Discuss Rabindranath Tagore As A Great World Poet, Writer and Word Painter
Tagore As a World Poet
Tagore As a World Poet : Tagore occupies an eminent place among Indian poets. He is rightly called India’s Chaucer and Shakespeare, Shelley and Keats, William Wordsworth and Browning, Dante and Hugo, Goethe and Tolstoy, Emerson and Whitman. He is a poet par excellence. His plays, short stories, novels essays and speeches abound in poetry. There is no exaggeration in calling him a ‘pure poet’. There is no purpose, no conscious morality in his poems and in this respect he stands unrivalled. His religion essentially is a poet’s religion. Its touch comes to him through the same unseen and trackless channels as does the inspiration of his music. His religious life has followed the same mysterious line of growth as has his political life.
Tagore as a World Poet:
Tagore is not only a poet of India or Asia. He is a world poet. He has been called one of the most elusive poets of modern times. His originality and variety of themes, his mysticism, and romanticism, his conception of love, his peerless lyricism, his humanity and the flawless perfection of his technique and versification make him one of the greatest poet of the world. He has universality of appeal. His poetry is a festival where all the peoples and epochs are brought together. He is the poet of fleeting moment, of the dream still remembered at dawn, of memories of past existence and of perception. He is the great master of nuance. He makes us feel the world as a place of love and joy, not of hatred and wars.
His Melodies Containing a World Appeal:
The world hails him as a world-poet and singer whose melodies contain a world appeal, who has voiced the yearnings and aspirations of all humanity in verse of singular sweetness and penetration. His poetry radiates light, it is illuminating, resplendent with the glorious rays of the morning sun, lighting up the hill-tops and flooding the dark recesses of grottoes. The scorching and blinding glare of the noon day sun is not reflected by his muse. His exaltation comes from invincible and abiding faith, not from fitful gusts of passion. This is the secret of his rapid and universal popularity. The world has reacted promptly and eagerly to the magic of his songs because it longs for words of faith and the harmony of peace and beauty.
Variety of Themes and Originality in Thought and Expression:
No other Indo- English poet either before or after him showed so much freshness and fecundity of imagination in glorifying the common objects of nature, world and human life, and in this respect he stands in front rank in Indo-English romantic poetry. Gitanjali, the greatest contribution of Tagore to Indian poetry, is mainly a collection of lyrics of devotion in the great Indian tradition. Closely related with the main theme, other notes too, i.e., love of nature, love of humanity and world and love of the motherland, are heard. The Crescent Moon is based on the theme of the glorification of childhood, and in this respect Tagore is very much akin to the English romantics-Blake and Wordsworth.
The Gardner is the richest collection of love lyrics in Indo-English poetry. Stray Birds is a collection of gem- like thoughts or musings. Fruit Gathering, Lover’s Gift and Crossing, and the The Fugitive show a decline in Tagore’s poetic power and have much in common with Gitanjali both in thought and expression. The Last Poems, written in old age and sickness, record the sorrow, conflict and disillusion of the poet’s last days. The Child is unique because it was first written and was later translated into Bengali as Shishu Tirtha. It is in ten sections closely linked together. It vindicates Tagore’s faith in humanity and evinces the influence of Christ.
The themes in Tagore’s poetry are varied and he treats them in an original manner. In his two thousands odd songs he wrote on God, devotion, love, nature, childhood, motherland, beauty and truth, humanity, social evils, spiritualism etc. His originality mainly consists in creating a synthesis between modern European thought and traditional Indian philosophy.
Tagore’s Mysticism: Tagore As a World Poet
We must remember that Rabindranath. the mystic, is fundamentally different from the other mystic poets who usually ignore this earth and its people and look for salvation in the other world. Tagore’s mysticism is combined with realism and humanism. It is not a philosophy that asks us to renounce the world and its activities. It is a philosophy based on the acceptance of the world as real and this life as earnest and sincere. Tagore goes even farther than this. He maintains that the divine cannot be realized by renouncing the world. He has to be realized in this very life in the hearts of ordinary men and women of the world.
In several poems (Gitanjali, poems No. 10 and 11) he clearly tells us that God resides in the hearts of the people and not inside the temple and asks us to leave chanting and counting beads. There is no deliverance in renunciation. God rests his feet among the poorest, the lowliest and lost. If we want to realise God, we must be ready to worship the lowliest and the humblest. We cannot establish contact with the Divine without giving up our pride and vanity. Tagore asks us to come down on the dusty soil and find presence of the Divine among the tiller who tills the land and the path maker who breaks the stones. It is Tagore’s conviction that God is to be realized not only in the heart of the devotee but also in the outside world.
His Romanticism: Tagore As a World Poet
Tagore’s romanticism finds expression in his feeling of awe and wonder at creation, love of God and nature, glorification of childhood, humanity, condemnation of materialism, love of simplicity, sublimation of the commonplace, romantic imagination, intensity of feelings and emotions, and highly suggestive and picturesque imagery. These characteristics of Tagore’s romantic poetry are beautifully but together in Gitanjali, which has a unique imaginative appeal which transcends the barriers of time and place.
His Romanticism Closely Related with His Inherent Mysticism:
Mysticism is an attitude of mind based upon on instructive or experienced conviction of unity, of oneness, of likeness in all things. Its essence lies in seeing one undivided changeless life in all lives, to see the one inseparable in the separate. The mighty world of ‘eye and ear’ delights the poet with mystic joy and he endeavours to search the presence which lies behind the visible objects of nature and human life. To his God is no remote Absolute. He embodies Sat, Chit and Anand and the entire universe is a joyous expression of his play. In order to realise the Dive man should cultivate close contact with Nature and should rise above self-love and all trivialities of materialism and worldly attachments.
A Passionate Love for Nature:
Throughout his life Tagore exhibited a passionate love for nature. In his poetry too he appears as a great lover of Nature like Wordsworth, Robert Frost, Hindi Chhayavadi poets and many other poets of Bengal. Aş a lover of nature he is again a true romanticist. His attitude towards Nature is neither that of the child, nor that of the pessimist, nor that of an angry man. The sight of flowers, trees, honey bees, thorns, clouds, dark night, the songs of birds, the filling of the pitcher at the foundation, the fading flowers, “a glad bird on its flight across the sea,” and the colours, the sounds and the scents of nature fascinate him and intoxicate him with boundless joy. The following lines from Gitanjali reveal his unique talent as colourist and painter in words:
“The morning sea of silence broke into ripple of bird songs; and the flowers were all merry by the roadside, and the wealth of gold was scattered through the rift of the clouds while we busily went on our way and paid no heed.”
Tagore, a Poet of Beauty:
Like Keats, Tagore also is a poet of beauty, beauty which is truth. He too loves the principle of beauty in everything and for him too a thing of beauty is a joy forever. His concept of sundaram is never devoid of shivam and satyam. Besides spiritual and divine beauty, he also woos other kinds of beauty-of colour, sights, sounds imagery, phrase and grace.
Primarily and Pre-Eminently a Lyric Poet: Tagore As a World Poet
Tagore wrote the largest number of lyrics ever attempted by any poet. His poems are offerings expressed in sweet and unique melodies, dazzling and imperishable in beauty. Gitanjali is a collection of hundred odd lyrics. The Gardener, The Lover’s Gift, The Fugitive and Other Poems, The Crescent Moon, The Poems of 1942 etc., are all collections of lyrics of exquisite beauty and superb harmony. Music and melody, cadences and rhythms, spontaneity and brevity are excellently blended together in his lyrics. The variety and suggestiveness of imagery in Tagore’s lyrics, mostly drawn from nature, is unsurpassable in the entire range of Indo- English poetry. He has an unmistakable sense of rhythm and metre and mingles sound with sense in his lyrical poetry.
Simplicity and Spontaneity:
Tagore’s simplicity is full of grandeur and serenity. He is sinuous, oblique, deceptively simple. In his verse there is spontaneity too. He is not a tract of land where edifices are built and tunnels forged through mountains, but as a. stretch of water, changeable, continuous, always on the move, cool and bland. When he composes, his heart dances like a peacock. His poetry can be compared with a beautiful meadow surrounded and studded with flowers, with a stream of pure and crystal waters flowing through it and with the radiance of the sun illumining all its dark corners.
His Lyrics Suffused with Humanism:
Tagore is the champion of suffering humanity and vehemently condemns all religious rituals and fanaticism which divide man from man. Rabindranath rebelled against the orthodoxies surrounding him and traced India’s fall to clash of castes and creeds, to indifference to the disinherited of the earth. According to Tagore man is the image of God. There is nothing untouchable in the great body of God, the world of men. We should love every creative, the naked and the hungry, the sic and the stranger. He glorifies man.
As a Poet of Love:
Tagore is above all the poet of love. Love flows from his heart, mind and soul in continuous stream assuming all different forms in its winding from finite into infinite, He interprets love in all its multiform expressions-the love of mother, of son, of husband, wife, lover, of beloved and of friend. His poetry expresses his ardent love for someone whose identity remains a mystery. Was the person Nalini, the Maharashtrian girl, with whom as some say, he fell in love? Or was she Kadambari, his sister-in-law whom he adored and who inspired him to write? The Gardener, Fruit-Gathering and Lover’s Gift give expression to his feelings of love for the mortal beloved whereas Gitanjali is an expression of his love for the immortal one.
His Style, Diction and Imagery: Tagore As a World Poet
There is a rare beauty of expression in the poems of Tagore. His choice of diction is very happy. He chooses highly suggestive, melodious and expressive words from a rich treasure. Only the inevitable words are used, which it is hard to improve upon. We cannot substitute even a single word because by doing so we will destroy the sense, spirit and intrinsic beauty of the poem. Imagination lends charm to his style. Imagination enables him to harmonise ideas among themselves and to communicate them in a beautiful, musical and rhythmic style. He composes Iines of haunting beauty by his harmonious blending of words, music and imagination. His poetic style is noticeable for musical quality, flawless case, spontaneity, suggestiveness and picturesqueness.
His lyrics are distinguished by the beauty and richness of imagery. Gitanjali, The Gardner, The Crescent Moon, etc., abound in poetic similes, romantic metaphors, and suggestive and picturesque symbols. His imagery concretizes his emotions and increases the poetic beauty of his lyrics which are already emotionally powerful and touching. His imagery is romantic. His imagery is mainly drawn from nature and Indian mythology.
Rabindranath Tagore is one of the greatest poets of the world. The most fundamental characteristics of his poetry-his sense of realism and his humanism have been brought out in the poems that he composed. He is a poet of universal religion, internationalism and world brotherhood. He represents unity in diversity and a synthesis of material, and spiritual life. His poetry stands for Shantam, Shivam, Advaintnam, i.e., universal peace, welfare and unity. His realism is free from crude materialism, his mysticism is free from the false spirituality of escapism and his humanism is free from the narrow limits of nationalism. In a very real sense, he was a world poet.
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