Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Sister Nivedita on Indian National Ideals


II. Now as regard the ideal of the soil we gather from the life of the common people as well as from the Bhagawat-Gita, that the ideal is purity. It is difficult to bring out clearly all that is implied in the word Purity. But it may be provisionally defined as learning to regard things and people not as instruments or objects for our enjoyment, but as ends in themselves. Towards this ideal, we must move on. There are some who worship God from some inferior motive. They do not regard God as end in Himself, but try to use Him as their agent. Nothing could be more erroneous than this idea of worship.

There was a man in Norway (in spirit a Brahmin) who went a long way in winter to see a waterfall. But after being able to see the beauty of Nature he exclaimed that he had no right to praise God for the beauty of the waterfall, unless it were equally possible for him to praise Him, if God so pleased that he should be dashed to pieces by the falling of overhanging rocks while he was having a good view of the waterfall. This furnishes us with a lesson that God should be treated as an end in Himself and not as a mere agent. So also we must not regard anything else as a means to an end. In other words, we must work for work's sake — i.e., for the carrying out of our ideal. And this is possible only when we do not set any unduly high value on this life as an instrument of enjoyment.