Sadhana – The Realisation of Life is a breathtaking collection of spiritual discourses given by Rabindranath Tagore to the boys in his school, in Bolpur, West Bengal. A repository of the timeless wisdom of the East, Sadhana is one of the most profound books on spirituality that you will ever read! We highly recommend it as a starter book to any seeker of spiritual wisdom.
Compiled and translated by Tagore from his Bengali lectures, the book consists of eight essays, in which Tagore answers some of the most profound questions of life: Why did God create this world? Why would a Perfect Being, instead of remaining eternally concentrated in Himself, go through the trouble of manifesting the Universe? Why does evil exist? Do love and beauty have a purpose?
True deliverance of man is the deliverance from ignorance. It is not in destroying anything that is positive and real, but that which is negative, which obstructs our vision of truth.
– Rabindranath Tagore in Sadhana
Tagore masterfully brings the spiritual truths behind these profound questions to light, with his lucid explanations of the Sanskrit verses of the Upanishads (Indian spiritual texts dating to ~800 B.C.) and the eternal teachings of Lord Jesus and Buddha.
Sadhana is one of those rare books that need to be read slowly, as each sentence contains an immense amount of wisdom to be digested!
In the end, Tagore’s captivating and rational explanations will leave you feeling breathless, exhilarated and brimming with peace, happiness and joy, as you become aware of the tremendous unifying force behind this immensely diverse and awe-inspiring Creation!
Here is a beautiful sample of one of the many profound passages found in this book:
Where a man tries to raise himself to eminence by pushing and jostling all others, to achieve a distinction by which he prides himself to be more than everybody else, there he is alienated from that Spirit.
We have a glimpse of the same truth in the teachings of Jesus when he says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven” – which implies that whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations.
He who is bent upon accumulating riches is unable, with his ego continually bulging, to pass through the gates of comprehension of the spiritual world, which is the world of perfect harmony; he is shut up within the narrow walls of his limited acquisitions.
Hence the spirit of the teachings of Upanishad is: In order to find him you must embrace all. In the pursuit of wealth you really give up everything to gain a few things, and that is not the way to attain him who is completeness.
– Excerpted from the first chapter of Rabindranath Tagore’s book Sadhana – The Realisation of Life.
The opening sentences of Tagore’s preface:
Perhaps it is well for me to explain that the subject-matter of the papers published in this book has not been philosophically treated, nor has it been approached from the scholar’s point of view. The writer has been brought up in a family where texts of the Upanishads are used in daily worship; and he has had before him the example of his father, who lived his long life in the closest communion with God, while not neglecting his duties to the world, or allowing his keen interest in all human affairs to suffer any abatement.