- » Interview with Alain Daniélou, PRE-ARYAN SHAIVITE CULTURE: A TRADITION TO BE RECOVERED
- » Sunandan Chowdhury, East and West in Rabindranath Tagore
- » Christof Zotter, BĀBĀ KĪNĀRĀM AND THE AGHORĪ TRADITION IN NORTHERN INDIA
- » Basile Goudabla Kligueh, Vodu and Nature: The Vodu Adept’s Communion with Nature
- » Fabrizia Baldissera, Notes on Maṇḍalas, cakras, and the resilience of the circular icon in contemporary Indian imagery
Sunandan Roy Chowdhury
EAST AND WEST IN RABINDRANATH TAGORE
FIND Grantee and editor of Sampark. firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos are courtesy of the Department of Culture of the Government of India belonging to the exhibition for the 150 anniversary of Tagore in 2011
Rabindranath Tagore, colonial India’s greatest intellectual artist, was a multi-faceted genius who absorbed and assimilated the best ideals of both East and West. In this essay, Sunandan Roy Chowdhury, FIND grantee 2018 and editor of the Indian publishing house Sampark, shows how both cultures found a shared meaning in the thought of this great personality.
Rabindranath Tagore had many friends, fellow intellectuals, both in the West and the East. Gilbert Murray, Professor of Greek at Oxford, and an internationalist whose contribution to the League of Nations is highly regarded, was one of them. In 1934, Murray wrote a letter to Tagore, and the last paragraph and half read as follows:
The artists and thinkers, the people whose work or whose words move multitudes, ought to know one another, to understand one another, to work together at the formation of some great League of Mind or Thought independent of miserable frontiers and tariffs and governmental follies, a League or Society of those who live the life of the intellect and through the diverse channels of art or science aim at the attainment of beauty, truth and human brotherhood.
I need not appeal to you, Tagore, to join in this quest; you already belong to it; you are inevitably one of its great leaders. I only ask you to recognize the greatness of your own work for the intellectual union of East and West, of thinker with thinker, poet with poet, and to appreciate the work that may be done by the intellectuals of India not merely for their own national aims, however just and reasonable they may be; there is a higher task to be attempted in healing the discords of the political and material world by the magic of that inward community of spiritual life which even amid our worst failures reveals to us Children of Men our brotherhood and our high destiny.
Believe me, with deep respect,
Gilbert Murray 1
This letter was written when the war clouds on the sky of Europe were gradually gathering. It was written by a man who was, I feel, a true internationalist and to a man who embodied universalism, of course, with his special touch to it.
To understand how East and West shaped Tagore we need an understanding of the India and Calcutta that he was born into, and the formative years of his life. It is important to understand the religious, social and cultural influences on the young Tagore.
Rabindranath was born in 1861. In 1857, four years before his birth, British India – which was in some ways inaugurated in 1757 with a victory of the English East India Company in a battle famously known as the Battle of Plassey (Palashi in Bengali) – was rocked by a revolt in the British Indian army. Indian soldiers – Muslims and Hindus – of the British Raj rose in revolt and their revolt was fuelled by the challenge to the British from a group of Indian rulers. However, this revolt popularly known as the Sepoy Mutiny did not succeed. The British reinforced their military and administrative prowess. Though soldiers rose in revolt and the rulers, mostly from north India challenged British rule, the English-educated Bengali middle class of Calcutta – then the capital of British India – did not support the rebels. It is amply clear that the English-educated middle classes of India were in favour of British rule. Administrative and military superiority was further reinforced in the minds of the people of this newly English-educated class by a dominant belief that the English had a superior culture to that of India. In structural terms, a major development that followed the Mutiny of 1857 was the creation of the first three universities in British India, namely, those in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras.
It was in such a world that Rabindranath Tagore was born. His grandfather Dwarakanath was an astute businessman and made a great fortune in the opium trade – between British India and China, at its high point in the first half of the nineteenth century. Dwarakanath’s father, a landlord, had built a family mansion in the heart of colonial Calcutta and Dwarakanath’s wealth ensured that the family enjoyed an extremely affluent and international lifestyle. While Dwarakanath himself was a close friend of Rammohun Roy, a bold social reformer and founder of the Brahmo religious sect, Rabindranath’s father Abanindranath was a devout Brahmo and attached great value to spiritual life. The family was profoundly Westernized. Members of the large extended Tagore family brought changes in women’s wear and adopted Western mores – most notably in women’s blouses, playing the piano and experimenting with the blending of Indian and Western musical styles and immersed themselves in English and Western literature. And the influences were not only limited to matters of culture. Rabindranath’s eldest brother became the first Indian to qualify for the Imperial Civil Service, a British institution meant for governing the vast unruly Indian world. So, there were clear signs that the family believed in the British-Indian order of the day. So much so that when Tagore became a school dropout at the age of fourteen, this eldest brother of his famously commented that Rabi i.e. Rabindranath was a good-for-nothing fellow.
It was this Anglo-Indian world that formed the backdrop of Rabindranath’s early years. While he was a quiet rebel in that he dropped out of school early, many elements of this world influenced him deeply. Music, for one, definitely opened up his senses to the notes of the Western world. But more profoundly, he believed in the Brahmo religion. He had his own sense of modernity and he admired this modernity as manifested in the personality of Rammohun Roy.
I quote Tagore, as he talks about Rammohun:
In India what is needed more than anything else, is the broad mind which, only because it is conscious of its own vigorous individuality, is not afraid of accepting truth from all sources. Fortunately for us we know what such a mind has meant in an individual who belongs to modern India. I speak of Rammohun Roy. His learning, because of its depth and comprehensiveness, did not merely furnish him with materials for scholarship, but trained his capacity to discriminate between things that are essential and those that are non-essential in the culture which was his by inheritance. This helped him to realize that truth can never be foreign, that money and material may exclusively belong to the particular country that produces them, but not knowledge, or ideas, or immortal forms of art.
In Rammohun Roy’s life we find a concrete illustration of what India seeks, the true indication of her goal. Thoroughly steeped in the best culture of his country, he was capable of finding himself at home in the larger world. His culture was not for rejection of those cultures which came from foreign sources; on the contrary, it had an uncommon power of sympathy which could adjust itself to them with respectful receptiveness.
The ideal I have formed of the culture which should be universal in India, has become clear to me from the life of Rammohun Roy. I have come to feel that the mind which has been matured in the profound knowledge of its own country, and of the perfect thoughts that have been produced in that land, is ready to accept and assimilate the cultures that come from foreign countries. 2
There are a few key concepts that Tagore imbibes from Rammohun or in other words concepts where Rammohun’s worldview finds admiration and acceptance in Tagore. The first is modernity. Tagore sees Rammohun as modern, and even though there is no explicit mention, this modernity in the Indian context is colonial modernity. European colonialism creates its own modernity or ‘modernities’, if you wish. Rammohun Roy was a product of that modernity, a unique encounter of West and East that happened in the colonized world. A second concept, intimately related to the first, is that the modern mind such as Rammohun’s and by extension Tagore himself as well, has the discretionary powers to accept and reject from the cultural world that one is born into. In Rammohun’s life we see the movement against Sati [suttee] – a practice where widows were forced to be burnt on the funeral pyre of their dead husband. It was a clear case where Rammohun rejected the culture of his time and stood headstrong to reform it. And such acts must have influenced Tagore. The third concept which forms the third strand in this triangle, is that of assimilation. One, your mind is modern, two, you do not accept all that is yours, and three, you freely take from other cultures and in turn blend them into your culture. This assimilation is integral to any notion of modernity in colonial and post-colonial India. Rammohun had assimilated ideas of the West and of the East into his intellectual being. And Tagore hails this assimilation. Clearly, Rammohun and his Brahmo movement were sources of great influence on the young Tagore.
Here one should add a few words about the Brahmo movement. With the onset of colonial rule in India in the late eighteenth century, Christianity and Christian missions also became a prominent force in the land. A dominant strand of thought among British colonialists and European missionaries was that Indian religion and culture were inferior to Christian/Western ones. Among other things, the protagonists of the church looked down upon Hindu idolatry. The self-respect of the higher classes and intellectuals of India took a beating at the constant tirade against their social customs and religious practices. Men of reason such as Rammohun started searching for answers and looked deep into the traditions and knowledge resources of India. In that enquiry, the thought of the Upanishads – ancient Indian texts in Sanskrit gave new light. Rammohun and his peers founded a religion called the Brahmo religion which believed in a singular formless God. It rejected idolatry altogether and created a new religion based on rational texts of ancient India. In a word, this was India’s or the Indians’ answer to the cultural ascendancy and arrogance of Western rule as it had manifested in India in the nineteenth century. The East-West encounter created new thought structures in India and the Brahmo religion was one of those. To give one example as to how markedly different Brahmoism was from traditional Hindu practices, the Brahmos would sit in a prayer room and there were chants, but there would be a complete absence of any idol of a god or goddess – the hallmark of a Hindu temple. While there was a rejection of inherited cultural practices, there was also assimilation. The forms of prayer, specially chanting had elements of Christian prayers, not so much in content but definitely in form, in the way prayers were performed with solemnity. So, as we see, East and West, West and East blended early into Tagore’s consciousness.
In his autobiographical Atmaparichay we hear him say,
there was a genuinely deep love of English literature among my elders. Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott had a strong influence over our family. … 3
So, this was the immediate East and immediate West of Tagore in the formative years of his boyhood and youth. The Upanishadic tradition of solemn reason-centric spirituality, the Brahmo religion – itself a result of East-West encounter and English/Western ideas and ideals of liberalism, romanticism and humanitarianism were the initial ways in which West and East shaped the mind of Tagore. As much as he had stepped aside from the dominant Hindu world of his immediate East, later in his life he would also be immensely disillusioned and disappointed by some major Western ideas/ideals too.
In this paper I concentrate on his essayistic writings, his letters, his travelogues – often in the form of letters, his conversations with fellow intellectuals, and other forms of communication. It is these texts of his that offers us a repository to understand how West and East shaped him. In other words, how he navigated through the concept worlds of the West and the East.
The West in Tagore
In Meeting of the West and the East he writes,
I say as an individual that the West and the East did meet in India in my younger days. It was the same feeling which I had when I listened to those in my family who recited verses from English literature and from the great poets of those days. Then also I felt as if a new prophet of the human world had been revealed to my mind.
You all know it was the last vanishing twilight of the Romantic West. We had been living in the atmosphere of the lyrical literature of poets like Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, and we know what inspiration they had within them. And what it was for the rest of the world. There was an upheaval of idealism. In Europe, the French Revolution had not died out, and people were dreaming of freedom, of the brotherhood of man. They still believed in the human ideals that have their permanent value, ultimate value in themselves. And it moved my heart. I cannot express how it did move my soul.
…The West at that time believed in freedom of personality. We heard about Garibaldi, about Mazzini, and it was a new revelation, an aspect of humanity with which we were not quite familiar – the great ideal of the freedom of man, freedom of self-expression for all races and all countries. 4
The romantic ideal appealed to Tagore and many of his fellow Indians. Individuality too was a Western idea/theme that attracted many modern Indians. The idea of being modern for Indians in colonial India was informed with themes such as freedom and individuality. And both of these appealed to Tagore as well. So, if one sees that Tagore admired the freedom to select and reject from one’s cultural world, this celebration of freedom is a wisdom or a way of thinking where the West is the lighthouse. And the same is the case with individuality.
Tagore writes in East and West,
Willingly therefore I harness myself, in my advanced age to the arduous responsibility of creating in our Educational Colony in Santiniketan a spirit of genuine international collaboration based on a definite pursuit of knowledge, a pursuit carried on in an atmosphere of friendly community life, harmonized with Nature and offering freedom of individual self-expression. … Individuality is precious, because only through it we can realize the universal. …the individual in the West has no unsurpassable barrier between himself and the rest of humanity. He may have his prejudices, but no irrational injunctions to keep him in internment from the wide world of men 5
Much as Tagore celebrates individuality, Europe’s message of freedom also appealed to him greatly. He writes,
There was a time when we were fascinated by Europe. She had inspired us with a new hope. We believed that her chief mission was to preach the gospel of liberty to the world. We had come then to know only her ideal side through her literature and art.” 6
What does Asia think of Christian Civilisation?
In 1926, in an interview with F. L. Minigerode of the New York Times, Rabindranath eloquently talked about his thoughts on Europe, where he felt inspired by Europe and where he felt disappointed. He himself uttered a few times, ‘What does Asia think of Christian civilization?’ and went on to give his answers to the question.
As a boy I looked eagerly forward to the time when I should pay my first visit to Europe. I dreamed of magnificent things there – not material things, but fine thoughts, fine characteristics. I looked forward to a meeting, there people with conscience that guided not only the individual but the nation. I had, however, counted too much upon the spirituality that seemed to abound in the early days of the nineteenth century …
… [those]made me believe that in Europe I should find a consciousness in men, in peoples, in nations; that I should discover a continent where all the people were striving for high ideals – I was poignantly disappointed.” 7
The central point that emerges from this passage is that the poet was searching for spirituality in the West. Knowing the early influences on Tagore this should not surprise us. As I have mentioned earlier in this paper, he grew up in an atmosphere where the reason-centric spirituality of the Upanishads and the Brahmo religion held sway. His mind, I suppose not least because of his father’s influence, developed a spiritual leaning early on.
In my travels through the so-called highly civilized countries – in Europe, in America, in Japan – I have found all the existing influences carrying the nations headlong toward material things, to the exclusion of spiritual things. 8
Clearly, for Tagore, freedom and individuality were key points but he was a deep soul and his quintessential search in life was for the soul’s meanings, for the emancipation that leads the soul to purer and purer stages. And in the West too, he tried to find this soul. While he had troubles with accepting certain parts of modern Western civilization, he nevertheless found purity of soul in the West and this he found in the embodiment of Christ. Troubled with the pursuit of material pleasures in the West, he evokes the figure of Christ.
He told his American interviewer that if Christ came to New York he would be forcibly turned back for lack of dollars, if for no other reason. He goes on to say,
Is it not true today that such an utterance as “Blessed are the meek” is political blasphemy? Suppose Christ said in America: “Blessed are the poor.” It would be judged economic heresy. And if He told your country that it is as easy for the prosperous to reach the Kingdom of Heaven as for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, would he not be thrown into prison? Perhaps America would not go so far as to inflict physical punishment upon Christ because of his utterances. 9
While on one hand he makes this satirical remark about the reception of Christ in modern day America, Christ holds an unending and deep appeal for Tagore. He writes to Edward Thompson, his English friend and biographer,
Indeed it is a great pity that the Europeans have come to us as Imperialists rather than as Christians and so have deprived our people of their true contact with the religion of Jesus Christ. A few individuals like C.F. Andrews, whom we have known as the true followers of their Teacher, have created in us a respect for Christianity which the most brutal lathi charges, shootings and detentions without trial of the British Government in India have failed totally to dissipate.10
It is amply clear that Tagore is in spiritual unison with the soul of Christ and his indictment of the modern West is because, he feels, that the pursuit of material goals and the greed for money has led the modern West to turn its back to the ideals of Christ. This is the central cause of his unquiet in his encounters with the West.
While he is critical of the materiality of the West, he does not overlook the patterns of history, and advocates a marriage of Eastern and Western ideals.
Anyhow, the Western continents have been striving for liberation from the maya of matter striking hard whenever they encounter any of the roots of that ignorance which breeds hunger and thirst, disease and want or other ills of mundane life. In other word, they have been engaged in securing for man protection against physical death. On the other hand the striving of the Eastern peoples has been to win for man his spiritual kingdom, to lead him to immortality. By their present separateness East and West alike are now in danger of losing the fruits of their age-long labours. That is why the Upanishad, from the beginning, has enunciated the principle, which yet may serve to unite them. ‘Gain protection’, it says, ‘from death by the cult of the finite, and then by the cult of the infinite you shall attain immortality’. All that moves in the moving world is science. ‘God envelops all this’ is the province of the philosophy of the Infinite. When the Rishi enjoins us to combine them both, then that implies the union of the East and the West. For want of that union, the East is suffering from poverty and inertia and the West from lack of peace and happiness. 11
Here, as we see, Tagore enunciates the principles he feels are the central bloodline of both Eastern and Western civilizations. I feel that there is some amount of over-generalization in such a formulation and it may not present an accurate picture of either the East or the West. But, if we take Tagore’s view of the longue durée – to use Fernand Braudel’s phrase, of the two civilizations, then what is significant is the marriage he proposes, and the reasons on which he grounds his proposal.
His unquiet with the West though becomes accentuated with the onset of the First World War and then it keeps coming back till his death in 1941 in the middle of the Second World War. And, of course, his most profound critique of the West are his lectures on nationalism, published in 1917, a year before the First World War ends and in the same year that Lenin led Russia to revolution.
“And what is the harvest of your civilization? You do not see from the outside. You do not realize what a terrible menace you have become to man. We are afraid of you. And everywhere people are suspicious of each other. All the great countries of the West are preparing for war, for some great work of desolation that will spread poison all over the world. And this poison is within their own selves. They try, and try to find some solution, but they do not succeed, because they have lost their faith in the personality of man.
They do not believe in the wisdom of the soul. … They have efficiency, but that alone does not help. Why? Because man is human, while machinery is impersonal. Men of power have efficiency in outward things; but the personality of man is lost. You do not feel it, the divine in man, the divinity which is humanity.” 12
As you can see, Rabindranath is not an ardent admirer of system. His critique of the West, that he repeats time and again, and most forcefully pens in the nationalism lectures of 1917, is that the West has built systems and has butchered the soul of the individual on the altar of systems. This could well be true though I myself am not completely in agreement with Tagore on the system versus individual human soul thematic. His indictment of the West continues especially when he discusses nation and nationalism.
Today the Western people have come in contact with all the races of the world when their moral adjustment has not yet been made true for this tremendous experience. The reality of which they are most fervidly conscious is the reality of the Nation. It has served them up to a certain point, just as some amount of boisterous selfishness, pugnacious and inconsiderate, may serve us in our boyhood …But the time has come at last when the Western people are beginning to feel nearer home what the cult of the nation has been to humanity, they who have reaped all its benefits, with a great deal of its costs thrown upon the shoulders of others.
Europe is fully conscious of her greatness and that itself is the reason why she does not know where her greatness may fail her. There have been periods of history when great races of men forgot their own souls in the pride and enjoyment of their power and possessions. … Through this present war has come the warning to Europe that her things have been getting better of her truth and in order to be saved she must find her soul and her God and fulfill her purpose by carrying her ideals into all continents of the earth and not sacrifice them to her greed of money and domination. 13
It is amply clear that while he is uncomfortable with nation, the immediate source of his indignation towards the West is the First World War. It is important to note that his lectures on nationalism were delivered in 1917 when the First World War was going on. And he sees the pursuit of money and empire as the reasons for war, and he urges Europe to leave them and embrace its own great ideals; and these ideals as we have seen earlier are those of freedom, of individuality, of brotherhood.
And he eloquently holds forth on his view of the Christian world; for him, Christ is the one who leads humans to salvation. One can clearly see his angst about the nearly total reliance on systems in modern Europe. And his assertion that more than machines which will rust themselves out, it is the human spirit that is the undying flame. He sees that the West thrives on law and order and elbows out through a maze of systems the possibility of a great man or a great woman.
In the context of colonial domination, he thinks nation and nationalism not only oppress the colonized but the colonizer as well.
It is the continual and stupendous dead pressure of this inhuman upon the living human under which the modern world is groaning. Not merely the subject races, but you who live under the delusion that you are free, are every day sacrificing your freedom and humanity to this fetish of nationalism, living in the dense poisonous atmosphere of world-wide suspicion and greed and panic.14
Does he see any solution to the problems? His answer to that is in the following lines.
I have often been asked by my Western friends how to cope with this evil, which has attained such sinister strength and dimensions. In fact, I have often been blamed for merely giving a warning, and offering no alternative. When we suffer as a result of a particular system, we believe that some other system would bring us better luck. We are apt to forget that all systems produce evil sooner or later, when the psychology which is at the root of them is wrong. …
…Therefore I do not put my faith in any new institution, but in the individuals all over the world who think clearly, feel nobly, and act rightly, thus becoming the channels of moral truth. Our moral ideals do not work with chisels and hammers. Like trees, they spread their roots in the soil and their branches in the sky, without consulting any architect for their plans. 15
China and Japan in the mind of the poet
While Tagore’s immediate East was India and the Calcutta he was born into, we have now seen his intellectual encounter with the West, but there was also the East of China and Japan for him that was a luminous encounter for both sides.
When Tagore visited China in 1924, everyone in India’s Eastern neighbor was impressed by his views. While critiques were there, Tagore’s supporters were also many. Among them it is particularly important to note the thoughts of Liang Chi Chao, who was president of the Universities Association, Peking. He gave the welcome address before Tagore spoke. And, he not only lauded Tagore but more importantly he saw China and India as two brothers. He described India as China’s elder brother and he went on to delineate how in a great number of fields in the past India had contributed to the culture, religion and society of China thereby enriching the Chinese world. He singled out India as the only civilization that China has looked up to through the centuries.
As far as China is concerned, Tagore had only positive words to say. And, when it came to the China – Japan issue, he sided with China and did not mince his words when he spoke on Japanese military expansion in China. However, he has written at greater length on Japan and showed mostly a positive appreciation of Japan with the lone critique of nationalism in Japan and its concomitant aggressive expansionist posture.
In his diary of his Japanese sojourn, we hear his belief that Japan has learnt technology from the West but Japan will not give up its soul. He writes,
In Japan, the Eastern mind has received the education for work from the West but they themselves are the rulers of their own work. Hence a hope gathers in my mind that may be in Japan we will see a synchronization of the work efficiency of the West with the feel of the East. If that happens, then that will be the ideal of unity. 16
He also comments on the harmony in work culture of China and Japan. He praises the fact that the cultures take great pride in physical labour and he sees a certain dignity manifested in their physical labour. He wishes for the day when the same rhythm of work will be witnessed in India. He particularly appreciates the fact of women and men working together.
Another element of Japanese life and social organization that touches his mind is the celebration of beauty in every inch of society. Yet while seeing the celebration of beauty, he is also pained to see the ill effects of imitation of the modern West in Japan. He laments in one of his letters that in all his journeys he has witnessed how modern industrialism has cast a long ugly shadow on the entire world and one cannot escape from it wherever one travels. He also regrets that Japan has changed from its traditional wear to Western clothes and he bemoans this Westernization.
However, alongside Westernization, he finds the real self of Japan in things such as minimalism and brevity. He is particularly appreciative of Haiku poetry, how in three lines Japanese genius can express itself beautifully and aptly.
He gives examples of such poems.
Heaven and earth are flowers
Gods and Buddha are flowers
The human soul is the inner sanctum of the flower 17
He says that in this poem the unity of Japan with India has found expression; the fact that on the same branch there are the twin flowers, of heaven and earth, gods and the Buddha – if the human soul were absent these flowers would only be external things – the beauty of the beautiful is only because of the human soul.
A particular facet of Japanese life that Tagore admires is restraint, with words, with actions; in every moment of individual and social life. He says that if two cyclists clash and both fall down on the road, they get up, dust off the dirt from their bodies and they go their way. When Tagore asked the Japanese where they had obtained this national character of restraint, they told him that it was because of Buddha’s teachings. Tagore feels Buddhism forms the central theme of Japanese life. And there he sees that the message of unity and of restraint has been the great gift of Buddhism to Japan. That brings us back to his idea of the great personality. It is Buddha’s teachings that he feels are central to the development of Japan over the centuries.
In the West the personality of Christ, in the East the personality of Buddha and in modern times the personality of Gandhi. Tagore’s West and Tagore’s East revolve around the celebration of great men, men whose teachings can influence millions, can create unity among cultures and lead to understanding between men and men between societies in the East and West. There is one other central element that informs his worldview, and that is suffering. As we know, in Christ’s life and in Buddha’s teachings, suffering forms a very central plank. In Tagore’s thoughts too suffering is a core idea; it verges almost on a conviction.
Our voice is not the voice of authority, with the power of arms behind it, but the voice of suffering which can only count upon the power of truth to make itself heard.18
And, his voice was heard, with great attention, by intellectuals in the East, in India and in China and Japan, and even more in the West where intellectuals and scientists as great as Romain Rolland and Albert Einstein had deep conversations with him, and some – as we have seen at the beginning of the paper – urged him to take the role of leading a world peace movement, as it were.
To conclude, I see some important axes in his thought world. One, his critique of the modern West’s excess of science and efficiency and, two, when all of this gets organized under the rubric of nationalism and is expressed either as colonialism or as aggressive nationalism leading to conflicts among industrialized nations; third, the human greed that capitalism feeds on and, fourth, the imitation of the West in the East and in the world in general.
His worldview is to counter these ills in an exploration of truth and divinity through suffering, through a genuine unity of cultures and through the celebration of beauty in everyday life. He wants to rely on great men of past and present for the deliverance of human societies. He feels it is these great men who will lead us to the light. I will end my paper with a Buddhist saying, which shows that personality is important, but organization too has its importance. And as Buddhists would chant,
Dhammam saranam gachchhami.
Shangham saranam gachchhami
Buddham saranam gachchhami
Follow the path of Dharma
Follow the path of Sangha (i.e. Organised Order)
Follow the path of Buddha.
- Letter from Gilbert Murray to Tagore, 17 August, 1934, The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore (EWT), New Delhi, Sahitya Akademi, 1996
- Letter from Tagore to Gilbert Murray, 16 September, 1934, EWT
- Atmaparichay [in Bengali], Reprint, Calcutta, Viswa Bharati, 1993
- Meeting of the East and the West, EWT
- East and West, EWT
- ibid., EWT
- Interview with F.L. Minigerode of the New York Times, 1926, EWT
- ibid., EWT
- ibid., EWT
- Letter from Tagore to Edward Thompson, 27 October1937, quoted in U. Das Gupta Edited, The Oxford India Tagore, New Delhi, OUP, 2009
- Tagore, Union of Cultures, EWT
- Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism, San Francisco, San Francisco Book Club, 1917
- Tagore, The Meeting of the East and the West, EWT
- Tagore, Nationalism
- Rabindranath Tagore, Japanyatri (in Bengali), Reprint, Calcutta, Viswa bharati, 2015
- Tagore, Japanyatri (in Bengali), Translation from Bengali to English is mine
- Tagore, Nationalism