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Rabindranath Tagore Quotes


Rabindranath Tagore
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Rabindranath Tagore
  • Born: 7th May 1861, Calcutta, British India
  • Died: 7th August 1941, Calcutta, British India
  • Resting place: Cremated at Nimtala crematorium, Calcutta, British India; Ashes scattered in the Ganges River
  • Alma mater: University College London
  • Occupation: Poet, composer, writer, philosopher and painter
  • Nationality: British Indian
  • Literary movement: Contextual Modernism
  • Notable works: Gitanjali, Gora, Ghare-Baire, Jana Gana Mana, Rabindra Sangeet and Amar Shonar Bangla
  • Notable awards: 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Nicknames: Biswakabi, Gurudev, Kabiguru and World Poet
  • Inspired: André Gide, Anna Akhmatova, Gabriela Mistral, José Ortega y Gasset, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, Salman Rushdie, Vincenc Lesný, William Butler Yeats, Yasunari Kawabata and Zenobia Camprubí
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Life is given to us, we earn it by giving it"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Passive resistance is a force which is not necessarily moral in itself; it can be used against truth as well as for it. The danger inherent in all force grows stronger when it is likely to gain success, for then it becomes temptation"

Rabindranath Tagore

"When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Not for us, is this mad orgy of midnight, with lighted torches, but awakenment in the serene light of morning"

Rabindranath Tagore

"All the great utterances of man have to be judged not by the letter but by the spirit - the spirit which unfolds itself with the growth of life in history"

Rabindranath Tagore

"The human soul is on its journey from the law to love, from discipline to liberation, from the moral plane to the spiritual"

Rabindranath Tagore

"In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance"

Rabindranath Tagore

"When we define a man by the market value of the service we can expect of him, we know him imperfectly"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Every person is worthy of an infinite wealth of love - the beauty of his soul knows no limit"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Time is the wealth of change, but the clock in its parody makes it mere change and no wealth"

Rabindranath Tagore

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

Rabindranath Tagore

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

Rabindranath Tagore

"Love's gift cannot be given, it waits to be accepted"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Age considers youth ventures"

Rabindranath Tagore

"Dark clouds become heaven's flowers when kissed by light"

Rabindranath Tagore

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

Rabindranath Tagore

"Facts are many, but the truth is one"

Rabindranath Tagore

"The truth comes as conqueror only because we have lost the art of receiving it as guest"

Rabindranath Tagore

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

Rabindranath Tagore

"Compulsion is not indeed the final appeal to man, but joy is. And joy is everywhere"

Rabindranath Tagore

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

Rabindranath Tagore

"If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars"

Rabindranath Tagore

"If you shut your door to all errors truth will be shut out"

Rabindranath Tagore

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Rabindranath Tagore Biography

Rabindranath Tagore was the Indian philosopher and master of the creative arts whose pen, brush and music was to touch the hearts and minds of a curious world steeped in more questions than answers about the mysteries of the east. His musical contribution has bequeathed the national anthems for both India and Bangladesh whilst his lyrics are sung to the tune of the Sri Lanka national anthem.

Tagore's artistic nature for painting started late in life but his creative instinct was quickly apparent and his works were shown in galleries across the globe. Today most of his artwork is deemed a national art treasure making them non-exportable out of India.



Tagore came from a well to do family in Calcutta and his early works were mostly written in his native Bengali and were very well received across India. Encouraged by this he decided to translate his most famous work the "Gitanjali" into English and in 1912 embarked on a whirlwind journey to England that would change his life forever and see him standing shoulder to shoulder with the literary giants of the world.

Tagore asked the painter William Rothenstein to read his poems and although the artist was suitably impressed he requested a second opinion from the Irish writer William Butler Yeats who upon first reading was astounded by what he read. He felt a stimulation so inspiring he made it his mission to champion the cause of the new found poet from the east and his praise went into a hyperbolic overdrive in the literary and journalistic circles he frequented.

With Yeats' help his works were published by MacMillan and he stole the hearts and minds of the press who were charmed by his eloquence, enchanted by his presence and interpreted his flowing white hair, beard and robes as something mystical from the east.

Within one year he was holding the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature in his hand and in doing so he became the first non-European to win this prestigious award. Within two years the influence of Tagore was global with Gitanjali being translated into dozens of languages spanning every continent that would eventually see him visiting in excess of 30 countries eager to listen to the words of this remarkable man.

In 1930 two great thinkers came together when Tagore met Albert Einstein and the two participated in a recorded intellectual discourse on science, truth and the universe. It was riveting stuff that made the front pages around the world as a mutual respect built up between the physicist and the philosopher.

It was not just poetry he excelled at for he was a true polymath who mastered many creative disciplines throughout his lifetime. He now stands as a true son of Indian soil who proudly put his country's name on the world map of creative literature. As you would expect from such a wise philosopher he was good for a one liner also, so here is my compilation of 24 of the best Rabindranath Tagore quotes

Quotes About Rabindranath Tagore

Mahatma Gandhi was quoted in a discourse with Tagore: "The Poet has been unnecessarily alarmed at the negative aspect of Non-cooperation. We had lost the power of saying ‘no’. It had become disloyal, almost sacrilegious to say ‘no’ to the Government... Non-cooperation is the nation’s notice that it is no longer satisfied to be in tutelage... And if India is ever to attain the Swaraj of the Poet’s dream, she will do so only by Non-violent Non-cooperation"

Jawaharlal Nehru made this comparison: "No two persons could probably differ so much as Gandhi and Tagore. The surprising thing is that both of these men with so much in common and drawing inspiration from the same wells of wisdom and thought and culture, should differ from each other so greatly!... I think of the richness of India’s age-long cultural genius, which can throw up in the same generation two such master-types, typical of her in every way, yet representing different aspects of her many-sided personality"

The author Vandana Shiva was impressed to say: "Tagore saw unity with nature as the highest stage of human evolution"

The philosopher Amartya Sen felt the missing essence after translation: "Anyone who knows Tagore's poems in their original Bengali cannot feel satisfied with any of the translations. Even the translations of his prose works suffer ... the charms have vanished in translation"

William Butler Yeats famously described his work thus: "These prose translations have stirred my blood as nothing has for years - These lyrics display in their thought a world I have dreamed of all my life long. The work of a supreme culture"

The Israeli President Shimon Peres revealed two sources of inspiration: "Many of us were educated on the literature of India when we fell in love we read Rabindranath Tagore and when we matured we tried to understand Gandhi"

The author George Bernard Shaw reluctantly had to decline an invitation to visit Tagore: "Unfortunately I am not really visiting India; but the ship in which I am going round the world to get a little rest and do a little work has to put in at Bombay and Colombo to replenish her tanks; and on such occasions I step ashore for a few hours and wander about the streets and such temples as are open to European untouchables .... My only regret is that I shall be unable to visit you. My consolation is that the present situation in India will not bear being talked about. I understand it only too well"


Rabindranath Tagore image quote