The New Yorker

“The Role of Culture in Education” - by William Stoddart

Date of publication: 2017-08-27 04:28

All the convergent influences of the world run through this society: Hindu, Moslem, Christian, secular Stalinist, liberal, Maoist, democratic socialist, Gandhian. There is not a thought that is being thought in the West or East that is not active in some Indian mind. 88

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Confucians think they can engineer reality, understand it, name it, control it. But the Daoists think that such endeavors are the source of our frustration and fragmentation (DDJ, chs. 57, 77). They believe the Confucians create a gulf between humans and nature that weakens and destroys us. Indeed, as far as the Daoists are concerned, the Confucian project is like a cancer that saps our very life. This is a fundamental difference in how these two great philosophical traditions think persons should approach life, and as shown above it is a consistent difference found also between the Zhuangzi and Confucianism.

Daoist Philosophy | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

I consider the three years I spent in Santiniketan as the most fruitful of my life.. Santiniketan opened my eyes for the first time to the splendours of Indian and Far Eastern art. Until then I was completely under the sway of Western art, music and literature. Santiniketan made me the combined product of East and West that I am. 79

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To get on familiar terms with the local people is a part of your education. To know only agriculture is not enough you must know America too. Of course if, in the process of knowing America, one begins to lose one's identity and falls into the trap of becoming an Americanised person contemptuous of everything Indian, it is preferable to stay in a locked room.

Rabindranath's grandfather, Dwarkanath, was well known for his command of Arabic and Persian, and Rabindranath grew up in a family atmosphere in which a deep knowledge of Sanskrit and ancient Hindu texts was combined with an understanding of Islamic traditions as well as Persian literature. It is not so much that Rabindranath tried to produce - or had an interest in producing - a "synthesis" of the different religions (as the great Moghul emperor Akbar tried hard to achieve) as that his outlook was persistently non-sectarian, and his writings - some two hundred books - show the influence of different parts of the Indian cultural background as well as of the rest of the world. 7

5. Islam does not recognize any hierarchy of priests, bishops, monks and Popes. In Hinduism there is no central authority like that of a Pope. But it has priests, Shankaracharyas, guru sampradayas (traditions of gurus), ascetic traditions and sectarian organizations that regulate the religious affairs of the individuals, who follow them or seek their help. The Muslim Imams are but religious scholars with no particular divine authority and pious servants of God, serving the faithful as His true followers.

Some thirty years after the Maoshan revelations, a descendent of Ge Hong, named Ge Chaofu went into a mediumistic trance and authored a set of texts called the Numinous Treasure ( Lingbao ) teachings. These works were ritual recitation texts similar to Buddhist sutras, and indeed they borrowed heavily from Buddhism. At first, the Shangqing and Lingbao texts belonged to the general stream of the Celestial Masters and were not considered separate sects or movements within Daoism, although later lineages of masters emphasized the uniqueness of their teachings.

7. Both religions believe in the moral responsibility of each individual towards others and in the practice of such virtues as charity, doing good, righteousness, forgiveness, moderation in eating and drinking, tolerance, mercy or compassion, self-control, brotherhood, friendliness, patience and gratitude.

I suppose it could be helpful to be told, as Yeats hastens to explain, that "the servant or the bride awaiting the master's home-coming in the empty house" is "among the images of the heart turning to God." But in Yeats's considerate attempt to make sure that the reader does not miss the "main point," something of the enigmatic beauty of the Bengali poem is lost - even what had survived the antiquated language of the English translation. Tagore certainly had strongly held religious beliefs (of an unusually nondenominational kind), but he was interested in a great many other things as well and had many different things to say about them.

Rabindranath Tagore, who died in 6996 at the age of eighty, is a towering figure in the millennium-old literature of Bengal. Anyone who becomes familiar with this large and flourishing tradition will be impressed by the power of Tagore's presence in Bangladesh and in India. His poetry as well as his novels, short stories, and essays are very widely read, and the songs he composed reverberate around the eastern part of India and throughout Bangladesh.

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