unlit existence of human life:   "

"Nivid ghana andhare jwalichhe Dhruva tara    

In the tenebrous gloom shines the Pole-Star;  

O my mind, in the immense expanse of night,   

Lose not your Way.   

Dead with depression and despair,           

O my heart, cease not your singing.            

Breaking asunder the prison of delusion,          

Fulfil your life . . ."


- Sri Chinmoy Extract from Eternity's Breath (2)


Rabindranath Tagore and Bengal

by: Sri Chinmoy

"The Bengal of today is a fruitless lamentation. The Bengal of tomorrow can, however, be the torch-bearer of the rare fulfilment of the promise of today.

His was the heart that gave no shelter to the doctrine of the unreality of the finite. His was the genius that had the quality of universality in a striking degree.

Glory to Tagore, for through him even the most insignificant and the humblest Bengali villagers can speak to the world at large.

His songs are the songs that in a twinkling penetrate the heart and quicken the soul. Verily, Tagore's life was a sacrifice to Culture. His songs were his prayers about this great Culture.


By: Sri Chinmoy from: Mother India Lighthouse (3)


Tagore and Vivekananda

by: Sri Chinmoy

"Tagore and Vivekananda were both immortals of Bengal. In their own way they spread the light of India.

“Vivekananda was a torrent of fire. 
Tagore was a sea of beauty and delight.
Vivekananda was a Clarion-call.
Tagore was a soul-stirring Flute.”

Both Narendranath (Vivekananda) and Rabindranath loved humanity much,
the former speedily and the latter steadily.

Vivekananda says, in effect, "No time to linger. Awake, O India!
and measure the loftiest Height with your dauntless head."

Tagore says in effect, "First look everywhere, and then to the Highest,
O Ind, raise your proud head."

- From: Mother India's Lighthouse (3)


Tagore and Gandhi

by: Sri Chinmoy

Gandhi-ji's tribute to Tagore runs: "'Great Sentinel' of the East.

"I differ with Gandhi in many respects, but I admire and revere the man highly...,"

so says Tagore. Mahatma's deliverance is nothing other than the fruit of renunciation. Tagore's deliverance is precisely the fruit of fulfilment. Tagore sings:

"Deliverance is not for me in renunciation, I feel the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight."

From: Mother India's Lighthouse (3)





(1) My India by Sri Chinmoy

(2) Eternity's Breath by Sri Chinmoy

(3) Mother India Lighthouse by Sri Chinmoy

(4) Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore

(5) Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore at Sacred Texts


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