Rabindranath Tagore on Evolution

These remarkable writings of Rabindranath Tagore are a unique description of the relation of the human soul or consciousness with the Universe or creation. The human being and what is his inner self or soul is compared by Tagore to the continuous state of evolution which is taking place in the universe. The human being is a part of the Universe, hence inseparable from the Universe is evolving along with the Universe.

“There was a time when the earth was only a nebulous mass whose particles were scattered far apart through the expanding force of heat; when she had not yet attained her definiteness of form and had neither beauty nor purpose, but only heat and motion. Gradually, when her vapors were condensed into a unified rounded whole through a force that strove to bring all straggling matters under the control of a centre, she occupied her proper place among the planets of the solar system, like an emerald pendant in a necklace of diamonds. So with our soul.”

“When the heat and motion of blind impulses and passions distract it on all sides, we can neither give nor receive anything truly. But when we find our centre in our soul by the power of self-restraint, by the force that harmonizes all warring elements and unifies those that are apart, then all our isolated impressions reduce themselves to wisdom, and all our momentary impulses of heart find their completion in love; then all the petty details of our life reveal an infinite purpose, and all our thoughts and deeds unite themselves inseparably in an internal harmony.”

Tagore says that the human being is evolving side by side with the Universe. The Universe is both evolving and fully evolved at the same time. He says that the Rishis or seekers of the truth who have evolved fully, have experienced and unified with the fully evolved state of the Universe. They experience God or creation everywhere and have attained the supreme knowledge.

‘They who having attained the supreme soul in knowledge were filled with wisdom, and having found him in union with the soul were in perfect harmony with the inner self; they having realized him in the heart were free from all selfish desires, and having experienced him in all the activities of the world, had attained calmness. The rishis were they who having reached the supreme God from all sides had found abiding peace, had become united with all, had entered into the life of the Universe”

Tagore describes Non-Duality and Duality, which is present everywhere at the same time. The quote below is an example from the Upanishads which has been given by Tagore, to describe God.

“He is Vishvakarma; that is, in a multiplicity of forms and forces lies his outward manifestation in nature; but his inner manifestation in our soul is that which exists in unity. Our pursuit of truth in the domain of nature therefore is through analysis and the gradual methods of science, but our apprehension of truth in our soul is immediate and through direct intuition. We cannot attain the supreme soul by successive additions of knowledge acquired bit by bit even through all eternity, because he is one, he is not made up of parts; we can only know him as heart of our hearts and soul of our soul; we can only know him in the love and joy we feel when we give up our self and stand before him face to face”


  1. I love Tagore's writing. One of my favorite quotes is by him:: "The butterfly counts not days, but moments, and has time enough." That is so beautiful, and true.


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