Wednesday 29 May 2024

Samvad

 – P. Parameswaran JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume, oct 2009)

In the Hindu tradition two similar words regularly occur 'Vada' and 'Samvad'. 'Vada' means an argument and 'Samvad a dialogue. Both have the same objective, to arrive at the Truth by means of discussion or debate. These two words are found in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita also. Practically the entire Bhagavad Gita is in the form of a single dialogue, divided into 18 chapters, each dealing with one special aspect. The dialogue, as we all know, is between Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna. In chapter 10, Lord Krishna describes himself as 'Vada' among all kinds of arguments.

 

"There are in our study of logic in India, three types of pravadana. When you discuss a subject with somebody, you can do it in three ways. They are called Vada, Jalpa, and Vitanda. What a wonderful classification! In Vada, your objective is to find out the truth. So, you are discussing a subject with the motivation of finding the truth. You are calm, quiet, and never getting into heated arguments. Such an argument is called Vada; what science does, also what is done in high spiritual life, that is called Vada. The second is Jalpa, in which you forget the purpose for which you started your discussion. You want to get victory over your opponent without making an honest attempt to arrive at the truth. And when it comes to Vitanda, you try to win simply by refuting the other's position. You are not interested in the truth. You are only fighting with words. It is something like our democratic State and Union politics today-less Vada, more of Jalpa and Vitanda. A parliament is where one is supposed to engage oneself in Vada. We discuss with a view to do good to the nation. That is the purpose of discussion in a democracy. That we forget, and we get into Jalpa and Vitanda. Now we have to return to Vada once again since democracy is governance by discussion."

 

(Page-442, Volume-2, Universal Message of Bhagavad Gita, Swami Ranganathananda)

 

'Samvada' means a dialogue. Almost all Hindu scriptures, right from the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are in the form of Samvada or dialogue between the Guru and Sishya. A person who is in quest of the ultimate Truth approaches a qualified and competent Guru and with all humility requests him to show the path to knowledge and ultimate fulfilment. He places before the Guru his doubts and dilemmas and seeks clarifications. The Guru, after having convinced himself of the earnestness and qualification of the Sishya, explains to him step by step, guiding him to his goal. Sometimes the Guru provokes doubts and create confusion so that even lurking and potential doubts and misunderstandings are brought to light and satisfactorily cleared.

 

Dialogue is the best form of communication between the teacher and the taught. Unlike the modern classroom lectures which are mostly monologues, the traditional Hindu system is one of dialogues where both are participants. The interest never wanes; it is always kept aflame. There is a living and warm relationship. It is this inter- human relationship that brought about enduring bond which continued for generations in our traditions. 'Guru Sishya Parampara' is a unique feature of the Hindu tradition.

 

The highest form of dialogue is believed to be communication through 'silence' (mauna) where no spoken word is employed. Communication through utter silence requires extra-ordinarily high level of spiritual attainment. Dialogue through language is always liable to be imperfectly understood, if not totally misunderstood. But unfortunately for ordinary human beings, there is no other option. But those who have attained high levels of spiritual power, communicate in silence or even by just a glance; great sages are credited with such rare abilities. Guru Ramana Maharishi was one such living example in modern times.

 

There is a famous description about Shri Dakshinamoorthy as to how He taught through the language of silence.

 

Chitram vatatharor mule Vrudha Sishya gururyuva Gurosthu maunam vyakhyanam Sishyasthu chinna samshaya

 

Shri Sankaracharya whose mission was to establish Advaita as the fundamental principle of Hindu Philosophy, toured the length and breadth of Bharat and discussed with the Acharyas of all philosophical systems and paths of worships and successfully propagated Advaita and also laid the foundation for the cultural and spiritual unity of India employing this traditional method of enlightened and respectful dialogue, supported by invincible force of logic and irresistible spiritual power. It was Hinduism thus strengthened and revitalized which enabled Bharat to successfully withstand the series of barbarian invasions and painful slavery for a millennium. That shows the power of dialogue over that of the dagger. Sankara was not a solitary exception. All our Acharyas, sages and saints, seers and visionaries employed the same means of dialogue to convey their ideas and convince others. This is in sharp contrast with those cultures and civilizations which cruelly suppressed, persecuted, imprisoned and burnt to death earnest seekers who dared to think and believe differently.

 

Bharat gave absolute freedom to believe and also to behave according to one's own conscience. That is why at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, after answering all the questions and clearing the doubts raised by Arjuna, Lord Krishna gave him absolute freedom to act according to his own free will 'Act as you wish'. This is the greatness and glory of Hinduism.

 

Dialogue is the language of the cultured whereas the language of the barbarian is the dagger. Bharat had always practised the former and won the hearts of the people inside and outside her frontiers. It is not only in matters of spirituality but also in mundane matters of everyday life, like politics and economics, social and cultural life, with equal effect. That indeed shows a high level of human development and sensitivity to higher impulses. We survived on the strength of our ability to converse with people and convince them instead of coercing them into silent submission. Though we are one of the world's largest populations, rich with innumerable diversities, our country could survive as a single people, in the face of formidable and brutal invasions, mostly on the strength of continuous communication, despite differences in languages and dialects. No invader could completely conquer India or force it to total slavery. When Kings and Emperors failed and political power passed into alien conquerors, the soul of the people remained unconquerable because from one end of the country to the other uninterrupted communication remained through channels of dialogue. Seers and Saints, bards and Bhikshus, poets and story-tellers kept up the channels open at various levels and languages. So long as these channels remained alive, no amount of force could suppress the spirit of the people.

 

When the social order comes under strain and becomes outdated and incapable of coping up with fast changing situations, as it often happens in all societies, continuous readjustments become inevitable. A society which fails to meet this requirement become archaic, anachronistic, frozen and passes away. Bharat had never come to this stage of stagnation because in every part of the country and at every period of history, society threw up leaders, who could feel the pulse of the times and by means of mutual and collective dialogue, devise ways and means for raising the social life in tune with the demands of the situation. Social reformers emerged in large numbers and brought about calm and silent changes. There were hardly any volcanic eruptions that shook the society and twisted and tortured it. There was no "French Revolution" or "October Revolution" in India, but gradual and constructive changes took place whenever and wherever necessary. Dialogue was the means.

 

This is proved to the hilt by our national history. From the ancient Vedic times to the most modern times, along the passage of time how many changes and transformations have taken place within the Hindu society? Yet, in a slightly different sense, the foundations remained changeless and immortal as the mighty Himalayas. Buddha came, Sankara came, Ramanuja and Madhva came, Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda came, Sri Narayana Guru came in unbroken successions and tuned up the society in such a way that necessary changes were brought about while keeping the fundamental principles unchanged. Scriptures and Shastras were interpreted and re- interpreted in such a silent skilful and subtle manner that the society was never violently shaken but always creatively renewed. That is how, to the wonder and bewilderment of the world, India continued to pass through ages and today stands poised to discharge its world mission.

 

Organizations, big and small, national and regional have sprung up to give expression to this cultural continuity. Great men who founded them were great believers in the power of Dialogue. They spoke among themselves and spoke to the people in languages they could understand and used every language to express the same national soul in a manner easily intelligible to the common people. Within organizations too, channels of communications were opened, so that both vertical and horizontal Dialogue went on ceaselessly. It was both territorial and hierarchical. It was the life blood of national body-politic. Thoughts and ideas, problems and solutions, challenges and responses were never blocked. The flow never got clogged; hence it flowed pure and uninfected. Acharyas and disciples, seniors and juniors, leaders and followers, brothers and sisters, all had to themselves, open means of communication, with the result that mutual understanding, faith and confidence were always maintained. No living organization or movement can afford to choke the channels of communication, as in the human physical system, choked blood vessels can paralyze the working or cause cardiac problems. Caution has always to be exercised and goodwill perpetually renewed and nourished. Again Dialogue is the means. 


All these do not mea mean that Hindus were absolutists in their belief; that options other than Samvad are a total taboo, especially when intolerant and alien invaders tried to subjugate and suppress our culture and ways of life and destroy Sanatana Dharma. Our Acharyas had always made provision for taking recourse to "other" means to take on such situations. Under such life-threatening situations, the Kshatriya takes over from the Brahmin. Weapons substitute "Samvad". Dharma has to be protected by all means. Hence the Rishis proclaimed "Idam brahmam Idam Kshastram Shapadapi Sharadapi" Bharat bears witness to the truth that dialogue is always to be preferred to force but if it fails, force is to be unhesitatingly used to preserve and protect 'Dharma'. Dharma is Supreme.

--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Harmony

 – P. Parameswaran JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume, Dec. 2008)

NEEDED, A HINDU PARADIGM FOR UNIVERSAL PEACE AND HARMONY

 

It was as usual a normal evening at the campus of Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari. After a whole day of reading and writing, I had just come out for the I usual evening stroll. The sky was overcast with dense clouds threatening to rain. There was already a slight drizzle. At some distance, I could see a peacock standing all alone, totally oblivious of my presence. It slowly started spreading its colourful feathers and step-by-step began its beautiful dance. Not being at the same wavelength as the bird, I could not imagine what impelled it to stage the famous peacock- dance. Poets say that the peacocks are overjoyed at the sight of rainy clouds. Might be! There is no doubt that it was a spontaneous expression of joy welling from within. Slowly, it gathered momentum and there was a full-fledged dance to its heart's content. Thereafter it slowly walked away to disappear among the shrubs and trees. There was a perfect harmony between the dancing peacock, the cloudy sky, the drizzling rain and the greenery around. Probably, I was the only intruder. Surely, the peacock was not engaged in an act of showmanship. It was spontaneous and totally in harmony with the surroundings. The symmetry of the multicoloured feathers when fully unfolded was absolute. The rhythmic movement of the dance was flawless in comparison to that of the most accomplished dancers.

 

The rare sight triggered a chain of thoughts in my mind. How harmonious and rhythmic are the processes of nature! The trees that grow all around express spontaneously this harmony. The birds with their varied melodious chirpings are in perfect tune with their surroundings. Birds of different species live in each other's company without bitterness. If there is an occasional feud, it is forgotten in no time and they continue to co-exist. Same is the case of the universe we inhabit. So huge and gigantic, comprising of vast oceans and continents, planets and stars, galaxies and milky ways, ever expanding but hardly ever clashing, all follow their own orbits and modes of behaviour as if perfectly programmed. Days and nights, seasons, rotations and revolutions are set in perfect order.

 

Our ancient sages and seers understood this eternal and universal order by their single-minded meditation and contemplation of the Divine Mystery. They said that the whole creation functioned in accordance with an eternal law, which they called "Ritam". They also told us that this "Ritam" was the cosmic expression of a higher and ultimate Reality. They called it "Satyam". Those wise seers and sages, full of compassion for humanity, advised us that the same order must govern all human activities also. They gave the name "Dharma" to that order and stated that it should be the foundation and the guiding principle for all human beings, wherever they are. As Satyam and Ritam, Dharma also is universal and eternal. It was "Viswa Dharma and also Sanatana Dharma". When men follow it meticulously in all their dealings individually and as a society, there will be perfect harmony, concord, cooperation and happiness. Such a state they called "Satya Yuga". They also told us that there really existed a Satya Yuga in the ancient days, when Dharma reigned supreme without any aberration or violation by anyone.

 

Naturally the question arises. What happened then? Why was that order lost? Why then is humanity in today's predicament? Why is Adharma ruling roost everywhere? The explanation lies in human nature. Men are different from all other creations. The peacock dances instinctively like a child when it is happy. The trees and birds behave according to their instincts. There is no reasoning or thoughtful decision. But man acts less by instinct but more by thinking and rationalizing. No doubt, he is in an advanced stage in nature's evolution but he has to pay a price for this. Instinct never errs. It is a gift of nature, which can never make a mistake. But thought and reason are the products of cerebral activity.

 

Man endowed with these powers has choices, which the birds or animals do not have. So, man can interfere with the nature's processes, violate them and commit mistakes. That freedom to choose often disturbs and disrupts the spontaneous harmony and natural order. The more man advances in learning and creates increasingly sophisticated civilizational infrastructures, the more he distances himself from nature's harmony, which leads to discord and disharmony. We see this happening in an increasing way in the progress of human history. Man has never been as civilized in the materialistic sense as he is today. But, at the same time, we see that the world had never been experiencing more clashes and conflicts, more violence and crimes as today, so much so we talk of the present world situation as "Clash of civilizations". Thinking men all over the world have begun to express their genuine concern about the end result of all these spectacular even incredible achievements that we have been able to attain.

 

We are confronted with such a situation today. A crisis fraught with catastrophic consequences is enveloping the entire globe and needs to be resolved at the earliest point of time. It brooks no delay. Sri Sankaracharya in his famous Gita Bhashya has given the traditional Indian view of how in course of time Dharma declines and Adharma begins to dominate A situation that is repeated again and again and which necessitates the direct intervention of God in human affairs by means of Avatars or Vibhutis. He says that when human weakness creeps into the leaders of society and percolates through and through, it creates a serious crisis. To quote:

 

"Those who practised this Dharma, bereft of discrimination and wisdom, developed excessive sensual desires, with the result that Dharma or value awareness was overthrown, and Adharma or social evils multiplied."

 

The crisis that we are now facing can be overcome only by a paradigm shift. The present paradigm is the gift of western civilization, which is imposed over the rest of the world. It is the inevitable result of the basic premises on which the West has been erecting its civilizational structure. 'Might is right' and 'Survival of the fittest' are the basic premises. Concept of progress and development is based on the materialistic philosophy whose goal is unlimited consumerism made possible by reckless exploitation of human and natural resources. Cut-throat competition is the law that governs it. Whether it is capitalism or communism, there is no marked difference so far as the goals are concerned. Once these premises are accepted, there is no half a house. It inevitably leads to mutual conflict and violent discord. Since these are also the premises of the Abrahamic religions, they teach the faithful that God has created everything only for the sake of man who has every right to exploit them. Mutual intolerance, which is the basis of all conflict, is also one of the cardinal principles of Abrahamic religions. The ultimate goal promised by God to the faithful is paradise. The only difference is that the heaven promised by these religions is a post-mortem heaven whereas communists and capitalists promise a heaven here and now. The present paradigm glorified as "the global village" where the rules of the market are supreme and extravagant consumption the reward, can never be sustainable because the resources available on the earth is strictly and severely limited. Technology can manipulate the resources but cannot manufacture them. Therefore, there is a dilemma. The present level of the consumption benefits only the privileged. If the benefit should go to all in an equitable measure, then the present day privileged will have to sacrifice heavily. Materialistic civilization does not teach the value of sacrifice. Hence, the result can only be social unrest erupting into collective violence or terrorism. If there is truth in this analysis, then the only alternative is, as stated earlier, a shift in paradigm from the western to the eastern ideas.

 

It is a life and death question for the survival of humanity and ultimately of this planet earth. The choice has to be made, now and here.

This idea was clearly pronounced about fifty years back by Arnold Toynbee, one of the world's greatest historians-

 

"Today we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world's history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race. In the present age, the world has been united on the material plane by Western technology. But this Western skill has not only 'annihilated distance', it has armed the peoples of the world with weapons of devastating power at a time when they have been brought to point-blank range of each other without yet having learnt to know and love each other. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way: The Emperor Ashoka's and Mahatma Gandhi's principle of non-violence and Sri Ramakrishna's testimony to the harmony of religions; here we have the attitude and the spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family and the only alternative to destroying ourselves.

 

The survival of the human race is at stake. Yet even the strongest and most respectable utilitarian motive is only a secondary reason for taking Ramakrishna's and Gandhi's and Ashoka's teaching to heart and acting on it. The primary reason is that this teaching is right right because it flows from a true vision of spiritual reality."

 

Now what is this eastern paradigm we speak of? It is based on the Hindu view of life as enunciated by our Rishis and spelt out in the Vedic and Upanishadic texts. It is a spiritual vision of the world. 'Tena tyaktena bhunjeeta' is the keyword. 'Enjoy through renunciation' is the core. Enjoyment is not denied, but renunciation must precede it. Without 'tyaga', bhoga is vulgar. Bhoga or enjoyment should be elevated and sanctified by the spirit of tyaga or renunciation. Material affluence is not prohibited. Sense enjoyments are not taboo. These are not considered sinful in the Hindu view of life as in the Abrahamic religions. Earning and enjoying are considered desirable objectives in life. But there is a condition. Both must be on the basis of and governed by Dharma. Dharma is the law that sustains everything. Dharma is the application of Satyam and Ritam in human life. When every act of man is guided by Dharma, then competition is eliminated and cooperation is ensured that leads to total harmony in all interpersonal relationship and the society as a whole. On the basis of this principle, Hindus had formulated and erected an entire social scheme, which was non-competitive and harmonious. In such a system, every individual and every family had an assigned role within the social system. To follow the law of dharma is the duty of every human being. This must expand from the individual to the family, to the society, to the nation, to entire humanity and ultimately to every creation, living or non-living. It is this unique and sublime concept of the entire creation as one big family, which is expressed in the ancient dictum 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' - World is as one family. Now compare and contrast this with the western concept of global market and see the difference. This difference has carried us into the logical conclusion of a world divided into hostile and warring camps.

 

There is a fundamental flaw in the understanding of man in Western paradigm. Instead of an integrated view of man having different dimensions, it looks upon man in a compartmentalized and incomplete manner. There is no coherence in the approach to the different dimensions and often contradictory. Man is considered as a means and not as an end. He is considered as a resource to be utilized and exploited and not as the end to be achieved. In these days of global market, he is treated as a consumer and his primary role as a citizen is ignored.

 

The tastes and needs of the consumer are supreme and basic needs and rights of the citizens are sacrificed for the sake of the market, which serves the consumer. The spiritual man is totally forgotten and the ethical and moral values that should govern inter- personal relationships are given the go by. Values are considered superfluous and utility overrules values. The super-structure of western civilization built upon the foundation of this fraudulent understanding of man is totally incompatible with the Eastern paradigm. The Western paradigm is value-neutral. Technologies are developed without considering how they will affect human values and social systems. Many of the modern technologies can be, and are in fact, catastrophic in their consequences. Therefore, an alternate paradigm with a concept of an integrated man as the centre of all activities is necessary for the total well-being of mankind in the future. This is where the Indian approach becomes not only relevant but unavoidably crucial.

 

But how can a paradigm shift be effectively implemented? A paradigm is not paradise- given. It has to be created. Even 'Satya Yuga' is like that. Another name for 'Satya Yuga' is 'Krita Yuga'which means that it is an ideal to be achieved by dint of human effort. Today, the world demands an ideal paradigm, based on the Hindu view of life. Such a one does not exist. It is to be brought by strenuous and indefatigable effort by people inspired by such a vision and devoted and dedicated to such a noble cause. The task is so big that no one individual can achieve it single-handedly. Our scriptures say that at such critical times God himself descends 'Avatar takes place. It is also enjoined that the ground has to be prepared and the homework well done before an Avatar can descend. The nature of Avatar changes from age to age according to the need and nature of the people and the times. In this Kaliyuga, it has been said that the work of an avatar has to be accomplished by means of an organization of men well equipped and measuring up to the task. Those who sincerely feel and eagerly await an alternate Hindu paradigm have to work together single- mindedly and ceaselessly for such a great consummation. Paradigm shifts are brought about not by idle gossiping or intermittent outbursts by disparate individuals but by sustained efforts of idealistic and at the same time, pragmatic individuals united by a common vision and total and unreserved dedication for the same. The urgency and sure possibility of such a mission was well understood by Swami Vivekananda, the prophet of Hindu Nationalism and Universal brotherhood. Throughout his later life Swamiji gave expression to these thoughts and continuously exhorted young men and women to take up this historic task under the banner of a selfless organization. A century has passed since Swamiji passed away. The relevance of his words continues unabated. The need for missionary workers to translate his ideas and produce a new paradigm has to be fulfilled. That is the legacy of Swamiji, which the workers of the Vivekananda Kendra have to take up and fulfil.

 

This is a historic task for the new generation of heroic youths to accomplish. For them, this has to be the only pre- occupation, not one among many as Swamiji has often stated: "Great things are achieved by great sacrifices only". The intensity of sacrificial urge must be matched with the number and quality of youths committed to this. Swamiji had clearly understood the immensity of the task and called upon the youth of the country to leave everything aside and offer themselves at the very prime of their youth, full of the freshness and fervor of their energy, in the worship of Mother Bharat. "For the coming fifty years let this alone be the object of your worship, this Motherland of ours.

 

Let all other vain Gods disappear" was the clarion call that the Swamiji issued to the youth and finally he added, "A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of Holiness, fortified with the Eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to Lion's courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social raising up- the gospel of equality".

 

It is only when these conditions are fulfilled that a new paradigm of peace, prosperity and harmony among all the peoples and nations of the world could become an actual reality. This is exactly what Swami Vivekananda meant when he declared "Up India and Conquer the world with Spirituality".

 

Tailpiece: Peacock is our National bird. It is the very picture of harmony and beauty. It embodies India's message of 'Unity in diversity' and 'Satyam Sivam Sundaram' to the world.


--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

Follow Vivekananda Kendra on   blog   twitter   g+   facebook   rss   delicious   youtube   Donate Online

मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Monday 27 May 2024

Purusharthas

 – P. Parameswaran JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume, Nov. 2007)

THE DYNAMICS OF PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT WITH SOCIAL HARMONY

 

Our Shastras and Acharyas have always held that the fulfilment of any objective or the successful attainment of any goal, big or small, depends upon the confluence of two factors (i) sincere and wholehearted effort from our side and (ii) the grace of God. Without either of the two, the outcome is bound to be utter failure or chaotic and confused. We must fix the goal clearly and unambiguously before us and focus our single-minded attention and pour out all our efforts for its achievement. That is the first part. Having done that in a prayerful attitude, we offer it at the feet of the Divine and rest assured that the rest will be taken care of by His grace. Without putting forth our best efforts, it is idle and futile to expect the Divine to do everything for us. It is not only sheer fatalism, but also a sin against ourselves and God. On the other hand, to imagine that our personal or collective efforts, by themselves, irrespective of the Divine factor, can achieve anything and everything is equally baseless. "Evam purusha karena vinaa daivam na siddhyati. Daive purusha kare cha karma siddhih vyavasthitaa." The final and decisive factor is, of course, the Divine grace.

 

Whether the grace is conditional or unconditional is a matter into which, it is not necessary to go at this point. It is enough to understand that it is a decisive factor for which we have to pray and wait. It has been the experience and the authoritative statement of realised souls that Divine grace is present always and everywhere. Only we have to open up ourselves in a mood of humble receptivity after having done everything that is within our power.

 

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord has declared that there are five factors, when combined together, bring about the successful culmination of every work. The foundations, the worker, the various instruments of action and the different activities and, finally, the invisible factor, which is described as Divine destiny. "Adhishthaanam tathaa kartaa karanam cha pruthagvidham, vividhaascha pruthakcheshtaa daivam chaivaatra panchamam." It is clear that, out of these five, only one is beyond our control. It gives us an assurance and a certitude that the major portion of the responsibility for achieving the goal is bestowed on us and that only when we discharge our responsibilities to the fullest extent can we hope the fifth invisible factor to operate in our favour. So, in every human activity, either personal or collective, the first part, namely, total and committed effort of the highest quality offered in the spirit of worship to the Divine, is the prerequisite that we have to fulfil.

 

Swami Vivekananda in his famous lecture on, "Work and its Secret" has put this idea in a slightly different manner. Swamiji says that the success in any work is entirely dependent upon the importance we give to the means leading to the goal. Once the means are perfect, Swamiji says that the goal is bound to be realised. Paying single-minded attention to the means and pursuing it without fault or failure is the sure means to achieve the goal. It again means that the major portion of responsibility remains with the worker and the quality of his work. It is seen as what has been stated in the Bhagavad Gita, that "yoga is skill in action" that will lead to the attainment of the final result.

So, we can rest almost assured that first of all we as Karyakartas, have to perfect ourselves by acquiring the skill, the spirit of yoga, all the required knowledge and wisdom, courage and conviction, commitment and consecration to carry out the work to its logical end and having done that, we may safely presume that the Lord will take care of the rest. We, as the perfected instrument, is the crucial factor.

 

One of our Subhashitas tells us that "The final fulfilment of an action depends not so much on the accessories but on the manliness of the actor Kriya siddhih sattve bhavati mahataam, nopakarane" and that is mostly within us, either inborn or cultivated with perseverance and determination. Karna, one of the most colourful characters in the Mahabharata who was low-born and therefore, ridiculed by many, retorted with a memorable and powerful reply- "The clan in which I am born was decided by destiny. But, my manliness is my own creation "Daivaayattam kule janmah, Madaayattam tu pourusham". This again confirms the fact that it is upto an earnest and committed worker to acquire the competence for the successful achievement of the chosen ideal.

 

The ideas stated above have been part of our traditional wisdom and has been the guiding principle of our way of life. There is a unique concept evolved in our country which is denoted by the word "Purushartha". It is one of the fundamental principles of our social philosophy. The term Purushartha has many dimensions. One among them is "human effort', "manliness", "valour" etc. It is considered a great virtue and distinct mark of all human being worth the name. It is not necessarily gender specific. It is an essential quality of any human beings irrespective of whether man or woman. Every human being is expected to achieve success in life by following his Swadharma to the best of his ability and thus contribute to the society. If one falls short of this standard, he is not worthy of being called a man at all. Docility and passivity, lethargy and laziness, dependence on others even for one's primary needs is, like a parasite, totally condemnable. Exertion and excellence are recommended, not only to earn one's bread and maintain one's family is what is expected of a true man. A householder must also earn name and fame, wealth and prosperity and all round success in life. Such a man alone is alive. Otherwise he is dead even when alive. It is needless to say that a society or a nation comprising of individuals of this caliber will be strong and powerful, enlightened and prosperous - a leading nation in its own right. It is when the number of such people dwindles that the nation becomes weak and enslaved by aggressors. It is the sense of Purushartha coupled with love for the country that enables a nation to hold its flag of freedom aloft.

 

Purushartha has a wider social connotation also. The term denotes the plan and purpose of human life anywhere anytime. According to Hindu Shastras, there are four objectives to be pursued by a human being worth the name. They are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. These are called the four Purusharthas. Together, they embrace the entire field of human life. Successful pursuit of these four objects of life as prescribed by the Shastra ultimately leads to total fulfilment of one's earthly existence. No one is exempt from this obligation, whatever be his stature or station in life. These are universally applicable without exception. Individually and collectively, they constitute the warp and woof of Hindu social life. They give a clear direction to life not only for the individual but also for the family, society and the nation. Among the four, Dharma is the fundamental to all. All the other three are based on the foundation of Dharma and should be followed accordingly. Artha deals with economics and politics and everything related to these. These conducted on the basis of Dharma ensures creation of abundant wealth, proper distribution and produces an environment where the fruits of an ordered and prosperous life would be enjoyed by all the members of the society. That is called Kama. Artha and Kama are necessary and desirable. They are restrained only by Dharma. These three Purusharthas properly followed ultimately lead to a situation where Moksha, the final goal of life, Parama Purushartha becomes smoothly achievable to those who are fit for it. Moksha is liberation from the shackles of ego and selfishness.

 

It is experiencing oneness with all beings humans and also sub-humans, compassion and concern for one and all, willingness to care and share equally. That state is described as "Sarva Bhuta Hite Ratah". A society where such highly evolved souls cast their benign influence is bound to be a model and a blessing for all humanity. It was the evolution of such a society that Hindu Dharma envisaged. Such a state of affairs is the nearest equivalent to "Satya Yuga". Our Rishis and their later day descendants firmly believed that Bharat had a duty and mission to provide such a model for the rest of humanity.

 

What conclusions do we draw from what all has been said above about Purusharthas? What practical guidance do we derive to help us in our day-today as well as overall life, especially for a Karyakarta of Vivekananda Kendra? Pursuit of Purusharthas constitutes the essence of a meaningful life of any human being and places him on a high pedestal in the evolutionary scale. They differentiate him from the animals, who also have very many things in common with the man. A Kendra worker whose life is a continuous dedication for a cause, which, he is convinced, is the greatest and the noblest, then it goes without saying that he must faithfully and strictly follow the path of Purushartha in his life. He must not deviate even for a moment from the path dictated by the principle of Purushartha. Continuous and dedicated effort, untiring and ceaseless, undeflected by success or failure, undaunted by difficulties and dangers, should characterise the life of a true Karyakarta. The qualities of a Sattvik Karyakarta, as defined in the Bhagavad Gita and recommended by Mananeeya Eknathji Ranade (Mukta sango anaham vadi, dhrutyutsaha samanvitah, siddhyasiddhyornirvikarah, karta satvika uchyate) should be an unerring guideline for him. The goal has been clearly settled, the means towards that has been marked out and, then, he has to pursue it, knowing fully well that the path is difficult and is as sharp as the razor's edge. He has examples of Shreshtha Purushas to inspire him who preceded him in the same path with unswerving devotion and tenacity. The Karyakarta should demonstrate to himself and others that he can also set worthy examples for his successors to emulate.

 

Purusharthas lead to success. Success is our goal. Our concept of success is not the present-day concept of a successful career for oneself. It is both material and spiritual - Samutkarsha and Nishshreyasa. Spiritual is the ultimate reality and the goal to be realised. But, it does not stand in contradiction with material success or decent affluence. A society or a country becomes great only when material development provides a sound base for spiritual advancement. Individually and collectively, the nation should achieve material prosperity and spiritual enlightenment. Everyone has a contribution to make. Kendra worker is no exception. But, he has to understand that success is not to be achieved at any cost by any means. Understanding of Purusharthas makes him realise that Dharma should be the basis to achieve success and excellence. This is essential to remember, because, in the globalised world in which we live where cut-throat competition is the law, Dharma is the casuality. One grows at the expenses of the other elbowing the other out of existence. It is the law of the fish where the smaller fish is eaten by the bigger one. Purusharthas do not permit it. Each one has to succeed on the basis of his Swadharma in cooperation with his fellow beings, not by pulling them down, or devouring them. Nature has provided enough space for all to succeed by dint of hardwork. There is enough space at the top for people to climb by strenuous effort in a manner which is absolutely Dharmic. Here the famous verse becomes relevant.

 

"Heights by great men reached and kept; Were not attained by sudden flight; They while their companions slept; Were toiling upwards in the night".

 

Such dedicated and strenuous work in whichever field is called 'Tapas' in the Hindu vocabulary.

 

Each one should succeed, not for his or her own sake, but for the sake of the Mother. Mother wants success in every sphere, all round success. It is true that Bharat's greatness, distinction and special destiny is in the field of spirituality. She has to lead the world by giving the message of spiritual enlightenment. But then no one will listen to spiritual sermons unless and until the requisite qualifications are in possession. They are the credentials for acceptance. India is free since 60 years. She has made enviable progress in many ways. Her children have proved their worth by taking on threatening challenges and successfully facing menacing situations. But, there are many pit-falls and lacunae in the way we have progressed. The glaring omission of which we are guilty is that we have not taken care to evolve according to our own law of growth, our own Swadharma. We have been trying to ape other countries and cultures, neglecting and forgetting, even ridiculing our own. Had we been vigilant right from the time of our independence, we would have chosen the path of Purusharthas, both as individual and national ideal. Instead of going after foreign ideologies like socialism, communism or capitalism, we would have pursued the uniquely Bharatiya way of life based on the concept of "Chaturvidha Purusharthas". Any student of comparative philosophy will know that this is the only scientific way of building up a well-balanced and purposeful social life even personal life. Ours is the only society which has evolved a comprehensive and well integrated system for a happy and contented life for one and all. While others are continuously making experiments with defective systems, without a proper understanding of the ultimate truth and thereby creating instability, disturbance and conflict all around, India has laid the foundation and fixed the goal for man to pursue that is the raison d'etre of our immortality. Independent India should have picked up the thread and marched forward by building up a society based on the concept of Purusharthas. That is precisely what Swami Vivekananda meant by the term 'Nation-building'. As we know, Kendra has taken up the task of "Man-making and Nation-building" accordingly. The challenge before us is to put into practice this grand vision. That is the Purushartha before us. That is our commitment not only for ourselves, but for all humanity. "Krunavanto Vishwam Aryam".

 

The goal that we have set before us is indeed very lofty and fascinating like the Himalayan peaks. The way to achieve it is through the pursuit of Purusharthas. There is no beaten track for us to follow. The highways laid down by our ancestors have been covered over by wild growths. Times have changed beyond recognition. New patterns and paradigms have evolved over the centuries. Old values have been forgotten and replaced by new and alien ones. Totally different imported values have caught the imagination of the people. The challenge before us is how, under the radically different situation, to adopt the concept of Purusharthas and successfully apply the same for the creation of a model which will be relevant today. No individual or group of individuals, however competent, can achieve this mighty and challenging task. The secret of success lies in our understanding that only through hardwork by committed and competent workers over a period of time can the change become possible. It is rightly said that in Kaliyuga, the key word for success is Organisation. Organisation is the cumulative effect of sustained effort made by the dedicated workers with clarity of vision and well defined goal. Each one has to devote time and energy in a systematic and disciplined manner with determination not to rest until the final goal is reached. In an organisation, there should be no shirker of responsibility. Pregnant words like "Bhishma Pratijna", "Bhageeratha Prayatna", "Sugreevajna" etc. are terminologies which stir us from the bottom and make us give our best to the great task we have gladly and willingly undertaken.

 

That is the sense and essence of the term Purusharthas for a Kendra worker.


--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Sunday 26 May 2024

Aahuti

 – P. Parameswaran JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume,  July 2003)

Bharatiya Samskriti is really unique. The fundamental concepts that constitute it are so original that they cannot be expressed in non-Bharatiya languages. Approximate translations can only create distorted images and can convey wrong and inaccurate understanding. Terms like Yajna, Dharma, Yoga etc. are often translated as 'sacrifice', 'righteousness', 'union' etc. But, to a stranger, these convey very little of the diverse dimensions and the profound depth these terms actually possess and which every Bharatiya instinctively imbibes. These are untranslatable terms, but without understanding their real meaning, no one can hope to understand Bharatiya Samskriti.

 

Yajna is a pivotal concept in the Hindu way of life. The Bhagavad Gita says everything is rooted in Yajna (Sarvam Yajne Pratishthitam). Yajna is the very basis of all creation. Vedas declare that God created the universe through the performance of Yajna.' He had to sacrifice His infinitude and confine Himself within a self-created finiteness. Without that, there would have been no creation at all. Sri Aurobindo says that all that is happening in Nature is in fact a Yajna performed by Prakriti for the realisation of Purusha.

 

Not only at the macrocosmic level, even at the microcosmic level, Yajna is the law of life. That is why it is considered so important in the life of every individual. Without Yajna, life becomes a degrading self-indulgence. With Yajna, life becomes a sacred celebration. According to Gita, even cooking must be done as a Yajna. If one cooks for oneself, he verily eats sin. When it is done as an act of Yajna, it liberates.

 

It is generally believed that the Vedas used the word Yajna merely in the sense of a material sacrifice or Karma Kanda and that later on the meaning assumed higher significance. But, seers like Sri Aurobindo are of the opinion that even in the Vedas, it is used symbolically. In fact, it is only when we understand the symbolism correctly that we gain insight into the inner meaning of the concept. Later on, the Bhagavad Gita explains this by saying that there are various forms of Yajnas, 'Bahu Vidhaa Yajnaa', thereby lifting the Karma Kanda concept to much higher levels. When the pristine purity of the Vedic concept was lost due to passage of time, Bhagavad Gita brought out the real significance so as to make it relevant to the times. The Agni, the fire of sacrifice of the Vedas got transformed into the Fire of Brahman or Brahmagni. The Gita, elaborately describe the various aspects and implications of the term 'sacrifice and thus various activities of life within the scope of Yajna. Any act performed without the feeling of I and Mine becomes a Yajna. All activities undertaken without egoism or desire for one's own enjoyment, but done as an offering to the Divine is Yajna, according to the Gita. It is in this sense that the work of the Kendra is looked upon as Yajna.

 

In the Gita, the Lord says that He is the enjoyer of the fruits of Yajna (Bhoktaram Yajna Tapasaa). He is the Yajna Purusha. In the case of the Kendra, the spiritually-oriented service mission, Man-making and Nation-building is the Yajna performed for the sake of Rashtra Purusha, who is the Adhidevata. The offering is made with the Mantra Rashtraya Swaha. Idam Na Mama', which means, 'all that is offered is meant for the nation and nothing is for me, my limited self'. In ordinary Yajnas, the one who is making the offering, the material offered and the act of offering are different. In the case of the Kendra, it is not so. We, the workers of the Kendra offer ourselves and our dedicated life itself as the offering.

 

They all merge into one. We find this idea expressed in the Gita from the level of Advaita, when it says, "Brahmarpanam, Brahmahavih, Brahmagnou, Brahmanahutam, Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam, Brahma Karma Samadhinaa".

 

The offering is made into the burning fire of Yajna Kunda, which is nothing but the totality of activities performed by all the workers uninterrupted over the years right from the beginning when Ma. Eknathji conceived this noble idea of Vivekananda Kendra. The fire is kept alive, never allowed to get extinguished, by the uninterrupted Aahuti of a large number of workers collectively and continuously. Unlike ordinary Yajnas, which are performed for limited purposes and with particular Devatas as the object of worship, the Yajna of Kendra work sets no time limit because the deity of Rashtra Purusha is eternal and immortal and must remain so. So, it is a continuous sacrifice, an uninterrupted Aahuti, a total self-sacrifice that the Kendra demands from its workers who have willingly opted for this great and sublime work.

 

After all, what is the purpose of this life? Is this short span of a few decades of ephemeral existence meant for petty self- indulgence ending with a cry of agony of frustration and non-fulfilment? Are we to end up our lives like moths flying towards the blazing fire and turn into ashes? Human life is much more noble, purposeful than generally presumed. The Divine spark within man is capable of achieving immortality by merging into the Divine by offering itself as Aahuti in this great Yajna.

 

This great Nation of ours has been coming down from ages only because, at every moment of history, there were men and women, who willingly came forward to offer themselves at the feet of the Motherland thereby immortalising themselves and also this nation. The history of this Nation has been the history of thousands of years of uninterrupted sacrifice of countless people inspired by the love of this country and its glorious culture. Every time, the fire of sacrifice, the Yajna Kunda, was replenished and the process still goes on. The work of the Kendra is to be perceived in this light of history. Is there a greater joy and fulfilment of life than joining the ranks of those innumerable participants in this great Yajna? No petty limited ambitions or allurements for the votaries of Swami Vivekananda and Ma. Eknathji Ranade.

 

Let us take up the highest there brightest torch and march forward towards the shining goal of making Bharat the Queen of adoration for the whole world.


--
कथा : विवेकानन्द केन्द्र { Katha : Vivekananda Kendra }
Vivekananda Rock Memorial & Vivekananda Kendra : http://www.vivekanandakendra.org
Read n Get Articles, Magazines, Books @ http://prakashan.vivekanandakendra.org

Let's work on "Swamiji's Vision - Eknathji's Mission"

Follow Vivekananda Kendra on   blog   twitter   g+   facebook   rss   delicious   youtube   Donate Online

मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

Saturday 25 May 2024

Vande Mataram

 – Nivedita Raghunath Bhide JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume,  June 2003)

Vande Mataram - Just the two words but these two words had moved the whole nation and continues to move the hearts of millions. Because these are not two words, it is Mantra. The seer of this Mantra was Sri Bankimchandra whose Jayanti is on 24 June. In the days of British rule over us, this Mantra inspired many to sacrifice their all including life for the freedom of our Motherland. India, a land protected by grand Himalayas on the Northern side and the deep blue oceans on the other three sides has evolved as a unique land in the world. Whether in the ancient European literature or in Sinic literature, whether in the medieval travelogues India has fascinated the world. She has a unique character and has made great contributions to the world. We are the children of such motherland. A mother who has been the mother of the universe, a mother who is timeless and young, a mother who has nourished her children materially, culturally and spiritually for ages. The more we know about her more proud we become. The more we see her in the context of the world more her existence becomes essential. Bowing down to her and laying down the life for becomes spontaneous. Many great warriors and saints have given their lives for the protection of this motherland.

 

This month of June is also sanctified by few more important days. 3 June is Maharana Pratap Jayanti. 12 June is the day of Coronation of Sri Chatrapati Sivaji Maharaj. 14 May is Kabir Jayanti and 15 May Guru Hargovindsingh Jayanti. This great land of ours is eternally guiding the humanity for its well-being. As said in the Vedas, this nation of ours is shaped by the penance of the Rishis for the well- being of the world. As her birth is from the penance of the Rishis, her growth and enrichment, her protection and purposefulness of her existence is also due to the penance of uncountable men and women.

 

Maharana Pratap is an example for how to recognize the enemy even if he is very apparently well-behaved, as was Akbar. The spirit of freedom in Maharana Pratap would not allow him to bow his head in front of Akbar even though Akbar was ready to allow Maharana to rule Chittor if he would accept the sovereignty of Akbar. But Maharana Pratap knew that though Akbar might not destroy or harass the Hindus, the later emperors might do it. Akbar's good behavior towards Hindus was no guarantee that his progeny also would be so. But if he had joined with Akbar, then he would be only strengthening in our country the hold of outside dynasty - a dynasty alien to the culture and religion of this land. It is like the MNC product is very attractive and cheap in the beginning but more its market increases, the Indians are thrown out of jobs and India is impoverished. Understanding the repercussions of the acceptance of what is against the interest of our nation is very important. Maharana Pratap is an excellent example of that. He resisted all the overtures of Akbar. He underwent all the sufferings. He had even to lose his kingdom. Just one nod to the authority of Akbar as sovereign and Maharana Pratap would have had all the riches at his feet. When Indian kings were competing with each other to prostrate in front of Akbar and have his favours, when they were justifying their support for Akbar in the name that Akbar is a tolerant Mughal King and he would not destroy the Hindu temples etc. Maharana Pratap stood high defying the authority of Akbar and thus he kept notionally the idea as well as possibility intact that India belongs to the Indians. He thus became the great source of inspiration for all those who worked for the freedom of our land.

 

When the coronation of Chatrapati Sivaji Maharaj took place, only one person understood its implication. That was Aurangazeb. Actually he lost his sleep. Aurangazeb knew that it was not just the fancy of Sivaji Maharaj but Sivaji Maharaj had challenged the Mughal Empire.

 

It was then that he took the decision to lead the army personally to Deccan to destroy the flame of Swarajya Self-rule which Sivaji Maharaj had kindled in the minds of the people successfully. Even before Aurangazeb had reached South, Sivaji Maharaj passed away quite unexpectedly. But still Aurangazeb had no victory. One son of Sivaji Maharaj was caught and killed brutally because he refused to give up his religion. The second son too died. There was no king to guide the war and Aurangazeb did not win. It is the only example in the world history that the Emperor left his capital and stayed in the southern corner of his empire fighting unsuccessfully for 27 years. At last he died broken-hearted. But the inspiration given by Sivaji Maharaj continued to inspire men to lay their lives for the freedom of Motherland. That beautiful Mantra 'Vande Mataram' which Bankimchandra gave later includes actually the legendary valour and inspiration of these great persons.

 

Whether the life of Kabir or the lives of ten Sikh Gurus - it is the commentary on the Mantra "Vande Mataram". Though brought up in a Muslim family, Kabir did not hesitate to claim the great heritage of his motherland. He not only did not reject it but actually he made great contributions to the heritage of our Motherland. Similarly the Ten Gurus of the Sikhs made great contributions to the philosophy as well as protection of this motherland. Thus the month of June this year has brought to us sacred memories of the great persons of our land whose life was explanation and dedication to Great Mantra 'Vande Mataram.' When Bankimchandra became the seer of the Mantra "Vande Mataram" all the sacrifice and contributions made by many in the past as well as the future possibilities of this great land got encoded in these two mystic words.

 

Even after independence, this Mantra Vande Mataram' has a great potency to inspire us to make India such a nation that she can guide the whole world. India is our mother. But by her very mission she has been the mother of the whole world. The mission of the nation depends on its world vision.

 

Every nation has a vision for itself and for the world. Originally the Greek- Roman civilization and later the West have demonstrated their vision for the world. Their vision is based on the 'Struggle for the existence' and 'Survival of the fittest'. Therefore, conquering, ruling and homogenizing the world for their supremacy over the rest either through statecraft, trades, commerce or religion has been their practice. It is this vision of the west, which implies its claim to superiority over the rest that is perceived to be leading to civilizational clashes among nations and religions. It is their world vision, which made them and even now makes them to exploit the world without any qualms. The underlying principle has always been conquering and ruling over the rest. It was only the instrumentality, which was different at different times.

 

The global mission of Bharat is driven not by acquisition, conquest or power. It is the other way round. Global vision of Bharat is the family of different nations and peoples. Global vision of Bharat is not to validate or invalidate any particular view of god or world, of life here or hereafter. Bharatiya global vision recognizes the core idea of nature that diversity is the basis of creation. Unless a view accepts this fundamental truth about nature, it cannot qualify as global vision, encompassing all views of life and after life faithfully accepted by the people of the world. Indian world vision is not the vision of global market or of enforcing homogeneity of view or faith about life or life after. Our vision is the vision of the World as a Family - Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. India never commended or accepted the homogenization of the humanity based on uniformity, which has been the thrust of the West and the Abrahamic faiths. But she recognizes and stresses the underlying unity kept subtly concealed within the apparent diversity of worship, gods and goddesses, ways of life.

 

'There is no single universal way of life, single universal god or book, or single universal worship' is the only universal principle of human life and progress in the world and this is encapsulated in the idea of Sanatana Dharma. India is Dharmabhoomi, when Dharma is practised. The method of spreading this thought - Dharma, which just means seeing validity, legitimacy and sacredness in all thoughts about life here and life hereafter, is ingrained in India since time immemorial as reflected in "Krinvanto Vishvamaryam." This is global mission of India. Mother does not, destroy her children because they are different from each other. But she cultures them so that they can learn to co-exist. Thus this has been the mission of India.

 

India has vision of family of nations Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, and she herself played the role of a Mother in this family. She is the Mother of the universe not like the self-appointed saviours that we see around but by her purpose, practice, her history we see that she has really been the mother of the world. India is the only country in the world that in spite of her being the big, and powerful country it has not invaded or destroyed any country or any culture in her whole history. That does not mean that Indians did not go to other lands. They went and spread the Indian culture but without destroying the local cultures. Actually contribution of India has been only to enrich the other cultures, to unify them keeping their uniqueness intact. Any serious student whether Indian or non-Indian of history realizes this great contribution of India. Swami Vivekananda in his world famous Chicago address had said, "I thank you in the name of Mother of religions, I thank you...I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth." The Mark Twain says, "India is the cradle of the human race, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Most valuable and the most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only." Will Durant says in his book 'Story of Civilisation': "India is the motherland of our race and Sanskrit is the mother of Indo-European languages. She is the mother of our philosophy, of our mathematics, mother of ideals embodied in Christianity and mother of our democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all. ...India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings." The purpose of the existence of India is to give unifying principles to the world.

 

The Mantra "Vande Mataram" should impel us not only to revive India but also to make her guide the whole world. Whenever we failed in this mission or narrowed down our scope we degenerated. As said by Swami Vivekananda, "We find that one of the causes, which led to this degeneration was the narrowing of our view, narrowing the scope of our actions... To become broad, to go out, to amalgamate, to universalize, is the end of our aims. And all the time we have been making ourselves smaller and smaller, and dissociating ourselves, contrary to the plans laid out in our scriptures... I went to America and Europe. I had to, because that is the first sign of the revival of national life, expansion. This reviving national life, expanding inside, threw me off, and thousands will be thrown off in that way." How prophetic Swami Vivekananda has been! Since his time so many Yogis and Sadhus and Sanyasis are going out to other countries, that shows the expansion of India has started, these are the signs of the great future of India ahead.

 

Still more forcefully Swami Vivekananda had added, "It is not only that we must revive our own country that is a small matter; I am an imaginative man and my idea is the conquest of the whole world by Hindu race. Once more the world must be conquered by India.

 

This is the dream of my life, and I wish that each one of you who hear me today will have the same dream in your minds, and stop not till you have realized the dream. They will tell you everyday that we had better look to our own homes first and then go to work outside. But I will tell you in plain language that you work best when you work for others... We must go out, we must conquer the world through our spirituality and philosophy. There is no other alternative, we must do it or die." If we as a nation do not work to influence the world, then the world is going to influence us and going to set agenda for our destruction. Therefore to spread the all-inclusive thoughts of India we would also have to confront and contain the exclusive ideologies.

 

In the song 'Vande Mataram' which Sri Bankimchandra composed, one beautiful line is, "Tvam hi Durga Dashpraharanadharinim..." This beautiful and unique motherland of ours is the manifestation of Jagatjanani Durga herself. Durga who is carrying weapons in her ten hands. Durga as mother of the Universe, also has to have weapons for the destruction of the evil. Only then she would be able to protect her children. India has survived so long because she as a nation has never hesitated to fight with the Adharmik-exclusive forces. And therefore she could stand the waves after waves of invasions and keep her identity. Swami Vivekananda had emphatically said, "It is the same India which has witnessed the shocks of centuries, of hundreds of foreign invasions. It is the same land, which stands firmer than any rock in the whole world, with its undying vigour, indestructible life. Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal; and we are the children of such a country."

 

A simple look at the world history will establish that India is the only country without a beginning; its history is undated, in fact undateable. The other known ancient civilizations like Greece, Babylonian, Persian, Roman rose to power and eminence and then became extinct. But India lives on. It has a durability attached to it, which the Divine seems to have denied to other civilizations.

 

An American Museum histogram of civilizations contains - giving the details of the beginning and the end of different civilizations; only the Indian civilization, and its cousin, the Confucian Civilization continue without beginning, obviously is without end. Why to go in the distant past to see intransigence of other nations? Even in last 300 years we saw so many powers rose and fell and they are the footnotes of history today. Powers like France, Great Britain, Germany, Ottoman, USSR were on the high in the world and today these are either not existent or are insignificant. Two centuries ago, the US was irrelevant. Three centuries ago, it did not exist. Today it is a super power. This is how nations have come and gone, as Swamiji said, 'living a few of hours of exultant and of exuberant dominance and of wicked national life and then vanishing like ripples on the face of the waters'. But unlike all these roller-coaster ride of the world nations and civilizations, India lives on and lives with unprecedented steadiness and greatness inherent in her.

 

She is the oldest and yet young with full of promises. Every rising power tries to teach lessons to India and also boast to her, but before long that power is no more a power and in due course gets extinct. But Vande Mataram - India lives on.

 

It is like the story of the tree and the creeper. In one rainy season, a creeper climbs in no time on a 150 years old tree and boasts to the tree, "What is the use of your 150 years of existence? See, I have climbed in no time up to your top." The tree smiles and tells the creeper, "You are the 150th creeper that I have seen." India has seen many nations rose to power based on India's wealth or knowledge, and then declined, and become extinct. But Vande Mataram India lives on.

 

India is a country, which has perhaps faced the maximum invasions in the world. Most of the invaders also tried to defile and mutilate her, tried to annihilate her identity. But today those invaders are extinct, are part of the past. But India lives on. As Swamiji had said, "Its life is of the same nature as the soul, without beginning and without end, immortal; and we are the children of such a country." "Vande Mataram" thus encompasses homage to all that is noble and lofty in our motherland and also inspires us to work for her great future. Mananat Trayate iti Mantrah That which protects by contemplation over it, is Mantra. The Mantra "Vande Mataram" has that potency. Contemplation on it, can inspire the young men and women to give up their life for the regeneration of their Motherland so that she can fulfil her mission of guiding the world.

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26