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At the Feet of The Mother

VIII. NATIONALISM. Our Hope (XI)

We have no material strength, armaments, education, national government. Then where is our hope grounded, where is the strength, depending on which we are attempting to achieve a result impossible for the powerful and educated nations of Europe? The learned and the wise declare this to be the wild dream of youth, an idle dream of indiscriminate men drunk with high idealism. War, they think, is the only way to gain independence, and we are unable to fight. Granted that we are unable to wage war, nor do we advise armed conflict. But is it true that physical force is the only support of strength, or does strength emanate from some deeper, profounder source? Every one is bound to admit that it is impossible to achieve any great undertaking only through physical prowess. Where two opposed but equally strong powers meet in conflict, the one with the greater ethical and mental strength, — one with superior unity, courage, enthusiasm, determination, self-sacrifice, the one who has knowledge, intelligence, cleverness, keen observation, a better developed ability to evolve new means is sure to win. In fact, one who is comparatively poor, in physical number and equipment, can, because of ethical and intellectual superiority, beat down a powerful adversary. One could, however, say that though the ethical and intellectual have greater value than physical power, without the latter who will protect the ethical and intellectual powers? This is indeed true. But it has also been found that in a conflict of rival ideologies, groups, cults, and cultures the side with ample physical strength, governmental backing, equipments of war, etc., may have lost, while the side that did not have these advantages at all has won. How does this happen? Jato dharmastato jayaḥ, the righteous side wins, but dharma must be supported by force, otherwise the rise of wickedness and the degeneration of righteousness is likely to persist. Nothing happens without a reason. The reason for victory is force. By what force does the weaker side win and the mightier side lose or is destroyed? By examining historical examples we shall see that this strange thing or miracle has happened because of spiritual power, it is spiritual power, which, without caring for physical force, tells mankind that this world is God’s kingdom, and not the playground of a blind mechanical nature. The pure spirit is the source of true strength, and the original Puissance, ādyāprakṛti, which moves a billion suns in the sky, and by a mere turning of its finger shaking the earth destroys all traces of the earlier splendours created by human effort, that original Puissance is controlled by the pure spirit. That Puissance can make the impossible possible, give voice to the dumb, provide the lame with the power to cross mountains. The whole world is a creation of that power, śakti. One whose spiritual powers are developed, his instruments of victory are forged of themselves, the difficulties get removed and favourable conditions are created, the ability to work grows of itself, becomes quick and energetic.

Europe is now discovering this soul-force, though it does not believe in it wholly and has not the inclination to rely and act on that faith. But at the root of India’s education, culture, glory, strength is this soul-force. Every time people thought the end of the Indian people was imminent, from its hidden source the soul-force has flooded and revitalised the dying race, created adequate and ancillary strength. That source has not dried yet, that marvellous, deathless power is still at play.

But the manifestation of all the powers of the physical universe depends on time; according to the rhythm of appropriate conditions, like the ebb and tide of the sea, they become effective in the end. With us too it is that which is happening. Now it is a complete ebb, we are waiting for the tide to turn. The austerity of the great-souled, the willing acceptance of suffering by the self-sacrificing, the infusion of knowledge by the wise, the purity of the saint, these are the fountain-head of spiritual energy. Once in the past these diverse pieties and good deeds has swept India along its invigorating ambrosial stream and transformed a dead race into something living, strong and vigorous. Once again, that energy of austerity, tapobal, so long confined within itself, is about to be released, unbeatable, indomitable. Thanks to the oppression, the weakness and defeat of a few years, the Indians have learned to seek the source of strength within themselves. Not the excitement of oration, not the mleccha, occidental learning, the emotion-arousing power of meetings and societies, the fragile inspiration of newspapers, rather it will be that energy, deep, steady, unerring, pure, beyond-joy-and-sorrow, beyond-good-and-evil which is born within the self when in the soul’s immense silence God and the human person come together, that greatly-creative, greatly-destructive, greatly-conserving, knowledge-giving Mahasaraswati, wealth-bestowing Mahalakshmi, strength-giving Mahakali, in that combination of a thousand puissances Chandi will manifest herself to work for India’s and the world’s welfare. The independence of India is only a secondary aim, the main object is to reveal the power of Indian culture, its spread and victory throughout the world. Had we succeeded in gaining independence or autonomy through the use of western civilised techniques, through meetings and organisations, lectures and the use of physical force, that main object would not have been fulfilled. We have to achieve independence through the inherent strength of our own culture, through the strength of the spirit and the use of subtle as well as material means that the soul-force can create. That is why, by destroying our western-oriented movement, God has turned the outward energy inward. That which Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya had seen in his divine vision, and because of which he would repeatedly exhort “Turn the energy inward”; but since the time was then not ripe no one could do that, he himself could not do that, but today God has brought that about. The energy, śakti, of India has turned within. When once again it turns outward, that current will never cease flowing, and no one stop it. Redeemer of the three worlds, that holy Ganges will flood India and by its immortal touch it will usher in an era of new youth to the world.

(Dharma, No. 20, January, 1910)

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