The Indian Teilhardian
I want to congragulate my friend Weecheng from Singapore who
has just concluded a year long global journey covering 44 countries,
29 for the first time. Weecheng has been to over 100 countries
and his newsletter has been a source of on the ground news for
me for more than a year.
Weecheng worked for a London bank and was layed off last year
and now has arrived back home to his country of birth. He will
shortly start looking for work. I wish him luck!
the year rapidly coming to an end I would like to write a few
last letters that have been brewing in my mind as a final holiday
offering. These letters were once written for the translation
team exclusively, but now many Americans are starting to look
at them as a prelude for a wider global audience.
I'm happy that this translation project inspired this new development
and it is my greatest wish that the financial situation will
be resolved sometime soon in 2003 even as war and economic reccesion
continue to be a serious problem for the planet at large.
My home is everywhere,
I am in search of it.
My country is in all countries,
I will struggle to attain it.
Rabindranath Tagore was one of the Indian giants of the 20th
century and one of the big stars of 2-ss. Tagore was India's
Shakespeare. An Indian writer who won the Nobel prize in 1913
and who saw the deeper meaning of the clash between east and
west. Tagore felt that the west had lost its soul in the name
of technological effeciency. He saw a global civilization emerging
badly in need of a spiritual center. He was the founder of Shantiniketen
University in Bengal. A university created for the study of
the human spirit. I visited Shantiniketen in 1997 and felt Tagore's
message quite accutely in the local museum which once was his
was Tagore really pondering? He asked many deep questions. Could
the planet realize its soul and transcend its physical boundaries?
Tagore felt India was the model for the future and that the
soul of India like that of the planet's was capable of radiating
a magninimty that could powerfully illuminate the cosmos. But
not if all of it was withdrawn into a narrow barrier of obscurity,
into this misery of pride, of exclusiveness, into this poverty
of mind that dumbly revolved around itself in an unmeaning repetition
of a past that had lost its sight and had no message for the
pilgrim of the future. Wholeness and unity versus division and
Tagore was a Hindu Teilhardian. He felt that today's modern
civilization robbed the world of its mystery and taught us to
believe that what could be seen, touched, and measured physically
alone was real. The universe was no longer seen as a field of
divine purpose. Now it appeared as a blind locomotive with seemingly
no divine spirit informing or inspiring the universe. Yet, the
universe was always more than the sum of all that could be seen
The vision of 2-ss is basically about a unified planet in both
mind and spirit without basic needs not going unfulfilled, yet
with inner challenges still rife and yet being dealt with by
a tolerant form of psychic diversity.
To Tagore knowledge had no limit, but mystery also had no end.
Dissatisfaction with the actual and a yearning for the beyond
were the keynote of all the religions. Humans struggled to attain
perfection always and to fail to achieve it was never a disgrace.
But to lack the desire for it was indeed a misfortune. Every
human was struggling for spiritual freedom.
Perfect freedom lay in the harmony of relationship which was
realized not through knowing, but in being. Objects and knowledge
maintained an infinite distance from us when we were simply
the knowers. For knowledge was not union. We could only attain
the world of freedom through perfect sympathy.
Tagore in a vision once described how the invisible screen of
the commonplace had been removed from all things and the fragments
of their unmeaning had then lost their individual isolation.The
unity of vision then filled him uniting these fragments into
an ever-widening individuality which was a spirited work of
art. This vision to Tagore was of course based on experience.
Not just knowledge. One had to expand one's mental horizons
and see that all was spiritually alive. That the world was not
alien to us. Every object had something ineffible about it.
The religion of the poet had no place for any fixed doctrine.
Religion if it was true was an endless adventure of one's entire
being pushed towards a truth which was revealed in this very
quest. No one had exclusive possession of the truth for the
one truth had many faces. Its variations were determined by
the accidents of history and geography. Unity in diversity versus
a standard uniformity was the core of the Indian outlook. The
U.S. needed this badly. So did the rest of the world.
Tagore felt it was like touching both extremes at once. Humans
were born to love and to be loved. Humans were like this. The
power of the world lay in its movement--not its boundaries.
Ego extinction and self-control were the way to fulfillment.
Channels of light and power were instruments of the divine.
One needed to work in the world, but without being effected
by it was absolutely crucial. One could not really become too
immune to change.By living in the spirit this liberated us from
the mechanism of compulsion. Inspiration then led us to worthy
goals. It was liberation from the compulsions of nature and
the restraints of history.
Tagore felt that the present trends towards the extinction of
the individual as human beings were mobilized in both war and
peace as mere instruments for the will of a ruling clique not
only dehumanized both men and women. But also injured and cramped
life in general. The best people in all countries found their
affinity with one another. A reversal of spiritual values was
now critical. Creative individuals usually worked with energy
in a very patient manner. It was important to let the emerging
global civilization become a great channel of communication
for all races. It was a mighty regeneration brought on through
love and suffering.