Robert L. Peters

3 January 2009

A salute: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)



Kolkata, India

I’ve been reading works by Rabindranath Tagore of late—and I can’t think of a more inspiring luminary to champion at the outset of this new year. Tagore was a Bengali mystic, Brahmo poet, artist, playwright, novelist, and composer whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1913 he became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

There’s a fine selection of Rabindranath Tagore quotations (my weakness) here. Check out transcripts (from recordings) of remarkable conversations Tagore had with Albert Einstein (Berlin) and H. G. Wells (Geneva) in 1930. Here’s a short sampling of sage sayings and quotable quotes by Tagore to inspire and whet your appetite…

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God finds himself by creating.

The best does not come alone. It comes with the company of the all.

If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars.

Do not blame your food because you have no appetite.

He has made his weapons his gods.

When his weapons win he is defeated himself.

The stars are not afraid to appear like fireflies.

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

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

Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

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

The newer people, of this modern age, are more eager to amass than to realize.

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

The bird thinks it is an act of kindness to give the fish a lift in the air.

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

Silence will carry your voice like the nest that holds the sleeping birds.

The canal loves to think that rivers exist solely to supply it with water.

The sun greets me with a smile.
The rain, his sad sister, talks to my heart.

Men are cruel, but Man is kind.

Kicks only raise dust and not crops from the earth.

Let him only see the thorns who has eyes to see the rose.

Set the bird’s wings with gold and it will never again soar in the sky.

The stream of truth flows through its channels of mistakes.

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