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Perhaps it is well for me to explain that the subject-matter of the papers published in this book has not been philosophically treated, nor has it been approached from the scholar's point of view. The writer has been brought up in a family where texts of the Upanishads are used in daily worship; and he has had before him the example of his father, who lived his long life in the closest communion with God, while not neglecting his duties to the world, or allowing his keen interest in all human affairs to suffer any abatement. So in these papers, it may be hoped, western readers will have an opportunity of coming into touch with the ancient spirit of India as revealed in our sacred texts and manifested in the life of to-day.

136 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1913

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 99 reviews
Profile Image for Atri .
200 reviews126 followers
February 13, 2022
The universe is not a mere echo, reverberating from sky to sky like a homeless wanderer - the echo of an old song sung once for all in the dim beginning of things and then left orphaned. Every moment it comes from the heart of the master, it is breathed in his breath.

And that is the reason why it overspreads the sky like a thought taking shape in a poem, and never has to break into pieces with the burden of its own accumulating weight. Hence the surprise of endless variations, the advent of the unaccountable, the ceaseless procession of individuals, each of whom is without a parallel in creation. As at the first so to the last, the beginning never ends - the world is ever old and ever new.


We must know that it is only the revelation of the Infinite which is endlessly new and eternally beautiful in us, and which gives the only meaning to our self.


The river finds its holiday in its onward flow, the fire in its outburst of flame, the scent of the flower in its permeation of the atmosphere; but in our everyday work there is no such holiday for us. It is because we do not let ourselves go, because we do not give ourselves joyously and entirely up to it, that our work overpowers us.

O giver of thyself! At the vision of thee as joy let our souls flame up to thee as the fire, flow on to thee as the river, permeate thy being as the fragrance of the flower. Give us strength to love, to love fully, our life in its joys and sorrows, in its gains and losses, in its rise and fall. Let us have strength enough fully to see and hear thy universe, and to work with full vigour therein. Let us fully live the life thou hast given us, let us bravely take and bravely give. This is our prayer to thee.


...the most fleeting of our enjoyments are but the momentary touches of the eternal.


Words do not gather bulk when you know their meaning; they become true by being one with the idea.


We see the gesticulations of the dancer, and we imagine these are directed by a ruthless tyranny of chance, while we are deaf to the eternal music which makes every one of these gestures inevitably spontaneous and beautiful. These motions are ever growing into that music of perfection, becoming one with it, dedicating to that melody at every step the multitudinous forms they go on creating.

And this is the truth of our soul, and this is her joy, that she must ever be growing into Brahma, that all her movements should be modulated by the ultimate idea, and all her creations should be given as offerings to the supreme spirit of perfection.


Where can I meet thee unless in this mine home made thine? Where can I join thee unless in this my work transformed into thy work? If I leave my home I shall not reach thy home; if I cease my work I can never join thee in thy work. For thou dwellest in me and I in thee. Thou without me or I without thee are nothing.

Therefore, in the midst of our home and our work, the prayer rises, "Lead me across!" For here rolls the sea, and even here lies the other shore waiting to be reached - yes, here is this everlasting present, not distant, not anywhere else.
Profile Image for Vaishali.
1,042 reviews273 followers
April 23, 2021
This is one of those books whose every sentence you must read a few times over... to immerse, enjoy and marvel at Tagore's depth and understanding of the universe.

The flying fish I glimpsed above this immense school:

“To live in perfect goodness is to realize one's life in the infinitive.”

“Our life remains a life of habits; the world still appears to us as machine, to be mastered where it is useful, to be guarded against where it is dangerous - and never to be known, in its full fellowship with us, alike in its physical nature and in its spiritual life and beauty.”

“ Dischord cannot be an end in itself.”

“It is only when we wholly submit to the bonds of truth that we fully gain the joy of freedom. When the harp is truly strung - when there is not the slightest laxity in the strength of the bond - then only does music result.”

“Law in itself is only a limit. It only shows what is can never be otherwise.”

“This old, old day of our earth is born again and again every morning. It is for ourself to know that it must be born anew every moment of its life. It must break through all illusions that encase it in their crust to make it appear old, burdening it with death.”

“To work, we must live. To live, we must work.”

“This is the ultimate end of man, to find the One which is in him; which is his truth, which is his soul; the key with which he opens the gate of the spiritual life, the heavenly kingdom. His desires are many, and madly they run after the varied objects of the world, for therein they have their life and fulfillment. But that which is one in him is ever seeking for unity.”

“Beauty is omnipresent, therefore everything is capable of giving us joy.”

“Our body can only die when it tries to eat its own substance, and our eye loses the meaning of its function if it can only see itself.”

“Error, by its nature, cannot be stationary; it cannot remain with truth; like a tramp, it must quit its lodging as soon as it fails to pay its score to the full.”

“In evil of any form, its essence is impermanence, for it cannot accord with the whole. Every moment it is being corrected by the totality of things and keeps changing its aspect. We exaggerate its importance by imagining it as a standstill.”

“All statistics consist of our attempts to represent statistically what is in motion; and in the process things assume a weight in our mind which they have not in reality.”

“The truth is, death is not the ultimate reality. It looks black, as the sky looks blue; but it does not blacken existence, just as the sky does not leave its stain upon the wings of the bird.”

“When we watch a child trying to walk, we see its countless failures; its successes are but few. But we find that in spite of its repeated failures there is an impetus of joy in the child which sustains it in its seemingly impossible task.”

“Pessimism is a form of mental dipsomania; it disdains healthy nourishment, indulges in the strong drink of denunciation, and creates an artificial dejection which thirsts for a stronger draught.”

“Man, who is provident, feels for that life of his which is not yet existent… he is ready to sacrifice his present inclination for the unrealized future. In this he becomes great, for he realizes truth.”

“As he has a feeling for his future self which is outside his present consciousness, so he has a feeling for his greater self which is outside the limits of his personality.”

“In order to claim the aid of truth, selfishness has to be unselfish to some extent. A band of robbers must be moral in order to hold together as a band; they may rob the whole world but not each other.”

“To live the life of goodness is to live the life of all. Pleasure is for one's own self, but goodness is concerned with the happiness of all humanity and for all time.”

“The firmness of the earth invariably hurts the falling child who is learning to walk. Nevertheless it is the same firmness that hurts him which makes his walking possible.”

“At every step we have to take into account others than ourselves. For only in death are we alone. We see then that man's individuality is not his highest truth; there is that in him which is universal.”

“The universal power which is manifested in the universal law is one with our own power. It will thwart us where we are small, where we are against the current of things; but it will help us where we are great, where we are in unison with the all”

“Really, there is no limit to our powers, for we are not outside the universal power which is the expression of universal law.”

“The universal spirit is waiting to crown us with happiness, but our individual spirit would not accept it.”

“When we reach that state wherein the adjustment of the finite in us to the infinite is made perfect, then pain itself becomes a valuable asset. It becomes a measuring rod with which to gauge the true value of our joy.”

“The most important lesson that man can learn from his life is not that there is pain in this world, but that it depends upon him to turn it into good account, that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy.”

“Man's freedom is never in being saved troubles, but it is the freedom to take trouble for his own good, to make the trouble an element in his joy.”

“The man who loses all pleasure in accepting pain sinks down and down to the lowest depth of penury and degradation.”

“The whole weight of the universe cannot crush out this individuality of mine.”

“The universal is ever seeking its consummation in the unique. And the desire we have to keep our uniqueness intact is really the desire of the universe acting in us. It is our joy of the infinite in us that gives us our joy in ourselves.”

“The men who are cursed with the gift of the literal mind are the unfortunate ones who are always busy with their nets and neglect the fishing.”

“Our self has no means of holding us, for its own nature is to pass on; and by clinging to this thread of self which is passing through the loom of life we cannot make it serve the purpose of the cloth into which it is being woven.”

“They know not the beauty of completion.”

“We have seen the great purpose in us taking shape in the lives of our greatest men, and have felt certain that though there are numerous individual lives that seem ineffectual, still it is not their dharma to remain barren; but it is for them to burst their cover and transform themselves into a vigorous spiritual shoot, growing up into the air and light, and branching out in all directions.”

“Our true freedom is not the freedom from action but freedom in action, which can only be attained in the work of love.”

“Knowledge, power, and action are of his nature; they are not imposed upon him from outside. Therefore his work is his freedom, and in his creation he realizes himself.”

“When the self feels no impulse which urges it to grow out of itself, when it treats its limits as final and acts accordingly, then comes our teacher's call to die to this death... not a call to annihilation but to eternal life. It is the extinction of the lamp in the morning light; not the abolition of the sun.”

“He who is wise tries to harmonize the wishes that seek for self-gratification with the wish for the social good, and only thus can he realize his higher self.”

“The emancipation of our physical nature is in attaining health, of our social being in attaining goodness, and of our self in attaining love.”

“ (Brahma) is not content in giving us Himself; He gives us His strength.”
Profile Image for Sandeep.
219 reviews39 followers
February 27, 2016
This book is exceptional, only draw back I have is, I won't be able to re-collect, re-iterate all of the stuffs mentioned in the book, as much as, I would have wanted to.

I tend to forget things, and Tagore in this book explains loads of stuffs, some of them so deep, that I promise, I have forgotten them already, (reason being I am such a dumb guy).

I was simply blown away by the first chapter. This book deserves a re-read, especially with notes and areas to apply and reminders.

Profile Image for Thom Swennes.
1,822 reviews54 followers
November 17, 2012
Written in the pinnacle of eloquence, Sadhana by Rabindranath Tagore relates a theory of a few points of the teaching of Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha. This narrative touches many bases dealing with the virtue of man, greed, love and compassion. I found it at times both ambiguous and inspiring. It gave me a more perceptive look and understanding of Buddhism by pointing out a few subtle similarities and differences. I can imagine it could be very insightful and inspiring for some but I can guarantee that it is a beautiful read for all. The flowery verse in its pages flow like wine from the lips of the reader and is sure to bring pleasure.
Profile Image for Nick.
691 reviews179 followers
July 14, 2016
One of the more comprehensible, and clear, (without compromising the beauty of the prose) expositions of Hindu/Brahmo philosophy which I've read.

A lot of western people seem to be reading this in a confused manner, because they expect it to be a "religious" treatise in the tradition of Abrahamism. But its really not like that. Really what this book is about, is the relationship between the finite human and the infinite universe. How does one realize the wholeness of oneself and everything else? Short answer- by love, harmonious action, and by seeing beauty. What is the connection between illusion and truth, given that both are aspects of the universe? Short answer- illusion is the imperfect, transient, temporary aspects of the universe, and truth is the eternal underlying substratum. These are the sorts of notions tackled in this book.

A personal God is not really in this book. Its more like a deistic panentheism. Similar to Zen or Taoism or Tantra in that, Brahamn is to be realized at once, not over a gradual period of study. After all, it is in everything, and comprises all understanding and feeling. It must be realized, not learned.

It also contains what I've tended to term "atmanism," a neologism created from the term "egoism." The Atman's (soul's) realization is the ultimate goal of life. And the Atman contains all potential, and all unique power. In a sense it is "selfish," but the conception of the self, and what benefits the self, is very different from egoism. (egoism being in essence, the illusory mirror image of sadhana)

So yeah. Its a rationalized essence of the Upanishads, filtered through Brahmo Samaj. Love one another, and love the universe. Isn't the universe so wonderful! Its so beautiful. Every flower is a love letter from Brahman. And each one of us is indivisible from it! What a wonder it is! Easy words to mouth, If this is truly realized, toil vanishes.
Profile Image for Clare.
3 reviews1 follower
April 3, 2008
This books blows the lid off the cosmos, it really does.
Profile Image for Kavitha.
189 reviews52 followers
June 8, 2021
Sadhana is a Sanskrit word that can be loosely translated to mean practice. In the context of this book, it can be translated to the practice of training one's mind to see beyond what meets the eyes, to absorb the real beauty of the world around us, to live a life filled with joy, meaning and purpose. This book gave me a wonderful opportunity to pause amidst all the busy-ness and organized chaos of my daily life and spend a few minutes every day in the company of the beautiful, wise and highly evolved mind of Pandit Rabindranath Tagore. It's a slim book of merely 100 pages or so, but I took my time reading it and did my best to absorb as much as I can into the depths of my own consciousness. Almost every page of my copy has underlined sentences. I copied most of them below (all errors are mine) and went through the process of rereading them while doing so (Oh, joy!). I am not someone who rereads often, but I can see myself reading this book again and again at different phases of my life, each time gaining new insights that would enrich my life and consequently the lives of those that intersect with mine. I felt like I gave myself a precious gift by taking the time to read this book. Wonderful!

“Through all the diversities of the world the one in us is threading its course towards the one in all; this is its nature and this is its joy.” P.25

“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music. The trees and the stars and the blue hills appear to us as symbols aching with a meaning which can never be uttered in words. We seem to watch the Master in the very act of creation of a new world when a man’s soul draws her heavy curtain of self aside, when her veil is lifted and she is face to face with her eternal lover.” -P.29

“Imperfection is not a negation of perfectness; finitude is not contradictory to infinity: they are but completeness manifested in parts, infinity revealed within bounds.” -P.31

“But evil is ever moving; with all its incalculable immensity it does not effectually clog the current of our life; and we find that earth, water, and air remain sweet and pure for living beings.” -P32

“But the truth is, death is not the ultimate reality. It looks black, as the sky looks blue; but it does not blacken existence, just as the sky does not leave its stain upon the wings of the bird.” -P.33

“Thus the sense of goodness comes out of a truer view of our life, which is the connected view of the wholeness of the field of life, and which takes into account not only what is present before us but what is not, and perhaps never humanly can be.” -P.35

“It is a truth that man is not a detached being, that he has a universal aspect; and when he recognizes this he becomes great.” -P36

“We see then that man’s individuality is not his highest truth; there is that in him which is universal. If he were made to live in a world where his own self was the only factor to consider, then that would be the worst prison imaginable to him, for man’s deepest joy is in growing greater and greater by more and more union with the all.” -P39

“Man’s freedom is never in being saved troubles, but it is the freedom to take trouble for his own good, to make the trouble an element of joy. It can be made so only when we realize that our individual self is not the highest meaning of our being, that in us we have the works - man who is immortal, who is not afraid of death or sufferings, and who looks upon pain as only the other side of joy. He who has realized this knows that it is pain which is our true wealth as imperfect beings, and has made us great and worthy to take our seat with the perfect.” -P42

“It is only when we invoke the aid of pain for our self-gratification that she becomes evil and takes her vengeance for the insult done to her by hurling us into misery. For she is the vestal virgin consecrated to the service of the immortal perfection, and when she takes her true place before the altar of the infinite she casts off her dark veil and bares her face to the beholder as a revelation of supreme joy.” -P42

“The play of life and death we see everywhere—this transmutation of the old into the new. The day comes to us every morning, naked and white, fresh as a flower. But we know it is old. It is age itself. It is that very ancient day which took up the newborn earth in its arms, covered it with its white mantle of light, and sent it forth on its pilgrimage among the stars. Yet its feet are untried and its eyes undimmed. It carries the golden amulet of ageless eternity, at whose touch all wrinkles vanish from the forehead of creation. In the very core of the world’s heart stands immortal youth. Death and decay cast over its face momentary shadows and pass on; they leave no marks of their steps—and truth remains fresh and young.” -P55-56

“But every morning the day is reborn among the newly-blossomed flowers with the same message retold and the same assurance renewed that death eternally dies, that the waves of turmoil are on the surface, and that the sea of tranquility is fathomless. The curtain of night is drawn aside and truth emerges without a speck of dust on its garment, without a furrow of age on its lineaments.” -P56

“His games would be a horror to the child if he could not come back to his mother, and our pride of personality will be a curse to us if we cannot give it up for love. We must know that it is only the revelation of the Infinite which is endlessly new and eternally beautiful in us, and which gives the only meaning to our self.” -P58

"I was telling you, therefore, that however busy our active nature outwardly may be, she has a secret chamber within the heart where she comes and goes freely, without any design whatsoever. There the fire of her workshop is transformed into lamps of a festival, the noise of her factory is heard like music. The iron chain of cause and effect sounds heavily outside in nature, but in the human heart its unalloyed delight seems to sound, as it were, like the golden strings of a harp." -P64

"Outwardly nature is busy and restless, inwardly she is all silence and peace. She has toil on one side and leisure on the other. You see her bondage only when you see her from without, but within her heart is a limitless beauty."

"From joy are born all creatures, by joy they are sustained, towards joy they progress, and into joy they enter."

"The question is, In what manner do we accept this world, which is a perfect gift of joy? Have we been able to receive it in our heart where we keep enshrined things that are of deathless value to us? We are frantically busy making use of the forces of the universe to gain more and more power; we feed and we clothe ourselves from its stores, we scramble for its riches, and it becomes for us a field of fierce competition. But were we born for this, to extend our proprietary rights over this world and make of it a marketable commodity? When our whole mind is bent only upon making use of this world it loses for us its true value. We make it cheap by our sordid desires; and thus to the end of our days we only try to feed upon it and miss its truth, just like the greedy child who tears leaves from a precious book and tries to swallow them." -P67

"But man is not entirely an animal. He aspires to a spiritual vision, which is the vision of the whole truth. This gives him the highest delight, because it reveals to him the deepst harmony that exists between him and his surroundings."-P69

"For sin is not one more action, but it is an attitude of life which takes for granted that our goal is finite, that our self is the ultimate truth, and that we are not all essentially one but exist each of its own separate individual existence."-P69

"Of course it is obvious that the world serves us and fulfils our needs, but our relation to it does not end there. We are bound to it with a deeper and truer bond than that of necessity. Our soul is drawn to it; our love of life is really our wish to continue our relation with this great world. This relation is one of love. We are glad that we are in it; we are attached to it with numberless threads, which extend from this earth to the stars." -P70

"When this perception of the perfection of unity is not merely intellectual, when it opens out our whole being into a luminous consciousness of the all, then it becomes a radiant joy, an overspreading love. Our spirit finds its larger self in the whole world, and is filled with an absolute certainty that is immortal. It dies a hundred times in its enclosures of self; for separateness is doomed to die, it cannot be made eternal. But it never can die where it is one with the all, for there is its truth, its joy. When a man feels the rhythmic throb of the soul-life of the whole world in his own soul, then he is free. Then he enters into the secret courting that goes on between this beautiful world-bride, veiled with the veil of the many-coloured finiteness, and the _paramatmam_, the bridegroom, in his spotless while. Then he knows that he is the partaker of this gorgeous love festival, and he is the honored guest at the feast of immortality. Then he understands the meaning of the seer-poet who sings, "From love the world is born, by love it is sustained, towards love it moves, and into love it enters...In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality at variance. Love must be one and two at the same time." -P71

"The infinite being has assumed unto himself the mystery of finitude. And in him who is love the finite and the infinite are made one."-P72

"Any joy is everywhere; it is in the earth's green covering of grass; in the blue serenity of the sky; in the reckless exuberance of spring; in the severe abstinence os grey winter; in the living flesh that animates our bodily frame; in the prefect poise of the human figure, noble and upright; in living; in the exercise of all our powers; in the acquisition of knowledge; in fighting evils; in dying for gains we never can share. Joy is there everywhere; it is superfluous, unnecessary; nay, it very often contradicts the most peremptory behests of necessity. It exists to show that the bonds of law can only be explained by love; they are like body and soul. Joy is the realization of the truth of oneness, the oneness of our soul with the world and of the world-soul with the supreme lover." -P73

"[Yadat Kerma prakurvita tadbrahmani samarpayet.] This is to say, the soul is to dedicate itself to Brahma through all its activities. This dedication is the song of the soul, in this is it's freedom. Joy reigns when all work becomes the path to the union with Brahma; when the soul ceases to return constantly to its own desires; when in it our self- offering grows more and more intense. Then there is completion, then there is freedom, then, in this world, comes the kingdom of God."-P80

"In my work is my joy, and in that joy does the joy of my joy abide." -P81

"The beneficent mind is that which shows us the want (_swartha_) of another self to be the inherent want (_nihitartha_) of our own self; that which shows that our joy consists in the varies aiming of our many-sided powers in the work of humanity. When we work under the guidance of this beneficent mind, then our activity is regulated, but does not become mechanical; it is action not goaded on by want, but stimulated by the satisfaction of the soul. Such activity ceases to be a blind imitation of that of the multitude, a cowardly following of the dictates of fashion. Therein we begin to see that He is in the beginning and in the end of the universe [Vaichaiti chante vicvamadau], and likewise see that of our own work is he the fount and the inspiration, and at the end thereof is he, and therefore that all our activity is pervaded by peace and good and joy." -P83

"The Upanishad says: _Knowledge, power, and action are of his nature._ [Svabhavikijnana bala kriya cha.] It is because this naturalness has not yet been born in us that we tend to divide joy from work. Our day of work is not our day of joy -- for that we require a holiday; for, miserable that we are, we cannot find our holiday in our work. The river finds its holiday in its onward flow, the fire in its outburst of flame, the scent of the flower in its permeation of the atmosphere; but in our everyday work there is no such holiday for us. It is because we do not let ourselves go, because we do not give ourselves joyously and entirely up to it, that our work overpowers us." -P83

"O worker of the universe! We would pray to thee to let the irresistible current of thy universal energy come like the impetuous south wind of spring, let it come rushing over the vast field of the life of man, let it bring the scent of many flowers, the murmurings of many woodlands, let it make sweet and vocal the lifelessness of our dried-up soul-life. Let our newly awakened powers cry out for unlimited fulfillment in leaf and flower and fruit."-P84

"The Upanishads have said that al things are created and sustained by an infinite joy." -P.85

"When he has the power to see things detached from self-interest and from the insistent claims of the lust of the senses, then alone can he have the true vision of the beauty that is everywhere. Then only can he see that what is unpleasant to us is not necessarily unbeautiful, but has its beauty in truth." -P86-87

"Through our sense of truth we realize law in creation, and through our sense of beauty we realize harmony in the universe....As we become conscious of the harmony in our soul, our apprehension of the blissfulness of the spirit of the world becomes universal, and the expression of beauty in our life moves in goodness and love towards the infinite."-P87

"The evening sky, tirelessly repeating the starry constellations, seems like a child struck with wonder at the mystery of its own first utterance, lisping the same word over and over again, and listening to it in unceasing joy. When in the rainy night of July the darkness is thick upon the meadows and the pattering rain draws veil upon veil over the stillness of the slumbering earth, this monotony of the rain patter seems to be the darkness of sound itself. The gloom os the dim and dense line of trees, the thorny bushes scattered in the bare heath like floating heads of swimmers with bedraggled hair, the smell of the damp grass and the wet earth, the spire of the temple rising above the undefined mass of blackness grouped around the village huts -- everything seems like notes rising from the heart of the night, mingling and losing themselves in the one sound of ceaseless rain filling the sky."-P88

"The world-song is never for a moment separated from its singer...There is a perfection in each individual strain of this music, which is the revelation of completion in the incomplete. No one of its notes is final, yet each reflects the infinite." -P89

"Last night, in the silence which pervaded the darkness, I stood alone and heard the voice of the singer of eternal melodies. When I went to sleep I closed my eyes with this last thought in my mind, that even when I remain unconscious in slumber the dance of life will still go on in the hushed arena of my sleeping body, keeping step with the stars. The heart will throb, the blood will leap in the veins, and the millions of living atoms of my body will vibrate in tune with the note of the harp-string that thrills at the touch of the master." P89-90

"The Upanishads say: 'Man becomes true if in this life he can apprehend God; if not, it is the greatest calamity for him.'...In fact, when the soul seeks God she seeks her final escape from this incessant gathering and heaping and never coming to an end. It is not an additional object that she seeks, but it is the '_nityo nityanam_', the permaneny in all that is impermanent, the '_rasanam rasatamah_', the highest abiding joy unifying all enjoyments. Therefore when the Upanishads teach us to realize everything in Brahms, it is not to seek something extra, not to manufacture something new." -P90

"We do not have to run to the grocer's shop for our morning light; we open our eyes and there it is; so we need only give ourselves up to find that Brahma is everywhere." -P91

"In all our thoughts and deeds we must be conscious of the infinite. Let the realization of this truth become easier every day of our life, that none could live or move if the energy of the all-pervading joy did not fill the sky. [Ko hyevanyat kah pranyat yadesha akacha anando na syat.] In all our actions let us feel the impetus of the infinite energy and be glad." -P92

"Therefore, in the midst of our home and our work, the prayer rises, 'Lead me across!' For here rolls the sea, and even here lies the other shore waiting to be reached--yes, here is this everlasting present, not distant, not anywhere else."-P102
Profile Image for mahesh.
221 reviews13 followers
October 15, 2022
Well, I have not reached a peak which would give me an authority to write a review on this book.
However i could hear the whispers of infinite bliss in the melodies of rushing breeze and dancing rain after swimming across the poetic universe of upanishad in Tagore creation.
Must read for anyone who want to understand upanishad.
Every sentence in this book have a wisdom of thousands years.
Profile Image for Tanvika.
80 reviews39 followers
September 4, 2016
The western civilization has been grappling with divisions of mind/matter, god/human,nature/ human and within our spieces. the wall built by civilized beings has been the source of control,subordination of the other. Wars,colonization,human trafficking, exploitation of poor,gender, brutal use of the 'resource', anxiety,alienation,drug use have been the signs of despair and doom from the quest to progress.
Eastern thought, for instance Buddhism , Upanishad have long back solved this Dualism. The brahman is the ultimate absolute reality. It is unity in diversity. All appearances of contradictions like finite/infinite, dark/light, me/ other are actually the One. Individual is not merely a self seeking machine which rules and hurts the non self. The infinite in everything can be realised through the indescribable love and joy.
Tagore stresses on the fundamental unity ,harmony and interconnections in life. When we not only understand the grammar of the poem,but are able to appreciate its beauty as a whole.

Profile Image for Marko Bojkovský.
102 reviews21 followers
March 7, 2019
O, bogovi, koliko je Rabindranat Tagor divan.
S početka deluje kao da pokušava da približi indijsku duhovnost zapadnjacima, no kak oknjiga teče sve je jasnije da formuliše upravo svoje viđenje, tak oprepuno lepote, smirenja, proživljene mistike i... ljubavi, ljubavi kao suštine u odnosu čovek-svemir.

"...kada otkrijemo da je stanje Nirvane, koje je Buda podučavao kroz ljubav, onda znamo sigurno da je Nirvana najviša kulminacija ljubavi, jer je ljubav kraj sama sebi, sama sebi dovoljna. Sve ostalo u našem umu postavlja pitanje: "Zašto?" i zahtevamo razlog postojanja, ali kada kažemo "Ja volim", nema mesta za pitanje "Zašto?", jer ljubav je sama sebi odgovor."
Profile Image for Ryn.
292 reviews14 followers
May 16, 2012
Very beautiful and deep. It didn't really solve the problem of evil for me, but I commend it for trying. I will admit, the book was a bit of a struggle to read at times because I would get bogged down in the flowery language and the meaning would flow right over my head. However, the poetic words sometimes went straight to my heart filling it with hope and meaning. This was one that I read with a pen in my hand liberally underlining with great relish.
Profile Image for Seon Ji (Dawn).
1,033 reviews227 followers
May 29, 2021
Thank you Swaroop for the recommendation.

I classified this as a classic only due to the time period this was written. I feel it's important to note since the style of writing is dated.

Tagore, references Buddha, Jesus as well as the Gita and Upanishads.

It's not a light read that's for sure and I found it at times, difficult to understand. He says many of the same things as Anandamayima and Sadhguru, the difference is that they wrote plainly whereas Tagore writes poetically. Since I'm not very sensitive lately, I lacked the deep personal emotion needed to understand.

I'll go back at another time to re-read this, and hope to gain more from it than I have this time around.
64 reviews10 followers
July 29, 2014
Divinely inspiring.
Needs to be read and re-read.
Tagore speaks of a flower as a message from God, to re-assure us that he is in touch with us and is concerned about us.
Akin to Lord Rama's ring brought by Hanumanji to Sitaji to re-assure her when she was kept as a prisoner in Ravana's palace-gardens.
Profile Image for Lyubina Litsova.
376 reviews39 followers
December 5, 2017
Безкраен ме създаде ти — такава бе волята ти. Толкоз пъти вече изцеждаш този крехък съд и с пресен живот го пълниш винаги.
Пренесъл тръстиковата свирчица през хълми и долове, ти вдъхна в нея вечно нови песни.
В безсмъртното докосване на дланите ти мъничкото ми сърце престъпва всички граници на радостта и ражда слово неизказано.
Неспирните ти дарове стигат до мен само през моите невзрачни шепи. Минават вечности, а ти все лееш и все остава място за доливане.

Когато ти ми заповядаш да пея, мисля, че сърцето ми от гордост ще се пръсне; поглеждам твоето лице и сълзи в очите ми напират.
Всичко неблагозвучно и сурово в живота ми се стапя в сладостна хармония и преклонението ми разперва крила като честита птица в полет над морето.
Знам, че от песнопението ми извличаш радост. Знам, че единствено като певец пристъпвам в светостта ти.
С крайчеца на простряното крило на песента си докосвам твоите нозе, които никога не бих се осмелил да стигна.
Пиян от радостта на песнопението, забравям себе си и се обръщам като към приятел към тебе, който си ми господар.

Не знам как пееш ти, мой повелителю!
Слушам те винаги с безмълвно удивление.
Светът е озарен от светлината на музиката ти. Дъхът на музиката ти възлиза от едно небе на друго. Свещеният поток на музиката ти помита всички каменни прегради и не знае граници.
Сърцето ми копнее да се причасти към песента ти, но всуе се стреми към глас. Жадувам да говоря, но речта ми не се излива в песен и смутен възкликвам. О, в своята безкрайна музика сърцето ми си впримчил ти, мой повелителю!

Живот на собствения ми живот, аз ще се мъча да опазя тялото си винаги неомърсено, като знам, че живото ти докосване е върху всички мои членове.
Ще се старая винаги да не допускам никакви неистини до мислите си, като знам, че ти си онази истина, която запали светлината на разума в ума ми.
Ще се старая винаги да гоня всяко зло далече от сърцето си и да запазя любовта си в цвят, тъй като знам, че твоят трон е скрит в най-съкровената светиня на сърцето ми.
И винаги ще се стремя да те направя явствен в своите дела, тъй като знам, че твоето могъщество ми дава сили, за да действувам.

Аз чакам само любовта - да се предам
най-сетне в нейните ръце. Затуй се бавя
толкова и съм виновен за такива опущения.
Те идват да ме вържат здраво
с правилници и закони, но аз им се изплъзвам
винаги, защото чакам само любовта -
да се предам най-сетне в нейните ръце.
Корят ме и ме смятат за нехаен -
не се съмнявам, че са прави в укорите си.
Пазарният ден свърши и приключи
работата на отрудените. Онези, дето
идваха напразно да ме викат, с гняв са
се завърнали. Аз чакам само любовта -
да се предам най-сетне в нейните ръце.

Ако денят е свършил, ако птиците
не пеят вече, ако вятърът се е отпуснал
уморен, хвърли над мен тогава булото
на мрака, тъй както си загърнал земята
с плътната наметка на съня и нежно си
притворил в здрача листенцата на
клюмналия лотос.
От пътника, чиято торбичка е
изпразнена, преди скиталчеството му
да свъ��ши, чиято дреха е съдрана и
покрита с прах, чиято сила е изчерпана,
измий срама и нищетата и обнови
живота му като цветец под покривалото
на благата си нощ.

Светлината, о, къде е светлината?
Запали я с огъня на жаркото желание!
Ето го светилника, но в него - ни искра
от пламък. Сърце мое, туй ли е съдбата ти?
И смъртта е по-добра от нея!
Мъка чука на вратата ти и носи вест,
че твоят господар е буден - той те вика
на любовна среща в нощната тъма.
Небесата са покрити с облаци и дъжд
вали безспирно. Аз не знам какво е туй, което
се надига в мен, не го разбирам.
Мигновен проблясък на светкавица
свлича още по-голяма безпросветност върху
моя поглед и сърцето ми поема опипом
натам, където музиката на нощта ме вика.
Светлина, о, къде е светлината? Еква
гръмотевица и вятърът пронизва
пустотата с писък. Черна като черен камък
е нощта. Нека часовете не потънат в мрака!
Запали светилника на любовта с живота си!

Из „Думи с ритъма на вечност“ - Рабиндранат Тагор
Превел от английски Александър Шурбанов
Profile Image for David.
263 reviews7 followers
May 14, 2015
Sadhana was a quick read and felt a little bit like books I have read which are written by Rabbis in order to convince a Jew to be more religiously observant. Tagore discussed various aspects of his personal Hinduism making a compelling case for its relevance. As with other books about personal religious beliefs, he takes a pretty broad brush look at the philosophical and ethical components and uses a little of his own experience and scriptural verses from the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhist texts to back up these ideas. I appreciated the aspects of Hinduism and Indian culture that reminded me that I am a small part of a bigger universe and spiritual dimension, that all creatures are small pieces in a greater cosmology, and that the creative force is joyful. "At first we detach beauty from its surroundings, we hold apart from the rest, but at the end we realize its harmony with all. Then the music of beauty has no more need to excite us with loud noise, it renounces violence and appeals to our heart with the truth that meekness inherits the earth" (p.109).
Profile Image for Bella.
Author 5 books56 followers
June 24, 2017
Must read

He beautifully explains about consciousness, soul etc. Unless you are not acquainted with these terms you may not find this book appealing. But this book is truly worth reading and keeping.
Profile Image for F.J. Akkerman.
Author 1 book18 followers
November 25, 2022
“From Brahma words come back baffled, as well as the mind”

I was able to glean some points of interest from Sadhana, although ultimately it is, at best, a product of an ancient mysticism devoid of conclusive answers, and something in which I could personally have no confidence.

Rabindranath Tagore is an excellent writer; he handles his subject clearly, and I appreciated being able to follow along (for the most part). You can tell he's a poet with a rich appreciation for the fullness of creation, and, as well as pride in his nation's history and traditions, he places value on a simple lifestyle involved in a community and the pursuit of wisdom, tranquility and love for fellow human beings.

He addresses one of the differences (in general) between India and the West, which is the mastery of nature vs union with nature ("superiority is not in the power of possession but in the power of union").

Next, he focuses on self-knowledge or attaining god-consciousness by seeing oneself in every other self, and thus loving oneself in others. This part wasn't my cup of tea, but I tried to follow along to learn what I could, if only to glimpse another perspective. (It's just frustrating to me that humankind's moral evil isn't explained or dealt with. Isn't there something wrong with the world, and isn't it arguably getting worse, yet are we really supposed to believe it's getting better, or will be, as long as we're all progressing towards god-consciousness? "to realise the truth through untruths, and knowledge is nothing but the continually burning up of error to set free the light of truth".

Also, the evidence of history stands in palpable opposition to the following statement: "This life process is going on- we know it, we have felt it; and we have a faith which no individual instances to the contrary can shake, that the direction of humanity is from evil to good. For we feel that good is the positive element in man’s nature, and in every age and every clime what man values most is his ideal of goodness.")

The chapter on the Problem of Evil was well worth the time and attention, and I found this part the most rewarding. Also, he made a fascinating exposition of the finite vs infinite. I'm sure a more careful study of this section in particular would be profitable.

And he's bang on when he says: "…we never can have a true view of man unless we have a love for him. Civilisation must be judged and prized, not by the amount of power it has developed, but by how much it has evolved and given expression to, by its laws and institutions, the love of humanity."

I won't continue quoting him ad nauseam (he's very quotable), but suffice it to say there's much more on subjects such as beauty, art, creativity, music, work, activity, relationships, materialism, etc.

Many of his points have elements of truth, but at its fundamental level, Sadhana purveys the same old lie: "Yes, we must become Brahma [God]." And who (or what) is Brahma? A vague entity which seems to be defined as "everything" or "perfection" or "the infinite".

Comparing us to birds in the sky, Tagore states: "not being able to come to the end of her attainment is her supreme joy, her final freedom."

Then a page or two later, he seems to contradict himself by saying, "If we have an aim and yet can never reach it, then it is no aim at all." How can these two statements be reconciled? (And I would genuinely like to know. Maybe this will be worth a bit more study.)

I can't help coming away from this wondering why I (or anyone else) would want to spend a lifetime chasing a constantly moving target, only to find that this immersive, transcendent state is as vague and unsatisfying as it is unattainable?

Oh give me Christ instead, whose words are simple and definite and reinforced by so much evidence; who is a knowable person and desires a relationship with each of us; who spoke with authority; who gave everything for us to be saved and have eternal life!

(Also, Tagore occasionally quotes Christ as a kind of addition to the fold, treating His teachings as those of a supplementary member of the Buddhist tradition, whereas Christ Himself made it abundantly clear that His teachings were solely sufficient, stating, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." And also: "I testify to the one who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.")

Let me end with a final quote from Sadhana, which seems to demonstrate the confusing, contradictory and undefined nature of this kind of spirituality/belief system:
…The eshah, who cannot otherwise be described than as This, the nameless immediate presence, is ever here in our innermost being. "This eshah, or This, is the supreme end of the other this"; "this This is the supreme treasure of the other this"; "this This is the supreme dwelling of the other this", "this This is the supreme joy of the other this."
Profile Image for Mohamed Awada.
66 reviews16 followers
October 27, 2014
Beautiful compositions on how Tagore (and supposedly Hindus) saw the relationship between man and nature.
Profile Image for Kai Frank.
13 reviews
April 6, 2016
priceless pearls of wisdom from a great bengali author, highly recommend this easy and enlightening read!
Profile Image for Dany.
205 reviews5 followers
January 25, 2020
"Of course man is useful to man, because his body is a marvellous machine and his mind an organ of wonderful efficiency. But he is a spirit as well, and this spirit is truly known only by love. When we define a man by the market value of the service we can expect of him, we know him imperfectly. With this limited knowledge of him it becomes easy for us to be unjust to him and to entertain feelings of triumphant self-congratulation when, on account of some cruel advantage on our side, we can get out of him much more than we have paid for. But when we know him as a spirit we know him as our own. We at once feel that cruelty to him is cruelty to ourselves, to make him small is stealing from our own humanity, and in seeking to make use of him solely for personal profit we merely gain in money or comfort what we pay in truth."
Profile Image for Sean-Paul Kosina.
55 reviews2 followers
December 19, 2020
“Brahma is Brahma, he is the infinite ideal of perfection. But we are not what we truly are; we are ever to become true, ever to become Brahma. There is the eternal play of love in the relation between this being and the becoming; and in the depth of this mystery is the source of all truth and beauty that sustains the endless march of creation.” -Rabindranath Tagore

There is so much to love about this book, as I’ve learned much about Tagore’s perspective through his treaties on the essences of the individual, universe, consciousness, self, evil, love, action, beauty, infinite, and God. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking knowledge, fulfillment of joy for the heart, and discernment for the soul.
Profile Image for Blake Tourville.
45 reviews
August 2, 2023
Things are what they are, and we have to know them if we are to deal with them. And knowledge of them is possible, because our wish is not their law. This knowledge is a joy to us, for the knowledge is one of the channels of our relation with the things outside us. It is making them our own, and thus widening the limit of our self.
Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
450 reviews177 followers
January 18, 2020
"В своята дреха истината е пристегната от фактите. В измислицата тя се движи с лекота."

"Господ изпитва срам, когато преуспелият се хвали с особеното му благоволение."

""Животът ни се дава, ние го спечелваме, като го даваме."
Profile Image for Lyubina Litsova.
376 reviews39 followers
March 14, 2018
Веднъж привечер се разхождах напред-назад по терасата на нашата къща в Джорасанко (Калкута). Лъчите на залязващото слънце, примесени с матовите дрезгавини на полумрака, придаваха някаква чудна прелест на припадащата вечер. Даже стените на съседните къщи ми се виждаха красиви. Нима чарът на вечерната заря, питах се аз, е отметнал всекидневната обвивка на света? Не. Чувствах, че причината бе другаде, чувствах, че в мене бе настанала вечер и нейните сенки бяха заличил моето Аз. Докъдето можех да виждам в ослепителната дневна светлина, всичко, което възприемах, бе смесено с нея и скрито зад нея. Сега, когато моето Аз беше изтикано назад, възприемах света в истинския му вид. Той нямаше нищо делнично, бе пълен с красота и радост... Докато го виждах само с външните си очи, не бях способен да схвана истинската му същност, да го опозная като израз на най-висша радост. Когато обаче един светъл лъч от съкровените глъбини на моето собствено битие намери внезапно своя път, светлина се разля по цялата Вселена и така я озари, че тя не ми се струваше вече като някаква грамада от неща и явления, а ми говореше сякаш за потока от мелодии, който извира непосредствено от сърцето на Вселената, разпространява се в пространството и времето и оттам се завръща на вълните на радостта към своя първоизточник.

Основното единство на Вселената за Индия не е само философска теория; тя смята за една от задачите си да осъществи великата хармония между чувство и дело. Чрез съзерцание и с��ужба на Бога, чрез строго устройство на живота тя разви съзнанието си до там, че всичко получи за нея духовен смисъл. Земя, вода и светлина, плодове и цветя са за Индия не само физически дадености, които човек използва и после захвърля. За нея те са необходими, за да постигне идеала си за съвършенство, тъй както всеки тон е необходим за съвършенството на симфонията. Индия чувства ясно, че същността на света има жизнено значение за нас, че ние трябва да бъдем абсолютно чувствителни за тоя свят и да установим съзнателно отношение с него, подтиквани не само от научно любопитство или от алчност за материални облаги, а от духа на всеобхватната любов и с щедро чувство за радост и мир.

Човек трябва да се осъществи цялостно, да намери своето място в безкрайността; нужно е да знае, че колкото и да се мъчи, никога няма да събере меда в килийките на кошера си, защото многогодишните хранителни запази за живота му са извън стените на кошера. Длъжен е да разбере, че ако се откъсне от животворното и очистващото съприкосновение с безкрайността и потърси храна и лек при самия себе си, тогава сам ще полудее, ще се разкъса на парчета и ще се самоизяде. Без фона на Вселената бедността му губи единственото си велико качество – простотата, и става мръсна и срамна. Богатството му не действа вече великодушно, а е просто разточително. Инстинктите му не служат вече на живота му, не са ограничени в рамките на своето предназначение; те стават сами за себе си цел, хвърлят възпламеняващ огън в живота му и свирят на цигулка през тъмножълтите пламъци на пожара. Тогава стремежът към изява се превръща в стремеж към ефекти; в изкуството започваме да ламтим за оригиналност и изгубваме от погледа си истината – стара и все пак нова; в литературата изгубваме цялостния образ на човека – обикновен и велик. Представяме го само като някакъв психологичен проблем или като олицетворение на една страст, която е силна, единствено защото е ненормална и е представена в бляскав�� и силна, но фалшива светлина. Ако съзнанието на човека се ограничи само върху непосредственото обкръжение на човешкото Аз, дълбоките корени и неговата природа няма да намерят здрава почва, духът му ще бъде винаги гладен и, наместо здрава храна, би трябвало да му се дават само възбудителни средства. Тогава човек изгубва вътрешната си перспектива и започва да мери единствено чрез себе си, а не по жизнената си връзка с Космоса; не по спокойната равномерност, с която се отличава съвършенството – спокойствието на звездното небе и неспирният вечен и ритмичен танц на Вселената.

Човек може да разрушава и да плячкосва, да печели и да трупа съкровища, да прави изобретения и открития, но величието му се дължи само на това, че душата му прониква във всичко.

Цялата ни поезия, философия, наука, изкуство и религия служат само да разширят върху по-високи и по-широки сфери простора на нашето съзнание. Човек не печели права, завземайки големи пространства или чрез външното си поведение; неговото право се простира до там, докъдето реално може да въздейства, а неговото присъствие се измерва по обхвата на неговото съзнание.
Ние трябва да платим известна дан за това постижение на свободата на нашето съзнание. В какво се състои тази дан? В самоотдаването. Душата ни може да се осъществи само като се отрече от себе си.

Откритието на една истина е същинска радост за човека – то е освобождение на неговия дух. Защото голият факт е като задънена улица, той води само към себе си, не отвъд себе си. А истината открива цял хоризонт, тя ни води към безкрайността. Ето защо, когато някой човек, например Дарвин, открие една проста и всеобща истина в областта на биологията, става ясно, че тя не се ограничава само там, а като лампа праща светлината си далеч зад нещата, за които е била запалена: тя осветява цялата област на човешкия живот и смисъл и минава отвъд първоначалната си цел. Тогава виждаме, че истината, макар да обгръща всички факти, не е една проста съвкупност от тях – тя минава над фактите и насочва към безкрайната действителност.
Както в областта на знанието, така и в областта на съзнанието човек трябва реално да опознае една основна истина, която ще му открие изгледа към безкрайно широк хоризонт. Това имат предвид Упанишадите, когато казват: Опознай собствената си душа! Или, с други думи казано, познай едничкия велик принцип за единството, който важи и за всеки човек.

Да разбираш нещо, значи да намираш в него частица от собственото си същество. Откриването именно на нас самите извън нас е това, което ни радва. Разбирането на другите неща е нещо частично, а отношението на любов към тях е цялостно.

Според Упанишадите, ключът на космическото съзнание, на съзнанието за Бога, е прозрението на душата. Първата стъпка към осъществяването на най-съвършеното освобождение е да опознаем душата си, освободена от личното Аз. Трябва с абсолютна категоричност да разберем, че в същността си ние сме дух.

Историята на човека е история на пътуването му към непознатото, на стремежа му да осъществи безсмъртното си Аз – своята душа. Като издига и събаря царства и трупа грамадни богатства, които после безмилостно разпилява на прах; като създава огромни символи, даващи форма на неговите блянове и копнежи, които после захвърля, както детето захвърля играчките си; като кове магическите ключове, с които отваря тайните на мирозданието; като изоставя настрана постигнатото от цели поколения и се затваря в работилницата си да се труда над някоя нова форма – с всичко това човек крачи от епоха в епоха към осъществяването на душата си – душата, която е по-велика от богатствата, които трупа, от делата, които извършва, от теориите, които създава; душата, чието извисяване не могат да спрат нито смъртта, нито разтлението.

Човешката нищета е бездънна, човешките нужди са безкрайни, докато човек не осъзнае напълно душата си.

Въпросът защо има зло на тоя свят е еднозначен с въпроса защо има несъвършенство или, с други думи, защо съществува светът изобщо. Трябва да приемем като нещо дадено, че не може да бъде иначе; че светът е несъвършен, че той трябва да се развива и усъвършенства постепенно и че е безполезно да си задаваме въпроса защо съществуваме ние?
Въпросът, който би трябвало да си зададем, всъщност е: Вечна истина ли е това несъвършенство, абсолютно и вечно ли е злото? Реката има граници, това са бреговете ѝ. Ала само от брегове ли се състои реката и те ли са най-същественото нещо за нея? Не насочват ли тези граници водите ѝ напред? Въжето, с което се влачи лодката нагоре срещу течението, я държи здраво, но това ли е неговото предназначение – да я държи? Не я ли тегли то в същото време напред?
И световният процес си има граници, иначе той не би могъл да съществува, ала неговата същност се показва не в границите, които го стесняват, а в движението му напред, което води към съвършенство. Чудото на тоя свят не е, че в него има мъки и страдания, а че има закон и ред, красота и радост, доброта и любов. Идеята за Бога, която човек носи в своето същество – това е чудото на чудесата.

Подобно на неуспехите на детето, което се учи да ходи, ние разбираме чрез различните страдания, които срещаме всеки ден, колко несъвършени са нашите знания, нашите сили, приложението на нашата воля. Ако всичко това служеше само да покаже безсилието ни, бихме загинали от отчаяние. Ако си изберяхме една ограничена област от нашата дейност за наблюдение, личните ни несполуки и печални преживявания щяха да ни се сторят грамадни. Но животът ни води инстинктивно към по-широк хоризонт. Той ни дава един идеал на съвършенство, който ни прехвърля винаги отвъд сегашните граници. Ние носим със себе си надеждата, тя върви всякога пред ограничения ни сегашен опит; тя е безсмъртната вяра в безкрайното у нас; тя не гледа на безпомощността ни като на нещо трайно; тя е безгранична; нейната дързост отива до там – да твърди, че човек е едно с Бога; и нейните фантастични сънища се потвърждават всеки ден.

Като физически същества трябва да консумираме постоянно физическа храна, за да поддържаме жизнения си огън; нравственият ни живот също тъй се нуждае от гориво, за да се развива. Жизненият процес не спира, ние го знаем, чувстваме го; затова се изпълваме с вярата (която никакъв отделен случай не може да разколебае), че развитието на човечеството върви от зло към добро. Всички чувстваме, че доброто е положителният елемент в човешката природа и че всякога и навсякъде човек цени от всичко най-много идеала си за доброто. Ние познаваме доброто, обичаме го и отдаваме най-голяма почит на хората, които с живота си са показали, що е добро.

Да бъдеш съвършено добър – значи да осъществиш живота си в безкрайността. Това е най-всеобхватният възглед за живота, до който можем да стигнем чрез присъщата у нас сила да го виждаме като нещо цяло, в светлината на нравствения идеал. Учението на Буда се състои именно в това – да култивира до най-висша степен тази нравствена сила, която ни кара да разберем, че полето на дейността ни не се ограничава единствено в сферата на нашето тясно Аз. Това е и видението на царството небесно у Христа. Когато стигнем до всемирния живот, който е нравственият живот, тогава се освобождаваме от оковите на удоволствията и мъките. Тогава на мястото, опразнено от нашето лично Аз, идва неизказаната радост, произтичаща от неизмерима любов.

На всяка крачка ние трябва да държим сметка и за другите, както за себе си, защото само в смъртта сме сами. Един поет само тогава е истински поет, когато може със своята лична идея да достави радост на всички, нещо, което не би мог��л да направи, ако не притежаваше едно общо за всичките му слушатели средство. Това средство, общият език, си има свои собствени закони, които поетът трябва да открие и да следва; като спазва това, той става истински поет и стига до поетично безсмъртие.

Най-важната поука, която човек може да извлече от живота си, не е, че на тоя свят изобщо има страдание, а, че в неговото сърце е възможността да обърне това страдание в добро, че е възможно да го обърне в радост. Тази поука е важна за нас. Няма нито един човек на тоя свят, който доброволно би отстъпил правото си на страдание, защото то е правото му да бъде човек.

От радост произлизат всички създания, чрез радост се поддържат, към радост вървят напред и в радост завършват. Това значи, че източник на божието творчество не е необходимостта; то иде от пълнотата на радостта; Божията любов е творяща. Следователно творчеството е божието откровение.

Ние виждаме, че Оня, който е бил преди всички неща, и днес е същият. Всяка нота от песента на Вселената звучи все тъй чист в Неговия глас. Вселената не е само ехо, което блуждае от небе на небе, като бездомен скитник; тя не е ехото на някаква стара песен, изпята само един-единствен път в мъглявото начало на нещата и след това забравена. Всеки миг тя се излива от сърцето на Майстора, излита с неговото дихание.
И затова тя се разпространява в небесата като мисъл, взела поетична форма; тя никога не се опасява, че ще бъде разкъсана на парчета от бремето на собствената си нарастваща тежест. От тук и изненадата от безбройните ѝ вариации, приливът на безбройните и непрестанни потоци от индивидуалности, всяка от които няма равна на себе си в мирозданието. Както в първия, така и в последния ден, наченатото не спира никога – светът е вечно стар и вечно нов.

Целта на нашето Аз е да търси единението. То трябва с любов и кротост да сведе ниско глава и да заеме мястото си там, дето се срещат всички - и големи, и малки. Чрез загубата си то трябва да спечели и да се издигне чрез поражението си. Игрите щяха да са ужас за детето, ако то не можеше да се върне при майка си; нашата лична гордост би била нашето проклятие, ако не можехме да я пожертваме за любовта. Трябва да знаем, че самопроявлението на Безграничния в нас е безкрайно ново и вечно хубаво и дава единствения смисъл на нашето Аз.

Принципът на единството е тайната на всички тайни. Винаги, когато срещнем някъде каквато и да е двойственост, пред нас изпъква веднага въпросът за нейния произход. А отговора намираме в Единния. Когато най-сетне уловим връзката между двете начала и ги опознаем като единни в своята същност, ние чувстваме, че сме стигнали до истината. Тогава дефинираме най-странния от всички парадокси: че Единния се разкрива в множеството, че видимостта е противоположна на истината и все пак е неразривно свързана с нея.

Любовта е крайният смисъл на всичко, което ни заобикаля. Тя не е просто чувство, тя е истина, тя е радостта, от която произтича цялото творение. Тя е бялата светлина на чистото съзнание, която се излъчва от Брама. Ето защо, за да станем едно с всечувстващото битие, което е както във външното пространство, така и в нашата душа, ние трябва да се издигнем до висшето съзнание, което е любов. Кой би могъл да диша и да живее, ако небето не е пълно с радост и любов?

В страните, където владее канибализмът, човек за човека е храна. В такава страна никога не може да има култура, защото човекът изгубва висшата си стойност и става едно от обикновените неща. Но има и друг вид канибализъм, може би не тъй суров, но не по-малко отвратителен, за който не е необходимо да се пътешества далече, за да се види. В страни с по-висока култура на човека се гледа понякога като на обикновена стока; той се продава и купува на пазара само като физическа сила. Понякога цената му се определя от това дали може да бъде използван за нещо; превръщат го в машина и богатият търгува с него, за да спечели още повече пари. Така нашата похот и алчност, нашата любов към комфорта ни карат да принизяваме стойността на човека. Това е една самоизмама в най-голям мащаб. Нашите страсти ни правят слепи за истината, която е в човека, а това е най-великата неправда, която извършваме срещу собствената си душа.

... никога не можем истински да опознаем един човек, ако не го обичаме. Една култура трябва да се цени не по сбора на силите, които е развила, а по сумата на човешката любов, която ще развива и проявява чрез законите и наредбите си. Първият и последният въпрос, който тя има да решава, е какво вижда в човека – духовно същество или машина? Когато някоя стара култура пропада и умира, това става поради причини, които са направили сърцата безчувствени и са понижили стойността на човека...

Трябва да се помъчим да разберем истинския характер на желанията на човека, чиято душа копнее за Бога. Иска ли той да увеличи имуществото си с каквото и да било? Разбира се, че не. Постоянното увеличение на богатствата ни е страшно отегчителна работа. Всъщност, ако душата търси Бога, то е именно, за да се освободи завинаги от това безкрайно събиране и трупане.Тя не търси нови печалби, а трайното във всичко нетрайно, най-висшата и трайна радост, обединяваща всички радости. Ето защо, когато Упанишадите ни учат да осъществяваме всяко нещо в Брама, това не значи да търсим нещо изключително или да произвеждаме нещо ново.
Знай, че всичко в света е обгърнато от Бога. Наслаждавай се на това, коте той ти дава, и не задържай в душата си алчност за богатства, които не са твои.

Желанието ни да бъдем богати в крайна сме��ка не е желание за определено количество пари, а за нещо безкрайно; и най-мимолетните от наслажденията ни не са нищо друго, освен моментни докосвания до Вечността. Трагизмът на човешкия живот се състои в напразните усилия да се разширят граници на неща, които никога не могат да станат безгранични – да се достигне безпределното, като се удължи стълбата на пределното.

Трайното щастие на човека се състои не в това да получава нещо, а да се самоотдава на нещо, което е по-велико от него...

Из „Садхана - пътят към съвършенството” – Рабиндранат Тагор
Превод от немски: Васил Ставрев
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February 11, 2019
I really did try to understand this, but, the essays in this book made no sense to me.
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July 26, 2023
"For love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us. It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation. It is the white light of pure consciousness."

Sadhana by Rabindranath Tagore

A word may be added about the pronouncing of Sadhana: the accent falls decisively on the first a, which has the broad sound of the letter.

Definition from Oxford languages:
disciplined and dedicated practice or learning.
"years of sadhana blessed him with technical mastery"

Beautiful, poetic, deep and meaningful!
Sadhana is the philosophy of life – a book that may build a better path to the life ahead.

Have you ever read something and noticed that most of the content is going over the head? But, at the same time, you can ‘feel’ that there is something very good in the book… it is not just good, but BRILLIANT… this is exactly how it felt reading this book! Sadhana is one of those books that needs a re-read. It is more like a ‘life guide’ book.

[“Now We Are Free†- Gladiator. © DreamWorks Pictures.]

It is like a song – you are not getting most of the lyrics – but you know the words ‘feel’ beautiful – the music is mesmerizing – that lovely feeling – a joy, that contentment, a snowdrop, filled with peace – it felt like what General Maximus Decimus Meridius must have felt when https://youtu.be/VYZvoFAEuSc [© Hans Zimmer - Now We Are Free].

May 7, 2021 – the 160th birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate.

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941; was an Indian polymath – poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer and painter - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabindr...

“Rabindranath Tagore was a global phenomenon, so why is he neglected?â€
Ian Jack, theguardian.com - https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...

Notes from the book:

"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."


"We divide nation and nation, knowledge and knowledge, man and nature. It breeds in us a strong suspicion of whatever is beyond the barriers we have built, and everything has to fight hard for its entrance into our recognition."


"To realise this great harmony between man's spirit and the spirit of the world was the endeavour of the forest-dwelling sages of ancient India."


"For in the city life man naturally directs the concentrated light of his mental vision upon his own life and works, and this creates an artificial dissociation between himself and the Universal Nature within whose bosom he lies."


"We can look upon a road from two different points of view. One regards it as dividing us from the object of our desire; in that case we count every step of our journey over it as something attained by force in the face of obstruction. The other sees it as the road which leads us to our destination; and as such it is part of our goal."


"Where a man tries to raise himself to eminence by pushing and jostling all others, to achieve a distinction by which he prides himself to be more than everybody else, there he is alienated from that Spirit."


"All our poetry, philosophy, science, art and religion are serving to extend the scope of our consciousness towards higher and larger spheres. Man does not acquire rights through occupation of larger space, nor through external conduct, but his rights extend only so far as he is real, and his reality is measured by the scope of his consciousness."


"Facts are many, but the truth is one. The animal intelligence knows facts, the human mind has power to apprehend truth. The apple falls from the tree, the rain descends upon the earth--you can go on burdening your memory with such facts and never come to an end."


"For, a mere fact is like a blind lane, it leads only to itself--it has no beyond. But a truth opens up a whole horizon, it leads us to the infinite."


"The chick knows when it breaks through the self-centered isolation of its egg that the hard shell which covered it so long was not really a part of its life."


"The question why there is evil in existence is the same as why there is imperfection, or, in other words, why there is creation at all."


"Pain, which is the feeling of our finiteness, is not a fixture in our life. It is not an end in itself, as joy is."


"...just as, in spite of the fact that we shut our eyelids every second, it is the openings of the eye that count. Life as a whole never takes death seriously."


"...the truth is, death is not the ultimate reality. It looks black, as the sky looks blue; but it does not blacken existence, just as the sky does not leave its stain upon the wings of the bird."


"To the man who lives for an idea, for his country, for the good of humanity, life has an extensive meaning, and to that extent pain becomes less important to him."


"To live the life of goodness is to live the life of all."


The universal spirit is waiting to crown us with happiness, but our individual spirit would not accept it.


The most important lesson that man can learn from his life is not that there is pain in this world, but that it depends upon him to turn it into good account, that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy.


Doubtless, even selfishness impels one to give away. But the selfish man does it on compulsion. That is like plucking fruit when it is unripe; you have to tear it from the tree and bruise the branch. But when a man loves, giving becomes a matter of joy to him, like the tree's surrender of the ripe fruit.


The mother reveals herself in the service of her children, so our true freedom is not the freedom from action but freedom in action, which can only be attained in the work of love.


But when his work is the outcome of joy, the forms that it takes have the elements of immortality.


The curtain of night is drawn aside and truth emerges without a speck of dust on its garment, without a furrow of age on its lineaments.


As at the first so to the last, the beginning never ends--the world is ever old and ever new.


Rhythm never can be born of the haphazard struggle of combat. Its underlying principle must be unity, not opposition.


…accept this world, which is a perfect gift of joy? Have we been able to receive it in our heart where we keep enshrined things that are of deathless value to us? We are frantically busy making use of the forces of the universe to gain more and more power; we feed and we clothe ourselves from its stores, we scramble for its riches, and it becomes for us a field of fierce competition. But were we born for this, to extend our proprietary rights over this world and make of it a marketable commodity? When our whole mind is bent only upon making use of this world it loses for us its true value. We make it cheap by our sordid desires; and thus to the end of our days we only try to feed upon it and miss its truth, just like the greedy child who tears leaves from a precious book and tries to swallow them.


Our desires blind us to the truth that there is in man, and this is the greatest wrong done by ourselves to our own soul. It deadens our consciousness, and is but a gradual method of spiritual suicide.


Civilisation must be judged and prized, not by the amount of power it has developed, but by how much it has evolved and given expression to, by its laws and institutions, the love of humanity.


Civilisation can never sustain itself upon cannibalism of any form. For that by which alone man is true can only be nourished by love and justice.


The bass and treble strings of our duty are only bonds so long as we cannot maintain them steadfastly attuned according to the law of truth; and we cannot call by the name of freedom the loosening of them into the nothingness of inaction.


"In my work is my joy, and in that joy does the joy of my joy abide."


When a girl's life outgrows her doll, when she realises that in every respect she is more than her doll is, then she throws it away. By the very act of possession we know that we are greater than the things we possess.


Give us strength to love, to love fully, our life in its joys and sorrows, in its gains and losses, in its rise and fall. Let us have strength enough fully to see and hear thy universe, and to work with full vigour therein. Let us fully live the life thou hast given us, let us bravely take and bravely give. This is our prayer to thee.

Profile Image for AK.
164 reviews31 followers
June 28, 2020
In his preface, Tagore affirms that the book is a guide to the "living aspects" of Indian spirituality and philosophy, deliberately contrasting this with the "western scholars... retrospective and archeological interest." This is a book about particular religious traditions, the teachings of Buddha and the Upanishads, as guides to living life. It's a wise and poetic book. I read it for research but got something more out of it. I read a copy printed in 1914, purchased in Tokyo in 1916. The book's first owner was a careful underliner of his favorite passages, he always used a ruler. He placed accent marks over long English words so he would know where the accent falls. 1916 was the year of Tagore's first visit to Japan, and I wonder if this reader attended his talks.

Profile Image for Valerie Vlasenko.
64 reviews4 followers
June 30, 2019
Highly recommended for anyone interested in learning more about Hindu philosophy and thinking. I was fortunate to get the 1921 version of the publication from my local library, which added to the experience. The book gives answers to question I’ve been pondering on for a while. It covers aspects such as self in relation to nature, love, beauty and the universe.
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