“So many sects, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.”
It is sunset. With deep sighs the following is being chanted and with streaming tears it is being written.
I saw a vision once, and it sometimes reappears;
I know not if ’twas real, for they said I was not well.
But often as the Sun goes down, my eyes till up with tears,
And then chat vision conies, and I see my Floribel (India).
The day was going softly down, the breeze had died away;
The waters from the far West came slowly rolling on.
The sky, the clouds, the ocean wave, one molten glory lay;
All kindled into crimson by the deep red Sun.
As silently I stood and gazed before the glory passed,
There rose a sad remembrance of days long gone;
My youth, my childhood came again, my mind was overcast,
As I gazed upon the going down of that red Sun.
The past upon my spirit rushed,
the dead were standing near,
Their cheeks were warm again with life,
their winding sheets were gone;
Their voices rang like marriage –
bells once more upon my ear;
Their eyes were gazing there with mine on that red Sun.
Many days have passed since then, many chequered years;
I have wandered far and wide, still I fear I am not well;
For often as the Sun goes down, my eyes fill up with tears,
And then that vision comes, and I see my Floribel.”
O Setting Sun, Thou art going to rise in India. Wilt Thou carry this message of Rama to that land of glory? May these tear – drops of love be the morning dew in the fields of India! As a Shaiva worships Shiva, a Vaishnava Vishnu, a Buddhist Buddha, a Christian Christ, a Mahomedan Mahomed, with a heart turned into a “Burning Blush,” I see and worship India in the form of a Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist, Christian, Mahomedan, Parsi, Sikh, Sannyasi, Pariah or any of Her children. I adore Thee in all Thy manifestations, Mother India, my Gangaji, my Kali, my Isht Deva, my Shalagram. While talking about worship, says the God who loved to eat the very clay of India: “The difficulty of those whose minds are set on the unmanifested is greater; for the path of the unmanifested is hard for the embodied to reach.” Well, alright, Sweet Krishna, let mine be the path of adoration of that manifestation divine of whom it is said: “All His household property consists of a jaded ox, one side of a broken bedstead, an old hatchet, ashes, snakes, and an empty skull.” Is it the Mahadeva of Mahimna stotra? No, I mean the living Narayana as the poor starving Hindustani, Hindu. This is my religion; and for an inhabitant of India, this should be the Dharma, Common Path, Practical Vedanta, or divine love. Mere lukewarm approbation or toleration won’t do. I want active cooperation from every child of India to spread this dynamic spirit of Nationality. A child can never reach youth except he pass through boyhood. A person can never realize his unity with God, the All, except when unity with the whole nation throbs in every fibre of his frame. Let every son of India stand for the service of the Whole, seeing that the whole of India is embodied in every son. Almost every town, stream, tree, stone, and animal is personified and sanctified in India. Is it not high time now to deify the entire Motherland and let every partial manifestation inspire us with devotion to the Whole? Through Prana Pratishtha, the Hindus endow with flesh and blood the effigy of Durga. Is it not worthwhile to call forth the inherent glory and evoke fire and life in the more real Durga of Mother India? Let us put our hearts together, the heads and hands will naturally unite.
“The man consists of his faith (Shraddha, Islam),” says the world’s warrior – evangelist (Krishna), “that which one’s faith is, he is even that.”
Beloved orthodox people of India, put into force the Shastras aright. The Apatti Dharma of the country demands of you to relax the stringent caste rules and to subordinate the sharp class distinctions to the feeling of Nationality. Don’t you see, India who has held an open door to all fugitives and adventurers, and supported so many races and countries, is unable now to give bread to her own children? Let every man have equal liberty to find his own level. Head as high as you please, but feet always on the common ground never upon anybody’s shoulders or neck, even though he be weak or willing.
Young would – be Reformer I decry not the ancient customs and Spirituality of India. By introducing a fresh element of discord, the Indian people cannot reach Unity. The religion and spirituality of India are not to blame for India’s material downfall. “The garden is robbed because the thorny fence and prickly hedges were wanting. Supply that, and be not so rash as to pull out the roses and fruit trees in the centre in the name of Reform and improvement. O blessed thorns and hedges, ye are the saving principles, ye are needed in India.
When I sing the dignity of Sudra labour, I am not exalting Tamas over Rajas and Sattva. I simply say, enough have we decried Tamas in India and by the very act of resenting and resisting it, developed it dreadfully in our midst. Let us learn to use Tamas by this time and make it glorious that way.
How could the gardens grow if we threw away the dirty manure and did not use it?
‘Tamas is the coal, without which there can be no fire and steam (Rajas), and no light (Sattva).
And in proportion to the large basis of the Tamas quality is the intensity and power of that Rajas fire and Sattva light, in a country which movement can evolve: a view in remarkable harmony with the conclusions of modern phrenology; where it is found that for heroic greatness and energy of character, no development of the moral and intellectual organs, however favourable, is sufficient without a powerful basis in the animal or Tamas energies of man.
It is for this that Mahadeva, the Great Lord, was depicted as the Lord or Ruler of Tamas by the Hindus.
If we are born in critical times of Indian History, let us be thankful, for our opportunities for service are more abundant. The work for us is more unique, more poetic and dynamic. It is said they who sleep well wake well. India has had a long sleep, her wakeful – ness is going to be more remarkable for that. All that we have to arouse among the Indian people is “A spirit of appreciation and not criticism, the sentiment of fraternity, the instinct of synthesis, the coordination of functions and aristocracy of labour.”
Oh! What an infinite amount of energy in the land is just recklessly wasted by one sect criticising another! Let us try to find out the points of contact between us and emphasize those. There are people whom the Arya Samaj can reach and Sanatan Dharma cannot, there are others to whom the Brahmo Samaj only appeals, and so with Vaishnavism, etc. What right have I to find fault with those who do not care for the strength and joy which my creed brings?
Let them come, let them stay or leave. I let things flow, just flow. Why should you or I try to monopolize sympathizers? My right is only to serve, to serve them all, to serve those who love and those who hate (if any). A mother loves those children the most who are the weakest. Those who differ from you, are they all wrong? If not, they also are needed by the country. Sad indeed would be the state of a walker who had only the right leg to hop along with. True Education means learning to look at things through the eyes of God.
O Lord, look not upon my evil qualities!
Thy name, O Lord, is same – sightedness;
By Thy touch, if Thou wilt,
Thou can’st make me pure.
One drop of water is in the sacred Jumna,
Another is foul in the ditch by the roadside,
But when they fall into Ganges,
Both alike become holy.
One piece of iron is the Image in the temple,
Another is the knife in the hand of the butcher.
But when they touch the philosopher’s stone,
Both alike turn to gold.
So, Lord, look not upon my evil qualities!
Thy name, O Lord, is Same – Sightedness,
By thy touch, if Thou wilt,
Thou canst make me pure.
(Translation from Surdas as given in the beautiful work, The Web of Indian Life, by Nivedita)
Our personal and local Dharma must never be placed higher than the National Dharma. The keeping of right proportions only secures felicity.
Doing anything to promote the well – being of the nation is serving the cosmic powers, Devas or gods. This kind of sacrifice or Yajna is to be offered to the deity, India. It is to this kind of Yajna that the following verse of the Gita applies in these days: –
“The righteous, who eat only the remains of the sacrifice, are freed from all sins; but the impious, who dress food for their own sakes, they verily eat sin.”
To realize God, have the Sannyasa spirit, i.e. entire renunciation of self interest, making the little self absolutely at one with the great self of Mother India. To realize God or Bliss, have the Brahman Spirit dedicating your intellect to thoughts for the advancement of the nation. To realize Bliss, you have to possess the Kshatriya spirit, readiness to lay down your life for the country at every second. To realize God, you must have the true Vaishya spirit, holding your property only in trust for the nation. But to realize Bliss and Rama in That world or This, and to give a living concrete objective reality to your abstract subjective Dharma, you have to work this Sannyasa Spirit, Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya heroism through your hands and feet in the manual labour once relegated to the holy Sudras. The Sannyasi spirit must be wedded to the Pariah hands.
This is the only way today. Wake up, Wake up!
Even the foreign countries through their practice teach today this Dharma to our India, the only Brahman land in the world.
When a Japanese youth is refused enlistment in the army on the ground of his obligations to his mother (domestic Dharma), the mother commits suicide, sacrificing the lower, domestic, Dharma for the higher, national, Dharma.
What heroic deeds could compare with the sacrifice of personal, domestic and social Dharma for the sake of the National Dharma on the part of that Ideal Guru of Glory (Gobind Sing)?
People hanker after power. What an infinite power can you not find at your command when your Self stands in unity with the Self o£ the whole Nation? In conclusion, let me illustrate this spirit in the beautiful words of the Prophet of Islam:
“If the Sun stand on my right hand and the moon on my left, ordering me to turn back, I could not obey.”