Rabindranath Tagore and his Philosophies of Life

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Dance has an influence in our society and world today. Dance, especially is a universal art form. An individual can uncover the complexity of many diverse cultures, which can also be used to break stereotypes. Dance is the pathway towards understanding and communicating each other.

Rabindranath Tagore, a naturalist, idealist, a writer, a poet, who later became one of the most well-known leaders in the world wanted to work towards making the world a more peaceful place where nationalism was not present. Tagore had an appreciation for the arts because he believed that it was important for children to master all aspects of art whether it was music, dance or painting.

Art was one of the ways of bringing different cultures together, and this was his main purpose in life. He thought the world was a beautiful place and that we can all learn from one another. If we accept that the world is full of wonderful cultures and differences which makes each of unique, the easier it is to create a peaceful world, where there was no hate or violence.

Rabindranath Tagore, was born on May 7, 1861 in Calcutta, India. (Chakravarty, 2019) He came from a family that was also very intelligent and philosophical. For instance, his brothers and sisters were also writers and novelists. He took inspiration from their views or ideas, as well as the Kalidasa or Sanskrit writers. When he was just eight years old, Tagore began to write and publishing his own poems.

In 1878, Tagore studied at a school in Brighton, England. When he was accepted into University College London, he studied law because it was his father’s wish for him to become a lawyer. (Chakravarty, 2019) However, Tagore did not have an interest in law, and instead wanted to pursue British Literature. He dropped out of school and studied English literature.

Since Tagore envisioned a world where it would become one, he decided to venture out on a world tour. His ultimate goal was to spread his philosophies. Many of his literary works became popular among the many countries such as the United States, Mexico, Singapore, and Rome. He even became noticed and popular among other leaders in the nation such as Einstein and Mussolini.

By spreading his knowledge, he was hoping to fight against the views of nationalism and convince the people that it led to more corruption within the community. Some of his ideals were based on naturalism, patriotism, dedication, individualism, and pragmatism (Swastik 2011). Tagore believed that a man can reach its fullest potential if they immerse themselves in spirituality by having moral values and letting go of other worldly desires.

Through self-realization, one is able to become closer to God or become one with Him. He is a naturalist because he believes that nature can do no harm to children and that it is best education a child can receive. He compares nature to a mother who encompasses kindness, compassion, and generosity.

There should not be any pressure placed on the student to learn, it is forces of nature which will guide the pupil to achieve a particular field or interest that he wishes to pursue. Tagore was not only a naturalist and idealist, but many of his writings stemmed from patriotic principles.

He joined the freedom movement in order to free the country of foreign interference. One of his famous poems “Jana Mana Gana” evoked feelings of unity in diversity (Thompson, 1979). His poem eventually became a song that became India’s National Anthem for showcasing India’s heritage and pride.

Overall, the poem depicts regional, cultural and religious unity all across India. Tagore was a firm believer in getting rid of the caste system and wanted for everyone to be treated equally despite the cultural differences. Through the National Anthem, he was able to send an important message of pluralism and unity that should be established in India.

Tagore also supported India’s independence because he thought that the English education system was being forced onto students in India. He also wanted to share the same idea with the rest of the world, which brings us to why he was also an internationalist. He wanted to create a peaceful world where it was not filled with selfishness, religious diversities, and racial inequality.

Instead, we should all work towards communicating and understanding one another whole heartedly and accept one another with nothing but love and affection. Some of his most outstanding literary works include Gitanjali (1912), Gitabitan (1932), Choker Bali (1903), Gora (1910) and Kabuliwala (1892) (Kumar J. & Manjula, 2014)

Rabindranath Tagore contributed to making the society a more a peaceful and wholesome place by starting his first school. In 1901, he started a school known as Santiniketan, where he developed his own method of education based on his own life experiences. He taught his classes using a more traditional and ancient method called Guru-Shishya, where the classes took place outside under the trees in the open air where one experienced seasonal changes (Pridmore, 2009).

Walks in nature were also a part of the curriculum, where children were able to learn about plant and animal life cycles. His institution later on included a University known as Visva-Bharati and a rural education center known as Sriniketan (Pridmore, 2009). His system of education primarily promoted teaching that was based on multiculturalism and breaking down cultural and social barriers.

The arts such as music, dance, literature, and drama were given much importance in the curriculum as well. Tagore believed that it was necessary to devote their time at the school mastering a fine art such as dance. He also brought different forms of dance together at his school. He helped to keep the traditional and ancient art forms alive such as Manipuri, Kathak, and Kathakali (O’Connell, 2003).

By this example, we can see that his mission was to expose the children various parts of Indian history and culture, so that they have a more open-minded views about the world, and are not set in old-fashioned ways. Through music, painting and dance, the children can develop their identity and express themselves creatively.

I believe that Tagore wanted each of his students to be able to have their own voices be heard when they go out into the world. Through teaching his students about aspects of the world, he was eager to pass on his knowledge to them so that they would continue to expand his concepts and make more insightful decisions when it comes to matters in our world.

Rabindranath Tagore was the first Asian or non-westerner to be recognized for his work and given Nobel Peace Prize. He made a global impact as his work reached much of the western population. He was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for a collection of poems known as Gitanjali.

His prose in these poems captured the attention of the Nobel Committee because his words were so powerful (Kumar & Manjula, 2014). Gitanjali, especially had a universal theme which appealed to many audiences from all types of backgrounds. Overall, these poems elicit the flow of life, infinite joy and humanism.

Not only did Tagore’s poems have an influence on westerners, but his methods of education also caught attention worldwide. His institutional and educational values became a model for other education systems across the U.S., Asia and other parts of the world. Other parts of the world began to adopt his learning styles.

In Poems on Time by Tagore, he said “Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the top of a leaf.” (Thompson, 1979) The significance of this is that life should be enjoyed and cherished, even in moments like dancing. It is compared to the dew of a leaf. It is beautiful, but it can fall or evaporate overtime. One should be thankful for the special moments in life or live to life to the fullest before one runs out of time. This quote can be related to Tagore’s idea of man reaching its fullest potential of spirituality in order to reach God. Similarly, Tagore is saying that we should live our life to fullest until time runs out. As previously mentioned before, Tagore also believed that arts such as dancing should also be included in the educational curriculum as it helped students to learn by creatively expressing themselves. Dance was a fine art that he believed enriched and nurtured the soul, as it was driven on the spirit of nature.

His philosophies of life such as a peaceful world would be showcased through the dance piece. The main concept or theme of the dance would be for the individual to explore the beautiful world around us. The rhythm of the music would be more melodious throughout perhaps only playing the sounds of a keyboard and a flute, and there would be no vocals to accompany the musical instruments. There would be no particular formation. For this particular dance, it would be centered around the individual finding inner peace through exploration. There would be one main lead dancer and the other dancers dancing around the main person. The dancers would be moving gracefully and use or expression through specific hand gestures in the Bharatanatyam repertoire. The hand movements would be an important part in this dance, since it would represent all elements of life such as wind, air, rain, fire, animals, and the sun. Since we are able to immerse ourselves within nature and accept what the world around us has to offer, we are able to look at the world as a more peaceful place and that God has created such a beautiful life on this Earth.

Tagore’s philosophies endorsed an education system that was meant to promote global citizens and an international alliance. Although his principles of education were deeply rooted in one’s surroundings, he also wanted to connect to cultures of a wider population in order for his students to have a love for humanity. He was able to achieve this main idea by opening his own school and through his notable works which touched the hearts of millions. Many schools today still incorporate some form of Tagore’s concepts into their school curriculum. For instance, band practice, dance teams, choir, culture shows and acting classes. However, I think there is a still a lot more that can be included in our education systems such as having classes in nature instead of a classroom. Mediation and yoga should also be counted into the program, as it allows one to focus on enlightening our spiritual side. Tagore emphasized the importance of living in the present moment and having spiritual knowledge. He truly made the world a better place by encouraging moral, intellectual, physical and spiritual development.


Cite this paper

Rabindranath Tagore and his Philosophies of Life. (2020, Sep 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/rabindranath-tagore-and-his-philosophies-of-life/



Was Rabindranath Tagore a philosopher?
Yes, Rabindranath Tagore was a philosopher. He was a poet, writer, and philosopher who contributed significantly to the Indian literary and philosophical tradition.
What is idealism according to Rabindranath Tagore?
Rabindranath Tagore's idealism is based on the belief that the world is a spiritual reality and that we are all connected to one another.
What is Tagore's philosophy?
Tagore's philosophy is one of humanism and internationalism. He believed in the innate goodness of people and the possibility of world peace.
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