Monday, November 15, 2010

Tuesday's Trust - Guests of My Life ~Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday's Trust

Guests of My Life

~Rabindranath Tagore

On November 1913, Tagore learned that he had won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first Asian Nobel laureate. Tagore, born in Calcutta, India, had been the youngest of thirteen surviving children of his parents. He learned early of death: His mother died in his early childhood; Tagore and his wife had five children, two of whom died before reaching adulthood. Tagore's wife also died. Then his father died. Tagore himself had several painful last years including losing consciousness and remaining in a coma and near death for an extended period nearly three years before he actually died.

During his last three years of life, the poetry he wrote is among his finest, and is distinctive for its preoccupation with death. Though known mostly for his poetry, he also wrote novels, nouvellas, stories, plays, and non-fiction books; he composed roughly 2,230 songs including two national anthems for India, and was a prolific painter as well. He was also a passionate advocate for human rights in his country, and established a new type of university that provided individualized guidance for pupils; he even contributed all of his Nobel Prize moneys to the school. A brilliant man, upright in his integrity, he upbraided compatriot Mahatma Gandi for declaring that a massive earthquake leaving thousands dead in India - was divine retribution brought on by oppression.

He also interacted with many of his notable contemporaries such as Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, George Bernard Shaw, and H. G. Wells. Tagore's writings have great emotive strength and beauty of sound. His works sought to articulate "the play of feeling and not of action." (No wonder this psychotherapist is drawn to his emotive and spiritually upllifting works.) His work emphasized inward divinity and rebellion against religious and social orthodoxy. He meditated on the "living God within." Tagore himself translated many of his Bengali writings into English, so they quickly spread into our Western world.

Guests of my life,

You came in the early dawn and you in the night.

Your name was uttered by the Spring flowers and

yours by the showers of rain.

You brought the harp into my house and you

brought the lamp.

After you had taken your leave I found God's foot-

prints on my floor.

Many of Tagore's poems can be found at


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