Tagore – Einstein Conversations [Chapter 2] – On The Nature Of Reality

Einstein Tagore | Courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute

Tagore – Einstein Conversations

A critical evaluation

(Image Credits: Courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute)

Previous – Tagore – Einstein Conversations [Chapter 1] – On The Nature Of Reality

Chapter 2

On The Nature Of Reality

Einstein invites Tagore


Einstein’s summer house in Caputh

(Einstein’s summer house in Caputh | Image: https://www.einstein-website.de)


In the above picture Albert Einstein’s summer house in Caputh and the living room of Einstein at Caputh.

It would take too long to have a closer look at the single guests at this time. Therefore, it shall be enough to give an alphabetical list of some of the famous guests to which – among others – belonged scientists, artists, writers, and politicians.

To Einstein’s guests in Caputh belonged among others:

(1) Max Born,
(2) Gustav Bucky,
(3) Paul Ehrenfest,
(4) Felix Ehrenhaft,
(5) Abraham Flexner,
(6) Rabindranath Tagore
(7) Philipp Frank, …..and many others

Einstein’s guestbook
(Einstein’s guestbook Image:https://www.einstein-website.de)

In his summer house, Einstein had a guestbook in which the guests should write their name.


(Einstein’s guestbook bearing the name of Tagore  Image:https://www.einstein-website.de)                                            


The above shows Einstein’s guest book with the red circle denoting the name of Rabindranath Tagore. The text is irrelevant, however the first paragraph states:

Männer, Weib und Kindelein
Tragt Euch in dies Büchlein ein
Aber nicht mit plumpen Worten
Wie man mauschelt allerorten
Nur mit Verschen fein und zart
So nach hehrer Dichterart
Fücht Dich nicht und plag Dich nur
Kommst schon auf die gute Spur!

Im Namen der Caputher Guts-Verwaltung


This more or less means this


Men, women and children
Make a note of this little book
But not with clumsy words
How to cheat everywhere
Fine and tender only with gifts
So in the noble poet’s way
Do not be afraid and only bother you
Get on the right track!

On behalf of the Caputher Guts-Verwaltung

We come back to the conversation.

TAGORE: The world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. Therefore, the world apart from us does not exist; it is a relative world, depending for its reality upon our consciousness. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the eternal man whose experiences are made possible through our experiences.

EINSTEIN: This is a realization of the human entity.

TAGORE: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realize the supreme man, who has no individual limitations, through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs. Our individual consciousness of truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to truth, and we know truth as good through own harmony with it.

EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or beauty, is not independent of man?

TAGORE: No, I do not say so.

EINSTEIN: If there were no human beings any more, the Apollo Belvedere no longer would be beautiful?


EINSTEIN: I agree with this conception of beauty, but not with regard to truth.

TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through men.

EINSTEIN: I cannot prove my conception is right, but that is my religion.

TAGORE: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony, which is in the universal being; truth is the perfect comprehension of the universal mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experience, through our illumined consciousness. How otherwise can we know truth?

EINSTEIN: I cannot prove, but I believe in the Pythagorean argument, that the truth is independent of human beings. It is the problem of the logic of continuity



This part of the discussion gets more serious. Einstein asks Tagore whether truth or beauty is separate of human beings. Tagore says that he has not told like that.

The Apollo Belvedere or Apollo of the Belvedere—also called the Pythian Apollo. The Apollo is now thought to be a Roman copy of Hadrianic date (ca. 120–140) of a lost bronze original made between 350 and 325 BC by the Greek sculptor Leochares.

Einstein asks that if human beings are not present at a specific point (in space-time) then the sculptor or the beauty of Apollo Belvedere would be false? It won’t be there?

Tagore says Yes. It won’t be there.

Einstein says that he agrees with the concept of beauty but not with the truth – the truth (die Wirklichkeit)

Tagore opposes telling that only if human beings are present then only Truth is present. If I am not there, nothing is there. (Wenn ich nicht da bin, is tnichts da).
Einstein says that he cannot prove it but that it is his religion – he means to say it is his faith (Mein Glaube)
Tagore says that beauty and truth are in perfect harmony, in balance. Truth is realized through our mistakes.

Romain Rolland says:

‘Cherchons la véritépartout; laissez-nous la cueillirpartoutoù nous pouvonstrouversa fleur ousagraine.’

(~The Forerunners)

“Let us seek truth everywhere; let us cull it wherever we can find its blossom or its seed. “

Tagore says “Erleuchtetes Bewusstsein” — ” Enlightened consciousness.” He agrees to the school of thought ‘a posteriori’ – knowledge or justification depends on experience or empirical evidence, as with most aspects of science and personal knowledge.

Tagore ends the statement by telling: How otherwise can we know the truth? That means that there is no other way of knowing the truth except your own experiences.
Einstein says he cannot prove it but he believes in the Pythagorean argument.


  1. Albert Einstein in Caputh
  2. Print – Albert Einstein in Caputh
  3. The Nature of Reality – Albert Einstein, and Rabindranath Tagore
  4. ON THE NATURE OF REALITY Albert Einstein in Conversation with Rabindranath Tagore



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