Quotations by Tagore, Rabindranath


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

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
“Fireflies” (1926)

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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Apr-10
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The Lord respects me when I work,
But He loves me when I sing.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
“Fireflies” (1926)
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
"God honours me when I work,
He loves me when I sing."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Feb-17
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The mountain remains unmoved at seeming defeat by the mist.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
“Fireflies” (1926)

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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Mar-10
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I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
“Waiting,” Gitanjali (1913)

Alt trans:
"The song I came to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing
and in unstringing my instrument."

"The song that I came to sing remains unsung to this day,
I have spent my days in stringing and unstringing my instrument."

Sometimes titled "Song Unsung"

Full text.

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Mar-10
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You can’t cross the sea merely by staring at the water.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
(Attributed)

Alt trans: 
"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."
"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come."
"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."
"Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come."

Added on 5-Aug-09 | Last updated 5-Aug-09
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I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was duty.
I acted and behold, duty was joy.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
(Attributed)
Added on 12-Oct-11 | Last updated 12-Oct-11
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Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
(Attributed)
Added on 13-Nov-13 | Last updated 13-Nov-13
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Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand
With a grip that kills it.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Fireflies (1928)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Jun-20 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
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Knowledge is partial, because our intellect is an instrument, it is only a part of us, it can give us information about things which can be divided and analysed, and whose properties can be classified part by part. But Brahma is perfect, and knowledge which is partial can never be a knowledge of him.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Sādhanā : The Realisation of Life (1916)
Added on 10-May-10 | Last updated 10-May-10
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When we watch a child trying to walk, we see its countless failures; its success are but few. If we had to limit our observation within a narrow space of time, the sight would be cruel. But we find that in spite of its repeated failures, there is an impetus of joy in the child which sustains it in its seemingly impossible task. We see it does not think of its falls so much as of its power to keep its balance though for only a moment.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Sadhana: The Realization of Life, ch. 3 (1913)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Jan-15 | Last updated 20-Jan-15
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If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds (1916)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Praise shames me, for I secretly beg for it.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds (1916)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Every child comes with the message that God is not yet tired of the man.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds (1916)

Alt. trans.: "Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Feb-17
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If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds (1916)

Full text.

Added on 17-May-10 | Last updated 17-May-10
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Let this be my last word, that I trust in thy love.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds (1916)

Full text.
Added on 24-May-10 | Last updated 24-May-10
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Blessed is he whose fame does not outshine his truth.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds, #296 (1914)
Added on 9-Apr-10 | Last updated 9-Apr-10
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What you are you do not see, what you see is your shadow.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Stray Birds, ch. 18 (1914)
Added on 12-Dec-08 | Last updated 12-Dec-08
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The truth comes as conqueror only because we have lost the art of receiving it as guest.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
The Fourfold Way of India (1924)

Often paraphrased: "Truth comes as conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as friend."

Added on 3-May-10 | Last updated 3-May-10
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Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?

I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.

Open your doors and look abroad.

From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.

In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across a hundred years.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
The Gardener, #85 (1915)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jun-10 | Last updated 8-Oct-15
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