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Tagore's Engagement with The Cosmic Beloved


From divine joy we descend, into divine joy we ultimately dissolve and in between, the beautiful journey that we call life is enveloped in the ecstasy of divine love for the personified Absolute. Realisation of this mystic vision beyond any bookish philosophy made Rabindranath  Tagore experience the vastness of the Omnipresent manifested in the colorful and rhythmic feast of sight and symphony.

To Tagore, the Infinite appeared as his cosmic beloved who made it possible for him to receive His endless gifts. Hence Tagore muses, "Thus it is that they joy in me is so full. Thus it is that thou hast come down to me. O thou lord of all heavens where would be thy love if I were not thou hast taken me as thy partner of all this wealth. In my hear is the endless play of thy delight".

Deliverance? Where is the deliverance to be found? Our master himself has joyfully taken upon himself the bonds of creation; he is bound with us all for ever". His delight is to wait and watch at the wayside inhaling the fragrance of his eternal promise and sweet presence. He felt the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight and hence did not want deliverance through renunciation.

This world-affirming pantheism, however, is not oblivious of the awareness of infinitude: "Where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take her flight in" and where reigns the stainless white radiance--- no day or night, no form or color, and not even a single word.

Realisation of the dualism of the non-dual Being made him sing, "Thou art the sky and thou art the nest as well... in the nest it is thy love that encloses the soul with colors and sounds and odours".

This unification of the non-dual with the mystic dual is the hallmark of Tagore's poetic experience. "I dive down into the ocean of forms hoping to gain the perfect pearl of formlessness". The Being of the Upanishads is translated into a myriad manifestations.

The pilgrimage from infinite forms to the infinite formless is a painful process but the poet enjoys  the same as it perfects him through purification and brings him closer to the cosmic beloved in attunement and facilitates surrender. That is why he says, .."Strike, strike at the root of the penury  in my heart.... Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

The sordid reality of life takes its own toll and as such his occasional deviation from the divine path gives birth to pangs: "That I want thee, only thee-- let my heart repeat without end". He knows, heart of hearts, that all worldly desires are false and empty to the core. Hence to maintain the eternal attunement with the Infinite he has to rise above the gravitational pull of finite.

Tagore's divine romance found a profound elevation in the firm assertion, "In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play and here I have caught sight of him that is formless". Tagore's relationship with the Cosmic Divine was intimate and informal. Which is why he used the lower case when making references to the Infinite or God. His romantic mysticism inspired the fusion of poetry and spirituality

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