Our World Mission
September 27, 2009 Leave a comment
Our World Mission
Many people in our country hold the view that any venture that we undertake should be based on a grand world-thought capable of rendering good to the whole of humanity eschewing all narrow limitations of the country, community or religion. In support of this view, some proclaim that in this age of missiles and rockets distance has vanished, boundaries of countries have become meaningless and the whole world has shrunk. They, therefore, feel that the very concept of country, nation, etc., has become outdated, that the spirit of world unity alone should inspire all our activities. They conclude that the modern ‘isms’ which have taken up ‘internationalism’ as their watchword can alone lead us to that cherished goal.
Now, the question that naturally poses itself before us is how far is the task of reorganising the national life of Hindus taken by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, in conformity with the spirit of world unity and human good?
The First in the Field
At the very outset, let it be made clear that it is not the modern thinkers who are the first in the field to think in terms of world unity and universal welfare. Long long ago, in fact, long before the so-called modern age had set in, the seers and savants of this land had delved deep into this vital question. The ideal of human unity, of a world free from all traces of conflict and misery, has stirred our hearts since times immemorial. Our one constant prayer all through the ages has been :
सर्वेपि सुखिनः संतु सर्वे संतु निरामयः
(Let everyone be happy, let everyone be free from all ills) While the present-day West has not been able to go beyond the motto of ‘the greatest good of the greatest number’, we have never tolerated the idea of a single human being – why, of even a single living organism – being miserable. ‘Total good of all beings’ has always been our glorious ideal.
The Two Sides
But coming to the plane of the present-day world, we are faced with the hard reality of the all-round discord and disruption ravaging human society. Today, humanity is divided and subdivided into so many small exclusive groups called nations or states, each one of them devoted to its own narrow self-interest. And it is a matter of common experience that wherever there are groups inspired only by self-interest, there is bound to be mutual conflict. Obviously, human unity and welfare is impossible so long as this type of conflict continues. The present state of strifes and wars resulting in human destruction and misery has led many thinkers to conclude that the sentiment of nationalism which nourishes exclusive self-interest is the major obstacle in the way of world unity and human welfare. They, therefore, declare that nationalism should be rooted out from the minds of men all over the world. The Communist ideology which claims internationalism as its sheet-anchor often talks in this strain.
On the other hand, there is another school of thought, which holds that the roots of nationalism are so deep and long-standing that it is impossible to destroy them. Soviet Russia, which sought to discard nationalism in a bid to take to international communism soon learnt by experience that destruction of this sentiment deprives the people of the incentive for dedicated effort. In the first flush of revolution, material progress was no doubt achieved in Russia in a certain measure. Their first few Seven Year Plans were to an extent successful. But, by and by, the enthusiasm of the people began to wane, their incentive for work began to die away. Eventually, labour in big factories had to be forced to work at the point of bayonet. And again during the Second World War, when Hitler’s tanks were relentlessly pressing forward on the Russian soil, the slogan of ‘Internationalism’ and ‘Communism’ failed to enthuse the Russian people. This served as an eye-opener to the Russian leaders who found it absolutely essential to rouse the dormant patriotic sentiments of the Russian people by invoking their age-old loyalty to motherland and their heroic ancestors. It is evident, therefore, that it is devotion to one’s motherland, society and tradition experienced under the concept of nation that inspires the spirit of real service and sacrifice in the individual.
The Abortive Experiments
We can thus conclude that nationalism cannot and should not be destroyed. Then the problem boils down to one of achieving a synthesis of national aspirations and world welfare. Synthesis of various kinds have been, in fact, attempted from time to time in the past. Imperialism has sometimes been claimed to be one such large-scale effort to eliminate conflicts between smaller nations by making them limbs of a single empire. But as it was basically motivated by self-aggrandizement, leading to revolts by the subject nations against their oppression and exploitation, imperialism failed to eliminate international conflicts.
The League of Nations, formed after the First World War, was also an experiment in avoiding wars and achieving world unity. But within just two decades of its birth, the League of Nations was shattered to pieces on the rock of unbridled national ambitions and consequent conflicts. A more terrible war than all the previous ones besmirched the face of the earth with death and destruction. The UNO too, formed after the Second World War, is faring no better. Our own experience in the case of Kashmir issue tells us that it is incapable of meting out justice, of pulling up the erring members and bringing about an honourable amity among nations. It has been converted into an arena for international conflicts, the powerful nations trying to dominate its forum to further their expansionistic ends. The world is overcast with the dark clouds of a third world war which may, at any time, mean the sudden and total end of the present civilisation itself.
We thus see that nations are not prepared to come together in a spirit of amity for the welfare of mankind. On the contrary, the national entities are getting more and more exclusive and their ambitions whetted day by day. Newer nations are also coming up on the world stage. The entire face of the world is covered with conflicts between nations.
In short, nationalism cannot be destroyed; all attempts to harmonise the national ambitions so far have also utterly failed; and the world is on the brink of a nuclear holocaust. Then, which way lies the salvation for humanity? No answer to this challenge seems to be forthcoming. Thinkers, the world over, are on the horns of a dilemma.
The Inner Bond of Harmony
However, we Hindus have a solution to offer. But our solution is not based on materialism. All the attempts and experiments made so far were based on theories or ‘isms’ stemming from materialism. And materialism has no answer to the very salient and fundamental question “Why at all should people aspire for world unity and human welfare? Why should they at all feel pained at the sight of man set against man? Why should we at all love each other?” From the materialist point of view we are all gross entities, each separate and exclusive in itself, who can have no bonds of mutual affinity or affection. There can also be no inner restraint in such beings, which can make them control their selfishness from running amuck, in the interest of the humanity as a whole.
After all, any arrangement evolved for achieving world welfare can be fruitful only to the extent the men behind it are inspired by real love for mankind which will enable them to mould their individual and national conduct in tune with the welfare of humanity. Without that supreme urge, any scheme, however good its purpose may be, will only provide one more alluring mask for the aggrandizement of power-drunk nations. That has been the uniform verdict of history right up to the present times.
Our ancient Hindu philosophers, therefore, had turned their gaze to a plane higher than materialism. They delved deep into the mysteries of the human soul, well beyond the reach of material science, and discovered the Ultimate Reality, which pervades all Creation, the one great common principle present in all beings, whatever the name we may give it-Soul, God, Truth, Reality or Nothingness. It is the occasional realisation of this common entity, that inspires us to strive for the happiness of others. The ‘I’ in me, being the same as the ‘I’ in the other beings, makes me react to the joys and sorrows of my fellow living beings just as I react to my own. This genuine feeling of identity born out of the community of the inner entity is the real driving force behind our natural urge for human unity and brotherhood. Thus it is evident, that world unity and human welfare can be made real, only to the extent mankind realises this common Inner Bond, which alone can subdue the passions and discords stemming from materialism, broaden the horizon of the human mind and harmonise the individual and national aspirations with the welfare of mankind.
The Right Way
Now, we come to the second question. How will that One Common Substratum manifest itself in the complicated organism of human society? Will it result in eliminating all distinctive features of nations and roll them all into one uniform pattern ? Or will it make the various groups of people come together in a spirit of comradeship realising the innate oneness of mankind while preserving their individual nationalities?
Here again, our philosophers have unmistakably pointed out the path of real human happiness. Just as an individual, a nation – an aggregate of individuals – too has an individuality all its own. Individuals and nations in all parts of the globe have distinctive traits and features, each of them having its own place in the scheme of the universe. The different human groups are marching forward, all towards the same goal, each in its own way and in keeping with its own characteristic genius. The destruction of the special characteristics, whether of an individual, or of a group, will therefore not only destroy the natural beauty of harmony but also its joy of self-expression. Evolution of human life also, which is a multifaced one, is retarded thereby.
For, it is a matter of common experience that it is only by developing one’s unique characteristic that man rises to his full stature and enjoys bliss and happiness. So, to seek harmony among the various characteristics has been our special contribution to the world thought. The oft-quoted feature of our racial genius, that is, of recognising unity amidst diversity, stems from this deep appreciation of the principles that water the roots of human unity, human happiness and evolution. Thus, in short, we stand for a harmonious synthesis among nations and not their obliteration. Needless to say, the idea of creating a stateless condition of levelling all human beings to one particular plane of physical existence, erasing their individual and group traits, is foreign to us. The World State of our concept will, therefore, evolve out of a federation of autonomous and self-constrained nations under a common centre linking them all.
The Sacred Trust
It is clear, therefore, that the mission of reorganising the Hindu people on the lines of their unique national genius which the Sangh has taken up is not only a great process of true national regeneration of Bharat but also the inevitable precondition to realise the dream of world unity and human welfare. For, as we have seen, it is the grand world-unifying thought of Hindus alone that can supply the abiding basis for human brotherhood, that knowledge of the Inner Spirit which will charge the human mind with sublime urge to toil for the happiness of mankind, while opening out full and free scope for every small life-speciality on the face of the earth to grow to its full stature.
This knowledge is in the custody of Hindus alone. It is a divine trust, we may say, given to the charge of the Hindus by Destiny. And when a person possesses a treasure, a duty is laid upon him to safeguard it and make it available for the welfare of others. If he fails in that supreme duty he ruins not only himself but also others. Hence the sacred duty of preserving the Hindu Society in sound condition has devolved upon us.
How can we say that it is the Hindu Society alone that can fulfil this grand world mission and none else? This may at first sight appear to be rather too proud a claim. Nevertheless it is a bare statement of fact, which we can readily appreciate when we observe the historical processes at work in our land as well as in other countries. History has recorded that it is in this land alone that, right from the hoary times, generation after generation of thinkers and philosophers, seers and sages rose to unravel the mysteries of human nature, dived deep into the world of Spirit and discovered and perfected the science of realisation of the Great Unifying Principle. The penance and sacrifice and experience of hundreds of centuries of a whole nation is there as the inexhaustible fountainhead of his knowledge to assuage the spiritual thirst of the world.
The outside world, on the other hand, did not take to the study of this science of Spirit. Even to this day, they have remained extroverts habituated to studying the outer world through their senses. The senses too go outward and as such they cannot lead to the vision of the inward nature. The Westerners, therefore, have remained ignorant of the knowledge and experience of the world of Spirit however much they might have unravelled the mysteries of the world of matter. Our ancestors who, on the other hand, crossed to realm beyond the senses could see within and have glimpse of that glorious Inner Reality.
Success in Practice
Further, it was not mere dry knowledge confined to the intellectual speculations of a few thinkers sitting in their forest hermitages. It was a living thought driving our ancestors – thinkers, administrators, merchants, scientists, artists and philosophers – to reach distant lands carrying that message of world brotherhood. Wherever they stepped, they taught the local people the spiritual and cultural values of life, taught them the sciences of material prosperity as well and built up a homogeneous brotherhood of nations under their benign wings. Our Hindu Society, strong, self-confident and self-effulgent, acted as the fulcrum of that far-flung empire of the Spirit.
Our arms stretched as far as America on the one side – that was long long before Columbus ‘discovered’ America ! – and on the other side to China, Japan, Cambodia, Malaya, Siam, Indonesia and all the South-East Asian countries and right up to Mongolia and Siberia in the North. Our powerful political empire too spread over these South-East areas and continued for 1,400 years, the Shailendra Empire alone flourishing for over 700 years – standing as a powerful bulwark against Chinese expansion.
During all these centuries, there were neither uprisings by the local people nor their exterminations which would have been the inevitable result if there had been the slightest sign of domination or exploitation by a foreign people and a foreign culture. On the contrary, those people were grateful to us. They adored our nation and longed to give up their mortal coils on the banks of Ganga. That stands in glowing contrast to the bloodstained pages of the history of expansion of Islam, Christianity and now Communism and of the various ‘world conquerors’ produced by other countries. Even to this day, the basic life-pattern of many of those people is Hindu. They bear Hindu names. We find so many Hindu faces all over there, proud of their Hindu heritage, even though many of them are now
Muslims by religion.
Our society which has given rise to such great souls down their centuries – each one of them a lustrous star on the horizon of world thought – is still throwing up a host of luminaries right upto the present-day such as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who could identify himself not merely with the joys and sorrows of human beings but with all animate and inanimate objects as well ! When he saw a cow thrashed with a whip, he shrieked with pain and red stripes were found on his back! On another occasion, a bullock grazing on a meadow left a bruised imprint of its hoof on his chest. Such is the extent of identification that our great teachers of the science of Spirit have attained and preached.
The First Step
However, today, such a glorious heritage is being condemned and brushed aside by its own children. It has become a fashion these days to deride our ancient ideals and traditions and talk of recasting our society in the mould of the modern ‘isms’. But such attempts at supplanting our life-pattern by another, paying no heed to the natural blossoming of our innate character, can only result in degeneration. Already we are witnessing the signs of its dreadful effect on our society. Disorganised and diffident, our society has become an easy prey to all predatory forces prowling about under the garb of various ‘isms’ and religions. How can a society given to self-derision, weakened by all-round disruption and dissipation, kicked and humiliated at every point by any and every bully in the world, teach the world ? How can one, devoid of the urge or the capacity to ennoble one’s own life, show the path of greatness to others?
It is inevitable, therefore, that in order to be able to contribute our unique knowledge to mankind, in order to be able to live and strive for the unity and welfare of the world, we stand before the world as a self-confident, resurgent and mighty nation. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has resolved to fulfil this age-old national mission by forging, as the first step, the present-day scattered elements of the Hindu Society into an organised and invincible force both on the plane of the Spirit and on the plane of material life. Verily this is the one real practical world mission – if ever there was one.