Tagore – Einstein Conversations [Chapter 3] – 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)

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Chapter 3

On The Nature of Reality

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

TAGORE: No, I do not say so.

EINSTEIN: If there were no human beings anymore, 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.



This conversation brings us close to the famous conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate, before the crucifixion. Bible, John 18:38. When Jesus was brought for judgment, the king said to him, “So you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose, I was born and for this purpose, I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Pilate asked him, “What is truth?

Referring to the conversation, I think, Tagore answered in this way:
Truth is humanity, truth (אֶמֶת in Hebrew) is nothing devoid of humanity. What Einstein says is that Truth and Beauty is different. He questioned Tagore that if a wonderful architecture has been created and there are no human beings, then the architecture is no more beautiful? The demeanour no more exists?

Tagore says no. If truth is to be realized then it should be through and only through men, nothing else.

He says: “Truth, which is one with the universal being, must be essentially human; otherwise, whatever we individuals realize as true, never can be called truth.”

I think Tagore answers the famous question of Pontius Pilate, ‘what is truth?’ The truth must be human and that which is realized through human senses. Even if we talk of science, scientific thought and a process, it is being realized only through a organ which is essentially human.



  1. Einstein, Tagore and the Nature of Reality – Partha Ghosh


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