Sadhana by Rabindranath Tagore
A collection of lectures about Indian spirituality by India’s first Nobel Laureate. They are interesting but also vague and non-historical. This is one man preaching his personal religion.
While I was in India, The New Yorker did a profile on Tagore. Apparently, Bertrand Russell saw him speak and said he was spouting standard “we are all the Buddha” mumbo-jumbo. If he heard something like this, he’s not far off.
Interesting thing is that Tagore is a Hindu not a Buddhist. How’s that work? Well, he keeps refering to the Upanishads, which Wendy Doniger describes as Hinduism’s response to the Buddhist and Jainist renunciation of Brahmanic ritual, which to me suggests that, if Buddhism is a kind of Hindu Reformation, then the Upanishads are the Brahmins’ counter-reformation. The Buddhist rejection of court religion and ritual in favour of personal quests for enlightenment are rejected but also remake Hinduism expressed in these texts as more personal (though not yet devotional). Tagore is speaking in that vein.
June, 2011. Chennai/Mamallapuram India