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Rabindranath Tagore Quotes


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The roots below the earth claim no rewards for making the branches fruitful.
Rabindranath Tagore (Stray Birds, 1916)
When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, 1912)
God, the Great Giver, can open the whole universe to our gaze in the narrow space of a single land.
Rabindranath Tagore (Jivan-Smitri)
What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real.
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
The meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realisation of yoga, of union; not on the side of the canvas where it is blank, but on the side where the picture is being painted.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
Man is not entirely an animal. He aspires to a spiritual vision, which is the vision of the whole truth. This gives him the highest delight, because it reveals to him the deepest harmony that exists between him and his surroundings.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
I shall become a dream, and through the little opening
of your eyelids I shall slip into the depths of your sleep;
and when you wake up and look round startled,
like a twinkling firefly I shall flit out into the darkness.
Rabindranath Tagore (The Crescent Moon - The End, 1913)
The cloud gives all its gold
to the departing sun
and greets the rising moon
with only a pale smile.
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
Want of love is a degree of callousness; for love is the perfection of consciousness. We do not love because we do not comprehend, or rather we do not comprehend because we do not love. For love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us. It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, 1912)
We gain freedom when we have paid the full price for our right to live.
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance. Love must be one and two at the same time.
Only love is motion and rest in one. Our heart ever changes its place till it finds love, and then it has its rest. But this rest itself is an intense form of activity where utter quiescence and unceasing energy meet at the same point in love.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
The meaning of the living words that come out of the experiences of great hearts can never be exhausted by any one system of logical interpretation. They have to be endlessly explained by the commentaries of individual lives, and they gain an added mystery in each new revelation.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.
Rabindranath Tagore (The Gardener, 1915)
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.
Rabindranath Tagore (Interview with Albert Einstein, 1930)
Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
Variant: Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.
Rabindranath Tagore (My Reminiscences - Sharps and Flats)
I thought that my invincible power would hold the world captive, leaving me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night and day I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes. When at last the work was done and the links were complete and unbreakable, I found that it held me in its grip.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, 1912)
This "I" of mine toils hard, day and night, for a home which it knows as its own. Alas, there will be no end of its sufferings so long as it is not able to call this home thine...  In its efforts to clasp in its own arms that which is for all, it hurts others and is hurt in its turn, and cries, "Lead me across". But as soon as it is able to say, "All my work is thine," everything remains the same, only it is taken across... For thou dwellest in me and I in thee. Thou without me or I without thee are nothing.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
In the mountain, stillness surges up
to explore its own height;
in the lake, movement stands still
to contemplate its own depth.
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
Of course man is useful to man, because his body is a marvellous machine and his mind an organ of wonderful efficiency. But he is a spirit as well, and this spirit is truly known only by love.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
We never can have a true view of man unless we have a love for him. Civilisation must be judged and prized, not by the amount of power it has developed, but by how much it has evolved and given expression to, by its laws and institutions, the love of humanity...  Civilisation can never sustain itself upon cannibalism of any form. For that by which alone man is true can only be nourished by love and justice.
Rabindranath Tagore (Sadhana: The Realisation of Life, 1916)
Somewhere in the arrangement of this world there seems to be a great concern about giving us delight, which shows that, in the universe, over and above the meaning of matter and forces, there is a message conveyed through the magic touch of personality...
Is it merely because the rose is round and pink that it gives me more satisfaction than the gold which could buy me the necessities of life, or any number of slaves.... Somehow we feel that through a rose the language of love reached our hearts.
Rabindranath Tagore (The Religion of Man, 1931)
My debts are large, my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, 1912)
The shy shadow in the garden
loves the sun in silence
Flowers guess the secret, and smile,
while the leaves whisper.
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. 
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
Thou hast risen late, my crescent moon,
but my night bird is still awake to greet thee.
Rabindranath Tagore (Fireflies, 1928)
Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.
Open your doors and look abroad.
From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.
In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years.
Rabindranath Tagore (The Gardener, 1915)
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Rabindranath Tagore Biography

Born: May 7, 1861
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali polymath. He is the author of the famous collection of poems in "Gitanjali". He was also the first non-European Nobel laureate.

Notable Works
Gitanjali (1912)
The Crescent Moon
(1913)
The Gardener
(1915)
Sadhana: The Realisation of Life
(1916)
Stray Birds (1916)
Fireflies (1928)
The Religion of Man (1931)
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