Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913

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Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Death: Died in Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Place of Burial: Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Immediate Family:

Son of Maharishi Devendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi Tagore
Husband of Mrinalini Devi Tagore
Father of Madhurilata Tagore; Rathindranath Tagore; Renuka Devi Tagore; Mira Devi Tagore and Shamindranath Tagore
Brother of Dwijendranath Tagore; Satyendranath Tagore; Hemendranath Tagore; Birendranath Tagore; Saudamini Devi Gangopadhyay and 8 others

Occupation: Writer, Painter
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913

Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali: রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর, robindronath ţhakur)α[›]β[›] (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941),γ[›] sobriquet Gurudev,δ[›] was a Bengali poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright who reshaped Bengali literature and music. As author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, His poetry in translation was viewed as spiritual, and this together with his mesmerizing persona gave him a prophet-like aura in the west but his "elegant prose and magical poetry" still remains largely unknown outside the confines of Bengal.

A Pirali Brahmin from Kolkata, Tagore was already writing poems since he was eight years old. At age 16, he published his first substantial poetry under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion") and wrote his first short stories and dramas in 1877. Tagore achieved further note when he denounced the British Raj and supported Indian independence. His efforts endure in his vast canon and in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University. Rabindranath Tagore's father was a great landlord. Their estate consisted of hundreds of towns and thousands of miles, and there was a beautiful river flowing through their estate. Rabindranath often used to go on his small houseboat and live for months on the beautiful river, surrounded by thick forest, in absolute silence and aloneness. One full-moon night, it happened: he was reading a very significant contribution to the philosophy of aesthetics, by Croce.

Croce is perhaps the most significant philosopher who has thought about beauty. His whole life's work was concerned with finding the meaning of beauty -- not truth, not good. His sole concern was with what is beautiful. He thought if we can find what is beautiful we have found what is true, because truth cannot be ugly, and we have found what is good, because the beautiful cannot be evil. A beautiful conception ...and with this foundation he worked his whole life to find out from different angles what beauty is.

Rabindranath himself was a worshiper of beauty. He lived a very beautiful and aesthetic life. He not only created beautiful poetry, but his life itself was a beautiful poem. He was a very graceful man.

On that full-moon night with a small candle inside his houseboat he was reading Croce. In the middle of night, tired from Croce's very complicated arguments, he closed the book and blew out the candle. He was going to his bed to sleep, but a miracle happened. As the small flame of the candle disappeared, from every window and door of the small houseboat, the moon came dancing in. The moon filled the house with its splendor.

Rabindranath remained silent for a moment ...it was such a sacred experience. He went out of the house, and the moon was immensely beautiful in that silent night amongst those silent trees, with a river flowing so slowly that there was no noise. He wrote in his diary the next morning, "The beauty was all around me, but a small candle had been preventing it. Because of the light of the candle, the light of the moon could not enter."

This is exactly the meaning of nirvana. Your small flame of the ego, your small flame of the mind and its consciousness, is preventing the whole universe from rushing into you; hence the word nirvana -- blow out the candle and let the whole universe penetrate you from every nook and corner. You will not be a loser. You will find, for the first time, your inexhaustible treasure of beauty, of goodness, of truth -- of all that is valuable. Hence, mind cannot be said to reach nirvana; only no-mind is equivalent to nirvana.

Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to political and personal topics. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and contemplation. Tagore was perhaps the only litterateur who penned anthems of two countries - Jana Gana Mana, the Indian national anthem and Amar Shonar Bangla, the Bangladeshi national anthem.

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Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913's Timeline

May 7, 1861
Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Age 24
Age 26
Age 29
Age 32
Age 34
August 7, 1941
Age 80
Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India