A Comparative Study of Tagore’s Philosophy between Nature and Human Beings
Rabindranath Tagore was a notable name in the field of literature. He was a poet, short-story writer, song composer, playwright and painter. He inaugurated new prose and verse forms. He used informal language into Bengali literature. He also helped a lot to introduce Indian culture to the West and vice versa. His poems, novels, short stories, critical essays and other writings have vastly enriched the cultural environment of India. This paper tries to show that Tagore’s ideas and views on the religion of forest. It manifests the correlation between man and nature. In this article an attempt has been made to discuss the Tagore’s philosophy of religion and the relevance of this philosophy to the present society and is also discussed the concept of Maya, in Tagore’s view. Forests were central to Tagore’s works, just as they had been for India’s creative expression through centuries, writers Vandana Shiva. Tagore’s love for nature was very keen. The wide open skies, tranquility of the country side are the inner peace and freedom to Tagore. Tagore believed that man should live in harmony with nature and recognize that divinity prevails in all elements of the universe including plants and animals (Book – contemporary Indian philosophy).From his writing we can realize that the experience of the world is not isolated from the experience of nature, rather than with the beauty and grace. Nature without man would be a “Broken Arch” and man without nature a” Deserted land “.
Keywords: Nature, Forest, Harmony, Biodiversity, Maya, Elements, Resources, Relation, Expression.
Rabindranath Tagore was a greatest Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art. He is the author of “Gitanjali “and it’s “Profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”. He became the first non- European to win the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913. He was highly influenced in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West. Undoubtedly; Tagore was a greatest poet and philosopher in all over the India. In India, philosophy is called “Darshan “, which means “vision”—” Vision of the real”. Rabindranath takes this meaning of the term “Philosophy “rather literally. That is why in his thought there is a very great emphasis on ” Personal realization “.The greatest influence that Tagore’s thought bears upon itself is of ancient Indian thought——— of the Upanishads and Vedanta. He came under the influence of Vaisnavism and the teachers of the Bhakti- Marga. It can be considered that the philosophy of Tagore is very unique and nobody can think as he does. Tagore can rightly be called “an idealist” or ” a spiritualist” he can again be described both as a “Monist” and a “theist”. Tagore believes in creativity. He thinks that creativity is the only thing which makes you different than other. In a sense, creation is the manifestation or the expression of the absolute. According to Tagore, “God finds himself by creating “.Tagore conceives man in such a manner that without affecting the goodness of God, he gives to man also a special dignity and uniqueness. Before a man appeared on earth, evolution proceeded, more or less in a mechanical manner. But with the advent of man there appears a significant change in the nature of the evolutionary process. The responses of every other product of evolution are determined by the environmental factors and the physical forces, their patterns of response and behavior can be rigidly determined and forestalled. Somehow, man has the capacity to play a part in evolution; he has the power to change the pattern of his behavior and responses. Tagore says, “Deliverance is not for me in renunciation. I feel embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight…… No, I will never shut the door of my senses. The delights of sight, hearing and touch will bear thy delight”.
Tagore has introduced the concept of Maya also in his philosophy of God and the world . Although the concept has been taken from the Vedanta, it has been conceived in the light of Tagore’s conception of the nature of creation. More or less, Maya in the Vedanta fashion has been conceived as the principle that brings about the appearance of creation. According to Tagore, Maya is ignorance on a universal scale, it is the “principle of the cosmic error”, “It is the mist and not the sun”. According to Tagore, “Truth stands for unity; Maya stands for separateness . The Maya is not really a separate entity, it doesn’t exist by itself, nor does it limit God’s infinity”.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a greatest essayist. He was an exponent of social realism. Tagore wrote 42 essays in various languages which were published in five books. One of his famous essays is “The Religion of Forest “. Tagore wrote in The Religion of Forest, “The ideal of perfection preached by the forest dwellers of ancient India runs through the heart of our classical literature and still dominates our mind”. The forest are the main the main sources of life, they are the repository of biodiversity. The biodiversity of forest is essential for the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services that are important to human well-being. In his essay, Tapovan (Forest of purity), Tagore writes, “Indian civilization has been distinctive in locating its source of regeneration, material and intellectual, in the forest, not the city. India’s best ideas have come where map was in communion with trees and rivers and lakes, away from the crowds. The forest is the only place which has always helped in developing the psychological evolution of man. The culture of the forest has enriched the culture of the Indian society. The unite principle of life in diversity of democratic, pluralism. This democratic pluralism has become the postulate of Indian society.
It is this ” unity of diversity” that is the basis of both ecological sustainability and democracy. Diversity without unity has become the source of dispute. Conformity without diversity becomes the ground for external control. This is the true of both nature and culture.
In Tagore’s writing, we can find that forest was not only the source of knowledge and freedom, but also it was the source of beauty and joy, of art and aesthetics, of harmony and perfection. It symbolizes the universe. In ” The Religion of Forest “, the poet say that our attitude of mind, ” Guides our attempts to establish relations with the universe either by conquest or by union, either through the cultivation of power or through that of sympathy “.The forest teaches us union and compassion or sympathy
For Tagore, our relationship with forest and nature is a relationship that helps us in understanding our humanity. Tagore thinks that, Nature is in her own place and proves that she has her great work, to convey the peace of the eternal human emotions.
The permanence, peace and joy of living but by civility and collaboration are at the heart of the forest culture. The forest also teaches us to be maintained, to enjoy the gifts of nature without exploitation and agglomeration. In ‘The Religion of the Forest’ Tagore quotes from the ancient of texts written in the forest: ” Know all that moves in this moving world as enveloped by God; and find enjoyment through renunciation, not through greed of possession “.No species in the forest takes the share of other species to nutrients, water and even sun’s energy. Every species lives in cooperation with others. This is the symbolism of the Earth’s democracy. The conflict between greed and compassion, conquest and cooperation, violence and harmony that Tagore wrote about century’s age are still relevant today. And this forest which can help us by showing the path to reunify with nature. And it also helps us to find the own freedom. It is not actually the freedom from greed, it means freedom from want, from hunger and thirst, from dispossession and accessible.
The nature of the forest is in unity in variations. Tagore saw the difference between west and India. He told that “The civilization of the West has in it the spirit of the machine which must move; and to that blind movement human lives are offered as fuel, keeping up the stream power (The spirit of freedom).
A civilization is based on power and greed which has been created Globalization, the spirit of the machine worldwide. A civilization is based on power and greed is a civilization which also based on violence. In the spirit of freedom, Tagore warned: ” The people who have scarified that souls to the passion of profit – making and the drunkenness of power and constantly pursued by Phantoms of panic and suspicion, and therefore they are ruthless… They become morally incapable of allowing freedom to others”.
Tagore wrote “Tapovan” —–” A forest School” Which also takes inspiration from nature and the writing of Tagore create an Indian Renaissance. Tagore wrote in An Eastern University: “The unfortunate people who have lost the harvest of the past have lost their present age. They have missed their seed for cultivation, and go begging for their bare livelihood. We must not imagine that we are one of those disinherited people of the world. The time has come for us to break open the treasure trove of our ancestors, and use it for our commerce of life. Let us, with its help, make our future our own, and not continue our existence as the eternal rag- pickers in other people’s dustbins”.
We must turn to the forest for the lessons in freedom. As Tagore wrote in “The Religion of the Forest ” the ideal of perfection preached by the forest dwellers of ancient India runs through the heart our classical literature and influences our minds. The forests are the sources of water and life.
“What is beautiful is beneficent:
O goddess Nature, in your beauteous world
No harm can ever happen. “
This intimate contact with nature helped Tagore to discover his inner being. It made him establish a relation with the nature outside, a relation of being a part of the whole. A closer scrutiny reveals to us the kinship of Nature and spirit, of the not self and self. The fact we are able to interpret Nature, know it, appreciate it, fight and conquer it, show that it is a kin to human consciousness.
“We could have no communication whatever with our surroundings, if they were absolutely foreign to us “.
Man is “reaping success every day, and that shows there is rational connection between him and nature, for we never can make anything our own, except that which is truly related to us”.
If we separate man from nature, “It is like the bud and the blossom into two separate categories and putting their grave to the credit of two different and antithetical principles “.
The contrast between the narrow world of man and the ampler world of Nature, between the home and sky is suggested in these lines:
“My house is small and what once has gone from it can never,
But infinite is thy mansion, my Lord, and
Seeking her I have
Come to thy door”.
Every forest area has become a war zone, every tribal people who are defined as a “Maoist “by a militarized corporate state appropriating the land and natural resources of the tribes. And every defender of the rights of the forest and forest dwellers is being treated as very badly.
Tagore’s view was that our relationship with forest and nature which helps us to experience love among human beings. Tagore writes, “In all our dramas….. Nature stands on her own right, proving that she has her great function, to impart the peace of the eternal to human emotions “.we can live in peace and harmony only through love, care and cooperation and not by the dominating nature of humans…..” Harmony and unity are the diversity of the nature in the forest.