India (1861 - 1941) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu
Poems by Rabindranath Tagore
Books - Links
He was born to a wealthy Brahmin family in Calcutta (Kolkata) in Bengal during the British occupation of India.
His mother died when "Rabi" was a young child and his father's responsibilities often required travel, leaving Rabindranath to be raised by elder siblings and family servants. His family was central to regional political, intellectual, and artistic social circles, however, ensuring that the young Tagore was exposed to great art and learning from an early age.
Tagore began composing poetry by the age of six and showed such a natural gift that he, at the age of fourteen, published a set of poems under a pseudonym that was mistakenly received by critics as a long-lost masterpiece. Only later was it revealed that the author was the adolescent Tagore.
As an older teenager, Tagore was sent to study in England, but soon left school to more actively feed his wide-ranging interests through self-study.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Tagore established an ashram as a place for learning, teaching, and agricultural experimentation.
Tagore was a strong advocate for Indian self-determination in opposition to British imperial rule, while, at the same time, criticizing the most violent expressions of revolution.
During his lifetime, Tagore traveled extensively, meeting the world's great writers, scientists, political leaders, and social reformers.
Rabindranath Tagore was also an accomplished painter, as well as a musician and prolific composer, with more than 2,000 songs to his credit.
Tagore's poetry draws from the rich devotional poetic traditions of India, but rendered in a highly fluid, contemporary style. His impact on world poetry and literature is immense, especially writing that explores the modern mind through the mystic's lens. Countless literary figures of the 20th century cite Tagore as an important influence and source of inspiration. Although his library of poetry is extensive, his most widely read and loved collection is The Gitanjali.
In 1913, he became the first non-European to with the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Poems by Rabindranath Tagore
- Accept me, my lord, accept me for this while
- I touch God in my song
- On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time (from Gitanjali)
- (1) Thou hast made me endless (from Gitanjali)
- (38) I want thee, only thee (from Gitanjali)
- (63) Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not (from Gitanjali)
- (75) Thy gifts to us mortals fulfil all our needs (from Gitanjali)
- (80) I am like a remnant of a cloud of autumn (from Gitanjali)
- (84) It is the pang of separation that spreads throughout the world (from Gitanjali)
- (101) Ever in my life have I sought thee with my songs (from Gitanjali)
- (103) In one salutation to thee, my God (from Gitanjali)
- He's there among the scented trees (from The Lover of God)
- Listen, can you hear it? (from The Lover of God)
- Who are You, who keeps my heart awake? (from The Lover of God)
- Your flute plays the exact notes of my pain. (from The Lover of God)
A good biography online.
Biography of Rabindranath Tagore
A brief biography and several selected poems
Tagore and His India
An intelligent article about Tagore, exploring his association with mysticism, his mixed feelings toward religion, and the struggle for independence from the British Empire.
Several excellent articles on Rabindranath Tagore.
Sacred Texts: Tagore
Several Tagore poems online.
The Spiritual Bee - Free books by Tagore
A very nice resource of several collections of Tagore's poetry and other writings, available for download for free - including Glimpses of Bengal, Sadhana, The Fugitive, The Gardener, and Gitanjali.