Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the mystic poet and India’s first and the only Nobel laureate in literature, had his life dedicated to social causes.
Today, when the country is celebrating his 150th birth anniversary, a grateful nation recalls his contribution in uplifting the downtrodden and the oppressed women and highlighting the tragic incidents of the so-called low-caste people.
‘Punishment’, one of his more powerful books with a social message for corrective measures, is a treatise on social horrors.
But, it is his Nobel-winning book, Gitanjali, that deals with divine and human love, and makes him a messenger of peace and love across the globe. With his “song offerings”, Tagore turned himself into an instrument in making the world realise that truth is God and God is truth.
Tagore stood for humanity and humility, and for him God did not dwell in temples and other places of worship; for him God was with the poor and the workers and the tillers in the field. In other words, Tagore wanted to make us realise that work is worship and, therefore, God’s presence is among the humble and those who toil for an honest and truthful living.
The famous English poet, William Butler Yeats, had confessed,” These lyrics display in their thoughts a world I have dreamt of all my life.” American poet Ezra Pound had a compelling reason to tell the Nobel panel about Tagore’s lyrics, “There is in him the stillness of nature … He is one with nature and finds no contradictions.”
Today, when we see all around “killing fields”, Tagore’s message should get us back into sanity. Tagore exhorted that one should work for a world that is like a big family wherein “the mind is free and the head is held high.” He stressed for the need for a world order based on transnational values and ideas. For him, the “unity of consciousness” was the way to a happy global village. One has to understand that the essence of goodness lies in being a good human being and not a religious person.