By William Carter

Photographer, Author, Jazz Musician

Connective Tissue

with 2 comments

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

Ever since the days of cave paintings, humans have found ways to communicate that bypass the limits of tongue, tribe, and time.  “Globalization” is a recent term often applied to economics;  more broadly, it has actually been under way for thousands of years.  Accelerated by the industrial revolution, globalization was supercharged by the invention, in 1838, of a  universal language — photography.

Every day, pictures connect us in fresh ways.  Around this fast-shrinking planet, images often outpace words in the race for hearts and minds.

Century-old poems by Tagore, their meaning derived from the Upanishads — spiritual texts dating back thousands of years to before the dawn of writing and civilizations — were recently recorded in Menlo Park, CA, in the Bengali language.  Implemented by the noted young Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author, Sramana Mitra, and spoken by her beloved father, these most rare readings were accompanied on the internet by photographs, several by myself.

Nothing has ever given me a warmer of feeling of humility than the opportunity thus to be woven into the living tissue connecting us all across the eternity of time and space.

You can see and hear a collection of these recordings here. A sample:


Here is a website featuring Sramana’s English translations of some of the Tagore poems, also accompanied by my photographs.  A sample:

 Sramana Mitra, photograph by William Carter

Sramana Mitra, photograph by William Carter


Slowly, my friend, slowly
Lead me to your private retreat.
I do not know the way
There is no light
The inside and the out are both mired in darkness
I have taken your footsteps as my guide
amidst this deep forest maze.
Slowly, my friend, slowly
Let us travel on the edges of this darkness
I will follow your course through the night
I will track the smell of your breath
Tonight, as the spring breeze blows

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

Written by bywilliamcarter

January 1, 2012 at 6:37 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Here are some profound lines from Tagore which set forth his view that
    the world’s cultural achievements belong to all of humanity–

    “Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes
    ours, wherever they might have their origin. I am proud of my humanity
    when I can acknowledge the poets and artists of other countries than
    my own. Let me feel with unalloyed gladness that all the great glories
    of man are mine”

    I wish you much fulfillment in all of your creative endeavors.

    Warm regards,

    Steven Konstantine



    February 1, 2012 at 12:01 am

    • beautiful words of a wise man, which to some extent reveal the process of globalization.


      Medvedeva Veronika

      September 30, 2013 at 6:05 am

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