All the great utterances of man have to be judged not by the letter but by the spirit--the spirit which unfolds itself with the growth of life in history. We get to know the real meaning of Christianity by observing its living aspect at the present moment--however different that may be, even in important respects, from the Christianity of earlier periods. For western scholars the great religious scriptures of India seem to possess merely a retrospective and archælogical interest; but to us they are of living importance, and we cannot help thinking that they lose their significance when exhibited in labelled cases-mummied specimens of human thought and aspiration, preserved for all time in the wrappings of erudition. The meaning of the living words that come out of the experiences of great hearts can never be exhausted by any one system of logical interpretation. They have to be endlessly explained by the commentaries of individual lives, and they gain an added mystery in each new revelation.
Born in 1861 to an influential Bengali family, Rabindranath Tagore achieved fame as a novelist, playwright, poet, painter, lecturer, politician, and composer. In 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, the first non-European to achieve such an honor. He died in 1941.