Rabindranath Tagore
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005

Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

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Rabindranath Tagore—Indian Poet, Playwright: May 7, 1861, Calcutta, India, 4:02 AM, LMT. (Source: Lois Rodden cites B.V. Ramon in American Astrology, June, 1948; also Sabian Symbols; but Old File has 3:35 AM—with, however, no change of Ascendant) Died, August 7, 1941, Calcutta, India.

(Proposed, Ascendant, Aries, with Moon, Juno and Neptune all in Aries—Moon conjunct Juno and Juno conjunct Aries; Mercury is also in late Aries; MC and NN in Capricorn conjuncted; Sun conjunct Venus in Taurus, with Pluto also in Taurus, conjunct Venus; Uranus and Mars in Gemini; Jupiter in Leo; Saturn in Virgo)

Indian poet; awarded the 1913 Nobel prize in literature. Established a school in Bengal, which developed into an international university called Visva-Bharati. Author of about sixty poetic works, a number of stories and plays, and more than three thousand songs set to music (1861-1941)



A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.
(Mars in Gemini in 3rd house)

Age considers; youth ventures.

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

Do not say, 'It is morning,' and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.

Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on.

Facts are many, but the truth is one.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

Gray hairs are signs of wisdom if you hold your tongue, speak and they are but hairs, as in the young.

I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can't make it through one door, I'll go through another door - or I'll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.
(Jupiter in Leo in 5th house. North Node conjunct MC trine Sun & Venus in Taurus. Aries Ascendant.)

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

If you shut the door to all errors, truth will be shut out.

In Art, man reveals himself and not his objects.

Life is given to us, we earn it by giving it.

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.

Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.
(Neptune & Moon in 12th house.)

The burden of the self is lightened with I laugh at myself.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

Those who own much have much to fear.
(Sun in Taurus conjunct Venus)

Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.

We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.
(North Node in Capricorn conjunct MC)

We gain freedom when we have paid the full price.

We live in the world when we love it.

What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real.

When I stand before thee at the day's end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing.
(Saturn opposition Chiron in Pisces)

Your idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God's dust is greater than your idol.

I do not love him because he is good, but because he is my little child

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.
(Aries Moon)

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins night and day in rhythmic measure. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth into numberless waves of flowers.
(Aries Ascendant)

Things in which we do not take joy are either a burden upon our minds to be got rid of at any cost; or they are useful, and therefore in temporary and partial relation to us, becoming burdensome when their utility is lost; or they are like wandering vagabonds, loitering for a moment on the outskirts of our recognition, and then passing on. A thing is only completely our own when it is a thing of joy to us.
(Taurus Sun)

You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed.

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

For man is by nature an artist.

Man goes into the noisy crowd to drown his own clamor of silence.

Men are cruel, but Man is kind.

The mountain remains unmoved at seeming defeat by the mist.

We cannot look upon our lives as dreams of a dreamer who has no awakening in all time. We have a personality to which matter and force are unmeaning unless related to something infinitely personal, whose nature we have discovered, in some measure, in human love, in the greatness of the good, in the martyrdom of heroic souls, in the ineffable beauty of nature, which can never be a mere physical fact nor anything but an expression of personality.

Melody and harmony are like lines and colors in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of color may make it vague and insignificant. Yet color may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value.
(Sun & Venus in Taurus)

"Yes, all my illusions will burn into illumination of joy, and all my desires ripen into fruits of love."
(Neptune in 12th house)

The night kissed the fading day
With a whisper:
"I am death, your mother,
From me you will get new birth."

“Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.”

“Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”

“Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.”
(Saturn & Jupiter in 5th house)
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life's battlefield but to my own strength. Let me not cave in.”

“Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.”

“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, the heavenly kingdom.”

“Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.”

“By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”

“To be outspoken is easy when you do not wait to speak the complete truth.”

“Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.”

“Love is not a mere impulse, it must contain truth, which is law.”

“The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous.”

“"Let me light my lamp", says the star, "And never debate if it will help to remove the darkness”

“He who is too busy doing good finds no time to be good.”

“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”

“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.”

“Music fills the infinite between two souls. This has been muffled by the mist of our daily habits.”

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”

“Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it.”

“Music is the purest form of art... therefore true poets, they who are seers, seek to express the universe in terms of music... The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life. They are not materials gathered from outside.”

“The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence.”

“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music... The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.”

“From the solemn gloom of the temple children run out to sit in the dust, God watches them play and forgets the priest”

“The fish in the water is silent, the animals on the earth is noisy, the bird in the air is singing. But man has in him the silence of the sea, the noise of the earth and the music of the air.”

“The smile that flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps- does anybody know where it was borne? Yes, there is a rumor that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born . . . .”

“Love's gift cannot be given, it waits to be accepted.”

“Truth cannot afford to be tolerant where it faces positive evil.”

“Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations.”

“Let the dead have the immortality of fame, but the living the immortality of love.”

“Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it runs.”

“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”

“You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Don't let yourself indulge in vain wishes.”

“That I exist is a perpetual surprise which is life.”

“Night's darkness is the bag that bursts with the gold of the dawn.”

“There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find adventure and those who go secretly hoping they won t.”

“In the world's audience hall, the simple blade of grass sits on the same carpet with the sunbeams, and the stars of midnight”

“Love's over brimming mystery joins death and life. It has filled my cup of pain with joy.”

“The tendency in modern civilization is to make the world uniform... Let the mind be universal. The individual should not be sacrificed.”

“Our nature is obscured by work done by the compulsion of want or fear. The mother reveals herself in the service of her children, so our true freedom is not the freedom from action but freedom in action, which can only be attained in the work of love.”

“The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and he has to wonder through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.”

“He who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves finds the gate open.”

“Truth comes as conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as friend”

“God finds himself by creating.”

“Man's abiding happiness is not in getting anything but in giving himself up to what is greater than himself, to ideas which are larger than his individual life, the idea of his country, of humanity, of God.”

“Man is immortal; therefore he must die endlessly. For life is a creative idea; it can only find itself in changing forms”



East Indian writer and poet, awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913 for literature.  An accomplished poet, he was the author of over 60 poetic works and more than 3,000 songs, as well as a number of stories and plays.  He established a school in Bengal which later developed into an international university. 

Died 8/07/1941.

Indian poet; awarded the 1913 Nobel prize in literature. Established a school in Bengal, which developed into an international university called Visva-Bharati. Author of about sixth poetic works, a number of stories and plays, and more than three thousand songs set to music (1861-1941)  

Old File has 3:35 AM, LMT

Tagore, Sir Rabindranath
1861–1941, Indian author and guru, b. Calcutta. Tagore came from a wealthy Bengali family. He went abroad in 1877 to study law in England but soon returned to India. For a time he managed his father’s estates and became involved with the Indian nationalist movement, writing propaganda. His characteristic later style combines natural descriptions with religious and philosophical speculation. Tagore drew on the classical literature of India, especially the ancient Sanskrit scriptures and the writings of Kalidasa. His prodigious output includes approximately 50 dramas, 100 books of verse (much of which he set to music), 40 volumes of novels and shorter fiction, and books of essays and philosophy.    1
In his devotion to peace, Tagore denounced nationalism and violence. He sought to instill in human beings a sense of their unity; he was severely critical of the Indian caste system. His most important philosophical work is Sadhana: The Realization of Life (1913), which echoes the fundamental ideas inherent in sacred Hindu writings. His dramas are filled with lyricism and philosophy, while his poems deal with amorous, mystical, and fabulous themes. In India his appeal was nearly universal. A man of striking appearance, Tagore came to be regarded with the reverence due an ancient teacher. He wrote in Bengali but translated much of his work into English. It attracted attention in the West, and he was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, especially for his collection of poetry, Gitanjali (1912). 
He was impressed with the capacity of the West for accomplishing its practical goals, but he deprecated what he considered its spiritual emptiness and waste. In 1922, Santiniketan (abode of peace), the school he had founded at Bolpur in 1901, was expanded into the internationally attended Visva-Bharati Univ. The curriculum stressed social reform, international unity, and rural reconstruction.


  b. May 7, 1861, Calcutta, India
d. Aug. 7, 1941, Calcutta
Bengali RABINDRANATH THAKUR Bengali poet, short-story writer, song composer, playwright, essayist, and painter who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore introduced new prose and verse forms and the use of colloquial language into Bengali literature, thereby freeing it from traditional models based on classical Sanskrit. He was highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of modern India.
The son of the religious reformer Debendranath Tagore, he early began to write verses, and after incomplete studies in England in the late 1870s, he returned to India. There he published several books of poetry in the 1880s and completed Manasi (1890), a collection that marks the maturing of his genius. It contains some of his best-known poems, including many in verse forms new to Bengali, as well as some social and political satire that was critical of his fellow Bengalis.
In 1891 Tagore went to East Bengal (now in Bangladesh) to manage his family's estates at Shilaidah and Shazadpur for 10 years. There he often stayed in a houseboat on the Padma River (i.e., the Ganges River), in close contact with village folk, and his sympathy for their poverty and backwardness became the keynote of much of his later writing. Most of his finest short stories, which examine "humble lives and their small miseries," date from the 1890s and have a poignancy, laced with gentle irony, that is unique to him, though admirably captured by the director Satyajit Ray in later film adaptations. Tagore came to love the Bengali countryside, most of all the Padma River, an often-repeated image in his verse. During these years he published several poetry collections, notably Sonar Tari (1894; The Golden Boat), and plays, notably Chitrangada (1892; Chitra). Tagore's poems are virtually untranslatable, as are his more than 2,000 songs, which remain extremely popular among all classes of Bengali society.
In 1901 Tagore founded an experimental school in rural West Bengal at Santiniketan ("Abode of Peace"), where he sought to blend the best in the Indian and Western traditions. He settled permanently at the school, which became Visva-Bharati University in 1921. Years of sadness arising from the deaths of his wife and two children between 1902 and 1907 are reflected in his later poetry, which was introduced to the West in Gitanjali, Song Offerings (1912). This book, containing Tagore's English prose translations of religious poems from several of his Bengali verse collections, including Gitañjali (1910), was hailed by W.B. Yeats and André Gide and won him the Nobel Prize in 1913. Tagore was awarded a knighthood in 1915, but he repudiated it in 1919 as a protest against the Amritsar Massacre.
From 1912 Tagore spent long periods out of India, lecturing and reading from his work in Europe, the Americas, and East Asia and becoming an eloquent spokesperson for the cause of Indian independence. Tagore's novels, though less outstanding than his poems and short stories, are also worthy of attention; the best known are Gora (1910) and Ghare-Baire (1916; The Home and the World). In the late 1920s, at nearly 70 years of age, Tagore took up painting and produced works that won him a place among India's foremost contemporary artists.
Born 7 May 1861
Kolkata, India
Died 7 August 1941
Kolkata, India ([?obin?d??onat?? ??aku?] or [ta'g?(?)] (help·info);[a] Bangla: ??????????? ????? (help·info);[ß] 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941[?]), also known by the sobriquet Gurudev,[d] was a Bengali poet, Brahmo Samaj philosopher, visual artist, playwright, novelist, and composer whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A cultural icon of Bengal and India, he became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.
A Pirali Bengali Brahmin from Calcutta, India, Tagore first wrote poems at age eight. He published his first substantial poetry—under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion")—in 1877 and wrote his first short stories and dramas at age sixteen. His home schooling, life in Shilaidaha, and travels made Tagore a nonconformist and pragmatist ; however, growing disillusionment with the British Raj caused Tagore to back the Indian Independence Movement and befriend Mahatma Gandhi. Tagore's life was tragic—he lost virtually his entire family and was devastated to witness Bengal's decline—but his life's work endured, in the form of his poetry and the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.
Tagore's works included Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World). His verse, short stories, and novels—many defined by rhythmic lyricism, colloquial language, meditative naturalism, and philosophical contemplation—received worldwide acclaim. Tagore was also a cultural reformer and polymath who modernised Bangla art by rejecting strictures binding it to classical Indian forms. Two songs from his rabindrasangeet canon are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India: the Amar Shonar Bangla and the Jana Gana Mana.
Contents [hide]
Tagore in 1879, when he was studying in England.Tagore (nicknamed "Rabi") was born the youngest of fourteen children in the Jorasanko mansion of parents Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi.[e] After undergoing his upanayan (the sacred thread ceremony, a coming-of-age) rite at age eleven, Tagore and his father left Calcutta on 14 February 1873 to tour India for several months, visiting his father's Santiniketan estate and Amritsar before reaching the Himalayan hill station of Dalhousie. There, Tagore read biographies, studied history, astronomy, modern science, and Sanskrit, and examined the classical poetry of Kalidasa.[1][2] In 1877, he arose to notability when he composed several works, including a long poem set in the Maithili style pioneered by Vidyapati. As a joke, he maintained that these were the lost works of Bhanusi?ha, a newly discovered 17th-century Vai??ava poet.[3] He also wrote "Bhikharini" (1877; "The Beggar Woman"—the Bangla language's first short story)[4][5] and Sandhya Sangit (1882) —including the famous poem "Nirjharer Swapnabhanga" ("The Rousing of the Waterfall").

Tagore and his wife Mrinalini Devi in 1883.Seeking to become a barrister, Tagore enrolled at a public school in Brighton, England in 1878; later, he studied at University College London, but returned to Bengal in 1880 without a degree. On 9 December 1883 he married Mrinalini Devi (née Bhabatarini); they had five children, four of whom later died before reaching full adulthood.[6] In 1890, Tagore (joined in 1898 by his wife and children) began managing his family's estates in Shilaidaha,a region now in Bangladesh. Known as "Zamindar Babu", Tagore traveled across the vast estate while living out of the family's luxurious barge, the Padma, to collect (mostly token) rents and bless villagers; in exchange, he had feasts held in his honour.[7] During these years, Tagore's Sadhana period (1891–1895; named for one of Tagore’s magazines) was among his most fecund, with more than half the stories of the three-volume and eighty-four-story Galpaguchchha written.[4] With irony and emotional weight, they depicted a wide range of Bengali lifestyles, particularly village life.[8]

Santiniketan (1901–1932)
Main article: Life of Rabindranath Tagore (1901–1932)

A photo of Tagore taken in either 1905 or 1906, by fellow Bengali poet Sukumar Ray.In 1901, Tagore left Shilaidaha and moved to Santiniketan (West Bengal) to found an ashram, which would grow to include a marble-floored prayer hall ("The Mandir"), an experimental school, groves of trees, gardens, and a library.[9] There, Tagore's wife and two of his children died. His father also died on 19 January 1905, and he began receiving monthly payments as part of his inheritance; he also received income from the Maharaja of Tripura, sales of his family's jewellery, his seaside bungalow in Puri, and mediocre royalties (Rs. 2,000) from his works.[10] These works gained him a large following among Bengali and foreign readers alike, and he published such works as Naivedya (1901) and Kheya (1906) while translating his poems into free verse. On 14 November 1913, Tagore learned that he had won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. According to the Swedish Academy, it was given due to the idealistic and—for Western readers—accessible nature of a small body of his translated material, including the 1912 Gitanjali: Song Offerings.[11] In 1915, Tagore also accepted knighthood from the British Crown.

Tagore, photographed in Hampstead, England in 1912 by John Rothenstein.In 1921, Tagore and agricultural economist Leonard Elmhirst set up the Institute for Rural Reconstruction (which Tagore later renamed Shriniketan—"Abode of Peace") in Surul, a village near the ashram at Santiniketan. Through it, Tagore sought to provide an alternative to Gandhi's symbol- and protest-based Swaraj movement, which he denounced.[12] He recruited scholars, donors, and officials from many countries to help the Institute use schooling to "free village[s] from the shackles of helplessness and ignorance" by "vitaliz[ing] knowledge".[13][14] In the early 1930s, he also grew more concerned about India's "abnormal caste consciousness" and Untouchability, lecturing on its evils, writing poems and dramas with Untouchable protagonists, and appealing to authorities at Kerala's Guruvayoor Temple to admit Dalits.[15][16]

Twilight years (1932–1941)
Main article: Life of Rabindranath Tagore (1932–1941)

Tagore sits with Albert Einstein during their widely publicized 14 July 1930 conversation.In his last decade, Tagore remained in the public limelight, publicly upbraiding Gandhi for stating that a massive 15 January 1934 earthquake in Bihar constituted divine retribution for the subjugation of Dalits.[17] He also mourned the incipient socioeconomic decline of Bengal and the endemic poverty of Calcutta; he detailed the latter in an unrhymed hundred-line poem whose technique of searing double-vision would foreshadow Satyajit Ray's film Apur Sansar.[18][19] Tagore also compiled fifteen volumes of writings, including the prose-poems works Punashcha (1932), Shes Saptak (1935), and Patraput (1936). He continued his experimentations by developing prose-songs and dance-dramas, including Chitrangada (1914),[20] Shyama (1939), and Chandalika (1938), and wrote the novels Dui Bon (1933), Malancha (1934), and Char Adhyay (1934). Tagore took an interest in science in his last years, writing Visva-Parichay (a collection of essays) in 1937. He explored biology, physics, and astronomy; meanwhile, his poetry—containing extensive naturalism—underscored his respect for scientific laws. He also wove the process of science (including narratives of scientists) into many stories contained in such volumes as Se (1937), Tin Sangi (1940), and Galpasalpa (1941).[21]

Tagore (left) meets with Mahatma Gandhi at Santiniketan in 1940.Tagore's last four years (1937–1941) were marked by chronic pain and two long periods of illness. These began when Tagore lost consciousness in late 1937; he remained comatose and near death for an extended period. This was followed three years later in late 1940 by a similar spell, from which he never recovered. The poetry Tagore wrote in these years is among his finest, and is distinctive for its preoccupation with death.[22][23] After extended suffering, Tagore died on 7 August 1941 (22 Shravan 1348) in an upstairs room of the Jorasanko mansion in which he was raised;[24][25] his death anniversary is still mourned in public functions held across the Bangla-speaking world.


Tagore (center, at right) visits Chinese academics at Tsinghua University in 1924.Owing to his notable wanderlust, between 1878 and 1932, Tagore visited more than thirty countries on five continents;[26] many of these trips were crucial in familiarising non-Bengali audiences to his works and spreading his political ideas. For example, in 1912, he took a sheaf of his translated works to England, where they impressed missionary and Gandhi protégé Charles F. Andrews, Anglo-Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, Robert Bridges, Ernest Rhys, Thomas Sturge Moore, and others.[27] Indeed, Yeats wrote the preface to the English translation of Gitanjali, while Andrews joined Tagore at Santiniketan. On 10 November 1912, Tagore toured the United States[28] and the United Kingdom, staying in Butterton, Staffordshire with Andrews’ clergymen friends.[29] From 3 May 1916 until April 1917, Tagore went on lecturing circuits in Japan and the United States,[30] during which he denounced nationalism—particularly that of the Japanese and Americans. He also wrote the essay "Nationalism in India", attracting both derision and praise (the latter from pacifists, including Romain Rolland).[31] Shortly after returning to India, the 63-year-old Tagore visited Peru at the invitation of the Peruvian government, and took the opportunity to visit Mexico as well. Both governments pledged donations of $100,000 to the school at Shantiniketan (Visva-Bharati) in commemoration of his visits.[32] A week after his November 6, 1924 arrival in Buenos Aires, Argentina,[33] an ill Tagore moved into the Villa Miralrío at the behest of Victoria Ocampo. He left for Bengal in January 1925. On 30 May 1926, Tagore reached Naples, Italy; he met fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in Rome the next day.[34] Their initially warm rapport lasted until Tagore spoke out against Mussolini on 20 July 1926.[35]

Tagore (first row, third figure from right) meets members of the Iranian Majlis (Tehran, April-May 1932).On 14 July 1927, Tagore and two companions went on a four-month tour of Southeast Asia—visiting Bali, Java, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Penang, Siam, and Singapore. The travelogues from this tour were collected into the work “Jatri”.[36] In early 1930 he left Bengal for a nearly year-long tour of Europe and the U.S. On his return to the UK, while his paintings were being exhibited in Paris and London, he stayed at a Friends settlement in Birmingham. There, he wrote his Hibbert Lectures for the University of Oxford (which dealt with the "idea of the humanity of our God, or the divinity of Man the Eternal") and spoke at London's annual Quaker gathering.[37] There (addressing relations between the British and Indians, a topic he would grapple with over the next two years), Tagore spoke of a "dark chasm of aloofness".[38] He later visited Aga Khan III, stayed at Dartington Hall, then toured Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany from June to mid-September 1930, then the Soviet Union.[39] Lastly, in April 1932, Tagore—who was acquainted with the legends and works of the Persian mystic Hafez—was invited as a personal guest of Shah Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran.[40][41] Such extensive travels allowed Tagore to interact with many notable contemporaries, including Henri Bergson, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Thomas Mann, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Romain Rolland.[42][43] Tagore's last travels abroad, including visits to Persia and Iraq (in 1932) and Ceylon in 1933, only sharpened his opinions regarding human divisions and nationalism.[44]

Main article: Literature of Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore's Bangla-language initials are worked into this "Ra-Tha" wooden seal, which bears close stylistic similarity to designs used in traditional Haida carvings. Tagore often embellished his manuscripts with such art. (Dyson 2001)Tagore's literary reputation is disproportionately influenced by regard for his poetry; however, he also wrote novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas, and thousands of songs. Of Tagore's prose, his short stories are perhaps most highly regarded; indeed, he is credited with originating the Bangla-language version of the genre. His works are frequently noted for their rhythmic, optimistic, and lyrical nature. However, such stories mostly borrow from deceptively simple subject matter—the lives of ordinary people.

Novels and non-fiction
Tagore wrote eight novels and four novellas, including Chaturanga, Shesher Kobita, , Char Odhay, and Noukadubi. Ghare Baire (The Home and the World)—through the lens of the idealistic zamindar protagonist Nikhil—excoriates rising Indian nationalism, terrorism, and religious zeal in the Swadeshi movement; a frank expression of Tagore's conflicted sentiments, it emerged out of a 1914 bout of depression. Indeed, the novel bleakly ends with Hindu-Muslim sectarian violence and Nikhil's being (probably mortally) wounded.[45] In some sense, Gora shares the same theme, raising controversial questions regarding the Indian identity. As with Ghore Baire, matters of self-identity (jati), personal freedom, and religion are developed in the context of a family story and love triangle.[46] Another powerful story is Yogayog (Nexus), where the heroine Kumudini—bound by the ideals of Shiva-Sati, exemplified by Dakshayani—is torn between her pity for the sinking fortunes of her progressive and compassionate elder brother and his foil: her exploitative, rakish, and patriarchical husband. In it, Tagore demonstrates his feminist leanings, using pathos to depict the plight and ultimate demise of Bengali women trapped by pregnancy, duty, and family honour; simultaneously, he treats the decline of Bengal's landed oligarchy.[47]

Tagore's signature.Other novels were more uplifting: Shesher Kobita (translated twice—Last Poem and Farewell Song) is his most lyrical novel, with poems and rhythmic passages written by the main character (a poet). It also contains elements of satire and postmodernism, whereby stock characters gleefully attack the reputation of an old, outmoded, oppressively renowned poet who, incidentally, goes by the name of Rabindranath Tagore. Though his novels remain among the least-appreciated of his works, they have been given renewed attention via film adaptations by such directors as Satyajit Ray; these include Chokher Bali and Ghare Baire; many have soundtracks featuring selections from Tagore's own rabindrasangit. Tagore also wrote many non-fiction books, writing on topics ranging from Indian history to linguistics. In addition to autobiographical works, his travelogues, essays, and lectures were compiled into several volumes, including Iurop Jatrir Patro (Letters from Europe) and Manusher Dhormo (The Religion of Man).

Music and artwork

"Dancing Girl", an undated ink-on-paper piece by Tagore.Tagore was an accomplished musician and painter, writing around 2,230 songs. They compose rabindrasangit (Bengali: ???????? ?????—"Tagore Song"), now an integral part of Bengali culture. Tagore's music is inseparable from his literature, most of which—poems or parts of novels, stories, or plays alike—became lyrics for his songs. Primarily influenced by the thumri style of Hindustani classical music, they ran the entire gamut of human emotion, ranging from his early dirge-like Brahmo devotional hymns to quasi-erotic compositions.[48] They emulated the tonal color of classical ragas to varying extents; while at times his songs mimiced a given raga's melody and rhythm faithfully, he also blended elements of different ragas to create innovative works.[49] For Bengalis, their appeal—stemming from the combination of emotive strength and beauty described as surpassing even Tagore's poetry—was such that the Modern Review observed that "[t]here is in Bengal no cultured home where Rabindranath's songs are not sung or at least attempted to be sung ... Even illiterate villagers sing his songs". Music critic Arther Strangeways of The Observer first introduced non-Bengalis to rabindrasangit with his book The Music of Hindostan, which described it as a "vehicle of a personality ... [that] go behind this or that system of music to that beauty of sound which all systems put out their hands to seize."[50] Among them are Bangladesh's national anthem Amar Sonaar Baanglaa (Bengali: ???? ????? ?????) and India's national anthem Jana Gana Mana (Bengali: ?? ?? ??); Tagore thus became the only person ever to have written the national anthems of two nations. In turn, rabindrasangit influenced the styles of such musicians as sitar maestro Vilayat Khan, and the sarodiyas Buddhadev Dasgupta and Amjad Ali Khan.[49]

Much of Tagore's artwork dabbled in primitivism, including this pastel-coloured rendition of a Malanggan mask from northern New Ireland.At age sixty, Tagore took up drawing and painting; successful exhibitions of his many works—which made a debut appearance in Paris upon encouragement by artists he met in the south of France[51]—were held throughout Europe. Tagore—who likely exhibited protanopia ("color blindness"), or partial lack of (red-green, in Tagore's case) colour discernment—painted in a style characterised by peculiarities in aesthetics and colouring schemes. Nevertheless, Tagore took to emulating numerous styles, including that of craftwork by the Malanggan people of northern New Ireland, Haida carvings from the west coast of Canada (British Columbia), and woodcuts by Max Pechstein.[52] Tagore also had an artist's eye for his own handwriting, embellishing the scribbles, cross-outs, and word layouts in his manuscripts with simple artistic leitmotifs, including simple rhythmic designs.

Theatrical pieces
Tagore's experience in theatre began at age sixteen, when he played the lead role in his brother Jyotirindranath's adaptation of Molière's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. At age twenty, he wrote his first drama-opera—Valmiki Pratibha (The Genius of Valmiki)—which describes how the bandit Valmiki reforms his ethos, is blessed by Saraswati, and composes the Ramayana.[53] Through it, Tagore vigorously explores a wide range of dramatic styles and emotions, including usage of revamped kirtans and adaptation of traditional English and Irish folk melodies as drinking songs.[54] Another notable play, Dak Ghar (The Post Office), describes how a child—striving to escape his stuffy confines—ultimately "fall[s] asleep" (which suggests his physical death). A story with worldwide appeal (it received rave reviews in Europe), Dak Ghar dealt with death as, in Tagore's words, "spiritual freedom" from "the world of hoarded wealth and certified creeds".[55][56]
His other works—emphasizing fusion of lyrical flow and emotional rhythm tightly focused on a core idea—were unlike previous Bengali dramas. His works sought to articulate, in Tagore's words, "the play of feeling and not of action". In 1890 he wrote Visarjan (Sacrifice), regarded as his finest drama.[53] The Bangla-language originals included intricate subplots and extended monologues. Later, his dramas probed more philosophical and allegorical themes; these included Dak Ghar. Another is Tagore's Chandalika (Untouchable Girl), which was modeled on an ancient Buddhist legend describing how Ananda—the Gautama Buddha's disciple—asks water of an Adivasi ("untouchable") girl.[57] Lastly, among his most famous dramas is Raktakaravi (Red Oleanders), which tells of a kleptocratic king who enriches himself by forcing his subjects to mine. The heroine, Nandini, eventually rallies the common people to destroy these symbols of subjugation. Tagore's other plays include Chitrangada, Raja, and Mayar Khela. Dance dramas based on Tagore's plays are commonly referred to as rabindra nritya natyas.

Short stories

A drawing by Nandalall Bose illustrating Tagore's short story "The Hero", an English-language translation of which appeared in the 1913 Macmillan publication of Tagore's The Crescent Moon.The four years from 1891 to 1895 are known as Tagore’s "Sadhana" period (named for one of Tagore’s magazines). This period was among Tagore 's most fecund, yielding more than half the stories contained in the three-volume Galpaguchchha, which itself is a collection of eighty-four stories.[4] Such stories usually showcase Tagore’s reflections upon his surroundings, on modern and fashionable ideas, and on interesting mind puzzles (which Tagore was fond of testing his intellect with). Tagore typically associated his earliest stories (such as those of the "Sadhana" period) with an exuberance of vitality and spontaneity; these characteristics were intimately connected with Tagore’s life in the common villages of, among others, Patisar, Shajadpur, and Shilaida while managing the Tagore family’s vast landholdings.[4] There, he beheld the lives of India’s poor and common people; Tagore thereby took to examining their lives with a penetrative depth and feeling that was singular in Indian literature up to that point.[58] In "The Fruitseller from Kabul", Tagore speaks in first person as town-dweller and novelist who chances upon the Afghani seller. He attempts to distil the sense of longing felt by those long trapped in the mundane and hardscrabble confines of Indian urban life, giving play to dreams of a different existence in the distant and wild mountains: "There were autumn mornings, the time of year when kings of old went forth to conquest; and I, never stirring from my little corner in Calcutta, would let my mind wander over the whole world. At the very name of another country, my heart would go out to it ... I would fall to weaving a network of dreams: the mountains, the glens, the forest .... ".[59] Many of the other Galpaguchchha stories were written in Tagore’s Sabuj Patra period (1914–1917; also named for one of Tagore's magazines).[4]

A 1913 illustration by Asit Kumar Haldar accompanying "The Beginning", a prose-poem appearing in Tagore's The Crescent Moon.Tagore's Golpoguchchho (Bunch of Stories) remains among Bangla literature's most popular fictional works, providing subject matter for many successful films and theatrical plays. Satyajit Ray's film Charulata was based upon Tagore's controversial novella, Nastanirh (The Broken Nest). In Atithi (also made into a film), the young Brahmin boy Tarapada shares a boat ride with a village zamindar. The boy reveals that he has run away from home, only to wander around ever since. Taking pity, the zamindar adopts him and ultimately arranges his marriage to the zamindar's own daughter. However, the night before the wedding, Tarapada runs off—again. Strir Patra (The Letter from the Wife) is among Bangla literature's earliest depictions of the bold emancipation of women. The heroine Mrinal, the wife of a typical patriarchical Bengali middle class man, writes a letter while she is traveling (which constitutes the whole story). It details the pettiness of her life and struggles; she finally declares that she will not return to her husband's home with the statement Amio bachbo. Ei bachlum ("And I shall live. Here, I live"). In Haimanti, Tagore takes on the institution of Hindu marriage, describing the dismal lifelessness of married Bengali women, hypocrisies plaguing the Indian middle classes, and how Haimanti, a sensitive young woman, must—due to her sensitiveness and free spirit—sacrifice her life. In the last passage, Tagore directly attacks the Hindu custom of glorifying Sita's attempted self-immolation as a means of appeasing her husband Rama's doubts. Tagore also examines Hindu-Muslim tensions in Musalmani Didi, which in many ways embodies the essence of Tagore's humanism. On the other hand, Darpaharan exhibits Tagore's self-consciousness, describing a young man harboring literary ambitions. Though he loves his wife, he wishes to stifle her own literary career, deeming it unfeminine. Tagore himself, in his youth, seems to have harbored similar ideas about women. Darpaharan depicts the final humbling of the man via his acceptance of his wife's talents. As many other Tagore stories, Jibito o Mrito provides the Bengalis with one of their more widely used epigrams: Kadombini moriya proman korilo she more nai ("Kadombini died, thereby proved that she hadn't").


Baul folk singers in Santiniketan during the annual Holi festival.Tagore's poetry—which varied in style from classical formalism to the comic, visionary, and ecstatic—proceeds out a lineage established by 15th- and 16th-century Vai??ava poets. Tagore was also influenced by the mysticism of the rishi-authors who—including Vyasa—wrote the Upanishads, the Bhakta-Sufi mystic Kabir, and Ramprasad.[60] Yet Tagore's poetry became most innovative and mature after his exposure to rural Bengal's folk music, which included ballads sung by Baul folk singers—especially the bard Lalan Sah.[61][62] These—which were rediscovered and popularised by Tagore—resemble 19th-century Kartabhaja hymns that emphasize inward divinity and rebellion against religious and social orthodoxy.[63][64] During his Shilaidaha years, his poems took on a lyrical quality, speaking via the maner manus (the Bauls' "man within the heart") or meditating upon the jivan devata ("living God within"). This figure thus sought connection with divinity through appeal to nature and the emotional interplay of human drama. Tagore used such techniques in his Bhanusi?ha poems (which chronicle the romanticism between Radha and Krishna), which he repeatedly revised over the course of seventy years.[65][66]

Later, Tagore responded to the (mostly) crude emergence of modernism and realism in Bengali literature by writing experimental works in the 1930s.

Political views
Main article: Political views of Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore (at right, on the dais) hosts Mahatma Gandhi and wife Kasturba at Santiniketan in 1940.Marked complexities characterise Tagore's political views. Though he criticised European imperialism and supported Indian nationalists,[71][72][73] he also lampooned the Swadeshi movement, denouncing it in "The Cult of the Charka", an acrid 1925 essay.[74] Instead, he emphasized self-help and intellectual uplift of the masses, stating that British imperialism was not a primary evil, but instead a "political symptom of our social disease", urging Indians to accept that "there can be no question of blind revolution, but of steady and purposeful education".[75][76] Such views inevitably enraged many, placing his life in danger: during his stay in a San Francisco hotel in late 1916, Tagore narrowly escaped assassination by Indian expatriates—the plot failed only because the would-be assassins fell into argument.[77] Yet Tagore wrote songs lionizing the Indian independence movement and renounced his knighthood in protest against the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.[78] Two of Tagore's more politically charged compositions, "Chitto Jetha Bhayshunyo" ("Where the Mind is Without Fear") and "Ekla Chalo Re" ("If They Answer Not to Thy Call, Walk Alone"), gained mass appeal, with the latter favoured by Gandhi. Despite his tumultuous relations with Gandhi, Tagore was also key in resolving a Gandhi-Ambedkar dispute involving separate electorates for untouchables, ending a fast "unto death" by Gandhi.[79][80]

Tagore also criticised orthodox (rote-oriented) education, lampooning it in the short story "The Parrot's Training", where a bird—which ultimately dies—is caged by tutors and force-fed pages torn from books.[81][82] These views led Tagore—while visiting Santa Barbara, California on 11 October 1917—to conceive of a new type of university, desiring to "make [his ashram at] Santiniketan the connecting thread between India and the world ... [and] a world center for the study of humanity ... somewhere beyond the limits of nation and geography."[83] The school—which he named Visva-Bharati[?]—had its foundation stone laid on 22 December 1918; it was later inaugurated on 22 December 1921.[84] Here, Tagore implemented a brahmacharya pedagogical structure employing gurus to provide individualised guidance for pupils. Tagore worked hard to fundraise for and staff the school, even contributing all of his Nobel Prize monies.[85] Tagore’s duties as steward and mentor at Santiniketan kept him busy; he taught classes in mornings and wrote the students' textbooks in afternoons and evenings.[86] Tagore also fundraised extensively for the school in Europe and the U.S. between 1919 and 1921.[87]

Impact and legacy

A bust of Tagore in the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial's Tagore Memorial Room (Ahmedabad, India).Tagore's post-death impact can be felt through the many festivals held worldwide in his honour—examples include the annual Bengali festival/celebration of Kabipranam (Tagore's birthday anniversary), the annual Tagore Festival held in Urbana, Illinois in the United States, the Rabindra Path Parikrama walking pilgriimages leading from Calcutta to Shantiniketan, and ceremonial recitals of Tagore's poetry held on important anniversaries.[88][89][28] This legacy is most palpable in Bengali culture, ranging from language and arts to history and politics; indeed, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen noted that even for modern Bengalis, Tagore was a "towering figure", being a "deeply relevant and many-sided contemporary thinker".[89] Tagore's collected Bangla-language writings—the 1939 Rabindra Racanavali—is also canonized as one of Bengal's greatest cultural treasures, while Tagore himself has been proclaimed "the greatest poet India has produced".[90] He was also famed throughout much of Europe, North America, and East Asia. He was key in founding Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational institution; in Japan, he influenced such figures as Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabata.[91] Tagore's works were widely translated into many European languages—a process that began with Czech indologist Vincent Slesny[92] and French Nobel laureate André Gide—including Russian, English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and others. In the United States, Tagore's popular lecturing circuits (especially those between 1916–1917) were widely attended and acclaimed. Nevertheless, several controversies[?] involving Tagore resulted in a decline in his popularity in Japan and North America after the late 1920s, contributing to his "near total eclipse" outside of Bengal.[93]
Tagore, through Spanish translations of his works, also influenced leading figures of Spanish literature, including Chileans Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, Mexican writer Octavio Paz, and Spaniards José Ortega y Gasset, Zenobia Camprubí, and Juan Ramón Jiménez. Between 1914 and 1922, the Jiménez-Camprubí spouses translated no less than twenty-two of Tagore's books from English into Spanish. Jiménez, as part of this work, also extensively revised and adapted such works as Tagore's The Crescent Moon. Indeed, during this time, Jiménez developed the now-heralded innovation of "naked poetry" (Spanish: «poesia desnuda»).[94] Meanwhile, Ortega y Gasset wrote that "Tagore's wide appeal [may stem from the fact that] he speaks of longings for perfection that we all have ... Tagore awakens a dormant sense of childish wonder, and he saturates the air with all kinds of enchanting promises for the reader, who ... pays little attention to the deeper import of Oriental mysticism". Indeed, Tagore's works were—alongside works by Dante Alighieri, Miguel de Cervantes, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Plato, and Leo Tolstoy—published in free editions around 1920. Modern remnants of a once widespread Latin American reverence of Tagore were discovered, for example, by an astonished Salman Rushdie during a trip to Nicaragua.[95] But over time, Tagore's talents came to be regarded by many as over-rated, leading Graham Greene to say in 1937 that "I cannot believe that anyone but Mr. Yeats can still take his poems very seriously."[93]


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