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At the Feet of The Mother

Ram Mandir: A Civilisational Crossroads | 2. An Unfinished Story

The story of India is yet to be completed.  It may be true of other great nations as well but as we have noticed the story of India has seen a continuity despite the tumultuous changes that happened outside that stifled her growth, halted her continuous progression through one Age to another.  The causes of this slowing or a fall may be many, prominent among which are the disunity and jealousies among the kings, a loosening of the high values it upheld through the centuries, an increase in greed and selfishness, personal ambitions at the expense of the larger national unity, dharmasya glani, the decline of Dharma due to the strong influence of Kaliyuga so to say. Associated with this was the beginning of practices detrimental to the unity of a group-life through alienation of sections of humanity. Though originally meant to preserve the elite of the Society, it eventually led to an increasing arrogance among the elite, that is the Brahman and the Kshatriya leading to their decline. What was once meant to be a social order based on inner development, innate capacity and merit of high and noble virtues began to be replaced by circumstances of birth and family tradition. But perhaps the biggest problem was the predominance of the doctrine of Mayavada and the illusionist School of Adwaita. Though meant to counter the growing Buddhist influence it ended up further affirming the other-worldliness and the transient, ephemeral nature of earthly life that was little more than a bundle of desires and its consequent suffering centered around the illusory ego as the sole possible individuality. A further step that led to  the  decline was to crystallize the wide and mighty spirit of Sanatana Dharma that was nurtured and nourished in many an Ashrams and Gurukulas into different Schools, each fixed in its philosophy and rituals. The living fire of Yoga, the spiritual impulse expressing itself through creative art and literature, music and poetry began to dwindle. Spiritual realisation was reduced to debates and dialectics in spiritual philosophy,  rituals replaced Wisdom and Bhakti, The great significance of Works was lost and began to be looked upon as a snare. Birth rather than ignorance was seen as a bondage, release from the wheel of Karma and life in this world into an other-worldly post-mortem salvation as the ultimate goal of mankind.  Thus was lost the great teaching of the Rishis who lay the foundations of Bharat. They were not other-worldly saints withdrawn from life in the world out of recoil and disgust, or weakness and inability to meet the challenges of life. Nor were they merely intellectualising philosophers. The spiritual history of India is full of Rishis who were creators, authors, warriors, administrators, scientists, educators influencing every field of human life and activity. 

‘The Rishi was in that age the head of the human world. He was at once sage, poet, priest, scientist, prophet, educator, scholar and legislator. He composed a song, and it became one of  the sacred hymns of  the people; he emerged from rapt communion with God to utter some puissant sentence, which in after ages became  the germ of mighty philosophies; he conducted a sacrifice, and kings and peoples rose on its seven flaming tongues to wealth and greatness; he formulated an observant aphorism, and it  was made  the foundation of some future science, ethical, practical or physical; he gave a decision in a dispute and his verdict  was seed of a great code or legislative  theory. In Himalayan forests or by the confluence of great rivers he lived as the centre of a patriarchal family whose link was thought-interchange and not blood-relationship, bright-eyed children of sages, heroic striplings, earnest pursuers of knowledge, destined to become themselves great Rishies or renowned leaders of thought and action. He himself was the master of all learning and all arts and all sciences. The Rishies won their knowledge by meditation working through inspiration to intuition….

The Rishies were inspired thinkers, not working through deductive reason or any physical process of sense-subdual.  The energy of their personalities was colossal; wrestling in fierce meditation with God, they had become masters of incalculable spiritual energies, so that their anger could blast peoples and even the world was in danger when they opened their lips to utter a curse. This energy was by the principle of heredity transmitted, at least in the form of a latent and educable force, to their offspring. Afterwards as the vigour of the race exhausted itself, the inner fire dwindled and waned. But at first even the unborn child was divine. When Chyavan was in the womb, a Titan to whom his mother Puloma had been betrothed before she was given to Bhrigou, attempted to carry off his lost love in the absence of the Rishi. It is told that the child in the womb felt the affront and issued from his mo ther burning with such a fire of inherited divinity that the Titan ravisher fell blasted by the wrath of an infant. For the Rishies were not passionless. They were prone to anger and swift to love. In their pride of life and genius they indulged their yearnings for beauty, wedding the daughters of Titans or mingling with nymphs of Paradise in the august solitudes of hills and forests. From these were born those ancient and sacred clans of a prehistoric antiquity, Barghoves, Barhaspaths, Gautamas, Kasyapas, into which the descendants of the Aryan are to this day divided. Thus has India deified the great men who gave her civilisation.’ [Sri Aurobindo, CWSA 36:134-135]

It is when the world affirming spirituality faded into the background and a  world shunning asceticism began to replace it Rishis that the decline came, not at once but by steps and stages. There were efforts at revival of the Sanatana Dharma in its ancient pristine glory from time to time.  But with the increase of foreign domination the glory of Sanatana Dharma was not just clouded but eclipsed. Night had fallen upon the Light of the world.  

But the cycle of Time has turned again as it invariably does. A new dawn has arrived and the world is being shaped anew. Idea-forces are clashing and wrestling in the arena of the human mind for new ideas to emerge. The soil of human nature is being tilled for the seeds of a new creation to burst forth. The waters of human consciousness are being churned for new possibilities to manifest. Amidst this telling and churning we see India of the Ages is reborn and slowly but steadily emerging once again as one of the key players in the centre stage of the world.  But before it can play its role fully it must reclaim its secret soul, rediscover its unique inheritance, rejoin its glorious past to an even more glorious future. The story of India is not only to be told but must be extended beyond the known to the yet unwritten pages of the human story hidden in the womb of the future. 

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.