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Tagore on Tagore

From Talks in China, originally published in 1924, reprinted in Sisir Kumar Das, ed., Talks in China, Calcutta: Visva Bharati, 1999

Our self expression must find its freedom not only in spiritual ideas but in literary manifestations. But our literature has allowed its creative life to vanish. It lacked movement and was fettered by rhetoric rigid as death.

I had a deep sense almost from infancy, of the beauty of nature, an intimate feeling of companionship with the trees and clouds, and felt in tune with the musical touch of the seasons in the air.

God forgives me because I do not know what I do. Possibly that is the best way of doing things in the sphere of art.

. . . my mind was brought up in an atmosphere of freedom, freedom from the dominance of any creed that had its sanction in the definite authority of some scripture, or in the teaching of some organized body of worshippers.

I had been blessed with the sense of wonder which gives a child his right of entry into the treasure house of mystery which is in the heart of existence.

. . . I was born into a family which rebelled, which had faith in its loyalty to an inner ideal. If you want to reject me, you are free to do so. But I have my right as revolutionary to carry the flag of freedom of spirit into the shrine of your idols—material power and accumulation.