Our Motherland – 2
October 2, 2009 1 Comment
Our forefathers were of the conviction that throughout the world this is the holiest of the lands where the least merit will bear fruit a hundred or thousand-fold. Swami Vivekananda has said, “If there is any land on this earth that can lay claim to be the blessed Punyabhoomi, to be the land to which every soul that is wending its way Godward must come to attain its last home, it is Bharat.”
This is verily the chosen land of God Realisation. This is not mere sentimental effusion, but our deep-rooted conviction. Some years ago our newspapers had flashed the story of a German who came to our land as a spiritual aspirant. He embraced sanyas and underwent the stern austerities of an all-renouncing ascetic. But even after prolonged penance he could not realise God. On a searching self-enquiry he was convinced that his body, born and bred in the passionate climate of the West, was unfit for God Realisation. He therefore went to Haridwar and gave up his body in the holy Ganga. He left a note stating, “I am giving up the body of my own accord. May the offering of my body in the sacred waters of Ganga merit me with a rebirth in Bharat and with that new chaste body I may be able to realize God.”
It was given to the great sons of this soil to see and realise God in His full effulgence. The Vedic Rishis addressed mankind as the children of Immortal Bliss-
शृणवन्तु विश्वे अमृतस्य पुत्रा आ ये धामानि दिव्यानि तस्थुः
and declared in thundering tones:
वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्तमादित्यवर्ण तमसः परस्तात् ।
तमेव विदित्वातिमृत्युमेति नान्यः पंथा विद्यतेयनाय ।।
(I have seen that Great One, Lustrous and beyond all darkness. Having known Him, man is emancipated from the cycle of birth and death, there is no other way to final salvation.)
There is no parallel in the rest of the world literature to these expressions for their supreme self-confidence and self-realisations. Again nowhere else can you find the parallel of a Sri Krishna who speaks in the first person ‘I’ as God Himself in His immortal soul-stirring call to mankind-the Bhagavad-Gita.
Nor is this unique feature of our land confined to ancient tradition only. Even in modern times there is the instance of Narendra’s (later, Swami Vivekananda) historic meeting with Sri Ramkrishna. As a young and brilliant college student, he had already dived deep into the philosophies of the East and the West. But his questioning spirit was not satisfied. He met various learned and pious men of his time. Even they could not quench his spiritual thirst. He came to know that there was a paramahamsa (liberated soul) in the temple of Dakshineswar. He went to him and bluntly posed him the question that had haunted him for years: “Sir’ have you seen God?” Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa replied without a moment’s hesitation: ” Yes, I see Him just as I see you here, only in a much more intense degree. And I can show Him to you also.” And Sri Ramakrishna fulfilled his promise to Narendra.
As we know, Narendra was a modern young man with a towering intellect and tremendous will-power. He was not the type to be mesmerised or hypnotised into blindly believing things. But he could not help being convinced about the reality of God when brought face to face with God Himself. Such is the living tradition of men of God, who have continuously held aloft the name of our land as the land of God Realisation, as Dharmabhoomi, as Mokshabhoomi.
No wonder that such a land with divinity ingrained in every speck of its dust, has been to us the holiest of the holy, the centre of our utmost devotion. And this devotion is felt for the whole of the land and not for any fraction of it. The worshipper of Shiva goes from Kashi to Rameshwaram, and the devotee of Vishnu in His various forms and Incarnations travels the whole length and breadth of this country. If he is an advaiti, the four ashrams of Shankaracharya standing as sentinels beckon him to the four corners of the country. If he is a Shakta, the worshipper of Shakti-the Divine Mother of the Universe-fifty-two are the places of his pilgrimage spreading from Hingula in Baluchistan to Kamakhya in Assam and Jwalamukhi in Himachal Pradesh to Kanyakumari in the South. It only means that this land is the divine manifestation of the Mother of the Universe.