Search Results for Tagore
Tagore, Rabindranath (1861-1941)
Indian renaissance man born in Calcutta, W. Bengal.
Tagore is known throughout India and the world for his paintings, folk songs, verse, short stories, plays and novels.
In 1901 Tagore founded a unique open-air school at Santiniketan, West Bengal.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘asram’ at Santiniketan, Tagore’s school integrates Eastern and Western approaches to education and has flowered into Visva-Bharati university, offering a diverse curriculum in the arts, sciences and humanities while hosting international students from around the world.
The school is fully recognized by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission which funds exceptional foreign students, particularly for graduate studies at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels.
In 1913 Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In his Presentation Speech Harald Hjärne, Chairman of the Nobel Committee, said
Tagore’s Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912), a collection of religious poems, was the one of his works that especially arrested the attention of the selecting critics.
Tagore’s worldly acclaim and societal impact didn’t stop there, however. Knighted in 1915, he shocked India and the British Empire by resigning his knighthood in 1919 in protest over the British colonial presence in India.
On the Web:
“This was a school project in which we had to do a biography of a major poet. I chose to make an interview video with my poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Both are acted by me. Btw, I got an A+. Inspired …”
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The Bauls are the wandering devotional minstrels of West Bengal, India. They belong to a longstanding bardic tradition that poetically glorifies God while rebuking worldly hypocrisy. Many practice left hand tantra. And living off alms, they are the peace, love and freedom “hippies” of West Bengal.
Today their timeless songs may be heard on trains and at public fairs called melas. The Bauls’ poetry had a tremendous influence on the Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, the outstanding Bengali figure who founded the open air, asram-style Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan.
But perhaps most important about the Bauls, they manage to accept people from both Islam (Sufism) and Hinduism (Vaishnavas) in a country where the tension between these two religious groups is usually so thick you could cut with a knife.
- Review: Two books on Bauls (enfolding.org)
- Tagore-Ocampo memorabilia reveals enigmatic relationship (vancouverdesi.com)
- Where a poet’s vision lives on (ndtv.com)
- Mamata Banerjee paints with artists (vancouverdesi.com)
- Tagore-Ocampo memorabilia reveals enigmatic relationship (indiavision.com)
In ancient India the caste system apparently was regarded as a positive, divinely based phenomenon. The hierarchical differentiation of human beings on the basis of color (varna) and birth (jati) was seen as a worldly reflection of a ritually sacrificed Divine Body (purusa).
Accordingly, the Rig Veda of the conquering northern Aryans¹ tells of the ritual dismemberment of a Primal Cosmic Man, on which the caste system is based.
The highest, fair-skinned Brahman caste (priests, thinkers) emanated from the head, the lower and darker Kshatriya caste (rajas, warriors, persons of action) from the arms, while the next lower and darker Vaisna caste (merchants) originated from the thighs.
Later, the additional fourth, lowest and darkest Sudra caste (servants) was added, believed to be the “feet” of the purusa. This caste was probably created by the Aryans to account for the indigenous Dravidians.
Like distinctions made by the apostle Paul in the New Testament, each caste had a unique social duty (dharma) to fulfill, corresponding to the particular part of the cosmic body from which it originated. Unlike Pauline Christianity, however, the Sudras were forbidden to study the sacred scripture of the Veda.²
In time, another fifth category evolved, the “untouchables” (quite literally, societal outcasts), whose members were allegedly so lowly that they didn’t belong to any caste. Deploring the caste system, Mahatma Gandhi called these people Harijans (“Children of God”).
Of the upper three castes, at age twelve the Hindu male undergoes the ritual of upanaya, receiving a sacred thread to indicate his status as ‘twice born.’ Not unlike the Christian Confirmation or Jewish Bar Mitzvah, this ceremony contains both cultural and spiritual significance.
The western equivalent to caste is the equally misguided idea of class. Both concepts tend to separate and evaluate individuals on a hierarchical scale. Caste did this exclusively by birth, whereas class includes other variables.
Despite the fact that caste was openly challenged by Gandhi in the 1930s and legally criminalized in the 1950s, both subtle and overt injustices premised on caste distinctions continue to this day, just as they do with the idea of class.
¹ It should be noted that not everyone subscribes to that version of Indian history. Click here for more.
² Human nature being what it is, similar prohibitions later arose in the Christian Church regarding the study of Latin and the reading of the Bible.
³ S. G. F. Brandon ed., Dictionary of Comparative Religion (1970: 175-177).
- Varna, Veda, and stuff (kalicharanveda.wordpress.com)
- Reservation in Promotion and Caste System (prosperousworld.wordpress.com)
- * Dalits see smallest rise in wages (chindia-alert.org)
- caste system in India as seen by PCI(M) (readandactnow.wordpress.com)
- The Caste System: The Hindu’s imaginary Achilles’ heel – George Augustine (bharatabharati.wordpress.com)
- A Documentary About Anti-Caste System Activists in India (patheos.com)
- “Some people continue to feel they can get away with attacking Dalits” (thehindu.com)
- My comment to the post about caste system in India in the Hindi Language Blog (burubaxair.wordpress.com)
- Reservation, Caste system and Development (ggrwlknl.wordpress.com)
- Take 5: The Halloween Candy Caste System (bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com)
Hinduism is the main religion of India, having evolved over several thousand years.
It has no creed nor firm institutional structure, although the belief in reincarnation runs through almost every form of Hinduism.
Instead of revering one holy book like the Bible or the Koran, Hinduism relies on a variety of sacred scriptures. The oldest are the Vedas (1500-1200 BCE), with the Rig-Veda being prominent among them.
Later, the dharma sutras and dharma shastras appear (500 BCE – 500 CE). These ancient codes of conduct, numbering over 5,000 separate titles, were composed in Sanskrit. They spell out rules and regulations for a wide variety of situations. And they legitimized the caste system and the ideal Hindu stages of life (asrama). They were legally binding in India until contrary legislation appeared in 1955-56.
The Upanisads (1000-600 BCE) are an introspective set of scriptures dealing with the eternal self and its relation to temporal life.
Also important are the two epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. While the Bhagavad-Gita belongs within the Mahabharata, most scholars believe it is was added later to the epic, crystallizing various strands of existing Hindu belief.
The most important gods of the Trimurti (Skt. = three forms, sometimes loosely translated as “Trinity”) are Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Siva (Destroyer and Cosmic Dancer). But many other deities, called avatars, and their consorts are privately and publicly worshipped (e.g., Krishna-Radha, Hanuman, Ganesha, Kali).
In some strands of Hinduism the Buddha is believed to be a demonic avatar. This is probably because Buddha’s teaching challenged the Hindu priestly and caste traditions.
From the 1800′s, the Indian gurus Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekenanda, Sai Baba, Sri Aurobindo, Paramahansa Yogananda and Sri Rajneesh have been prominent. Meanwhile the Indian poet, dramatist and musician Rabindranath Tagore pioneered an innovative, internationally based ashram-style university at Santiniketan and Mohandas Gandhi, who championed the Bhagavad-Gita, has been internationally known as a key political and spiritual figure.
Related Posts » Ahimsa, Asrama, Atman, Avatar, Brahmanas, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Celibacy, Chakras, Demons, Deva, Dharma, Dyaus, Evil, Faith and Action, Fallen Angels, Gunas, Heaven, Hell, Jainism, Kali, Kama, Karma, Karma Transfer, Kundalini, Levels of Knowledge, Linga, Manu, Matsu, Mela, Nandi, O’Flaherty (Wendy Doniger), Panentheism, Pantheism, Pollution, Puranas, Q, Radha, Radhakrishnan (Sarvepalli), Rakshakas, Reincarnation, Samsara, Sanskrit, Seer, Sikhism, Soul, Tantra, Trinity (Holy Trinity), Yantra, Yoga, Yogini, Yoni
- A Brief Description of Popular Hinduism (epages.wordpress.com)
- The Bhagavad Gita Revisited – Part 1 (3quarksdaily.com)
- What are holy text for Hinduism (wiki.answers.com)
- What are the two important texts in Hinduism (wiki.answers.com)
- What are the practices and texts of Hinduism (wiki.answers.com)
- What is hinduisms holy Bible (wiki.answers.com)
- What are some sacred texts for Hinduism (wiki.answers.com)
- U.S. Hindus Upset over Move to Ban Bhagavad Gita in Russia (ibtimes.com)
- Reading Suggestion: Topic – Hinduism (gorirajkumari.wordpress.com)
- Fertility Symbols in Hinduism (socyberty.com)
A knight was a mounted warrior in the Middle Ages who pledged allegiance to the Church and, as such, answered to ordained priests. During the Crusades it was believed that a knight only fought for just and holy causes.
However, many abuses occurred (including rapes, pillaging, cruelty and senseless murder), and some would argue that the whole idea of ‘killing for Christ’ is a twisted perversion of Christ’s teachings.
It has often been said that crusaders tended to behave particularly badly once they were in the field. That they could be undisciplined and capable of acts of great cruelty cannot be denied.¹
The Crusading knight was also a servant of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and as the institution developed over the centuries, the idea of knighthood became highly romanticized in life, literature and song. Instead of being a mere ‘killer for Christ,’ the knight evolved into a courageous hero who was bound to protect women through acts of chivalry. At least, that was the prevailing ideal in the latter Middle Ages, an idea that became even more pronounced during the Renaissance.
Part of the knight’s identity rested upon horsemanship and another part on armoury–just as horsemanship, battle attire and weapons have always been important to warriors, stretching back into antiquity. When the technology of warfare changed, the old idea of the mounted knight in armor gradually fell into obscurity.
Today, the knight remains an omnipresent symbol of heroism and honor in works of fiction and pop culture. And those knighted by royalty are done so for some great lifetime achievement (e.g. Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Phillip “Mick” Jagger).
In addition, certain religious groups have adapted the term knight to symbolize holiness and the pursuit of goodness (e.g. The Knights of Columbus).
Interestingly, some contemporary figures do not accept the honor of knighthood which the British royalty so carefully offers.²
¹ See Rethinking the Crusades by JONATHAN RILEY SMITH » http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0042.html
² David Bowie declined the honor in 2003, saying : “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.” See » http://www.bowiewonderworld.com/press/00/030912thesun.htm. And many others have responded similarly, as revealed in this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declining_a_British_honour
- Constantine, We Are Here: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Mar 11, 1997: Paul McCartney Knighted (censorshipinamerica.com)
- Feudal Europe Essay (socyberty.com)
- Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar at War (socyberty.com)
- King Arthur in Legends and Literature (socyberty.com)
- Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar: Clash of Interests (socyberty.com)
- Jousting Tournaments in the Middle Ages (brighthub.com)
- A Crusading Knight and Cute Concrete (nytimes.com)
- Santorum Tackles the Crusades (unreasonablefaith.com)
- In Defense of Medieval Gaming from Geekcentricity ” Role-Playing (geekcentricity.com)