“This paper was sent by Swami Rama to Lala Hardyal, M. A., to be read on the Anniversary of the Young men’s Indian Association Lahore. It appeared in The East and the West, as a general message to rising India.”
Union, Union, Everybody feels the need of union. Myriads of forces are neutralising each other. But there is no resultant force. Hundreds of millions of brains and hands drifting, drifting, who can tell whither? Thousands of sects and classes each trying to row the boat in the direction of its own sweet whim. No regular steering! Let the oars be where they are. Keep your position, shift not, but row in one direction. Such harmony, unity in diversity, ensures progress. Thus working at your posts, sing on and move on. The national interest demands that, and in the interest of the whole lies the interest of each unit.
It is cheap rhetoric to talk that way. But why has the spirit of union and harmony been so conspicuous by its absence in India so long?
The main causes are: –
(a) Poverty of practical wisdom, and
We shall discuss them in order.
(a) Poverty of practical wisdom: Before the Mahomedan rule in India, Alberuni of Khurasan travelled through this country. He was an enlightened philosopher and cultured scholar. He studied Sanskrit and read our Scriptures with the same zeal as he did Plato and Aristotle. He has left detailed descriptions of India as he found her. Of Hindu Philosophy, Poetry, and Astronomy he talks with great respect and reverence; he eulogizes the amount of learning in some of the Pandits he met. But the state of the masses and the condition of the women he describes as worse than deplorable. Physically, intellectually, morally and of course spiritually also, he calls them wrecks, neglected and down-trodden in every way; divided socially, religiously and politically; with uncollected minds and dissipated bodies, innumerable hordes of them, through lack of discipline flying like particles of dust before the Moslem invaders who came year after year to plunder India under Mahmud of Ghazni. Later on, Baber complains of the natives of India as sadly lacking in ingenuity, originality and skill in everything, knowing practically nothing of industrial arts or fine arts, having no Architecture, gardens, canals, or even gunpowder. He denounces them as incapable of associating freely with each other. Allowing for what is called the personal equation in these accounts, deducting the exaggerations, if any, we shall find these statements sadly true. It was the poverty of practical wisdom which brought about the downfall of India.
To refute theoretically what these foreign historians say is as easy for Rama as for anybody else, but dear me! it is but plain facts and solid truths which they have faithfully committed to writing. How could I say ‘No’ to such self-evident evidence? The lack of practical wisdom hinted at above comprehends all the social evils like contempt of manual labour, unnatural divisions and sub divisions on Caste and Creed lines, aversion to foreign travelling, child marriage, and the general darkness (intellectual and physical) enforced on women. This social corruption is a hard thing to deal with. It is well said by Burke, “Reform is a thing which has to be kept at a distance to please us.” To break off from the moorings of Custom is indeed a trying job. It inevitably involves hard criticisms and censure of the society on the workers and of the workers on the society, thus breeding ill feelings, misunderstandings, and disunion. To escape this disunion, should we let matters move at random and plume ourselves on the wisdom of minding our own business? To work out your own salvation and let society alone, oh! If only it were possible! A drowning society cannot let you alone. You must sink with her if she sinks and rise with her if she rises. It is an utter absurdity to believe that an individual can be perfect in an imperfect society. The hand might just as well cut itself from the body and acquire perfection of strength.
Long has this un-Vedantic thought been cherished in India, entailing pitiable dismemberment of the community. Promising youths! India’s future is your future and you are responsible for it. Cowards are governed by the superstitions of the magic majority. The genuine living soul governs the hearts and thoughts of the people, let the nominal outward Ruler be who he may. The B, A. or M. A. Degrees you receive from the University; but between being a Coward and a Hero you have to choose yourselves. Say, which position is your choice? That of an abject slave or the prince of life? Strong and pure life is the lever of History. Newton’s Second Law of Motion characterizes Force as effecting a change in the motion of the body on which it acts. For centuries and centuries, unnatural antipathies and worse still apathies, have been running uniformly on the tracks of Custom and Superstition in our land. It is for you, youths of culture and character, to overcome the old inertia and to turn the direction of motion where it is needed, adding to the acceleration where necessary and altering the moving mass where advisable. Work on, work on. Mould and adapt the Past to the Present and boldly launch your pure and strong Present in the race of Future. We cannot do without our inheritance from our forefathers; the society which renounces it must be destroyed from without. Still less we can do with too much of it; the society which it dominates must be destroyed from within. Is truthful life on your part likely to beget dissension, disunion in society? Do you think so? Stand firm even if alone; recant not, this is manliness; the current is with you; the tide is on your side, let them claim the past, all the future is yours, if only you do not swerve from the path of truth. As to the nation, can that kind of union save her which is not for righteousness? Can you unite the people by keeping them in the dark? Could national harmony be secured by sworn slavery to error and superstition? Suppose all the sailors’ work is in a common direction but if that direction be negative, not one with the Evolutionary course, not Truth – ward, would that be desirable? Such a boat is bound to be shattered to pieces on a rock, and perhaps the sooner the better. Meeting is possible in Heaven alone. In purity and truth alone is union practicable. Aspirers after National unity, you have first to free the nation of numerous inhuman errors. If for the cause of humanity, truth, and progress, now the messes are being molested and now the workers are being persecuted, that shows the country is spiritually alive, and its breathing is properly going on.
The ideal conduct knows no pain; it is all peace, shedding Love and Light all around. But how can painless peace and awakening light, both of them live and move together in a community where the approach of light is as yet felt to be a torment? So, if by the very nature of the case, you cannot live up to your ideal, at least try to make it real. That is what is needed and wanted most, A country is strengthened not by great men with small views, but small men with great views. Peace? A brutal lethargy is peaceable, the noisome grave is peaceable. We hope for a living peace, not a dead one!
To keep your light beneath the bushel when people are stumbling in the dark is worse than if you had no light. He is a criminal forsaking his post who holds back the helpful word that is in him and remains silent at such times. (b) We come now to the population question. What Malthus and other Political Economists say on the subject, need not be dwelt upon here. Malthus simply re-echoes the verdict of Biology. Let us see what Naturalists say on the point. Huxley compares a colony or community to a garden located in the jungle of wild nature. The process of Social Evolution (or as he calls it the Ethical process) is analogous to the process of gardening (the horticultural process), but both these are antithetic to the process of wild Nature or, the Cosmic process. The wild nature process is characterized by the intense and unceasing struggle for existence, the horticultural and moral processes are characterized by the elimination of that struggle, the removal of the conditions which give rise to it. Henry Drummond makes strenuous efforts to prove the identity of these processes, but with all his loud show, does not go an inch beyond the conclusions of Darwin and Huxley. Nor can he deny what in fact no person in his senses could ever deny, that if the gardener do not continuously restrain multiplication by weeding etc, and prevent wild and thick growth, soon will the wild nature – process re-establish itself in the garden and begin to work havoc, taking the old, merciless course of struggle and strife, driving out the rule of peace and prosperity. Just so, in a community, when the limit of possible expansion has been reached, if no measures are taken to dispose of the surplus population, fierce struggle must re-ensue and destroy the peace, choke out the ethical process, nullify the moral precepts and turn God’s Commandments into a dead letter. At such junctures, inevitably begins the corruption and downfall of nations. In the decline and fall of Rome, Greece, or any country, there lay at bottom this population question. India reached this critical point of increase long ago and we have done nothing to deal with the root evil. No country on the face of the earth is so poor and so populous as India. An average Indian home is typical of the state of the whole nation; very slender means and not only yearly multiplying mouths to feed but also slavishly incurring undue expenses in meaningless and cruel ceremonies! Even animals in the same stable must fight to death with each other when the fodder suffices for one or two only and their number is legion. Not to remove the bone of contention and preach peace to the people is mockery of preaching. My countrymen are meek and peaceful at heart. The heart is willing no doubt, but how can they help jealousies and selfishness when the weakness of the flesh is forced upon them by the necessity of the case. If the population problem is to be left unsolved, all talk about national unity and mutual amity will remain a Utopian chimera. We have to solve the riddle of this Sphinx or we die. Sympathy and unselfishness according to Biological principles, cannot grow in a social environment where pain and suffering is daily displayed by our associates. With such populous poverty around you, Indians, it is hoping against hope to develop Sympathy and Love, Students of Physics know that a mass of matter, of whatever kind, maintains its internal equilibrium so long as its component particles severally stand towards their neighbours in equidistant positions, so that each molecule may perform its rhythmic movements bounded by the like spaces required for the movements of those around. Now, what about the mass of India? Can its individual units perform their rhythmic movements without clashing with others, have they scope enough for free, natural movement? If for one that eats, ten must starve, you have to take immediate measures to make the national equilibrium more secure. Otherwise, the only hope for India lies in the grim caresses of wild Nature, which for extreme cases like ours, have been enumerated by the Maharshi Vasishthji as Pestilence, Famine, Destructive War, and Earthquakes. Enough now of the evil. What is the remedy? It is manifold.
1. – The dark notion that stepping out of India will debar you from heaven, should leave this land for good and with that notion let as many Indians leave the land as cannot live here; depart, emigrate. What joy is there in making yourselves the fabled frog of the well? Will you never see that you are making fair India a suffocating Black Hole for yourselves?
2. – There was a time for the Aryan colonists in India when it was a blessing to have a large progeny. But those times are gone, the tables are turned, and in new of the overcrowded population, it has become a curse to have a large family. Let the thoughtless person who still clings to the childish idea that his attainment of Heaven after death depends on his children, open his eyes and see that even before death, he is turning his home into hell through multiplicity of production in modern India. It was just this plea on Arjuna’s part of supposing sons to be the levers to heaven which Shri Krishna had in mind while denouncing the aspirants after sensuous paradise in Bhagavad Gita, (Ch. II. verses 42 – 45.) It is worth your while to read those slokas and catch the spirit of independence they carry. Let us sweep out from the country the most pernicious principle which has practically been swaying us so long: Marry, multiply in ignorance, live, and in bondage die. Now we blame the Mahomedan rulers for our backwardness, now we find fault with the British Government, then we hold India’s Religions responsible, again we charge the system of Education. To some extent we may be right in such criticisms, but the real blame lies at the door of that impurity which vitiates the most sacred relation in the world, the very relation which produces all the Indian people and makes us what we are – the marriage relation. This, the most important and holiest of all Institutions, is the most carelessly, most unscientifically, and most shamefully attended to. With all your horoscopes and astrological calculations, auspicious omenising hymn – chanting and innumerable sacred ceremonials, the marriages in India are ill – timed, inauspicious and unholy. No planets can dare stay at inauspicious houses when they behold underage couples going to be wedded in the names of their influences. They tremble and shudder out of their positions at this inhumane sight – a sight unworthy even of animals I Instead of sanctifying the profane wedding of a couple that cannot support themselves, the Vedic hymns lose all their virtue and for all futurity from that instant become ineffectual. What flowers can keep their sweetness under the sacrilegious odour of the ceremony going to unite paupers to multiply unfit, incapable, worthless parasites in the land.
Young men, stop it! Stop it! Ye youths, responsible for the future of India, stop it. In the name of morality, in the name of India, for your own sake and for the sake of your descendants, pray stop indiscriminate, ill – timed, blind marriages in the country. That will purify the people and solve to some extent the population problem.
Suppose that these suggestions are unnatural. These directions you have to put into practice at the penalty of pining famine and lingering death. No exaggeration! Stern facts and dismal reality are clothed in these words. Are not the phenomena of infant marriage and virgin widowhood the most unnatural in the world? Ask any civilized community under the Sun. Is any grain of humanity left in you? Then how can you rest before you have put an end to these inhuman, unnatural customs? The tender arms of widowed children are unconsciously held out for succour; living Satis are burning by inches on the pyre of your fury of customs right before your eyes; Divinity is peeping through their innocent weeping eyes, looking up to you for help. How long will you turn away from the crying Bhiwani (Bhavani?)? Turn a deaf ear to her bitter cries any longer, and she must transform herself into a dreadful Nemesis, bloodthirsty and vengeance – seeking. Even the Earth shakes and quakes at her sight. They say peace! Peace! But how can you have peace in the country so long as the self – invited Nemesis is there? In Europe the lower the people, the more early they marry, but of course none marry so young, not even the lowest of the low, as Hindustanis do. The higher classes very rarely if ever marry before thirty. The idea is to have fewer children but fitter.
Herbert Spencer, in his Principles of Biology, shows that fertility must diminish along with high mental development. How long shall we keep ourselves so low as to go on valuing merely animal fertility? According to our own Shastras that are never tired of praising the virtues of Brahmacharya, there is no strength, spiritual or physical, except in purity. That part of the human energy which is expressed as sex-energy in sexual functions, sexual thought and so on, when checked and controlled, easily becomes changed into OJAS, inexhaustible spiritual power.
You have to acquire control over the sex impulses. The fool who cannot control the animal passions and trifles with the most serious relation in Nature, the sex relation, knows not that he is literally spilling his own blood – his own white blood that constitutes his vitality. The root of all sin is this divine energy misdirected, as dirt has been defined as but riches in the wrong place. The epithet animal applied to passion intensifies* its lowness. Animals are certainly low and silly in their acts of indiscriminate production. It is their undue multiplication entailing bloody struggle as a consequence that places an infamous stigma on their conduct. Yet animals are perfectly innocent of any indulgence for indulgence’ sake. Man is supposed to be higher than animals in as much as his feelings are controlled by reason. Now the man who equals the lower animals in indiscriminate multiplication and sinks far below animals in unnecessary, unclean indulgence, what lowness and degradation will not be visited on him?
Purity! Purity! At bayonet’s point you have to acquire Purity. The merciless wheel of Evolutionary struggle will utterly annihilate you, if you do not acquire Purity. Your only hope lies in Purity today. Just as the Process of Evolution forced chaste conduct between near relations among the savages, so does survival today imperatively demand clean minds and chaste behaviour on your part. O people of India, you cannot live if you lack that. Let it be hard or easy, you have to acquire it, for the sake of India, for your bodies’ sake, for your brains’ sake, for religion’s sake, for this world or that, you have to be thoroughly pure. No heroism without purity, no union without purity, no peace without purity.
Even the unschooled persons in America or England are more intelligent than the ordinary undergraduates of our Universities. How is that? The chief source of their culture is the cheap daily Press. Newspapers disseminate knowledge more extensively in England, Japan, and America than Colleges do. We thank our Government and other Institutions for spreading Education to a degree in our country; but that is practically nothing, and no one is to blame for the ignorance of our masses and the dark and dreadful status of our women but ourselves. The vital energy which is now being recklessly wasted in degrading deeds, and no – deeds should be utilized in endeavouring to elevate women, to educate the masses, to uplift yourselves and to raise the nation. The easiest and most direct way to accomplish that would be to improve the condition of the Indian Press. Start really useful papers and improve those already extant, if any, in the Vernaculars. Perhaps one or two attempts have already been made in this direction, but they failed because the advanced student class as a rule disdains to handle the vernacular stuff. You must learn to respect your mother tongue. Let the Young men’s Indian Association start an organ in easy plain simple Hindi, rather Punjabi in Hindi characters, avoiding Persian or Sanskrit words as far as possible, steering clear of the perverse taste of using a style in which you are the least at home. Be natural, write as you think, imitate no one. College students might contribute small articles. To try your hand now and then at expressing in your mother tongue the most striking sentiments and enlightening thoughts which you come across in your reading, will benefit you more than the readers, although others will imagine that it benefits the readers more than you. For this work let no details trouble or tire you. The first Number should begin with the Hindi Alphabet and easy combinations of letters into familiar words, and let the blessed College students, the pioneers of light and learning in the land, undertake the happy duty of initiating into reading and writing their sisters, mothers, wives, daughters or other female relatives who cannot read and write. Wait not for Public School systems. This sacred trust falls on your shoulders. If India is to live, the work of Female Education must be widely propagated. Then why should it not begin with you? See to it that no woman or poor man is left unlettered in the Province. Blot out this stain of ignorance from the face of the country. Are you ashamed or afraid of teaching the sweeper woman in your neighbourhood? Then, fie on your manners and morals! Approach the poor and ignorant folk with mother like sympathy and love to educate them. What an angelic work! In the organ of Y. M. I. A., gradually let lessons on Elementary Physics, Physiology, Astronomy, History, Political Economy, Psychology, etc., be introduced in as interesting and easy a way as you can command, and by and by the style may be made more classical. Rama recommends Hindi characters for the paper, for Hindi bids fair to become ere long the national language of India. To educate women and the poor is a paramount duty before you, a duty which being well discharged must ultimately exalt yourselves immensely. But forget not that there is also a more direct and even more imperative work for you, viz. to acquire agricultural arts and industries in more advanced countries and spread broadcast that useful knowledge in India.
Has the paper tried your patience too long, are you tired of listening? Tired or not, hold on! Rama cannot let you go until he gives you the one thing he knows. Ye wedding Guests! Have you to attend to most important calls of duty? May be, but the Ancient Mariner will not leave you until you are told the one thing he was born to tell. No call of duty can be more important than listening to Rama’s message.
Domestic, social or national duties are your karma – hand and no karma or deed of noble note can be carried on in the dark; except only that the deeds of darkness may be committed in the dark. Without keeping alive the flame of Faith and the torch of burning Jnanam in your breasts, you cannot accomplish anything; you cannot advance a single step. All these directions and details that are everyday dinned into your ears are simply as the body of your lives; but without the spirit to ever can the body stand. The spirit of all successful movement is living Faith and flaming Jnanam. Even the avowed champions of materialism, scepticism, positivism, atheism and agnosticism, owe their success unconsciously to the active spirit of religion in them. In some instances, they lived more religion than the Professors of Religion. Here is, say, the Rubber factory giving employment to thousands and thousands of work – less hands, opening up national trade, multiplying capital in the country, encouraging the poor labouring class, bringing plenty of work and emoluments to the steamship Companies, railway employees, post offices, etc. etc. Yet how could the whole affair be unless one chemical equation, one invisible inner reaction lent the grandeur? So can none of your personal, domestic, social, or political undertakings flourish free except by borrowing grace and glory from the inner reaction, the heart conversion, the mental Re – formation, the spiritual equation or in your very soul, a God – revolution. “Faith is great,” says Carlyle, “life – giving.” The history of a nation becomes fruitful, soul elevating, great, as it believes. These Arabs, the man Mahomed, and that one century, is it not as if a spark had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black, unnoticeable sand? But lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven – high from Delhi to Grenade.” Allah ho Akbar! There is nothing great but God.
Whatever is truly great, springs up from the inarticulate deeps within, whoever lives not wholly in the Divine Idea, or living partially in it struggles not, to live wholly in it, is, let him live wherever he likes, in whatever pomp or prosperity he chooses, a nonentity, not alive, dead.
Even H. Spencer in his very last work which might be called his dying Swan song, referring to an experiment of Huxley’s with the large brained porpoise, says, “The body of our thought – consciousness consists of feeling, and only the form constitutes what we distinguish as intelligence. That part which we ordinarily ignore when speaking of mind is its essential part, viz. feelings. The feelings are the master, the intellect is the servant.” Feelings known in popular language as the heart, the region of faith and religion, at once prompt the acts and yield the energy for performance of the acts. “Little can be done” continues Spencer, “by improving the servant (head) while the master (heart) remains unimproved.” And how remarkably does this conclusion of the redoubted archagnostic agree with the verdict of about the ablest Psychologist of the age (Prof. James), “Religious experiences are as convincing as any direct sensible experience can be, and they are as a rule much more convincing than results established by logic ever are.” To live at a deeper level of your nature than the loquacious level, to sound the depths of your being, to realize, feel and be the innate Reality in you which is also the innate Reality in nature, to be a living personification of Tat-tvam-asi.
This, this is life; this, this is Immortality!
This is to live and move as Power, Shakti,
That splits pillars with the glances,
Such can say.
The world turns aside,
To make room for me;
I come, blazing Light l
And the shadows must flee.
O mountains, Beware!
Come not in my way;
Your ribs will be shattered
And tattered today.
O Kings and Commandenl
My fanciful toys!
Here’s a Deluge of fire.
Line Clear I my boys I
I hitch to my chariot,
The Fates and the Gods.
With thunder of Cannon,
Proclaim it abroad:
Shake I Shake off delusion,
Wake I Wake up I Be free.
Liberty! Liberty! Liberty!
This Gnanam, the inexhaustible power of which is aspect, has for the other aspect Infinite Peace.
Peace immortal falls as rain – drops,
Nectar is pouring in musical rain;
Drizzle! Drizzle!! Drizzle!!!
My clouds of glory, they march so gaily!
The worlds as diamonds drop from them:
Drizzle! Drizzle!! Drizzle!!!
My breezes of law blow rhythmical, rhythmical. Lo! Nations fell like petals, leaves;
Drizzle! Drizzle!! Drizzle!!!
My balmy breath, the breeze of Law,
Blows beautiful! beautiful!
Some objects swing and sway like twigs,
And others like the dew drops fall;
Drizzle! Drizzle!! Drizzle!!!
My graceful Light, a sea of white,
An ocean of milk, it undulates.
It ripples, softly, softly, softly;
And then it beats out worlds of spray.
I shower forth the stars as spray.
Drizzle I Drizzle!! Drizzle!!!
Om! Om!! Om!!!