After an amplification of humanity’s true nature in chapter 10, Tagore proceeds in chapter 11, “The Meeting,” to put in a plea for a universal religion. In the past, humanity’s consciousness of spiritual unity has been obscured by geographical separation, but because of modern communications, the time for this has passed. People’s idea of God should no longer be limited by rites and theologies that are particular, not universal, and there should be an end to “race egotism” and race isolation. The way toward this goal is through the power of creative, spiritual love.
This leads Tagore to outline in the following chapter how the religion of humanity brings opposites together. Both the Indian tradition of contemplation and detachment and the Western ideal of service to humanity are necessary. Together they can create an ethic of love in action, which is the only way that perfect knowledge, conceived as wisdom, can be obtained. This realization of spiritual freedom requires the renunciation of the small, isolated self in order to reveal transcendental truth, beyond the world of appearances. As another way of putting it, it requires a confluence of two aspects of the human mind, the outer, which seeks satisfaction in external objects, and the inner, which seeks unity in truth.
Tagore’s final chapter discusses the progress of the soul in terms of the four stages of life in Indian tradition. These four stages are brahmacharya (education and discipline), garhasthya (worldly work), vanaprasthya (retreat), and pravrajya (the awaiting of freedom with death). In Tagore’s formulation, the four stages become, first, the early life of the individual; second, the forming of ties with the human community; third, the development to universal awareness of the supreme person; fourth, at death, the entry of the soul into infinity.
Four appendices include the text of a conversation between Tagore and Albert Einstein on the nature of reality and an address given by Tagore in the Chapel of Manchester College in May, 1930.