Monday, 6 February 2012




Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, visual artist, composer and novelist whose work reshaped Bengali Literature and Music in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. He became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.

‘SADHANA’ is a collection of Essays, most of which he gave before the Harvard University, describing Indian beliefs, Philosophy and Culture from different viewpoints, often making comparison with Western thought and Culture.


Tagore starts by mentioning about the eternal problem of the co-existence of the infinite and finite, of the Supreme Being and our soul. There is a sublime paradox that lies at the root of existence. We never can go round it, because we never can stand outside the problem and weigh it against any other possible alternative. But the problem exists in logic only; in reality it does not offer us any difficulty at all. Logically speaking, the distance between two points, however near, may be said to be infinite because it is infinitely divisible. But we do cross the infinite at every step, and meet the eternal in every second. Therefore, some of our philosophers say there is no such thing as finitude; it is but a māyā, an illusion. The real is the infinite, and it is only māyā, the unreality, which causes the appearance of the finite. He says that the word māyā is a mere name, it is no explanation. It is merely saying that with truth, there is this appearance which is the opposite of truth; but how they come to exist at one and the same time is incomprehensible.

In Sanskrit, we call it as ‘dvandva’, a series of opposites in creation. Tagore gives us various examples such as, the positive pole and the negative, the centripetal force and the centrifugal, attraction and repulsion. He says that these are also mere names, they are no explanations. They are only different ways of asserting that the world in its essence is a reconciliation of pairs of opposing forces. These forces, like the left and the right hands of the creator, are acting in absolute harmony, yet acting from opposite directions.

 This reminds me about the bond between heart-eyes-hands. When the Heart experiences pain, Eyes cry. When the Eyes cry, Hands wipe the tears.

Tagore says the beauty of a poem is bound by strict laws, yet it transcends them. The laws are its wings; they do not keep it weighed down. They carry it to freedom. Its form is in law but its spirit is in beauty. Law is the first step towards freedom, and beauty is the complete liberation which stands on the pedestal of law.

Accordingly, ‘laws’ are very important. Everything emerges from laws. The entire Universe, Nature is governed by laws viz.: day followed by night, the cycle of various seasons etc. If this law is disturbed, the Nature experiences various mishaps. But law itself is a limit. It only shows that whatever is can never be otherwise. But, we must go beyond. It is like the mind-body relation. Body always craves for pleasure, attachment. It bounds us; whereas the mind/soul sets us free. It transcends us when we realize our union with God and that we are not just a physical entity. It is this that makes us understand the difference between mere ‘existence’ and ‘living.’ If we keep on cribbing about our unfulfilled desires even at the time of death, then we cannot escape from the vicious circle of life and death; where we try to fulfil our wishes in some or the other birth.

The human soul is on its journey from the law to love, from discipline to liberation, from the moral plane to the spiritual. Buddha preached the discipline of self-restraint and moral life; it is a complete acceptance of law. But this bondage of law cannot be an end by itself; by mastering it thoroughly we acquire the means of getting beyond it. It is going back to Brahma, to the infinite love, which is manifesting itself through the finite forms of law. Buddha names it Brahma-vihāra, the joy of living in Brahma. He who wants to reach this stage, according to Buddha, "shall deceive none, entertain no hatred for anybody, and never wish to injure through anger. He shall have measureless love for all creatures, even as a mother has for her only child, whom she protects with her own life. Up above, below, and all around him he shall extend his love, which is without bounds and obstacles, and which is free from all cruelty and antagonism. While standing, sitting, walking, lying down, till he fall asleep, he shall keep his mind active in this exercise of universal goodwill."

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. It is the white light of pure consciousness that emanates from Brahma. So, to be one with this sarvānubhūh, this all-feeling being who is in the external sky, as well as in our inner soul, we must attain to that summit of consciousness, which is love: Who could have breathed or moved if the sky were not filled with joy, with love? It is through the heightening of our consciousness into love, and extending it all over the world, that we can attain Brahma-vihāra, communion with this infinite joy.

OSHO states- Love should be a reality in your life, not just a poem, not just a dream. It has to be actualized. It is never too late to experience love for the first time. Love is within you but very few know how to love. We all know that love is needed; that without love, life is meaningless. And whatsoever we do in the name of love, it is always something else. It is mixed with so many things: jealousy, anger, hatred, possessiveness, domination, and ego. All these poisons destroy the very nectar. To love means to get rid of all these poisons and then slowly you will see a new quality of love arising in you!

The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it is not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of the other person- without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.

Then why do they want to be together? It is no longer a need; it is a luxury. Osho says - real persons love each other as a luxury; it is not a need. They enjoy sharing: they have so much joy; they would like to pour it into somebody. And they know how to play their life as a solo instrument. The solo Flute player knows how to enjoy his flute alone. And if he comes and finds a Tabla player, a solo Tabla player, they will enjoy being together and creating a harmony between the Flute and the Tabla. Both will enjoy it: they will both pour their richness into each other.

Love spontaneously gives itself in endless gifts. He who has no love in him values the gifts of his lover only according to their usefulness. . But utility is temporary and partial. It can never occupy our whole being; what is useful only touches us at the point where we have some want. When the want is satisfied, utility becomes a burden if it still persists. When our whole mind is bent only upon making use of this world, it loses for us its true value.

Tagore beautifully mentions- It is our desires that limit the scope of our self-realisation, hinder our extension of consciousness, and give rise to sin, which is the innermost barrier that keeps us apart from our God, setting up disunion and the arrogance of exclusiveness. For sin is not one mere action, but it is an attitude of life which takes for granted that our goal is finite, that our self is the ultimate truth, and that we are not all essentially one but exist each for his own separate individual existence.

High desires, expectations from the other person causes conflicts in the relationship. We always tend to keep on ‘receiving’ things. We forget the ‘giving’ part of it. It is similar with the Universe. We take so much from the Universe, but what do we give in return? When we look at the world through the veil of our desires, we make it small and narrow, and fail to perceive its full truth. Of course, it is obvious that the world serves us and fulfils our needs, but our relation to it does not end there. We are bound to it with a deeper and truer bond than that of necessity. Our soul is drawn to it; our love of life is really our wish to continue our relation with this great world. This relation is one of love.

A seer-poet sings, "From love the world is born, by love it is sustained, towards love it moves, and into love it enters.”

In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance. In love, loss and gain are harmonised. In its balance-sheet, credit and debit accounts are in the same column, and gifts are added to gains. In this wonderful festival of creation, this great ceremony of self-sacrifice of God, the lover constantly gives himself up to gain himself in love. Indeed, love is what brings together and inseparably connects both the act of ‘abandoning’ and that of ‘receiving.’ Bondage and liberation are not antagonistic in love. For love is most free and at the same time most bound. If God were absolutely free there, would be no creation.

I would like to conclude by expressing my feelings about ‘Realisation in Love’-


Love is not always necessary ‘to be with each other’; but love is ‘to be there for each other.’

Love is not to ‘take’ but to ‘give’ whole-heartedly, selflessly; and still love is a ‘give and take relationship.’

Love is not to ‘expect’ but to ‘accept’ for what ‘He’ or ‘She’ really is.

Love is ‘to understand than to be understood.’

Love is ‘to love without hesitation’, yet ‘hesitating only to hurt.’

Love is ‘to be truly you’ and still it is a ‘beautiful change’ in yourself.

Love is ‘to speak without intention’ with a ‘good intention in your mind.’

Love is a ‘failure of evil’ and an achievement of ‘something good.’

Love is a ‘wave of sad moments’ and an ‘ocean of happy moments.’

Love is ‘to be honest even when it hurts.’

Love is ‘self-realization’ without ‘sometimes even realizing it.’

Love is ‘to be caught up with feelings’ and still ‘having a freedom of thoughts.’

Love is ‘falling in love’ and yet ‘rising in life.’

Love is ‘being down to earth’ and still ‘on top of the world.’

Love is ‘speeding up with steady pace.’

Love is a ‘light of experiences’ and a ‘shadow of memories.’

Love is ‘hard at times’ and is still ‘easy going.’

Love is ‘stopping all your fears’ and ‘going on with confidence.’

Aabha Pande

M.A. Part 2.

Dept. of Philosophy, University of Mumbai.

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