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Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore: Distinction of spirituality from dogma

Gitanjali: Rabindranath Tagore

(Distinction of spirituality from dogma)

Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore: Distinction of spirituality from dogma

Q. How does Tagore distinguish spirituality from dogma? Answer with reference to the Gitanjali poems prescribed in your syllabus.

Answer: Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, philosopher, and polymath who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He distinguished spirituality from dogma in his works by emphasizing the importance of freedom, individuality, and creativity in spiritual expression.

In "Where the mind is without fear," Tagore describes a vision of an ideal society where people are free from fear, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness. He highlights the importance of reason, knowledge, and imagination in spiritual pursuits, rather than blindly following religious dogma. The poem begins with the line "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high," emphasizing the importance of individual freedom and dignity in spiritual expression.

In "Leave thy chanting and singing and telling beads," Tagore criticizes the ritualistic practices of organized religion and calls for a more personal and direct experience of the divine. He suggests that true spirituality comes from within, and that one should not rely on external symbols and ceremonies to connect with the divine. The poem ends with the lines "Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence," suggesting a more personal and intimate relationship with the divine.

In "Art thou abroad on this stormy night," Tagore explores the theme of spiritual seeking and the longing for transcendence. He suggests that true spirituality is a journey of discovery, rather than a fixed set of beliefs or practices. The poem begins with the line "Art thou abroad on this stormy night, on thy journey of love, my friend?" highlighting the importance of personal exploration and adventure in spiritual seeking.

In "Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them," Tagore emphasizes the struggle between tradition and individuality in spiritual expression. He suggests that while tradition can provide guidance and support, it can also be limiting and stifling. The poem ends with the lines "I am ever busy building this wall all around; and as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my true being in its dark shadow," suggesting the importance of breaking free from tradition and embracing one's true self in spiritual expression.

Overall, Tagore distinguished spirituality from dogma by emphasizing the importance of freedom, individuality, and creativity in spiritual expression. He rejected blind adherence to religious dogma and encouraged personal exploration and discovery in spiritual seeking.

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