Birthday of Rabindranath Tagore
7th of May is of much significance in the field of arts, especially poetry apart from music, songs, painting, philosophy, as this is the day when a man was born who wrote poems in much abundance, appoximately 6500 poems and with such sense of music to them that they could all be composed into great symphony. His poems look like falling from the other world. His greatest contribution GEETANJALI, a book with sensitive, fresh and beautiful verses for which he got Nobel Prize too. Yes, he is Rabindranath Tagore.
Rabindranath was the Bengali poet, writer, painter, composer, philosopher and social reformer. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India’s “Jana Gana Mana” and Bangladesh‘s “Amar Shonar Bangla“. The Sri Lankan national anthem was inspired by his work. Although he was known mostly for his poetry, but he wrote novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas, and thousands of songs. Of Rabindranath’s prose, his short stories are perhaps most highly regarded.
The Flight of Cranes, Wreath of Songs, song offerings, The Golden Boat, The Ideal One, The Fatal Hunt, The Sacrifice, The Waterfall – these are some of his great works..
Osho addresses Rabindranath many times, in one of his discourse he has said One of the greatest Indian poets, Rabindranath, has said that, “Beauty is truth,” and he is right. And he was very impressed by the Bauls. In fact, he was the first man to introduce Bauls to the West; he was the first man to translate a few Baul poems into English. He was a sort of Baul himself: he says, “Beauty is truth.” If you seek beauty you will become truthful. The more aesthetic you become, the more sensitive you become towards beauty, the more balanced and harmonious you will become — because finally, beauty belongs to God. Osho explains the death scenario of Rabindranath and says Rabindranath was dying and somebody said to him, “You should be happy and glad and thankful to God — you are the greatest poet the earth has ever known. You have written six thousand poems; nobody else has done that. Even Shelley, who is thought to be the greatest poet in the West, has written only two thousand songs. You are thrice great! But tears started rolling down from Rabindranath’s eyes. The man was puzzled; he could not figure out why Rabindranath was crying. He said, “Why are you crying? Feel thankful to God! He has fulfilled your life. You have attained all that one aspires to attain. Rabindranath said, “I have not attained anything! Those six thousand songs are proof of my failure.” Listen attentively. Rabindranath says, “Those six thousand songs are proofs of my failure. I was trying to say something, but I have not been able to say it. Each time I tried, I failed. I tried again and again and again, six thousand times I tried, and I have failed. The song that I had come to sing is still unsung. I am taking it with me.”
OFTEN, WHEN I AM DEEPLY RELAXED, A STRONG FEELING TO DIE COMES UP IN ME. IN THESE MOMENTS I FEEL MYSELF AS PART OF THE WHOLE COSMOS, AND I WANT TO DISAPPEAR INTO IT. ON ONE HAND, IT IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL FEELING, AND I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR IT. ON THE OTHER HAND I MISTRUST IT: MAYBE I HAVE NOT SAID “YES” TO MYSELF, TO MY BEING, IF THE DESIRE TO DIE IS SO STRONG. IS IT A SUICIDAL DESIRE?
It is not a suicidal desire.
One basic thing about suicide is that it arises only in people who are clinging very much to life. And when they fail in their clinging, the mind moves to the opposite pole.
The function of the mind is of either/or: either it wants the whole, or none of it. The lust for life cannot be fulfilled totally, because life as such is a temporal thing; it is bound to end at a point, just as it began one day at a point. You cannot have a line with only the beginning; somewhere or other there is bound to be an end. So
the people who commit suicide are not against life; it only appears so. They want life in its totality, they want to grab it whole, and when they fail — and they are bound to fail — then out of frustration, out of failure, they start thinking of death. Then suicide is the only alternative.
They will not be satisfied with whatsoever life gives them; they want more and more and more. Life is short, and the series of the desire for more and more is infinite, so the failure is certain. Somewhere or other there is bound to come a moment when they will feel they have been cheated by life. Nobody is cheating them — they have cheated themselves. They have been asking too much, and they have only been asking, they have not been giving anything, not even gratefulness. In anger, in rage, in revenge the pendulum of the mind moves to the other end — still they do not know with whom they are taking the revenge. They are killing themselves: it does not destroy life, it does not destroy existence.
So this experience is not of a suicidal nature. It is something similar to suicide, but on a very different level and from a very different dimension.
When you are relaxed, when there is no tension in you, when there is no desire, when the mind is as silent as a lake without any ripples, a deep feeling arises in you to disappear in this moment, because life has not given you anything better than this. There have been moments of happiness, of pleasure, but this is something far beyond happiness and pleasure; it is pure blissfulness. To turn back from it is really hard. One wants to go deeper, and one can see going deeper means disappearing. Most of him has already disappeared in relaxation, in silence, in desirelessness. Most of his personality has already gone, just a small thread of the ego is still hanging around. And he would like to take a jump out of this circle of the ego, because if relaxing even within the ego brings so much benediction, one cannot imagine what will be the result if everything is dissolved, so that one can say, “I am not and existence is.” This is not a suicidal instinct. This is what basically is meant by spiritual liberation: it is liberation from the ego, from desire, even from the lust for life. It is total liberation, it is absolute freedom.
But in this situation the question is bound to arise in everyone. The question is arising not out of your intelligence; the question is arising out of your cowardice. You really want some excuse not to dissolve, not to evaporate into the infinite. Immediately the mind gives you the idea that this is what suicide is: — “Don’t commit suicide. Suicide is a sin, suicide is a crime. Come back!” And you start coming back. And coming back means you become again tense, again full of anxieties, again full of desires. Again the whole tragic drama of your life…
It is your fear of total dissolution. But you don’t want to accept it as a fear, so you give it a condemnatory name — suicide. It has nothing to do with suicide; it is really going deeper into life. Life has two dimensions. One is horizontal — in which you are all living, in which you are always asking for more and more and more. The quantity is not the question; no quantity is going to satisfy you. The horizontal line is the quantitative line. You can go on and on. It is like the horizon — as you go on, the horizon goes on receding back. The distance between you and the goal of your more and more, the goal of your desire, remains always exactly the same…But life has another line — a vertical line. The vertical line moves in a totally different dimension. In such an experience, for a moment you have turned your face towards the vertical. You are not asking — that’s why you are being given. You are not desiring — that’s why so much is made available to you. You don’t have any goal — that’s why you are so close to it. Because
there is no desire, no goal, no asking, no begging, you don’t have any tension; you are utterly relaxed. In this relaxed state is the meeting with existence.
The fear comes at the moment when you come to dissolve your last part, because then it will be irrevocable; you will not be able to come back.
I have told many times a beautiful poem of Rabindranath Tagore. The poet has been searching for God for millions of lives. He has seen him sometimes, far away, near a star, and he started moving that way, but by the time he reached that star, God has moved to some other place. But he went on searching and searching — he was determined to find God’s home — and the surprise of surprises was, one day he actually reached a house where on the door was written: “God’s Home.” You can understand his ecstasy, you can understand his joy. He runs up the steps, and just as he is going to knock on the door, suddenly his hand freezes. An idea arises in him: “If by chance this is really the home of God, then I am finished, my seeking is finished. I have become identified with my seeking, with my search. I don’t know anything else. If the door opens and I face God, I am finished — the search is over. Then what? Then there is an eternity of boredom — no excitement, no discovery, no new challenge, because there cannot be any challenge greater than God.”
He starts trembling with fear, takes his shoes off his feet, and descends back down the beautiful marble steps. He took the shoes off so that no noise was made, for his fear was that even a noise on the steps… God may open the door, although he has not knocked. And then he runs as fast as he has never run before. He used to think that he had been running after God as fast as he can, but today, suddenly, he finds energy which was never available to him before. He runs as he has never run, not looking back. The poem ends, “I am still searching for God. I know his home, so I avoid it and search everywhere else. The excitement is great, the challenge is great, and in my search I continue, I continue to exist. God is a danger — I will be annihilated. But now I am not afraid even of God, because I know His home. So, leaving His home aside, I go on searching for him all around the universe. And deep down I know my search is not for God; my search is to nourish my ego.”
I place Rabindranath Tagore as one of the greatest religious men of our century, although he is not ordinarily related with religion. But only a religious man of tremendous experience can write this poem. It is not just ordinary poetry; it contains such a great truth.
And that’s what your question is raising. Relaxed, you come to a moment where you feel you are going to disappear, and then you think, “Perhaps this is a suicidal instinct,” and you come back to your old miserable world. But that miserable world has one thing: it protects your ego, it allows you to be. This is the strange situation: blissfulness does not allow you; you have to disappear. That’s why you don’t see many blissful people in the world. Misery nourishes your ego — that’s why you see so many miserable people in the world. The basic central point is the ego. So you have not come to a point of suicide. You have come to a point of nirvana, of cessation, of disappearance, of blowing out the candle. This is the ultimate experience. If you can gather courage, just one step more… Existence is only one step away from you.
Don’t listen to this garbage of your mind saying that this is suicide. You are neither drinking poison, nor are you hanging yourself from a tree, and you are not shooting yourself with a gun — what suicide? You are simply becoming thinner and thinner and thinner. And
the moment comes when you are so thin and so spread all over existence that you cannot say you are, but you can say that existence is. This we have called enlightenment, not suicide. This we have called realization of the ultimate truth. But you have to pay the price. And the price is nothing but dropping the ego. So when such a moment comes, don’t hesitate. Dancingly, disappear… with a great laughter, disappear; with songs on your lips, disappear.
I am not a theoretician, this is not my philosophy. I have come to the same borderline many times and turned back. I have also found the home of God many times and could not knock. Jesus has a few sayings. One of the sayings is, “Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.” If this sentence has any meaning, it is this meaning that I am giving you now. So when this moment comes, rejoice and melt. It is human nature — and understandable — that many times you will come back. But those many times don’t count. One time, gather all courage and take a jump. You will be, but in such a new way that you cannot connect it with the old. It will be a discontinuity. The old was so tiny, so small, so mean, and the new is so vast. From a small dewdrop you have become the ocean. But even the dewdrop slipping from a lotus leaf trembles for a moment, tries to hang on a little more, because he can see the ocean… once he has fallen from the lotus leaf he is gone. Yes, in a way he will not be; as a dewdrop he will be gone. But it is not a loss. He will be oceanic. And all other oceans are limited. The ocean of existence is unlimited.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Chapter title: Dancingly, disappear
14 April 1986 am in
Osho has spoken on distinguished poets like Byron, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, Heinrich Heine, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Keats, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Milton, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake, Wordsworth and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Returning to the Source
- Light on the Path
- The Secret
- The Hidden Splendour
- The New Dawn
- Beyond Enlightenment
- From Bondage to Freedom
- The Golden Future
- Take It Easy, Vol 1
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, 5
- Theologia Mystica