Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling's Definition Of A True Man

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Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling’s revolutionary and highly inspiring poem If possibly motivates the younger generation even today by its stoic notion and definition of an ideal human being. Kipling’s prescribed criterion of a true man emits the essence of Zeno’s stoicism. The poem itself is a quintessence of Victorian era stoicism. The poem was composed during 1896 and later in 1910; it was published in Rewards and Fairies, in a form of parental advice to the poet’s son. It is quite surprising that the poem which was embraced by an entire generation for its tremendous inspirational value appears to have a similarity with the Indian epic and also considered a sacred book by the Hindus, Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. Khushwant Singh, the famous writer and historian was also of the opinion that the poem If comprises the essence of Bhagavad Gita.Actually the poem transmits the message of Gita in English. More precisely the concept of true man developed by Kipling in the poem If astonishingly conforms to Lord Krishna’s definition of ‘Sthitapragna’ in chapter-2, sankhya yoga. Even Kipling’s propounded theory of ‘keeping head when all are losing their’ coincides with Lord Krishna’s shlokas delivered to prince Arjun while illustrating the art of ‘Nishkamkarmayoga’. The tenets of stoicism captured in the poem may be influenced by Zeno’s philosophy. He propounded the theory of stoicism asserting the fact that destructive emotions generated from errors of judgement causes human suffering.

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