The great sage of India Rabindranath Tagore lived up to his name – Rabi means the Sun. Read how Rabindranath Tagors carried the message of the Sun in his songs, poems, and books.
THE SPEAKING TREE – Creative Philosophy Inspired by the Sun
11 May 2004, 0000 hrs IST, Soma Chakravarty
Rabindranath Tagore lived up to his name. Rabi means the Sun and like the Sun’s rays the myriad-minded “Great Sentinel” — as Mahatma Gandhi called him — never failed to dazzle with his creative genius, enlightening us with his sagacious insight.
Tagore’s songs, poems, plays, short stories, novels, essays, letters, and paintings take us through his personal reflection of reality, which soon become our own because they touch the core of our heart, bonding us with nature. His writings are a heartfelt appeal for universal peace, love and harmony.
Tagore’s philosophy was not original. His writings, however, reflect ancient mysticism and Vedanta, providing us with glimpses of a higher reality. He acknowledged the concepts of Sivam, Santam, Advaitam — perfection, peace, and non-duality. God to him was God’s creations. He heard God’s music in the pitter-patter of raindrops, His songs in the gurgle of mountain streams, and His cosmic dance in swaying trees, the rhythm of life and death in the ocean’s waves.
Tagore’s concept of religion was faith. “Religion that only comes to us from external scriptures never becomes our own, for our only tie with it is that of habit. To gain religion within is man’s great lifelong adventure. In suffering must it be born; On his lifeblood it must live and then whether or not it brings him happiness, the man’s journey shall end in the joy of fulfilment”. He further wrote: “When I go from hence let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable. I have tasted of the hidden nectar of this lotus that expands on the ocean of light, and thus I am blessed…”.
The message of spiritual reality came to the poet- laureate with the Sun’s rays: “One day while I stood watching at early dawn the Sun sending out its rays from behind the trees, I suddenly felt as if some ancient mist had in a moment lifted from my sight and the morning light on the face of the world revealed an inner radiance of joy. The invisible screen of the commonplace was removed from all things and all of mankind and this ultimate significance was intensified in my mind and this is the definition of beauty.”
To Tagore, truth was inseparable from beauty. “Truth is everywhere, therefore everything is the object of our knowledge. Beauty is omnipresent; therefore everything is capable of giving us joy. Through our sense of truth we realise law in creation and through our sense of beauty we realise harmony in the universe”. He had deep faith in the power and purifying process of silence and meditation. He prayed for the vision of light. “They stand with uplifted eyes thirsty after light, lead them to light My Lord”.
Tagore celebra-ted life. “I feel the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight” he said. So for the man of detachment his home is his hermitage. For him, to be one with God is to be one with the universe because “Our master himself has joyfully taken upon Himself the bonds of creation, so He is bound with us all for ever”. God to him was Sakha, the friend.
Light to him was a source joy: “Light my light, the world filling light, the eye-kissing light , heart sweetening light” he wrote, but the deep-rooted humane aspect in him did not allow the light of joy turn him blind to sorrows. He acknowledged both in his quest to realise life.
Swami Surya Jowel says that the nine-fold path of Surya yoga is for precisely the kind of spiritual reali- sation that Tagore was seeking, to find the divine in all existence.