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Rabindranath Tagore Quotes - A collection of 100 Quotes of Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali philosopher, poet, and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Here is a collection of 100 Quotes of Rabindranath Tagore. Majority of the quotes have been collected from newspapers, magazines and books. 

It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.

Fling away your promise if it is found to be wrong.

Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.

Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.

The flower which is single need not envy the thorns that are numerous.

Love is the only reality, and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not be for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

Higher than detachment is transforming what you want to get rid of.

God’s great power is in the gentle breeze, not in the storm.

But I know life is simple, however complex the organism may be; and everything goes to pieces when the living truth of the central simplicity is lost.

The mystery of creation is like the darkness of night – it is great. Delusions of knowledge are like the fog of the morning.

What you are you do not see, what you see is your shadow.

O beauty, find thyself in love, not in the flatter of they mirror.

The dry river-bed finds no thanks for its past.

The sparrow is sorry for the peacock at the burden of its tail.


Life is not an artificial canal to be confined within prescribed channels. When once this is clearly seen in our own lives, then we shall not be able to be misled by any more fabrications.

The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own and he has to wander through all the outer world’s to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

If you shut your door to all errors truth will be shut out.

Much rather should we lose all than barter our soul for an evil victory.

Those in whose minds the reality of the ideal is not clear, and love for the ideal is not strong, try to find the compensation in the success of the work.

The whole universe is one living consciousness, and everything that exists in a manifestation of this consciousness.

The burden of the self is lightened when I laugh at myself.

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.

The real friendship is like fluorescence, it shines better when everything had darken.

Only in love are unity and duality not in conflict.

Terribly alone is he who misses companionship in the midst of the multitudinous of life.

The great task of education is not merely to collect facts but to know man and to make oneself known to man.

Our needs are always in a hurry. They rush and hustle, no patience for anything else but fulfillment of purpose.

In music man is revealed, and not in a noise. Our hearts will break if we do not sing.

Work is the dust raised by the passing of time. All work that is good, however small in extent, is universal in character.

Depth of friendship does not depend upon length of acquaintance.

The wise man is content with half a loaf, or any fraction for that matter, rather than no bread.

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

We gain freedom when we have paid the full price for our right to live.

Real freedom is of the mind and spirit; it can never come to us from outside.

Everything else can be kept tied, except joy.

Don’t humiliate yourself, self humiliation is a sin, worse than self murder.

Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.

Oneness amongst men, the advancement of unity in diversity – this has been the core religion of India.

The truth comes as conqueror only because we have lost the art of receiving it as guest.

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.

He who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves finds the gate open.

Where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

Life is given to use; we earn it by giving it.

Do not say, “It is morning,” and dismiss it with the name of yesterday.
See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.

If you shut the door to all errors, truth will be shut out.

Let no such superstition be nurtured in the mind of children that learning is reading books. It is to be a known at every step that the treasures of books are accumulated from the storehouse of Nature, and this should be, and we also have the authority to have it in the same way.

The power of thought and the power of imagination are indispensable to us for discharging the duties of life. We cannot do without these two powers if we want to live like real men. And unless we cultivate them in childhood we cannot have them when we are grown up.

To read without thinking is like accumulating building materials without building anything.

Our conscious mind occupies only a superficial layer of our life; the subconscious mind is almost fathomless in its depth.

The fish in the water is silent, the animal on the earth is noisy, the bird in the air is singing. But man has in him the silence of the sea, the noise of the earth and the music of the air.

Do not blame your food because you have no appetite.

Our soul when detached and imprisoned within the narrow limits of a self loses its significance. For its very essence is unity. It can only find out its truth by unifying itself with others, and only then it has its joy.

Love is the highest bliss that man can attain to, for through it alone he truly knows that he is more than himself, and that he is at one with the All.

While God awaits for the temple to be built of love, men bring stones…

Beauty and her twin brother Truth require leisure and self control for their growth…

With blessing everything is possible.

Those who in this world have the courage to try and solve in their own lives new problems of life, are the ones who raise society to greatness…

He only has freedom who ideally loves freedom himself and is glad to extend it to others. He who builds walls to create exclusion for others, build walls across his own freedom…

Through knowledge you cannot apprehend God; yet when you live the life of the Infinite and are not bound within the limits of the finite self you realize that great joy which is above all the pleasures of pains of our selfish life and so you are free from all fear.

Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing
that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.
I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing
that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.
I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my
love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.
And it shall be my endeavor to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it
is thy power gives me strength to act.

Colour me now, before You leave me. Colour me with Your song. Colour me in Your secret melody. Colour me in the light of Your laughter. Colour me with the kindness of Your tears. May Your colours, colour my very soul.

A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.

Facts are many, but the truth is one.

In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance. Bondage and liberation are not antagonistic in love. For love is most free and at the same time most bound.

I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I will go through another door – or I will make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.

We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.

The burden of the self is lightened with a laugh at myself.

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. Don’t let yourself indulge in vain wishes.

True education can never be crammed and pumped from without; rather it must aid in bringing spontaneously to the surface the infinite hoards of wisdom within.

When we attain to that universal life, which is the moral life, we become freed from bonds of pleasure and pain, and the place vacated by our self becomes filled with an unspeakable joy which springs from measureless love. In this state the soul’s activity is all the more heightened, only its motive power is not from desires, but in its own joy. This is the Karma-Yoga of the Gita, the way to become one with the infinite activity by the exercise of the activity of disinterested goodness….


How beautiful is humble courtesy!

Higher than detachment is transforming what you want to get rid of.

We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.

Faith is a bird that can see the light when it is dawn and starts singing in the dark.

People resent a joke if there is some truth in it.

It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.

Death is not extinguishing the light, it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

We live in the world when we love it.

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.

If I can’t make it through one door, I will go through another door or I will make a door.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.

The man who aims at his own aggrandisement (the act of increasing the wealth or prestige or power or scope of something) underrates everything else.

Every endeavor to attain a larger life requires of man to gain by giving away, and not to be greedy.

Facts are many, but the truth is one.

All our egoistic impulses, our selfish desires, obscure our true vision of the soul. For they only indicate our own narrow self. When we are conscious of our soul, we perceive the inner being that transcends our ego and has its deeper affinity with the All.

Our soul when detached and imprisoned within the narrow limits of a self loses its significance. For its very essence is unity. It can only find out its truth by unifying itself with others, and only then it has its joy.

When, like the river, we women keep to our banks, we give nourishment with all that we have: when we overflow them we destroy with all that we are.

Let the veil of ‘I’ fall apart and the pure light of consciousness break through the mists revealing the everlasting face of Truth.

If we re-establish that eternally alive idea of goodness of our ancestors in our hearts as our living component and apply that in every sphere of our society, then we will be able to attain the vast Hindu civilization.

So long as there is life in man there are problems for him. His process of living is to ceaselessly give answers to problems.

In its swelling pride the bubble doubts the truth of the sea, and laughs and bursts into emptiness.

The real friendship is like fluorescence, it shines better when everything has darken.

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.

God finds himself by creating.

The mind, sharp but not broad, sticks at every point but does not move.

Like the meeting of the seagulls and the waves we meet and come near. The seagulls fly off, the waves roll away and we depart.

Wrong cannot afford defeat but Right can.

The woodcutter’s axe begged for its handle from the tree. The tree gave it.

Quote on Mahabharata
A European poet would have ended the ‘Mahabharata’ with the victory of the Pandavas in the war. Our Vyasa, however, said: 'The end does not come with assuming monarchy, but with renouncing it.' Our goal was where everything ended. (Source: Chithipatra – Rabindranath Tagore)

Rabindranath Tagore on the Upanishads
Though many of the symbolical expressions used in the Upanishads can hardly be understood today or are sure to be wrongly interpreted, yet the messages contained in these, like some eternal source of light, still illumine and vitalize the religious mind of India. They are not associated with any particular religion, but they have the breadth of a universal soil that can supply with living sap all religions which have any spiritual ideal hidden at their core, or apparent in their fruit and foliage. Religions, which have their different standpoints, each claim them for their own support. (Source: from the Forward by Rabindranath Tagore to The Philosophy of the Upanishads by S. Radhakrishnan)

Upanishads are based not upon theological reasoning, but on experience of spiritual life. And life is not dogmatic; in it opposing forces are reconciled – ideas of non-dualism and dualism, the infinite and the finite, do not exclude each other.

Moreover the Upanishads do not represent the spiritual experience of any one great individual, but of a great age of enlightenment which has a complex and collective manifestation, like that of the starry world. Different creeds may find their sustenance from them, but can never set sectarian boundaries round them; generations of men in our country, no mere students of philosophy, but seekers of life’s fulfillment, may make living use of the texts, but can never exhaust them of their freshness of meaning. (Source: from the Forward by Rabindranath Tagore to The Philosophy of the Upanishads by S. Radhakrishnan)

They stand with uplifted eyes,
thirsty after light,
Lead them to light, My Lord!
They cannot see the paths
 in the twilight dark
While the night of despair
gathers before them.

Those that are lost to themselves,
Seeking for the lodestar
Hidden in the depth of night,
Bring back their sight
To the world of forms
To the paths of the celestial light,
My Lord

Source - Rabindranath Tagore: A centenary, Volumes 1861-1961 By Dr. S. Radhakrishnan

Gitanjali Stanza 35 - Rabindranath Tagore
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Anecdote – Rabindranath Tagore
Once I met two ascetics of a certain religious sect in a village of Bengal.

“Can you tell me,” I asked them, “wherein lies the special features of your religion?”

One of them hesitated for a moment and answered. “It is difficult to define that.”

The other said, “No, it’s quite simple. We hold that we have first of all to know our own soul under the guidance of our spiritual teacher, and when we have done that we can find him, who is the Supreme Soul, within us.”

Why don’t you preach your doctrine to all the people of the world?” I asked.

“Whoever feels thirsty will of himself come to the river,” was his reply.

“But then, do you find it so? Are they coming?”

The man gave a gentle smile, and with an assurance which had not the least tinge of impatience or anxiety, he said, “They must come, one and all.”

Source – Sadhana the Realization of Life By Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore Thoughts on Twice Born
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. That shell is a dead thing, it has no growth, it affords not glimpse whatever of vast beyond that lies outside it.

However pleasantly perfect and rounded it may be, it must be given a blow to, it must be burst through and thereby the freedom of light and air be won, and the complete purpose of bird life be achieved.

In Sanskrit, the bird has been called the twice born.

So too the man who has gone through the ceremony of the discipline of self restraint and high thinking for a period of at least twelve years; who has come out simple in wants, pure in heart, and ready to take up all the responsibilities of life in a disinterested largeness of spirit.

He is considered to have had his rebirth from the blind envelopment of self to the freedom of soul life; to have come into living relation with his surroundings; to have become at one with the All.