Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

An Undying Faith of the Infinite in Us

--by Rabindranath Tagore (Oct 18, 2010)

When we watch a child trying to walk, we see its countless failures; its successes 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.

Like these accidents in a child's attempt to walk, we meet with sufferings in various forms in our life every day, showing the imperfections in our knowledge and our available power, and in the application of our will.  But if these only revealed our weakness to us, we would die of utter depression.  When we select for observation a limited area of our activities, our individual failures and miseries loom large in our minds; but our life leads us instinctively to take a wider view.  It gives us an ideal of perfection which ever carries us beyond our present limitations.  Within us we have a hope which always walks in front of our present narrow experience; it is the undying faith in the infinite in us; it will never accept our disabilities as a permanent fact; it sets no limit to its own scope; it dares to assert that man has oneness with God; and its wild dreams become true everyday.

We see truth when we set our mind towards the infinite.  The ideal of truth is not in the narrow present, not in our immediate sensations, but in the consciousness of the whole which gives us a taste of what we *should* have in what we *do* have.

--Rabindranath Tagore, in Sadhana

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Previous Reflections:

On Oct 19, 2010 Kinjal wrote:

The last paragraph resonated with me the most! After reading the entire passage, I find myself thinking about "perspective".... no matter how small or large miseries may be either in hind sight or from an outsiders point of view, they always seem too big or too serious for us in that moment.... but it is our innate nature to spring back in positivity...which gives us the courage to face (or try to face) anything and everything in life with some sort of compassion and acceptance but not defeat or negativity...

On Oct 20, 2010 Haron wrote:

Joyce am single boy 25years old am a Kenyan and am a sabath keeper since my child hood and for two years you have been my teacher.

You bleses mi always and i love you and i like you and your teaching.

On Oct 25, 2010 Patsy wrote:

When I was a young mother at home with my two small children, my world was made of small things. We lived the joy of small joys and the pain of small hurts together. It helped me to remember my smallness as a child.

As my children grew older we spent less time togher. Their needs for me became fewer, but larger. It helped me remember my growing years. The experiences of youth are so easy physically and so difficult emotionally. So much pain. So much elation!

I am growing old now. My emotional world is more even. I have learned the pain and the pleasure both have a place within me. I have faced down my share of  paper tigers and learned not to worry until I feel the tigers teeth on my skin. My physical world is now more challenging. Pain slowly finds places to settle in to keep me company. My spirit world is bigger than ever and I find myself occasionally amazed by the things I see.

I am grateful to be alive and I will be grateful to die.

On Oct 25, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

I loved reading Patsy's comment - a very powerful observation that as we grow older, our physical experiences are more difficult than our emotional ones. Made me think that we are wired to learn, even if we do our best not to.

I liked Tagore's emphasis on the "should" as opposed to what we "do" have, and find that to be the genesis of all creation. If we were merely satisfied by a clear understanding of what is happening as it really is, and not as we want it to be, we would end up being indistinguishable from the unity we often find ourselves in, and which, many traditions claim, is our ultimate goal. Tagore is a rebel poet - and he says, how boring! We are Gods, here to create, and that involves limiting the limitless, the only way in which the limitless can express itself.

Of course, Tagore's creation is not a mind running astray, rather, it is the expression of stillest mind possible, that does see things as they truly are, and out of a mischievous twinkle in the eye, decides to create. My professor once expressed this idea without ever reading Tagore, when he announced to our group that we were all Gods. A colleague asked, "Then, why are we here?" 

He responded, without a grin, "Because, you see, it is boring to be God." I laughed at first, and then stopped.

On Oct 26, 2010 Shariq wrote:


While reflecting on, "[w]e see truth when we set our mind towards the infinite", I recalled a passage from Sadhna that had resonated with me the most. Here is that much cherished passage:


"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.


But he can be known by joy, by love. For joy is knowledge in its completeness, it is knowing by our whole being. Intellect sets us apart from the things to be known, but love knows its object by fusion. Such knowledge is immediate and admits no doubt. It is the same as knowing our own selves, only more so."


In this passage, 'For joy is knowledge in its completeness, it is knowing by our whole being' has a deep felt sense for me, yet it is difficult to express this sense within the context of everyday experiences. 


Perhaps in practicing to experience 'knowledge in its completeness'  lies the joyous realization of the presence of, "The ideal of truth... in the consciousness of the whole" in our whole being with immediacy and without any doubt similar to how we may feel in knowing our own selves, only more so.


On Oct 26, 2010 ganoba wrote:

 We have come a long way from the stone age but the intellectual models we use to understand the world are still primitive.

we treat the created universe as if it is a straight line of limited length. Then there are bound to be opposites and extremes. the possibility of extending the line to infinity on either side then appears as an impossibility or a risky enterprise. a wavy or crooked line is seen as a defect or imperfection to be set right.

how can such a mind visualise that the universe is at once expanding infinity and a non existent zero?

The verbal antics of the intellectuals makes me laugh and cry at the same time.