For the Indian people and a Message to the world
Whenever any promising movement is undertaken, the party-spirit in India calls forth the attention of the public to the dark side of the leader’s character. Thus every flower is nipped in the bud. But who has not a dark side? (Swami Vivekananda’s healthy and hopeful plans and bold teachings are discarded by bringing into bolder relief his habits of eating and drinking. Swami Krishnananda of Kashi is crippled by exposing to the public an objectionable behaviour which, as a matter of fact, did not belong to him).
Attempts are being made to put away the Sadharana Dharma movement and the Dharma Mahotsava meetings on the pretext of the imputed personal drawbacks in the man who took the lead in those lines. It is queer logic, indeed, on falling down from the ass to fall foul with the ass-driver.
The other day Rama saw a milk-boy carrying some bottles of milk into a house. Accidentally one bottle slipped from his hands and broke.
He flew into a rage and flung into the streets the other bottles also.
That is just what people do in their dealings with each other. Observing in a friend tiny flaws in a particular line, what a strong tendency have we to sweep off all regard for his good traits!
In Hydrostatics we read of the total pressure and resultant pressure. The total pressure may be infinite on a body and the resultant pressure nil. The myriad forces in India have no resultant pressure, being nullified by being pitched one against the other. Is it not a pity? What is the reason? Because each party concentrates its attention on the faults of its neighbour. Thus there can be no union, and this very concentration, based on doubt, acts as a malicious force to engender the objectionable characters. “Call one a thief and he will steal v is an undeniable truism”.
Is there no common ground? Have our neighbours no commendable features? Have the different sects in India no bond of union? What right have we, in the name of Purity or impurity, to play the part of self-elected members of God’s detective police and pry into the private behaviour of a man whose public behaviour is a help to the country? His private conduct is a question between him and God. Who are we to interfere? The energy we waste in judging others is just what is needed to make us live up to our own ideals. Could compulsion from without make a man a whit more moral? Or can the conforming, conventional, praise-seeking conduct be called pure? Confound it not with purity; it is weakness.
We do not give up a rose for its thorns. A confectioner may be living on husks, but on that ground we need not refrain from eating the sweetmeats of his make. Not that which goes into a man defiles him, but that which comes out of him. What if Swami Vivekananda ate and drank certain things? So long as from him come healthy teaching, we will never mind what is going into him. We have to take the teaching and advice of a man on its own merit, without regard to the personality of the teacher. What have the elements of geometry to do with the personality of Euclid? Shall we reject a beautiful picture because the painter was ugly? Shall we cast aside Inductive Logic because Sir Francis Bacon took bribes? In this twentieth century, it is high time for us to wake up to a sense of discrimination (viveka) and not mix up personalities with preaching. Shall we reject a beautiful lotus because it grows in a dirty pond?
The greatest cause of India’s poverty is discarding the rubbish, dreading to touch the bones of dead animals, and developing a kind of nose-hygiene, sneering at all kinds of what they call debris. And it is the utilizing of these very so-called low things that makes Europe and other civilized countries great. Are not beautiful flower-gardens raised out of dirty manure? The most dingy smoke and dirty coal well utilized makes a wonderful power in steel plants and other manufactories in America and Europe.
The greatness of Rama lay in his turning the menial monkeys into a marvellous army. Who cannot live at peace with the pure and pious? But a great soul is he whose broad sympathies and a mother-like heart embrace in a wide sweep even the sinners and the low.
Let us not waste away our life in trying to eclipse the Sun of True Self in the dust-storm of petty little kitchen superstitions, working thereby the spiritual as well as physical degradation. Sad indeed is the kitchen-religion which allows the Infinite, Immortal Soul to be sullied by the foreigner’s soup. Pray, do look below the tattered and torn caste-clothes. What are you? Infinite and Immaculate, Immortal Self of all is your Self. It is the ignoring of this inner Equality in reality that creates all the apparent mischief in the world.
The misdirected, hysteric moralists in denouncing and fighting against the personal conduct of their neighbours, attempt only to remove the froth and foam on the surface of the stream, whereas they do not approach at all the real cause, the unevenness at the bottom.
Who are you who go about to save them that are lost? Are you saved yourself?
Do you know that who would save his own life must lose it? Are you, then, one of the lost? Could you or would you be one of the lost? Arise, then, and become a saviour.
Buddha was a frequent guest in the house of a courtesan. The author of “Who Will Cast the First Stone?” was not ashamed of the company of Mary Magdalene, by no means ‘respectable‘. O disrespectable Respectability! There can be no union and love in a country, so long as we keep emphasizing each other’s faults. The secret of the successful art of living lies in developing the mother’s heart to whom all her children are lovely, whether big or babes. True education means to learn to look at the universe through the eyes of God.
Everybody must pass through every state, and just as physically everyone has to pass through babyhood, childhood, etc., so, on the moral and spiritual plane, babyhood, childhood is an essential,, nay, indispensable step. The so-called sinners are my moral Babies, and has not a Baby a beauty of its own? Those that you miscall “fallen” have “not risen” yet. They are the Freshmen of the University just as you also were at one time.
Some make so much fuss about Universal love and yet keep the eyes riveted on the ugly points in the character of their protégés hiding the inconsistency under the expression “You may hate the sin and love the sinner”.
O dear people, you can never love anything so long as you perceive ugliness there. Love means perception of beauty.
Fighting with darkness will never remove it. In a dark room, if we are throwing stones in ail directions, down the panes, knocking over the table, upsetting the ink-stand, and cursing and denouncing all the time, will it remove the darkness? Bring the light in, and darkness never was. So the negative criticising, chilling, discouraging process will not mend matters, All that is necessary is the positive, cheerful, hopeful, loving, encouraging attitude. If all the mud in the sewers is exposed in the streets, will it bring about any uplifting result? Never. So will not emphasizing the faults of others do any good. Let the flowing current of fresh water of peace and good-will run over the sewer and all the dirt will be washed off. It is said that Akbar drew a line and asked his wise man Birbal to shorten the line without cutting or erasing it from any side. The latter drew a longer line parallel to it and Akbar’s line was shortened. So it is. Wisdom is to draw the longer line. Best criticism is to make people feel from within what you wish to make them realise from without just as Birbal convinced Akbar from within that his line was shortened. All grumbling is tantamount to “Oh, why is the lily not an oak! “Let us observe the beauty in each. “Don’t bark against the bad, but chant the beauties of the good.”From all life’s grapes I press sweet wine.
Critic dear, I love you, but I equally love and esteem the man you criticise.