An exploration of the ideas of ‘religion’ and ‘faith’ in Rabindranath Tagore’s the religion of man and Gitanjali
AuthorChowdhury, Zaian Fatema
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The main functions of religions are often undermined in today’s mainstream discourse. It falls under the shadow of epistemological questions of whether God is real, or met with violent intolerance just as it is used to further extremist ideologies. Either it is dismissed completely or is adhered to in the strictest of ways. What we fail to talk about is how religion serves as a platform for one to realise one’s faith, while nurturing a system of universally moral values and providing a kind of guidance. This dissertations aims to explore and re-examine Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy of religion as it developed consciously through The Religion of Man and Gitanjali. I aim to show how Tagore’s “poet’s religion” is universal, and can be made relevant in today’s world as a way of understanding faith. Tagore’s exploration of faith runs through the notions of reason, love and deed. Tagore’s philosophy allows for inner questioning and doubt as opposed to blind adherence, encourages forming meaningful relationships with an underlying love for oneself and others, and motivates one to immerse in meaningful work to understand both life and death. His humanism and mysticism complement each other in creating a religious awareness that can be felt by anyone who is willing to listen.