Himself being one of the greatest poets of India, Rabindranath Tagore’s study of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata is sure to be interesting to the readers of our time. A creative artist of the highest order Rabindranath shows rare insight in assessing the historical, literary as well as the moral and ethical significance of these epics. Like his innumerable predecessors in Bengali and other Indian languages Rabindranath also drew inspiration from them and recreated some of the characters and situations interpreting them in his own way.
My attempt in these two articles has been threefold: to examine Tagore’s opinions and ideas about the origins of Valmiki Ramayana and Vyasa Mahabharata; to analyse the literary assessment made by Rabindranath and thirdly to examine the nature of Rabindranath’s adoption from the epics in respect of his own creation.
Rabindranath’s works are mostly in Bengali and hence the quotations taken from his works had to be translated into English. Although those passages have been suitably spaced no quotation mark has been used for obvious reasons.
I am indebted to my friends Sri Dwijadas Bandyopadhyaya of Rabindra Bhavan and Dr Jiban Krishna Bandyopadhyaya of the English Department, both of Visva Bharati for their untiring help for preparing the manuscripts in the present from. I especially thank the former for his zeal and meticulous appreciation of these papers. Dr Bhavasankar Mukhopadhyaya, Research Associate, of the Sanskrit Department, has kindly checked the Sanskrit texts quoted in these papers. The final checking of the proof was done by Dr. Bibekananda Banerjee, the manuscript department of the Asiatic Society.
Last but not the least, it is due to the inspiration of Dr Chandan Roychaudhuri, General Secretary, Asiatic Society that the publication of this slim volume has been possible and for this I am grateful to him.
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