Mr. Rabindranath Tagore of Calcutta, India, delivered the third lecture of his series on Indian Philosophy in Emerson A yesterday afternoon. The subject of this lecture was "Realization of Brahman."
Mr. Tagore began his lecture with a quotation from the Upanished or Scriptures, "Man becomes truly a man if in this life he can apprehend God; if not, it is the greatest calamity for him." The infinite is not a concrete thing which man can acquire and add to his possessions; he can never find Brahma, for Brahma himself is everywhere; what he must do is to free himself from the confinement of the life of the self and by daily worship seek not to acquire God but to surrender himself to God.
To attain ultimate perfection a man must feel the influence of the infinite in every action. Earthly desires may be completely satisfied, whereupon all pleasure ceases; but as spiritual desires can never be completely attained, the realization of an unending field for accomplishment brings unfailing bliss. The former soul may be compared to a bird imprisoned in a cage; the latter to a bird in the open air.
Man's life is sordid and miserable until he finds some great idea which can truly claim his all. Just as a river passes by and serves towns and forests, but does not turn aside from its course toward the great calm of the sea, so the soul, allowing and providing for necessities, still makes its only aim union with the infinite. A poem, to be understood and appreciated, must have one central theme; in the same way life must have its one great purpose and aim or the whole is meaningless and confused.
The keynote of this philosophy is that man cannot ever acquire Brahma, but must realize him. This aim cannot be accomplished by knowledge, for all knowledge is partial. In the Upanishad is written, "Mind can never know Brahma; words can never describe him. He can only be known by our soul, by its joy in him and by its love for him. Let man but once understand this great truth, and every obstacle, every task will become a joy; remain ignorant and we will pass from starvation to starvation, from trouble to trouble, and from one fear even to another."