Rattan Gujadhur

[Rattan Gujadhur] Rabindranath Tagore and his relations to Vedanta - Book review

Rédigé par Rattan Gujadhur le Dimanche 28 Mai 2023

[Rattan Gujadhur] Rabindranath Tagore and his relations to Vedanta - Book review
The day  I finished Ankur Barua`s delectable book on the vedantic relationality of Rabindranath Tagore, we visited an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, on the remarkable life of Alanis Obomsawin, entitled ‘the children have to hear another story'. 

Only then, did all of Ankur`s beautiful narrative pour onto me from all possible directions. Alanis and Tagore ! Eureka ! 

What a confirmation of all that i had read on Tagore’s vedantic relationality. These two personalities, coming from totally different worlds, background and challenges, were despite all odds, one soul, on its noble quest. It was to me as if Tagore was born again as a First Nation member in Canada. 

Alanis was born in a dark period of indigenous history, when options for social and political agency were radically and systematically closed to the autochthone tribes  in Canada. Tagore as crafted by Barua, came to mind as totally relevant to, what Alanis was in fact revolting against, in her peculiar artistic way. 

The west has been successful in mastering science and technology, but at what brutal costs. The first nation tribes were systematically brutalized in the interests of some unknown racist metric, that the west called societal efficiency, and like Tagore describes, they made human beings become like oppressed clouds of tiredness, crushed by the materialistic engines, focused solely on wealth and material comfort, for a few. It was actually not very hard to make the connection here, and pick up that, the first nations were brutalized and killed off for the comfort of a small class of Canadian entrepreneurs. It was for their land stupid ! 

Tagore did not abhor the west mindlessly, but he did point out in his essays,  the British’s false sense of superiority and lack of empathy and admiration for India at large. Any alien artifacts, were in their mind cause for suspect, of course let’s not exaggerate, Tagore also points to the high Britishers too ( the great Andrews), who saw the grandeur of Indian culture. The early Canadians mimicked the bullying, and this is exactly what was done with the first nation tribes. A systematic genocidal program was enclencher. A sort of Jallianwala bagh massacre dosed and spread over centuries. Of course, things have changed now, but at what costs! Addiction, lack of education and disenfranchisement are still rampant in First Nation tribes, to date.

Barua, has connected Tagore, thanks to his masterful work, to oh so many of incidents in the wider world, where either the west has been abjectly blind to the east, or the east itself, fell into a sort of ritualistic calcification mode, and rejected positive elements of western thought. Tagore was never one for extremes. Sahaj was his way. He ‘preached’ like Sri Ramakrishna for a 'balanced' vijnani view of the ultimate, possessing both sagun and nirgun attributes. Tagore entered the indian psyche, with such a 'delicatesse', that one can very much visualize his oeuvres, when one looks at the life of tenors like 'Alanis'. These grand seers are the ones, who are, and were, constantly shining this divine supportive light on the oppressed classes, through practical, robust social actions and commitments, and at the very same time, making full use of their artistic impulses to uplift and promote the subaltern.

We already know what Tagore has achieved through his vast literary output. It was like he was always trying to distil this wine, upon drinking which, human beings would escape the dreary dead old age scaffolds constructed by their restricted egos. With their noble endeavors, personalities like Alanis and Tagore, seem to have shown that the ultimate, was alive and alert, in the very inner hearts of men. Humanity is a culmination of the divine will, not an empty automaton or shell, and will forever manifest, to beget collaborative and humane societies. Alanis’s exhibition and the Tagore narrative by Barua, are supreme works of art that prove there is a practical way to love all. 

Barua’s incredible research and scholarship made Tagore come alive, to average readers like us, so we could bridge the gap in our knowledge, and see the vast value of his philosophy in our everyday existence. Tagore’s philosophy has deep connections with the lives of other true heroes like Alanis and so many others !

A propos de l'auteur : Rattan Gujadhur    left Mauritius for higher studies in the US in 1999. He has practiced in the Pharma and Biotech world for over 29 years and is a Dr in Chemistry. He remains deeply in love with Mauritius and has published reminiscences of Mauritius via a poetry collection and a novel.

Dimanche 28 Mai 2023