In response to the publication of a lively new volume on modern Indian philosophy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this essay offers four brief interventions intended to prompt further critical reflection on the concept of the Indian Renaissance.
How is ancient Hindu wisdom made meaningful in new contexts? What might draw a modern Bengali poet to the cadences and mystic meaning of the Gāyatrī mantra? Through what processes of modern interpretation and religio- political aspiration was the ritually centered daily prayer of the twice-born rendered into universal truth for the twentieth century? This article attempts to answer such questions by exploring the reimagining of the Gāyatrī’s meaning in the poetry and expository writings of Rabindranath Tagore. The goal is (...) to suggest the deeply personal yet also expansive significance of the mantra for Rabindranath. (shrink)