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Chasing Tagore

  This year coincides with the 150th birthday and 70th anniversary of the death of Rabindranath Tagore, the great writer of India, and the CPAFFC organized a grand commemorative event. European and American critics once praised Gibran’s “The Prophet” and Tagore’s “Gitanjali” as “the most beautiful voice in the East”. We still clearly remember that when we read these two books at Peking University more than half a century ago, we were immediately attracted by the “most beautiful voice in the East”. Later, I read Tagore’s “Gardener Collection”, “Flying Black Collection” and “Crescent Moon Collection” one after another. . At that time, under the influence of the domestic political climate, the school’s political movements: Red School debates, anti-rightist, anti-rightist… one after another. This “the most beautiful voice in the East” was obviously not in harmony with the heated debates and the deafening slogans at the denunciations. But we are like what the poet Zang Kejia Zang Lao described as “like eating peculiar smells, the more you eat, the more greedy you are.” During exercise, we often “cat” in which corner of Yanyuan Garden, and indulge in this “the most beautiful voice in the East”…
  Female writer Bing Xin It has been said that the Prophet and Gitanjali “have the same purpose”. In the 1980s, we were instructed to work in Lebanon. We were entrusted by Mr. Kuruz, the director of the Gibran Museum, to find a copy of the Prophet translated by Bing Xin on behalf of the museum. We were fortunate enough to get to know the old man Bing Xin. Having heard her comment on Gibran and Tagore like this, she said: “Tagore was born in a noble family, with a superior family background, and he was well educated since childhood. His works are full of emotion, bright in tone, and gorgeous in words. His style is also more naive, more cheerful, and more It is full of mystery. Gibran came from a bitter background, and his works are more like an old man who has experienced vicissitudes of life talking about the philosophy of life, showing a touch of sadness in the calm.”
  Tagore was born in Calcutta on May 7, 1861 into a family with profound cultural heritage. His father was a famous philosopher, and his brother and sister were also celebrities. Tagore was the youngest child in the family. He was intelligent and loved by the whole family. Although Tagore’s parents disciplined their children strictly, they never violated their personality development. Tagore didn’t like the rigid life in school, so his parents asked for tutoring for him, and he asked his brother and sister to help him. He is particularly fond of music and writing, and was less than nine years old when he attempted to write his first poem in the rhythm of traditional Bengali poetry. The influence of this traditional culture and art laid the foundation for his future literary creation. At the age of 15, he published his first prose poem, Wild Flowers, and at the age of 17, he published his debut novel, The Story of a Poet. In the same year, he went to study in the UK, where he first studied law, and then transferred to the study of English literature and Western music. After returning to China, he devoted himself to literary creation. At the beginning of the 20th century, Tagore suffered a series of misfortunes: widow, daughter, father. This series of blows made him deeply saddened by the world, which is also reflected in his “Memories” and “Ferry Boat”. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was also a period when the anti-colonial movement in India was booming and the society was undergoing drastic changes. He did not dwell on personal misfortune, but actively participated in the national independence movement. The novel “Gola” written in 1910 truly reflected The complex entanglements at all levels of Indian social life have shaped the image of a fighter for national freedom and liberation. In the same year, Tagore was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and brought him a great reputation. The rhyme collection “Gitanjali” was published in India. This collection of poems was originally written in Bengali according to the rhythm of traditional Bengali lyric poetry. Although it was well received in China, it did not have much international influence. In the same year, after living in London, he began to translate some of the poems in “Gitanjali”, “The Ferry” and “Devotion” into English, and published them in London under the title of “Gitanjali”. “Gitanjali” is a transliteration of Bengali “poems”. In addition to singing about love, friendliness, scenery and scenery, there are also some mysterious hymns. This is a reflection of Tagore’s influence by the Indian traditional pantheism-“the unity of Brahman and I” philosophical thought. What he praised was not the god in the religious sense, but the embodiment of the ideal and the light pursued by the poet. As Guo Moruo said: Tagore “just put the traditional spirit of India in a Western-style dress: the reality of ‘Brahma’, the dignity of ‘I’, the gospel of ‘love’.” In order to express the ideas of the original works more freely, he got rid of the shackles of the original rhythms and translated them into prose poems full of charm and rhythm. What he did not expect was that when the book came out, it immediately caused a sensation in the literary world of London and Western Europe, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. prize. The award certificate reads:
  Because of his most perceptive, fresh, and beautiful poems, which are not only skillful, but also expressed in English by himself, his poetic thoughts have become part of Western literature.
  Tagore was the first person in India and Asia to receive this lofty honor. His literary creation then entered another climax period, and successively published collections of prose and poetry such as “The Gardener’s Collection”, “Crescent Moon Collection”, “Flying Birds Collection” and “Flowing Firefly Collection”; He has written novels and novels such as “Four People”, “Family and the World” and “Two Sisters”, as well as essays and essays such as “Conversation in China” and “Russian Letters”. Among them, the most influential book on Chinese writers and readers may be “Flying Birds” published in 1916. “Flying Birds Collection” includes 325 untitled poems full of philosophical meanings, most of which are only one or two lines, almost all of them are the poet’s instant impressions, associations and perceptions of natural scenery. Its original Chinese translator, the famous writer Zheng Zhenduo, said that these poems “are like clumps of wild flowers on a hillside meadow, with their heads sticking out one after another in the morning sun. Whatever you like, there are many colors and fragrances. diverse”. The content of “Flying Birds” is all-encompassing. Tagore uses his pure heart and broad and profound philosophy of life to express his love for the people, life and nature. He sincerely gives all good things – a black, a cloud, a grass or a firefly with fresh life, to arouse people’s pursuit of ideals and light:
  a bird would like to be a cloud, a cloud May be a bird.
  The raindrops kissed the earth and whispered: We are the children of your thoughts, mother, and now come back to you from the sky.
  My dream is like a firefly—a lively streamer flashing in the gloom.
  There is no sign of birds flying in the sky, but I have.
  My heart is a bird of the wilderness, and in your eyes finds his sky.
  My mind shines with these shining green leaves, and my heart sings with the touch of these glances.
  Falls sings: When I found freedom, I found my song.
  Those who carried the lights on their backs cast their shadows in front of them.
  Errors cannot withstand failure, but truth is not afraid of failure.
  …
  Bing Xin recalled in the article “How I Write “Fanxing” and “Spring Water” that she accidentally read Tagore’s “Flying Birds” translated by Zheng Zhenduo, and was immediately struck by those “very short poetic and philosophical philosophies. The poems “dumped”, and she also tried to “collect many of her fragmentary thoughts into one collection”, which resulted in “Fantastic Stars” and “Spring Water”. She said affectionately in “To the Indian Philosopher Tagore”: “Tagore! Thank you for saving my natural sorrow with your beautiful poetry; thank you for comforting the loneliness of my soul with your excellent philosophy.” In 1953 she Visited India for 75 days. She said that in India, especially in the Bengali-speaking provinces, people’s love for Tagore can always be felt, and his long and short poems are recited in the mouths of men, women and children. She believes that Tagore’s great achievement lies in his efforts to “eliminate the chaos and suffocation around him, the Western culture that came from Britain, which contained colonial slavery, and in-depth study of India’s own long-standing , excellent culture”. He practiced, “entered the countryside, heard myths, ballads, and folk tales from farmers, peasant women, bricklayers, and masons, and then wrote the simplest and most beautiful articles in Bengali script”? And participated in and led India’s. Renaissance movement.
  In fact, Tagore’s achievements are not limited to this; he is also a famous composer, painter and social activist. He created more than 1,500 paintings and more than 2,000 songs in his lifetime, many of which were ebullient patriotic songs that inspired the Indian people to fight against colonialism. “The Will of the People” and “Golden Bengal” were chosen as the national anthems of India and Bengal respectively.
  Tagore highly respected Chinese culture. In April 1924, with the enthusiasm of the famous poet Xu Zhimo, Liang Qichao and Cai Yuanpei invited Tagore to visit China in the name of Beijing Lecture Club. Tagore defined this trip as “a salute to the ancient Chinese culture and the exchange of repairing the two ancient civilizations of India and China”. When he arrived at Xishi Town, Haining, Jiaxing, the hometown of Xu Zhimo from Shanghai and Hangzhou, “the audience was crowded, and hundreds of students from various schools played in unison.
Singing music, group salute, quite a momentary prosperity’. In Beijing he met with celebrities such as Liang Qichao, Shen Junru, Cai Yuanpei, Liang Shiqiu and Mei Lanfang. Xu Zhimo and Lin Huiyin also performed together in Tagore’s play “Zidra” to celebrate his 64th birthday. Beijing newspapers published photos of the silver-bearded and silver-haired old poet in a long robe, with the help of Xu Zhimo and Lin Huiyin touring the Temple of Heaven. Xu Zhimo, who is white-faced and thin on the outskirts of the cold island, is like a picture of three friends of green pines, bamboo and plums.” However, what Tagore heard during his trip was not all praise and applause. At that time, China was under the dual oppression of colonial powers and feudal warlords, and the struggle against imperialism and feudalism was in the ascendant. Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of the national democratic revolution, also proposed to “take Russia as a teacher” and “join Russia and the Communist Party to help farmers and workers”. The non-violent pan-loveism advocated by Tagore, “melt the external world with the solution of the heart’s feelings”, “with the help of the mind, the road to the remodeled world is open to the heart” (Tagel’s “Literary Meaning”). ) is clearly out of date. Therefore, he was also scolded by left-wing cultural figures such as Qu Qiubai, Mao Dun, Shen Zemin, etc., and wanted to “sent him away with a fierce face”. This also reminds us that when we first read Tagore’s poems at Peking University in the 1950s, we were surprised that in addition to the familiar Mayakovsky’s “whether it is a poem / whether it is a song / it is a bomb and a flag / a singer’s Voice / Can evoke class., and Guo Xiaochuan’s repeated exhortation in “To Young Citizens” that we “engage in a fiery struggle”: “struggle / this is / life / this is / the richest / life” such thunder, In addition to the horn-like verses, there is actually such a wonderful music! However, with the deepening of the political movement, not only did Tagore dare not read the poems and prose, even the library that was full from morning to night was empty every day. , because no one wants to be labeled as “walking the white road” and “not concerned about politics”…
  By the 1930s, the cruel social reality also made Tagore realize that non-violent pan-loveism could not save society, and his poems also turned from the light and philosophical poems of the past to sharp political lyric poems. For example, in the “Question”, he confronted Bhagavan, the main god of the universe, “Bhagavan / Generations of generations, you have sent messengers of salvation to this world without good / again and again / They preached to forgive all sins / Love all The people of the people / Abandon hatred from the heart”, but the reality is, “Violence wears a mask / Kills the innocent in the night of hypocrisy / Facing the sins of power beyond control / The judgment of the law whimper silently in the solitary…” Poets Said, “Today, my flute can’t play music / My throat is congested / It’s as dark as a prison in the sun / I imprison my country in a nightmare / I therefore ask with tears: Bhagavad / who poisons your air / The people who destroyed your glory / Do you also forgive and love them?!” In 1937, a single Japanese invader launched a war of aggression against China. Tagore published many poems, open letters and speeches to express his sympathy and support for the Chinese people and his condemnation of the Japanese invaders. . In the same year, he founded the China Institute at the International University of Sri Lanka, and delivered the famous speech “China and India”. In 1941, Tagore wrote his last speech, “The Crisis of Civilization,” in which he declared that his belief in European, especially British civilization, which he had trusted in his youth, had been completely shattered due to their frantic plundering and exploitation of the eastern colonies. He predicted with confidence: “From the east where the sun rises, dawn will come.” Tagore died on August 7 this year.
  With the arrival of the new century, various versions of Tagore’s works have been widely circulated in China, and we have also approached Tagore again. By brushing off the dust and prejudice of history, we can have a more comprehensive and objective understanding and understanding of him. However, with the passage of time, the epigrams I read when I was young have not left much impression. For example, Tagore said, “The twilight is getting darker, and you have to hurry up and travel more.” Re-reading it more than half a century later, I only thought that this was the earnest admonition given to us by this silver-bearded, silver-haired, robe-wearing philosopher, so much so that when Tagore was mentioned, the warning rang in our ears, urging us to hurry up to “hurry up”…

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