BUNCH OF THOUGHTS
Our unique concept of glory Fourfold achievement Dharma for individual development and social solidarity Materialism end in misery - What made us world teachers Organised strength for attaining and maintaining glory Right men for organisation
Our one supreme goal is to bring to life the all-round glory and greatness of our Hindu Rashtra. In order to have a correct grasp of this goal, we should understand what exactly this "great glory", param vaibhavam as we call it in our Prathana, connotes. Then we have also to understand how to attain and maintain that glorious condition of our nation.
Ordinarily, the glory of a nation is measured in terms of its material affluence. There is no doubt that a nation in glory has necessarily to be in affluence. All the necessities of life must be fully provided to every individual in the nation. But, is that the complete image of our national glory that we conceive of? This is an all-important question which we have to ponder over.
Our Vision of Glory
Each nation has its own key-note in life and marches ahead in tune with that national ethos. Our Hindu Nation has also preserved a unique characteristic since times immemorial. To us, the aspects of material happiness, i.e., artha (the amassing of wealth) and kama (the satisfaction of physical desires) are only a part of mans life. Our great ancestors declared that there are two more aspects of human endeavour, dharma and moksha. They built up our society on the basis of this fourfold achievement, the chaturvidha purushartha of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Since hoary times our society has been known not merely for its wealth and affluence but more so for the other two aspects of life. We are therefore called a highly moral, spiritual and philosophical people, who have kept as their ultimate goal nothing short of direct communication with God Himself, i.e. moksha. If this final aim of human existence is left out, then what remains except the feeding of the brute in man? If it is a fact that there is a difference between man and the animal, then the concepts of prosperity and happiness for the two also must differ. If to eat, drink and enjoy abundantly is the only criterion for both, man will have to be equated with a mere beast. Therefore we say that we have also to feed the spirit of man. It is only when we do that, that we can look upon our national existence as being really great and glorious.
So, when we think of the greatness and glory of our nation, we not only think of its wealth and affluence, of all the means of satisfaction of the necessities of the body but also of the mind of the individual which should be made to gradually rise above all these things and place him in a position to which he is entitled as a human being, that is, in direct relation with divinity. It has been said, /kekZnFkZÜo dkeÜo] that is, first follow dharma, and dharma will also give artha and kama.
Role of Dharma
When we say that we want to protect and rejuvenate dharma, do we mean the revival of its external form of rituals and formalities? In our country, some people wear the sacred thread yajnopavita while some do not. Some keep a tuff of hair, some do not. Some worship idols, some do not. These things have meaning for those who have faith in them. And they are just small external signs of our all-comprehensive dharma. They must not be confused with dharma itself.
Our definition of dharma is twofold. The first is proper rehabilitation of mans mind; and the second is adjustment of various individuals for a harmonious corporate existence, i.e., a good social order to hold the people together.
Let us take the first aspect. What is meant by the rehabilitation of mind? We know that the personality of man is only a projection of his mind. But the mind is like an animal, which runs after so many things and it is so constituted as to be one with all the desired things. Ordinarily, mans mind does not stop to consider what is right and what is wrong. It stoops to any level in order to fulfil its desires. With such a mind, man is not likely to rise higher than the level of an ordinary animal. Therefore the mind is to be cultivated in self-restraint and certain other great qualities. Those attributes of good conduct are mentioned in various contexts in the Bhagavad-Gita and our other holy scriptures. They have described five yamas for the body and five niyamas for the mind.
The other is the social aspect. Mans life has to be attuned to the wider interests of the people as a whole. Both these aspects are complementary to each other. The first aspect is defined as
;rks·H;qn;fu% Js;lflf}% l /keZ%A
which means that the arrangement which enables and encourages man to control his desires and create within himself the competence to realise the Divine Essence or the Eternal Reality even while enjoying a rich material life, is dharma. The second aspect is -
/kkj.kkr~ /keZfeR;kgq % /kekZs /kkj;fr iztk %AA
which means that the power which brings individuals together and sustains them as a society is called dharma. A combination of these two definitions shows that the establishment of dharma means the building of an organised social life wherein each individual has realised his oneness with others in society and is imbued with a spirit of sacrifice to make others material lie richer and happier, and develops spiritual strength which leads to the realisation of the Ultimate Truth.
There is no more way of looking at this blending of the development of the individual with the integrity and welfare of the society. We have been told by our great thought-givers to discriminate between what is permanent and what is impermanent. Shankaracharya has called it nityanitya-vastu-viveka. Let us, for the time being, keep apart its high philosophical interpretations and apply to our national life. Individuals come and go. Countless generations have come and gone. But the nation has remained. Drops of water come, stay for a while and evaporate; but the flow of the Ganga goes on ceaselessly. So is the eternal flow of our national life. We, the individuals, appear on the surface like bubbles or drops for a moment, and disappear. The `permanent, therefore, is the national life. The impermanent is the individual. The ideal arrangement would therefore be to transform the impermanent-the individual-into a means to attain the permanent the social good which would at the same time enable the individual to enrich and bring to blossom his latent divinity. This is dharma in its twofold aspect, which leads mankind to its ultimate goal of Realisation of Godhead-moksha.
The Present Warnings
Unfortunately, the persons at the helm of affairs of our country today have lost this national vision and become infatuated with foreign isms, which have not risen beyond the materialist view of prosperity and glory. They have given currency to the slogan of raising the standard of life, which only means increasing mans desires and trying to fulfil them by increasing physical comforts and conveniences. The luxuries of today become the necessities of tomorrow and thus goes on the endless struggle for more and more satiation of mans desires of the flesh.
It is a matter of common experience that physical desires can never be satiated. The more one attempts to satisfy them the more intense they grow, even as fire blazes instead of going out when oil is poured into it. Tolstoy has written a very instructive story under the title "How much land does a man need?" A peasant was promised free all land he could run round from sunrise till sunset. In his sheer greed to cover more and more land he ran so far that he never got back to the starting place before sunset, and in utter exhaustion he died. Only a strip of land, seven by two and half feet, was needed to bury him!
It is also well known that a person who has a bundle of unsatisfied desires can never be happy in spite of any amount of multiplication of the means for their satisfaction. In America, for example, in spite of its boundless affluence and prosperity, the incidence of various sorts of heinous crimes and mental diseases in all strata of society is growing at an alarming rate. Millions of Americans drug themselves every night with sleeping pills before going to bed. This only betrays a serious lacuna in their philosophy of life. Having kept the political and economic factors as the sole and supreme consideration in life, they have ignored the roots of spirituality which alone restrain and ennoble the human mind and nurture the human soul to grow and blossom in peace and happiness.
Let us not, therefore, forget that it was the complete life-concept of chaturvidha purushartha that marked out our society and made our name shine bright on the horizon of the world. Our national past bears ample testimony to the fact that this life-concept was not just a Utopia but a living reality for thousands of years of our national life. All the foreign travellers who visited our land have vouchsafed for the supreme quality of man attained here in addition to limitless wealth and affluence. The sublime character of our people was a result of the complete life-concept the harmonious blending of artha and kama with the higher values of dharma and moksha that we had worked out on the individual as also on the national plane.
History records countless examples of other countries bowing down to our nation in utmost veneration because of the sterling character of our spiritual giants who strode all over the world to carry the message of divinity in man. Later on, our Buddhist monks and missionaries too who crossed the borders and reached distant lands were revered and their examples and teachings set up as standards in all those countries. A disciple of Buddha had gone to Tibet, China and Japan. His idol was actually worshipped as God in these countries. How did this miracle happen? It was the intense spirit of self-sacrifice and service, the all-embracing love, and the sheer merit of noble character of such missionaries that made them the cultural preceptors of these people and earned the name Vishwa Guru World Teacher for our Bharat.
The need for emphasising this aspect in our national life today becomes all the more evident when we find our people going out to other countries whether as ambassadors or professors, as students or businessmen or merry-go-travellers, cutting sorry figures in those countries, wallowing in physical pleasures, behaving no better and many times even worse than those people.
Our real national regeneration should therefore start with the moulding of man, by instilling in him the strength to overcome human frailties and to stand up as a shining symbol of Hindu manhood embodying within himself our traditional virtues of love, self-restraint, sacrifice, service and character. We should unfailingly keep this vision, this real essence of our glorious nationhood, before our eyes so that we can again rise to our original pedestal of the world preceptor.
Now, we come to the second aspect of the question. In the present-day world, what should we do to attain and maintain that highest pinnacle of national glory, resplendent with its fourfold achievement of life? We know that such a glorious condition stands in danger of destruction either by internal disorders or external aggressions. Our own history tells us that both the factors have been responsible for bringing us down from a state of glory, that was once the envy of the world, to the present despicable condition. Today, therefore, we have to rebuild our national life so that we will be able to ward off both these dangers.
It is well known that in this age, especially, the strength to protect ourselves from external aggression and internal chaos lies in the organised life of the people.- la?ks 'kfDr% dykS ;qxs Therefore, when we say that our nation should be taken to the pinnacle of glory, it also means that the people should be made alert, organised and powerful. After all, nations can stand only upon the solid foundation of their organised strength. Other aspects of life such as food, clothing, shelter, medicine and other physical requirements, however necessary are only secondary. The first and foremost prerequisite is the invincible organised life of the people without which even the highest national prosperity will crumble to dust in no time.
Weak Links Do Not Make a Strong Chain
Let us now look for the source of such a strength. Where does it reside? We say, it lies in the organised life of the people. But, what type of people? They should be such as are imbued with unity of mind and thought, bound together with a common code of morality and faith in each other, and filled with absolute loyalty to the nation. Unless they are such, their organised strength is not likely to protect the nation. On the other hand, it may prove to be a menace to national life. (For example, selfish and antisocial elements and even thieves and dacoits get themselves organised).
We also find that it is easier to gather together selfish people without character for purposes, which are detrimental to social welfare. Today, such groups having their own sectarian or other narrow interests are coming up throughout the country. In order to satisfy their selfish interests they are even prepared to destroy the sanctity and unity of our national life. Such persons can come together very easily. That is the lowest stratum of organised life. In the lower strata of life, organisation is very simple, very easy. A whole flock of crows assembles if we just throw a piece of flesh. That is the herd instinct. This instinct comes into play, when wider grasp of national life is lost sight of and narrow concepts of sect, creed, caste or some such things reign supreme in the mind. But we should not take to this line simply because it is easy.
Therefore, we conclude that organised strength has to be built up by the bringing together of proper persons. Then, what are the qualities required of individuals who will form the living limbs of such an organised strength?
Strength is Life, Weakness is Death
The first thing is invincible physical strength. We have to be so strong that none in the whole world will be able to overawe and subdue us. For that, we require strong and healthy bodies. All our Incarnations who came in the human form have been such. The essence of our scriptural message has been strength is life, weakness is death. Swami Vivekananda used to say, "I want men with muscles of iron and nerves of steel". He himself was like that. Finding that some co-disciples were always sitting down and shedding tears, he would thunder, "That is not bhakti. That is nervous weakness. Dont sit down and weep like little girls".
What do we see today when we look at ourselves in a mirror? Do we find any sign of manliness and strength? Dont say, "What is there after all in a body?" Our shastras say
'kjhjek|a [kyq /keZlk/kue~
(Body is the primary instrument for fulfilling our duties in life) Without an able body, we cannot achieve anything. Even to see God, a healthy and strong body is required. God is not for the weak:
uk;ekRek cyghusu yH;%A
When we sit to meditate upon God, if our head begins to reel, our back begins to ache and we begin to quail and shiver in our own seat, then the result is no God, but only fever! The present-day fashion of our young men of decorating the skin and and discarding the sinews must be given up and they should, with proper exercises and healthy habits, develop strong bodies capable of resisting heat and cold, hunger and exertion and of undergoing all the hardships of life with good cheer.
Character is All
Physical strength is necessary, but character is more important. Strength without character will only make a brute of man. Purity of character from the individual as well as the national standpoint, is the real life-breath of national glory and greatness.
There is the story of Prahlad which depicts the importance of character. As a result of his meritorious deeds, he drove away Indra and became the king of gods. Indra approached Brihaspati-the guru of gods and said, "Sir, you know my pitiable plight. What shall I do to regain my throne?" Brihaspati said, "Dress yourself as an ordinary mendicant, go to the durbar of Prahlad at the hour of Ichhadan, i.e., when he gives away whatever the beggars ask, and ask for his sheela(character)." Indra obeyed. He went to Prahlad as a beggar and asked him his sheela.
Prahlad said, "Why are you satisfied with only my sheela?" "That is sufficient for me," replied the mendicant. "You can have it", said Prahlad. Immediately after he said this, an effulgent being came out of his body and entered the body of the mendicant. "Who are you? Why are you entering the body of the mendicant leaving my body?" asked Prahlad. "I am your sheela. As you have given me away to him. I have to enter his body now", the effulgent spirit replied. In a fraction of second another brilliant form came out. Once again Prahlad asked "Who are you? Why are you leaving my body?" I am your shaurya (prowess). I am only a servant of sheela. So long as you had sheela I served you. Now that sheela has gone away, I am also following sheela." So saying, it also entered the body of the mendicant. Like this a few more effulgent forms left Prahlads body. Lastly, a brilliant shining form of woman came out of him. She said, "Well, I am your Rajyashree (Goddess of Royal Glory). I too am a servant of sheela. As you have given up your sheela, I am going." As a result, Prahlad lost all his power and glory and Indra regained his throne.
The moral of the story, in a nutshell, is that if endowed with character we can achieve anything, and without character we stand to lose everything. This is as much true of nations as of individuals. Therefore, the two aspects of character, individual and national, are like the twin lungs of national glory.
Robust Common Sense for Success
Now, suppose we have a strong body and a pure and devoted heart. But, how to use the body and the mind? For that, we require intellectual acumen capable of grasping the realities and intricacies of the situation and deciding ones right conduct. We should therefore develop power of concentration, sharpen our intellect and acquire the power to pitch upon the right action at the right moment. And we should also be prompt and dynamic in acting up to decisions.
Without such practical wisdom, all our goodness and strength will be of no avail. Many a page of disaster in our past history was a result of the want of robust common sense. Let us not forget that the path of national reorganisation is not a bed or roses. And without sagacity, mere sincerity will not avail us when faced with knaves and crooks. One need not be an intellectual to achieve skill and wisdom in the practical world. Even persons in the common strata of society can cultivate such wisdom. There is the example of one of our workers, an ordinary unlettered farmer in a village, who could guide and control ten to fifteen surrounding villages even during critical situations. He could also give proper guidance to the village elders in all walks of life. Each one of us should rouse within ourselves the conviction that I am born with living seeds of wisdom, which, if properly nurtured, shall surely take me to success and strive to live accordingly.
Suppose we have a strong body, purity of character, a keen intellect, but no fortitude, what is the use? All the time, circumstances are not going to favour us. We shall have to face obstacles and adversities. Fearlessness is the first virtue of a hero, the starting point of all other noble virtues. Even in the Gita, the enumeration of the various godly qualities starts with abhayam (fearlessness). Our founder, Dr. Hedgewar, used to say that the work of national consolidation should proceed in such a way that it neither frightens anybody nor will be afraid anybody:
Ukk Hk; nsr dkgwdks uk Hk; tkur vki
All our ideal heroes have been the embodiment of fearlessness and fortitude. A large army headed by Khara and Dushana came to attack Rama. Dust was seen clouding the sky. Seeing the enemy approaching, Rama said to Lakshmana, "Sita is not accustomed to all these things. You stay here protecting. I will finish these fellows and come back." So saying, he went alone with the bow in his hand. Sita trembled to see him going alone. Then Lakshmana said, "What of this fourteen thousand, he is capable of destroying the entire army of Ravana single-handed. Be at ease." After annihilating the rakshasas, Rama came back as though nothing had happened cool, quiet and unruffled as ever.
The spirit of heroism is necessary even to worship God. A coward cannot do it. In jnaneswari, it is said that when a person sits to mditate upon God he will see terrible forms, and if he is a chicken-hearted fellow, he will be simply undone. Nothing can be achieved by cowards, either in this world or the other. If we are on the right path, there is no reason to be afraid of anything.
One of our workers died some years ago. I met him a week before he died. He told me, " No treatment seems to have had any effect upon me. I have no hopes of recovery. I feel I am dying soon." I said to him, "You have served a great ideals selflessly and untiringly. You have done no harm to anyone and have always been doing good to all. Why then should you be afraid of death? Rejoice and meet death peacefully!" And he did face death with peace and tranquility. Such a spirit of fearlessness born out of the conviction that we are doing good, that we are on the right path, will take us a long way in achieving our ideal.
First Loyalty to Ideal
That is not all. We need an urge to develop in ourselves all these qualities. Intense devotion to the ideal that we have place before us, will give us the necessary urge to equip ourselves with all the great qualities required for achieving the glory of our nation.
Duty to Country First
There may be occasions when conflicts arise in our mind while fixing priorities among our several duties. Then we will have to discriminate, take a detached view and respond to the supreme call of the ideal that we have chosen for our life. The martyrdom of Tanaji Malasure is a shining example in this regard. When Shivaji sent word to him and assigned him the challenging task of winning the formidable Kondana fort (later called Sinhagad), Tanaji was busy making preparations for his sons marriage. But at the word of Shivaji, Tanaji gave up the thought of the marriage saying, "My sons marriage may well wait for some time; I will first carry out the command of my king. My first duty is towards the Swaraj". Without a moments hesitation Tanaji proceeded to conquer Kondana. The heroic attempt was crowned with success, but it claimed as its price the life of Tanaji himself.
It is when we bend all our energies towards this fundamental process the great process of man-making that our ancient and sacred nation can once again attain its original position of greatness and glory, shedding peace and plenty, culture and character all-round.