Fire

The propitious time has arrived! The sacrificial fire has been lit! The merry and mysterious dance of the yellow flames is uttering an esoteric mantra exhorting the spectators to pour in offerings! O lost traveler, let the roaring flames of this all-enveloping fire guide you!

The insults heaped on our Mother will be avenged! Fear not! This is indeed the time ordained for this by the gods themselves! The death-knell has been sounded! Arise, O sleeping warrior, lest thou bear the taint of failing to perform thy duty!

What do you see?! A political class engrossed in serving their own selfish motives. A political class disconnected from the masses. A political class breeding on the vermin of corruption, ignorance and ego. A political class which has enslaved the Mother Earth. A political class inimical to the rightful aspirations of its fellow brothers and sisters. A political class, which having bitten the forbidden fruit of ill-acquired power, intent on perpetuating its authority. O wounded soldier, fear not! Let the insults flow! Let the transgressions continue! The sincere have awakened! The atmosphere is charged with the talk of an upheaval! Every offensive action on the part of the political class is providing life to the flames of the sacrificial fire! The ghee is flowing unabated into the sacrificial pit courtesy those actions!

O Rip Van Winkle, arise! The time for revolution has come! O Rama, garner an axe! The time to become Parashurama has arrived! Unite, O brother, with thy neighbour! O Hindu! O Muslim! Forget thy external differences, and unite! The nation is calling!

O ignorant one! What are you to achieve by dividing our nation?! Be aware that unfettered regional aspirations is pernicious to a united national life! O keeper of the glory of the illustrious Marathas, what are you to gain by hostility towards your neighbors from the ancient seat of the Magadha empire? O resident of Pataliputra, become aware that this was once the land where the greatest teacher of political science taught. Become aware that this was the capital of the Maurya empire of his disciple, Chandragupta of hallowed memory. Then, become aware of its present state!

O descendant of that lion among men, Guru Govind Singh, become aware of your glorious history, written with the sacred blood of his followers! O sister, fortunate art thou to have taken birth in the land that nurtured a Sankara, a Ramanuja, a Madhva and a Chaitanya; a Shivaji, a Askoka, a Rana Pratap and a Lakshmibai; a Buddha, a Mahavira and a Nanak; a Kalidasa, a Bhavabhuti and a Bhasa; a Desika and a Krishnananda; a Mira and a Tulsidas! What have you to fear?! If not your life, at least spare a thought for your Motherland! Become aware of its pitiable state!

O protector of Rashtra dharma, take the sword out of its sheath! The sword for this war is the pen! Draw it out without delay!

O deluded one, where hast thou to hide? The time has come to deliver the verdict! Put the needs of the society above your selfish aspirations, and the aggrieved masses might yet contrive to forgive you.

The fire is roaring! The ominous dance of its flames is portentous. Understand the secret message it speaks. History will not forgive those who remain indifferent to the current state of affairs. The country needs you in its hour of distress. Arise!

हम करें राष्ट्र आराधना

“राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ” का यह अन्मोल गीत प्रत्येक भारतीय के लिए ज्ञातव्य हॅ ।

हम करें राष्ट्र आराधना
तन से मन से धन से
तन मन धन जीवन से
हम करें राष्ट्र आराधना ।  ……………………१

अन्तर से मुख से कृित से
निश्र्चल हो निर्मल मति से
श्रद्धा से मस्तक नत से
हम करें राष्ट्र अभिवादन।…………………….२

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Education

Our Basic Concept

To start with, what does ‘education’ connote in the modern sense of the term? It is to draw out the latent faculties in man. Merely stuffing pieces of information into the brain is not education. Making man’s brain a lumber room is not its aim. Recognising and bringing out the diverse talents and genius in man has been taken to be the cornerstone of education everywhere. And this has yielded substantial results too. We can find men of great achievements in several fields of arts and sciences in various countries.

But, we the Hindus have gone further. With us, the bringing out or the manifestation of the Inner Personality of man, is the essence of education. Life is not a mere bundle of passions. We say, there is an Ultimate Reality within us. To realise and manifest that Supreme Reality is the basic aim of our system of education. Our great sages and tapasvis have given detailed instructions with regard to the procedures to do that. And the teacher has a vital role in executing them.

Tap the Reservoir

To start with, he has to inculcate in the students the ten principles of Yama and Niyama. Ahimsa (non-injury), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-coveting), Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (non-acquisition) form the five Yamas. Shoucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapah (penance), Swadhyaya (spiritual study), and Ishwara Pranidhana (offering of one’s actions to God) form the five Niyama. Even if a small number of students in a school imbibe the spirit of Yamas and Niyamas, they will be able to spread a healthy atmosphere so that others also will follow them in course of time.

Purge Perversions

Most of our young men do not even know that we have an ancient history, rich with excellences in all fields of life. Their methods of studying subjects also betray a lack of serious effort and the will to understand. Study of text-books and reference books by standard authors is given a go-by. ‘Short-Notes’ and ‘Questions and Answers’ have become the fashion of the day. Private tuition appears to the students to be another such easy way to pass. A teacher should, in fact, feel it an insult to his calibre and devotion to duty if his students are required to take tuition from others. The effect of all such short-cuts on the students’ minds has been ruining of his initiative, will and ability to understand.

Be Hindus to the Core

All these perversions have to be nipped in the bud and the great qualities of head and heart planted in the young minds right from the elementary school stage. This can be done only when we draw upon the limitless storehouse of our ancient as well as modern literature which depicts our sublime national ethos and our mighty national heroes and events. Especially, our young men must be made to feel proud of being born in the great lineage of Rishis and Yogis. If we have to live up to their legacy, we must live as Hindus, we must appear as Hindus and also we must make ourselves felt by the whole world as Hindus. It is only when we learn to respect ourselves, our national customs and manners that we can hope to command respect from the outside world also. In fact the world wants us to be true to ourselves and not to become mere carbon copies of some X,Y or Z.

Once a Frenchman came to me. He was invited for food. He gladly sat on the floor and took our food just like us with fingers – no spoon, no fork, no tables. He said that he relished it all the more, and remarked: “When we come to you we must know and experience your ways and specialities of behaviour and customs. Otherwise where is the fun in our coming all the way to your country?

(The above is from Sri Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts.)

Vande Mataram

Below is our beloved national song, Vande Mataram: the song that can fire an unspeakable love for our motherland in our hearts. It is followed by a wonderful translation by Sri Aurobindo.

वन्दे मातरम्

सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम्
सस्य श्यामलां मातरंम् .
शुभ्र ज्योत्सनाम् पुलिकत यािमनीम्
फुल्ल कुसुिमत द्रुमदलशोभिनीम्,
सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीम् .
सुखदां वरदां मातरम् ॥

सप्त कोटि कण्ठ कलकल निनाद कराले
द्विसप्त कोटि भुजैर्ध्रत खरकरवाले
के बोले मा तुमी अबले
बहुबल धारिणीम् नमामि तारिणीम्
रिपुदलवारिणीम् मातरम् ॥

तुमि विद्या तुमि धर्म, तुमि ह्रदि तुमि मर्म
त्वं हि प्राणाः शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारै प्रतिमा गडि मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे ॥

त्वं हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदल विहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी, नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलां अमलां अतुलाम्
सुजलां सुफलां मातरम् ॥

श्यामलां सरलां सुस्मितां भूषिताम्
धरणीं भरणीं मातरम् ॥

Translation by Sri Aurobindo

Mother, I salute thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Green fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When swords flash out in seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Thou who saves, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foe drove
Back from plain and sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Thou art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair

In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

(Note: I found different versions of Vande Mataram, slightly differing from one another, but identical for the most part. The above is one of them. I apologize for any error in this regard.)

Our Motherland – 3

The Divine Mother

Nothing can be holier to us than this land. Every particle of dust, everything living or non-living, every stock and stone, tree and rivulet of this land is holy to us. To keep this intense devotion ever alive in the heart of every child of this soil, so many procedures and conventions were established here in the past. The various religious rites invariably included a description of the spot in relation to the entire expanse of BhAratavarsha-

जम्बुद्वीपे भरतवर्षे भरतखण्डे…

All our important religious ceremonies start with bhoomi-poojan-worship of earth. There is a custom that as soon as a Hindu wakes up in the morning, he begs forgiveness of the Mother Earth because he cannot help touching Her with his feet throughout the day.

समुद्रवसने देवी पर्वतस्तनमंडले

विष्णुपत्नी नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे ।।

(O Mother, the Divine Consort of Almighty, with ocean as Thy embroidery and mountains as Thy breasts, forgive me for touching Thee with my feet.)

A simple act indeed, but it brings home to our minds every morning the idea of devotion for this motherland as the sublimated devotion to the Divine Mother. This training has gone so deep that even in ordinary day-to-day affairs we often come across a flash of that realisation. When a child at play tramples on the ground, the mother says, “Do not kick the Mother Earth, dear child.” Or if a nail is driven into the earth wantonly, she says, “Oh, no! Dear child, Mother will be pained. ” An ordinary farmer, too, before applying the plough to the soil, prays for a pardon. Such is our living tradition.

Never, never has our land been dead inanimate matter, but always the living divine mother to all her children-the lowliest and the greatest.

SwAmi VivekAnanda, when about to leave England for BhArat, was asked what he thought of his motherland after having visited the luxuriant countries of the West like America and England. He said, “BhArat, I loved before. But now every particle of dust in BhArat is extremely holy. It has become a place of pilgrimage for me.”

There is one more touching instance of SwAmiji when he returned to our motherland after his triumphant tour of the West. A vast assembly of our countrymen eagerly awaited to offer a hero’s welcome to him. When the SwAmiji alighted from the ship and stepped on the Southern shores, a thunderous ovation greeted him. However, the people were amazed to see SwAmiji prostrating on the ground and showering his body with the dust of the soil. To the surprised query of some one, SwAmiji explained: “My body has been so long in the materialistic countries of the West and hence has become contaminated. I am therefore purifying myself with the dust of this holy soil.”

And his guru Sri RAmakrishna Paramahamsa once severely admonished a person who was going to GangA to wash himself after answering nature’s call. He said, “How unbecoming of you to pollute the divine waters of Ganga-Gangavari brahmavari-with your dirt!”

Such has been the living realisation of the glorious motherhood of our land inculcated by her great sons, which has permeated into all strata of our people.

She has been, in fact, the central theme of our national life all through. She has nourished us as the mother with her soil, air and water and all the various necessary objects for our sustenance and happiness. Like a father she has arranged protection to us through impregnable Himalayas in the north, and mountain ranges like ArAvali, Vindhya and SahyAdri interspersed all over the country that afforded our freedom-fighters protection and shelter in the past. And she has acted as our spiritual preceptor too in her capacity as Dharmabhoomi and Mokshabhoomi.

Verily, our motherland has been a mother, a father and a teacher- mAtA, pitA and guru – all rolled into one.

Note: These are excerpts from the Chapter titled “Our Motherland” in Sri M. S. Golwalkar‘s book, Bunch of Thoughts. Links to two previous posts from the same chapter are here and here.

Our Motherland – 2

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.

Tradition continues

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.

Note: These are excerpts taken from the Chapter titled “Our Motherland” in Sri M. S. Golwalkar‘s book, Bunch of Thoughts. A previous post from the same chapter is here.

Our Motherland

THE GRAND VISION

This is our sacred land, Bharat, a land whose glories are sung by the gods-

गायन्ति देवाः किल गीतकानि धन्यास्तु ये भारतभूमिभागे ।

स्वर्गापवर्गास्पदहेतुभूते भवन्ति भूयः पुरुषाः सुरत्वात् ।।

(The men born in the land of Bharat, the gateway to heavens and salvation, are more blessed than the gods themselves-so sing the gods.)

-a land visualised by Mahayogi Aurobindo as the living manifestation of the Divine Mother of the universe, the Jaganmata, the Adishakti, the Mahamaya and the Mahadurga, Who has assumed concrete form to enable us to see Her and worship Her,

-a land eulogised by our philosopher-poet Rabindranath Tagore as:

देवि भुवनमनमोहिनी…

नीलसिंधुजल-धौत-चरणतल

(The enchanting Goddess of the world………….. Her feet washed by the blue waters of the oceans),

-a land saluted by the inspired poet of freedom, Bankim Chandra, in his immortal song Vande Mataram, which spurred thousands of young hearts to cheerfully ascend the gallows in the cause of her liberty, as

त्वं हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणीम्


(Thou art the Great Destroyer armed with ten weapons),

-a land worshipped by all our seers and sages as Matrubhoomi, Dharmabhoomi, Karmabhoomi and punyabhoomi, a veritable Devabhoomi and Mokshabhoomi,

-a land which has been to us since hoary times the beloved and sacred Bharat Mata whose very name floods our hearts with waves of pure and sublime devotion to her,

-well, this is the mother of us all, our glorious motherland.

Note: The above paragraphs are excerpts from a chapter titled “Our Motherland” in Sri M. S. Golwalkar’s book, Bunch of Thoughts.


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