Religious education and Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore’s religion is not a body of written doctrines or theological principles; rather it is something that is inseparable from one’s core. He admits that he cannot define it, but he says that the aim of religion is neither idle tranquility nor the enjoyment of languid beauty. Somehow his mind initially remained coldly aloof, absolutely uninfluenced by any religion whatsoever. When he was eighteen, a sudden spring breeze of religious experience for the first time came to his life and passed away leaving in his memory a direct message of spiritual reality. Tagore reproduces the idea of the immanence of God reflected in the Upanishads. Tagore discovers God within the life of human being. He says that we know God by realizing Him in each and all. Whether there was any influence of Vaishnavism in Tagore’s life is debatable since Vaishnavism neglects present life whereas Tagore gives immense value to human life and the world. What appealed to Tagore is the practical side of Buddha’s teaching. The lyrics of Gitanjali represent a very simple religion, one that is characterized by sound relationship with the divine rather than by external paraphernalia. Tagore’s religion is an aspect of human spirit. It does not come from God, it is rooted in human being, and, therefore, his religion is a poet’s religion. Tagore introduces us to a human God, who has human qualities.
Rabindranath Tagore, The Religion of Man, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1932
Rabindranath Tagore, Preface, Sadhana, London: Macmillan, 1918, viii
Tagore, Sadhana, 16
Tagore, The Religion of Man, 18
Tagore, Sadhana, 115
Tagore, The Religion of Man, 105
Tagore, Sadhana, 77
A. Aronson, Rabindranath Through Western Eyes, Allahabad: Kitabistan, 1943
Tagore, Gitanjali, 1
Tagore, Gitanjali, 49
Tagore, The Religion of Man, 17
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