India is a land of great thinkers, freedom fighters, social activists and leaders. Centuries long oppressive foreign rule and injustice in different parts of the country fuelled the emergence of several great leaders from different parts of the country. One such leader was Rabindranath Tagore or ‘Gurudev’ as he was popularly known by his followers and supporters.
A poet, writer, musician, artist and a great influencer, Gurudev is known for taking the popularity of Bengali literature and art to the next level. Gitanjali, one of the most famous collections of Tagore’s poems, led him to the prestigious Nobel prize in 1913. He was the first non-European to win the award.
Rabindranath Tagore wrote the Indian national anthem. He also wrote the national anthem of Bangladesh. Gurudev also inspired the national anthem of Sri Lanka. He was always committed to doing something good for the society and he used the Nobel prize money to build the “Vishwa Bharati” school in Shantiniketan.
Several notable personalities studied from that school including Amartya Sen, Satyajit Ray, and Indira Gandhi. He was always keen on learning something new and him starting to learn painting at 60 is proof of it. Gurudev was red-green colour blind and yet his works of art were exhibited in different parts of Europe.
He held conversations related to religion and science with some great thinkers and scientists like Albert Einstein. Despite being good in several languages, Gurudev remained committed to the betterment of Bengali language. Vision and Wisdom were integral to Gurudev’s character and it reflected every time he spoke or wrote.
A lot of people know about Gurudev’s achievements in the field of literature. But not many know that he contributed significantly to the freedom struggle. His song Banglar Mati Banglar Jol united the Bengali population; people from different sects and classes came together and the Britishers’ bid to divide Bengal to hamper social integrity failed.
Tagore’s establishment of Visva Bharati University was a big jolt to traditional Western education.
“The time has come when badges of honour make our shame glaring in the incongruous context of humiliation, and I for my part, wish to stand, shorn, of all special distinctions, by the side of those of my countrymen who, for their so-called insignificance, are liable to suffer degradation not fit for human beings,” – Gurudev wrote in a letter to Lord Chelmsford after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919.
While Gurudev’s idea of a revolution was very different from the Congress and the rest of the revolutionaries, he contributed greatly to India’s freedom. His quotes and slogans continue to inspire generations even today. We’ve compiled some of the greatest quotes by Gurudev.
- “I slept and dreamt that life was a joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was a joy.”
- “It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.”
- “The small wisdom is like water in a glass: clear, transparent, pure. The great wisdom is like the water in the sea: dark, mysterious, impenetrable.”
- “The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”
- “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”
- “When you came you cried and everybody smiled with joy; when you go smile and let the world cry for you.”
- “Facts are many, but the truth is one.”
- “And because I love this life I know I shall love death as well. The child cries out when From the right breast the mother Takes it away, in the very next moment To Find in the left one Its consolation.”
- “Read books when you are free, read minds when you aren’t….but do read.”
- “Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”
- “Men can only think. Women have a way of understanding without thinking. The woman was created out of God’s own fancy. Man, He had to hammer into shape.”
- “We gain freedom when we have paid the full price.”
- “Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”
- “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
- “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”
- “Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.”
- “We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.”
- “Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”