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At the Feet of The Mother

VIII. NATIONALISM. The Old and The New (I)


I find that my call to the country to pull down the prison of the old in order to create the new has given rise to much anger, fear and anxiety in the minds of many. They have got the idea that the old is all propitious; it is the irreproachable opulent treasure-house containing the riches of perfect truth and integral knowledge and dharma. The very Indianness of India depends on its antiquity.

We who are ready to march on the path of progress with our faith firmly fixed on the Divine and His power, and willing with undaunted courage to create the new forms of the future, are accused of being travellers on a reckless path, drunk with the wine of youth and nourished by Western culture. To make easy the advent of the new by removing the old is, they say, an extremely dangerous path that leads to ruin. If the old is destroyed then what will remain of the eternal religion of India? It is best to cling to the old, that imperishable penchant for liberation, that incomparable and beneficial illusionism, that immobile stability which constitute the sole wealth of India. I could have replied that it was difficult to comprehend or imagine a situation more disastrous, an end more deplorable, than the present condition of India and especially of Bengal. If this is the result of holding fast to the old, then what harm can there be in trying for the new? Which is better, to remain inactive relying on the old or to set out on the free road of an independent life by tearing to bits this net? But many of those who object are learned, thoughtful and honourable men. I have no intention of dismissing their words lightly. On the contrary, let me try to make them understand the significance of our words, the deeper truth of our call.

The eternal and the old are not one and the same thing. The eternal belongs to all time; what is beyond the past, the present and the future, what remains as an unbroken continuity through all changes, what we perceive as the immortal in mortal — that is eternal. We do not call the dharma and the fundamental thought of India, just because they are old, the eternal dharma, the eternal truth. This thought is eternal because it is the self-knowledge obtained by the realisation of the Self; this dharma is eternal because it is based on the eternal knowledge. The old is only a form of the eternal which was suitable to the age.

(Vividha Rachana, 1955)

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There is nothing sentimental in the true weeping that comes from the soul. All that you feel now is the blossoming of the psychic being in you and the growth of a real bhakti.