“The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins night and day and dances in rhythmic measure. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth into each blade of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of flowers. It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.”
~ Rabindranath TagoreRabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright who began writing poetry when he was eight. In 1912, his English translations of his own poetry came to the attention of W.B. Yeats, who wrote an introduction to Tagore’s collection “Gitanjali” (Song Offerings) and helped get it published by the India Society in London. At the age of 51, Tagore became an instant sensation and thereafter traveled the world promoting spiritual values and lecturing on the creation of a new world grounded in multiculturalism and tolerance. In 1915 he was knighted by King George V, an honor which he renounced in 1919 after British troops massacred 400 peaceful Indian demonstrators and wounded another 1,500 in the holy Sikh city of Amritsar. His legacy lives on in his many works of art and in the Visva Bharati University, which he founded in Bengali in 1901. Painting of Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of learning, the arts and the rivers, by the great Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1868-1906). Her name comes from “saras” (“flow”) and “wati” (a woman). Early Rig Vedic hymns to Sarasvati describe her as a mighty river flowing down to earth from heaven, with nourishing and creative qualities.