Rabindranath Tagore Quotes

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Whatever character our theology may ascribe to him, in reality God is the infinite ideal of Man, towards whom men move in their collective growth, with whom they seek their union of love as individuals, in whom they find their ideal of father, friend and beloved.

God finds himself by creating.

It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.

Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God, first fill your own house with the fragrance of love. Go not to the temple to light candles before the altar of God, first remove the darkness of sin from your heart. Go not to the temple to bow down your head in prayer, first learn to bow in humility before your fellow men. Go not to the temple to pray on bended knees, first bend down to lift someone who is down trodden. Go not to the temple to ask for forgiveness for your sins, first forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you.

Boasting is only a masked shame; it does not truly believe in itself.

I sit at my window gazing The world passes by, nods to me And is gone.

Power takes as ingratitude the writhing of its victims

While God waits for His temple to be built of love, men bring stones.

A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame. The teacher who has come to the end of his subject, who has no living traffic with his knowledge but merely repeats his lesson to his students, can only load their minds, he cannot quicken them....

Children who are decked with prince's robes and who have jeweled chains round their necks lose all pleasure in play; their dress hampers them at every step. In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust, they keep themselves from the world and are afraid ever to move. Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keep one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.

The false can never grow into truth by growing in power.

Plunge into the deep without fear, with the gladness of April in your heart.

Man is a rough-hewn and woman a finished product.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.

The thing which seems so glorious when viewed from the heights of the country's cause looks so muddy when seen from the bottom. One begins by getting angry and then feels disgusted.

Only those of tranquil minds, and none else, can attain abiding joy, by realizing within their souls the Being who manifests one essence in a multiplicity of forms.

The birds looked upon me as nothing but a man, quite a trifling creature without wings-and they would have nothing to do with me. Were it not so I would build a small cabin for myself among their crowd of nests and pass my days counting the sea waves.

Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.

Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; my refuge is humanity. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live.

The problem is not how to wipe out all differences, but how to unite with all differences intact.

The most important lesson that man can learn from life, is not that there is pain in this world, but that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy.

Let me light my lamp", says the star, "And never debate if it will help to remove the darkness.

If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.

... let us unite, not in spite of our differences, but through them. For differences can never be wiped away, and life would be so much the poorer without them. Let all human races keep their own personalities, and yet come together, not in a uniformity that is dead, but in a unity that is living.

I've traveled all around the world to see the rivers and the mountains, and I've spent a lot of money. I have gone to great lengths, I have seen everything, but I forgot to see just outside my house a dewdrop on a little blade of grass, a dewdrop which reflects in its convexity the whole universe around you.

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 toward perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it's way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit. Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action. In to that heaven of freedom, my father, LET MY COUNTRY AWAKE!

It is in the very heart of our activity that we search for our goal.

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Love is when the soul starts to sing and the flowers of your life bloom on their own.

The greatest distance in this World is not that between living and death, it is when I am just before you, and you don't know that I Love You.

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.

Wrong is wrong only when you are at liberty to choose.

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.

The greatest distance in this World is not that between living and death, it is when I am just before you, and you don't know that I Love You.

All that is not given is lost.

Discipline divorced from wisdom is not true discipline, but merely the meaningless following of custom, which is only a disguise for stupidity.

Let life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves.

Once we dreamt that we were strangers. We wake up to find that we were dear to each other.

We cross infinity with every step; we meet eternity in every second.

Love gives beauty to everything it touches.

I have long been an ardent believer in the science of Homeopathy and I feel happy that it has got now a greater hold in India than even in the land of its origin. It is not merely a collection of a few medicines but a real science with a rational philosophy at its base. We require more scientific interest and inquiry into the matter with special stress upon the Indian environment

Wrong is wrong only when you are at liberty to choose.

Brahma was excessively sparing with earth, water, and fire.... The reckless expenditure of air and ether in his composition was amazing. And, in consequence, he perpetually struggled to outreach the wind, to outrun space itself. Other animals ran only when they had a reason, but the Horse would run for no reason whatever, as if to run out of his own skin.

Those who own much have much to fear.

Say of him what you please, but I know my child's failings. I do not love him because he is good, but because he is my little child. How should you know how dear he can be when you try to weigh his merits against his faults? When I must punish him he becomes all the more a part of my being. When I cause his tears to come my heart weeps with him. I alone have a right to blame and punish, for he only may chastise who loves.

To find God, you must welcome everything.

Our scientific world is our world of reasoning. It has its greatness and uses and attractions. We are ready to pay homage due to it. But when it claims to have discovered the real world for us and laughs at the worlds of all simple-minded men, then we must say it is like a general grown intoxicated with his power, usurping the throne of his king

Where is heaven? you ask me, my child,-the sages tell us it is beyond the limits of birth and death, unswayed by the rhythm of day and night; it is not of the earth. But your poet knows that its eternal hunger is for time and space, and it strives evermore to be born in the fruitful dust. Heaven is fulfilled in your sweet body, my child, in your palpitating heart. The sea is beating its drums in joy, the flowers are a-tiptoe to kiss you. For heaven is born in you, in the arms of the mother- dust.

According to the true Indian view, our consciousness of the world, merely as the sum total of things that exist, and as governed by laws, is imperfect. But it is perfect when our consciousness realizes all things as spiritually one with it, and therefore capable of giving us joy. For us the highest purpose of this world is not merely living in it, knowing it and making use of it, but realizing our own selves in it through expansion of sympathy; not alienating ourselves from it and dominating it, but comprehending and uniting it with ourselves in perfect union.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

The realization of our soul has its moral and its spiritual side. The moral side represents training of unselfishness, control of desire; the spiritual side represents sympathy and love. They should be taken together and never separated. The cultivation of the merely moral side of our nature leads us to the dark region of narrowness and hardness of heart, to the intolerant arrogance of goodness; and the cultivation of the merely spiritual side of our nature leads us to a still darker region of revelry in intemperance of imagination.

The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life.

He who is too busy doing good finds no time to be good.

In love, at one of its poles you find the personal, and at the other the impersonal. At one you have the positive assertion - Here I am; at the other the equally strong denial - I am not. Without this ego what is love? And again, with only this ego how can love be possible?

The fish in the water is silent, the animals on the earth is noisy, the bird in the air is singing. But man has in him the silence of the sea, the noise of the earth and the music of the air.

For the current of our spiritual life creeds, rituals and channels that may thwart or help, according to their fixity or openness. When a symbol or spiritual idea becomes rigidly elaborate in its construction, it supplants the idea which it should support.

Life's fulfillment finds constant obstacles in its path; but those are necessary for the sake of its advance. The stream is saved from the sluggishness of its current by the perpetual opposition of the soil through which it must cut its way. The spirit of fight belongs to the genius of life.

There is a point where in the mystery of existence contradictions meet; where movement is not all movement and stillness is not all stillness; where the idea and the form, the within and the without, are united; where infinite becomes finite, yet not losing its infinity. If this meeting is dissolved, then things become unreal.

O poor, unthinking human heart! Error will not go away, logic and reason are slow to penetrate.We cling with both arms to false hope, refusing to believe in the weightiest proofs against it, embracing it with all our strength. In the end it escapes, ripping our veins and draining our heart's blood; until, regaining consciousness, we rush to fall into snares of delusion all over again

The smile that flickers on a baby’s lips when he sleeps- does anyone know where it was born? Yes, there is a rumor that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the dream of a dew-washed morning.

Only Thee That I want thee, only thee---let my heart repeat without end. All desires that distract me, day and night, are false and empty to the core. As the night keeps hidden in its gloom the petition for light, even thus in the depth of my unconsciousness rings the cry ---`I want thee, only thee'. As the storm still seeks its end in peace when it strikes against peace with all its might, even thus my rebellion strikes against thy love and still its cry is ---`I want thee, only thee'.

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. The infinite being has assumed unto himself the mystery of finitude. And in him who is love the finite and the infinite are made one.

The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.

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.

When I stand before thee at the day's end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing.

Music fills the infinite between two souls.

Poems On Life: Life is given to us, we earn it by giving it. Let the dead have the immortality of fame, but the living the immortality of love. Life's errors cry for the merciful beauty that can modulate their isolation into a harmony with the whole. Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it runs.

Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them. Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed. I am certain that priceless wealth is in thee, and that thou art my best friend, but I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room. The shroud that covers me is a shroud of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love. My debts are large, my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.

Our self (Soul) is maya (an illusion) where it is merely individual and finite, where it considers its separateness as absolute; it is satyam (truth) where it recognizes its essence in the universal and infinite, in the Supreme Self, in paramatman (God). This is what Christ means when he says, "Before Abraham was, I am" (i.e. before Abraham was God, who is the same that is in my soul - I am That.)

By all means they try to hold me secure who love me in this world. But it is otherwise with thy love which is greater than theirs, and thout keepst me free. Lest I forgot them they never venture to leave me alone. But day passes by after day and thou art not seen. If I call not thee in my prayers, if I keep not thee in my heart, thy love for me still waits for my love.

My Friend: Art thou abroad on this stormy night on thy journey of love, my friend? The sky groans like one in despair. I have no sleep tonight. Ever and again I open my door and look out on the darkness, my friend! I can see nothing before me. I wonder where lies thy path! By what dim shore of the ink-black river, by what far edge of the frowning forest, through what mazy depth of gloom art thou threading thy course to come to me, my friend?

When the heat and motion of blind impulses and passions distract it on all sides, we can neither give nor receive anything truly. But when we find our centre in our soul by the power of self-restraint, by the force that harmonizes all warring element

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.

Give Me Strength This is my prayer to thee, my lord---strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart. Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows. Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service. Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might. Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

Great calm, generous detachment, selfless love, disinterested effort: these are what make for success in life. If you can find peace in yourself and can spread comfort around you, you will be happier than an empress.

Let only that little be left of me whereby I may name thee my all. Let only that little be left of my will whereby I may feel thee on every side, and come to thee in everything, and offer to thee my love every moment. Let only that little be left of me whereby I may never hide thee. Let only that little of my fetters be left whereby I am bound with thy will, and thy purpose is carried out in my life--and that is the fetter of thy love.

False hope is clung to with all one's might and main, till a day comes when it has sucked the heart dry and it forcibly breaks through its bonds and departs. After that comes the misery of awakening, and then once again the longing to get back into the maze of the same mistakes.

For many years, at great cost, I traveled through many countries, saw the high mountains, the oceans. The only things I did not see were the sparkling dewdrops in the grass just outside my door.

And joy is everywhere; it is in the earth's green covering of grass; in the blue serenity of the sky.

We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.

My heart, the bird of the wilderness, has found its sky in your eyes. They are the cradle of the morning, they are the kingdom of the stars. My songs are lost in their depths. Let me but soar in that sky, in its lonely immensity. Let me but cleave its clouds and spread wings in its sunshine.

Man goes into the noisy crowd to drown his own clamor of silence.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

Stray birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away. And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no songs, flutter and fall there with a sigh.

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

From the grasses in the field to the stars in the sky, each one is doing just that; and there is such profound peace and surpassing beauty in nature because none of these tries forcibly to transgress its limitations.

You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed.

Things in which we do not take joy are either a burden upon our minds to be got rid of at any cost; or they are useful, and therefore in temporary and partial relation to us, becoming burdensome when their utility is lost; or they are like wandering vagabonds, loitering for a moment on the outskirts of our recognition, and then passing on. A thing is only completely our own when it is a thing of joy to us.

My eyes have seen much, but they are not weary. My ears have heard much, but they thirst for more.

The more one lives alone on the river or in the open country, the clearer it becomes that nothing is more beautiful or great than to perform the ordinary duties of one's daily life simply and naturally.

The stars are not afraid to appear like fireflies.

We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us.

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.

A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.

It is the docile who achieve the most impossible things in this world.

It is no easy task to lead men. But it is easy enough to drive them.

Joy is there everywhere; it is superfluous, unnecessary; nay, it very often contradicts the most peremptory behests of necessity. It exists to show that the bonds of law can only be explained by love; they are like body and soul. Joy is the realisation of the truth of oneness, the oneness of our soul with the world and of the world-soul with the supreme lover.

In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of my house. I find her not. My house is small and what once has gone from it can never be regained. But infinite is thy mansion, my lord, and seeking her I have come to thy door.

Let it not be death but completeness. Let love melt into memory and pain into songs. Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest. Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night. Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence. I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.

Life's aspirations come in the guise of children.

Memory, the priestess, kills the present and offers its heart to the shrine of the dead past.

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

Come oh come ye tea-thirsty restless ones -- the kettle boils, bubbles and sings, musically.

Whether joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure; whatsoever may befall thee, accept it serenely with an vanquished heart.

The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music... The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.

Let the splendor of diamond, pearl and ruby vanish? Only let this one teardrop, this Taj Mahal, glisten spotlessly bright on the cheek of time, forever and ever.

The greed for fruit misses the flower.

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life's battlefield but to my own strength. Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved but hope for the patience to win my freedom. Grant me that I may not be a coward, feeling your mercy in my success alone; but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

Those who think to reach God by running away from the world, when and where do they expect to meet him? We are reaching him here in this very spot, now at this very moment.

In the mountain, stillness surges up to explore its own height In the lake, movement stands still to contemplate its own depth.

A message came from my youth of vanished days, saying, 'I wait for you among the quivering of unborn May, where smiles ripen for tears and hours ache with songs unsung.' It says, 'Come to me across the worn-out track of age, through the gates of death. For dreams fade, hopes fail, the fathered fruits of the year decay, but I am the eternal truth, and you shall meet me again and again in your voyage of life from shore to shore.

My dearest life, I know you are not mine forever; but do love me even if it’s for this moment. After that I shall vanish into the forest where you cast me, I won’t ask anyone for anything again. Give me something that can last me till I die.

Days come and ages pass, and it is ever he who moves my heart in many a name, in many a guise, in many a rapture of joy and of sorrow. Deliverance is not for me in renunciation. I feel the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight.

Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations.

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.

Life itself is a strange mixture. We have to take it as it is, try to understand it, and then to better it.

Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.

The fundamental desire of life is the desire to exist.

Set the bird's wings with gold and it will never again soar in thesky.

We gain freedom when we have paid the full price.

The heart wants to go on; that is its dharma. For unless it moves, it dies.

In Art, man reveals himself and not his objects.

Only in silence I find myself. Life in the city is so hectic that you lose the right perspective. It's important to know that our biggest resources are in our heart.

The newer people of this modern age are more eager to amass than to realize.

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.

The earth paints a portrait of the sun at dawn with sunflowers in bloom. Unhappy with the portrait, she erases it and paints it again and again.

You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water.

Children are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.

Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.

The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins night and day.

When the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower of mercy. When grace is lost from life, come with a burst of song. When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest. When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king. When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

Do not say, 'It is morning,' and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.

Men are cruel, but Man is kind.

Your love keeps me afloat but will remain the anchor in my soul... I don't really have words to describe how romantic I find that. Your love is what keeps me going, but it's also the anchor that keeps me close to you. I love it!

It sometimes strikes me how immensely fortunate I am that each day should take its place in my life, either reddened with the rising and setting sun, or refreshingly cool with deep, dark clouds, or blooming like a white flower in the moonlight. What untold wealth!

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.

In death the many become one; in life the one become many.

The movement of life has to rest in its own music.

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.

God waits to win back his own flowers as gifts from man's hands.

If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it. I will keep still and wait like the night with starry vigil and its head bent low with patience. The morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish, and thy voice pour down in golden streams breaking through the sky. Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of my birds' nests, and thy melodies will break forth in flowers in all my forest groves.

The weak can be terrible because they try furiously to appear strong.

Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.

True deliverance of man is the deliverance from Avidya i.e. ignorance. It is not in destroying anything that is positive and real, for that cannot be possible, but that which is negative, which obstructs our vision of truth.

Love is an endless mystery, because there is no reasonable cause that could explain it.

I have listened, And I have looked With open eyes.
I have poured my soul Into the world, Seeking the unknown Within the known.
And I sing out loud In amazement.

We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing that we do. Cruelty... is a fundamental sin, and admits of no arguments or nice distinctions. If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, it protests against cruelty, is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us - in fact, anyone who does not join in is dubbed a crank.

I am able to love my God because He gives me freedom to deny Him.

Merely to exist is not enough.

The Great Morning which is for all, rises in the East.

The cure for all the illness of life is stored in the inner depth of life itself, the access to which becomes possible when we are alone. This solitude is a world in itself, full of wonders and resources unthought of. It is absurdly near; yet so unapproachably distant.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it. Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.

According to the true Indian view, our consciousness of the world, merely as the sum total of things that exist, and as governed by laws, is imperfect. But it is perfect when our consciousness realizes all things as spiritually one with it, and there

Overstraining is the enemy of accomplishment. Calm strength that arises from a deep and inexhaustible source is what brings success.

The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous.

And, indeed, what little of beauty and peace is to be found in the societies of men is owing to the daily performance of small duties, not to big doings and fine talk.

If someone smells a flower and says he does not understand, the reply to him is: there is nothing to understand, it is only a scent. If he persists, saying: that I know, but what does it all mean? Then one has either to change the subject, or make it more abstruse by saying that the scent is the shape which the universal joy takes in the flower.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

Do not linger to gather flowers to keep them, but walk on, for flowers will keep themselves blooming all your way.

The child learns so easily because he has a natural gift, but adults, because they are tyrants, ignore natural gifts and say that children must learn through the same process that they learned by. We insist upon forced mental feeding and our lessons

We live in the world when we love it.

The meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realization 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.

The tyrant claims freedom to kill freedom, and yet keep it for himself.

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves.

The main object of teaching is not to give explanations, but to knock at the doors of the mind.

He who wants to do good knocks at the gate: he who loves finds the door open.

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them." "Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it." "Life is perpetually creative because it contains in itself that surplus which ever overflows the boundaries of the immediate time and space, restlessly pursuing its adventure of expression in the varied forms of self-realization." "The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.

If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative.

Compliments win friends, honesty loses them.

Let my love like sunlight surround you and yet give you illumined freedom.

By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.

O Beauty, find thyself in love, not in the flattery of thy mirror.

Drunk with the joy of singing I forget myself and call thee friend who art my lord.

The flower fades and dies; but he who wears the flower has not to mourn for it for ever.

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