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Tagore, Rabindranath - On how to learn



Type of spiritual experience


Tagore despised rote classroom schooling: in his story "The Parrot's Training", for example, a bird is caged and force-fed textbook pages—to death.

In the end he decided that the only way to explain his ideas was to start a school that embodied them - something which Rudolf Steiner was also to do for the same reasons.  The school, which he named Visva-Bharati] had its foundation stone laid on 24 December 1918 and was inaugurated three years later. Tagore employed a brahmacharya system: teachers coached rather than taught, attempting to explain how to learn, rather than force feeding them 'facts'.  The teachers were also there to help on an emotional and spiritual level as well. Teaching was often done under trees. He staffed the school,  contributing his Nobel Prize monies in order to fund it.

For those in the UK, it may be of interest to know Tagore co-founded Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational institution.

A description of the experience

Tagore; Krishna Dutta (editor); W. Andrew Robinson (editor)., Rabindranath; Dutta, K. (editor); Robinson, A. (editor) (1997), Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore

[It] knock[s] at the doors of the mind. If any boy is asked to give an account of what is awakened in him by such knocking, he will probably say something silly. For what happens within is much bigger than what comes out in words. Those who pin their faith on university examinations as the test of education take no account of this.

The source of the experience

Tagore, Rabindranath

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image