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- 07/21/17--00:02: _महत्वपूर्ण खबरें और...
- 07/22/17--05:58: _Our girls are alrea...
- 07/22/17--23:58: _डोक ला1 में तनाव भा...
- 07/23/17--23:27: _RSS intends to Kill...
- 07/27/17--03:17: _मनुस्मृति नस्ली राज...
- 07/28/17--01:42: _फिर दर्द होता है तो...
- 07/30/17--00:37: _हिंदुत्व और हिंदू र...
- 07/31/17--11:59: _भारत चीन विवादःअमेर...
- 08/01/17--01:11: _जो करोड़पति अरबपति ...
- 08/01/17--23:29: _क्यों तमाम आदरणीय स...
- 08/03/17--09:19: _अगर साहित्य और कला ...
- 08/06/17--02:00: _सर्वव्यापी रंगभेदी ...
- 08/07/17--08:43: _अमीरों को बैंक कर्ज...
- 08/08/17--00:56: _THE RELIGION OF MAN...
- 08/09/17--00:11: _रवींद्र का दलित विम...
- 08/10/17--09:16: _रवींद्र का दलित विम...
- 08/11/17--00:47: _नोटबंदी का राजीतिक ...
- 08/11/17--07:07: _रवींद्र का दलित विम...
- 08/14/17--11:29: _Belated Central mod...
- 08/15/17--23:51: _रवींद्र का दलित विम...
- 07/22/17--23:58: डोक ला1 में तनाव भारत की भूटान नीति और चीन का भय आनंद स्वरूप वर्मा
- 07/23/17--23:27: RSS intends to Kill Rabindranath,the dead poet walking live after Gandhi! RSS is greater threat than any foreign invasion because it is killing Indian civilization and the history of India and not to mention the traditional Hindu religion so democrat and tolerant! Hindutva brigaed seems to be admant to wipe out Bengali nationalism,Bengali identity and Bengali connectivity with the universe and civilization.Without Rabindranath neither Bengal nor Bangaldesh may have any identity whatsoever. May we imagine Hindi without Urdu words?If Hindi is to be yet another gomata,the sacred cow,how it would include the non Hindi non Hindu demography to become national or global language, Batra may not be expected to have the vision. Palash Biswas
- 07/28/17--01:42: फिर दर्द होता है तो चीखना मजबूरी भी है।
- 07/31/17--11:59: भारत चीन विवादःअमेरिका और इजराइल के दम पर राष्ट्र कीएकता और अखंडता को दांव पर लगाने का यह खतरनाक खेल बी राष्ट्रद्रोह है। चीन के साथ व्यापक हो रहे सीमाविवाद के सिलसिले में नक्ललबाडी़ तक फैली दार्जिलिंग की हिसा का संज्ञान न भारत सरकार ले रही है और न भारत की संसद।ऐसे हालात में अगर युद्ध हुआ तो हिमालयऔर हिमालयी जनता का लहूलुहान होना तय है। पलाश विश्वास
- 08/01/17--01:11: जो करोड़पति अरबपति न हों,ऐसे सारे लोग खुदकशी कर लें? आपके बचत खाते में एक करोड़ से ज्यादा जमा है तो फिर नीतीशे कुमार की तरह गोभक्त बने रहिये! सारी सब्सिडी बंद हो और करों का सारा बोझ आप पर हो तो डिजिटल इंडिया के आधार नंबरी वजूद और करोड़ों लोगों के रक्तहीन नरसंहार की बधाई! हगने पर जीएसटीलगाने का अजब गजब स्वच्छता अभियान नमामि गंगे!नमामि ब्रह्मपुत्र! पलाश विश्वास
मनुष्य के इतिहास की मुख्य समस्या क्या है? जहां कोई अंधत्व,मूढ़त्व मनुष्य और मनुष्य में विच्छेद घटित कर देता है।मानव समाज का स्रवप्रधानतत्व मनुष्यों की एकता है।सभ्यता का सर्ववप्रधान तत्व मनुष्यों की एकता है।सभ्यता का अर्थ यही है- एकत्रित होने का अभ्यास।
- 08/08/17--00:56: THE RELIGION OF MAN RABINDRANATH TAGOR
महत्वपूर्ण खबरें और आलेख सबसे बड़ा सच : मीडिया तो झूठन है, दिलों और दिमाग को बिगाड़ने में साहित्य और कला माध्यम निर्णायक, वहां भी संघ परिवार का वर्चस्व
कश्मीर का भारत में विलय महात्मा गांधी की विरासत, नेहरू से डांट खाने के बाद कश्मीर के महाराजा ने विलय पर दस्तखत किए थे
सबसे बड़ा सच : मीडिया तो झूठन है, दिलों और दिमाग को बिगाड़ने में साहित्य और कला माध्यम निर्णायक, वहां भी संघ परिवार का वर्चस्व
संघमुक्त भारत बनाने के दावेदारों के राज में साम्प्रदायिक हिंसा का विरोध करने वालों को भेजा जा रहा जेल
अगस्त क्रांति की 75वीं सालगिरह की रैली के लिए सोशलिस्ट पार्टी का प्रचार अभियान : संविधान विरोधी तत्व सत्ता छोड़ो
हस्तक्षेप के संचालन में छोटी राशि से सहयोग दें
आनंद स्वरूप वर्मा
अब से चार वर्ष पूर्व 2013 में भूटान की राजधानी थिंपू में दक्षिण एशिया के देशों का एक साहित्यिक समारोह हुआ था जिसमें सांस्कृतिक क्षेत्र के बहुत सारे लोग इकट्ठा हुए थे। 'अतीत का आइना' (दि मिरर ऑफ दि पास्ट) शीर्षक सत्र में डॉ. कर्मा फुंत्सो ने भारत और भूटान के संबंधों के बारे में कुछ महत्वपूर्ण बातें कहीं थीं। डॉ. कर्मा फुंत्सो ''हिस्ट्री ऑफ भूटान'' के लेखक हैं और एक इतिहासकार के रूप में उनकी काफी ख्याति है। उन्होंने भारत के साथ भूटान की मैत्री को महत्व देते हुए कहा कि''कभी-कभी दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण घटनाएं हो जाती हैं जैसी कि अतीत में हुईं।'' उनका संकेत कुछ ही दिनों पूर्व हुए चुनाव से पहले भारत द्वारा भूटान को दी जाने वाली सब्सिडी बंद कर देने से था। उन्होंने आगे कहा कि''शायद भूटान के लोग हमारी स्थानीय राजनीति में भारत के हस्तक्षेप को पसंद नहीं करते लेकिन अपने निजी हितों के कारण राज्य गलतियां करते रहते हैं। उनके इस कदम से दोस्ताना संबंधों को नुकसान पहुंचता है।''अपने इसी वक्तव्य में उन्होंने यह भी कहा था कि भारत के ऊपर अगर हमारी आर्थिक निर्भरता बनी रही तो कभी यह मैत्री बराबरी के स्तर की नहीं हो सकती। उन्होंने भूटान के लोगों को सुझाव दिया कि वे भारत से कुछ भी लेते समय बहुत सतर्क रहें।
डॉ. कर्मा ने ये बातें भूटान के चुनाव की पृष्ठभूमि में कहीं थी। हमारे लिए यह जानना जरूरी है कि उस चुनाव के मौके पर ऐसा क्या हुआ था जिसने भूटान की जनता को काफी उद्वेलित कर दिया था। 13 जुलाई2013 को वहां संपन्न दूसरे आम चुनाव में प्रमुख विपक्षी पार्टी पीपुल्स डेमोक्रेटिक पार्टी (पीडीपी) ने उस समय की सत्तारूढ़ ड्रुक फेनसुम सोंगपा (डीपीटी) को हराकर सत्ता पर कब्जा कर लिया। पीडीपी को 35 और डीपीटी को 12 वोट मिले। इससे पहले 31 मई को हुए प्राथमिक चुनाव में डीपीटी को 33 और पीडीपी को 12 सीटों पर सफलता मिली थी। आश्चर्य की बात है कि 31 मई से 13 जुलाई के बीच यानी महज डेढ़ महीने के अंदर ऐसा क्या हो गया जिससे डीपीटी अपना जनाधार खो बैठी और पीडीपी को कामयाबी मिल गयी।
दरअसल उस वर्ष जुलाई के प्रथम सप्ताह में भारत सरकार ने किरोसिन तेल और कुकिंग गैस पर भूटान को दी जाने वाली सब्सिडी पर रोक लगा दी। यह रोक भारत सरकार के विदेश मंत्रालय के निर्देश पर लगायी गयी। डीपीटी के नेता और तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री जिग्मे थिनले से भारत सरकार नाराज चल रही थी। भारत सरकार का मानना था कि तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री थिनले मनमाने ढंग से विदेश नीति का संचालन कर रहे हैं। यहां ध्यान देने की बात है कि 1949 की 'भारत-भूटान मैत्री संधि' में इस बात का प्रावधान था कि भूटान अपनी विदेश नीति भारत की सलाह पर संचालित करेगा। लेकिन 2007 में संधि के नवीकरण के बाद इस प्रावधान को हटा दिया गया। ऐसी स्थिति में भूटान को इस बात की आजादी थी कि वह अपनी विदेश नीति कैसे संचालित करे। वैसे, अलिखित रूप में ऐसी सारी व्यवस्थाएं बनी रहीं जिनसे भूटान में कोई भी सत्ता में क्यों न हो, वह भारत की सलाह के बगैर विदेश नीति नहीं तैयार कर सकता। हुआ यह था कि 2012 में ब्राजील के रियो द जेनेरो में एक अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सम्मेलन के दौरान प्रधानमंत्री थिनले ने चीन के तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री से एक अनौपचारिक भेंट कर ली थी। यद्यपि भारत के अलावा भूटान का दूसरा पड़ोसी चीन ही है तो भी चीनी और भूटानी प्रधानमंत्रियों के बीच यह पहली मुलाकात थी। इस मुलाकात के बाद भारत के रुख में जबर्दस्त तब्दीली आयी और उसे लगा कि भूटान अब नियंत्रण से बाहर हो रहा है। भूटान ने चीन से 15 बसें भी ली थीं और इसे भी भारत ने पसंद नहीं किया था।
मामला केवल चीन से संबंध तक ही सीमित नहीं था। भारत यह नहीं चाहता कि भूटान दुनिया के विभिन्न देशों के साथ अपने संबंध स्थापित करे। 2008 तक भूटान के 22 देशों के साथ राजनयिक संबंध थे जो थिनले के प्रधानमंत्रित्व में बढ़कर 53 तक पहुंच गए। चीन के साथ अब तक भूटान के राजनयिक संबंध नहीं हैं लेकिन अब भूटान-चीन सीमा विवाद दो दर्जन से अधिक बैठकों के बाद हल हो चुका है इसलिए भारत इस आशंका से भी घबराया हुआ था कि चीन के साथ उसके राजनयिक संबंध स्थापित हो जाएंगे। भारत की चिंता का एक कारण यह भी था कि अगर भारत (सिक्किम) -भूटान-चीन (तिब्बत) के संधि स्थल पर स्थित चुंबी घाटी तक जिस दिन चीन अपनी योजना के मुताबिक रेल लाइन बिछा देगा, भूटान की वह मजबूरी समाप्त हो जाएगी जो तीन तरफ से भारत से घिरे होने की वजह से पैदा हुई है। उसे यह बात भी परेशान कर रही थी कि थिनले की डीपीटी को बहुमत प्राप्त होने जा रहा था जिन्हें वह चीन समर्थक मानता था। इसी को ध्यान में रखकर चुनाव की तारीख से महज दो सप्ताह पहले उसने अपनी सब्सिडी बंद कर दी और इस प्रकार भूटानी जनता को संदेश दिया कि अगर उसने थिनले को दुबारा जिताया तो उसके सामने गंभीर संकट पैदा हो सकता है। भारत के इस कदम को भूटान की एक बहुत बड़ी आबादी ने 'बांह मरोड़ने की कार्रवाई माना'।
भारत के इस कदम पर वहां के ब्लागों, बेवसाइटों और सोशल मीडिया के विभिन्न रूपों में तीखी प्रतिक्रिया देखने को मिली। भूटान के अत्यंत लोकप्रिय ब्लॉगर और जाने-माने बुद्धिजीवी वांगचा सांगे ने अपने ब्लॉग में लिखा 'भूटान के राष्ट्रीय हितों को भारतीय धुन पर हमेशा नाचते रहने की राजनीति से ऊपर उठना होगा। हम केवल भारत के अच्छे पड़ोसी ही नहीं बल्कि अच्छे और विश्वसनीय मित्र भी हैं। लेकिन इसके साथ यह भी सच है कि हम एक संप्रभु राष्ट्र हैं इसलिए भूटान का राष्ट्रीय हित महज भारत को खुश रखने में नहीं होना चाहिए। हमें खुद को भी खुश रखना होगा।' अपने इसी ब्लॉग में उन्होंने यह सवाल उठाया कि चीन के साथ संबंध रखने के लिए भूटान को क्यों दंडित किया जा रहा है। उन्होंने कहा कि 'कौन सा राष्ट्रीय नेता और कौन सी राष्ट्रीय सरकार अपनी आत्मा किसी दूसरे देश के हाथ गिरवी रख देती है? हम कोई पेड सेक्स वर्कर नहीं हैं जो अपने मालिकों की इच्छा के मुताबिक आंखें मटकाएं और अपने नितंबों को हिलाएं।' डॉ. कर्मा ने भी थिंपू के साहित्य समारोह में भारत की नाराजगी का कारण भूटान के चीन से हाथ मिलाने को बताया था।
बहरहाल सब्सिडी बंद करने का असर यह हुआ कि जनता को भयंकर दिक्कतों से गुजरना पड़ा लिहाजा थिनले की पार्टी डीपीटी चुना हार गयी और मौजूदा प्रधानमंत्री शेरिंग तोबो की पीडीपी को कामयाबी मिली।
उपरोक्त घटनाएं उस समय की हैं जब हमारे यहां केन्द्र में मनमोहन सिंह के नेतृत्व वाली यूपीए की सरकार थी। 2014 में एनडीए की सरकार बनी और नरेन्द्र मोदी प्रधानमंत्री पद पर आसीन हुए। इस सरकार ने उसी नीति को, जो मनमोहन सिंह के ही नहीं बल्कि इंदिरा गांधी के समय से चली आ रही थी, और भी ज्यादा आक्रामक ढंग से लागू किया।
पिछले एक डेढ़ महीने से भारत-भूटान-चीन के आपसी संबंधों को लेकर जो जटिलता पैदा हुई है उसके मूल में भारत का वह भय है कि भूटान कहीं हमारे हाथ से निकल कर चीन के करीब न पहुंच जाय। आज स्थिति यह हो गयी है कि चुंबी घाटी वाले इलाके में यानी डोकलाम में अब चीन और भारत के सैनिक आमने-सामने हैं और दोनों देशों के राजनेताओं की मामूली सी कूटनीतिक चूक एक युद्ध का रूप ले सकती है। चीन उस क्षेत्र में सड़क बनाना चाहता है जो उसका ही क्षेत्र है लेकिन भारत लगातार भूटान पर यह दबाव डाल रहा है कि वह उस क्षेत्र पर दावा करे और चीन को सड़क बनाने से रोके। भूटान को इससे दूरगामी दृष्टि से फायदा ही है लेकिन भारत इसे अपनी सुरक्षा के लिए खतरा मानता है। अब दिक्कत यह है कि सिक्किम (भारत) और तिब्बत (चीन) के बीच डोकलाम में अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सीमा का बहुत पहले निर्धारण हो चुका है और इसमें कोई विवाद नहीं है। 1980 के दशक में भूटान और चीन के बीच बातचीत के 24 दौर चले और दोनों देशों के बीच भी सीमा का निर्धारण लगभग पूरा है। यह बात अलग है कि फिलहाल जिस इलाके को विवाद का रूप दिया गया है उसमें चीन भूटान के हिस्से की कुछ सौ गज जमीन चाहता है और बदले में इससे भी ज्यादा जमीन किसी दूसरे इलाके में देने के लिए तैयार है। चीन के इस प्रस्ताव से भूटान को भी कोई आपत्ति नहीं है लेकिन भारत के दबाव में उसने इस प्रस्ताव को मानने पर अभी तक अपनी सहमति नहीं दी है। अगर चीन को भूटान से यह अतिरिक्त जमीन नहीं भी मिलती है तो भी अभी जो जमीन है वह बिना किसी विवाद के चीन की ही जमीन है। भारत का मानना है कि अगर वहां चीन ने कोई निर्माण किया तो इससे सिक्किम के निकट होने की वजह से भारत की सुरक्षा को खतरा होगा। चीन ने तमाम देशों के राजदूतों से अलग-अलग और सामूहिक तौर पर सभी नक्शों और दस्तावेजों को दिखाते हुए यह समझाने की कोशिश की है कि यह जगह निर्विवाद रूप से उसकी है। अब ऐसी स्थिति में भारत के सामने एक गंभीर समस्या पैदा हो गयी है। उसने अपने सैनिक सीमा पर भारतीय क्षेत्र में यानी सिक्किम के पास तैनात कर दिए हैं और भूटान में भी भारतीय सैनिक चीन की तरफ अपनी बंदूकों का निशाना साधे तैयार बैठे हैं। स्मरणीय है कि भूटान की शाही सेना को सैनिक प्रशिक्षण देने के नाम पर पिछले कई दशकों से वहां भारतीय सेना मौजूद है।
चीन और भारत दोनों देशों में उच्च राजनयिक स्तर पर हलचल दिखायी दे रही है। तमाम विशेषज्ञों का मानना है कि समस्या का समाधान बातचीत के जरिए संभव है क्योंकि अगर युद्ध जैसी स्थिति ने तीव्र रूप लिया तो इससे दोनों देशों को नुकसान होगा। शुरुआती चरण में रक्षा मंत्रालय का कार्यभार संभाल रहे अरुण जेटली ने जो बयान दिया कि''यह 1962 का भारत नहीं है'' और फिर जवाब में चीन ने अपने सरकारी मुखपत्र में जो भड़काऊ लेख प्रकाशित किए उससे स्थिति काफी विस्फोटक हो गयी थी लेकिन समूचे मामले पर जो अंतर्राष्ट्रीय प्रतिक्रिया दिखायी दे रही है उससे भारत को एहसास होने लगा है कि अगर तनाव ने युद्ध का रूप लिया तों कहीं भारत अलगाव में न पड़ जाए और यह नुकसानदेह न साबित हो।
26 जुलाई को राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा सलाहकार अजित डोभाल जी-20 के सम्मेलन में भाग लेने चीन जा रहे हैं और हो सकता है कि वहां सीमा पर मौजूद तनाव के बारे में कुछ ठोस बातचीत हो और इससे उबरने का कोई रास्ता निकले। भारत और चीन दोनों ने अगर इसे प्रतिष्ठा का प्रश्न बना लिया तो यह समूचे दक्षिण एशिया के लिए एक खतरनाक स्थिति को जन्म देगा।
1. इस इलाके को भूटान 'डोकलाम', भारत 'डोक ला' और चीन 'डोंगलाङ' कहता है। (19 जुलाई 2017)
RSS intends to Kill Rabindranath,the dead poet walking live after Gandhi!
RSS is greater threat than any foreign invasion because it is killing Indian civilization and the history of India and not to mention the traditional Hindu religion so democrat and tolerant!
Hindutva brigade seems to be adamant to wipe out Bengali nationalism,Bengali identity and Bengali connectivity with the universe and civilization.Without Rabindranath neither Bengal nor Bangaldesh may have any identity whatsoever.
May we imagine Hindi without Urdu words?If Hindi is to be yet another gomata,the sacred cow,how it would include the non Hindi non Hindu demography to become national or global language, Batra may not be expected to have the vision.
Dina Nath Batra again: He wants Tagore, Urdu words off school texts.Mind you,Dinanath Batra is a retired school teacher and the founder of educational activist organisations Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti and Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan.
Bengal is flodded. It is raining heavily for three days and It would be raining heavily for next 48 hours.Kolakata and Howrah waterlogged. Rest of Bengal is also waterlogged.
But Hindutva brigade seems to be adamant to wipe out Bengali nationalism,Bengali identity and Bengali connectivity with the universe and civilization.
Without Rabindranath neither Bengal nor Bangaldesh may have any identity whatsoever.
Not only Bengalies worldwide,the citizens of Indian civilization owe much to Rabindranath for his idea of India which is all about unity in diversity and humanity ultimate.
It is perhaps the greatest attack on Indian civilization after the demise of Mohanjodaro and Harrapaa.Greater than the foreign attack against the integrity and unity of Indian humanity because it is going to disintegrate the social fabrics to make in digital Hindu Nation.It would kill Indian Nation, its constitution and Secular democracy,Unity in diversity.It is the agenda of racist ethnic cleansing in digital corporate Hindu Nation as majority people are subjected to monopolistic Racist Genocide.
It is borgi attack all round yet again as Along with five pages of recommendations, the Nyas, headed by Dina Nath Batra, a former head of Vidya Bharati, the education wing of the RSS, has attached pages from several NCERT textbooks, with the portions that it wants removed marked and underlined.
We may hate English just because the history of British Imperialist Raj in India.But the fact remains that English remains most inclusive.Even now,in free India,we have to interact in English to touch every corner of India.
We may not interact with rest of humanity without English.English diction has included every foreign sound meaning something different and we have words from south Asia abundant in English.It also included French, Roman, Latin, German with other European languages as well as African and Latin American dialects.
English is enhanced by a number of Indian writers.While English writers contribute English from every part of India.
How many Non Hindi language Indian writers and poets have been included in Hindi literature?
We talk so mush so for making Hindi National language.The slogan for Hindu nation is Hindu,Hindi and Hindustan.We want to compete with English making Hindi a global language.
May we imagine Hindi without Urdu words?
If Hindi is to be yet another gomata, the sacred cow,how it would include the non Hindi non Hindu demography to become national or global language, Batra mayenot be expected to have the vision.
Rabindra Nath compoesed Natinal anthem of India and Bangaldesh freedom struggle inspired by his poem Amaar Sonar Bangla aami tomay Bhalobasi,which is finally the national anthem of Bangladesh.Indian traditional philosophy,its culture,folk and spritualism have been the theme of Rabindra works more tahn any one else.
Geetanjali is all about India,Indian philosophy of life and Indian nationalism which consists of diverse streams of humanities merged on the soil of Bharat Teerth.
Now,the worshippers of Godse, Golvalkar, Savarkar and Hitler intend to Kill Rabindranath,the dead poet walking live in every sphere of India civilization after they killed someone like Gandhi who united Indian people in freedom struggle against British rule.
RSS is greater threat than any foreign invasion because it is killing Indian civilization and the history of India and not to mention the traditional Hindu religion so democrat and tolerant!
An education body affiliated to ruling BJP's ideological parent RSS wants to "sanitise" NCERT's Class 1-12 Hindi textbooks by removing Urdu and Persian words.
The Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas, under RSS ideologue Dinanath Batra, also wants to remove verses of Mirza Ghalib and other Urdu poets from the books.
With the NCERT revising its textbooks, the Nyas has written to the government to "clean" Hindi books of words such as Eeman, Rujhan, Shiddat and Taaqat.
The organisation has come up with a booklet, a copy of which is with DNA, in which it has mentioned various examples from the books. One of the examples is a verse of Ghalib, which is taught to students in one of the Hindi chapters.
The verse, from Jamun Ka Ped, reads: "Hum ne mana ki tagaful na karoge lekin khak ho jayenge ham tum ko khabar hone taq."
Dinanath Batra, who is often criticised for "saffronising" education, has in the past also written to the government to change content in texts, specially History ones.
He has been advocating that the use of foreign languages in schools should be banned. In his suggestions to the government on the New Education Policy, he had written that Hindi should be made the medium of instruction, instead of English.
"I have read all Hindi textbooks from Class 1 to 12 and found a number of errors. The usage of Urdu, Persian and even English words in Hindi books has made the language very heavy and created a challenge for students. Instead of being a source of entertainment and learning, Hindi chapters have become uninteresting for students," Batra told DNA.
"We have approached the HRD Ministry and have also been taking up this issue with NCERT that they should remove all non-Hindi words from their Hindi textbooks. Now that they are revising their textbooks, we have demanded that these changes should be made," he added.
He said that his earlier suggestions of changes in History textbooks were considered but it's the changes in Hindi that the council is not ready to change.
NCERT officials refused to comment on the issue.
Indian Express reports this morning:Remove English, Urdu and Arabic words, a poem by the revolutionary poet Pash and a couplet by Mirza Ghalib; the thoughts of Rabindranath Tagore; extracts from painter M F Husain's autobiography; references to the Mughal emperors as benevolent, to the BJP as a "Hindu" party, and to the National Conference as "secular"; an apology tendered by former prime minister Manmohan Singh over the 1984 riots; and a sentence that "nearly 2,000 Muslims were killed in Gujarat in 2002". These are some of the many recommendations the RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas has sent to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), which recently sought suggestions from the public on reviewing school textbooks of all classes.
फिर दर्द होता है तो चीखना मजबूरी भी है।
शायद जब तक जीता रहूंगी मेरी चीखें आपको तकलीफ देती रहेंगी,अफसोस।
जो बच्चे 30-35 साल की उम्र में हाथ पांव कटे लहूलुहान हो रहे हैं,उनमें से हरेक के चेहरे पर मैं अपना ही चेहरा नत्थी पाता हूं।
बत्रा साहेब की मेहरबानी है कि उन्होंने फासिज्म के प्रतिरोध में खड़े भारत के महान रचनाकारों को चिन्हित कर दिया।इन प्रतिबंधित रचनाकारों में कोई जीवित और सक्रिय रचनाकार नहीं है तो इससे साफ जाहिर है कि संघ परिवार के नजरिये से भी उनके हिंदुत्व के प्रतिरोध में कोई समकालीन रचनाकार नहीं है।
उन्हीं मृत रचनाकारों को प्रतिबंधित करने के संघ परिवार के कार्यक्रम के बारे में समकालीन रचनाकारों की चुप्पी उनकी विचारधारा,उनकी प्रतिबद्धता और उनकी रचनाधर्मिता को अभिव्यक्त करती है।
जैसे इस वक्त सारे के सारे लोग नीतीश कुमार के खिलाफ बोल लिख रहे हैं।जैसे कि बिहार का राजनीतिक दंगल की देश का सबसे ज्वलंत मुद्दा हो।
डोकलाम की युद्ध परिस्थितियां, प्राकृतिक आपदाएं,किसानों की आत्महत्या,व्यापक छंटनी और बेरोजगारी, दार्जिंलिंग में हिंसा, कश्मीर की समस्या, जीएसटी, आधार अनिवार्यता, नोटबंदी का असर , खुदरा कारोबार पर एकाधिकार वर्चस्व, शिक्षा और चिकित्सा पर एकाधिकार कंपनियों का वर्चस्व, बच्चों का अनिश्चित भविष्य, महिलाओं पर बढ़ते हुए अत्याचार,दलित उत्पीड़न की निरंतरता,आदिवासियों और अल्पसंख्यकों के खिलाफ नरसंहार संस्कृति जैसे मुद्दों पर कोई बहस की जैसे कोई गुंजाइश ही नहीं है।
गौरतलब है कि मुक्तिबोध पर अभी हिंदुत्व जिहादियों की कृपा नहीं हुई है।शायद उन्हें समझना हर किसी के बस में नहीं है,गोबरपंथियों के लिए तो वे अबूझ ही हैं।
सत्ता समीकरण और सत्ता संघर्ष मीडिया का रोजनामचा हो सकता है,लेकिन यह रोजनामचा ही समूचा विमर्श में तब्दील हो जाये,तो शायद संवाद की कोई गुंजाइश नहीं बचती।आम जनता की दिनचर्या,उनकी तकलीफों,उनकी समस्याओं में किसी की कोई दिलचस्पी नजर नहीं आती तो सारे बुनियादी सवाल और मुद्दे जिन बुनियादी आर्थिक सवालों से जुड़े हैं,उनपर संवाद की स्थिति बनी नहीं है।
हमारे लिए मुद्दे कभी नीतीशकुमार हैं तो कभी लालू प्रसाद तो कभी अखिलेश यादव तो कभी मुलायसिंह यादव,तो कभी मायावती तो कभी ममता बनर्जी।हम उनकी सियासत के पक्ष विपक्ष में खड़े होकर फासिज्म के राजकाज का विरोध करते रहते हैं।
जैसे इस वक्त सारे के सारे लोग नीतीश कुमार के खिलाफ बोल लिख रहे हैं।जैसे कि बिहार का राजनीतिक दंगल की देश का सबसे ज्वलंत मुद्दा हो।
डोकलाम की युद्ध परिस्थितियां, प्राकृतिक आपदाएं,किसानों की आत्महत्या,व्यापक छंटनी और बेरोजगारी, दार्जिंलिंग में हिंसा, कश्मीर की समस्या, जीएसटी, आधार अनिवार्यता, नोटबंदी का असर , खुदरा कारोबार पर एकाधिकार वर्चस्व, शिक्षा और चिकित्सा पर एकाधिकार कंपनियों का वर्चस्व, बच्चों का अनिश्चित भविष्य, महिलाओं पर बढ़ते हुए अत्याचार,दलित उत्पीड़न की निरंतरता,आदिवासियों और अल्पसंख्यकों के खिलाफ नरसंहार संस्कृति जैसे मुद्दों पर कोई बहस की जैसे कोई गुंजाइश ही नहीं है।
लोकतंत्र का मतलब यह है कि राजकाज में नागरिकों का प्रतिनिधित्व और नीति निर्माण प्रक्रिया में जनता की हिस्सेदारी।
सत्ता संघर्ष तक हमारी राजनीति सीमाबद्ध है और राजकाज,राजनय,नीति निर्माण,वित्तीय प्रबंधन,संसाधनों के उपयोग जैसे आम जनता के लिए जीवन मरण के प्रश्नों को संबोधित करने का कोई प्रयास किसी भी स्तर पर नहीं हो रहा है।
सामाजिक यथार्थ से कटे होने की वजह से हम सबकुछ बाजार के नजरिये से देखने को अभ्यस्त हो गये हैं।
बाजार का विकास और विस्तार के लिए आर्थिक सुधारों के डिजिटल इंडिया को इसलिए सर्वदलीय समर्थन है और इसकी कीमत जिस बहुसंख्य जनगण को अपने जल जंगल जमीन रोजगार आजीविका नागरिक और मानवाधिकार खोकर चुकानी पड़ती है,उसकी परवाह न राजनीति को है और न साहित्य और संस्कृति को।
हम जब साहित्य और संस्कृति के इस भयंकर संकट को चिन्हित करके समकालीन संस्कृतिकर्म की प्रासंगिकता और प्रतिबद्धता पर सवाल उठाये,तो समकालीन रचनाकारों में इसकी तीव्र प्रतिक्रिया हुई है।
बत्रा साहेब की मेहरबानी है कि उन्होंने फासिज्म के प्रतिरोध में खड़े भारत के महान रचनाकारों को चिन्हित कर दिया।
इन प्रतिबंधित रचनाकारों में कोई जीवित और सक्रिय रचनाकार नहीं है तो इससे साफ जाहिर है कि संघ परिवार के नजरिये से भी उनके हिंदुत्व के प्रतिरोध में कोई समकालीन रचनाकार नहीं है।
उन्हीं मृत रचनाकारों को प्रतिबंधित करने के संघ परिवार के कार्यक्रम के बारे में समकालीन रचनाकारों की चुप्पी उनकी विचारधारा,उनकी प्रतिबद्धता और उनकी रचनाधर्मिता को अभिव्यक्त करती है।
गौरतलब है कि मुक्तिबोध पर अभी हिंदुत्व जिहादियों की कृपा नहीं हुई है।शायद उन्हें समझना हर किसी के बस में नहीं है,गोबरपंथियों के लिए तो वे अबूझ ही हैं।अगर कांटेट के लिहाज से देखें तो फासिजम के राजकाज के लिए सबसे खतरनाक मुक्तिबोध है,जो वर्गीय ध्रूवीकरण की बात अपनी कविताओं में कहते हैं और उनका अंधेरा फासिज्म का अखंड आतंकाकारी चेहरा है।शायद महामहिम बत्रा महोदय ने अभी मुक्तबोध को कायदे से पढ़ा नहीं है।
बत्रा साहेब की कृपा से जो प्रतिबंधित हैं,उनमें रवींद्र,गांधी,प्रेमचंद,पाश, गालिब को समझना भी गोबरपंथियों के लिए असंभव है।
जिन गोस्वामी तुलसीदास के रामचरित मानस के रामराज्य और मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम को कैंद्रित यह मनुस्मृति सुनामी है,उन्हें भी वे कितना समझते होंगे,इसका भी अंदाजा लगाना मुश्किल है।
बंगाली दिनचर्या में रवींद्रनाथ की उपस्थिति अनिवार्य सी है, जाति, धर्म, वर्ग, राष्ट्र, राजनीति के सारे अवरोधों के आर पार रवींद्र बांग्लाभाषियों के लिए सार्वभौम हैं,लेकिन बंगाली होने से ही लोग रवींद्र के जीवन दर्शन को समझते होंगे,ऐसी प्रत्याशा करना मुश्किल है।
कबीर दास और सूरदास लोक में रचे बसे भारत के सबसे बड़े सार्वजनीन कवि हैं,जिनके बिना भारतीयता की कल्पना असंभव है और देश के हर हिस्से में जिनका असर है। मध्यभारत में तो कबीर को गाने की वैसी ही संस्कृति है,जैसे बंगाल में रवींद्र नाथ को गाने की है और उसी मध्यभारत में हिंदुत्व के सबसे मजबूत गढ़ और आधार है।
निजी समस्याओं से उलझने के दौरान इन्हीं वजहों से लिखने पढ़ने के औचित्य पर मैंने कुछ सवाल खड़े किये थे,जाहिर है कि इसपर कोई प्रतिक्रिया नहीं हुई है।
मैंने कई दिनों पहले लिखा,हालांकि हमारे लिखने से कुछ बदलने वाला नहीं है.प्रेमचंद.टैगोर,गालिब,पाश,गांधी जैसे लोगों पर पाबंदी के बाद जब किसी को कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ा तो हम जैसे लोगों के लिखने न लिखने से आप लोगों को कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ने वाला है।अमेरिका से सावधान के बाद जब मैंने साहित्यिक गतिविधियां बंंद कर दी,जब 1970 से लगातार लिखते रहने के बावजूद अखबारों में लिखना बंद कर दिया है,तब सिर्फ सोशल मीडिया में लिखने न लिखने से किसी को कोई फ्रक नहीं पड़ेगा।
कलेजा जख्मी है।दिलोदिमाग लहूलुहान है।हालात संगीन है और फिजां जहरीली।ऐसे में जब हमारी समूची परंपरा और इतिहास पर रंगभेदी हमले का सिलसिला है और विचारधाराओं,प्रतिबद्धताओं के मोर्टे पर अटूट सन्नाटा है,तब ऐशे समय में अपनों को आवाज लगाने या यूं ही चीखते चले जाना का भी कोई मतलब नहीं है।
जिन वजहों से लिखता रहा हूं,वे वजहें तेजी से खत्म होती जा रही है।वजूद किरचों के मानिंद टूटकर बिखर गया है।जिंदगी जीना बंद नहीं करना चाहता फिलहाल,हालांकि अब सांसें लेना भी मुश्किल है।लेकिन इस दुस्समय में जब सबकुछ खत्म हो रहा है और इस देश में नपुंसक सन्नाटा की अवसरवादी राजनीति के अलावा कुछ भी बची नहीं है,तब शायद लिखते रहने का कोई औचित्यभी नहीं है।
मुश्किल यह कि आंखर पहचानते न पहचानते हिंदी जानने की वजह से अपने पिता भारत विभाजन के शिकार पूर्वी बंगाल और पश्चिम पाकिस्तान के विभाजनपीड़ितों के नैनीताल की तराई में नेता मेरे पिता की भारत भर में बिखरे शरणार्थियों के दिन प्रतिदिन की समस्याओं के बारे में रोज उनके पत्र व्यवहार औऱ आंदोलन के परचे लिखते रहने से मेरी जो लिखने पढ़ने की आदत बनी है और करीब पांच दशकों से जो लगातार लिख पढ़ रहा हूं,अब समाज और परिवार से कटा हुआ अपने घर और अपने पहाड़ से हजार मील दूर बैठे मेरे लिए जीने का कोई दूसरा बहाना नहीं है।
फिर दर्द होता है तो चीखना मजबूरी भी है।
शायद जब तक जीता रहूंगी मेरी चीखें आपको तकलीफ देती रहेंगी,अफसोस।
अभी अखबारों और मीडिया में लाखों की छंटनी की खबरें आयी हैं।जिनके बच्चे सेटिल हैं,उन्हें अपने बच्चों पर गर्व होगा लेकिन उन्हें बाकी बच्चों की भी थोड़ी चिंता होती तो शायद हालात बदल जाते।
मेरे लिए रोजगार अनिवार्य है क्योंकि मेरा इकलौता बेटा अभी बेरोजगार है।इसलिए जो बच्चे 30-35 साल की उम्र में हाथ पांव कटे लहूलुहान हो रहे हैं,उनमें से हरेक के चेहरे पर मैं अपना ही चेहरा नत्थी पाता हूं।
अभी सर्वे आ गया है कि नोटबंदी के बाद पंद्रह लाख लोग बेरोजगार हो गये हैं।जीएसटी का नतीजा अभी आया नहीं है।असंगठित क्षेत्र का कोई आंकड़ा उपलब्ध नहीं है और संगठित क्षेत्र में विनिवेश और निजीकरण के बाद ठेके पर नौकरियां हैं तो ठीक से पता लगना मुश्किल है कि कुल कितने लोगों की नौकरियां बैंकिंग, बीमा, निर्माण, विनिर्माण, खुदरा बाजार,संचार,परिवहन जैसे क्षेत्रों में रोज खथ्म हो रही है।
मसलन रेलवे में सत्रह लाख कर्मचारी रेलवे के अभूतपूर्व विस्तार के बाद अब ग्यारह लाख हो गये हैं जिन्हें चार लाख तक घटाने का निजी उपक्रम रेलवे का आधुनिकीकरण है,भारत के आम लोग इस विकास के माडल से खुश हैं और इसके समर्थक भी हैं।
संकट कितना गहरा है,उसके लिए हम अपने आसपास का नजारा थोड़ा बयान कर रहे हैं।बंगाल में 56 हजार कल कारखाने बंद होने के सावल पर परिव्रतन की सरकार बनी।बंद कारखाने तो खुले ही नहीं है और विकास का पीपीपी माडल फारमूला लागू है।कपड़ा,जूट,इंजीनियरिंग,चाय उद्योग ठप है।कल कारखानों की जमीन पर तमाम तरहके हब हैं और तेजी से बाकी कलकारखाने बंद हो रहे हैं।
आसपास के उत्पादन इकाइयों में पचास पार को नौकरी से हटाया जा रहा हो।यूपी और उत्तराखंड में भी विकास इसी तर्ज पर होना है और बिहार का केसरिया सुशासन का अंजाम भी यही होना है।
सिर्फ आईटी नहीं,बाकी क्षेत्रों में भी डिजिटल इंडिया के सौजन्य से तकनीकी दक्षता और ऩई तकनीक के बहाने एनडीवी की तर्ज पर 30-40 आयुवर्ग के कर्मचारियों की व्यापक छंटनी हो रही है।
सोदपुर कोलकाता का सबसे तेजी से विकसित उपनगर और बाजार है,जो पहले उत्पादन इकाइयों का केद्र हुआ करता था।यहां रोजाना लाखों यात्री ट्रेनों से नौकरी या काराबोर या अध्ययन के लिए निकलते हैं।चार नंबर प्लैटफार्म के सारे टिकट काउंटर महीनेभर से बंद है।आरक्षण काफी दिनों से बंद रहने के बाद आज खुला दिखा।जबकि टिकट के लिए एकर नंबर प्लेटफार्म पर दो खिडकियां हैं।
सोदपुर स्टेशन के दो रेलवे बुकिंग क्लर्क की कैंसर से मौत हो गयी हैा,जिनकी जगह नियुक्ति नहीं हुई है।सात दूसरे कर्मचारियों का तबादला हो गया है और बचे खुचे लोगं से काम निकाला जा रहा है।
आम जनता को इससे कुछ लेना देना नहीं है।
आर्थिक सुधारों,नोटबंदी,जीएसटी,आधार के खिलाफ आम लोगों को कुछ नहीं सुनना है।उनमें से ज्यादातर बजरंगी है।
बजरंगी इसलिए हैं कि उनसे कोई संवाद नहीं हो रहा है।
बुनियादी सवालों और मुद्दों से न टकराने का यह नतीजा है,क्षत्रपों के दल बदल, अवसरवाद जो हो सो है,लेकिन जनता के हकहकूक के सिलसिले में सन्नाटा का यह अखंड बजरंगी समय है।
हिंदुत्व और हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद के कट्टर विरोधी रवींद्र नाथ को निषिद्ध करके दिखाये,संघ परिवार को बंगाल की चुनौती
संदर्भः आज रवींद्र नाथ को प्रतिबंधित करने की चुनौती देता हुआ बांग्ला दैनिक आनंद बाजार पत्रिका में प्रकाशित सेमंती घोष का अत्यंत प्रासंगिक आलेख,जिसके मुताबिक रवींद्र नाथ का व्यक्तित्व कृतित्व संघ परिवार और उसके हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद के लिए सबसे बड़ा खतरा है।उनके मुताबिक रवींद्रनाथ का लिखा,कहा हर शब्द विशुद्धता के नस्ली ब्राह्मणावादी हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद के खिलाफ है। रवींद्रनाथ ही इस अंध राष्ट्रवाद के प्रतिरोध में एक अजेय किला हैं और मोर्चा भी।जो बांग्ला पढ़ सकते हैं,वे अवश्य ही यह आलेख पढ़ें।
স্কুল সিলেবাসের বইপত্র খুঁটিয়ে পড়ে গোলমেলে জিনিসগুলো বাদ দেওয়ার দায়িত্ব পড়েছিল বত্রা মশাই-এর উপর। তিনি একটা পাঁচ-পাতা জোড়া লম্বা নিষেধাজ্ঞা ফিরিস্তি বানিয়ে দিয়েছেন, মির্জা গালিব, এম এফ হুসেন, আকবর, আওরঙ্গজেব, আমির খুসরু, কত নাম তাতে। এই বৃহৎ ও সমৃদ্ধ লাল-তালিকাটির বেশ উপরের দিকেই ছিলেন রবি ঠাকুর।
भारतीयता और भारत की कल्पना रवींद्र नाथ की गीतांजलि के बिना असंभव है,जिसे संघ परिवार भागवत गीता के महाभारत में बदलने की कोशिश कर रहा है।
रवींद्र नाथ सिर्फ हिंदुत्व के खिलाफ ही नहीं,हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद के खिलाफ ही नहीं,राष्ट्रवाद के खिलाफ भी थे।उनका कहना था कि राष्ट्रवाद मनुष्यता का अपमान है।रवींद्र नाथ ने जब यह बात कही थी,तब हिटलर मुसोलिनी के अंध राष्ट्रवाद से पूरी दुनिया जख्मी और लहूलुहान थी।लातिन अमेरिका,यूरोप और चीन,रूस,जापान की यात्रा के दौरान बी रवींद्रनाथ लगातार इस राष्ट्रवाद के खिलाफ बोलते लिखते रहे हैं।
हम आज के संदर्भ में राष्ट्रवाद के केसरियाकरण के बाद कश्मीर, मध्यभारत और आदिवासी भूगोल, असम,मणिपुर,समूचे पूर्वोत्तर भारत,दार्जिलिंग, तमिलनाडु और समूचे दक्षिण भारत के खिलाफ लामबंद राष्ट्रवादी बजरंगी सेना,साहित्य.संस्कृति और इतिहास के केसरियाकरण के संदर्भ में राष्ट्रवाद का महिमामंडित वीभत्स चेहरा देख सकते हैं।यह राष्ट्रवाद विशुद्धता का नस्ली फासिस्ट राष्ट्रवाद है जिसके तहत नागरिकों को अपनी देह,मन,मस्तिष्क,विचारों और ख्वाबों पर भी कोई अधिकार नहीं है।यह सैन्य पारमाणविक राष्ट्र की गुलाम प्रजा का राष्ट्रवाद है,जो नागरिकता और मानवाधिकार के विरुद्ध है।
यही वजह है कि जहां बंकिमचंद्र,उनके आनंद मठ और वंदेमातरम के महिमामंडन से हिंदुत्व के अश्वमेधी अभियान को सुनामी में तब्दील करने पर लगा है संघ परिवार,तो वहीं रवींद्रनाथ के रचे राष्ट्रगान में विविधता और बहुलता के जयगान के खिलाफ है बजरंगी सेना।
संजोगवश बांग्लादेश में भी कट्टरपंथी इस्लामी राष्ट्रवाद रवींद्रनाथ,रवींद्र रचनासमग्र, बांग्लादेश के रवींद्र रचित राष्ट्रगान आमार सोनार बांग्ला और रवींद्रनाथ के मानवता वादी विश्वबंधुत्व के दर्शन के खिलाप संघ परिवार की तरह लामबंद है।
तब हम भाषाबंधन के संपादकीय में कृपाशकंर चौबे और अरविंद चतुर्वेद के साथ थे।महाश्वेता देवी प्रदान संपादक थीं।नवारुण दा संपादक।भारतीय भाषाओं के साहित्य के सेतुबंधन के उद्देश्य लेकर निकली इस पत्रिका के संपादक मंडल में वीरेन डंगवाल, मंगलेश डबराल और पंकज बिष्ट जैसे लोग थे।
नवारुण दा शब्दों के आशय और प्रयोग को लेकर बेहद संवेदनशील थे।उन्होंने ही ग्लोबेलाइजेशन का अनुवाद ग्लोबीकरण बताया क्योंकि उनके नजरिये से यह वैश्वीकरण नहीं है,बल्कि वैश्वीकरण के खिलाफ मुक्तबाजार की नरसंहार संस्कृति के कारपोरेट वर्चस्व है यह।
रवींद्रनाथ की अंतरराष्ट्रीय नागरिकता के मानवतावाद को हमारे नवारुण भट्टाचार्य हिंदुत्व के राष्ट्रवाद की जगह असल वैश्वीकरण ,ग्लोबेलाइजेशन मानते थे,जो मुक्तबाजारी कारपोरेट एकाधिकार के साम्राज्यवाद के उलट है तो सैन्य राष्ट्रवाद के खिलाफ भी।
महाश्वेता दी ने भी अपनी सारी रचनाओं में इस सैन्य राष्ट्रवाद के खिलाफ आदिवासियों,किसानों और महिलाओं के जल जंगल जमीन के हक हकूक की जनांदोलनों की बात की है।
गौरतलब है कि पंडित जवाहरलाल नेहरु भी रवींद्र दर्शन के मुताबिक राष्ट्रवाद की विशुद्धता के विपरीत पंचशील के विश्वबंधुत्व,विविधता और बहुलता के पक्षधर थे,जिन्हें संघ परिवार ने भारतीय इतिहास से गांधी के साथ मिटाने का बीड़ा उठा लिया है।गांधी नेहरु चूंकि राजनीति की वजह से हाशिये पर डाले जा सकते हैं लेकिन जहां बंगाल और बांग्लादेश में हर स्त्री की दिनचर्या में रवींद्र संगीत रचा बसा है,वहां रवींद्रनाथ को मिटाना उसके बूते में नहीं है।
बंगाल के खिलाफ ताजा वर्गी हमले के प्रतिरोध में अकेले रवींद्रनाथ काफी हैं।
अस्पृश्यता के खिलाफ,सामाजिक बहिस्कार के खिलाफ,नस्ली विशुद्धता के खिलाफ बौद्धमय भारत के प्रवक्ता रवींद्रनाथ के मुताबिक भारतवर्ष हिंदुस्तान नहीं है,यह भारत तीर्थ है,जहां विश्वभर से मनुष्यता की विविध धाराओं का विलयहोकर एकाकार मनुष्यता की संस्कृति है।
रवींद्र की यह संस्कृति संघ परिवार के आनंद मठ नस्ली राष्ट्वाद के खिलाफ है।इसलिए अंबेडकर को आत्मसात कर लेने के बावजूद रवींद्र के दलित विमर्श को आत्मसात करना संघ परिवार के लिए असंभव है।
सेमंती घोष के मुताबिक रवींद्रनाथ की हर रचना,उनके तमाम पत्र,उनका संगीत,उनके वक्तव्य और उनका व्यक्तित्व संघ परिवार के हिंदुत्व के एजंडे के खिलाफ है।लेकिन मरे हुए रवींद्रनाथ का कम से कम बंगाल में सर्वव्यापी असर इतना प्रबल है कि संघ परिवार उन्हें प्रतिबंधित करने की हिम्मत जुटा नहीं पा रहा है।
नवजागरण की विरासत को समझे बिना रवींद्र साहित्य,रवींद्र दर्शन को समझना असंभव है।हिंदी के आलोचक डा.शंभूनाथ ने नवजागरण की विरासत पर महत्वपूर्ण शोध किया है,लगता है कि सरकारी खरीद के अलावा यह अत्यंत महत्वपूर्ण शोध आम हिंदी पाठकों तक नहीं पहुंचा है।
रवींद्रनाथ के पिता देवर्षि देवेंद्रनाथ ठाकुर ब्रह्मसमाज आंदोलन में प्रमुख थे और इस आंदोलन का केंद्र ठाकुरबाड़ी जोड़ासांको था,जो स्त्री मुक्ति आंदोलन का केंद्र भी था। कुलीन, सवर्ण हिंदुओं के लिए ब्रह्मसमाजी मुसलमानों, ईसाइयों और अछूतों के बराबर अस्पृश्य शत्रु थे।
यही वजह रही है कि बंगाली भद्रलोक विद्वतजनों ने नोबेल पुरस्कार पाने से पहले रवींद्रनाथ को कभी कवि माना नहीं है।
दूसरी ओर,उनकी रचनाओं और जीवन दर्शन में महात्मा गौतम बुद्ध का सर्वव्यापी असर है और उनकी समूची रचनाधर्मिता अस्पृश्यता के नस्ली हिंदुत्व के खिलाफ निरंतर अभियान है।
हमने अछूत रवींद्रनाथ के इस दलित विमर्श पर करीब दस बारह साल पहले कवि केदारनाथ सिंह के कहने पर सिलसिलेवार काम किया था।महज तीन महीने के भीतर एक किताब की पांडुलिपि उन्हें सौंपी थी,जिसे उन्होंने प्रकाशन के लिए दरियागंज , दिल्ली के प्रकाशक हरिश्चंद्र जी को सौंपी थी।हमने केदारनाथ जी से निवेदन किया था कि वह पांडुलिपि वे संपादित कर दें।हरिश्चंद्र जी ने छापने का वायदा किया था।लेकिल दस बारहसाल से वह पांडुलिपि उनके पास पड़ी है।मेरे पास जो मूल पांडुलिपि थी,वह बाकी चीजों,संदर्भ पुस्तकों और प्रकाशित सामग्री के साथ चली गयी।
अब बेघऱ, बेरोजगार हालत में नये सिरे से काम करना मुश्किल है हमारे लिए।भारतीय भाषाओं के युवा रचनाकार,आलोचक इस अधूरे काम को पूरा कर दें तो रवींद्र ही नहीं,भारत और भारतीय दर्शन परंपरा को समझने,विविधता,बहुलता और सहिष्णुता की परंपरा को मजबूत करने में मदद मिलेगी।मेरे पास न वक्त है और न संसाधन।
उत्तर भारत में रवींद्र नाथ के साथ मिर्जा गालिब,अमीर खुसरो, प्रेमचंद, पाश जैसे रचनाकारों के खिलाफ संघ परिवार के फतवे और पाठ्यक्रम बदलकर साहित्य और इतिहास को बदलने के केसरिया उपक्रम के खिलाफ साहित्यिक सांस्कृतिक जगत में अनंत सन्नाटा है।
इसके विपरीत बंगाल में इसके खिलाफ बहुत तीखी प्रतिक्रिया है रही है और संस्कृतिकर्मी सड़कों पर उतरने लगे हैं।
गायपट्टी के केसरिया मीडिया के विपरीत बंगाल के सबसे लोकप्रिय दैनिक भी इस मुहिम में शामिल है।बाकी मीडिया भी हिंदुत्वकरण के खिलाफ लामबंद है।
आज ही आनंदबाजार में नवजागरण के मार्फत विशुद्धता के हिंदुत्व पर कुठाराघात करने वाले ईश्वरचंद्र विद्यासागर का वसीयतनामा छपा है,जिसमें उन्होंने अपने पुत्र को त्याग देने की घोषणा की है।उन्होंने परिवार और महानगर कोलकाता छोड़कर आखिरी वक्त आदिवासी गांव और समाज में बिताया।
नवजागरण की विरासत में शामिल विद्यासागर,राजा राममोहन राय,माइकेल मधुसूदन दत्त के सामाजिक सुधारों के चलते भारतीय समाज आधुनिक बना है,उदार और प्रगतिशील भी।
माइकेल के मेघनाद वध काव्य और रवींद्रनाथ के खिलाफ संघियों ने बंगाल में घृणा अभियान चलाने की कोशिश की तो उसका तीव्र प्रतिरोध हुआ।लेकिन बाकी भारत में साहित्य,संस्कृति और इतिहास के केसरियाकरण की कोई प्रतिक्रिया नहीं है।
मैंने इससे पहले लिखा है कि बंगाली दिनचर्या में रवींद्रनाथ की उपस्थिति अनिवार्य सी है, जाति, धर्म, वर्ग, राष्ट्र, राजनीति के सारे अवरोधों के आर पार रवींद्र बांग्लाभाषियों के लिए सार्वभौम हैं, लेकिन बंगाली होने से ही लोग रवींद्र के जीवन दर्शन को समझते होंगे, ऐसी प्रत्याशा करना मुश्किल है।
इसके बावजूद संघ परिवार के रवींद्र और दूसरे भारतीय लेखकों के खिलाफ,साहित्य और संस्कृति के केसरियाकरण खिलाफ जो तीव्र प्रतिक्रिया हो रही है,उससे साफ जाहिर है कि संस्कृति विद्वतजनों की बपौती नहीं है।
बत्रा साहेब की मेहरबानी है कि उन्होंने फासिज्म के प्रतिरोध में खड़े भारत के महान रचनाकारों को चिन्हित कर दिया।इन प्रतिबंधित रचनाकारों में कोई जीवित और सक्रिय रचनाकार नहीं है तो इससे साफ जाहिर है कि संघ परिवार के नजरिये से भी उनके हिंदुत्व के प्रतिरोध में कोई समकालीन रचनाकार नहीं है।
उन्हीं मृत रचनाकारों को प्रतिबंधित करने के संघ परिवार के कार्यक्रम के बारे में समकालीन रचनाकारों की चुप्पी उनकी विचारधारा,उनकी प्रतिबद्धता और उनकी रचनाधर्मिता को अभिव्यक्त करती है।
गौरतलब है कि मुक्तिबोध पर अभी हिंदुत्व जिहादियों की कृपा नहीं हुई है।शायद उन्हें समझना हर किसी के बस में नहीं है,गोबरपंथियों के लिए तो वे अबूझ ही हैं।
गौरतलब है कि मुक्तिबोध पर अभी हिंदुत्व जिहादियों की कृपा नहीं हुई है।शायद उन्हें समझना हर किसी के बस में नहीं है,गोबरपंथियों के लिए तो वे अबूझ ही हैं।अगर कांटेट के लिहाज से देखें तो फासिजम के राजकाज के लिए सबसे खतरनाक मुक्तिबोध है,जो वर्गीय ध्रूवीकरण की बात अपनी कविताओं में कहते हैं और उनका अंधेरा फासिज्म का अखंड आतंकाकारी चेहरा है।शायद महामहिम बत्रा महोदय ने अभी मुक्तबोध को कायदे से पढ़ा नहीं है।
बत्रा साहेब की कृपा से जो प्रतिबंधित हैं,उनमें रवींद्र,गांधी,प्रेमचंद,पाश, गालिब को समझना भी गोबरपंथियों के लिए असंभव है।
जिन गोस्वामी तुलसीदास के रामचरित मानस के रामराज्य और मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम को कैंद्रित यह मनुस्मृति सुनामी है,उन्हें भी वे कितना समझते होंगे,इसका भी अंदाजा लगाना मुश्किल है।
कबीर दास और सूरदास लोक में रचे बसे भारत के सबसे बड़े सार्वजनीन कवि हैं,जिनके बिना भारतीयता की कल्पना असंभव है और देश के हर हिस्से में जिनका असर है। मध्यभारत में तो कबीर को गाने की वैसी ही संस्कृति है,जैसे बंगाल में रवींद्र नाथ को गाने की है और उसी मध्यभारत में हिंदुत्व के सबसे मजबूत गढ़ और आधार है।
ঠিকই তো, সংঘের পক্ষে রবীন্দ্রনাথকে হজম করা অসম্ভব
নিষিদ্ধ করলেন না?
না — মেনে নেওয়া যাচ্ছে না। রবীন্দ্রনাথের এই হাঁড়ির হাল মেনে নেওয়া অসম্ভব। কী করি! দীননাথ বত্রাকে একটা ফোন করব? বলব, মশাই দেখুন একটু, আপনিই পারেন আমাদের বাঁচাতে! এই তো সে দিন আপনি বললেন, রবীন্দ্রনাথের লেখা স্কুল সিলেবাস থেকে বাদ দেওয়া হবে। কেন তবে আপনার কথা না শুনে ওরা এখন পিছু হটছে? কেন মিথ্যে করে বলছে, আপনার শিক্ষা সংস্কৃতি উত্থান ন্যাসকে না কি আরএসএস-এর অংশ বলা যায় না? সে দিন আবার শুনলাম, পশ্চিমবঙ্গের আরএসএস ক্যাপটেন বিদ্যুৎ মুখুজ্জে বলছেন, অমন কথা নাকি ন্যাস বলেনি। দেখুন তো, কী কাণ্ড, সাজিয়ে গুছিয়ে দিনকে রাত করে রবি ঠাকুরকে লাস্ট মোমেন্টে বাঁচিয়ে দেওয়া? না, এ সব সহ্যের অতীত! আপনার উচিত, সোজা মাঠে নেমে ব্যাপারটা নিজে সামলানো। শুধু রবীন্দ্রনাথের লেখাপত্র নয়, রবীন্দ্রনাথ নামে লোকটাকেই এক ধাক্কায় নিষিদ্ধ করে দেওয়া। এর পর থেকে যেন ওঁকে 'বিপ'ঠাকুর ছাড়া আর কিছু না বলা হয়।
স্কুল সিলেবাসের বইপত্র খুঁটিয়ে পড়ে গোলমেলে জিনিসগুলো বাদ দেওয়ার দায়িত্ব পড়েছিল বত্রা মশাই-এর উপর। তিনি একটা পাঁচ-পাতা জোড়া লম্বা নিষেধাজ্ঞা ফিরিস্তি বানিয়ে দিয়েছেন, মির্জা গালিব, এম এফ হুসেন, আকবর, আওরঙ্গজেব, আমির খুসরু, কত নাম তাতে। এই বৃহৎ ও সমৃদ্ধ লাল-তালিকাটির বেশ উপরের দিকেই ছিলেন রবি ঠাকুর। কে জানে এখন কী অবস্থা, বকুনি খেয়ে নামটা তালিকা থেকে কাটা যাচ্ছে কি না! অথচ ন্যাস-প্রধান ওরফে সংঘ-নেতা বত্রা তো ঠিকই ধরেছিলেন, সংঘীয় জাতীয়তাবাদ আর বিজেপীয় হিন্দুত্ববাদের ঘোর শত্রু বলে যদি বিশ শতকের ভারত থেকে মাত্র একটি লোককেও বেছে নিতে বলা হয়, প্রথম নামটাই হওয়া উচিত রবীন্দ্রনাথ। আরএসএস-ই যদি রবীন্দ্রনাথকে বাদ না দেয়, আর কে দেবে? উচিত তো ছিল, এখনই জোড়াসাঁকো শান্তিনিকেতন সব ব্যারিকেড দিয়ে ঘিরে দেওয়া, নোটিস সেঁটে দেওয়া— ডেঞ্জার জোন, নো এনট্রি ইত্যাদি। এমনিতেই বাঙালির গোটা তিনেক প্রজন্ম ইতিমধ্যে রবীন্দ্রনাথের কুপ্রভাবে ফর্দাফাঁই। এখনই সাবধান না হলে মানবতাবাদ ইত্যাদি হাবিজাবি দিয়ে আরও কত সুকুমারমতি বালকবলিকার ব্রেনওয়াশ হবে, কে জানে!
Ads by Datawrkz
নিষিদ্ধ করতে গিয়ে বত্রা 'ন্যাশনালিজম'প্রবন্ধের যে বাক্যগুলি বেছেছেন, সেগুলো কিন্তু মোক্ষম। পড়লেই ভারতের সব সংঘবাদী বুঝে যাবেন, কী বিপজ্জনক লোককে এত দিন মাথায় তোলা হচ্ছিল। সত্যি তো, যে লোকটা এক গোঁ ধরে লিখে যায় যে, জাতীয়তাবাদ আর মানবতাবাদের মধ্যে প্রবল বিরোধিতা আছে, আর তাই মানবতাবাদকে বাদ দিয়ে যে জাতীয়তাবাদটা পড়ে থাকে, সেটা সাংঘাতিক বিপজ্জনক— তাকে কি এক্ষুনি 'বিপ'করা উচিত না? দীননাথ বত্রা মশাইয়ের মতামতটাই ধরা যাক না কেন। ২০১৪ সালে গুজরাতের জন্য গোটা ছয়েক টেক্সট বই লিখেছিলেন তিনি। সেখানে প্রাচীন ভারতের অসামান্য কৃতিত্বের অজানা সব তথ্য পরিবেশন করেছিলেন, সংঘীয় মতে যাতে নতুন প্রজন্ম সুশিক্ষিত হয়। লিখেছিলেন, প্রাচীন ভারতই প্রথম গাড়ি আবিষ্কার করে, বিমানও। এমনকী রকেটও। গোটা বিশ্বের জ্ঞানভাণ্ডার প্রাচীন ভারত থেকেই টুকলি করা বলে অন্য কোনও দেশের সংস্কৃতি, জ্ঞানবিজ্ঞান না জান়লেই চলে, এ কথাই কত সুন্দর করে বুঝিয়েছিলেন বত্রা। আর সেখানে দেখুন, রবীন্দ্রনাথ কী জিনিস। আজ কেন, সেই পরাধীন দেশেও প্রাচীন ভারতের জয়গান তাঁর সহ্য হয়নি, এমনকী গ্যালভানিক ব্যাটারি যে গল্বন ঋষির আবিষ্কার, সেই মহান্ সত্যটি নিয়েও তিনি ব্যঙ্গবিদ্রুপ করে প্রবন্ধ লিখেছিলেন, অহো, কী দুঃসহ স্পর্ধা! আবার, গাঁধীজির অসহযোগ নীতিকেও তিনি পাত্তা দেননি, স্বাধীনতা আর আত্মশক্তির নামে বেশি বেশি স্বদেশিপনা তাঁর না-পসন্দ্। স্বদেশি আন্দোলনের পিছনপানে চাওয়া দেশপ্রেম তাঁর পোষাচ্ছিল না বলে লিখেছিলেন: 'আমাদের অতীত তাহার সম্মোহনবাণ দিয়া আমাদের ভবিষ্যৎকে আক্রমণ করিয়াছে।'তাঁর কড়া সমালোচনা শুনে গাঁধী বা দেশবন্ধুর মতো নেতারা কেবল তর্ক করে পার পাননি, নিজেদের মত চুপচাপ খানিক পাল্টেও নিয়েছিলেন। রবীন্দ্রনাথের পাল্লায় পড়ে তাঁদের জাতীয়তাবাদের জানলাগুলো একটু খুলে দিতে হয়েছিল, ভারতীয়ত্ব বস্তুটিকে একটু বড় করে দেখতে হয়েছিল। দেখুন কাণ্ড। গাঁধী যাঁকে সামলাতে পারেননি, বত্রাদের আগমার্কা জাতীয়তার সিলেবাসে তাঁর নামের পাশে লালকালির ঢ্যাঁড়া পড়বে না, এও কি হয়?
তাঁর জাতীয়তাবাদ-বিরোধিতা শুনে সে দিন বিদেশেও লোকজনের চোখ কপালে। এই তো ঠিক একশো বছর আগে, ১৯১৬-১৭ সালে কী কাণ্ডই না হল তাঁর 'জাতীয়তাবাদ'বক্তৃতা নিয়ে, আমেরিকা জাপান চিনে! আমেরিকা সফরের পর বলাবলি হল, ছেলেপিলের মাথা খাচ্ছেন প্রাচ্যের সাধু-টাইপ লোকটি, নয়তো কেউ বলতে পারে, জাতি নিয়ে গর্ব করাটা আসলে 'ইনসাল্ট টু হিউম্যানিটি'? চিনে রটে গেল, একটা পরাধীন হতভাগ্য দেশের মানুষ বলেই এই ভারতীয় কবি অমন মিনমিনে, কেবল শান্তি ঐক্য এই সব ন্যাকা-কথা। জাপানে যখন তিনি পৌঁছলেন, ভিড়ে ভিড়াক্কার। আর সফরশেষে, তাঁর জাতীয়তাবাদ-তর্জন শোনার পর ফেরার দিন বিদায় দিতে এলেন মাত্র জনা দুই-তিন! তাদের মতে, দেশ ও জাতির জন্য কাজ যে লড়াই দিয়েই শুরু করতে হয়, সেটাও লোকটা বোঝে না। বড় বড় চিন্তাবিদরা এ দিকে রবীন্দ্রনাথের কথা শুনে মুগ্ধ, সে-ও ভারী বিপদ! টেগোর না কি ভবিষ্যৎ-দ্রষ্টা, prescient! আর দেশের মাটিতে জওহরলাল নেহরু কী বললেন, সেটা নিশ্চয়ই বত্রাদের মনে করাতে হবে না! নেহরুর মতে, রবীন্দ্রনাথ হলেন 'ইন্টারন্যাশনালিস্ট পার এক্সেলেন্স', শ্রেষ্ঠ আন্তর্জাতিকতাবাদী, যিনি একাই ভারতের জাতীয়তাবাদের ভিতটাকে চওড়া করে দিয়েছেন!—জাতীয়তাবাদের ভিত চওড়া! তবেই বুঝুন! নেহরুকে মোদীরা নির্বাসন দিলেন, আর নেহরুর রবীন্দ্রনাথকে এখনও দিলেন না?
একটা সন্দেহ হচ্ছে। সিলেবাসে 'ন্যাশনালিজম'লেখাটি ছিল বলে ওইটাই বত্রা ব্রিগেড বেশি করে খেয়াল করেছেন। কিন্তু ভদ্রলোকের সব লেখাই যে আরএসএস-এর 'বিপ'পাওয়ার যোগ্য, সেটা এখনও ওঁরা বোঝেননি! আরে মশাই, একটু উল্টে দেখুন ভারতবর্ষীয় সমাজ, হিন্দু-মুসলমান নিয়ে প্রবন্ধগুলো, গোরা, ঘরে বাইরে, উপন্যাস ক'টা। খেয়াল করে দেখুন গাদা গাদা গান-কবিতায় কী সব বলেছেন উনি। শুধু জাতীয়তাবাদ নয়, হিন্দু ভারত ব্যাপারটাই মানেন না ভদ্রলোক! আর্য-অনার্য-হিন্দু-মুসলমান-শক-হূণ-পাঠান-মোগল, সব নিয়ে নাকি ভারত বানাতে হবে, এই তাঁর আবদার। জাতিভেদ, বর্ণাশ্রম তো একদম উড়িয়ে দিয়েছেন। কত বড় দুঃসাহস যে বলেছেন, ব্রাহ্মণরা যেন মন শুচি করে তবেই এগিয়ে আসেন 'ভারততীর্থ'তৈরির কাজে। স্পষ্টাস্পষ্টি বলেছেন, আর্য দ্রাবিড় হিন্দু মুসলমান ইত্যাদি 'বিরুদ্ধতার সম্মিলন যেখানে হইয়াছে সেখানেই সৌন্দর্য জাগিয়াছে।'ভারতবর্ষ বলতে মিলন মিশ্রণ সম্মিলন— ঘ্যানঘ্যান করে সেই এক কথা, সারা জীবন। রাষ্ট্র বলতেই যদি একচালা একরঙা কিছু তৈরি হয়, সেই ভয়ে সমানে বলে গিয়েছেন, ছোট ছোট সমাজ নিজেরাই রাষ্ট্র গড়বে, ছোট গ্রাম, ছোট পল্লি, ছোট গোষ্ঠী, সম্প্রদায়।— এ সব পড়লে বত্রা-রা পারবেন স্থির থাকতে? রাষ্ট্রীয় স্বয়ংসেবক সংঘের সেবক তাঁরা, তাঁরা না শপথ নিয়েছেন যে তাঁদের রাষ্ট্র মহৎ বৃহৎ হিন্দু রাষ্ট্র, উচ্চবর্ণের পবিত্র ব্রাহ্মণ্য হিন্দুত্ব ছাড়া সব সেখানে অশুচি, অগ্রাহ্য এবং হন্তব্য? তাঁদের ভারতবর্ষ আর রবীন্দ্র ঠাকুরের ভারতবর্ষের মধ্যে এ রকম মুখোমুখি সোজাসুজি সংঘর্ষ, তবু লালকালির ঢ্যাঁড়া পড়বে না? যিনি বলেন 'মুক্ত যেথা শির', যিনি 'তুচ্ছ আচারের মরুবালুরাশি'তে এত কাঁড়ি কাঁড়ি আপত্তি তোলেন, এই নতুন গোরক্ষক ভারত সে লোকের মাথায় ঘোল ঢেলে বিদেয় দেবে না?
শুধু লেখাপত্র নয়, লোকটার গোটাটাই বেদম গোলমেলে। নিজের বেঁচে থাকাটাই কেমন একটা ভাঙাভাঙি দিয়ে গড়া। বাড়িটাও কেমনধারা, এক দিকে বেম্মপনা, অন্য দিকে বিলিতি দোআঁশলাপনা, গানবাজনায় বিলিতি ছাপ, পোশাকআশাকে মুসলমানি আদল। আর তিনি নিজে? কোনও একটা ছাঁচে তাঁকে কেউ না ফেলতে পারে, এই হল তাঁর জীবনভ'র লড়াই। আইডেন্টিটি দেখলেই সেটাকে ভেঙেচুরে নতুন করে গড়ে নাও, তবেই না কি বিশ্বমানবের দিকে এগিয়ে যাওয়া— আরে, সংঘবাদের সাক্ষাৎ অ্যান্টিথিসিস তো এই লোকটাই! দিবে আর নিবে, মেলাবে মিলিবে, কথাটার মধ্যে কী সাংঘাতিক অন্তর্ঘাত, ভেবে দেখেছেন এক বার? তাই বলছিলাম, নতুন ভারততীর্থে রবীন্দ্রনাথ মানুষটাকেই নিষিদ্ধ করা হোক।
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हगने पर जीएसटीलगाने का अजब गजब स्वच्छता अभियान नमामि गंगे!नमामि ब्रह्मपुत्र!
नोटबंदी की वजह से बाजार में प्रचलित सारे नोट बैंकों में जमा हो जाने के बाद बैंकों के लिए भारी संकट खड़ा हो गया है।नोटबंदी और जीएसटी की दुहरी मार की वजह से बैंको से यह भारी नकदी निकल नहीं रहा है,जिसे निकालने के लिए सीधे बचत खाते पर हमला बोल दिया है कारपोरेट हिंदुत्व की जनविरोधी सरकार ने।बीमा बाजार से लिंकड है।अल्प बचत योजनाओं के ब्याज में पहले ही कटोती कर दी गयी है।अब बचत खाते पर इस कुठाराघात के बाद बचत खाते के ब्याज पर जिंदगी गुजारने के लिए मजबूर बेरोजगार लोगों के लिए किसानों की तरह खुदकशी के अलावा बाकी कोई विकल्प बचा नहीं है।संसद सत्र के दौरान इतने बड़े जनविरोधी राजकाज के खिलाफ सन्नाटा बताता है कि इस देश में जो करोड़पति नहीं हैं,उन्हें जीने का कोई हक नहीं है।
बहुजन,अल्पसंख्यक स्त्री उत्पीड़न ताड़न वध संस्कृति के मनुस्मृति नस्ली रामराज्य में भुखमरी और बेरोजगारी का विकसित डिजिटल इंडिया की मुनाफावसूली के सांढो़ं और भालुओं की मुनाफावासूली अर्थव्यवस्था अनंत बेदखली,निरंतर नरसंहार के हजारों आर्थिक सुधार के बावजूद नोटबंदी औरजीएसटी की वजह से मंदी का शिकार है।इस मंदी से उबरने के लिए वित्त और रक्षा मंत्रालयों के कारपोरेट वकील का नूस्खा है मरों हुओं पर निरंतर कुठाराघात और लाशों के बाल नोंचर कर्ज का बोझ हल्का करना ताकि लाखों करोड़ का न्यारा वारा पनामा पतंजलि कारोबार जिओ जिओ डिजिटल इंडिया मालामाल लाटरी बन जाये मुकम्मल कैसिनो।
डिजिटल इंडिया जिओ जिओ अप्पो अप्पो है तो चचीन के खिलाफ अंखड युद्ध मंत्र जाप ,होम यज्ञ वैदिकी अनुष्ठान के बावजूद उत्तराखंड में चीनी घुसपैठ पर मौन है और कहा जा रहा है कि यह मामूली दिनचर्या है भारत चीन सीमा की।असंवैधानिक आहलूवालिया समय के बाद अब डोभाल राजनय है और विदेश मंत्रालय शोपीस है।हवाई उड़ान का अमेरिकी इजराइली राष्ट्रीय संप्रभुता और स्वतंत्रता है और जयश्रीराम राष्ट्रवाद की पनामा पतंजलि सुनामी का विशुध सवर्ण हिंदुत्व समय है।जनता राष्ट्रद्रोही है और लोकतंत्र राष्ट्रद्रोह है।साहित्य संस्कृति इतिहास निषिद्ध है तो अभिव्यक्ति कारपोरेट।
हगने पर भी जीएसटी लगाने वाली सुनहले दिनों के प्रधान सेवक की रामराज्य सरकार के हजारों आर्थिक सुधारों के मध्य हर जनविरोधी नीतिगत करतब की बलिहारी।ज्नम चाहे जिस पहचान के साथ हो,हिंदुत्व में निष्णात हर भारतीय देशभक्त नागरिक का परम कर्तव्य है कि चाहे सर कट जाये,छिन्नमस्ता की तरह अपना ही खून पीते हुए जय श्री राम का नारा वैसे ही लगाते रहे जैसे रवींद्र पर प्रतिबंध प्रस्ताव के खिलाप बंगाल का प्रगतिशील बांग्ला राष्ट्रवाद नये सिरे से बंकिम और उनके आनंदमठ का महिमामंडन करने लगा है।गैर बंगाल साहित्य,संस्कृति और इतिहास के केसरियाकरण पर उसे कोई ऐतराज नहीं है।
इस खंडित पहचान और खंडित राष्ट्रवाद की कोई नागरिकता नहीं होती है।
हम राष्ट्रवाद का ढोल नगाड़ा चाहे जितना पीटे,सच यही है कि अंग्रेज जो खंडित देश हमारे लिए छोड़ गये हैं,उस टुकड़ा टुकड़ा करने का राष्ट्रवाद हम जी रहे हैं।
अब भी हम कोई राष्ट्र नहीं है।
डिजिटल इंडिया का मुक्तबाजार अब विकसित राष्ट्र है और विकसित राष्ट्र में बैंकों में जमा पर ब्याज के बदले टैक्स देना पड़ा है।वही हो रहा है।बहुत जल्दी बैंकों में जमा रखने के लिए आपको बैंको को भुगतान करना होगा।ब्याज की भूल जाइये।
भविष्यनिधि का ब्याज चौदह प्रतिशत से गिरकर आठ फीसद हो गया है तो इस हिसाब से बैंकों में बचतखातों पर ब्याज तो शून्य हो जाना चाहिए।
हुआ नहीं तो खैर मनाइये।हो गया तो जयश्रीराम का नारा लगाकर अपने को देशभक्त साबित करने में देर न लगाइये,वरना राष्ट्रद्रोही समझे जाओगे।मारे जाओगे।
बैंकों के बचत खाते में एक करोड़ जमावाले कितने लोग हैं और कौन लोग हैं,पनामा सूची की तरह यह जानकारी सार्वजनिक हो जाये तो कोई नवाज शरीफ जैसा धमाका होने वाला नहीं है।
भारत में करोड़पति और अरबपति कितने लोग हैं और उनमें कितने किसान,कितने मेहनतकश,कितने बहुजन,कितने अल्पसंख्यक,कितने आदिवासी ,कितने पिछड़े और कितने दलित हैं,यह आंकड़ा मिल जाये, तो रामराज्य के सुनहले दिनों का तिलिस्म खुल जाये।
बहरहाल भारतीय जनता के वोटों से जनप्रतिनिधि ग्राम प्रधान, कौंसिलर, विधायक, सांसद, मंत्री,वगैरह वगैरह का समूचा राजनीतिक वर्ग करोड़ पतियों और अरबपतियों का है और विकसित मुक्तबाजार राष्ट्र का असल चेहरा यही है,जिसमें खेत खलिहान , जल ,जंगल, जमीन,गांव,देहात,जनपद सारे के सारे सिरे से गायब है।
जाहिर है कि बंगाल और केरल के अलावा संसद सत्र जारी रहने के बावजूद कहीं कोई हल्ला इसे लेकर उसीतरह नहीं हो रहा है जैसे दार्जिलिंग को लेकर भारत सरकार,भारत की सत्ता राजनीति और संसद मौन है।
फिर नीतीशे कुमार का दावा सही है कि प्रधान स्वयंसेवक को चुनौती देना वाला कोई माई का लाल हिंदी हिंदू हिंदुस्तान के इस अखंड हिंदुत्व समय में नहीं है।56 इंच का सीना 16 मई,2017 के बाद अब कुल कितना इंच चौड़ा हो गया है कि उसके घेरे में मुंह छुपाने के लिए हर क्षत्रप का मन आकुल व्याकुल है,यह भी शायद नीतीशे कुमार बता सकेंगे।
बहरहाल बुनियादी जरुरतें और बुनियादी सेवाएं बाजार केे हवाले करने वाली,सारे कायदे कानून खत्म करने वाली ,अनंत बेदखली के डिजिटल इंडिया की सरकार जय श्रीराम के नारे के साथ अपने अश्वमेध अभियान को कैसे नरसंहार उत्सव में बदल रही है,कल एक झटके के साथ बैंक बचत खाते पर ब्याज एक करोड़ से कम जमाराशि पर चालू चार प्रतिशत के बदले साढ़े तीन प्रतिशत करने और रसोई गैस सब्सिडी खत्म करने के लिए हर महीने सब्सिडी वाली रसोई गैस की कीमत चार रुपये की दर से बढाने के मरों हुओं पर कुठारा घात की कार्रवाई से साफ जाहिर है।
जी नहीं,इस पर ताज्जुब मत कीजिये।मुक्तबाजार की महिमा में मनुष्य सिर्फ आधार नंबर है।इस नंबर के बिना उसका कोई वजूद नहीं है।
हमारे बच्चों के पास आधार नंबर नहीं है,तो वह कभी भी कहीं भी मुठभेड़ या लिंचिंग में मारा जायेगा और जिंदा भी रहा तो पुरखों की संपत्ति से बेदखल हो जायेगा क्योंकि उसका बाकी कोई पहचान आधार के सिवाय मान्य नहीं है।
आप उसे कुछ भी हस्तांतरित नहीं कर सकते।
आधार नंबर हुआ तो जिस सब्सिडी के हस्तातंरण के ट्रिकलिंग विकास के लिए आधार औचित्य बताया गया है,वह सब्सिडी अब पूरी तरह खत्म है।बाकी रोजगार की कोई सूरत नहीं है।भविष्य अंधकार है।नीले शार्क के शिकार का खेल ही उसका बचा खुचा जीवन है या फिर बजरंगी सैनिक बनकर लिंचिंग उसका एकमेव रोजगार है।
भालुओं और सांढों के उछलकूद की अर्थव्यवस्था नोटबंदी और जीएसटी की दोहरी मार से मंदी का शिकार है।पंद्रह लाख बेरोजगार सिर्फ नोटबंदी की वजह से।अमेरिका परस्ती के विनिवेश,निजीकरण और आटोमेशन से बाकी फिजां छंटनी छंटनी है।जीएसटी के कारपोरेट एकाधिकार के बाद कारोबार में कितने आम लोग जिंदा बचेंगे,कहना मुश्किल है।उत्पादन प्रणाली ठप है।
विकास का मतलब बाजार का अनंत विस्तार।
बाजार का मतलब निरंकुश मुनाफावसूली है।
हिंदुत्व के इस कारपोरेट राज में जयश्रीराम के नारों के साथ मुनाफावसूली का चाकचौबंद इंतजाम ही राजकाज और वित्त प्रबंधन,राजनय है।
डोकलाम पर चीन के मुकाबले युद्ध की चुनौती खड़ा करने के बाद देहरादून से सिर्फ 140 किमी दूर उत्तराखंड के चमोलीजिले में 25 जुलाई को बाराहोती में चीनी घुसपैठ पर अखंड मौन है डोभाल राजनय है।भारत चीन सीमा के इस इलाके में 1962 की लड़ाई के वक्त भी चीन का दावा नहीं था।सन् 2000 के भारत चीन द्विपक्षीय समझौते के बाद इस इलाके की सुरक्षा भारतीय अर्द्ध सैनिक बल भारत तिब्बत सीमा पुलिस के हवाले है।अब चीनी घुसपैठ तब हो रही है जब डिजिटल इंडिया जिओ जिओ अप्पो अप्पो है और कारपोरेट कंपनियों की सरकार की सर्वोच्च प्राथमिकता कारपोरेट हितो की राजनय है।
सबसे पहले भड़ासी बाबा यशवंत ने यह खबर शौचालय के बिल के साथ ब्रेक की थी।अब गोपाल राठी ने इसपर मंतव्य किया है तो भक्तजन तिलमिला रहे हैं और उनमें अनेक लोग जीएसटी स्लैब में शौचालय टैक्स न होने का हवाला देकर राठी को तमगा दे रहे हैं।हमें ताज्जुब है कि भड़ासी बाबा के पोस्ट पर कोई हल्ला नहीं हुआ और न तब किसी भक्त ने कुछ मंतव्य करना जरुरी समझा।
हिंदू राष्ट्र की पैदल बजरंगी सेना के कितने लोगों के बचत खाते में एक करोड़ से ज्यादा जमा है और उन पर बैंक के ब्याज दरों में कटौती का कोई असर नहीं है,हमें नहीं मालूम है।
करसुधार का मजा यही है कि आम जनता को मालूम नहीं पड़ता कि पेशेवर जेबकतरे की तरह उसकी चुनी हुई सरकार कैसे उसकी जेब पर उस्तरा चलाकर सारा माल माफिया गिरोह की मुनाफावसूली में शामिल करके देश के विकास और देशभक्ति की गुहार लगाकर शिकार जन गण को जयकारा लगाने का काम कर देती रही है।अब आप शौचालय टैक्स पर शोध करते रहिये।
गोपाल राठी ने लिखा हैः
हगने पर GST
शौचालय जाने पर जीएसटी वसूलने वाले आज़ादी के बाद के पहले प्रधानमंत्री बने मोदी। पंजाब में रोडवेज बस स्टैंड पर सुलभ शौचालय की रसीद है ये। 5 रुपये शौच करने का चार्ज और एक रुपया जीएसटी। कुल 6 रुपये। महंगाई इतनी, गरीब खा न पाए, और, अगर हगने जाए तो टैक्स लिया जाए। उधर बिहार में हगने गए कई सारे गांव वालों को गिरफ्तार कर लिया गया, क्या तो कि खेत मे, खुले में, क्यों हग के गन्दगी फैला रहे हो। बेचारे सोच रहे होंगे कि इससे अच्छा तो अंग्रेजों और मुगलों का राज था। कम से कम चैन से, बिना टैक्स के, हग तो पाते थे।
यह धरती मनुष्य अथवा मवेशियों के मल से नहीं, अपितु पोइलथिन, पेट्रोल, डीज़ल, कारखानों के धुएं अथवा वातानुकूलित संयंत्रों की गैस से दूषित होती है। और भी कई कारक हैं, मैने कुछ गिनाए। इन प्रदूषक तत्वों के लिए अमेरिका, चीन जैसे देश और भारत मे अम्बानी, अडानी जैसे उत्तरदायी हैं। खुले में शौच जाने वालों से पहले इन पर रोक लगाओ। बात बाहर या भीतर शौच जाने की नहीं , अपितु टट्टी के सदुपयोग की है हंसिये मत। गांधी जी यही करते थे। वह मैले से खाद बनाते थे। पुरानी कहावत भी है :-
गोबर, टट्टी और खली
इससे खेती दुगनी फली
मजे की बात यह है कि सरकार ये मानने को तैयार नहीं है कि नोटबंदी की वजह से इकोनॉमी की रफ्तार धीमी हुई है। और ना ही ये मानने को तैयार है कि रोजगार के मोर्चे पर सरकार नाकाम रही है। तीन साल में सरकार की उपलब्धियां बताते समय वित्त मंत्री अरुण जेटली ने जीएसटी को लेकर भी कई बातें साफ कर दीं।
भले ही जीडीपी की रफ्तार सुस्त पड़ गई हो। भले ही लगातार छंटनी की खबरें आ रही हों, लेकिन सरकार मानती है कि तीन साल में उसने अच्छा काम किया है। वित्त मंत्री के मुताबिक सबसे बड़ी उपलब्धि तो यही है कि भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था पर लोगों और निवेशकों का भरोसा फिर कायम हुआ है। वित्त मंत्री ये भी मानने को तैयार नहीं कि नोटबंदी ने चौथी तिमाही में ग्रोथ घटा दी।
जब सवाल रोजगार का आया तो एक बार फिर उन्होंने जॉबलेस ग्रोथ के आरोप को सिरे से खारिज करते हुए इसे राजनैतिक जुमला करार दिया। इस मौके पर वित्त मंत्री ने साफ किया कि न तो जीएसटी लागू करने की तारीख बदलेगी, न दरें। वित्त मंत्री के सामने दो और सवाल रखे गए। बूचड़खानों के लिए मवेशियों की बिक्री पर रोक और किसानों की कर्ज माफी। वित्त मंत्री ने कहा दोनों मामलों पर फैसला राज्यों को करना है।
मीडिया के मुताबिक जून महीने में देश के 8 बुनियादी उद्योगों (कोर सेक्टर) की ग्रोथ रेट कम होकर 0.4 फीसदी हो गई। पिछले साल जून महीने में 8 बुनियादी सेक्टर का ग्रोथ रेट 7 फीसदी थी। आठ बुनियादी सेक्टर में कोयला, कच्चा तेल, प्राकृतिक गैस, रिफायनरी प्रॉडक्ट्स, फर्टिलाइजर, इस्पात, सीमेंट और बिजली उत्पादन शामिल है।
बिजनेस स्टैंडर्ट के मुताबिक नीति आयोग के उपाध्यक्ष अरविंद पानगडिय़ा ने गत सप्ताह कहा कि देश 8 फीसदी की वृद्घि दर की राह पर है और वर्ष 2017-18 के दौरान ही वह 7.5 फीसदी की दर हासिल कर सकता है। उन्होंने माना कि रोजगार सृजन एक चुनौती बना हुआ है लेकिन इसके साथ ही उन्होंने कहा कि वित्त वर्ष की अंतिम तिमाही आते-आते अर्थव्यवस्था 8 फीसदी की वृद्घि दर छूने लगेगी। यह आकलन जरूरत से ज्यादा आशावादी नजर आता है क्योंकि हालिया अतीत में हमारी अर्थव्यवस्था को एक के बाद एक कई झटके लगे हैं।
देश का औद्योगिक उत्पादन सूचकांक (आईआईपी) अस्थिर रहा है। पिछले महीने इन आंकड़ों में महज 1.7 फीसदी की वृद्घि देखने को मिली थी। इसे मजबूत सुधार का संकेत तो नहीं माना जा सकता। आईआईपी को उच्च आवृत्ति वाले संकेतक के रूप में इस्तेमाल करने को लेकर चाहे जो विचार हो लेकिन तथ्य यही है कि यह काफी समय से निम्र स्तर पर बना हुआ है। खासतौर पर टिकाऊ उपभोक्ता वस्तुओं और पूंजीगत वस्तुओं से जुड़े सूचकांक की बात करें तो ऐसा ही है। इससे तो यही संकेत मिलता है कि हमारा औद्योगिक क्षेत्र विकास का वाहक बनने के मामले में संघर्षरत ही रहेगा।
जहां तक सेवा क्षेत्र की बात है तो अब तक यह स्पष्टï नहीं है कि नोटबंदी के झटके से उबर रही अर्थव्यवस्था मध्यम अवधि में वस्तु एवं सेवा कर (जीएसटी) को लेकर क्या प्रतिक्रिया देगी। यह उम्मीद की जानी चाहिए कि लंबी अवधि में जीएसटी वृद्घि के लिए सकारात्मक साबित होगा लेकिन कुछ ही लोगों को उम्मीद है कि यह बदलाव बिना किसी खास कीमत के आएगा। यह कीमत आने वाली तिमाहियों में वृद्घि के आंकड़ों में भी नजर आ सकती है। अर्थव्यवस्था की जटिलता को देखते हुए और जीएसटी के लिए जरूरी गहरे बदलाव के असर को देखते हुए कहा जा सकता है कि इसके अल्पकालिक या मध्यम अवधि के असर को लेकर कोई भी अनुमान लगाना ठीक नहीं है। खासतौर पर सेवा क्षेत्र पर इसके असर की बात करें तो वहां असंगठित काम ज्यादा है। जाहिर है इसके भी वृद्घि का वाहक होने की संभावना कम ही है। ऐसे में कम से कम फिलहाल 8 फीसदी की वृद्घि दर का अनुमान उचित नहीं प्रतीत होता।
पिछले महीने मई में कोर सेक्टर के उत्पादन में 4.1 फीसदी की वृद्धि दर्ज की गई थी।
आठ बुनियादी सेक्टर के ग्रोथ रेट से देश की अर्थव्यवस्था की हालत का अंदाजा लगाया जाता है। जून महीने में कोर सेक्टर की ग्रोथ रेट में आई जबरदस्त गिरावट अर्थव्यवस्था की चुनौतीपूर्ण तस्वीर पेश करती है।
गौरतलब है कि पिछले वित्त वर्ष की आखिरी तिमाही में जीडीपी की ग्रोथ रेट कम होकर 6.1 फीसदी हो गई। पिछले वित्त वर्ष 2016-17 की आखिरी तिमाही में ग्रोथ रेट के कम होकर 6.1 फीसदी होने की वजह से पूरे वित्त वर्ष के लिए जीडीपी की दर कम होकर 7.1 फीसदी हो गई।
पिछले साल जून में इन क्षेत्रों ने 7 फीसदी की वृद्धि दर हासिल की थी। पिछले साल जून महीने से तुलना की जाए तो इस साल बुनियादी उद्योगों के उत्पादन में मामूली इजाफा हुआ है। देश के औद्योगिक उत्पादन सूचकांक (IIP) में इन बुनियादी उद्योगों की हिस्सेदारी करीब 40 फीसदी है।
ङगने पर जीएसटी का वह बिल पेश हैः
काशीनाथ सिंह ने किसी भी तरह का पत्र लिखने से किया इनकार
अगर साहित्य और कला तमाम प्रश्नों से ऊपर है तो कृपया राजनीति पर मंतव्य मत किया कीजिये।वे भी तो परम आदरणीय हैं।संवैधानिक पदों पर हैं।
विमर्श के लोकतंत्र पर निषेधाज्ञा सपनों,आकांक्षाओं और विचारों का कत्लेआम है दसरे तमाम युद्ध अपराधों की तरह।
काशीनाथ सिंह जी के पनामा प्रकरण को लेकर हस्तक्षेप पर जिस तरह मीडिया विजिल में लिंचिंग का आरोप लगाकर मंतव्य प्रकाशित हुआ है,उससे मैं हतप्रभ हूं।
हमने कभी नहीं कहा है कि यह पत्र काशीनाथ जी ने ही लिखा है या उन्होंने जो पत्र नहीं लिखा,उसे वे अपना मान लें।
हम साहित्य और संस्कृति की भूमिका पर लगातार हस्तक्षेप पर चर्चा कर रहे हैं,इसी सिलसिले में यह मंतव्य लिखा गया जिसका मतलब काशीनाथ सिंह का असम्मान करना कतई नहीं रहा है और न हमने बहस उस पत्र को लेकर किया है।
प्रधानमंत्री को पत्र नहीं लिखने की जानकारी देते हुए काशीनाथ जी ने माना है कि सोशल मीडिया पर यह पत्र जारी हुआ तो उन्होंने शेयर कर दिया,जिसे लोग उनका लिखा समझ बैठे।
गड़बड़ी यही हुई,अगर काशीनाथ जी का नाम इस फर्जी पत्र से जुुड़ा न होता तो इसे इतना महत्व कतई नहीं दिया जाता।
जितने लोगों ने इस पत्र को वाइरल बना दिया है,उनमें साहित्यकार,पत्रकार,समाज सेवी और जीवन के विविध क्षेत्रों में सामाजिक यथार्थ को संबोधित करने वाले तमाम लोग हैं।इन लोगों ने पत्र के साथ काशीनाथ जी का नाम देखकर ही शेयर किया है।वे लोग काशीनाथजी का असम्मान नहीं कर रहे थे।बल्कि वे काशीनाथ जी का सम्मान करते हैं,इसलिए उन्होंने इस पत्र को असली समझकर शेयर किया है।उन सभीि को माब लिंचिंग का अभियुक्त बना देना अजब गजब मीडिया विजिल है।
सवाल है कि अगर काशीनाथ जी इस पत्र के विषय पर मंतव्य नहीं करना चाहते तो उन्होंने उस शेयर ही क्यों किया।इसी बिंदू पर अपने मोर्चा के पाठकों के सामने उनका पक्ष रखना जरुरी था,ऐसा मेरा मानना है।
छात्र जीवन से काशीनाथ जी का लिखा पढ़ते हुए हम सिर्फ पत्र न लिखने के बयान के बदले इस मुद्दे पर उनका पक्ष जानना चाहते हैं क्योंकि हम जिन लोगों ने यह पत्र साझा किया है वे इस मुद्दे पर सहमत रहे हैं।वे सहमत हैं या असहमत हैं,यह सवाल जरुरी है और इसका जवाब जानना जरुरी है।
हमने इसीको ध्यान में रखते हुए इस सिलसिले में साहित्य और कला की भूमिका पर सवाल उठाया है कि तमाम आदरणीय सत्ता से टकराने से हिचकिचाते हैं।
यह विमर्श है।संवाद का प्रयास है।
किसी लेखक,कवि,संस्कृतिकर्मी की आलोचना करना जो लोग लिंचिग बता रहे हैं,वे रोज रोज हो रहे लिंचिग और सत्ता की रंगभेदी नरसंहार संस्कृति पर टिप्पणी करने से क्यों करतराते हैं।
काशीनाथ जी के समूचे रचनासमग्र में आम जनता की बातें कही गयी है और उनकी रचनाधर्मिता अपना मोर्चा बनाने की रही है,यह पाठक की हैसियत से हमारा मानना है।
काशी के अस्सी पर लिखी उनकी कृति तो अद्भुत है,जिसमें शब्द दर शब्द आम लोगों के रोजमर्रे की जिंदगी का सामाजिक यथार्थ है,जो जनपदों के साहित्य की विरासत है और लोकसंस्कृति और काशी की जमीन,फिजां का अभूतपूर्व दस्तावेज है।
अगर अपनी रचनाओं में कोई लेखक इतना ज्यादा जनपक्षधर और क्रांतिकारी है तो बुनियादी सवालों और मुद्दों पर उसकी खामोशी साहित्य और कला का गंभीर संकट है। हम उस पत्र को केंद्रित कोई बहस नहीं कर रहे थे।
काशीनाथ जी मेरे आदरणीय हैं।जब हम वाराणसी में राजीवकुमार की फिल्म वसीयत की शूटिंग कर रहे थे तो हमारा काम देखने के लिए काशीनाथ सिंह और कवि ज्ञानेंद्र पति शूटिंग स्थल पर आये थे,जबकि हमें वे खास जानते भी नहीं थे।इसी तरह काशी का अस्सी का जब मंचन हुआ तो रंगकर्मी उषा गांगुली के रिहर्सल के दौरान हम उनके साथ उपस्थित थे। हमने उनका बेहद लंबा साक्षात्कार किया।
जाहिर है कि काशीनाथ जी को बदनाम करने की हमारी कोई मंशा नहीं रही है।
अगर हम किसी संस्कृतिकर्मी के कृतित्व और व्यक्तित्व में अंतर्विरोध पाते हैं और उसकी पाठकीय आलोचना करते हैं,तो यह साहित्य और कला का विमर्श का बुनियादी सवाल बन जाता है।
यह अद्भुत है कि हम नामदेव धसाल और शैलेश मटियानी जी के कृतित्व और अवदान के बाद राजनीतिक कारणों से एक झटके सा साहित्य और संस्कृति के परिदृश्य से उन्हें सिरे से खारिज कर देते हैं,लेकिन बाकी खास लोगों की राजनीति पर सवाल उठने पर सारे लोग खामोश बैठ जाते हैं।
या तीखी प्रतिक्रिया के साथ उनके बचाव में सक्रिय हो जाते हैं।यानी सबकुछ आर्किमिडीज के सिद्धांत के मुताबिक धार भार के सापेक्ष है।
प्रेमचंद,माणिक बंद्योपाध्याय,महाश्वेता देवी,नवारुण भट्टाचार्य,सोमनाथ होड़,चित्त प्रसाद,ऋत्विक घटक जैसे दर्जनों लोग भारतीय सांस्कृतिक परिदृश्य में उदाहरण है कि जो उन्होंने रचा है,वही उन्होंने जिया भी है।
शहर में कर्फ्यू जैसा उपन्यास लिखकर ही नहीं,मेरठ के हाशिमपुरा नरसंहार के मामले गाजियाबाद के एसपी की हैसियत से विभूति नारायण राय ने जो अभूतपूर्व भूमिका निभाई और यहां तक कि महात्मा गंधी अंतरराष्ट्रीय हिंदी विश्वविद्यालय में समूची हिंदी विरासत को समेटने की जो उन्होंने कोशिश की,वह सबकुछ उनकी एक टिप्पणी की वजह से खारिज हो गया।
इसी तरह अपनी रचनाओं में पितृसत्ता का विरोध आक्रामक ढंगे से करने वाले नई कहानी और समांतर कहानी आंदोलन के मसीहा का कृतित्व जब उनके व्यक्तित्व के विरोध में खड़ा हो जाता है,तब सारे लोग सन्नाटा तान लेते हैं।
देश भर अपनी हैसियत का लाभ उठाकर साहित्य और संस्कृति का माफियानुमा नेटवर्क बनाने वालों की बुनियादी मुद्दों और सवालों पर राजनीतिक चुप्पी हमारे विमर्श का सवाल नहीं बनता।
हर खेमे में हाजिरी लगाने वाला तमाम अंतर्विरोध के बावजूद महान साहित्यकार मान लिया जाता है।हर खेमे को सब्जी में आलू बेहद पसंद है।जायका बदल गया तो फिर मुसीबत है।
इस दोहरे मानदंड के कारण साहित्य और संस्कृति के क्षेत्र में सामाजिक यथार्थ सिरे से गायब होता जा रहा है।
हम कल से अपना पक्ष रख रहे हैं।इसके समर्थन या विरोध में कोई प्रतिक्रिया लेकिन नहीं है।
फर्जी पत्र शेयर करने वालों और रचनाधर्मिता पर सवाल उठाने वाले मुझपर,हस्तक्षेप पर माब लिंचिंग का आरोप लगा है।लेकिन कल तक जो लोग धड़ल्ले से यह पत्र शेयर कर रहे थे,उनका भी कोई पक्ष नहीं है।वे लोग इस आरोप पर अपना पक्ष नहीरख पा रहे हैं,यह भी हैरत की बात है।
बंगाल में रवींद्र पर निषेधाज्ञा के संघ परिवार के एजंडे के खिलाफ जबर्दस्त आंदोलन शुरु हो गया है लेकिन यह प्रतिरोध रवींद्र के बचाव में बंकिम के महिमामंडन से हो रहा है,जिनका आनंद मठ हिंदुत्व का बुनियादी पाठ है।
इसी वजह से भारतीय साहित्य और संस्कृति के क्षेत्र में आम जनता के अपने मोर्चे के पक्ष में सन्नाटा है।मेरे हिसाब से यह साहित्य और कला का अभूतपूर्व संकट है।
हम सिलसिलेवार साबित कर सकते हैं कि कुल गोरखधंधा क्या है,लेकिन तमाम पवित्र प्रतिमाएं पवित्र गाय जैसी हैं,जिनके खंडित हो जाने पर गोरक्षक बजरंगीदल इस विमर्श की इजाजत नहीं देंगे।
हमने काशीनाथ सिंह जी की नाराजगी का जोखिम उठाकर यह बुनियादी सवाल जरुर उठाने की कोशिश की है कि तमाम आदरणीय सत्ता के खिलाफ खड़ा होने से क्यों हिचकिचाते हैं।
हम हमेशा अपनी बात डंके की चोट पर कहते रहे हैं और मौके केमुताबिक बात बदली नहीं है।यह हमारी बुरी बात है कि हम अपना फायदा नुकसान नहीं देखते हैं और न महाभारत रामायण अशुद्ध होने से डरते हैं।
विशुद्धता के सत्ता वर्चस्व के खिलाफ हमारा मोर्चा हमारे अंत तक बना रहेगा।
जाहिर है कि हम इस सवाल को वापस नहीं ले रहे हैं।चाहे तमाम लोग नाराज हो जाये या सत्ता की लिंचिंग पर खामोश रहकर मुझे लिंचिंग का अभियुक्त बना दें।
भारतीय साहित्य और संस्कृति में लाबिइंग करके अपना वर्चस्व स्थापित करना और बहाल रखने की रघुकुल पंरपरा बेहद मजबूत है,जिसे तोड़े बिना हम आम जनता के साथ खड़े नहीं हो सकते।अपना मोर्चा बना नहीं सकते।
साहित्य और संस्कृति में कामयाबी के बहुतेरे कारण होते हैं और जीवन की तरह यह कामयाबी कुछ लोगों के लिए केक वाक जैसी होती है।
लेकिन सत्ता के खिलाफ खड़ा होने के लिए किसी वाल्तेयर जैसा कलेजी होना जरुरी होता है।हम हवा हवाई नहीं है और साहित्य संस्कृति के सवालों को कीचड़ पानी में धंसकर आम लोगो के नजरिये से देखते हैं।हम किसी गढ़ या किले में कैद नहीं हैं।
इस बदतमीजी के लिए माफ कीजियेगा।
अगर साहित्य और कला तमाम प्रश्नों से ऊपर है तो कृपया राजनीति पर मंतव्य मत किया कीजिये।वे भी तो परम आदरणीय हैं।संवैधानिक पदों पर हैं।
विमर्श के लोकतंत्र पर निषेधाज्ञा सपनों,आकांक्षाओं और विचारों का कत्लेआम है दसरे तमाम युद्ध अपराधों की तरह।
सर्वव्यापी रंगभेदी राजनीति और तकनीकी क्रांति के तांडव में विलुप्त हो रही है मनुष्यता!
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जिस रवींद्र नाथ को मिटाने का एजंडा मुक्तबाजारी कारपोरेट हिंदुत्व का एजंडा है,उन्हीं रवींद्रनाथ ने कभी कहा हैः
आज हिरोशिमा दिवस है।अमेरिकी साम्राज्यवाद के शिकंजे में कसमसाती मनुष्यता का सदाबहार जख्म हिरोशिमा और नागासाकी का परमाणु विध्वंस।आज ही जापान के हिरोशिमा पर अमेरिकी परमाणु बम गिरे थे।इस परमाणु विध्वंस की नई सभ्यता के खिलाफ मुखर थे वैज्ञानिक आइंस्टीन,गांधी और रवींद्रनाथ।इनके अलावा रूसी साहित्यकार तालस्ताय और दार्शनिक रोम्यां रोलां का समूचा दर्शन मनुष्यता का दर्शन है।
भारत में साधु,संतों,फकीरों,बाउलों,गुरुओं का सामंतवादविरोधी दर्शन भी मनुष्यता का दर्शन है।जो आस्था की स्वतंत्रता के समर्थन करता है और मनुष्यों की एकता का समर्थन के साथ साथ भेदभाव,असमानता और अन्याय का विरोध करता है।
रवींद्र के मुताबिक अंधता और मूढ़ता ही मनुष्यता के विखंडन का मुख्य़ कारण है और यही मनुष्यता और सभ्यता की मुख्य समस्या है।इसी सिलसिले में गौरतलब है कि रवींद्र के लिए भारतवर्ष मनुष्यता की विविध धाराओं के विलय का महातीर्थ भारत तीर्थ है।विविधता में एकता रवींद्र नाथ का भारतवर्ष है।इसपर हम चर्चा कर चुके हैं।
यही उनका मौलिक अपराध है जो गुरु गोलवलकर,वीर सावरकर और आनंदमठ के वंदेमातरम के राष्ट्रवाद के विरुद्ध है और हिंदू राष्ट्रवाद और हिंदुत्व के एजंडे के लिए गांधी की तरह रवींद्र का वध भी इसीलिए जरुरी है।
रवींद्र नाथ मनुष्यता को कुचलने वाले राष्ट्रवाद के विरुद्ध थे ता जाहिर है कि अंध सैन्य राष्ट्रवाद की युद्धोन्मादी धर्मोन्मादी नस्ली रंगभेद की विचारधारा के लिए वे राष्ट्रद्रोही हैं।
विडंबना यह है कि बंगाल में रवींद्र नाथ के खिलाफ इस केसरिया जिहाद के प्रतिरोध में बंकिम और उनके आनंदमठ को महिमामंडित किया जा रहा है,जिससे हिंदुत्व की राजनीति ही मजबूत होती है।जबकि रवींद्र दर्शन और भारत में संत परंपरा मनुस्मृति विधान के खिलाफ है,जेस मौजूदा भारतीय संविधान की जगह डिजिटल इंडिया का संविधान बनाकर भारत में रामराज्य की स्थापना करना हिंदुत्व की राजनीति है,जिसका हिंदू धर्म से कोई लेना देना नहीं है।
रवींद्र के साहित्य का मूल स्वर अस्पृश्यता के खिलाफ युद्ध घोषणा है।इस बारे में हम लगातार चर्चा करते रहे हैं।रवींद्र साहित्य में पुरोहित तंत्र का जो विरोध है और आस्था और धर्म कर्म में पुरोहित तंत्र के वर्ण वर्चस्व का जो विरोध है,वही भारत की संत फकीर साधु बाउल फकीर गुरु परंपरा है।
कल उत्तर 24 परगना के बैरकपुर में एक अद्भुत सांगीतिक अनुष्ठान का आयोजन किया गया।बांग्ला फोकलोर सोसाइटी के तत्वावधान में बाउल कवि लालन फकीर और लोककवि विजय सरकार के गीतों में रवींद्रनाथ का प्रभाव और रवींद्रनाथ पर उनका प्रभाव।रवींद्र के गीतों की तुलना में लालन फकीर के गीतों और विजय सरकार के गीतों की प्रस्तुति।
गौरतलब है कि हाल में उत्तर 24 परगना में धार्मिक ध्रूवीकरण की राजनीति की वजह से हाल में दंगे हुए।इस कार्यक्रम में बिना किसी प्रचार के एक बड़े प्रेक्षागृह में अंत तक जाति धर्म निर्विशेष आम जनता की मौजूदगी आखिर तक बने रहने का सच बताता है कि हमारे जनपदों में लोक संस्कृति की जड़ें कितनी मजबूत हैं।
रवींद्र नाथ का साहित्य जनपदों की एसी लोकसंस्कृति में रची बसी है और वही से वे सामाजिक यथार्थ को संबोधित करते हैं,जो अब भारतीय साहित्य और कला माध्यमों के कारपोरेट वर्चस्व के जमाने में सिरे से अनुपस्थित हैं और ज्यादातर लेखक,कवि,साहित्यकार इस सच का सामना करने से कतराते हैं।
इस कार्यक्रम की अध्यक्षता करते हुए बांग्ला साहित्य परिषद के वारिद वरण जी ने कहा कि राजनीतिक शोरशराबे और तकनीकी क्रांति के तांडव में लोक संस्कृति की चर्चा हमारी दिनचर्या से सिरे से गायब होती जा रही है।कुछ समय पहले तक जनपदों और गांवों के अलावा शहरों में लोक संस्कृति की चर्चा दिनचर्या में शामिल थी।
रवींद्र साहित्य में लालन फकीर के प्रभाव पर बोलते हुए लोकसंस्कृति के विशेषज्ञ शक्तिनाथ झा ने कहा कि जब रवींद्रनाथ पूर्वी बंगाल के सिलाईदह में अपनी जमींदारी के कामकाज के सिलसिले में जाते रहे हैं,उसवक्त लालन फकीर की उम्र 116 के आसपास थी।कमसेकम सौ साल के थे वे।इसलिए यह कहना मुश्किल है कि उन दोनों की मुलाकात हुई या नहीं।लेकिन लालनपंथियोंके संपर्क में रवींद्र नाथ जरुर थे और अपने लिखे में रवींद्र नाथ ने बार बार लालन फकीर का उल्लेख किया है।
इसीतरह लोककवि विजय सरकार का कहना है कि विजय सरकार अपनी उपासना के दौरान रवींद्र के ही गीत गाते थे।यही नहीं,बंगाल में कविगान के मंच पर वे समकालीन कवि रवींद्रनाथ और काजी नजरुल इस्लाम की कविताओं को आम जनता तक पहुंचाने का काम करते थे।
आभिजात कुलीन तबके के दायरे के बाहर अपढ़ अधपढ़ आम जनता तक लोकसंस्कृति के माध्यम से रवींद्र और नजरुल की रचनाओं का वक्तव्य इसी तरह पहुंचता था।इसीतरह लोकसंस्कृति के मंच पर समकालीन य़थार्थ को सीधे सोंबोधित करके जनमत बनाने और जनांदोलन गढ़ने की शुरुआत हो जाती थी।
कार्यक्रम में भानुसिंह के नाम से संत कवि सूरदास से प्रेरित भानुसिंहेर पदावली के गीत मरणरे तुम श्याम समान को गाने का बाद उत्तरा ने इसी मुखड़े के साथ विजय सरकार की गीत गाया तो लालन फकीर के मनेर मानुष गीत के मुकाबले रवींद्रनाथ का प्राणेर मानुष को प्रस्तुत किया गया।
अमीरों को बैंक कर्ज माफ,सब्सिडी खत्म,जनता के बचत खातों में सूद में कटौती और मेहनकश जनता को सजा ए मौत!
कैग ने यह रिपोर्ट 'सरकारी क्षेत्र के बैंकों के पूंजीकरण'का ऑडिट करने के बाद तैयार की है। इस रिपोर्ट में यह भी बताया किया गया है कि बैंक अपने बलबूते बाजार से पूंजी जुटाने में नाकाम रहे हैं। रिपोर्ट के अनुसार सरकार ने सार्वजनिक क्षेत्र के बैंकों को वर्ष 2018-19 तक 1,10,000 करोड़ रुपये बाजार से जुटाने का लक्ष्य दिया था। हालांकि इस लक्ष्य के मुकाबले बैंक जनवरी 2015 से मार्च 2017 के दौरान मात्र 7,726 करोड़ रुपये ही बाजार से जुटा पाए। कैग ने 2019 तक बाकी एक लाख करोड़ रुपये से अधिक की पूंजी बाजार से जुटाने की बैंकों की क्षमता पर आशंका भी जतायी है।
कैग रिपोर्ट में सबसे अहम बात जो सामने आयी है, वह यह है कि सरकारी बैंक फंसे कर्ज की वसूली करने की तुलना में इसे माफ अधिक कर रहे हैं। सरकारी बैंकों ने वर्ष 2011-15 के दौरान भारी भरकम 1,47,527 करोड़ रुपये के फंसे कर्ज माफ किये जबकि सिर्फ 1,26,160 करोड़ रुपये की वसूली होनी थी।
रिपोर्ट से पता चलता है कि सरकारी बैंकों के फंसे कर्ज की राशि तीन साल में बढ़कर तीन गुना हो गयी। मार्च 2014 में बैंकों का सकल एनपीए 2.27 लाख करोड़ रुपये था जो मार्च 2017 में बढ़कर 6.83 लाख करोड़ रुपये हो गया। हालांकि इससे चौंकाने वाली बात यह है कि कई सरकारी बैंक अपनी एनपीए की वास्तविक राशि नहीं दिखा रहे हैं। सरकारी बैंक एनपीए की राशि को कम करके दिखा रहे हैं। कैग रिपोर्ट के अनुसार दर्जन भर सरकारी बैंकों ने अपना जितना एनपीए बताया, वह आरबीआइ के अनुमान से 15 प्रतिशत कम था।
कैग ने सरकार की ओर से बैंकों को दी गयी पूंजी की प्रक्रिया में भी कई तरह की खामियां उजागर की हैं। रिपोर्ट में कहा गया है कि सरकार बैंकों को जो पूंजी दे रही है, उसका उपयुक्त इस्तेमाल सुनिश्चित करने के लिए प्रभावी निगरानी तंत्र होना चाहिए।
THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930 THE RELIGION OF MAN RABINDRANATH TAGORJS THE RELIGION BEING THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930 NEW YORK THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1931 COPYRIGHT, 1931, BY THE MACM1LLAN COMPANY. All rights reserved no part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher. Set up and elcctrotypcd Published February, 193 8T W BY MAWtf WKmiRltS WKOTVWtfl MIHTBri IK TI1K UNITXD MATft tif A V1RU'A TO DOROTHY ELMHIRST PREFACE THE chapters included in this book, which com- prises the Hibbert Lectures delivered in Oxford, at Manchester College, during the month of May 1930, contain also the gleanings of my thoughts on the same subject from the harvest of many lectures and addresses delivered in different countries of the world over a considerable period of my life. The fact that one theme runs through all only proves to me that the Religion of Man has been growing within my mind as a religious experience and not merely as a philosophical subject In fact, a very large portion of my writings, beginning from the earlier products of my immature youth down to the present time, carry an almost con- tinuous trace of the history of this growth. To-day I am made conscious of the fact that the works that I have started and the words that I have uttered are deeply linked by a unity of inspiration whose proper definition has often remained un- revealed to me. In the present volume I offer the evidence of my own personal life brought into a definite focus. To some of my readers this will supply matter of psychological interest; but for others I hope it will carry with It its own ideal value important for such a subject as religion. 7 PREFACE My sincere thanks are due to the Hibbert Trus- tees, and especially to Dr. W. H. Drummond, with whom I have been in constant correspond- ence, for allowing me to postpone the delivery of these Hibbert Lectures from the year 1928, when I was too ill to proceed to Europe, until the sum- mer of 1930. I have also to thank the Trustees for their very kind permission given to me to present the substance of the lectures in this book in an enlarged form by dividing the whole subject into chapters instead of keeping strictly to the lecture form in which they were delivered in Oxford* May I add that the great kindness of my hostess* Mrs. Drummond, in Oxford, will always remain in my memory along with these lectures as inti- mately associated with them? In the Appendix I have gathered together from my own writings certain parallel passages which bring the reader to the heart of my main theme. Furthermore, two extracts, which contain histori- cal material of great value, are from the pen of my esteemed colleague and friend, Professor KshitI Mohan Sen, To him I would express my gratitude for the help he has given me in bringing before me the religious ideas of medieval India which* touch the subject of my lectures. RABINDMNATH TAGORE September 1930 8 CONTENTS PAGE PREFACE 7 CHAPTER I. MAN'S UNIVERSE n II. THE CREATIVE SPIRIT * 3 III. THE SURPLUS IN MAN 49 IV, SPIRITUAL UNION 63 V. THE PROPHET 7 z VI. THE VISION 88 VII. THE MAN OF MY HEART 107 VIII. THE MUSIC MAKER 117 IX. THE ARTIST 127 X. MAN'S NATURE 141 XL THE MEETING 154 XII. THE TEACHER 163 XIII. SPIRITUAL FREEDOM 179 XIV. THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 189 XV. CONCLUSION 202 APPENDIX I. THE BAtJL SINGERS OF BENGAL 207 II- NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY aa* IIL DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM 226 IV. NIGHT AND MORNING 333 INDEX 43 The eternal Dream is borne on the wings of ageless Light that rends the veil of the vague and goes across Time weaving ceaseless patterns of Being. The mystery remains dumb, the meaning of this pilgrimage, the endless adventure of existence whose rush along the sky flames up into innumerable rings of paths, till at last knowledge gleams out from the dusk in the infinity of human spirit, and in that dim lighted dawn she speechlessly gazes through the break in the mist at the vision of Life and of Love rising from the tumult of profound pain and joy, Santiniketan September 16, 1939 (Composed for the Opening Day Celebrations of the Indian College, Montpelier, France.) THE RELIGION OF MAN. CHAPTER I MAN'S UNIVERSE LIGHT, as the radiant energy of creation, started the ring-dance of atoms in a diminutive sky, and also the dance of the stars in the vast, lonely theatre of time and space* The planets came out of their bath of fire and basked in the sun for ages. They were the thrones of the gigantic Inert, dumb and desolate, which knew not the meaning of its own blind destiny and majestically frowned upon a future when its monarchy would be menaced. Then came a time when life was brought into the arena in the tiniest little monocycle of a cell. With its gift of growth and power of adaptation it faced the ponderous enormity of things, and contradicted the unmeaningness of their bulk. It was made conscious not of the volume but of the value of existence, which it ever tried to enhance and maintain in many-branched paths of creation, overcoming the obstructive inertia of Nature by obeying Nature's law* But the miracle of creation did not stop here in this isolated speck of life launched on a lonely voyage to the Unknown. A multitude of cells were bound together into a larger unit, not through IX THE RELIGION OF MAN aggregation, but through a marvellous quality of complex inter-relationship maintaining a perfect co-ordination of functions. This is the creative principle of unity, the divine mystery of existence, that baffles all analysis. The larger co-operative units could adequately pay for a greater freedom of self-expression, and they began to form and develop in their bodies new organs of power, ne\v instruments of efficiency. This was the march of evolution ever unfolding the potentialities of life, But this evolution which continues on the physi- cal plane has its limited range. All exaggeration in that direction becomes a burden that breaks the natural rhythm of life, and those creatures that encouraged their ambitious flesh to grow in dimen- sions have nearly all perished of their cumbrous absurdity. Before the chapter ended Man appeared and turned the course of this evolution from an indefi- nite march of physical aggrandisement to a free- dom of a more subtle perfection. This has made possible his progress to become unlimited, and has enabled him to realize the boundless in his power, The fire is lighted, the hammers are working, and for laborious days and nights amidst dirt and discordance the musical instrument is being made, We may accept this as a detached fact and follow its evolution* But when the music is revealed, we know that the whole thing is a part of the manifes* 12 MAN'S UNIVERSE tation of music in spite of its contradictory charac- ter. The process of evolution, which after ages has reached man, must be realized in its unity with him; though in him it assumes a new value and proceeds to a different path. It is a continuous process that finds its meaning in Man ; and we must acknowledge that the evolution which Science talks of is that of Man's universe. The leather binding and title-page are parts of the book itself ; and this world that we perceive through our senses and mind and life's experience is profoundly one with ourselves. The divine principle of unity has ever been that of an inner inter-relationship. This is revealed in some of its earliest stages in the evolution of multi- cellular life on this planet. The most perfect in- ward expression has been attained by man in his Wn body. But what is most important of all is the ( f act that man has also attained its realization in a ,more subtle body outside his physical system. He 'misses himself when isolated; he finds his own larger and truer self in his wide human relation- Ship, His multicellular body is born and it dies; his multi-personal humanity is immortal In this ideal of unity he realizes the eternal in his life and the boundless in his love. The unity becomes not a mere subjective idea, but an energizing truth. Whatever name may be given to it, and whatever form it symbolizes, the consciousness of this unity 13 THE RELIGION OF MAN is spiritual, and our effort to be true to it is our religion. It ever waits to be revealed in our history in a more and more perfect illumination. We have our eyes, which relate to us the vision of the physical universe. We have also an inner faculty of our own which helps us to find our rela- tionship with the supreme self of man, the universe of personality. This faculty is our luminous imagi- nation, which in its higher stage is special to man. It offers us that vision of wholeness which for the biological necessity of physical survival is super- fluous; its purpose is to arouse in us the sense of perfection which is our true sense of immortality. For perfection dwells ideally in Man the Eternal, inspiring love for this ideal in the individual, urg- ing him more and more to realize it The development of intelligence and physical power is equally necessary in animals and men for their purposes of living; but what is unique in man is the development of his consciousness which gradually deepens and widens the realization of his immortal being, the perfect, the eternal. It inspires those creations of his that reveal the divin- ity in him which is his humanity in the varied manifestations of truth, goodness and beauty, in the freedom of activity which is not for his use but for his ultimate expression* The individual man must exist for Man the great, and must express him in disinterested works, in science and philosophy, 14 MAN' S UNIVERSE in literature and arts, in service and worship. This is his religion, which is working in the heart of all his religions in various names and forms. He knows and uses this world where it is endless and thus attains greatness, but he realizes his own truth where it is perfect and thus finds his ful- filment, The idea of the humanity of our God, or the divinity of Man the Eternal, is the main subject of this book. This thought of God has not grown in my mind through any process of philosophical rea- soning* On the contrary, it has followed the cur- rent of my temperament from early days until it suddenly flashed into my consciousness with a direct vision. The experience which I have de- scribed in one of the chapters which follow con- vinced me that on the surface of our being we have the ever-changing phases of the individual self, but in the depth there dwells the Eternal Spirit of human unity beyond our direct knowledge. It very often contradicts the trivialities of our daily life, and upsets the arrangements made for securing our personal exclusiveness behind the walls of indi- vidual habits and superficial conventions. It in- spires in us works that are the expressions of a Universal Spirit; it invokes unexpectedly in the midst of a self-centred life a supreme sacrifice. At its call, we hasten to dedicate our lives to the cause 15 THE RELIGION OF MAN of truth and beauty, to unrewarded service of others, in spite of our lack of faith in the positive reality of the ideal values. During the discussion of my own religious experience I have expressed my belief that the first stage of my realization was through my feel- ing of intimacy with Nature not that Nature which has its channel of information for our mind and physical relationship with our living body, but that which satisfies our personality with mani- festations that make our life rich and stimulate our imagination in their harmony of forms, colours, sounds and movements. It is not that world which vanishes into abstract symbols behind its own testi- mony to Science, but that which lavishly displays its wealth of reality to our personal self having its own perpetual reaction upon our human nature. I have mentioned in connection with my per- sonal experience some songs which I had often heard from wandering village singers, belonging to a popular sect of Bengal, called Baiiis,' who have no images, temples, scriptures, or ceremo- nials, who declare in their songs the divinity of Man, and express for him an intense feeling of love. Coming from men who are unsophisticated, living a simple life in obscurity, it gives us a clue to the inner meaning of all religions. For it sug* gests that these religions are never about a God of * Se Appendix I, 16 MAN'S UNIVERSE cosmic force, but rather about the God of human personality. At the same time it must be admitted that even the impersonal aspect of truth dealt with by Science belongs to the human Universe. But men of Science tell us that truth, unlike beauty and goodness, is independent of our consciousness. They explain to us how the belief that truth is independent of the human mind is a mystical belief, natural to man but at the same time inex- plicable. But may not the explanation be this, that ideal truth does not depend upon the individual mind of man, but on the universal mind which comprehends the individual? For to say that truth, as we see it, exists apart from humanity is really to contradict Science itself; because Science can only organize into rational concepts those facts which man can know and understand, and logic is a machinery of thinking created by the mechanic man. The table that I am using with all its varied meanings appears as a table for man through his special organ of senses and his special organ of thoughts* When scientifically analysed the same table offers an enormously different appearance to him from that given by his senses. The evidence of his physical senses and that of his logic and his scientific instruments are both related to his own power of comprehension; both are true and true THE RELIGION OF MAN for him. He makes use of the table with full confi- dence for his physical purposes, and with equal confidence makes intellectual use of it for his scien- tific knowledge. But the knowledge is his who is a man. If a particular man as an individual did not exist, the table would exist all the same, but still as a thing that is related to the human mind. The contradiction that there is between the table of our sense perception and the table of our scientific knowledge has its compon centre of reconciliation in human personality. The same thing holds true in the realm of idea. In the scientific idea of the world there is no gap in the universal law of causality. Whatever hap- pens could never have happened otherwise. This is a generalization which has been made possible by a quality of logic which is possessed by the human mind. But this very mind of Man has its immediate consciousness of will within him which is aware of its freedom and ever struggles for it Every day in most of our behaviour we acknowl- edge its truth; in fact, our conduct finds its best value in its relation to its truth. Thus this has its analogy in our daily behaviour with regard to a table. For whatever may be the conclusion that Science has unquestionably proved about the table, we are amply rewarded when we deal with it as a solid fact and never as a crowd of fluid elements that represent a certain kind of energy. We can 18 MAN'S UNIVERSE also utilize this phenomenon of the measurement The space represented by a needle when magnified by the microscope may cause us no anxiety as to the number of angels who could be accommo- dated on its point or camels which could walk through its eye. In a cinema-picture our vision of time and space can be expanded or condensed merely according to the different technique of the instrument. A seed carries packed in a minute receptacle a future which is enormous in its con- tents both in time and space. The truth, which is Man, has not emerged out of nothing at a certain point of time, even though seemingly it might have been manifested then. But the manifestation of Man has no end in itself not even now. Neither did it have its beginning in- any particular time we ascribe to it The truth of Man is in the heart of eternity, the fact of it being evolved through endless ages. If Man's manifestation has round it a background of millions of light-years, still it is his own background. He includes in him- self the time, however long, that carries the process of his becoming, and he is related for the very truth of his existence to all things that surround him. Relationship is the fundamental truth of this world of appearance. Take, for instance, a piece of coal When we pursue the fact of it to its ulti- mate composition, substance which seemingly is THE RELIGION OF MAN the most stable element in it vanishes in centres of revolving forces. These are the units, called the elements of carbon, which can further be analysed into a certain number of protons and electrons. Yet these electrical facts are what they are, not in their detachment, but in their inter-relationship, and though possibly some day they themselves may be further analysed, nevertheless the pervasive truth of inter-relation which is manifested in them will remain. We do not know how these elements, as carbon, compose a piece of coal ; all that we can say is that they build up that appearance through a unity of inter-relationship, which unites them not merely in an individual piece of coal, but in a comrade- ship of creative co-ordination with the entire physical universe. Creation has been made possible through the continual self-surrender of the unit to the universe. And the spiritual universe of Man is also ever claiming self-renunciation from the individual units. This spiritual process is not so easy as the physical one in the physical world, for the intelli- gence and will of the units have to be tempered to those of the universal spirit It is said in a verse of the Upanishad that this world which is all movement is pervaded by one supreme unity, and therefore true enjoyment can never be had through the satisfaction of greed, but 20 MAN'S UNIVERSE only through the surrender of our individual self to the Universal Self. There are thinkers who advocate the doctrine of the plurality of worlds, which can only mean that there are worlds that are absolutely unrelated to each other. Even if this were true it could never be proved. For our universe is the sum total of what Man feels, knows, imagines, reasons to be, and of whatever is knowable to him now or in another time. It affects him differently in its dif- ferent aspects, in its beauty, its inevitable sequence of happenings, its potentiality; and the world proves itself to him only in its varied effects upon his senses, imagination and reasoning mind. I do not imply that the final nature of the world depends upon the comprehension of the individual person* Its reality is associated with the universal human rnind which comprehends all time and all possibilities of realization. And this is why for the accurate knowledge of things we depend upon Science that represents the rational mind of the universal Man, and not upon that of the individual who dwells in a limited range of space and time and the immediate needs of life. And this is why there is such a thing as progress in our civiliza- tion; for progress means that there is an ideal per- fection which the individual seeks to reach by extending his limits in knowledge, power, love, enjoyment, thus approaching the universal. The 21 THE RELIGION OF MAN most distant star, whose faint message touches the threshold of the most powerful telescopic vision, has its sympathy with the understanding mind of man, and therefore we can never cease to believe that we shall probe further and further into the mystery of their nature. As we know the truth of the stars we know the great comprehensive mind of man. We must realize not only the reasoning mind, but also the creative imagination, the love and wis- dom that belong to the Supreme Person, whose Spirit is over us all, love for whom comprehends love for all creatures and exceeds in depth and strength all other loves, leading to difficult en- deavours and martyrdoms that have no other gain than the fulfilment of this love itself. The Isha of our Upanishad, the Super Soul, which permeates all moving things, is the God of this human universe whose mind we share in all our true knowledge, love and service, and whom to reveal in ourselves through renunciation of self is the highest end of life. CHAPTER II THE CREATIVE SPIRIT ONCE, during the improvisation of a story by a young child, I was coaxed to take my part as the hero. The child imagined that I had been shut in a dark room locked from the outside. She asked me, "What will you do for your freedom?" and I answered, "Shout for help". But, however desir- able that might be if it succeeded immediately, it would be unfortunate for the story. And thus she in her imagination had to clear the neighbourhood of all kinds of help that my cries might reach. I was compelled to think of some violent means of kicking through this passive resistance ; but for the sake of the story the door had to be made of steel. I found a key, but it would not fit, and the child was delighted at the development of the story jumping over obstructions. Life's story of evolution, the main subject of which is the opening of the doors of the dark dun- geon, seems to develop in the same manner. Diffi- culties were created, and at each offer of an answer the story had to discover further obstacles in order to carry on the adventure. For to come to an abso- lutely satisfactory conclusion is to come to the end of all things, and in that case the great child would 33 THE RELIGION OF MAN have nothing else to do but to shut her curtain and go to sleep. The Spirit of Life began her chapter by intro- ducing a simple living cell against the tremen- dously powerful challenge of the vast Inert. The triumph was thrillingly great which still refuses to yield its secret She did not stop there, but defi- antly courted difficulties, and in the technique of her art exploited an element which still baffles our logic. This is the harmony of self-adjusting inter-rela- tionship impossible to analyse. She brought close together numerous cell units and, by grouping them into a self-sustaining sphere of co-operation, elaborated a larger unit It was not a mere agglom- eration. The grouping had its caste system in the division of functions and yet an intimate unity of kinship. The creative life summoned a larger army of cells under her command and imparted into them, let us say, a communal spirit that fought with all its might whenever its integrity was menaced. This was the tree which has its inner harmony and inner movement of life in its beauty, its strength, its sublime dignity of endurance, its pil- grimage to the Unknown through the tiniest gates of reincarnation. It was a sufficiently marvellous achievement to be a fit termination to the creative venture. But the creative genius cannot stop 24 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT exhausted ; more windows have to be opened ; and she went out of her accustomed way and brought another factor into her work, that of locomotion. Risks of living were enhanced, offering opportuni- ties to the daring resourcefulness of the Spirit of Life. For she seems to revel in occasions for a fight against the giant Matter, which has rigidly pro- hibitory immigration laws against all new-comers from Life's shore. So the fish was furnished with appliances for moving in an element which offered its density for an obstacle. The air offered an even more difficult obstacle in its lightness; but the challenge was accepted, and the bird was gifted with a marvellous pair of wings that negotiated with the subtle laws of the air and found in it a better ally than the reliable soil of the stable earth. The Arctic snow set up its frigid sentinel; the tropical desert uttered in its scorching breath a gigantic "No" against all life's children. But those peremptory prohibitions were defied, and the frontiers, though guarded by a death penalty, were triumphantly crossed. This process of conquest could be described as progress for the kingdom of life. It journeyed on through one success to another by dealing with the laws of Nature through the help of the invention of new instruments. This field of life's onward march is a field of ruthless competition. Because the material world is the world of quantity, where 25 THE RELIGION OF MAN resources are limited and victory waits for those who have superior facility in their weapons, there- fore success in the path of progress for one group most often runs parallel to defeat in another. It appears that such scramble and fight for opportunities of living among numerous small combatants suggested at last an imperialism of big bulky flesh a huge system of muscles and bones, thick and heavy coats of armour and enormous tails. The idea of such indecorous massiveness must have seemed natural to life's providence; for the victory in the world of quantity might reason- ably appear to depend upon the bigness of dimen- sion. But such gigantic paraphernalia of defence and attack resulted in an utter defeat, the records of which every day are being dug up from the des- ert sands and ancient mud flats. These represent the fragments that strew the forgotten paths of a great retreat in the battle of existence. For the heavy weight which these creatures carried was mainly composed of bones, hides, shells, teeth and claws that were non-living, and therefore imposed its whole huge pressure upon life that needed free- dom and growth for the perfect expression of its own vital nature. The resources for living which the earth offered for her children were recklessly spent by these megalomaniac monsters of an im- moderate appetite for the sake of maintaining a cumbersome system of dead burdens that thwarted 26 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT them in their true progress. Such a losing game has now become obsolete. To the few stragglers of that party, like the rhinoceros or the hippopota- mus, has been allotted a very small space on this earth, absurdly inadequate to their formidable strength and magnitude of proportions, making them look forlornly pathetic in the sublimity of their incongruousness. These and their extinct forerunners have been the biggest failures in life's experiments. And then, on some obscure dusk of dawn, the experiment entered upon a completely new phase of a disarmament proposal, when little Man made his appearance in the arena, bringing with him expectations and suggestions that are unfathomably great. We must know that the evolution process of the world has made its progress towards the revelation of its truth that is to say some inner value which is not in the extension in space and duration in time. When life came out it did not bring with it any new materials into existence. Its elements are the same which are the materials for the rocks and minerals. Only it evolved a value in them which cannot be measured and analysed. The same thing is true with regard to mind and the consciousness of self ; they are revelations of a great meaning, the self-expression of a truth. In man this truth has made its positive appearance, and is struggling to make its manifestation more and more clear. That 27 THE RELIGION OF MAN which is eternal is realizing itself in history through the obstructions of limits. The physiological process in the progress of Life's evolution seems to have reached its finality in man. We cannot think of any noticeable addi- tion or modification in our vital instruments which we are likely to allow to persist. If any individual is born, by chance, with an extra pair of eyes or ears, or some unexpected limbs like stowaways without passports, we are sure to do our best to eliminate them from our bodily organization. Any new chance of a too obviously physical variation is certain to meet with a determined disapproval from man, the most powerful veto being expected from his aesthetic nature, which peremptorily re- fuses to calculate advantage when its majesty is offended by any sudden license of form. We all know that the back of our body has a wide surface practically unguarded. From the strategic point of view this oversight is unfortunate, causing us annoyances and indignities, if nothing worse, through unwelcome intrusions. And this could reasonably justify in our minds regret for retrench- ment in the matter of an original tail, whose memorial we are still made to carry in secret But the least attempt at the rectification of the policy of economy in this direction is indignantly re- sented. I strongly believe that the idea of ghosts had its best chance with our timid imagination in 28 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT our sensitive back a field of dark ignorance; and yet it is too late for me to hint that one of our eyes could profitably have been spared for our burden- carrier back, so unjustly neglected and haunted by undefined fears. Thus, while all innovation is stubbornly op- posed, there is every sign of a comparative care- lessness about the physiological efficiency of the human body. Some of our organs are losing their original vigour. The civilized life, within walled enclosures, has naturally caused in man a weaken- ing of his power of sight and hearing along with subtle sense of the distant. Because of our habit of taking cooked food we give less employment to our teeth and a great deal more to the dentist. Spoilt and pampered by clothes, our skin shows lethargy in its function of adjustment to the atmos- pheric temperature and in its power of quick recovery from hurts. The adventurous Life appears to have paused at a crossing in her road before Man came. It seems as if she became aware of wastefulness in carrying on her experiments and adding to her inventions purely on the physical plane. It was proved in Life's case that four is not always twice as much as two. In living things it is necessary to keep to the limit of the perfect unit within which the inter-relationship must not be inordinately strained* The ambition that seeks power in the 29 THE RELIGION OF MAN augmentation of dimension is doomed; for that perfection which is in the inner quality of harmony becomes choked when quantity overwhelms it in a fury of extravagance. The combination of an exaggerated nose and arm that an elephant carries hanging down its front has its advantage. This may induce us to imagine that it would double the advantage for the animal if its tail also could grow into an additional trunk. But the progress which greedily allows Life's field to be crowded with an excessive production of instruments becomes a progress towards death. For Life has its own nat- ural rhythm which a multiplication table has not; and proud progress that rides roughshod over Life's cadence kills it at the end with encum- brances that are unrhythmic. As I have already mentioned, such disasters did happen in the history of evolution. The moral of that tragic chapter is that if the tail does not have the decency to know where to stop, the drag of this dependency becomes fatal to the body's empire. Moreover, evolutionary progress on the physical plane inevitably tends to train up its subjects into specialists. The camel is a specialist of the desert and is awkward in the swamp. The hippopotamus which specializes in the mudlands of the Nile is helpless in the neighbouring desert Such one- sided emphasis breeds professionalism in Life's 30 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT domain, confining special efficiencies in narrow compartments. The expert training in the aerial sphere is left to the bird ; that in the marine is par- ticularly monopolized by the fish. The ostrich is an expert in its own region and would look utterly foolish in an eagle's neighbourhood. They have to remain permanently content with advantages that desperately cling to their limits. Such mutilation of the complete ideal of life for the sake of some exclusive privilege of power is inevitable; for that form of progress deals with materials that are physical and therefore necessarily lim- ited. To rescue her own career from such a multiply- ing burden of the dead and such constriction of specialization seems to have been the object of the Spirit of Life at one particular stage. For it does not take long to find out that an indefinite pursuit of quantity creates for Life, which is essentially qualitative, complexities that lead to a vicious cir- cle. These primeval animals that produced an enormous volume of flesh had to build a gigantic system of bones to carry the burden. This required in its turn a long and substantial array of tails to give it balance. Thus their bodies, being com- pelled to occupy a vast area, exposed a very large surface which had to be protected by a strong, heavy and capacious armour. A progress which represented a congress of dead materials required THE RELIGION OP MAN a parallel organization of teeth and claws, or horns and hooves, which also were dead. In its own manner one mechanical burden links itself to other burdens of machines, and Life grows to be a carrier of the dead, a mere platform for machinery, until it is crushed to death by its inter- minable paradoxes. We are told that the greater part of a tree is dead matter; the big stem, except for a thin covering, is lifeless. The tree uses it as a prop in its ambition for a high position and the life- less timber is the slave that carries on its back the magnitude of the tree. But such a dependence upon a dead dependant has been achieved by the tree at the cost of its real freedom. It had to seek the stable alliance of the earth for the sharing of its burden, which it did by the help of secret under- ground entanglements making itself permanently stationary. But the form of life that seeks the great privilege of movement must minimize its load of the dead and must realize that life's progress should be a perfect progress of the inner life itself and not of materials and machinery; the non-living must not continue outgrowing the living, the armour dead- ening the skin, the armament laming the arms. At last, when the Spirit of Life found her form in Man, the effort she had begun completed its cycle, and the truth of her mission glimmered into suggestions which dimly pointed to some direction 32 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT of meaning across her own frontier. Before the end of this cycle was reached, all the suggestions had been external. They were concerned with technique, with life's apparatus, with the efficiency of the organs. This might have exaggerated itself into an endless boredom of physical progress. It can be conceded that the eyes of the bee possessing numerous facets may have some uncommon advan- tage which we cannot even imagine, or the glow- worm that carries an arrangement for producing light in its person may baffle our capacity and com- prehension. Very likely there are creatures having certain organs that give them sensibilities which we cannot have the power to guess. All such enhanced sensory powers merely add to the mileage in life's journey on the same road lengthening an indefinite distance. They never take us over the border of physical existence. The same thing may be said not only about life's efficiency, but also life's ornaments. The colouring and decorative patterns on the bodies of some of the deep sea creatures make us silent with amaze- ment The butterfly's wings, the beetle's back, the peacock's plumes, the shells of the crustaceans, the exuberant outbreak of decoration in plant life, have reached a standard of perfection that seems to be final. And yet if it continues in the same physical direction, then, however much variety of surprising excellence it may produce, it leaves out 33 THE RELIGION OF MAN some great element of unuttered meaning. These ornaments are like ornaments lavished upon a cap- tive girl, luxuriously complete within a narrow limit, speaking of a homesickness for a far away horizon of emancipation, for an inner depth that is beyond the ken of the senses. The freedom in the physical realm is like the circumscribed free- dom in a cage. It produces a proficiency which is mechanical and a beauty which is of the surface. To whatever degree of improvement bodily strength and skill may be developed they keep life tied to a persistence of habit It is closed, like a mould, useful though it may be for the sake of safety and precisely standardized productions. For centuries the bee repeats its hive, the weaver-bird its nest, the spider its web; and instincts strongly attach themselves to some invariable tendencies of muscles and nerves never being allowed the privi- lege of making blunders. The physical functions, in order to be strictly reliable, behave like some model schoolboy, obedient, regular, properly re- peating lessons by rote without mischief or mistake in his conduct, but also without spirit and initia- tive. It is the flawless perfection of rigid limits, a cousin possibly a distant cousin of the inani- mate. Instead of allowing a full paradise of perfection to continue its tame and timid rule of faultless regularity the Spirit of Life boldly declared for 34 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT a further freedom and decided to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This time her struggle was not against the Inert, but against the limitation of her own overburdened agents. She fought against the tutelage of her prudent old prime min- ister, the faithful instinct She adopted a novel method of experiment, promulgated new laws, and tried her hand at moulding Man through a his- tory which was immensely different from that which went before. She took a bold step in throw- ing open her gates to a dangerously explosive fac- tor which she had cautiously introduced into her council the element of Mind. I should not say that it was ever absent, but only that at a certain stage some curtain was removed and its play was made evident, even like the dark heat which in its glowing intensity reveals itself in a contradiction of radiancy. Essentially qualitative, like life itself, the Mind does not occupy space. For that very reason it has jio bounds in its mastery of space. Also, like Life, Mind has its meaning in freedom, which it missed in its earliest dealings with Life's children. In the animal, though the mind is allowed to come out of the immediate limits of livelihood, its range is restricted, like the freedom of a child that might run out of its room but not out of the house; or, rather, like the foreign ships to which only a cer- tain port was opened in Japan in the beginning of 33 THE RELIGION OF MAN her contact with the West in fear of the danger that might befall if the strangers had their uncon- trolled opportunity of communication. Mind also is a foreign element for Life; its laws are different, its weapons powerful, its moods and manners most alien. Like Eve of the Semitic mythology, the Spirit of Life risked the happiness of her placid seclusion to win her freedom. She listened to the whisper of a tempter who promised her the right to a new region of mystery, and was urged into a permanent alliance with the stranger. Up to this point the interest of life was the sole interest in her own kingdom, but another most powerfully parallel interest was created with the advent of this adven- turer Mind from an unknown shore. Their inter- ests clash, and complications of a serious nature arise. I have already referred to some vital organs of Man that are suffering from neglect. The only reason has been the diversion created by the Mind interrupting the sole attention which Life's func- tions claimed in the halcyon days of her undisputed monarchy. It is no secret that Mind has the habit of asserting its own will for its expression against life's will to live and enforcing sacrifices from hen When lately some adventurers accepted the dan- gerous enterprise to climb Mount Everest, it was solely through the instigation of the arch-rebel Mind. In this case Mind denied its treaty of co- 36 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT operation with its partner and ignored Life's claim to help in her living. The immemorial privileges of the ancient sovereignty of Life are too often flouted by the irreverent Mind; in fact,- all through the course of this alliance there are constant cases of interference with each other's functions, often with unpleasant and even fatal results. But in spite of this, or very often because of this antagonism, the new current of Man's evo- lution is bringing a wealth to his harbour infinitely beyond the dream of the creatures of monstrous flesh. The manner in which Man appeared in Life's kingdom was in itself a protest and a challenge, the challenge of Jack to the Giant. He carried in his body the declaration of mistrust against the crowding of burdensome implements of physical progress. His Mind spoke to the naked man, "Fear not" ; and he stood alone facing the menace of a heavy brigade of formidable muscles. His own puny muscles cried out in despair, and he had to invent for himself in a novel manner and in a new spirit of evolution. This at once gave him his promotion from the passive destiny of the animal to the aristocracy of Man* He began to create his further body, his outer organs the workers which served him and yet did not directly claim a share of his life. Some of the earliest in his list were bows and arrows. Had this change been under- 37 THE RELIGION OF MAN taken by the physical process of evolution, modify- ing his arms in a slow and gradual manner, it might have resulted in burdensome and ungainly apparatus. Possibly, however, I am unfair, and the dexterity and grace which Life's technical in- stinct possesses might have changed his arm into a shooting medium in a perfect manner and with a beautiful form. In that case our lyrical literature to-day would have sung in praise of its fascination, not only for a consummate skill in hunting victims, but also for a similar mischief in a metaphorical sense. But even in the service of lyrics it would show some limitation. For instance, the arms that would specialize in shooting would be awkward in wielding a pen or stringing a lute. But the great advantage in the latest method of human evolution lies in the fact that Man's additional new limbs, like bows and arrows, have become detached. They never tie his arms to any exclusive advantage of efficiency. The elephant's trunk, the tiger's paws, the claws of the mole, have combined their best expressions in' the human arms, which are much weaker in their original capacity than those limbs I have mentioned. It would have been a hugely cumber- some practical joke if the combination of animal limbs had had a simultaneous location In the hu- man organism through some overzeal in biological inventiveness. 38 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT The first great economy resulting from the new programme was the relief of the physical burden, which means the maximum efficiency with the minimum pressure of taxation upon the vital re- sources of the body. Another mission of benefit was this, that it absolved the Spirit of Life in Man's case from the necessity of specialization for the sake of limited success. This has encouraged Man to dream of the possibility of combining in his single person the fish, the bird and the fleet- footed animal that walks on land. Man desired in his completeness to be the one great representative of multiform life, not through wearisome subjec- tion to the haphazard gropings of natural selection, but by the purposeful selection of opportunities with the help of his reasoning mind. It enables the schoolboy who is given a pen-knife on his birthday to have the advantage over the tiger in the fact that it does not take him- a million years to obtain its possession, nor another million years for its removal, when the instrument proves un- necessary or dangerous. The human mind has compressed ages into a few years for the acquisi- tion of steel-made claws. The only cause of anxiety is that the instrument and the temperament which uses it may not keep pace in perfect harmony. In the tiger, the claws and the temperament which only a tiger should possess have had a synchronous development, and in no single tiger is any malad- THE RELIGION OF MAN justment possible between its nails and its tigerli- ness. But the human boy, who grows a claw in the form of a pen-knife, may not at the same time develop the proper temperament necessary for its use which only a man ought to have. The new organs that to-day are being added as a supple- ment to Man's original vital stock are too quick and too numerous for his inner nature to develop its own simultaneous concordance with them, and thus we see everywhere innumerable schoolboys in human society playing pranks with their own and other people's lives and welfare by means of newly acquired pen-knives which have not had time to become humanized. One thing, I am sure, must have been noticed that the original plot of the drama is changed, and the mother Spirit of Life has retired into the back- ground, giving full prominence, in the third act, to the Spirit of Man though the dowager queen, from her inner apartment, still renders necessary help. It is the consciousness in Man of his own creative personality which has ushered in this new regime in Life's kingdom. And from now onwards Man's attempts are directed fully to capture the government and make his own Code of Legislation prevail without a break. We have seen in India those who are called mystics, impatient of the con- tinued regency of mother Nature in their own 40 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT body, winning for their will by a concentration of inner forces the vital regions with which our mas- terful minds have no direct path of communi- cation. But the most important fact that has come into prominence along with the change of direction in our evolution, is the possession of a Spirit which has its enormous capital with a surplus far in excess of the requirements of the biological animal in Man. Some overflowing influence led us over the strict boundaries of living, and offered to us an open space where Man's thoughts and dreams could have their holidays. Holidays are for gods who have their joy in creation. In Life's primitive paradise, where the mission was merely to live, any luck which came to the creatures entered in from outside by the donations of chance; they lived on perpetual charity, by turns petted and kicked on the back by physical Providence. Beg- gars never can have harmony among themselves; they are envious of one another, mutually suspi- cious, like dogs living upon their master's favour, showing their teeth, growling, barking, trying to tear one another. This is what Science describes as the struggle for existence. This beggars' para- dise lacked peace ; I am sure the suitors for special favour from fate lived in constant preparedness, inventing and multiplying armaments. 41 THE RELIGION OF MAN But above the din of the clamour and scramble rises the voice of the Angel of Surplus, of leisure, of detachment from the compelling claim of physical need, saying to men, "Rejoice". From his original serfdom as a creature Man takes his right seat as a creator. Whereas, before, his incessant appeal has been to get, now at last the call comes to him to give. His God, whose help he was in the habit of asking, now stands Himself at his door and asks for his offerings. As an animal, he is still dependent upon Nature; as a Man, he is a sover- eign who builds his world and rules it And there, at this point, comes his religion, whereby he realizes himself in the perspective of the infinite. There is a remarkable verse in the Atharva Veda which says: "Righteousness, truth, great endeavours, empire, religion, enterprise, heroism and prosperity, the past and the future, dwell in the surpassing strength of the sur- plus." What is purely physical has its limits like the shell of an egg ; the liberation is there in the atmos- phere of the infinite, which is indefinable, invisible. Religion can have no meaning in the enclosure of mere physical or material interest; it is in the sur- plus we carry around our personality the surplus which is like the atmosphere of the earth, bringing to her a constant circulation of light and life and delightfulness* 42 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT I have said in a poem of mine that when the child is detached from its mother's womb it finds its mother in a real relationship whose truth is in freedom. Man in his detachment has realized him- self in a wider and deeper relationship with the universe. In his moral life he has the sense of his obligation and his freedom at the same time, and this is goodness. In his spiritual life his sense of the union and the will which is free has its cul- mination in love. The freedom of opportunity he wins for himself in Nature's region by uniting his power with Nature's forces. The freedom of social relationship he attains through owning responsi- bility to his community, thus gaining its collective power for his own welfare. In the freedom of con- sciousness he realizes the sense of his unity with his larger being, finding fulfilment in the dedicated life of an ever-progressive truth and ever-active love. The first detachment achieved by Man is physi- cal. It represents his freedom from the aecessity of developing the power of his senses and limbs in the limited area of his own physiology, having for itself an unbounded background with an im- mense result in consequence. Nature's original intention was that Man should have the allowance of his sight-power ample enough for his surround- ings and a little over. But to have to develop an astronomical telescope on our skull would cause 43 THE RELIGION OF MAN a worse crisis of bankruptcy than it did to the Mammoth whose densely foolish body indulged in an extravagance of tusks. A snail carries its house on its back and therefore the material, the shape and the weight have to be strictly limited to the capacity of the body. But fortunately Man's house need not grow on the foundation of his bones and occupy his flesh. Owing to this detachment, his ambition knows no check to its daring in the di- mension and strength of his dwellings. Since his shelter does not depend upon his body, it survives him. This fact greatly affects the man who builds a house, generating in his mind a sense of the eter- nal in his creative work. And this background of the boundless surplus of time encourages architec- ture, which seeks a universal value overcoming the miserliness of the present need. I have already mentioned a stage which Life reached when the units of single cells formed them- selves into larger units, each consisting of a multi- tude. It was not merely an aggregation, but had a mysterious unity of inter-relationship, complex in character, with differences within of forms and function. We can never know concretely what this relation means, There are gaps between the units, but they do not stop the binding force that per- meates the whole. There is a future for the whole which is in its growth, but in order to bring this 44 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT about each unit works and dies to make room for the next worker. While the unit has the right to claim the glory of the whole, yet individually it cannot share the entire wealth that occupies a his- tory yet to be completed. Of all creatures Man has reached that multicel- lular character in a perfect manner, not only in his body but in his personality. For centuries his evo- lution has been the evolution of a consciousness that tries to be liberated from the bonds of indi- vidual separateness and to comprehend in its rela- tionship a wholeness which may be named Man. This relationship, which has been dimly instinc- tive, is ever struggling to be fully aware of itself. Physical evolution sought for efficiency in a per- fect communication with the physical world; the evolution of Man's consciousness sought for truth in a perfect harmony with the world of personality. There are those who will say that the idea of humanity is an abstraction, subjective in character* It must be confessed that the concrete objective- ness of this living truth cannot be proved to its own units. They can never see its entireness from outside; for they are one with it The individual cells of our body have their separate lives; but they never have the opportunity of observing the body as a whole with its past, present and future. If these cells have the power of reasoning (which 45 THE RELIGION OF MAN they may have for aught we know) they have the right to argue that the idea of the body has no objective foundation in fact, and though there is a mysterious sense of attraction and mutual influ- ence running through them, these are nothing posi- tively real ; the sole reality which is provable is in the isolation of these cells made by gaps that can never be crossed or bridged. We know something about a system of explosive atoms whirling separately in a space which is im- mense compared to their own dimension. Yet we do not know why they should appear to us a solid piece of radiant mineral. And if there is an onlooker who at one glance can have the view of the immense time and space occupied by innumer- able human individuals engaged in evolving a common history, the positive truth of their solidar- ity will be concretely evident to him and not the negative fact of their separateness. The reality of a piece of iron is not provable if we take the evidence of the atom ; the only proof is that I see it as a bit of iron, and that it has cer- tain reactions upon my consciousness. Any being from, say, Orion, who has the sight to see the atoms and not the iron, has the right to say that we human beings suffer from an age-long epidemic of hallu- cination. We need not quarrel with him but go on using the iron as it appears to us. Seers there have been who have said "Vedahametam", "I see", 46 THE CREATIVE SPIRIT and lived a life according to that vision. f And though our own sight may be blind we have ever bowed our head to them in reverence. However, whatever name our logic may give to the truth of human unity, the fact can never be ignored that we have our greatest delight when we realize ourselves in others, and this is the defi- nition of love. This love gives us the testimony of the great whole, which is the complete and final truth of man. It offers us the immense field where we can have our release from the sole monarchy of hunger, of the growling voice, snarling teeth and tearing claws, from the dominance of the limited material means, the source of cruel envy and ignoble deception, where the largest wealth of the human soul has been produced through sympathy and co-operation ; through disinterested pursuit of knowledge that recognizes no limit and is unafraid of all time-honoured tabus; through a strenuous cultivation of intelligence for service that knows no distinction of colour and clime. The Spirit of Love, dwelling in the boundless realm of the sur- plus, emancipates our consciousness from the illu- sory bond of the separateness of self; it is ever trying to spread its illumination in the human world. This is the spirit of civilization, which in all its best endeavour invokes our supreme Being for the only bond of unity that leads us to truth, namely, that of righteousness: 47 THE RELIGION OF MAN Ya efco varno bahudha saktiyogat varnan anekan nihitartho dadhati vichaitti chante viavamadau sa devah sa no budhya subhaya samyunaktu. "He who is one, above all colours, and who with his manifold power supplies the inherent needs of men of all colours, who is in the beginning and in the end of the world, is divine, and may he unite us in a relationship of good will." CHAPTER III THE SURPLUS IN MAN THERE are certain verses from the Atharva Veda in which the poet discusses his idea of Man, indi- cating some transcendental meaning that can be translated as follows : "Who was it that imparted form to man, gave him majesty, movement, manifestation and character, inspired him with wis- dom, music and dancing? When his body was raised upwards he found also the oblique sides and all other directions in him he who is the Person, the citadel of the infinite being." Tasmad vai vidvan purushamidan brahmeti manyate. "And therefore the wise man knoweth this person as Brahma." Sanatanam enam ahur utadya syat punarnavah. "Ancient they call him, and yet he is renewed even now to-day." In the very beginning of his career Man asserted in his bodily structure his first proclamation of freedom against the established rule of Nature. At a certain bend in the path of evolution he refused to remain a four-footed creature, and the position which he made his body to assume carried with it a permanent gesture of insubordination. For there could be no question that it was Nature's 49 THE RELIGION OF MAN own plan to provide all land-walking mammals with two pairs of legs, evenly distributed along their lengthy trunk heavily weighted with a head at the end. This was the amicable compromise made with the earth when threatened by its con- servative downward force, which extorts taxes for all movements. The fact that man gave up such an obviously sensible arrangement proves his inborn mania for repeated reforms of constitution, for pelting amendments at every resolution proposed by Providence. If we found a four-legged table stalking about upright upon two of its stumps, the remaining two foolishly dangling by its sides, we should be afraid that it was either a nightmare or some supernormal caprice of that piece of furniture, indulging in a practical joke upon the carpenter's idea of fitness. The like absurd behaviour of Man's anatomy encourages us to guess that he was born under the influence of some comet of contradiction that forces its eccentric path against orbits regulated by Nature. And it is significant that Man should per- sist in his foolhardiness, in spite of the penalty he pays for opposing the orthodox rule of animal locomotion. He reduces by half the help of an easy balance of his muscles. He is ready to pass his infancy tottering through perilous experiments in making progress upon insufficient support, and followed all through his life by liability to sudden 50 THE SURPLUS IN MAN downfalls resulting in tragic or ludicrous conse- quences from which law-abiding quadrupeds are free. This was his great venture, the relinquish- ment of a secure position of his limbs, which he could comfortably have retained in return for humbly salaaming the all-powerful dust at every step. This capacity to stand erect has given our body its freedom of posture, making it easy for us to turn on all sides and realize ourselves at the centre of things. Physically, it symbolizes the fact that while animals have for their progress the prolonga- tion of a narrow line Man has the enlargement of a circle. As a centre he finds his meaning in a wide perspective, and realizes himself in the magnitude of his circumference. As one freedom leads to another, Man's eyesight also found a wider scope. I do not mean any enhancement of its physical power, which in many predatory animals has a better power of adjust- ment to light But from the higher vantage of our physical watch-tower we have gained our view, which is not merely information about the location of things but their inter-relation and their unity* But the best means of the expression of his physi- cal freedom gained by Man in his vertical position is through the emancipation of his hands. In our bodily organization these have attained the high- est dignity for their skill) their grace, their useful Si THE RELIGION OF MAN activities, as well as for those that are above all uses. They are the most detached of all our limbs. Once they had their menial vocation as our car- riers, but raised from their position as shudras, they at once attained responsible status as our helpers. When instead of keeping them under- neath us we offered them their place at our side, they revealed capacities that helped us to cross the boundaries of animal nature. This freedom of view and freedom of action have been accompanied by an analogous mental freedom in Man through his imagination, which is the most distinctly human of all our faculties. It is there to help a creature who has been left unfin- ished by his designer, undraped, undecorated, unarmoured and without weapons, and, what is worse, ridden by a Mind whose energies for the most part are not tamed and tempered into some difficult ideal of completeness upon a background which is bare. Like all artists he has the freedom to make mistakes, to launch into desperate adven- tures contradicting and torturing his psychology or physiological normality. This freedom is a divine gift lent to the mortals who are untutored and undisciplined ; and therefore the path of their creative progress is strewn with debris of devasta- tion, and stages of their perfection haunted by apparitions of startling deformities. But, all the same, the very training of creation ever makes 5* THE SURPLUS IN MAN clear an aim which cannot be in any isolated freak of an individual mind or in that which is only limited to the strictly necessary. Just as our eyesight enables us to include the individual fact of ourselves in the surrounding view, our imagination makes us intensely conscious of a life we must live which transcends the indi- vidual life and contradicts the biological meaning of the instinct of self-preservation. It works at the surplus, and extending beyond the reservation plots of our daily life builds there the guest cham- bers of priceless value to offer hospitality to the world-spirit of Man. We have such an honoured right to be the host when our spirit is a free spirit not chained to the animal self. For free spirit is godly and alone can claim kinship with God. Every true freedom that we may attain in any direction broadens our path of self-realization, which is in superseding the self. The unimagina- tive repetition of life within a safe restriction im- posed by Nature may be good for the animal, but never for Man, who has the responsibility to out- live his life in order to live in truth. And freedom in its process of creation gives rise to perpetual suggestions of something further than its obvious purpose. For freedom is for expressing the infinite; it imposes limits in its works, not to keep them in permanence but to break them over and over again, and to reveal the endless in unend- 53 THE RELIGION OF MAN Ing surprises. This implies a history of constant regeneration, a series of fresh beginnings and con- tinual challenges to the old in order to reach a more and more perfect harmony with some fundamental ideal of truth. Our civilization, in the constant struggle for a great Further, runs through abrupt chapters of spasmodic divergences. It nearly always begins its new ventures with a cataclysm ; for its changes are not mere seasonal changes of ideas gliding through varied periods of flowers and fruit They are surprises lying in ambuscade provoking revo- lutionary adjustments. They are changes in the dynasty of living ideals the ideals that are active in consolidating their dominion with strongholds of physical and mental habits, of symbols, cere- monials and adornments* But however violent may be the revolutions happening in whatever time or country, they never completely detach themselves from a common centre. They find their places in a history which is one. The civilizations evolved in India or China, Persia or Judaea, Greece or Rome, are like several mountain peaks having different altitude, tempera- ture, flora and fauna, and yet belonging to the same chain of hills. There are no absolute barriers of communication between them; their foundation is the same and they affect the meteorology of an atmosphere which is common to us all. This is at 54 THE SURPLUS IN MAN the root of the meaning of the great teacher who said he would not seek his own salvation if all men were not saved ; for we all belong to a divine unity, from which our great-souled men have their direct inspiration; they feel it immediately in their own personality, and they proclaim in their life, "I am one with the Supreme, with the Death- less, with the Perfect". Man, in his mission to create himself, tries to develop in his mind an image of his truth accord- ing to an idea which he believes to be universal, and is sure that any expression given to it will per- sist through all time. This is a mentality abso- lutely superfluous for biological existence. It rep- resents his struggle for a life which is not limited to his body. For our physical life has its thread of unity in the memory of the past, whereas this ideal life dwells in the prospective memory of the future* In the records of past civilizations, un- earthed from the closed records of dust, we find pathetic efforts to make their memories uninter- rupted through the ages, like the effort of a child who sets adrift on a paper boat his dream of reach- ing the distant unknown. But why is this desire? Only because we feel instinctively that in our ideal life we must touch all men and all times through the manifestation of a truth which is eternal and universal. And in order to give expression to it materials are gathered that are excellent and a 55 THE RELIGION O MAN manner of execution that has a permanent value* For we mortals must offer homage to the Man of the everlasting life. In order to do so, we are ex- pected to pay a great deal more than we need for mere living, and in the attempt we often exhaust our very means of livelihood, and even life itself. The ideal picture which a savage imagines of himself requires glaring paints and gorgeous finer- ies, a rowdiness in ornaments and even grotesque deformities of over-wrought extravagance* He tries to sublimate his individual self into a mani- festation which he believes to have the majesty of the ideal Man. He is not satisfied with what he is in his natural limitations ; he irresistibly feels some- thing beyond the evident fact of himself which only could give him worth. It is the principle of power, which, according to his present mental stage, is the meaning of the universal reality whereto he belongs, and it is his pious duty to give expression to it even at the cost of his happiness. In fact, through it he becomes one with his God, for him his God is nothing greater than power. The savage takes immense trouble, and often suf- fers tortures, in order to offer in himself a repre- sentation of power in conspicuous colours and dis- torted shapes, in acts of relentless cruelty and in- temperate bravado of self-indulgence. Such an appearance of rude grandiosity evokes a loyal rev- erence in the members of his community and a 56 THE SURPLUS IN MAN fear which gives them an aesthetic satisfaction because it illuminates for them the picture of a character which, as far as they know, belongs to ideal humanity. They wish to see in him not an individual, but the Man in whom they all are rep* resented. Therefore, in spite of their sufferings, they enjoy being overwhelmed by his exaggerations and dominated by a will fearfully evident owing to its magnificent caprice in inflicting injuries. They symbolize their idea of unlimited wilfulness in their gods by ascribing to them physical and moral enormities in their anatomical idiosyncracy and virulent vindictiveness crying for the blood of victims, in personal preferences indiscriminate in the choice of recipients and methods of rewards and punishments. In fact, these gods could never be blamed for the least wavering in their conduct owing to any scrupulousness accompanied by the emotion of pity so often derided as sentimentalism by virile intellects of the present day. However crude all this may be, it proves that Man has a feeling that he is truly represented in something which exceeds himself. He is aware that he is not imperfect, but incomplete. He knows that in himself some meaning has yet to be real- ized. We do not feel the wonder of it, because it seems so natural to us that barbarism in Man is not absolute, that its limits are like the limits of the horizon. The call is deep in his mind the 57 THE RELIGION OF MAN call of his own inner truth, which is beyond his direct knowledge and analytical logic. And indi- viduals are born who have no doubt of the truth of this transcendental Man. As our consciousness more and more comprehends it, new valuations are developed in us, new depths and delicacies of de- light, a sober dignity of expression through elimi- nation of tawdriness, of frenzied emotions, of all violence in shape, colour, words, or behaviour, of the dark mentality of Ku-Klux-Klanism. Each age reveals its personality as dreamer in its great expressions that carry it across surging centuries to the continental plateau of permanent human history. These expressions may not be con- sciously religious, but indirectly they belong to Man's religion. For they are the outcome of the consciousness of the greater Man in the individual men of the race. This consciousness finds its man- ifestation in science, philosophy and the arts, in social ethics, in all things that carry their ultimate value in themselves. These are truly spiritual and they should all be consciously co-ordinated in one great religion of Man, representing his ceaseless endeavour to reach the perfect in great thoughts and deeds and dreams, in immortal symbols of art, revealing his aspiration for rising in dignity of being. I had the occasion to visit the ruins of ancient Rome, the relics of human yearning towards the 58 THE SURPLUS IN MAN immense, the sight of which teases our mind out of thought. Does it not prove that in the vision of a great Roman Empire the creative imagination of the people rejoiced in the revelation of its trans- cendental humanity? It was the idea of an Empire which was not merely for opening an outlet to the pent-up pressure of over-population, or widening its field of commercial profit, but which existed as a concrete representation of the majesty of Roman personality, the soul of the people dreaming of a world-wide creation of its own for a fit habitation of the Ideal Man. It was Rome's titanic endeavour to answer the eternal question as to what Man truly was, as Man. And any answer given in earn- est falls within the realm of religion, whatever may be its character ; and this answer, in its truth, belongs not only to any particular people but to us all. It may be that Rome did not give the most perfect answer possible when she fought for her place as a world-builder of human history, but she revealed the marvellous vigour of the indomitable human spirit which could say, "Bhumaiva suk- hamf "Greatness is happiness itself". Her Em- pire has been sundered and shattered, but her faith in the sublimity of man still persists in one of the vast strata of human geology. And this faith was the true spirit of her religion, which had been dim in the tradition of her formal theology, merely supplying her with an emotional pastime and not THE RELIGION OF MAN with spiritual inspiration. In fact this theology fell far below her personality, and for that reason it went against her religion, whose mission was to reveal her humanity on the background of the eternal. Let us seek the religion of this and other people not in their gods but in Man, who dreamed of his own infinity and majestically worked for all time, defying danger and death. Since the dim nebula of consciousness in Life's world became intensified into a centre of self in Man, his history began to unfold its rapid chap- ters ; for it is the history of his strenuous answers in various forms to the question rising from this conscious self of his, "What am I?" Man is not happy or contented as the animals are ; for his hap- piness and his peace depend upon the truth of his answer. The animal attains his success in a physi- cal sufficiency that satisfies his nature. When a crocodile finds no obstruction in behaving like an orthodox crocodile he grins and grows and has no cause to complain. It is truism to say that Man also must behave like a man in order to find his truth. But he is sorely puzzled and asks in be- wilderment: "What is it to be like a man? What am I?" It is not left to the tiger to discover what is his own nature as a tiger, nor, for the matter of that, to choose a special colour for his coat accord- ing to his taste. But Man has taken centuries to discuss the ques- 60 THE SURPLUS IN MAN tion of his own true nature and has not yet come to a conclusion. He has been building up elab- orate religions to convince himself, against his nat- ural inclinations, of the paradox that he is not what he is but something greater. What is significant about these efforts is the fact that in order to know himself truly Man in his religion cultivates the vision of a Being who exceeds him in truth and with whom also he has his kinship. These religions differ in details and often in their moral signifi- cance, but they have a common tendency. In them men seek their own supreme value, which they call divine, in some personality anthropomorphic in character. The Mind, which is abnormally scien- tific, scoffs at this ; but it should know that religion is not essentially cosmic or even abstract; it finds itself when it touches the Brahma in man; other- wise it has no justification to exist. It must be admitted that such a human element introduces into our religion a mentality that often has its danger in aberrations that are intellectually blind, morally reprehensible and aesthetically repellent But these are wrong answers; they dis- tort the truth of man and, like all mistakes in sociology, in economics or politics, they have to be fought against and overcome. Their truth has to be judged by the standard of human perfection and not by some arbitrary injunction that refuses to be confirmed by the tribunal of the human con- 6* THE RELIGION OF MAN science. And great religions are the outcome of great revolutions in this direction causing funda- mental changes of our attitude. These religions invariably made their appearance as a protest against the earlier creeds which had been unhu- man, where ritualistic observances had become more important and outer compulsions more im- perious. These creeds were, as I have said before, cults of power; they had their value for us, not helping us to become perfect through truth, but to grow formidable through possessions and magic control of the deity. But possibly I am doing injustice to our ances- tors. It is more likely that they worshipped power not merely because of its utility, but because they, in their way, recognized it as truth with which their own power had its communication and in which it found its fulfilment They must have nat- urally felt that this power was the power of will behind nature, and not some impersonal insanity that unaccountably always stumbled upon correct results. For it would have been the greatest depth of imbecility on their part had they brought their homage to an abstraction, mindless, heartless and purposeless; in fact, infinitely below them in its manifestation. CHAPTER IV SPIRITUAL UNION WHEN Man's preoccupation with the means of livelihood became less insistent he had the leisure to come to the mystery of his own self, and could not help feeling that the truth of his personality had both its relationship and its perfection in an endless world of humanity. His religion, which in the beginning had its cosmic background of power, came to a higher stage when it found its back- ground in the human truth of personality. It must not be thought that in this channel it was narrow- ing the range of our consciousness of the infinite. The negative idea of the infinite is merely an indefinite enlargement of the limits of things; in fact, a perpetual postponement of infinitude. I am told that mathematics has come to the conclusion that our world belongs to a space which is limited. It does not make us feel disconsolate. We do not miss very much and need not have a low opinion of space even if a straight line cannot remain straight and has an eternal tendency to come back to the point from which it started. In the Hindu Scripture the universe is described as an egg; that 63 THB RELIGION OF MAN is to say, for the human mind it has its circular shell of limitation. The Hindu Scripture goes still further and says that time also is not continuous and our world repeatedly comes to an end to begin its cycle once again. In other words, in the region of time and space infinity consists of ever-revolving finitude. But the positive aspect of the infinite is in advaitam, in an absolute unity, in which compre- hension of the multitude is not as in an outer re- ceptacle but as in an inner perfection that per- meates and exceeds its contents, like the beauty in a lotus which is ineffably more than all the con- stituents of the flower. It is not the magnitude of extension but an intense quality of harmony which evokes in us the positive sense of the infinite in our joy, in our love. For advaitam is anandam; the infinite One is infinite Love. For those among whom the spiritual sense is dull, the desire for realization is reduced to physical possession, an actual grasping in space. This longing for magni- tude becomes not an aspiration towards the great, but a mania for the big. But true spiritual realiza- tion is not through augmentation of possession in dimension or number. The truth that is infinite dwells in the ideal of unity which we find in the deeper relatedness. This truth of realization is not in space, it can only be realized in one's own inner spirit 64 SPIRITUAL UNION Ekadhaivanudrashtavyam etat aprameyam dhruvam. (This infinite and eternal has to be known as One.) Para akasat aja atma "this birthless spirit is beyond space". For it is Purushahj it is the "Person". The special mental attitude which India has in her religion is made clear by the word Yoga, whose meaning is to effect union. Union has its signifi- cance not in the realm of to have, but in that of to be. To gain truth is to admit its separateness, but to be true is to become one with truth. Some religions, which deal with our relationship with God, assure us of reward if that relationship be kept true. This reward has an objective value. It gives us some reason outside ourselves for pursuing the prescribed path. We have such religions also in India. But those that have attained a greater height aspire for their fulfilment in union with Narayana, the supreme Reality of Man, which is divine. Our union with this spirit is not to be attained through the mind. For our mind belongs to the department of economy in the human organism. It carefully husbands our consciousness for its own range of reason, within which to permit our rela- tionship with the phenomenal world* But it is the object of Yoga to help us to transcend the limits built up by Mind. On the occasions when these are overcome, our inner self is filled with joy, 65 THE RELIGION OF MAN which indicates that through such freedom we come into touch with the Reality that is an end in itself and therefore is bliss. Once man had his vision of the infinite in the universal Light, and he offered his worship to the sun. He also offered his service to the fire with oblations. Then he felt the infinite in Life, which is Time in its creative aspect, and he said, "Yat *kincha yadidam sarvam prana ejati nihsritam/* "all that there is comes out of life and vibrates in it". He was sure of it, being conscious of Life's mystery immediately in himself as the principle of purpose, as the organized will, the source of all his activi- ties. His interpretation of the ultimate character of truth relied upon the suggestion that Life had brought to him, and not the non-living which is dumb. And then he came deeper into his being and said "Raso vai sah" 9 "the infinite is love itself ", the eternal spirit of joy. His religion, which is in his realization of the infinite, began its journey from the impersonal dyaus, "the sky", wherein light had its manifestation; then came to Life, which represented the force of self-creation in time, and ended in purushak, the "Person", in whom dwells timeless love. It said, "Tarn vedyam purusham ve-dah", "Know him the Person who is to be realized", "Yatha ma vo mrityug parivya~ thah" "So that death may not cause you sorrow". For this Person is deathless in whom the individual 66 S PIRITUAL UNION person has his immortal truth. Of him it is said : "Esha devo uisvakarma mahatma sada jananam hridaye sannivishatah". "This is the divine being, the world-worker, who is the Great Soul ever dwelling inherent in the hearts of all people." Ya etad vidur amritas te bhavanti. "Those who realize him, transcend the limits of mortality" not in duration of time, but in perfection of truth. Our union with a Being whose activity is world- wide and who dwells in the heart of humanity cannot be a passive one. In order to be united with Him we have to divest our work of selfishness and become visvakarma, "the world-worker", we must work for all. When I use the words "for all", I do not mean for a countless number of individuals. All work that is good, however small in extent, is universal in character. Such work makes for a realization of Fisvakarma, "the World-Worker" who works for all. In order to be one with this Mahatma, "the Great Soul", one must cultivate the greatness of soul which identifies itself with the soul of all peoples and not merely with that of one's own. This helps us to understand what Buddha has described as Brahmavihara, "living in the infinite". He says: "Do not deceive each other, do not despise any- body anywhere, never in anger wish anyone to suf- fer through your body, words or thoughts. Like a mother maintaining her only son with her own 67 THE RELIGION OF MAN life, keep thy immeasurable loving thought for all creatures. "Above thee, below thee, on all sides of thee, keep on all the world thy sympathy and immeas- urable loving thought which is without obstruc- tion, without any wish to injure, without enmity. "To be dwelling in such contemplation while standing, walking, sitting or lying down, until sleep overcomes thee, is called living in Brahma". This proves that Buddha's idea of the infinite was not the idea of a spirit of an unbounded cos- mic activity, but the infinite whose meaning is in the positive ideal of goodness and love, which cannot be otherwise than human. By being chari- table, good and loving, you do not realize the infinite, in the stars or rocks, but the infinite re- vealed in Man. Buddha's teaching speaks of Nir- vana as the highest end. To understand its real character we have to know the path of its attain- ment, which is not merely through the negation of evil thoughts and deeds but through the elimination of all limits to love. It must mean the sublimation of self in a truth which is love itself, which unites in its bosom all those to whom we must offer our sympathy and service. When somebody asked Buddha about the orig- inal cause of existence he sternly said that such questioning was futile and irrelevant Did he not mean that it went beyond the human sphere as 68 SPIRITUAL UNION our goal that though such a question might legitimately be asked in the region of cosmic phi- losophy or science, it had nothing to do with man's dharma, man's inner nature, in which love finds its utter fulfilment, in which all his sacrifice ends in an eternal gain, in which the putting out of the lamplight is no loss because there is the all-pervad- ing light of the sun. And did those who listened to the great teacher merely hear his words and understand his doctrines? No, they directly felt in him what he was preaching, in the living lan- guage of his own person, the ultimate truth of Man. It is significant that all great religions have their historic origin in persons who represented in their life a truth which was not cosmic and unmoral, but human and good. They rescued religion from the magic stronghold of demon force and brought it into the inner heart of humanity, into a fulfil- ment not confined to some exclusive good fortune of the individual but to the welfare of all men. This was not for the spiritual ecstasy of lonely souls, but for the spiritual emancipation of all races. They came as the messengers of Man to men of all countries and spoke of the salvation that could only be reached by the perfecting of our relationship with Man the Eternal, Man the Divine. Whatever might be their doctrines of God, or some dogmas that they borrowed from 69 THE RELIGION OF MAN their own time and tradition, their life and teach- ing had the deeper implication of a Being who is the infinite in Man, the Father, the Friend, the Lover, whose service must be realized through serving all mankind. For the God in Man de- pends upon men's service and men's love for his own love's fulfilment The question was once asked in the shade of the ancient forest of India : Kasmai devaya havisha vidhema? "Who is the God to whom we must bring our oblation?" That question is still ours, and to answer it we must know in the depth of our love and the maturity of our wisdom what man is know him not only in sympathy but in science, in the joy of creation and in the pain of heroism ; tena tyaktena bhunjitha, "enjoy him through sacrifice" the sac- rifice that comes of love ; ma gridhah, "covet not" ; for greed diverts your mind to that illusion in you which is your separate self and diverts it from truth in which you represent the parama purushah f "the supreme Person". Our greed diverts our consciousness to materials away from that supreme value of truth which is the quality of the universal being. The gulf thus created by the receding stream of the soul we try to replenish with a continuous stream of wealth, which may have the power to fill but not the power 70 SPIRITUAL UNION to unite and recreate. Therefore the gap is danger- ously concealed under the glittering quicksand oi things, which by their own weight cause a sudden subsidence while we are in the depths of sleep. The real tragedy, however, does not lie in the risk of our material security but in the obscuration of Man himself in the human world. In the crea- tive activities of his soul Man realizes his sur- roundings as his larger self, instinct with his own life and love. But in his ambition he deforms and defiles it with the callous handling of his voracity. His world of utility assuming a gigantic propor- tion, reacts upon his inner nature and hynotically suggests to him a scheme of the universe which is an abstract system. In such a world there can be no question of mukti, the freedom in truth, because it is a solidly solitary fact, a cage with no sky beyond it. In all appearance our world is a closed world of hard facts ; it is like a seed with its tough cover. But within this enclosure is working our silent cry of life for mukti, even when its possibil- ity is darkly silent When some huge overgrown temptation tramples into stillness this living aspi- ration then does civilization die like a seed thai has lost its urging for germination. And this mukh is in the truth that dwells in the ideal man. CHAPTER V THE PROPHET IN my introduction I have stated that the universe to which we are related through our sense percep- tion, reason or imagination, is necessarily Man's universe- Our physical self gains strength and success through its correct relationship in knowl- edge and practice with its physical aspect. The mysteries of all its phenomena are generalized by man as laws which have their harmony with his rational mind. In the primitive period of our his- tory Man's physical dealings with the external world were most important for the maintenance of his life, the life which he has in common with other creatures, and therefore the first expression of his religion was physical it came from his sense of wonder and awe at the manifestations of power in Nature and his attempt to win it for him- self and his tribe by magical incantations and rites. In other words his religion tried to gain a perfect communion with the mysterious magic of Nature's forces through his own power of magic. Then came the time when he had the freedom of leisure to divert his mind to his inner nature and the mystery 72 THE PROPHET of his own personality gained for him its highest importance. And instinctively his personal self sought its fulfilment in the truth of a higher per- sonality. In the history of religion our realization of its nature has gone through many changes even like our realization of the nature of the material world. Our method of worship has followed the course of such changes, but its evolution has been from the external and magical towards the moral and spiritual significance. The first profound record of the change of direc- tion in Man's religion we find in the message of the great prophet in Persia, Zarathustra, and as usual it was accompanied by a revolution. In a later period the same thing happened in India, and it is evident that the history of this religious struggle lies embedded in the epic Mahabharata associated with the name of Krishna and the teach- ings of Bhagavadgita. The most important of all outstanding facts of Iranian history is the religious reform brought about by Zarathustra. There can be hardly any question that he was the first man we know who gave a definitely moral character and direction to religion and at the same time preached the doctrine of monotheism which offered an eternal founda- tion of reality to goodness as an ideal of perfection. All religions of the primitive type try to keep men bound with regulations of external observances. 73 THE RELIGION OF MAN Zarathustra was the greatest of all the pioneer prophets who showed the path of freedom to man, the freedom of moral choice, the freedom from the blind obedience to unmeaning injunctions, the freedom from the multiplicity of shrines which draw our worship away from the single-minded chastity of devotion. To most of us it sounds like a truism to-day when we are told that the moral goodness of a deed comes from the goodness of intention. But it is a truth which once came to Man like a revela- tion of light in the darkness and it has not yet reached all the obscure corners of humanity. We still see around us men who fearfully follow, hop- ing thereby to gain merit, the path of blind formal- ism, which has no living moral source in the mind. This will make us understand the greatness of Zarathustra. Though surrounded by believers in magical rites, he proclaimed in those dark days of unreason that religion has its truth in its moral significance, not in external practices of imagin- ary value; that its value is in upholding man in his life of good thoughts, good words and good deeds. "The prophet' *, says Dr. Geiger, "qualifies his religion as 'unheard of words' (Yasna 31. i) or as a "mystery" (Y. 48. 3.) because he himself regards it as a religion quite distinct from the belief of the people hitherto. The revelation he announces is 74 THE PROPHET to him no longer a matter of sentiment, no longer a merely undefined presentiment and conception of the Godhead, but a matter of intellect, of spirit- ual perception and knowledge. This is of great importance, for there are probably not many re- ligions of so high antiquity in which this funda- mental doctrine, that religion is a knowledge or learning, a science of what is true, is so precisely declared as in the tenets of the Gathas. It is the unbelieving that are unknowing; on the contrary, the believing are learned because they have pene- trated into this knowledge." It may be incidentally mentioned here, as show- ing the parallel to this in the development of In- dian religious thought, that all through the Upan- ishad spiritual truth is termed with a repeated emphasis, vidya, knowledge, . which has for its opposite avidya, acceptance of error born of un- reason. The outer expression of truth reaches its white light of simplicity through its inner realization. True simplicity is the physiognomy of perfection. In the primitive stages of spiritual growth, when man is dimly aware of the mystery of the infinite in his life and the world, when he does not fully know the inward character of his relationship with this truth, his first feeling is either of dread, or of greed of gain. This drives him into wild exag- geration in worship, frenzied convulsions of cere- 75 THE RELIGION OF MAN monialism. But in Zarathustra's teachings, which are best reflected in his Gathas, we have hardly any mention of the ritualism of worship. Con- duct and its moral motives have there received almost the sole attention. The orthodox Persian form of worship in an- cient Iran included animal sacrifices and offering of haema to the daevas. That all these should be discountenanced by Zarathustra not only shows his courage, but the strength of his realization of the Supreme Being as spirit. We are told that it has been mentioned by Plutarch that "Zarathustra taught the Persians to sacrifice to Ahura Mazda, Vows and thanksgivings' ". The distance between faith in the efficiency of the bloodstained magi- cal rites, and cultivation of the moral and spiritual ideals as the true form of worship is immense. It is amazing to see how Zarathustra was the first among men who crossed this distance with a cer- tainty of realization which imparted such a fer- vour of faith to his life and his words. The truth which filled his mind was not a thing which he borrowed from books or received from teachers; he did not come to it by following a prescribed path of tradition, but it came to him as an illu- mination of his entire life, almost like a commu- nication of his universal self to his personal self, and he proclaimed this utmost immediacy of his knowledge when he said: 76 THE PROPHET When I conceived of Thee, O Mazda, as the very First and the Last, as the most Adorable One, as the Father of the Good Thought, as the Creator of Truth and Right, as the Lord Judge of our actions in life, then I made a place for Thee in my very eyes. Yasna 31,8 (Translation D. J. Irani). It was the direct stirring of his soul which made him say: Thus do I announce the Greatest of all ! I weave my songs of praise for him through Truth, helpful and beneficent of all that live. Let Ahura Mazda listen to them with his Holy Spirit, for the Good Mind instructed me to adore Him; by his wis- dom let Him teach me about what is best. Yasna 45.6 (Trans- lation D. J, Irani). The truth which is not reached through the ana- lytical process of reasoning and does not depend for proof on some corroboration of outward facts or the prevalent faith and practice of the people the truth which comes like an inspiration out of context with its surroundings brings with it an assurance that it has been sent from an inner source of divine wisdom, that the individual who has realized it is specially inspired and therefore has his responsibility as a direct medium of communi- cation of Divine Truth. As long as man deals with his God as the dis- penser of benefits only to those of His worshippers who know the secret of propitiating Him, he tries to keep Him for his own self or for the tribe to which he belongs* But directly the moral nature, 77 THE RELIGION OF MAN that is to say, the humanity of God is apprehended, man realizes his divine self in his religion, his God is no longer an outsider to be propitiated for a special concession. The consciousness of God transcends the limitations of race and gathers to- gether all human beings within one spiritual circle of union. Zarathustra was the first prophet who emancipated religion from the exclusive narrow- ness of the tribal God, the God of a chosen people, and offered it the universal Man, This is a great fact in the history of religion. The Master said, when the enlightenment came to him : Verily I believed Thee, O Ahura Mazda, to be the Supreme Benevolent Providence, when Sraosha came to me with the Good Mind, when first I received and became wise with your words. And though the task be difficult, though woe may come to me, I shall proclaim to all mankind Thy message, which Thou declarest to be the best. Yasna 43 (Translation D. J. Irani). He prays to Mazda : This I ask Thee, tell me truly, O Ahura, the religion that is best for all mankind, the religion, which based on truth, should prosper in all that is ours, the religion which establishes our actions in order and justice by the Divine songs of Perfect Piety, which has for its intelligent desire of desires, the desire for Thee, O Mazda* Yasna 44.10 (Translation D, J. Irani). With the undoubted assurance and hope of one who has got a direct vision of Truth he speaks to the world ; 78 THE PROPHET Hearken unto me, Ye who come from near and from far! Listen for I shall speak forth now; ponder well over all things, weigh my words with care and clear thought. Never shall the false teacher destroy this world for a second time, for his tongue stands mute, his creed exposed. Yasna 45.1 (Translation D. J. Irani), I think it can be said without doubt that such a high conception of religion, uttered in such a clear note of affirmation with a sure note of con- viction that it is a truth of the ultimate ideal of perfection which must be revealed to all humanity, even at the cost of martyrdom, is unique in the history of any religion belonging to such a remote dawn of civilization. There was a time when, along with other Aryan peoples, the Persian also worshipped the elemental gods of Nature, whose favour was not to be won by any moral duty performed or service of love. That in fact was the crude beginning of the scien- tific spirit trying to unlock the hidden sources of power in nature. But through it all there must have been some current of deeper desire, which constantly contradicted the cult of power and in- dicated worlds of inner good, infinitely more precious than material gain. Its voice was not strong at first nor was it heeded by the majority of the people ; but its influences, like the life within the seed, were silently working. Then comes the great prophet; and in his life and mind the hidden fire of truth suddenly bursts 79 THE RELIGION OF MAN out into flame. The best in the people works for long obscure ages in hints and whispers till it finds its voice which can never again be silenced. For that voice becomes the voice of Man, no longer confined to a particular time or people. It works across intervals of silence and oblivion, depression and defeat, and comes out again with its conquer- ing call. It is a call to the fighter, the fighter against untruth, against all that lures away man's spirit from its high mission of freedom into the meshes of materialism. Zarathustra's voice is still a living voice, not alone a matter of academic interest for historical scholars who deal with the facts of the past; nor merely the guide of a small community of men in the daily details of their life. Rather, of all teach- ers Zarathustra was the first who addressed his words to all humanity, regardless of distance of space or time. He was not like a cave-dweller who, by some chance of friction, had lighted a lamp and, fearing lest it could not be shared with all, secured it with a miser's care for his own domestic use. But he was the watcher in the night, who stood on the lonely peak facing the East and broke out singing the paeans of light to the sleeping world when the sun came out on the brim of the horizon. The Sun of Truth is for all, he declared its light is to unite the far and the near. Such a message So THE PROPHET always arouses the antagonism of those whose habits have become nocturnal, whose vested in- terest is in the darkness. And there was a bitter fight in the lifetime of the prophet between his followers and the others who were addicted to the ceremonies that had tradition on their side, and not truth. We are told that "Zarathustra was descended from a kingly family", and also that the first con- verts to his doctrine were of the ruling caste. But the priesthood, "the Kavis and the Karapans, often succeeded in bringing the rulers over to their side". So we find that, in this fight, the princes of the land divided themselves into two opposite parties as we find in India in the Kurukshetra War. It has been a matter of supreme satisfaction to me to realize that the purification of faith which was the mission of the great teachers in both com- munities, in Persia and in India, followed a similar line. We have already seen how Zarathustra spir- itualized the meaning of sacrifice, which in former days consisted in external ritualism entailing bloodshed. The same thing we find in the Gita, in which the meaning of the word Yajna has been translated into a higher significance than it had in its crude form. According to the Gita, the deeds that are done solely for the sake of self fetter our soul; the 81 THE RELIGION OF MAN disinterested action, performed for the sake of the giving up of self, is the true sacrifice. For creation itself comes of the self-sacrifice of Brahma, which has no other purpose; and therefore, in our per- formance of the duty which is self-sacrificing, we realize the spirit of Brahma. The Ideal of Zoroastrian Persia is distinctly ethical. It sends its call to men to work together with the Eternal Spirit of Good in spreading and maintaining Kshathra, the kingdom of righteous- ness, against all attacks of evil. This ideal gives us our place as collaborators with God in distribu- ting his blessings over the world. Clear is this to the man of wisdom as to the man who care- fully thinks; He who upholds Truth with all the might of his power, He who upholds Truth the utmost in his words and deed, He, indeed, is Thy most valued helper, O Mazda Ahura! Ifasna 31.22 (Translation D. J. Irani) It is a fact of supreme moment to us that the human world is in an incessant state of war be- tween that which will save us and that which will drag us into the abyss of disaster. Our one hope lies in the fact that Ahura Mazda is on our side if we choose the right course. The active heroic aspect of this religion reflects the character of the people themselves, who later on spread conquests far and wide and built up great empires by the might of their sword. They 82 THE PROP HEX accepted this world in all seriousness. They had their zest in life and confidence in their own strength. They belonged to the western half of Asia and their great influence travelled through the neighbouring civilization of Judaea towards the Western Continent Their ideal was the ideal of the fighter. By force of will and deeds of sacri- fice they were to conquer haurvatat welfare in this world, and ameratat immortality in the other. This is the best ideal in the West, the great truth of fight. For paradise has to be gained through conquest. That sacred task is for the heroes, who are to take the right side in the battle, and the right weapons. There was a heroic period in Indian history, when this holy spirit of fight was invoked by the greatest poet of the Sanskrit Literature. It is not to be wondered at that his ideal of fight was simi- lar to the ideal that Zarathustra preached. The problem with which his poem starts is that para- dise has to be rescued by the hero from its invasion by evil beings. This is the eternal problem of man. The evil spirit is exultant and paradise is lost when Sati, the spirit of Sat (Reality), is dis- united from Siva, the Spirit of Goodness. The Real and the Good must meet in wedlock if the hero is to take his birth in order to save all that is true and beautiful. When the union was attempted through the agency of passion, the anger of God 83 THE RELIGION OF MAN was aroused and the result was a tragedy of dis- appointment At last, by purification through penance, the wedding was effected, the hero was born who fought against the forces of evil and paradise was regained. This is a poem of the ideal of the moral fight, whose first great prophet was Zarathustra. We must admit that this ideal has taken a stronger hold upon the life of man in the West than in India the West, where the vigour of life receives its fullest support from Nature and the excess of energy finds its delight in ceaseless activities. But everywhere in the world, the un- realized ideal is a force of disaster. It gathers its strength in secret even in the heart of prosperity, kills the soul first and then drives men to their utter ruin. When the aggressive activity of will, which naturally accompanies physical vigour, fails to accept the responsibility of its ideal, it breeds unappeasable greed for material gain, leads to unmeaning slavery of things, till amidst a raging conflagration of clashing interests the tower of am- bition topples down to the dust And for this, the prophetic voice of Zarathustra reminds us that all human activities must have an ideal goal, which is an end to itself, and therefore is peace, is immortality. It is the House of Songs, the realization of love, which comes through strenuous service of goodness. 84 THE PROPHET All the joys of life which Thou boldest, O Mazda, the joys that were, the joys that are, and the joys that shall be, Thou dost apportion all in Thy love for us. We, on the other hand, in the tropical East, who have no surplus of physical energy inevitably over- flowing in outer activities, also have our own ideal given to us. Our course is not so much through the constant readiness to fight in the battle of the good and evil, as through the inner concentration of mind, through pacifying the turbulence of desire, to reach that serenity of the infinite in our being which leads to the harmony in the all. Here, like- wise, the unrealized ideal pursues us with its malediction. As the activities of a vigorous vitality may become unmeaning, and thereupon smother the soul with a mere multiplicity of material, so the peace of the extinguished desire may become the peace of death ; and the inner world, in which we would dwell, become a world of incoherent dreams. The negative process of curbing desire and con- trolling passion is only for saving our energy from dissipation and directing it into its proper chan- nel. If the path of the channel we have chosen runs withinwards, it also must have its expression in action, not for any ulterior reward, but for the proving of its own truth. If the test of action is removed, if our realization grows purely sub j Ac- tive, then it may become like travelling in a desert 9s THE RELIGION OF MAN in the night, going round and round the same cir- cle, imagining all the while that we are following the straight path of purpose. This is why the prophet of the Gita in the first place says: Who so forsakes all desires and goeth onwards free from yearn- ings, selfless and without egoism, he goeth to peace. But he does not stop here, he adds : Surrendering all actions to me, with Thy thoughts resting on the Supreme Self, from hope and egoism freed, and of mental fever cured, engage in battle. Action there must be, fight we must have not the fight of passion and desire, or arrogant self- assertion, but of duty done in the presence of the Eternal, the disinterested fight of the serene soul that helps us in our union with the Supreme Being. In this, the teaching of Zarathustra, his sacred gospel of fight finds its unity. The end of the fight he preaches is in the House of Songs, in the symphony of spiritual union. He sings : Ye, who wish to be allied to the Good Mind, to be friend with Truth, Ye who desire to sustain the Holy Cause, down with all anger and violence, away with all ill-will and strife! Such benevolent men, O Mazda, I shall take to the House of Songs ! The detailed facts of history, which are the battle- ground of the learned, are not my province. I am 86 THE PROP HEX a singer myself, and I am ever attracted by the strains that come forth from the House of Songs. When the streams of ideals that flow from the East and from the West mingle their murmur in some profound harmony of meaning it delights my soul. In the realm of material property men are jeal- ously proud of their possessions and their exclusive rights. Unfortunately there are quarrelsome men who bring that pride of acquisition, the worldli- ness of sectarianism, even into the region of spirit- ual truth. Would it be sane, if the man in China should lay claim to the ownership of the sun be- cause he can prove the earlier sunrise in his own country? For myself, I feel proud whenever I find that the best in the world have their fundamental agreement. It is their function to unite and to dissuade the small from bristling-up, like prickly shrubs, in the pride of the minute points of their differences, only to hurt one another. 87 CHAPTER VI THE VISION I HOPE that my readers have understood, as they have read these pages, that I am neither a scholar nor a philosopher. They should not expect from me fruits gathered from a wide field of studies or wealth brought by a mind trained in the difficult exploration of knowledge. Fortunately for me the subject of religion gains in interest and value by the experience of the individuals who earnestly believe in its truth. This is my apology for offer- ing a part of the story of my life which has always realized its religion through a process of growth and not by the help of inheritance or importation. Man has made the entire geography of the earth his own, ignoring the boundaries of climate ; for, unlike the lion and the reindeer, he has the power to create his special skin and temperature, includ- ing his unscrupulous power of borrowing the skins of the indigenous inhabitants and misappropriat- ing their fats. His kingdom is also continually extending in time through a great surplus in his power of mem- ory, to which is linked his immense facility of bor- 88 V1OJ.V/JN rowing the treasure of the past from all quarters of the world. He dwells in a universe of history, in an environment of continuous remembrance. The animal occupies time only through the multi- plication of its own race, but man through the memorials of his mind, raised along the pilgrim- age of progress. The stupendousness of his knowl- edge and wisdom is due to their roots spreading into and drawing sap from the far-reaching area of history. Man has his other dwelling place in the realm of inner realization, in the element of an imma- terial value. This is a world where from the sub- terranean soil of his mind his consciousness often, like a seed, unexpectedly sends up sprouts into the heart of a luminous freedom, and the individual is made to realize his truth in the universal Man. I hope it may prove of interest if I give an account of my own personal experience of a sudden spir- itual outburst from within me which is like the underground current of a perennial stream unex- pectedly welling up on the surface. I was born in a family which, at that time, was earnestly developing a monotheistic religion based upon the philosophy of the Upanishad, Somehow my mind at first remained coldly aloof, absolutely uninfluenced by any religion whatever. It was through an idiosyncrasy of my temperament thai I refused to accept any religious teaching merelj 89 THE RELIGION" OF MAN because people in my surroundings believed it to be true. I could not persuade myself to imagine that I had a religion because everybody whom I might trust believed in its value. Thus my mind was brought up in an atmos- phere of freedom freedom from the dominance of any creed that had its sanction in the definite authority of some scripture, or in the teaching of some organized body of worshippers. And, there- fore, the man who questions me has every right to distrust my vision and reject my testimony. In such a case, the authority of some particular book venerated by a large number of men may have greater weight than the assertion of an individ- ual, and therefore I never claim any right to preach. When I look back upon those days, it seems to me that unconsciously I followed the path of my Vedic ancestors, and was inspired by the tropical sky with its suggestion of an uttermost Beyond. The wonder of the gathering clouds hanging heavy with the unshed rain, of the sudden sweep of storms arousing vehement gestures along the line of coconut trees, the fierce loneliness of the blaz- ing summer noon, the silent sunrise behind the dewy veil of autumn morning, kept my mind with the intimacy of a pervasive companionship. Then came my initiation ceremony of Brahmin- hood when the gayatri verse of meditation was 90 THE VISION given to me, whose meaning, according to the ex- planation I had, runs as follows: "Let me contemplate the adorable splendour of Him who created the earth, the air and the starry spheres, and sends the power of comprehension within our minds." This produced a sense of serene exaltation in me, the daily meditation upon the infinite being which unites in one stream of creation my mind and the outer world. Though to-day I find no difficulty in realizing this being as an infinite personality in whom the subject and object are perfectly reconciled, at that time the idea to me was vague. Therefore the current of feeling that it aroused in my mind was indefinite, like the circulation of air an atmosphere which needed a definite world to complete itself and satisfy me. For it is evident that my religion is a poet's religion, and neither that of an orthodox man of piety nor that of a theologian. Its touch comes to me through the same unseen and trackless channel as does the in- spiration of my songs. My religious life has fol- lowed the same mysterious line of growth as has my poetical life. Somehow they are wedded to each other and, though their betrothal had a long period of ceremony, it was kept secret to me. When I was eighteen, a sudden spring breeze of religious experience for the first time came to my life and passed away leaving in my memory a 91 THE RELIGION OF MAN direct message of spiritual reality. One day while I stood watching at early dawn the sun sending out its rays from behind the trees, I suddenly felt as if some ancient mist had in a moment lifted from my sight, and the morning light on the face of the world revealed an inner radiance of joy. The invisible screen of the commonplace was re- moved from all things and all men, and their ulti- mate significance was intensified in my mind ; and this is the definition of beauty. That which was memorable in this experience was its human mes- sage, the sudden expansion of my consciousness in the super-personal world of man. The poem I wrote on the first day of my surprise was named "The Awakening of the Waterfall". The water- fall, whose spirit lay dormant in its ice-bound iso- lation, was touched by the sun and, bursting in a cataract of freedom, it found its finality in an unending sacrifice, in a continual union with the sea. After four days the vision passed away, and the lid hung down upon my inner sight In the dark, the world once again put on its disguise of the obscurity of an ordinary fact When I grew older and was employed in a responsible work in some villages I took my place in a neighbourhood where the current of time ran slow and joys and sorrows had their simple and elemental shades and lights. The day which had its special significance for me came with all its 92 THE VISION drifting trivialities of the commonplace life. The ordinary work of my morning had come to its close and before going to take my bath I stood for a moment at my window, overlooking a market place on the bank of a dry river bed, welcoming the first flood of rain along its channel. Suddenly I became conscious of a stirring of soul within me. My world of experience in a moment seemed to become lighted, and facts that were detached and dim found a great unity of meaning. The feel- ing which I had was like that which a man, grop- ing through a fog without knowing his destination, might feel when he suddenly discovers that he stands before his own house. I still remember the day in my childhood when I was made to struggle across my lessons in a first primer, strewn with isolated words smothered under the burden of spelling. The morning hour appeared to me like a once-illumined page, grown dusty and faded, discoloured into irrelevant marks, smudges and gaps, wearisome in its moth-eaten meaninglessness. Suddenly I came to a rhymed sentence of combined words, which may be trans- lated thus "It rains, the leaves tremble". At once I came to a world wherein I recovered my full meaning. My mind touched the creative realm of expression, and at that moment I was no longer a mere student with his mind muffled by spelling lessons, enclosed by classroom. The rhythmic pic- 93 THE RELIGION OF MAN ture of the tremulous leaves beaten by the rain opened before my mind the world which does not merely carry information, but a harmony with my being. The unmeaning fragments lost their indi- vidual isolation and my mind revelled in the unity of a vision. In a similar manner, on that morning in the village, the facts of my life suddenly ap- peared to me in a luminous unity of truth. All things that had seemed like vagrant waves were revealed to my mind in relation to a boundless sea. I felt sure that some Being who comprehended me and my world was seeking his best expression in all my experiences, uniting them into an ever- widening individuality which is a spiritual work of art. To this Being I was responsible ; for the creation in me is his as well as mine. It may be that it was the same creative Mind that is shaping the uni- verse to its eternal idea; but in me as a person it had one of its special centres of a personal relation- ship growing into a deepening consciousness. I had my sorrows that left their memory in a long burning track across my days, but I felt at that moment that in them I lent myself to a travail of creation that ever exceeded my own personal bounds like stars which in their individual fire- bursts are lighting the history of the universe. It gave me a great joy to feel in my life detachment at the idea of a mystery of a meeting of the two in 94 THE VISION a creative comradeship. I felt that I had found my religion at last, the religion of Man, in which the infinite became defined in humanity and came close to me so as to need my love and co-opera- tion. This idea of mine found at a later date its ex- pression in some of my poems addressed to what I called Jivan devata, the Lord of my life. Fully aware of my awkwardness in dealing with a for- eign language, with some hesitation I give a trans- lation, being sure that any evidence revealed through the self-recording instrument of poetry is more authentic than answers extorted through conscious questionings : Thou who art the innermost Spirit of my being, art thou pleased, Lord of my life? For I gave to thee my cup filled with all the pain and delight that the crushed grapes of my heart had surrendered, I wove with the rhythm of colours and songs the cover for thy bed, and with the molten gold of my desires I fashioned playthings for thy passing hours. I know not why thou chosest me for thy partner, Lord of my life ! Didst thou store my days and nights, my deeds and dreams for the alchemy of thy art, and string in the chain of thy music my songs of autumn and spring, and gather the flowers from my mature moments for thy crown? 95 THE RELIGION OF MAN I see thine eyes gazing at the dark of my heart, Lord of my life, I wonder if my failures and wrongs are forgiven. For many were my days without service and nights of f orgetf ulness ; futile were the flowers that faded in the shade not offered to thee. Often the tired strings of my lute slackened at the strain of thy tunes. And often at the ruin of wasted hours my desolate evenings were filled with tears. But have my days come to their end at last, Lord of my life, while my arms round thee grow limp, my kisses losing their truth? Then break up the meeting of this languid day. Renew the old in me in fresh forms of delight; and let the wedding come once again in a new ceremony of life. You will understand from this how unconsciously I had been travelling towards the realization which I stumbled upon in an idle moment on a day in July, when morning clouds thickened on the east- ern horizon and a caressing shadow lay on the tremulous bamboo branches, while an excited group of village boys was noisily dragging from the bank an old fishing boat ; and I cannot tell how at that moment an unexpected train of thoughts ran across my mind like a strange caravan carry- ing the wealth of an unknown kingdom. From my infancy I had a keen sensitiveness which kept my mind tingling with consciousness 96 THE VISION of the world around me, natural and human. We had a small garden attached to our house ; it was a fairyland to me, where miracles of beauty were of everyday occurrence. Almost every morning in the early hour of the dusk, I would run out from my bed in a great hurry to greet the first pink flush of the dawn through the shivering branches of the palm trees which stood in a line along the garden boundary, while the grass glistened as the dew-drops caught the earliest tremor of the morning breeze. The sky seemed to bring to me the call of a personal companionship, and all my heart my whole body in fact used to drink in at a draught the over- flowing light and peace of those silent hours. I was anxious never to miss a single morning, be- cause each one was precious to me, more precious than gold to the miser. I am certain that I felt a larger meaning of my own self when the barrier vanished between me and what was beyond myself. I had been blessed with that sense of wonder which gives a child his right of entry into the treasure house of mystery in the depth of exist- ence. My studies in the school I neglected, because they rudely dismembered me from the context of my world and I felt miserable, like a caged rabbit in a biological institute. This, perhaps, will ex- plain the meaning of my religion. This world was living to me, intimately close to my life, perme- 97 THE RELIGION OF MAN ated by a subtle touch of kinship which enhanced the value of my own being. It is true that this world also has its impersonal aspect of truth which is pursued by the man of impersonal science. The father has his personal relationship with his son ; but as a doctor he may detach the fact of a son from that relationship and let the child become an abstraction to him, only a living body with its physiological functions. It cannot be said that if through the constant pursuit of his vocations he altogether discards the personal element in his relation to his son he reaches a greater truth as a doctor than he does as a father. The scientific knowledge of his son is information about a fact, and not the realization of a truth. In his intimate feeling for his son he touches an ulti- mate truth the truth of relationship, the truth of a harmony in the universe, the fundamental principle of creation. It is not merely the number of protons and electrons which represents the truth of an element; it is the mystery of their relation- ship which cannot be analysed. We are made con- scious of this truth of relationship immediately within us in our love, in our joy; and from this experience of ours we have the right to say that the Supreme One, who relates all things, compre- hends the universe, is all love the love that is the highest truth being the most perfect relationship. 98 THE VISION I still remember the shock of repulsion I re- ceived as a child when some medical student brought to me a piece of a human windpipe and tried to excite my admiration for its structure. He tried to convince me that it was the source of the beautiful human voice. But I could not bear the artisan to occupy the throne that was for the artist who concealed the machinery and revealed the creation in its ineffable unity. God does not care to keep exposed the record of his power written in geological inscriptions, but he is proudly glad of the expression of beauty which he spreads on the green grass, in the flowers, in the play of the col- ours on the clouds, in the murmuring music of run- ning water. I had a vague notion as to who or what it was that touched my heart's chords, like the infant which does not know its mother's name, or who or what she is. The feeling which I always had was a deep satisfaction of personality that flowed into my nature through living channels of communica- tion from all sides. I am afraid that the scientist may remind me that to lose sight of the distinction between life and non-life, the human and the non-human, is a sign of the primitive mind. While admitting it, let me hope that it is not an utter condemnation, but rather the contrary. It may be a true instinct 99 THE RELIGION OF MAN of Science itself, an instinctive logic, which makes the primitive mind think that humanity has be- come possible as a fact only because of a universal human truth which has harmony with its reason, with its will. In the details of our universe there are some differences that may be described as non-human, but not in their essence. The bones are different from the muscles, but they are organi- cally one in the body. Our feeling of joy, our imagination, realizes a profound organic unity with the universe comprehended by the human mind. Without minimizing the differences that are in detailed manifestations, there is nothing wrong in trusting the mind, which is occasionally made intensely conscious of an all-pervading personality answering to the personality of man. The details of reality must be studied in their differences by Science, but it can never know the character of the grand unity of relationship per- vading it, which can only be realized immediately by the human spirit. And therefore it is the primal imagination of man the imagination which is fresh and immediate in its experiences that exclaims in a poet's verse: Wisdom and spirit of the universe! Thou soul, that art the eternity of thought, And giv'st to forms and images a breath And everlasting motion. 100 THE VISION And in another poet's words it speaks of That light whose smile kindles the universe, That Beauty in which all things work and move. The theologian may follow the scientist and shake his head and say that all that I have written is pantheism. But let us not indulge in an idolatry of name and dethrone living truth in its favour. When I say that I am a man, it is implied by that word that there is such a thing as a general idea of Man which persistently manifests itself in every particular human being, who is different from all other individuals. If we lazily label such a belief as "pananthropy" and divert our thoughts from its mysteriousness by such a title it does not help us much. Let me assert my faith by saying that this world, consisting of what we call animate and inanimate things, has found its culmination in man, its best expression. Man, as a creation, repre- sents the Creator, and this is why of all creatures it has been possible for him to comprehend this world in his knowledge and in his feeling and in his imagination, to realize in his individual spirit a union with a Spirit that is everywhere. There is an illustration that I have made use of in which I supposed that a stranger from some other planet has paid a visit to our earth and hap- pens to hear the sound of a human voice on the gramophone. All that is obvious to him and most IOI THE RELIGION OF MAN seemingly active, is the revolving disc. He is un- able to discover the personal truth that lies behind, and so might accept the impersonal scientific fact of the disc as final the fact that could be touched and measured. He would wonder how it could be possible for a machine to speak to the soul. Then, if in pursuing the mystery, he should suddenly come to the heart of the music through a meeting with the composer, he would at once understand the meaning of that music as a personal communi- cation. That which merely gives us information can be explained in terms of measurement, but that which gives us joy cannot be explained by the facts of a mere grouping of atoms and molecules. Some- where in the arrangement of this world there seems to be a great concern about giving us delight, which shows that, in the universe, over and above the meaning of matter and forces, there is a mes- sage conveyed through the magic touch of person- ality. This touch cannot be analysed, it can only be felt. We cannot prove it any more than the man from the other planet could prove to the sat- isfaction of his fellows the personality which re- mained invisible, but which, through the machin- ery, spoke direct to the heart Is it merely because the rose is round and pink that it gives me more satisfaction than the gold which could buy me the necessities of life, or any 102 THE VISION number of slaves? One may, at the outset, deny the truth that a rose gives more delight than a piece of gold. But such an objector must remem- ber that I am not speaking of artificial values. If we had to cross a desert whose sand was made of gold, then the cruel glitter of these dead particles would become a terror for us, and the sight of a rose would bring to us the music of paradise. The final meaning of the delight which we find in a rose can never be in the roundness of its petals, just as the final meaning of the joy of music cannot be in a gramophone disc. Somehow we feel that through a rose the language of love reached our heart. Do we not carry a rose to our beloved because in it is already embodied a message which, unlike our language of words, cannot be analysed. Through this gift of a rose we utilize a universal language of joy for our own purposes of expres- sion. Fortunately for me a collection of old lyrical poems composed by the poets of the Vaishnava sect came to my hand when I was young. I became aware of some underlying idea deep in the obvious meaning of these love poems. I felt the joy of an explorer who suddenly discovers the key to the language lying hidden in the hieroglyphs which are beautiful in themselves. I was sure that these poets were speaking about the supreme Lover, whose touch we experience in all our relations of 103 THE RELIGION OF MAN love the love of nature's beauty, of the animal, the child, the comrade, the beloved, the love that illuminates our consciousness of reality. They sang of a love that ever flows through numerous obstacles between men and Man the Divine, the eternal relation which has the relationship of mutual dependence for a fulfilment that needs perfect union of individuals and the Universal. The Vaishnava poet sings of the Lover who has his flute which, with its different stops, gives out the varied notes of beauty and love that are in Nature and Man. These notes bring to us our message of invitation. They eternally urge us to come out from the seclusion of our self-centred life into the realm of love and truth. Are we deaf by nature, or is it that we have been deafened by the claims of the world, of self-seeking, by the clamorous noise of the market-place? We miss the voice of the Lover, and we fight, we rob, we ex- ploit the weak, we chuckle at our cleverness, when we can appropriate for our use what is due to others; we make our lives a desert by turning away from our world that stream of love which pours down from the blue sky and wells up from the bosom of the earth. In the region of Nature, by unlocking the secret doors of the workshop department, one may come to that dark hall where dwells the mechanic and help to attain usefulness, but through it one can 104 THE VISION never attain finality. Here is the storehouse of innumerable facts and, however necessary they may be, they have not the treasure of fulfilment in them. But the hall of union is there, where dwells the Lover in the heart of existence. When a man reaches it he at once realizes that he has come to Truth, to immortality, and he is glad with a glad- ness which is an end, and yet which has no end. Mere information about facts, mere discovery of power, belongs to the outside and not to the inner soul of things. Gladness is the one criterion of truth, and we know when we have touched Truth by the music it gives, by the joy of greeting it sends forth to the truth in us. That is the true foundation of all religions. It is not as ether waves that we receive light; the morning does not wait for some scientist for its introduction to us. In the same way we touch the infinite reality immedi- ately within us only when we perceive the pure truth of love or goodness, not through the explana- tions of theologians, not through the erudite dis- cussion of ethical doctrines. I have already made the confession that my religion is a poet's religion. All that I feel about it is from vision and not from knowledge. Frankly, I acknowledge that I cannot satisfactorily answer any questions about evil, or about what happens after death. Nevertheless, I am sure that there have come moments in my own experience when 105 THE RELIGION OF MAN my soul has touched the infinite and has become intensely conscious of it through the illumination of joy. It has been said in our Upanishad that our mind and our words come away baffled from the Supreme Truth, but he who knows truth through the immediate joy of his own soul is saved from all doubts and fears. In the night we stumble over things and become acutely conscious of their individual separateness. But the day reveals the greater unity which em- braces them. The man whose inner vision is bathed in an illumination of his consciousness at once realizes the spiritual unity reigning supreme over all differences. His mind no longer awk- wardly stumbles over individual facts of separate- ness in the human world, accepting them as final. He realizes that peace is in the inner harmony which dwells in truth and not in any outer adjust- ments. He knows that beauty carries an eternal assurance of our spiritual relationship to reality, which waits for its perfection in the response of our love. 106 CHAPTER VII THE MAN OF MY HEART AT the outburst of an experience which is unusual, such as happened to me in the beginning of my youth, the puzzled mind seeks its explanation in some settled foundation of that which is usual, trying to adjust an unexpected inner message to an organized belief which goes by the general name of a religion. And, therefore, I naturally was glad at that time of youth to accept from my father the post of secretary to a special section of the monotheistic church of which he was the leader. I took part in its services mainly by composing hymns which unconsciously took the many- thumbed impression of the orthodox mind, a com- posite smudge of tradition. Urged by my sense of duty I strenuously persuaded myself to think that my new mental attitude was in harmony with that of the members of our association, although I con- stantly stumbled upon obstacles and felt con- straints that hurt me to the quick. At last I came to discover that in my conduct I was not strictly loyal to my religion, but only to the religious institution. This latter represented an artificial average, with its standard of truth at 107 THE RELIGION OF MAN its static minimum, jealous of any vital growth that exceeded its limits. I have my conviction that in religion, and also in the arts, that which is com- mon to a group is not important Indeed, very often it is a contagion of mutual imitation. After a long struggle with the feeling that I was using a mask to hide the living face of truth, I gave up my connection with our church. About this time, one day I chanced to hear a song from a beggar belonging to the Baiil * sect of Bengal We have in the modern Indian Re- ligion deities of different names, forms and mythol- ogy, some Vedic and others aboriginal. They have their special sectarian idioms and associations that give emotional satisfaction to those who are accustomed to their hypnotic influences. Some of them may have their aesthetic value to me and others philosophical significance overcumbered by exuberant distraction of legendary myths. But what struck me in this simple song was a religious ex- pression that was neither grossly concrete, full of crude details, nor metaphysical in its rarified trans- cendentalism. At the same time it was alive with an emotional sincerity. It spoke of an intense yearning of the heart for the divine which is in Man and not in the temple, or scriptures, in images and symbols. The worshipper addresses his songs to the Man the ideal, and says: 1 See Appendix I. 108 THE MAN OF MY HEART Temples and mosques obstruct thy path, and I fail to hear thy call or to move, when the teachers and priest angrily crowd round me. He does not follow any tradition of ceremony, but only believes in love. According to him Love is the magic stone, that transmutes by its touch greed into sacrifice. He goes on to say: For the sake of this love heaven longs to become earth and gods to become man. Since then I have often tried to meet these people, and sought to understand them through their songs, which are their only form of worship. One is often surprised to find in many of these verses a striking originality of sentiment and diction; for, at their best, they are spontaneously individual in their expressions. One such song is a hymn to the Ever Young. It exclaims: O my flower buds, we worship the Young ; for the Young is the source of the holy Ganges of life ; from the Young flows the supreme bliss. And it says: We never offer ripe corn in the service of the Young, nor fruit, nor seed, but only the lotus bud which is of our own mind. The young hour of the day, the morning, is our time for the worship of Him. from whose contemplation has sprung the Universe* 109 THE RELIGION OF MAN It calls the Spirit of the Young the Brahma Kamal, "the infinite lotus". For it is something which has perfection in its heart and yet ever grows and unfolds its petals. There have been men in India who never wrote learned texts about the religion of Man but had an overpowering desire and practical training for its attainment They bore in their life the testi- mony of their intimacy with the Person who is in all persons, of Man the formless in the individual forms of men. Rajjab, a poet-saint of medieval India, says of Man: God-man (nara-narayand) is thy definition, it is not a delusion but truth. In thee the infinite seeks the finite, the perfect knowl- edge seeks love, and when the form and the Formless (the indi- vidual and the universal) are united love is fulfilled in devotion. Ravidas, another poet of the same age, sings: Thou seest me, O Divine Man (narahari}> and I see thee, and our love becomes mutual. Of this God-man a village poet of Bengal says: He is within us, an unfathomable reality. We know him when we unlock our own self and meet in a true love with all others. A brother poet of his says: Man seeks the man in me and I lose myself and run out. And another singer sings of the Ideal Man, and says: no THE MAN OF MY HEART How could the scripture know the meaning of the Lord who has his play in the world of human forms? Listen, O brother man (declares Chandidas), the truth of man is the highest truth, there is no other truth above it. All these are proofs of a direct perception of humanity as an objective truth that rouses a pro- found feeling of longing and love. This is very unlike what we find in the intellectual cult of humanity, which is like a body that has tragically lost itself in the purgatory of shadows. Wordsworth says: We live by admiration, hope and love, And ever as these are well and wisely fixed In dignity of being we ascend. It is for dignity of being that we aspire through the expansion of our consciousness in a great real- ity of man to which we belong. We realize it through admiration and love, through hope that soars beyond the actual, beyond our own span of life into an endless time wherein we live the life of all men. This is the infinite perspective of human per- sonality where man finds his religion. Science may include in its field of knowledge the starry world and the world beyond it; philosophy may try to find some universal principle which is at the root of all things, but religion inevitably concentrates itself on humanity, which illumines our reason, inspires our wisdom, stimulates our love, claims in THE RELIGION OF MAN our intelligent service. There is an impersonal idea, which we call law, discoverable by an imper- sonal logic in its pursuit of the fathomless depth of the hydrogen atom and the distant virgin worlds clothed in eddying fire. But as the physiology of our beloved is not our beloved, so this impersonal law is not our God, the Pitritamah pitrinam, the Father who is ultimate in all fathers and mothers, of him we cannot say: Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya- ( Realize him by obeisance, by the desire to know, by service ) For this can only be relevant to the God who is God and man at the same time; and if this faith be blamed for being anthropomorphic, then Man is to be blamed for being Man, and the lo^er for loving his dear one as a person instead of as a principle of psychology. We can never go beyond Man in all that we know and feel, and a mendicant singer of Bengal has said: Our world is as it is in our comprehension; the thought and existence are commingled. Everything would be lost in uncon- sciousness if man were nought ; and when response comes to your own call you know the meaning of reality. According to him, what we call nature is not a philosophical abstraction, not cosmos, but what is revealed to man as nature. In fact it is included in himself and therefore there is a commingling of his mind with it, and in that he finds his <jwn 112 THE MAN OF MY HEART being. He is truly lessened in humanity if he can- not take it within him and through it feel the ful- ness of his own existence. His arts and literature are constantly giving expression to this intimate communion of man with his world- And the Vedic poet exclaims in his hymn to the sun : Thou who nourishest the earth, who walkest alone, O Sun, withdraw thy rays, reveal thy exceeding beauty to me and let me realize that the Person who is there is the One who I am. It is for us to realize the Person who is in the heart of the All by the emancipated consciousness of our own personality. We know that the highest mission of science is to find the universe enveloped by the human comprehension ; to see man's visva- rupa, his great mental body, that touches the extreme verge of time and space, that includes the whole world within itself. The original Aryans who came to India had for their gods the deities of rain, wind, fire, the cosmic forces which singularly enough found no definite shapes in images. A time came when it was recog- nized that individually they had no separate, un- related power of their own, but there was one infinite source of power which was named Brahma. The cosmic divinity developed into an impersonal idea ; what was physical grew into a metaphysical abstraction, even as in modern science matter vanishes into mathematics. And Brahma, accord- 113 THE RELIGION OF MAN ing to those Indians, could neither be apprehended by mind nor described by words, even as matter in its ultimate analysis proves to be. However satisfactory that idea might be as the unknowable principle relating to itself all the phenomena that are non-personal, it left the per- sonal man in a void of negation. It cannot be gain- said that we can never realize things in this world from inside, we can but know how they appear to us. In fact, in all knowledge we know our own self in its condition of knowledge. And religion sought the highest value of man's existence in this self. For this is the only truth of which he is immediately conscious from within. And he said : Purushanna para kinchit sa kashthta sa para gatih (Nothing is greater than the Person; he is the supreme, he is the ultimate goal.) It is a village poet of East Bengal who preaches in a song the philosophical doctrine that the universe has its reality in its relation to the Person, which I translate in the following lines: The sky and the earth are born of mine own eyes, The hardness and softness, the cold and the heat are the products of mine own body, The sweet smell and the bad are of my own nostrils. This poet sings of the Eternal Person within him, coming out and appearing before his eyes, just as 114 THE MAN OF MY HEART the Vedic Rishi speaks of the Person, who is in him, dwelling also in the heart of the sun : I have seen the vision, the vision of mine own revealing itself, coming out from within me. In India, there are those whose endeavour is to merge completely their personal self in an imper- sonal entity which is without any quality or defini- tion ; to reach a condition wherein mind becomes perfectly blank, losing all its activities. Those who claim the right to speak about it say that this is the purest state of consciousness, it is all joy and with- out any object or content This is considered to be the ultimate end of Yoga, the cult of union, thus completely to identify one's being with the infinite Being who is beyond all thoughts and words. Such realization of transcendental consciousness accom- panied by a perfect sense of bliss is a time-honoured tradition in our country, carrying in it the positive evidence which cannot be denied by any negative argument of refutation. Without disputing its truth I maintain that it may be valuable as a great psychological experience but all the same it is not religion, even as the knowledge of the ultimate state of the atom is of no use to an artist who deals in images in which atoms have taken forms. A cer- tain condition of vacuum is needed for studying the state of things in its original purity, and the THE RELIGION OF MAN same may be said of the human spirit; but the original state is not necessarily the perfect state* The concrete form is a more perfect manifestation than the atom, and man is more perfect as a man than where he vanishes in an original indefinite- ness. This is why the Ishopanishat says : "Truth is both finite and infinite at the same time, it moves and yet moves not, it is in the distant, also in the near, it is within all objects and without them." This means that perfection as the ideal is im- movable, but in its aspect of the real it constantly grows towards completion, it moves. And I say of the Supreme Man, that he is infinite in his essence, he is finite in his manifestation in us the individu- als. As the Ishopanishat declares, a man must live his full term of life and work without greed, and thus realize himself in the Being who is in all beings. This means that he must reveal in his own personality the Supreme Person by his disinterested activities. CHAPTER VIII THE MUSIC MAKER A PARTICLE of sand would be nothing if it did not have its background in the whole physical world. This grain of sand is known in its context of the universe where we know all things through the testimony of our senses. When I say the grain of sand is f the whole physical world stands guarantee for the truth which is behind the appearance of the sand. But where is that guarantee of truth for this personality of mine that has the mysterious faculty of knowledge before which the particle of sand offers its credential of identification? It must be acknowledged that this personal self of mine also has for its truth a background of personality where knowledge, unlike that of other things, can only be immediate and self-revealed. What I mean by personality is a self-conscious principle of transcendental unity within man which comprehends all the details of facts that are indi- vidually his in knowledge and feeling, wish and will and work. In its negative aspect it is limited to the individual separateness, while in its posi- 117 THE RELIGION OF MAN tive aspect it ever extends itself in the infinite through the increase of its knowledge, love and activities. And for this reason the most human of all facts about us is that we do dream of the limitless un- attained the dream which gives character to what is attained. Of all creatures man lives in an end- less future. Our present is only a part of it. The ideas unborn, the unbodied spirits, tease our imagi- nation with an insistence which makes them more real to our mind than things around us. The atmos- phere of the future must always surround our present in order to make it life-bearing and sugges- tive of immortality. For he who has the healthy vigour of humanity in him has a strong instinctive faith that ideally he is limitless. That is why our greatest teachers claim from us a manifestation that touches the infinite. In this they pay homage to the Supreme Man. And our true worship lies in our indomitable courage to be great and thus to represent the human divine and ever to keep open the path of freedom towards the unattained. We Indians have bad the sad experience in our own part of the world how timid orthodoxy, its irrational repressions and its accumulation of dead centuries, dwarfs man through its idolatry of the past. Seated rigid in the centre of stagnation, it firmly ties the human spirit to the revolving wheels pf habit till f aintness overwhelms her- Like a slug- 1x8 THE MUSIC MAKER gish stream choked by rotting weeds, it is divided into shallow slimy pools that shroud their dumb- ness in a narcotic mist of stupor. This mechanical spirit of tradition is essentially materialistic, it is blindly pious but not spiritual, obsessed by phan- toms of unreason that haunt feeble minds in the ghastly disguise of religion. For our soul is shrunken when we allow foolish days to weave repeated patterns of unmeaning meshes round all departments of life. It becomes stunted when we have no object of profound interest, no prospect of heightened life, demanding clarity of mind and heroic attention to maintain and mature it. It is destroyed when we make fireworks of our animal passions for the enjoyment of their meteoric sensa- tions, recklessly reducing to ashes all that could have been saved for permanent illumination. This happens not only to mediocre individuals hugging fetters that keep them irresponsible or hungering for lurid unrealities, but to generations of insipid races that have lost all emphasis of significance in themselves, having missed their future. The continuous future is the domain of our mil- lennium, which is with us more truly than what we see in our history in fragments of the present. It is in our dream. It is in the realm of the faith which creates perfection. We have seen the rec- ords of man's dreams of the millennium, the ideal reality cherished by forgotten races in their ad- 119 THE RELIGION OP MAN miration, hope and love manifested in the dignity of their being through some majesty in ideals and beauty in performance. While these races pass away one after another they leave great accom- plishments behind them carrying their claim to recognition as dreamers not so much as con- querors of earthly kingdoms, but as the designers of paradise. The poet gives us the best definition of man when he says: We are the music-makers, We are the dreamers of dreams. Our religious present for us the dreams of the ideal unity which is man himself -as he manifests the infinite. We suffer from the sense of sin, which is the sense of discord, when any disruptive passion tears gaps in our vision of the One in man, creat- ing isolation in our self from the universal humanity. The Upanishad says, r Ma gridah, "covet not". For coveting diverts attention from the infinite value of our personality to the temptation of materials. Our village poet sings: "Man will brightly flash into your sight, my heart, if you shut the door of desires." We have seen how primitive man was occupied with his physical needs, and thus restricted him- self to the present which is the time boundary of the animal; and he missed the urge of his con- 120 THE MUSIC MAKER sciousness to seek its emancipation in a world of ultimate human value. Modern civilization for the same reason seems to turn itself back to that primitive mentality. Our needs have multiplied so furiously fast that we have lost our leisure for the deeper realization of our self and our faith in it It means that we have lost our religion, the longing for the touch of the divine in man, the builder of the heaven, the music-maker, the dreamer of dreams. This has made it easy to tear into shreds our faith in the perfection of the human ideal, in its wholeness, as the fuller meaning of reality. No doubt it is won- derful that music contains a fact which has been analysed and measured, and which music shares in common with the braying of an ass or of a motor-car horn. But it is still more wonderful that music has a truth, which cannot be analysed into fractions; and there the difference between it and the bellowing impertinence of a motor-car horn is infinite. Men of our own times have analysed the human mind, its dreams, its spiritual aspirations, most often caught unawares in the shattered state of madness, disease and desultory dreams and they have found to their satisf action that these are composed of elemental animalities tangled into various knots. This may be an important discov- ery; but what is still more important to realize is the fact that by some miracle of creation man 121 THE RELIGION OF MAN infinitely transcends the component parts of his own character. Suppose that some psychological explorer sus- pects that man's devotion to his beloved has at bottom our primitive stomach's hankering for human flesh, we need not contradict him ; for what- ever may be its genealogy, its secret composition, the complete character of our love, in its perfect mingling of physical, mental and spiritual asso- ciations, is unique in its utter difference from can- nibalism. The truth underlying the possibility of such transmutation is the truth of our religion. A lotus has in common with a piece of rotten flesh the elements of carbon and hydrogen. In a state of dissolution there is no difference between them, but in a state of creation the difference is immense ; and it is that difference which really matters. We are told that some of our most sacred sentiments hold hidden in them instincts -contrary to what these sentiments profess to be. Such disclosures have the effect upon certain persons of the relief of a tension, even like the relaxation in death of the incessant strenuousness of life. We find in modern literature that something like a chuckle of an exultant disillusionment is becom- ing contagious, and the knights-errant of the cult of arson are abroad, setting fire to our time- honoured altars of worship, proclaiming that the images enshrined on them, even if beautiful, arc 122 THE MUSIC MAKER made of mud. They say that it has been found out that the appearances in human idealism are decep- tive, that the underlying mud is real. From such a point of view, the whole of creation may be said to be a gigantic deception, and the billions of re- volving electric specks that have the appearance of "you" or "me" should be condemned as bearers of false evidence. But whom do they seek to delude? If it be beings like ourselves who possess some inborn criterion of the real, then to them these very appearances in their integrity must represent reality, and not their component electric specks. For them the rose must be more satisfactory as an object than its constituent gases, which can be tortured to speak against the evident identity of the rose. The rose, even like the human sentiment of goodness, or ideal of beauty, belongs to the realm of creation, in which all its rebellious elements are reconciled in a perfect harmony. Because these elements in their simplicity yield themselves to our scrutiny, we in our pride are inclined to give them the best prizes as actors in that mystery-play, the rose. Such an analysis is really only giving a prize to our own detective cleverness. I repeat again that the sentiments and ideals which man in his process of self -creation has built up, should be recognized in their wholeness. In all our faculties or passions there is nothing which is 123 THE RELIGION OF MAN absolutely good or bad; they all are the constitu- ents of the great human personality. They are notes that are wrong when in wrong places ; our education is to make them into chords that may harmonize with the grand music of Man. The animal in the savage has been transformed into higher stages in the civilized man in other words has attained a truer consonance with Man the divine, not through any elimination of the original materials, but through a magical grouping of them, through the severe discipline of art, the discipline of curbing and stressing in proper places, establish- ing a balance of lights and shadows in the back- ground and foreground, and thus imparting a unique value to our personality in all its com- pleteness. So long as we have faith in this value, our energy is steadily sustained in its creative activity that reveals the eternal Man. This faith is helped on all sides by literature, arts, legends, symbols, cere- monials, by the remembrance of heroic souls who have personified it in themselves, Our religion is the inner principle that compre- hends these endeavours and expressions and dreams through which we approach Him in whose image we are made. To keep alive our faith in the reality of the ideal perfection is the function of civiliza- tion, which is mainly formed of sentiments and the images that represent that ideal. In other words, 124 THE MUSIC MAKER civilization is a creation of art, created for the objective realization of our vision of the spiritually perfect It is the product of the art of religion. We stop its course of conquest when we accept the cult of realism and forget that realism is the worst form of untruth, because it contains a minimum of truth. It is like preaching that only in the morgue can we comprehend the reality of the human body the body which has its perfect revelation when seen in life. All great human facts are surrounded by an immense atmosphere of expectation. They are never complete if we leave out from them what might be, what should be, what is not yet proven but profoundly felt, what points towards the im- mortal. This dwells in a perpetual surplus in the individual, that transcends all the desultory facts about him. The realism in Man is the animal in him, whose life is a mere duration of time; the human in him is his reality which has life everlasting for its back- ground. Rocks and crystals being complete defi- nitely in what they are, can keep as "mute insen- sate things" a kind of dumb dignity in their stol- idly limited realism ; while human facts grow un- seemly and diseased^ breeding germs of death, when divested of their creative ideal the ideal of Man the divine, The difference between the notes as mere facts of sound and music as a truth of ex- pression is immense. For music though it compre- 125 THE RELIGION OF MAN hends a limited number of notes yet represents the infinite. It is for man to produce the music of the spirit with all the notes which he has in his psy- chology and which, through inattention or per* versity, can easily be translated into a frightful noise. In music man is revealed and not in a noise. CHAPTER IX THE ARTIST THE fundamental desire of life is the desire to exist. It claims from us a vast amount of training and experience about the necessaries of livelihood. Yet it does not cost me much to confess that the food that I have taken, the dress that I wear, the house where I have my lodging, represent a stu- pendous knowledge, practice and organization which I helplessly lack; for I find that I am not altogether despised for such ignorance and ineffi- ciency. Those who read me seem fairly satisfied that I am nothing better than a poet or perhaps a philosopher which latter reputation I do not claim and dare not hold through the precarious help of misinformation. It is quite evident in spite of my deficiency that in human society I represent a vocation, which though superfluous has yet been held worthy of commendation. In fact, I am encouraged in my rhythmic futility by being offered moral and mate- rial incentives for its cultivation. If a foolish blackbird did not know how to seek its food, to build its nest, or to avoid Its enemies, but special- 127 THE RELIGION OF MAN ized in singing, its fellow creatures, urged by their own science of genetics, would dutifully allow it to starve and perish. That I am not treated in a similar fashion is the evidence of an immense dif- ference between the animal existence and the civil- ization of man. His great distinction dwells in the indefinite margin of life in him which affords a boundless background for his dreams and creations. And it is in this realm of freedom that he realizes his divine dignity, his great human truth, and is pleased when I as a poet sing victory to him, to Man the self-revealer, who goes on exploring ages of creation to find himself in perfection. Reality, in all its manifestations, reveals itself in the emotional and imaginative background of our mind. We know it, not because we can think of it, but because we directly feel it. And there- fore, even if rejected by the logical mind, it is not banished from our consciousness. As an incident it may be beneficial or injurious, but as a revelation its value lies in the fact that it offers us an experi- ence through emotion or imagination ; we feel our- selves in a special field of realization. This feeling itself is delightful when it is not accompanied by any great physical or moral risk, we love to feel even fear or sorrow if it is detached from all prac- tical consequences. This is the reason of our enjoy- ment of tragic dramas, in which the feeling of pain rouses our consciousness to a white heat of intensity. 128 THE ARTIST The reality of my own self is immediate and indubitable to me. Whatever else affects me in a like manner is real for myself, and it inevitably attracts and occupies my attention for its own sake, blends itself with my personality, making it richer and larger and causing it delight. My friend may not be beautiful, useful, rich or great, but he is real to me ; in him I feel my own extension and my joy. The consciousness of the real within me seeks for its own corroboration the touch of the Real outside me. When it fails the self in me is de- pressed. When our surroundings are monotonous and insignificant, having no emotional reaction upon our mind, we become vague to ourselves. For we are like pictures, whose reality is helped by the background if it is sympathetic. The punish- ment we suffer in solitary confinement consists in the obstruction to the relationship between the world of reality and the real in ourselves, causing the latter to become indistinct in a haze of inactive imagination: our personality is blurred, we miss the companionship of our own being through the diminution of our self. The world of our knowl- edge is enlarged for us through the extension of our information ; the world of our personality grows in its area with a large and deeper experience of our personal self in our own universe through sym- pathy and imagination. As this world, that can be known through knowl- THE RELIGION OF MAN edge, is limited to us owing to our ignorance, so the world of personality, that can be realized by our own personal self, is also restricted by the limit of our sympathy and imagination. In the dim twilight of insensitiveness a large part of our world remains to us like a procession of nomadic shadows. According to the stages of our conscious- ness we have more or less been able to identify our- selves with this world, if not as a whole, at least in fragments; and our enjoyment dwells in that wherein we feel ourselves thus united. In art we express the delight of this unity by which this world is realized as humanly significant to us. I have my physical, chemical and biological self ; my knowledge of it extends through the extension of my knowledge of the physical, chemical and bio- logical world. I have my personal self, which has its communication with our feelings, sentiments and imaginations, which lends itself to be coloured by our desires and shaped by our imageries. Science urges us to occupy by our mind the immensity of the knowable world; our spiritual teacher enjoins us to comprehend by our soul the infinite Spirit which is in the depth of the moving and changing facts of the world ; the urging of our artistic nature is to realize the manifestation of personality in the world of appearance, the reality of existence which is in harmony with the real within us. Where this harmony is not deeply felt, 130 THE ARTIST there we are aliens and perpetually homesick. For man by nature is an artist; he never receives passively and accurately in his mind a physical representation of things around him. There goes on a continual adaptation, a transformation of facts into human imagery, through constant touches of his sentiments and imagination. The animal has the geography of its birthplace ; man has his coun- try, the geography of his personal self. The vision of it is not merely physical ; it has its artistic unity, it is a perpetual creation. In his country, his con- sciousness being unobstructed, man extends his relationship, which is of his own creative person- ality. In order to live efficiently man must know facts and their laws. In order to be happy he must establish harmonious relationship with all things with which he has dealings. Our creation is the modification of relationship. The great men who appear in our history remain in our mind not as a static fact but as a living his- torical image. The sublime suggestions of their lives become blended into a noble consistency in legends made living in the life of ages. Those men with whom we live we constantly modify in our minds, making them more real to us than they would be in a bare presentation. Men's ideal of womanhood and women's ideal of manliness are created by the imagination through a mental grouping of qualities and conducts according to THE RELIGION OF MAN our hopes and desires, and men and women con- sciously and unconsciously strive- towards its attain- ment. In fact, they reach a degree of reality for each other according to their success in adapting these respective ideals to their own nature. To say that these ideals are imaginary and therefore not true is wrong in man's case. His true life is in his own creation, which represents the infinity of man. He is naturally indifferent to things that merely exist; they must have some ideal value for him, and then only his consciousness fully recognizes them as real. Men are never true in their isolated self, and their imagination is the faculty that brings before their mind the vision of their own greater being. We can make truth ours by actively modulating its inter-relations. This is the work of art; for reality is not based in the substance of things but in the principal of relationship. Truth is the in- finite pursued by metaphysics; fact is the infinite pursued by science, while reality is the definition of the infinite which relates truth to the person. Reality is human ; it is what we are conscious of, by which we are affected, that which we express. When we are intensely aware of it, we are aware of ourselves and it gives us delight. We live in it, we always widen its limits. Our arts and literature represent this creative activity which is fundamen- tal in man. 132 TH E ARTIST But the mysterious fact about it is that though the individuals are separately seeking their ex- pression, their success is never individualistic in character. Men must find and feel and represent in all their creative works Man the Eternal, the creator. Their civilization is a continual discovery of the transcendental humanity. In whatever it fails it shows the failure of the artist, which is the failure in expression; and that civilization perishes in which the individual thwarts the revelation of the universal. For Reality is the truth of Man, who belongs to all times, and any individualistic madness of men against Man cannot thrive for long. Man is eager that his feeling for what is real to him must never die ; it must find an imperishable form. The consciousness of this self of mine is so intensely evident to me that it assumes the character of immortality, I cannot imagine that it ever has been or can be non-existent- In a similar manner all things that are real to me are for my- self eternal, and therefore worthy of a language that has a permanent meaning. We know indi- viduals who have the habit of inscribing their names on the walls of some majestic monument of architecture. It is a pathetic way of associating their own names with some works of art which belong to all times and to all men. Our hunger for reputation comes from our desire to make objec- 133 THE RELIGION OF MAN lively real that which is inwardly real to us. He who is inarticulate is insignificant, like a dark star that cannot prove itself. He ever waits for the artist to give him his fullest worth, not for any- thing specially excellent in him but for the won- derful fact that he is what he certainly is, that he carries in him the eternal mystery of being. A Chinese friend of mine while travelling with me in the streets of Peking suddenly exclaimed with a vehement enthusiasm: "Look, here is a donkey!" Surely it was an utterly ordinary don- key, like an indisputable truism, needing no special introduction from him. I was amused ; but it made me think. This animal is generally classified as having certain qualities that are not recommend- able and then hurriedly dismissed. It was obscured to me by an envelopment of commonplace associa- tions ; I was lazily certain that I knew it and there- fore I hardly saw it. But my friend, who pos- sessed the artist mind of China, did not treat it with a cheap knowledge but could see it afresh and recognize it as real. When I say real, I mean that it did not remain at the outskirt of his con- sciousness tied to a narrow definition, but it easily blended in his imagination, produced a vision, a special harmony of lines, colours and life and movement, and became intimately his own. The admission of a donkey into a drawing-room is vio- lently opposed ; yet there is no prohibition against 134 THE ARTIST its finding a place in a picture which may be ad- miringly displayed on the drawing-room wall. The only evidence of truth in art exists when it compels us to say "I see". A donkey we may pass by in Nature, but a donkey in art we must acknowl- edge even if it be a creature that disreputably ignores all its natural history responsibility, even if it resembles a mushroom in its head and a palm- leaf in its tail. In the Upanishad it is said in a parable that there are two birds sitting on the same bough, one of which feeds and the other looks on. This is an image of the mutual relationship of the infinite being and the finite self. The delight of the bird which looks on is great, for it is a pure and free delight. There are both of these birds in man him- self, the objective one with its business of life, the subjective one with its disinterested joy of vision. A child comes to me and commands me to tell her a story. I tell her of a tiger which is disgusted with the black stripes on its body and comes to my frightened servant demanding a piece of soap. The story gives my little audience immense pleasure, the pleasure of a vision, and her mind cries out, "It is here, for I see!" She knows a tiger in the book of natural history, but she can see the tiger in the story of mine. I am sure that even this child of five knows that it is an impossible tiger that is out on its untigerly THE RELIGION OF MAN quest of an absurd soap. The delightfulness of the tiger for her is not in its beauty, its usefulness, or its probability; but in the undoubted fact that she can see it in her mind with a greater clearness of vision than she can the walls around her the walls that brutally shout their evidence of certainty which is merely circumstantial. The tiger in the story is inevitable, it has the character of a com- plete image, which offers its testimonial of truth in itself. The listener's own mind is the eye-wit- ness, whose direct experience could not be contra- dicted. A tiger must be like every other tiger in order that it may have its place in a book of Science; there it must be a commonplace tiger to be at all tolerated. But in the story it is uncommon, it can never be reduplicated. We know a thing because it belongs to a class ; we see a thing because it belongs to itself. The tiger of the story com- pletely detached itself from all others of its kind and easily assumed a distinct individuality in the heart of the listener. The child could vividly see it, because by the help of her imagination it became her own tiger, one with herself, and this union of the subject and object gives us joy. Is it because there is no separation between them in truth, the separation being the Maya, which is creation? There come in our history occasions when the consciousness of a large multitude becomes sud- denly illumined with the recognition of a reality 136 THE ARTIST which rises far above the dull obviousness of daily happenings. The world becomes vivid; we see, we feel it with all our soul. Such an occasion there was when the voice of Buddha reached distant shores across physical and moral impediments. Then our life and our world found their profound meaning of reality in their relation to the central person who offered us emancipation of love. Men, in order to make this great human experience ever memorable, determined to do the impossible ; they made rocks to speak, stones to sing, caves to re- member; their cry of joy and hope took immortal forms along the hills and deserts, across barren solitudes and populous cities. A gigantic creative endeavour built up its triumph in stupendous carvings, defying obstacles that were overwhelm- ing. Such heroic activity over the greater part of the Eastern continents clearly answers the question : "What is Art?" It is the response of man's crea- tive soul to the call of the Real. Once there came a time, centuries ago in Bengal, when the divine love drama that has made its eternal playground in human souls was vividly revealed by a personality radiating its intimate realization of God. The mind of a whole people was stirred by a vision of the world as an instru- ment, through which sounded out invitation to the meeting of bliss. The ineffable mystery of God's love-call, taking shape in an endless panorama of THE RELIGION OF MAN colours and forms, inspired activity in music that overflowed the restrictions of classical convention- alism. Our Kirtan music of Bengal came to its being like a star flung up by a burning whirlpool of emotion in the heart of a whole people, and their consciousness was aflame with a sense of reality that must be adequately acknowledged. The question may be asked as to what place music occupies in my theory that art is for evoking in our mind the deep sense of reality in its richest aspect. Music is the most abstract of all the arts, as mathematics is in the region of science. In fact these two have a deep relationship with each other. Mathematics is the logic of numbers and dimen- sions. It is therefore employed as the basis of our scientific knowledge. When taken out of its con- crete associations and reduced to symbols, it re- veals its grand structural majesty, the inevitable- ness of its own perfect concord. Yet there is not merely a logic but also a magic of mathematics which works at the world of appearance, producing harmony the cadence of inter-relationship. This rhythm of harmony has been extracted from its usual concrete context, and exhibited through the medium of sound. And thus the pure essence of expressiveness in existence is offered in music. Ex- pressiveness finds the least resistance in sound, hav- ing freedom unencumbered by the burden of facts and thoughts. This gives it a power to arouse in 138 THE ARTIST us an intimate feeling of reality. In the pictorial, plastic and literary arts, the object and our feelings with regard to it are closely associated, like the rose and its perfumes. In music, the feeling dis- tilled in sound, becoming itself an independent object It assumes a tune-form which is definite, but a meaning which is undefinable, and yet which grips our mind with a sense of absolute truth. It is the magic of mathematics, the rhythm which is in the heart of all creation, which moves in the atom and, in its different measures, fashions gold and lead, the rose and the thorn, the sun and the planets. These are the dance-steps of numbers in the arena of time and space, which weave the maya, the patterns of appearance, the incessant flow of change, that ever is and is not It is the rhythm that churns up images from the vague and makes tangible what is elusive. This is may a, this is the art in creation, and art in literature, which is the magic of rhythm. And must we stop here? What we know as in- tellectual truth, is that also not a rhythm of the relationship of facts, that weaves the pattern of theory, and produces a sense of convincingness to a person who somehow feels sure that he knows the truth? We believe any fact to be true because of a harmony, a rhythm in reason, the process of which is analysable by the logic of mathematics, but not its result in me, just as we can count the 139 THE RELIGION OP MAN notes but cannot account for the music. The mys- tery is that I am convinced, and this also belongs to the may a of creation, whose one important, in- dispensable factor is this self-conscious personality that I represent And the Other? I believe it is also a self-con- scious personality, which has its eternal harmony with mine. 140 CHAPTER X MAN'S NATURE FROM the time when Man became truly conscious of his own self he also became conscious of a mys- terious spirit of unity which found its manifesta- tion through him in his society. It is a subtle medium of relationship between individuals, which is not for any utilitarian purpose but for its own ultimate truth, not a sum of arithmetic but a value of life. Somehow Man has felt that this compre- hensive spirit of unity has a divine character which could claim the sacrifice of all that is individual in him, that in it dwells his highest meaning trans- cending his limited self, representing his best freedom, Man's reverential loyalty to this spirit of unity is expressed in his religion ; it is symbolized in the names of his deities. That is why, in the begin- ning, his gods were tribal gods, even gods of the different communities belonging to the same tribe. With the extension of the consciousness of human unity his God became revealed to him as one and universal, proving that the truth of human unity is the truth of Man's God. In the Sanskrit language, religion goes by the name dharma, which in the derivative meaning im- THE RELIGION OF MAN plies the principle of relationship that holds us firm, and in its technical sense means the virtue of a thing, the essential quality of it; for instance, heat is the essential quality of fire, though in certain of its stages it may be absent Religion consists in the endeavour of men to cultivate and express those qualities which are in- herent in the nature of Man the Eternal, and to have faith in him. If these qualities were abso- lutely natural in individuals, religion could have no purpose. We begin our history with all the original promptings of our brute nature which helps us to fulfil those vital needs of ours that are immediate. But deeper within us there is a current of tendencies which runs in many ways in a con- trary direction, the life current of universal hu- manity. Religion has its function in reconciling the contradiction, by subordinating the brute na- ture to what we consider as the truth of Man. This is helped when our faith in the Eternal Man, whom we call by different names and imagine in different images, is made strong. The contradic- tion between the two natures in us is so great that men have willingly sacrificed their vital needs and courted death in order to express their dharma, which represents the truth of the Supreme Man. The vision of the Supreme Man is realized by our imagination, but not created by our mind. More real than individual men, he surpasses each 142 MAN'S NATURE of us in his permeating personality which is trans- cendental. The procession of his ideas, following his great purpose, is ever moving across obstruc- tive facts towards the perfected truth. We, the individuals, having our place in his composition, may or may not be in conscious harmony with his purpose, may even put obstacles in his path bring- ing down our doom upon ourselves. But we gain our true religion when we consciously co-operate with him, finding our exceeding joy through suf- fering and sacrifice. For through our own love for him we are made conscious of a great love that radiates from his being, who is Mahatma, the Supreme Spirit. The great Chinese sage Lao-tze has said : "One who may die, but will not perish, has life ever- lasting". It means that he lives in the life of the immortal Man. The urging for this life induces men to go through the struggle for a true survival. And it has been said in our scripture: "Through adharma (the negation of dharma] man prospers, gains what appears desirable, conquers enemies, but he perishes at the root." In this saying it is suggested that there is a life which is truer for men than their physical life which is transient. Our life gains what is called "value" in those of its aspects which represent eternal humanity in knowledge, in sympathy, in deeds, in character and creative works. And from the beginning of 143 THE RELIGION OF MAN our history we are seeking, often at the cost of everything else, the value for our life and not merely success; in other words, we are trying to realize in ourselves the immortal Man, so that we may die but not perish. This is the meaning of the utterance in the Upanishad: "Tarn vedyam p<uru- sham veda, yatha ma vo mrityuh parivyathah" "Realize the Person so that thou mayst not suffer from death." The meaning of these words is highly paradoxi- cal, and cannot be proved by our senses or our rea- son, and yet its influence is so strong in men that they have cast away all fear and greed, defied all the instincts that cling to the brute nature, for the sake of acknowledging and preserving a life which belongs to the Eternal Person. It is all the more significant because many of them do not believe in its reality, and yet are ready to fling away for it all that they believe to be final and the only positive fact. We call this ideal reality "spiritual". That word is vague; nevertheless, through the dim light which reaches us across the barriers of physical existence, we seem to have a stronger faith in the spiritual Man than in the physical ; and from the dimmest period of his history, Man has a feeling that the apparent facts of existence are not final ; that his supreme welfare depends upon his being able to remain in perfect relationship with some 144 MAN'S NATURE great mystery behind the veil, at the threshold of a larger life, which is for giving him a far higher value than a mere continuation of his physical life in the material world. Our physical body has its comprehensive reality in the physical world, which may be truly called our universal body, without which our individual body would miss its function. Our physical life realizes its growing meaning through a widening freedom in its relationship with the physical world, and this gives it a greater happiness than the mere pleasure of satisfied needs. We become aware of a profound meaning of our own self at the consciousness of some ideal of perfection, some truth beautiful or majestic which gives us an inner sense of completeness, a heightened sense of our own reality. This strengthens man's faith, effec- tive even if indefinite his faith in an objective ideal of perfection comprehending the human world. His vision of it has been beautiful or dis- torted, luminous or obscure, according to the stages of development that his consciousness has attained. But whatever may be the name and nature of his religious creed, man's ideal of human perfection has been based upon a bond of unity running through individuals culminating in a supreme Being who represents the eternal in human person- ality. In his civilization the perfect expression of this idea produces the wealth of truth which is for THE RELIGION OF MAN the revelation of Man and not merely for the suc- cess of life. But when this creative ideal which is dharma gives place to some overmastering pas- sion in a large body of men civilization bursts out in an explosive flame, like a star that has lighted its own funeral pyre of boisterous brilliancy. When I was a child I had the freedom to make my own toys out of trifles and create my own games from imagination. In my happiness my playmates had their full share, in fact the complete enjoy- ment of my games depended upon their taking part in them. One day, in this paradise of our child- hood, entered the temptation from the market world of the adult. A toy brought from an English shop was given to one of our companions; it was perfect, it was big and wonderfully life-like. He became proud of the toy and less mindful of the game ; he kept that expensive thing carefully away from us, glorying in his exclusive possession of it, feeling himself superior to his playmates whose toys were cheap. I am sure if he could use the modern language of history he would say that he was more civilized than ourselves to the extent of his owning that ridiculously perfect toy. One thing he failed to realize in his excitement a fact which at the moment seemed to him insig- nificant that this temptation obscured something a great deal more perfect than his toy, the revela- tion of the perfect child which ever dwells in the 146 MAN'S NATURE heart of man, in other words, the dharma of the child. The toy merely expressed his wealth but not himself, not the child's creative spirit, not the child's generous joy in his play, his identification of himself with others who were his compeers in his play world. Civilization is to express Man's dharma and not merely his cleverness, power and possession. Once there was an occasion for me to motor down to Calcutta from a place a hundred miles away. Something wrong with the mechanism made it necessary for us to have a repeated supply of water almost every half-hour. At the first village where we were compelled to stop, we asked the help of a man to find water for us. It proved quite a task for him, but when we offered him his re- ward, poor though he was, he refused to accept it In fifteen other villages the same thing happened. In a hot country, where travellers constantly need water and where the water supply grows scanty in summer, the villagers consider it their duty to offer water to those who need it They could easily make a business out of it, following the inexorable law of demand and supply. But the ideal which they consider to be their dharma has become one with their life. They do not claim any personal merit for possessing it. Lao-tze, speaking about the man who is truly good, says: "He quickens but owns not He acts THE RELIGION OF MAN but claims not. Merit he accomplishes but dwells not in it. Since he does not dwell in it, it will never leave him." That which is outside ourselves we can sell ; but that which is one with our being we cannot sell. This complete assimilation of truth belongs to the paradise of perfection ; it lies beyond the purgatory of self-consciousness. To have reached it proves a long process of civilization. To be able to take a considerable amount of trouble in order to supply water to a passing stranger and yet never to claim merit or reward for it seems absurdly and negligibly simple com- pared with the capacity to produce an amazing number of things per minute. A millionaire tour- ist, ready to corner the food market and grow rich by driving the whole world to the brink of starva- tion, is sure to feel too superior to notice this sim- ple thing while rushing through our villages at sixty miles an hour. Yes, it is simple, as simple as it is for a gentle- man to be a gentleman ; but that simplicity is the product of centuries of culture. That simplicity is difficult of imitation. In a few years' time, it might be possible for me to learn how to make holes in thousands of needles simultaneously by turning a wheel, but to be absolutely simple in one's hospitality to one's enemy, or to a stranger, requires generations of training. Simplicity takes no account of its own value, claims no wages, and 148 MAN'S NATURE therefore those who are enamoured of power do not realize that simplicity of spiritual expression is the highest product of civilization. A process of disintegration can kill this rare fruit of a higher life, as a whole race of birds pos- sessing some rare beauty can be made extinct by the vulgar power of avarice which has civilized weapons. This fact was clearly proved to me when I found that the only place where a price was expected for the water given to us was a suburb at Calcutta, where life was richer, the water supply easier and more abundant and where progress flowed in numerous channels in all directions. It shows that a harmony of character which the peo- ple once had was lost the harmony with the inner self which is greater in its universality than the self that gives prominence to its personal needs. The latter loses its feeling of beauty and generos- ity in its calculation of profit; for there it repre- sents exclusively itself and not the universal Man. There is an utterance in the Atharva Veda, wherein appears the question as to who it was that gave Man his music. Birds repeat their single notes, or a very simple combination of them, but Man builds his world of music and establishes ever new rhythmic relationship of notes. These reveal to him a universal mystery of creation which can- not be described. They bring to him the inner rhythm that transmutes facts into truths. They 149 THE RELIGION OF MAN give him pleasure not merely for his sense of hear- ing, but for his deeper being, which gains satisfac- tion in the ideal of perfect unity. Somehow man feels that truth finds its body in such perfection; and when he seeks for his own best revelation he seeks a medium which has the harmonious unity, as has music. Our impulse to give expression to Universal Man produces arts and literature. They in their cadence of lines, colours, movements, words, thoughts, express vastly more than what they appear to be on the surface. They open the win- dows of our mind to the eternal reality of man. They are the superfluity of wealth of which we claim our common inheritance whatever may be the country and time to which we belong; for they are inspired by the universal mind. And not merely in his arts, but in his own behaviour, the individual must for his excellence give emphasis to an ideal which has some value of truth that ideally belongs to all men. In other words, he should create a music of expression in his conduct and surround- ings which makes him represent the supreme Per- sonality. And civilization is the creation of the race, its expression of the universal Man. When I first visited Japan I had the opportu- nity of observing where the two parts of the human sphere strongly contrasted ; one, on which grew up the ancient continents of social ideal, standards of beauty, codes of personal behaviour ; and the other 150 MAN'S NATURE part, the fluid element, the perpetual current that carried wealth to its shores from all parts of the world. In half a century's time Japan has been able to make her own the mighty spirit of progress which suddenly burst upon her one morning in a storm of insult and menace. China also has had her rousing, when her self-respect was being knocked to pieces through series of helpless years, and I am sure she also will master before long the instrument which hurt her to the quick. But the ideals that imparted life and body to Japanese civilization had been nourished in the reverent hopes of countless generations through ages which were not primarily occupied in an incessant hunt for opportunities. They had those large tracts of leisure in them which are necessary for the blos- soming of Life's beauty and the ripening of her wisdom. On the one hand we can look upon the modern factories in Japan with their numerous mechanical organizations and engines of production and de- struction of the latest type. On the other hand, against them we may see some fragile vase, some small piece of silk, some architecture of sublime simplicity, some perfect lyric of bodily movement. We may also notice the Japanese expression of courtesy daily extracting from them a considerable amount of time and trouble. All these have come not from any accurate knowledge of things but THE RELIGION OF MAN from an intense consciousness of the value of real- ity which takes time for its fullness. What Japan reveals in her skilful manipulation of telegraphic wires and railway lines, of machines for manufac- turing things and for killing men, is more or less similar to what we see in other countries which have similar opportunity for training. But in her art of living, her pictures, her code of conduct, the various forms of beauty which her religious and social ideals assume Japan expresses her own per- sonality, her dharma, which, in order to be of any worth, must be unique and at the same time repre- sent Man of the Everlasting Life. Lao-tze has said: "Not knowing the eternal causes passions to rise ; and that is evil". He has also said: "Let us die, and yet not perish". For we die when we lose our physical life, we perish when we miss our humanity. And humanity is the dharma of human beings. What is evident in this world is the endless pro- cession of moving things; but what is to be real- ized, is the supreme human Truth by which the human world is permeated. We must never forget to-day that a mere move- ment is not valuable in itself, that it may be a sign of a dangerous form of inertia. We must be reminded that a great upheaval of spirit, a uni- versal realization of true dignity of man once caused by Buddha's teachings in India, started a 152 MAN'S NATURE movement for centuries which produced illumina- tion of literature, art, science and numerous efforts of public beneficence. This was a movement whose motive force was not some additional accession of knowledge or power or urging of some overwhelm- ing passion. It was an inspiration for freedom, the freedom which enables us to realize dharma, the truth of Eternal Man. Lao-tze in one of his utterances has said : "Those who have virtue (dharma) attend to their obliga- tions; those who have no virtue attend to their claims." Progress which is not related to an inner dharma, but to an attraction which is external, seeks to satisfy our endless claims. But civiliza- tion, which is an ideal, gives us the abundant power to renounce which is the power that realizes the infinite and inspires creation. This great Chinese sage has said : "To increase life is called a blessing." For, the increase of life realizes the eternal life and yet does not transcend the limits of life's unity* The mountain pine grows tall and great, its every inch maintains the rhythm of an inner balance, and therefore even in its seeming extravagance it has the reticent grace of self-control. The tree and its productions belong to the same vital system of cadence; the timber, the flowers, leaves and fruits are one with the tree ; their exuberance is not a malady of exaggeration, but a blessing. 153 CHAPTER XI THE MEETING OUR great prophets in all ages did truly realize in themselves the freedom of the soul in their con- sciousness of the spiritual kinship of man which is universal. And yet human races, owing to their external geographical condition, developed in their individual isolation a mentality that is ob- noxiously selfish. In their instinctive search for truth in religion either they dwarfed and deformed it in the mould of the primitive distortions of their own race-mind, or else they shut their God within temple walls and scriptural texts safely away, espe- cially from those departments of life where his absence gives easy access to devil-worship in vari- ous names and forms. They treated their God in the same way as in some forms of government the King is treated, who has traditional honour but no effective authority. The true meaning of God has remained vague in our minds only because our consciousness of the spiritual unity has been thwarted. One of the potent reasons for this our geo- graphical separation has now been nearly re- moved. Therefore the time has come when we 154 THE MEETING must, for the sake of truth and for the sake of that peace which is the harvest of truth, refuse to allow the idea of our God to remain indistinct behind unrealities of formal rites and theological misti- ness. The creature that lives its life screened and sheltered in a dark cave, finds its safety in the very narrowness of its own environment. The economi- cal providence of Nature curtails and tones down its sensibilities to such a limited necessity. But if these cave-walls were to become suddenly re- moved by some catastrophe, then either it must accept the doom of extinction, or carry on satis- factory negotiations with its wider surroundings. The races of mankind will never again be able to go back to their citadels of high-walled exclu- siveness. They are to-day exposed to one another, physically and intellectually. The shells, which have so long given them full security within their individual enclosures have been broken, and by no artificial process can they be mended again. So we have to accept this fact, even though we have not yet fully adapted our minds to this changed environment of publicity, even though through it we may have to run all the risks entailed by the wider expansion of life's freedom. A large part of our tradition is our code of adjustment which deals with the circumstances special to ourselves. These traditions, no doubt, 155 THE RELIGION OF MAN variegate the several racial personalities with their distinctive colours colours which have their poetry and also certain protective qualities suitable to each different environment We may come to acquire a strong love for our own colourful race speciality; but if that gives us fitness only for a very narrow world, then, at the slightest variation in our outward circumstances, we may have to pay for this love with our life itself. In the animal world there are numerous in- stances of complete race-suicide overtaking those who fondly clung to some advantage which later on became a hindrance in an altered dispensation. In fact the superiority of man is proved by his adaptability to extreme surprises of chance neither the torrid nor the frigid zone of his destiny offering him insuperable obstacles. The vastness of the race problem with which we are faced to-day will either compel us to train ourselves to moral fitness in the place of merely external efficiency, or the complications arising out of it will fetter all our movements and drag us to our death. 1 When our necessity becomes urgently insistent, when the resources that have sustained us so long are exhausted, then our spirit puts forth all its force to discover some other source of sustenance deeper and more permanent. This leads us from 1 See Appendix iy, 156 THE MEETING the exterior to the interior of our store-house* When muscle does not fully serve us, we come to awaken intellect to ask for its help and are then surprised to find in it a greater source of strength for us than physical power. When, in their turn, our intellectual gifts grow perverse, and only help to render our suicide gorgeous and exhaustive, our soul must seek an alliance with some power which is still deeper, yet further removed from the rude stupidity of muscle. Hitherto the cultivation of intense race egotism is the one thing that has found its fullest scope at this meeting of men. In no period of human his- tory has there been such an epidemic of moral perversity, such a universal churning up of jeal- ousy, greed, hatred and mutual suspicion. Every people, weak or strong, is constantly indulging in a violent dream of rendering itself thoroughly hurtful to others. In this galloping competition of hurtfulness, on the slope of a bottomless pit, no nation dares to stop or slow down. A scarlet fever with a raging temperature has attacked the entire body of mankind, and political passion has taken the place of creative personality in all departments of life. It is well known that when greed has for its object material gain then it can have no end. It is like the chasing of the horizon by a lunatic. To go on in a competition multiplying millions be- J57 THE RELIGION OF MAN comes a steeplechase of insensate futility that has obstacles but no goal. It has for its parallel the fight with material weapons weapons which must perpetually be multiplied, opening up new vistas of destruction and evoking new forms of insanity in the forging of frightfulness. Thus seems now to have commenced the last fatal ad- venture of drunken Passion riding on an intellect of prodigious power. To-day, more than ever before in our history, the aid of spiritual power is needed. Therefore, I believe its resources will surely be discovered in the hidden depths of our being. Pioneers will come to take up this adventure and suffer, and through suffering open out a path to that higher elevation of life in which lies our safety. Let me, in reference to this, give an instance from the history of Ancient India, There was a noble period in the early days of India when, to a band of dreamers, agriculture appeared as a great idea and not merely useful fact The heroic personality of Ramachandra, who espoused its cause, was sung in popular ballads, which in a later age forgot their original message and were crystallized into an epic merely extolling some domestic virtues of its hero. It is quite evident, however, from the legendary relics lying entombed in the story, that a new age ushered in by the spread of agriculture came as a divine voice to 158 those who could hear. It lifted up the primeval screen of the wilderness, brought the distant near, and broke down all barricades- Men who had formed separate and antagonistic groups in their sheltered seclusions were called upon to form a united people. In the Vedic verses, we find constant mention of conflicts between the original inhabitants of An- cient India and the colonists. There we find the expression of a spirit that was one of mutual dis- trust and a struggle in which was sought either wholesale slavery or extermination for the oppo- nents carried on in the manner of animals who live in the narrow segregation imposed upon them by their limited imagination and imperfect sym- pathy. This spirit would have continued in all its ferocious vigour of savagery had men failed tc find the opportunity for the discovery that man's highest truth was in the union of co-operation and love. The progress of agriculture was the first exter- nal step which led to such a discovery* It not onl} made a settled life possible for a large number oJ men living in close proximity, but it claimed foi its very purpose a life of peaceful co-operation The mere fact of such a sudden change from nomadic to an agricultural condition would no have benefited Man if he had not developed there with his spiritual sensitiveness to an inner principL 159 THE RELIGION OF MAN of truth. We can realize, from our reading of the Ramayana, the birth of idealism among a section of the Indian colonists of those days, before whose mind's eye was opened a vision of emancipation rich with the responsibility of a higher life. The epic represents in its ideal the change of the peo- ple's aspiration from the path of conquest to that of reconciliation. At the present time, as I have said, the human world has been overtaken by another vast change similar to that which had occurred in the epic age of India. So long men had been cultivating, almost with a religious fervour, that mentality which is the product of racial isolation; poets proclaimed, in a loud pitch of bragging, the exploits of their popular fighters; money-makers felt neither pity nor shame in the unscrupulous dexterity of their pocket-picking; diplomats scattered lies in order to reap concessions from the devastated future of their own victims. Suddenly the walls that sep- arated the different races are seen to have given way, and we find ourselves standing face to face. This is a great fact of epic significance. Man, suckled at the wolf's breast, sheltered in the brute's den, brought up in the prowling habit of depredation, suddenly discovers that he is Man, and that his true power lies in yielding up his brute power for the freedom of spirit. The God of humanity has arrived at the gates 160 THE ME ETING of the ruined temple of the tribe. Though he has not yet found his altar, I ask the men of simple faith, wherever they may be in the world, to bring their offering of sacrifice to him, and to believe that it is far better to be wise and worshipful than to be clever and supercilious. I ask them to claim the right of manhood to be friends of men, and not the right of a particular proud race or nation which may boast of the fatal quality of being the rulers of men. We should know for certain that such rulers will no longer be tolerated in the new world, as it basks in the open sunlight of mind and breathes life's free air. In the geological ages of the infant earth the demons of physical force had their full sway. The angry fire, the devouring flood, the fury of the storm, continually kicked the earth into frightful distortions. These titans have at last given way to the reign of life. Had there been spectators in those days who were clever and practical they would have wagered their last penny on these titans and would have waxed hilariously witty at the expense of the helpless living speck taking its stand in the arena of the wrestling giants. Only a dreamer could have then declared with unwaver- ing conviction that those titans were doomed be- cause of their very exaggeration, as are, to-day : those formidable qualities which, in the parlance of schoolboy science, are termed Nordic. 161 THE RELIGION OF MAN I ask once again, let us, the dreamers of the East and the West, keep our faith firm in the Life that creates and not in the Machine that constructs in the power that hides its force and blossoms in beauty, and not in the power that bares its arms and chuckles at its capacity to make itself obnox- ious. Let us know that the Machine is good when it helps, but not so when it exploits life; that Science is great when it destroys evil, but not when the two enter into unholy alliance. 162 CHAPTER XII THE TEACHER I HAVE already described how the nebulous idea of the divine essence condensed in my conscious- ness into a human realization. It is definite and finite at the same time, the Eternal Person mani- fested in all persons. It may be one of the numer- ous manifestations of God, the one in which is com- prehended Man and his Universe. But we can never know or imagine him as revealed in any other inconceivable universe so long as we remain human beings. And therefore, whatever character our theology may ascribe to him, in reality he is the infinite ideal of Man towards whom men move in their collective growth, with whom they seek their union of love as individuals, in whom they find their ideal of father, friend and beloved. I am sure that it was this idea of the divine Humanity unconsciously working in my mind, which compelled me to come out of the seclusion of my literary career and take my part in the world of practical activities. The solitary enjoyment of the infinite in meditation no longer satisfied me, and the texts which I used for my silent worship 163 THE RELIGION OF MAN lost their inspiration without my knowing it. I am sure I vaguely felt that my need was spiritual self- realization in the life of Man through some disin- terested service. This was the time when I founded an educational institution for our children in Ben- gal. It has a special character of its own which is still struggling to find its fulfilment; for it is a living temple that I have attempted to build for my divinity. In such a place education necessarily becomes the preparation for a complete life of man which can only become possible by living that life, through knowledge and service, enjoy- ment and creative work. The necessity was my own, for I felt impelled to come back into a ful- ness of truth from my exile in a dream-world. This brings to my mind the name of another poet of ancient India, Kalidasa, whose poem of Meg- haduta reverberates with the music of the sorrow of an exile. It was not the physical home-sickness from which the poet suffered, it was something far more fundamental, the home-sickness of the soul. We feel from almost all his works the oppressive at- mosphere of the kings' palaces of those days, dense with things of luxury, and also with the callousness of self-indulgence, albeit an atmos- phere of refined culture based on an extravagant civilization. The poet in the royal court lived in banishment 164 THE TEACHER banishment from the immediate presence of the eternal. He knew it was not merely his own ban- ishment, but that of the whole age to which he was born, the age that had gathered its wealth and missed its well-being, built its storehouse of things and lost its background of the great universe. What was the form in which his desire for perfec- tion persistently appeared in his drama and poems? It was the form of the tapovana, the forest-dwell- ing of the patriarchal community of ancient India. Those who are familiar with Sanskrit literature will know that this was not a colony of people with a primitive culture and mind. They were seekers after truth, for the sake of which they lived in an atmosphere of purity but not of Puritanism, of the simple life but not the life of self-mortification. They never advocated celibacy and they had con- stant intercommunication with other people who lived the life of worldly interest. Their aim and endeavour have briefly been suggested in the Upanishad in these lines : Te sarvagam sarvatah prapya dhira yuktatmanah sarvamevavisanti. (Those men of serene mind enter into the All, having realized and being in union everywhere with the omnipresent Spirit.) It was never a philosophy of renunciation of a negative character, but a realization completely comprehensive. How the tortured mind of Kali- 165 THE RELIGION OF MAN dasa in the prosperous city of Ujjaini, and the glorious period of Vikramaditya, closely pressed by all-obstructing things and all-devouring self, let his thoughts hover round the vision of a tapo- vana for his inspiration of life! It was not a deliberate copy but a natural coin- cidence that a poet of modern India also had the similar vision when he felt within him the misery of a spiritual banishment In the time of Kalidasa the people vividly believed in the ideal of tapo- vana, the forest colony, and there can be no doubt that even in the late age there were communities of men living in the heart of nature, not ascetics fiercely in love with a lingering suicide, but men of serene sanity who sought to realize the spiritual meaning of their life. And, therefore, when Kali- dasa sang of the tapovana, his poems found their immediate communion in the living faith of his hearers. But to-day the idea has lost any definite outline of reality, and has retreated into the far- away phantom-land of legend. Therefore the Sanskrit word in a modern poem would merely be poetical, its meaning judged by a literary stand- ard of appraisement. Then, again, the spirit of the forest-dwelling in the purity of its original shape would be a fantastic anachronism in the present age, and therefore, in order to be real, it must find its reincarnation under modern conditions of life. It must be the same in truth, but not identical in 166 THE TEACHER fact. It was this which made the modern poet's heart crave to compose his poem in a language of tangible words. But I must give the history in some detail. Civilized man has come far away from the orbit of his normal life. He has gradually formed and in- tensified some habits that are like those of the bees for adapting himself to his hive-world. We often see men suffering from ennui, from world-weari- ness, from a spirit of rebellion against their envi- ronment for no reasonable cause whatever. Social revolutions are constantly ushered in with a sui- cidal violence that has its origin in our dissatisfac- tion with our hive-wall arrangement the too exclusive enclosure that deprives us of the perspec- tive which is so much needed to give us the proper proportion in our art of living. All this is an indi- cation that man has not been moulded on the model of the bee and therefore he becomes recklessly anti-social when his freedom to be more than social is ignored. In our highly complex modern condition mechanical forces are organized with such effi- ciency that materials are produced that grow far in advance of man's selective and assimilative capacity to simplify them into harmony with his nature and needs. Such an intemperate overgrowth of things, like rank vegetation in the tropics, creates confinement 167 THE RELIGION OF MAN for man. The nest is simple, it has an early rela- tionship with the sky; the cage is complex and costly ; it is too much itself excommunicated from whatever lies outside. And man is building his cage, fast developing his parasitism on the monster Thing, which he allows to envelop him on all sides. He is always occupied in adapting himself to its dead angularities, limits himself to its limita- tions, and merely becomes a part of it. This may seem contrary to the doctrine of those who believe that a constant high pressure of living, produced by an artificially cultivated hunger of things, generates and feeds the energy that drives civilization upon its endless journey. Personally, I do not believe that this has ever been the principal driving force that has led to eminence any great civilization of which we know in history. I was born in what was once the metropolis of British India. My own ancestors came floating to Calcutta upon the earliest tide of the fluctuating fortune of the East India Company. The uncon- vential code of life for our family has been a confluence of three cultures, the Hindu, Moham- medan and British. My grandfather belonged to that period when the amplitude of dress and cour- tesy and a generous leisure were gradually being clipped and curtailed into Victorian manners, eco- nomical in time, in ceremonies, and in the dignity of personal appearance. [This will show that I 168 THE TEACHER came to a world in which the modern citybred spirit of progress had just begun driving its trium- phal car over the luscious green life of our ancient village community. Though the trampling process was almost complete round me, yet the wailing cry of the past was still lingering over the wreckage. Often I had listened to my eldest brother de- scribing with the poignancy of a hopeless regret a society hospitable, sweet with the old-world aroma of natural kindliness, full of simple faith and the ceremonial-poetry of life. But all this was a vanishing shadow behind me in the dusky golden haze of a twilight horizon the all-pervading fact around my boyhood being the modern city newly built by a company of western traders and the spirit of the modern time seeking its unaccustomed entrance into our life, stumbling against countless anomalies. But it always is a surprise to me to think that though this closed-up hardness of a city was my only experience of the world, yet my mind was constantly haunted by the home-sick fancies of an exile. It seems that the sub-conscious remem- brance of a primeval dwelling-place, where, in our ancestor's minds, were figured and voiced the mysteries of the inarticulate rocks, the rushing water and the dark whispers of the forest, was con- stantly stirring my blood with its call. Some shadow-haunting living reminiscence in me seemed 169 THE RELIGION OF MAN to ache for the pre-natal cradle and playground it shared with the primal life in the illimitable magic of the land, water and air. The shrill, thin cry of the high-flying kite in the blazing sun of the dazed Indian midday sent to a solitary boy the signal of a dumb distant kinship. The few coconut plants growing by the boundary wall of our house, like some war captives from an older army of invaders of this earth, spoke to me of the eternal compan- ionship which the great brotherhood of trees has ever offered to man. Looking back upon those moments of my boy- hood days, when all my mind seemed to float poised upon a large feeling of the sky, of the light, and to tingle with the brown earth in its glistening grass, I cannot help believing that my Indian ancestry had left deep in my being the legacy of its philosophy the philosophy which speaks of fulfilment through our harmony with all things. The founding of my school had its origin in the memory of that longing for the freedom of con- sciousness, which seems to go back beyond- the skyline of my birth. Freedom in the mere sense of independence has no content, and therefore no meaning. Perfect freedom lies in a perfect harmony of relationship, which we realize in this world not through our response to it in knowing, but in being. Objects of knowledge maintain an infinite distance from us 170 THE TEACHER are the knowers. For knowledge is not union. Therefore the further world of freedom awaits us there where we reach truth, not through feeling it by our senses or knowing it by our reason, but through the union of perfect sympathy. Children with the freshness of their senses come lirectly to the intimacy of this world. This is the 5rst great gift they have. They must accept it laked and simple and must never again lose their Dower of immediate communication with it. For 3ur perfection we have to be vitally savage and nentally civilized ; we should have the gift to be latural with nature and human with human society. My banished soul sitting in the civilized isolation of the town-life cried within me for the enlargement of the horizon of its comprehension. [ was like the torn-away line of a verse, always in i state of suspense, while the other line, with which it rhymed and which could give it fulness, was smudged by the mist away in some undecipherable listance. The inexpensive power to be happy, which, along with other children, I brought to this world, was being constantly worn away by friction with the brick-and-mortar arrangement 3f life, by monotonously mechanical habits and the customary code of respectability. In the usual course of things I was sent to school, but possibly my suffering was unusually greater than that of most other children. The non-civilized 171 THE RELIGION OF MAN in me was sensitive; it had the great thirst for colour, for music, for movement of life. Our city- built education took no heed of that living fact. It had its luggage-van waiting for branded bales of marketable result. The relative proportion of the non-civilized to the civilized in man should be in the proportion of the water and the land in our globe, the former predominating. But the school had for its object a continual reclamation of the civilized. Such a drain in the fluid element causes an aridity which may not be considered deplorable under city conditions. But my nature never got ac- customed to those conditions, to the callous decency of the pavement The non-civilized triumphed in me only too soon and drove me away from school when I had just entered my teens. I found myself stranded on a solitary island of ignorance, and had to rely solely upon my own instincts to build up my education from the very beginning. This reminds me that when I was young I had the great good fortune of coming upon a Bengali translation of Robinson Crusoe. I still believe that it is the best book for boys that has ever been written. There was a longing in me when young to run away from my own self and be one with everything in Nature. This mood appears to be particularly Indian, the outcome of a traditional desire for the expansion of consciousness. One has to admit that such a desire is too subjective in its 172 THE TEACHER character ; but this is inevitable in the geographical circumstances which we have to endure. We live under the extortionate tyranny of the tropics, pay- ing heavy toll every moment for the barest right of existence. The heat, the damp, the unspeakable fecundity of minute life feeding upon big life, the perpetual sources of irritation, visible and invis- ible, leave very little margin of capital for extrava- gant experiments. Excess of energy seeks obstacles for its self-realization. That is why we find so often in Western literature a constant emphasis upon the malignant aspect of Nature, in whom the people of the West seem to be delighted to discover an enemy for the sheer enjoyment of challenging her to fight. The reason which made Alexander express his desire to find other worlds to conquer, when his conquest of the world was completed, makes the enormously vital people of the West desire, when they have some respite in their sub- lime mission of fighting against objects that are noxious, to go out of their way to spread their coat- tails in other people's thoroughfares and to claim indemnity when these are trodden upon. In order to make the thrilling risk of hurting themselves they are ready to welcome endless trouble to hurt others who are inoffensive, such as the beautiful birds which happen to know how to fly away, the timid beasts, which have the advantage of inhabit- ing inaccessible regions, and but I avoid the dis~ THE RELIGION OF MAN courtesy of mentioning higher races in this con- nection. Life's fulfilment finds constant contradictions in its path ; but those are necessary for the sake of its advance. The stream is saved from the sluggish- ness of its current by the perpetual opposition of the soil through which it must cut its way. It is this soil which forms its banks. The spirit of fight belongs to the genius of life. The tuning of an instrument has to be done, not because it reveals a proficient perseverance in the face of difficulty, but because it helps music to be perfectly realized. Let us rejoice that in the West life's instrument is being tuned in all its different chords owing to the great fact that the West has triumphant pleasure in the struggle with obstacles. The spirit of crea- tion in the heart of the universe will never allow, for its own sake, obstacles to be completely re- moved. It is only because positive truth lies in that ideal of perfection, which has to be won by our own endeavour in order to make it our own, that the spirit of fight is great But this does not imply a premium for the exhibition of a muscular athleticism or a rude barbarism of ravenous rapacity. In Robinson Crusoe, the delight of the union with Nature finds its expression in a story of ad- venture in which the solitary Man is face to face with solitary Nature, coaxing her, co-operating 174 THE TEACHER with her, exploring her secrets, using all his facul- ties to win her help. This is the heroic love-adventure of the West, the active wooing of the earth. I remember how, once in my youth, the feeling of intense delight and wonder followed me in my railway journey across Europe from Brindisi to Calais, when I realized the chaste beauty of this continent every- where blossoming in a glow of health and richness under the age-long attention of her chivalrous lover, Western humanity. He had gained her, made her his own, unlocked the inexhaustible gen- erosity of her heart. And I had intently wished that the introspective vision of the universal soul, which an Eastern devotee realizes in the solitude of his mind, could be united with this spirit of its outward expression in service, the exercise of will in unfolding the wealth of beauty and well-being from its shy obscurity to the light. I remember the morning when a beggar woman in a Bengal village gathered in the loose end of her sari the stale flowers that were about to be thrown away from the vase on my table; and with an ecstatic expression of tenderness buried her face in them, exclaiming, "Oh, Beloved of my Heart!" Her eyes could easily pierce the veil of the outward form and reach the realm of the infinite in these flowers, where she found the intimate touch of her Beloved, the great, the universal Human. But in 175 THE RELIGION OF MAN spite of it all she lacked that energy of worship, that Western form of direct divine service, the service of man, which helps the earth to bring out her flowers and spread the reign of beauty on the desolate dust. I refuse to think that the twin spirits of the East and the West, the Mary and Martha, can never meet to make perfect the realization of truth. And in spite of our material poverty in the East and the antagonism of time I wait patiently for this meeting. Robinson Crusoe's island conies to my mind when I think of some institution where the first great lesson in the perfect union of Man and Nature, not only through love, but through active communication and intelligent ways, can be had unobstructed. We have to keep in mind the fact that love and action are the only intermediaries through which perfect knowledge can be obtained ; for the object of knowledge is not pedantry but wisdom. The primary object of an institution should not be merely to educate one's limbs and mind to be in efficient readiness for all emergen- cies, but to be in perfect tune in the symphony of response between life and world, to find the balance of their harmony which is wisdom. The first im- portant lesson for children in such a place would be that of improvisation, the constant imposition of the ready-made having been banished from here. It is to give occasions to explore one's 176 THE TEACHER capacity through surprises of achievement I must make it plain that this means a lesson not in simple life, but in creative life. For life may grow com- plex, and yet if there is a living personality in its centre, it will still have the unity of creation; it will carry its own weight in perfect grace, and will not be a mere addition to the number of facts that only goes to swell a crowd. I wish I could say that I had fully realized my dream in my school. I have only made the first introduction towards it and have given an oppor- tunity to the children to find their freedom in Nature by being able to love it. For love is free- dom; it gives us that fulness of existence which saves us from paying with our soul for objects that are immensely cheap. Love lights up this world with its meaning and makes life feel that it has that "enough" everywhere which truly is its "feast". I know men who preach the cult of simple life by glorifying the spiritual merit of poverty. I refuse to imagine any special value in poverty when it is a mere negation. Only when the mind has the sensi- tiveness to be able to respond to the deeper call of reality is it naturally weaned away from the lure of the fictitious value of things. It is callousness which robs us of our simple power to enjoy, and dooms us to the indignity of a snobbish pride in furniture and the foolish burden of expensive things. But the callousness of asceticism pitted *77 THE RELIGION OF MAN against the callousness of luxury is merely fighting one evil with the help of another, inviting the piti- less demon of the desert in place of the indiscrimi- nate demon of the jungle, I tried my best to develop in the children of my school the freshness of their feeling for Nature, a sensitiveness of soul in their relationship with their human surroundings, with the help of litera- ture, festive ceremonials and also the religious teaching which enjoins us to come to the nearer presence of the world through the soul,, thuscjo gain it more than can be measured like gaining an instrument in truth by bringing out its music. 178 CHAPTER XIII SPIRITUAL FREEDOM THERE are injuries that attack our life; they hurt the harmony of life's functions through which is maintained the harmony of our physical self with the physical world; and these injuries are called diseases. There are also factors that oppress our intelligence. They injure the harmony of relation- ship between our rational mind and the universe of reason; and we call them stupidity, ignorance or insanity. They are uncontrolled exaggerations of passions that upset all balance in our personal- ity. They obscure the harmony between the spirit of the individual man and the spirit of the uni- versal Man; and we give them the name sin. In all these instances our realization of the universal Man, in his physical, rational and spiritual aspects, is obstructed, and our true freedom in the realms of matter, mind and spirit is made narrow or distorted. All the higher religions of India speak of the training for Mukti, the liberation of the soul. In this self of ours we are conscious of individuality and all its activities are engaged in the expressior 179 THE RELIGION OF MAN and enjoyment of our finite and individual nature. In our soul we are conscious of the transcendental truth in us, the Universal, the Supreme Man ; and this soul, the spiritual self, has its enjoyment in the renunciation of the individual self for the sake of the supreme soul. This renunciation is not in the negation of self, but in the dedication of it The desire for it comes from an instinct which very often knows its own meaning vaguely and gropes for a name that would define its purpose. This purpose is in the realization of its unity with some objective ideal of perfections, some harmony of relationship between the individual and the infinite man. It is of this harmony, and not of a barren isolation that the Upanishad speaks, when it says that truth no longer remains hidden in him who finds himself in the All. Once when I was on a visit to a remote Bengali village, mostly inhabited by Mahomedan culti- vators, the villagers entertained me with an op r - eratic performance the literature of which belonged to an obsolete religious sect that had wide influence centuries ago. Though the religion itself is dead, its voice still continues preaching its philosophy to a people, who, in spite of their different culture, are not tired of listening. It discussed according to its own doctrine the different elements, material and transcendental, that constitute human person- ality, comprehending the body, the self and the 180 SPIRITUAL FREEDOM soul. Then came a dialogue, during the course of which was related the incident of a person who wanted to make a journey to Brindaban, the Gar- den of Bliss, but was prevented by a watchman who startled him with an accusation of theft. The thieving was proved when it was shown that inside his clothes he was secretly trying to smuggle into the garden the self, which only finds its fulfilment by its surrender. The culprit was caught with the incriminating bundle in his possession which barred for him his passage to the supreme goal. Under a tattered canopy, supported on bamboo poles and lighted by a few smoking kerosene lamps, the village crowd, occasionally interrupted by howls of jackals in the neighbouring paddy fields, attended with untired interest, till the small hours of the morning, the performance of a drama that discussed the ultimate meaning of all things in a seemingly incongruous setting of dance, music and humorous dialogue. This illustration will show how naturally, in India, poetry and philosophy have walked hand in hand, only because the latter has claimed its right to guide men to the practical path of their life's fulfilment. What is that fulfilment? It is our free- dom in truth, which has for its prayer : Lead us from the unreal to reality, For satyam is anandam, the Real is Joy. 181 THE RELIGION OF MAN In the world of art, our consciousness being freed from the tangle of self interest, we gain an unobstructed vision of unity, the incarnation of the real, which is a joy for ever. As in the world of art, so in the spiritual world, our soul waits for its freedom from the ego to reach that disinterested joy which is the source and goal of creation. It cries for its mukti, its freedom in the unity of truth. The idea of mukti has af- fected our lives in India, touched the springs of pure emotions and supplications; for it soars heavenward on the wings of poesy. We constantly hear men of scanty learning and simple faith sing- ing in their prayer to Tara, the Goddess Re- deemer : "For what sin should I be compelled to remain in this dungeon of the world of appearance?" They are afraid of being alienated from the world of truth, afraid of perpetual drifting amidst the froth and foam of things, of being tossed about by the tidal waves of pleasure and pain and never reaching the ultimate meaning of life. Of these men, one may be a carter driving his cart to mar- ket, another a fisherman plying his net. They may not be prompt with an intelligent answer if they are questioned about the deeper import of the song they sing, but they have no doubt in their^mind, that the abiding cause of all misery is not so much in the lack of life's furniture as in the obscurity 182 SPIRITUAL FREEDOM of life's significance. It is a common topic with such to decry an undue emphasis upon "me" and "mine", which falsifies the perspective of truth. For have they not often seen men, who are not above their own level in social position or intellec- tual acquirement, going out to seek Truth, leaving everything that they have behind them? They know that the object of these adventurers is not betterment in worldly wealth and power it is muktij freedom. They possibly know some poor fellow villager of their own craft, who re- mains in the world carrying on his daily vocation and yet has the reputation of being emancipated in the heart of the Eternal. I myself have come across a fisherman singing with an inward absorption of mind, while fishing all day in the Ganges, who was pointed out to me by my boatman, with awe, as a man of liberated spirit He is out of reach of the conventional prices that are set upon men by so- ciety, and which classify them like toys arranged in the shop-windows according to the market standard of value. When the figure of this fisherman comes to my mind, I cannot but think that their number is not small who with their lives sing the epic of the unfettered soul, but will never be known in his- tory. These unsophisticated Indian peasants know that an Emperor is merely a decorated slave, re- maining chained to his Empire, that a millionaire 183 THE RELIGION OF MAN is kept pilloried by his fate in the golden cage of his wealth, while this fisherman is free in the realm of light When, groping in the dark, we stumble against objects, we cling to them believing them to be our only hope.. When light comes, we slacken our hold, finding them to be mere parts of the All to which we are related. The simple man of the village knows what freedom is freedom from the isolation of self, from the isolation of things, which imparts a fierce intensity to our sense of possession. He knows that this freedom is not the mere negation of bondage, in the bareness of our belongings, but in some positive realization which gives pure joy to our being, and he sings: "To him who sinks into the deep, nothing remains unattained." He says again: Let my two minds meet and combine, And lead me to the city Wonderful. When that one mind of ours which wanders in search of things in the outer region of the varied, and the other which seeks the inward vision of unity, are no longer in conflict, they help us to realize the ajab, the anirvachaniya, the ineffable. The poet saint Kabir has also the same message when he sings : By saying that Supreme Reality only dwells in the inner realm of spirit, we shame the outer world of matter; and also when we say that he is only in the outside, we do not speak the truth. 184 SPIRITUAL FREEDOM According to these singers, truth is in unity, and therefore freedom is in its realization. The texts of our daily worship and meditation are for train- ing our mind to overcome the barrier of separate- ness from the rest of existence and to realize advaitam, the Supreme Unity which is anantam, in- finitude. It is philosophical wisdom, having its universal radiation in the popular mind in India, that inspires our prayer, our daily spiritual prac- tices. It has its constant urging for us to go beyond the world of appearances, in which facts as facts are alien to us, like the mere sounds of foreign music; it speaks to us of an emancipation in the inner truth of all things, where the endless Many reveal the One. Freedom in the material world has also the same meaning expressed in its own language. When nature's phenomena appeared to us as irrelevant, as heterogeneous manifestations of an obscure and irrational caprice, we lived in an alien world never dreaming of our swaraj within'its ter- ritory. Through the discovery of the harmony of its working with that of our reason, we realize our unity with it, and therefore our freedom. Those who have been brought up in a mis- understanding of this world's process, not knowing that it is one with themselves through the relation- ship of knowledge and intelligence, are trained as cowards by a hopeless faith in the ordinance of 185 THE RELIGION OF MAN a destiny darkly dealing its blows. They submit without struggle when human rights are denied them, being accustomed to imagine themselves born as outlaws in a world constantly thrusting upon them incomprehensible surprises of accidents. Also in the social or political field, the lack of freedom is based upon the spirit of alienation, on the imperfect realization of the One. There our bondage is in the tortured link of union. One may imagine that an individual who succeeds in dis- sociating himself from his fellow attains real free- dom, inasmuch as all ties of relationship imply obligation to others. But we know that, though it may sound paradoxical, it is true that in the human world only a perfect arrangement of interdepend- ence gives rise to freedom. The most individualis- tic of human beings who own no responsibility are the savages who fail to attain their fulness of man- ifestation. They live immersed in obscurity, like an ill-lighted fire that cannot liberate itself from its envelope of smoke. Only those may attain their freedom from the segregation of an eclipsed life who have the power to cultivate mutual under- standing and co-operation. The history of the growth of freedom is the history of the perfection of human relationship. It has become possible for men to say that exist- ence is evil, only because in our blindness we have missed something wherein our existence has its 186 SPIRITUAL FREEDOM truth. If a bird tries to soar with only one of its wings, it is offended with the wind for buffeting it down to the dust All broken truths are evil. They hurt because they suggest something they do not offer. Death does not hurt us, but disease does,- because disease constantly reminds us of health and yet withholds it from us. And life in a half- world is evil because it feigns finality when it is obviously incomplete, giving us the cup but not the draught of life. All tragedies result from truth remaining a fragment, its cycle not being com- pleted. That cycle finds its end when the indi- vidual realizes the universal and thus reaches freedom. But because this freedom is in truth itself and not in an appearance of it, no hurried path of suc- cess, forcibly cut out by the greed of result, can be a true path. And an obscure village poet, unknown to the world of recognized respectability, sings: O cruel man of urgent need, must you scorch with fire the mind which still is a bud? You will burst it into bits, destroy its perfume in your impatience. Do you not see that my Lord, the Supreme Teacher, takes ages to perfect the flower and never is in a fury of haste? But because of your terrible greed, you only rely on force, and what hope is there for you, O man of urgent need? "Prithi", says Madan the poet, "Hurt not the mind of my Teacher. Know that only he who follows the simple current and loses himself, can hear the voice, O man of urgent need." This poet knows that there is no external means of 187 THE RELIGION OF MAN taking freedom by the throat. It is the inward process of losing ourselves that leads to it Bondage in all its forms has its stronghold in the inner self and not in the outside world; it is in the dimming of our consciousness, in the narrowing of our per- spective, in the wrong valuation of things. Let me conclude this chapter with a song of the Baiil sect in Bengal, over a century old, in which the poet sings of the eternal bond of union between the infinite and the finite soul, from which there can be no mukti, because love is ultimate, because it is an inter-relation which makes truth complete, be- cause absolute independence is the blankness of utter servility. The song runs thus : It goes on blossoming for ages, the soul-lotus, in which I am bound, as well as thou, without escape. There is no end to the opening of its petals, and the honey in it has so much sweetness that thou, like an enchanted bee, canst never desert it, and therefore thou art bound, and I am, and mukti is nowhere. 188 CHAPTER XIV THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE I HAVE expressly said that I have concentrated my attention upon the subject of religion which is solely related to man, helping him to train his atti- tude and behaviour towards the infinite in its hu- man aspect. At the same time it should be under- stood that the tendency of the Indian mind has ever been towards that transcendentalism which does not hold religion to be ultimate but rather to be a means to a further end. This end consists in the perfect liberation of the individual in the uni- versal spirit across the furthest limits of humanity itself. Such an extreme form of mysticism may be ex- plained to my Western readers by its analogy in science. For science may truly be described as mysticism in the realm of material knowledge. It helps us to go beyond appearances and reach the inner reality of things in principles which are abstractions; it emancipates our mind from the thraldom of the senses to the freedom of reason. The commonsense view of the world that is ap- parent to us has its vital importance for ourselves. 189 THE RELIGION OF MAN For all our practical purposes the earth is flat, the sun does set behind the western horizon and what- ever may be the verdict of the great mathematician about the lack of consistency in time's dealings we should fully trust it in setting our watches right In questions relating to the arts and our ordinary daily avocations we must treat material objects as they seem to be and not as they are in essence. But the revelations of science even when they go far beyond man's power of direct perception give him the purest feeling of disinterested delight and a supersensual background to his world. Science offers us the mystic knowledge of matter which very often passes the range of our imagination. We humbly accept it following those teachers who have trained their reason to free itself from the trammels of appearance or personal preferences. Their mind dwells in an impersonal infinity where there is no distinction between good and bad, high and low, ugly and beautiful, useful and useless, where all things have their one common right of recognition, that of their existence. The final freedom of spirit which India aspires after has a similar character of realization* It is beyond all limits of personality, divested of all moral, or aesthetic distinctions ; it is the pure con- sciousness of Being, the ultimate reality which has an infinite illumination of bliss. Though science brings our thoughts to the utmost limit of mind's 190 THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE territory it cannot transcend its own creation made of a harmony of logical symbols. In it the chick has come out of its shell but not out of the defini- tion of its own chickenhood. But in India it has been said by the yogi that through an intensive process of concentration and quietude our con- sciousness does reach that infinity where knowledge ceases to be knowledge, subject and object become one, a state of existence that cannot be defined. We have our personal self. It has its desires which struggle to create a world where they could have their unrestricted activity and satisfaction. While it goes on we discover that our self-realiza- tion reaches its perfection in the abnegation of self. This fact has made us aware that the individual finds his meaning in a fundamental reality compre- hending all individuals the reality which is the moral and spiritual basis of the realm of human values. This belongs to our religion. As science is the liberation of our knowledge in the universal reason which cannot be other than human reason, religion is the liberation of our individual person- ality in the universal Person who is human all the same. The ancient explorers in psychology in India who declare that our emancipation can be carried still further into a realm where infinity is not bounded by human limitations, are not content with advancing this as a doctrine; they advocate THE RELIGION OF MAN its pursuit for the attainment of the highest goal of man. And for its sake the path of discipline has been planned which should be opened out across our life through all its stages helping us to develop our humanity to perfection so that we may surpass it in a finality of freedom. Perfection has its two aspects in man which can to some extent be separated, the perfection in being, and perfection in doing. It can be imagined that through some training or compulsion good works may possibly be extorted from a man who personally may not be good. Activities that have fatal risks are often undertaken by cowards even though they are conscious of the danger. Such works may be useful and may continue to exist beyond the lifetime of the individual who produced them. And yet where the question is not that of utility but of moral perfection we hold it important that the individual should be true in his goodness. His outer good work may continue to produce good results but the inner perfection of his personality has its own immense value which for him is spirit- ual freedom and for humanity is an endless asset though we may not know it. For goodness repre- sents the detachment of our spirit from the exclu- siveness of our egoism; in goodness we identify ourselves with the universal humanity. Its value is not merely in some benefit for our fellow beings but in its truth itself through which we realize 192 THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE within us that man is not merely an animal bound by his individual passions and appetites but a spirit that has its unfettered perfection. Goodness is the freedom of our self in the world of man, as is love. We have to be true within, not for worldly duties but for that spiritual fulfilment, which is in har- mony with the Perfect, in union with the Eternal. If this were not true, then mechanical perfection would be considered to be of higher value than the spiritual. In order to realize his unity with the universal, the individual man must live his perfect life which alone gives him the freedom to tran- scend it Doubtless Nature, for its own biological pur- poses, has created in us a strong faith in life, by keeping us unmindful of death. Nevertheless, not only our physical existence, but also the environ- ment which it builds up around itself, may desert us in the moment of triumph, the greatest pros- perity comes to its end, dissolving into emptiness; the mightiest empire is overtaken by stupor amidst the flicker of its festival lights. All this is none the less true because its truism bores us to be reminded of it And yet it is equally true that, though all our mortal relationships have their end, we cannot ignore them with impunity while they last If we behave as if they do not exist, merely because they will not continue forever, they will all the same 193 THE RELIGION OF MAN exact their dues, with a great deal over by way of penalty. Trying to ignore bonds that are real, albeit temporary, only strengthens and prolongs their bondage. The soul is great, but the self has to be crossed over in order to reach it. We do not attain our goal by destroying our path. Our teachers in ancient India realized the soul of man as something very great indeed. They saw no end to its dignity, which found its consumma- tion in Brahma himself. Any limited view of man would therefore be an incomplete view. He could not reach his finality as a mere Citizen or Patriot, for neither City nor Country nor the bub- ble called the World, could contain his eternal soul. Bhartrihari, who was once a king, has said : What if you have secured the fountain-head of all desires ; what if you have put your foot on the neck of your enemy, or by your good fortune gathered friends around you? What, even, if you have succeeded in keeping mortal bodies alive for ages tatah kirn, what then? That is to say, man is greater than all these ob- jects of his desire. He is true in his freedom. But in the process of attaining freedom one must bind his will in order to save its forces from dis- traction and wastage, so as to gain for it the veloc- ity which comes from the bondage itself. Those also, who seek liberty in a purely political plane, constantly curtail it and reduce their freedom of 194 THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE thought and action to that narrow limit which is necessary for making political power secure, very often at the cost of liberty of conscience. India had originally accepted the bonds of her social system in order to transcend society, as the rider puts reins on his horse and stirrups on his own feet in order to ensure greater speed towards his goal. The Universe cannot be so madly conceived that desire should be an interminable song with no finale. And just as it is painful to stop in the mid- dle of the tune, it should be as pleasant to reach its final cadence. India has not advised us to come to a sudden stop while work is in full swing. It is true that the unending procession of the world has gone on, through its ups and downs, from the beginning of creation till to-day; but it is equally obvious that each individual's connection therewith does get finished. Must he necessarily quit it without any sense of fulfilment? So, in the divisions of man's world-life which we had in India, work came in the middle, and freedom at the end. As the day is divided into morning, noon, afternoon and evening, so India had divided man's life into four parts, following the requirements of his nature. The day has the waxing and waning of its light; so has man the waxing and waning of his bodily powers. Ac- J9S THE RELIGION OF MAN knowledging this, India gave a connected meaning to his life from start to finish. First came brahmacharya, the period of disci- pline in education; then garhasthya, that of the world's work; then vanaprasthya, the retreat for the loosening of bonds; and finally pravrajya, the expectant awaiting of freedom across death. We have come to look upon life as a conflict with death, the intruding enemy, not the natural ending, in impotent quarrel with which we spend every stage of it. When the time comes for youth to depart, we would hold it back by main force. When the fervour of desire slackens, we would revive it with fresh fuel of our own devising. When our sense organs weaken, we urge them to keep up their efforts. Even when our grip has relaxed we are reluctant to give up possession. We are not trained to recognize the inevitable as natural, and so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go, but needs must wait till it is snatched from us. The truth comes as conqueror only because we have lost the art of receiving it as guest The stem of the ripening fruit becomes loose, its pulp soft, but its seed hardens with provision for the next life. Our outward losses, due to age, have likewise corresponding inward gains. But, in man's inner life, his will plays a dominant part, so that these gains depend on his own disciplined 196 THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE striving; that is why, in the case of undisciplined man, who has omitted to secure such provision for the next stage, it is so often seen that his hair is grey, his mouth toothless, his muscles slack, and yet his stem-hold on life has refused to let go its grip, so much so that he is anxious to exercise his will in regard to worldly details even after death. But renounce we must, and through renuncia- tion gain, that is the truth of the inner world. The flower must shed its petals for the sake of fruition, the fruit must drop off for the re-birth of the tree. The child leaves the refuge of the womb in order to achieve the further growth of body and mind in which consists the whole of the child life; next, the soul has to come out of this self-contained stage into the fuller life, which has varied relations with kinsman and neighbour, together with whom it forms a larger body; lastly comes the decline of the body, the weakening of desire, and, enriched with its experiences, the soul now leaves the nar- rower life for the universal life, to which it dedi- cates its accumulated wisdom and itself enters into relations with the Life Eternal; so that, when finally the decaying body has come to the very end of its tether, the soul views its breaking away quite simply and without regret, in the expectation of its own entry into the Infinite. From individual body to community, from com- 197 THE RELIGION OF MAN munity to universe, from universe to Infinity, this is the soul's normal progress. Our teachers, therefore, keeping in mind the goal of this progress, did not, in life's first stage of education, prescribe merely the learning of books or things, but brahmacharya, the living in discipline, whereby both enjoyment and its renun- ciation would come with equal ease to the strength- ened character. Life being a pilgrimage, with lib- eration in Brahma as its object, the living of it was as a spiritual exercise to be carried through its dif- ferent stages, reverently and with a vigilant deter- mination. And the pupil, from his very initiation, had this final consummation always kept in his view. Once the mind refuses to be bound by temperate requirements, there ceases to be any reason why it should cry halt at any particular limit; and so, like trying to extinguish fire with oil, its acquisi- tions only make its desires blaze up all the fiercer. That is why it is so essential to habituate the mind, from the very beginning, to be conscious of, and desirous of, keeping within the natural limits; to cultivate the spirit of enjoyment which is allied with the spirit of freedom, the readiness for renun- ciation. After the period of such training comes the period of world-life, the life of the householder. Manu tells us: 198 THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE It is not possible to discipline ourselves so effectively if out of touch with the world, as while pursuing the world-life with wisdom. That is to say, wisdom does not attain complete- ness except through the living of life; and disci- pline divorced from wisdom is not true discipline, but merely the meaningless following of custom, which is only a disguise for stupidity. Work, especially good work, becomes easy only when desire has learnt to discipline itself. Then alone does the householder's state become a centre of welfare for all the world, and instead of being an obstacle, helps on the final liberation. The second stage of life having been thus spent, the decline of the bodily powers must be taken as a warning that it is coming to its natural end. This must not be taken dismally as a notice of dismissal to one still eager to stick to his post, but joyfully as maturity may be accepted as the stage of ful- filment. After the infant leaves the womb, it still has to remain close to its mother for a time, remaining attached in spite of its detachment, until it can adapt itself to its new freedom. Such is the case in the third stage of life, when man though aloof from the world still remains in touch with it while preparing himself for the final stage of complete freedom. He still gives to the world from his store of wisdom and accepts its support ; but this inter- 199 THE RELIGION OF MAN change is not of the same intimate character as in the stage of the householder, there being a new sense of distance. Then at last comes a day when even such free relations have their end, and the emancipated soul steps out of all bonds to face the Supreme Soul. Only in this way can man's world-life be truly lived from one end to the other, without being en- gaged at every step in trying "conclusions with death, not being overcome, when death comes in due course, as by a conquering enemy. For this fourfold way of life India attunes man to the grand harmony of the universal, leaving no room for untrained desires of a rampant individu- alism to pursue their destructive career unchecked, but leading them on to their ultimate modulation in the Supreme. If we really believe this, then we must uphold an ideal of life in which everything else, the dis- play of individual power, the might of nations, must be counted as subordinate and the soul of man must triumph and liberate itself from the bond of personality which keeps it in an ever revolving circle of limitation. If that is not to be, tatah kirn, what then? But such an ideal of the utter extinction of the individual separateness has not a universal sanction in India. There are many of us whose prayer is for dualism so that for them the bond of devotion 200 THE FOUR STAGES OP LIFE with God may continue forever. For them religion is a truth which is ultimate and they refuse to envy those who are ready to sail for the further shore of existence across humanity. They know that human imperfection is the cause of our sorrow but there is a fulfilment in love within the range of our lim- itation which accepts all sufferings and yet rises above them. 201 CHAPTER XV CONCLUSION IN the Sanskrit Language the bird is described as "twice-born" once in its limited shell and then finally in the freedom of the unbounded sky. Those of our community who believe in the liberation of man's limited self in the freedom of the spirit re- tain the same epithet for themselves. In all de- partments of life man shows this dualism his existence within the range of obvious facts and his transcendence of it in a realm of deeper meaning. Having this instinct inherent in his mind which ever suggests to him the crossing of the border, he has never accepted what is apparent as final and his incessant struggle has been to break through the shell of his limitations. In this attempt he often goes against the instincts of his vital nature, and even exults in his defiance of the extreme penal laws of the biological kingdom. The best wealth of his civilization has been achieved by his follow- ing the guidance of this instinct in his ceaseless adventure of the Endless Further, His achieve- ment of truth goes far beyond his needs and the realization of his self strives across the frontier 202 CONCLUSION of its individual interest. This proves to him his infinity and makes his religion real to him by his own manifestation in truth and goodness. Only for man there can be religion because his evolution is from efficiency in nature towards the perfection of spirit. According to some interpretations of the Ve- danta doctrine Brahman is the absolute Truth, the impersonal It, in which there can be no distinction of this and that, the good and the evil, the beauti- ful and its opposite, having no other quality except its ineffable blissfulness in the eternal solitude of its consciousness utterly devoid of all things and all thoughts. But, as our religion can only have its significance in this phenomenal world compre- hended by our human self, this absolute conception of Brahman is outside the subject of my discussion. What I have tried to bring out in this book is the fact that whatever name may have been given to the divine Reality it has found its highest place in the history of our religion owing to its human character, giving meaning to the idea of sin and sanctity, and offering an eternal background to all the ideals of perfection which have their harmony with man's own nature. We have the age-long tradition in our country, as I have already stated, that through the process of yoga man can transcend the utmost bounds of his humanity and find himself in a pure state of 203 THE RELIGION OF MAN consciousness of his undivided unity with Para- brahman, There is none who has the right to con- tradict this belief ; for it is a matter of direct ex- perience and not of logic. It is widely known in India that there are individuals who have the power to attain temporarily the state of Samadhi, the complete merging of the self in the infinite, a state which is indescribable. While accepting their testimony as true, let us at the same time have faith in the testimony of others who have felt a profound love, which is the intense feeling of union, for a Being who comprehends in himself all things that are human in knowledge, will and action. And he is God, who is not merely a sum total of facts, but the goal that lies immensely beyond all that is comprised in the past and the present 204 APPENDICES APPENDIX I THE BAttL SINGERS OF BENGAL (The following account of the Baiils in Northern India has been given in the Visvabharati Quarterly by my friend and fellow-worker, Professor Kshiti Mohun Sen of Santiniketan, to whom I am grateful for having kindly allowed me to reproduce what he has written in this Appendix. ) Baiil means madcap, from bayu (Skt. Vayu) in its sense of nerve current, and has become the appel- lation of a set of people who do not conform to established social usage. This derivation is sup- ported by the following verse of Narahari : That is why, brother, I became a madcap Baiil. No master I obey, nor injunctions, canons or custom. Now no men-made distinctions have any hold on me, And I revel only in the gladness of my own welling love. In love there's no separation, but commingling always. So I rejoice in song and dance with each and all. These lines also introduce us to the main tenets of the cult The freedom, however, that the Baiils seek from all forms of outward compulsion goes even further, for among such are recognized as well the compulsions exerted by our desires and antipathies. Therefore, according to this cult, in order to gain real freedom, one has first to die to the life of the world whilst still in the flesh for only then can one be rid of all extraneous claims. Those of the Baiils who have Islamic leanings call such "death in life'* fana, a term -used by the Sufis 207 THE RELIGION OF MAN to denote union with the Supreme Being. True love, according to the Baiils, is incompatible with any kind of compulsion. Unless the bonds of neces- sity are overcome, liberation is out of the question. Love represents the wealth of life which is in excess of need. . . . From hard, practical politics touch- ing our earth to the nebulous regions of abstract metaphysics, everywhere India expressed the power of her genius equally well. . , And yet none of these, neither severally nor collectively, constituted her specific genius; none showed the full height to which she could raise herself, none compassed the veritable amplitude of her inner- most reality. It is when we come to the domain of the Spirit, of God-realization, that we find the real nature and stature and genius of the Indian people ; it is here that India lives and moves as in her own home of Truth. The Baiil cult is followed by householders as well as homeless wanderers, neither of whom ac- knowledge class or caste, special deities, temples or sacred places. Though they congregate on the occasion of religious festivals, mainly of the Vaish- navas, held in special centres, they never enter any temple. They do not set uj> any images of divini- ties, or religious symbols, in their own places of worship or mystic realization. True, they some- times maintain with care and reverence spots sacred to some esteemed master or devotee, but they per- form no worship there. Devotees from the lowest strata of the Hindu and Moslem communities are welcomed into their ranks, hence the Bauls are looked down upon by both. It is possible that their own contempt for temples had its origin in the 208 A PPENDICES denial of admittance therein to their low class brethren. What need, say they, have we of other temples, is not this body of ours the temple where the Supreme Spirit has His abode? The human body, despised by most other religions, is thus for them the holy of holies, wherein the Divine is intimately enshrined as the Man of the Heart. And in this wise is the dignity of Man upheld by them. Kabir, Nanak, Ravidas, Dadu and his followers have also called man's body the temple of God the microcosm in which the cosmic abode of the all-pervading Supreme Being is represented. Kabir says : In this body is the Garden of Paradise; herein are comprised the seven seas and the myriad stars ; here is the Creator mani- fest (I. 101.) Dadu says: This body is my scripture; herein the All-Merciful has written for me His message. Rajjab (Dadu's chief Moslem disciple) says: Within the devotee is the paper on which the scriptures are written in letters of Life. But few care to read them; they turn a deaf ear to the message of the heart. Most Indian sects adopt some distinct way of keep- ing the hair of head and face as a sign of their sect or order. Therefore, so as to avoid being dragged into any such distinctions, the Baiils allow hair and beard and moustache to grow freely. Thus do we remain simple, they say. The similar practice of the Sikhs in this matter is to be noted. 209 THE RELIGION OF MAN Neither do the Baiils believe that lack of clothing or bareness of body conduce to religious merit According to them the whole body should be kept decently covered. Hence their long robe, for which, if they cannot afford a new piece of cloth, they gather rags and make it of patches. In this they are different from the ascetic sanyasins, but resemble rather the Buddhist monks* The Baiils do not believe in aloofness from, or renunciation of, any person or thing; their central idea is yoga, attachment to and communion with the divine and its manifestations, as the means of realization. We fail to recognize the temple of God in the bodily life of man, they explain, be- cause its lamp is not alight The true vision must be attained in which this temple will become mani- fest in each and every human body, whereupon mutual communion and worship will spontane- ously arise. Truth cannot be communicated to those on whom you look down. You must be able to see the divine light that shines within them, for it is your own lack of vision that makes all seem dark. Kabir says the same thing: In every abode the light doth shine; it is you who are blind that cannot see. When by dint of looking and looking you at length can discern it, the veils of this world will be torn asunder. (II. 33.) It is because the devotee is not in communion that he says the goal is far away. (II. 34.) Many such similarities are to be observed between the sayings of the B axils and those of the Upper Indian devotees of the Middle Ages, but, unlike the case of the followers of the latter, the Baiils 210 APPENDICES did not become crystallized into any particular order or religious organization. So, in the Baiils of Bengal, there is to be found a freedom and in- dependence of mind and spirit that resists all attempt at definition. Their songs are unique in courage and felicity of expression. But under modern conditions they are becoming extinct, or at best holding on to external features bereft of their original speciality. It would be a great pity if no record of their achievements should be kept before their culture is lost to the world. Though the Baiils count amongst their follow- ing a variety of sects and castes, both Hindu and Moslem, chiefly coming from the lower social ranks, they refuse to give any other account of themselves to the questioner than that they are Baiils. They acknowledge none of the social or religious formalities, but delight in the ever-chang- ing play of life, which cannot be expressed in mere words but of which something may be captured in song, through the ineffable medium of rhythm and tune. Their songs are passed on from Master to disci- ple, the latter when competent adding others of his own, but, as already mentioned, they are never recorded in book form. Their replies to questions are usually given by singing appropriate selections from these songs. If asked the reason why, they say: "We are like birds. We do not walk on our legs, but fly with our wings." There was a Brahmin of Bikrampur, known as Chhaku Thakur, who was the disciple of a Baiil of the Namasudra caste (accounted one of the low- est) and hence had lost his place in his own com- 2X1 THE RELIGION OF MAN munity. When admonished to be careful about what he uttered, so as to avoid popular odium, he answered with the song: Let them relieve their minds by saying what they will, I pursue my own simple way, fearing none at all. The Mango seed will continue to produce Mango trees, no Jambolans. This seed of mine will produce the real me all glory to my Master ! Love being the main principle according to the Baiils, a Vaishnava once asked a Baiil devotee whether he was aware of the different kinds of love as classified in the Vaishnava scriptures. "What should an illiterate ignoramus like me know of the scriptures?" was the reply. The Vaishnava then offered to read and explain the text, which he proceeded to do, while the Baul listened with such patience as he could muster. When asked for his opinion, after the reading was over, he sang: A goldsmith, methinks, has come into the flower garden. He would appraise the lotus, forsooth, By rubbing it on his touchstone! Recruits from the higher castes are rare amongst the Baiils. When any such do happen to come, they are reduced to the level of the rest. Are the lower planks of a boat of any lesser importance than the upper? say they. Once in Vikrampur, I was seated on the river bank by the side of a Baiil. "Father", I asked him, "why is it that you keep no historical record of yourselves for the use of posterity?" "We follow the sahaj (simple) way", he replied, "and so leave no trace behind us." The tide had then ebbed, and 2X2 APPENDICES there was but little water in the river bed. Only a few boatmen were to be seen pushing their boats along the mud. The Baxil continued : "Do the boats that sail over the flooded river leave any mark? What should these boatmen of the muddy track, urged on by their need, know of the sahaj (sim- ple) way? The true endeavour is to keep oneself simply afloat in the stream of devotion that flows through the lives of devotees to mingle one's own devotion with theirs. There are many classes of men amongst the Baiils, but they are all Baiils they have no other achievement or history. All the streams that fall into the Ganges become the Ganges. So must we lose ourselves in the common stream, else will it cease to be living." On another Baiil being asked why they did not follow the scriptures, "Are we dogs", he replied, "that we should lick up the leavings of others? Brave men rejoice in the output of their own energy, they create their own festivals. These cowards who have not the power to rejoice in them- selves have to rely on what others have left. Afraid lest the world should lack festivals in the future, they save up the scraps left over by their predeces- sors for later use. They are content with glorify- ing their forefathers because they know not how to create for themselves." If you would know that Man, Simple must fae your endeavour. To the region of the simple must you fare. Pursuers of the path of man's own handiwork, Who follow the crowd, gleaning their f alsp leavings, What news can they get of the Real? It is hardly to be wondered at that people wH< think thus should have no use for history I 213 THE RELIGION OF MAN We have already noticed that, like all the fol- lowers of the simple way, the Baiils have no faith in specially sacred spots or places of pilgrimage, but that they nevertheless congregate on the occa- sion of religious festivals. If asked why, the Baiil says: We would be within hail of the other Boatmen, to hear their calls, That we may make sure our boat rightly floats on the sahaj stream. Not what men have said or done in the past, but the living human touch is what they find helpful. Here is a song giving their ideas about pilgrimage : I would not go, my heart, to Mecca or Medina, For behold, I ever abide by the side of my Friend. Mad would I become, had I dwelt afar, not knowing Him. There's no worship in Mosque or Temple or special holy day. At every step I have my Mecca and Kashi; sacred is every moment. If a Baiil is asked the age of his cult whether it comes before or after this one or that, he says, "Only the artificial religions of the world are limited by time. Our sahaj (simple, natural) reli- gion is timeless, it has neither beginning nor end, it is of all time." The religion of the Upanishads and Puranas, even that of the Vedas, is, according to them, artificial. The followers of the sahaj cult believe only in living religious experience. Truth, according to them, has two aspects, inert and living. Confined to itself truth has no value for man. It becomes priceless when embodied in a living personality. The conversion of the inert into living truth by the 214 APPENDICES devotee they compare to the conversion into milk by the cow of its fodder, or the conversion by the tree of dead matter into fruit He who has this power of making truth living, is the Guru or Mas- ter. Such Gurus they hold in special reverence, for the eternal and all-pervading truth can only be brought to man's door by passing through his life. The Baiils say that emptiness of time and space is required for a playground. That is why God has preserved an emptiness in the heart of man, for the sake of His own play of Love. Our wise and learned ones were content with finding in Brahma the tat (lit. "that" the ultimate substance). The Baiils, not being Pandits, do not profess to under- stand all this fuss about thatness, they want a Per- son. So their God is the Man of the Heart (maner manush) sometimes simply the Man (purush). This Man of the Heart is ever and anon lost in the turmoil of things. Whilst He is revealed within, no worldly pleasures can give satisfaction. Their sole anxiety is the finding of this Man. The Baiil sings: Ah, where am I to find Him, the Man of my Heart? Alas, since I lost Him, I wander in search of Him, Thro* lands near and far. The agony of separation from Him cannot be miti- gated for them by learning or philosophy : Oh, these words and words, my mind would none of them, The Supreme Man it must and shall discover* So long as Him I do not see, these mists slake not my thirst. Mad am I ; for lack of that Man I madly run about ; For his sake the world IVe left ; for Bisha naught eke will serve, THE RELIGION OF MAN This Bisha was a bhuin-mali, by caste, disciple of Bala, the Kaivarta, This cult of the Supreme Man is only to be found in the Vedas hidden away in the Purusha- sukta (A.V. 19.6). It is more freely expressed by the Upper Indian devotees of the Middle Ages. It is all in all with the Bauls. The God whom these illiterate outcastes seek so simply and natu- rally in their lives is obscured by the accredited religious leaders in philosophical systems and terminology, in priestcraft and ceremonial, in in- stitutions and temples. Not satisfied with the avatars (incarnations of God) mentioned in the scriptures, the Baiil sings: As we look on every creature, we find each to be His avatar. What can you teach us of His ways? In ever-new play He wondrously revels. And Kabir also tells us: All see the Eternal One, but only the devotee, in his solitude, recognizes him. A friend of mine was once much impressed by the reply of a Baiil who was asked why his robe was not tinted with ascetic ochre: Can the colour show outside, unless the inside is first tinctured? Can the fruit attain ripe sweetness by the painting of its skin? This aversion of the Baiil from outward marks of distinction is also shared by the Upper Indian devotees, as I have elsewhere noticed. The age-long controversy regarding Jvaita (dualism) and advaita (monism) is readily solved by these wayfarers on the path of Love. Love is 216 APPENDICES the simple striving, love the natural communion, so believe the Baiils. "Ever two and ever one, of this the name of Love", say they. In love, oneness is achieved without any loss of respective self- hood. The same need exists for the reconcilement of the antagonism between the outer call of the material world and the inner call of the spiritual world, as for the realization of the mutual love of the indi- vidual and Supreme self. The God who is Love, say the Baiils, can alone serve to turn the currents of the within and the without in one and the same direction. Kabir says: If we say He is only within, then the whole Universe is shamed. If we say He is only without, then that is false. He, whose feet rest alike on the sentient and on the inert, fills the gap between the inner and the outer world. The inter-relations of man's body and the Universe have to be realized by spiritual endeavour. Such endeavour is called Kaya Sadhan (Realization through the body) . One process in this Kaya Sadhan of the Baiils is known as Urdha-srota (the elevation of the cur- rent). Waters flow downwards according to the ordinary physical law. But with the advent of> Life the process is reversed. When the living seed sprouts the juices are drawn upwards, and on the elevation that such flow can attain depends the height of the tree. It is the same in the life of man. His desires ordinarily flow downward towards ani- mality. The endeavour of the expanding spirit is to turn their current upwards towards the light* 217 THE RELIGION OF MAN The cu-rrents of jiva (animal life) must be con- verted into the current of Shiva (God life). They form a centre round the ego ; they must be raised by the force of love. Says Dadu's daughter, Nanimata : My life is the lamp afloat on the stream. To what bourne shall it take me ? How is the divine to conquer the carnal, The downward current to be upward turned? As when the wick is lighted the oil doth upward flow, So simply is destroyed the thirst of the body. The Yoga Vasistha tells us : Uncleansed desires bind to the world, purified desires give liberation. References to this reversal of current are also to be found in the Atharva Veda (X. 2.9; 2.34). This reversal is otherwise considered by Indian devotees as the conversion of the sthula (gross) in the sukshma (fine). The Baiil sings: Love is my golden touch it turns desire into service : Earth seeks to become Heaven, man to become God. Another aspect of the idea of reversal has been put thus by Rabindranath Tagore in his Broken Ties: "If I keep going in the same direction along which He comes to me, then I shall be going further and further away from Him. If I proceed in the oppo- site direction, then only can we meet He loves form, so He is continually descending towards form. We cannot live by form alone, so we must art APPENDICES ascend towards His formlessness. He is free, so His play is within bonds. We are bound, so we find our joy in freedom. All our sorrow is because we cannot understand this. He who sings, proceeds from his joy to the tune ; he who hears, from the tune to joy. One comes from freedom into bond- age, the other goes from bondage into freedom; only thus can they have their communion. He sings and we hear. He ties the bonds as He sings to us, we untie them as we listen to Him." This idea also occurs in our devotees of the Middle Ages. The "sahaj" folk endeavour to seek the bliss of divine union only for its own sake. Mundane de- sires are therefore accounted the chief obstacles in the way. But for getting rid of them, the wise Guru, according to the Bauls, does not advise renunciation of the good things of the world, but the opening of the door to the higher self. Thus guided, says Kabir, I close not my eyes, stop not my ears, nor torment my body* But every path I then traverse becomes a path of pilgrimage, whatever work I engage in becomes service. This simple consummation is the best. The simple way has led its votaries easily and nat- urally to their living conception of Humanity. Raj jab says: All the world is the Veda, all creations the Koran. Why read paper scriptures, O Rajjab. Gather ever fresh wisdom from the Universe. The eternal wis- dom shines within the concourse of the millions of Humanity. 219 THE RELIGION OF MAN The Baiil sings: The simple has its thirty million strings whose mingled sym- phony ever sounds. Take all the creatures of the World into yourself. Drown your- self in that eternal music. I conclude with a few more examples of Baiil songs, esoteric and otherwise, from amongst many others of equal interest. By Gangaram, the Namasudra Realize how finite and unbounded are One, As you breathe in and out. Of all ages, then, you will count the moments, In every moment find the ages, The drop in the ocean, the ocean in the drop. If your endeavour be but sahaj, beyond argument and cogita- tion, You will taste the precious quintessence. Blinded are you by over-much journeying from bourne to bourne, O Gangaram, be simple! Then alone will vanish all your doubts. By Bisha, the disciple of Bala: The Simple Man was in the Paradise of my heart, Alas, how and when did I lose Him, That now no peace I know, at home or abroad ? By meditation and telling of beads, in worship and travail, The quest goes on for ever ; But unless the Simple Man comes of Himself, Fruitless is it all ; For he yields not to forge tfulness of striving. Bisha's heart has understood right well, That by His own simple way alone is its door unlocked. "Listen, O brother man", declares Chandidas, "the Truth of Man is the highest of truths ; there is no other truth above it" 220 APPENDIX II NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY (A conversation between Rabindranath Tagore and Professor Albert Einstein, in the afternoon of July 14, 1930, at the Professor's residence in Kaputh.) E. : Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world? T. : Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the truth of the Universe is human truth. I have taken a scientific fact to illustrate this Matter is composed of pro- tons and electrons, with gaps between them; but matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their inter-connection of human relationship, which gives living solidarity to man's world. The entire universe is linked up with us in a similar manner, it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man. E. : There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe: (i) The world as a unity dependent on humanity. (2) The world as a reality independent of the human factor. T. : When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as beauty. 221 THE RELIGION OF MAN E,: This is a purely human conception of the universe. T.: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose ex- periences are through our experiences. E.: This is a realization of the human entity. T. : Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realize the Supreme Man who has no individual limita- tions through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion realizes these truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of truth gains universal significance. Religion ap- plies values to truth, and we know truth as good through our own harmony with it. E. : Truth, then, or Beauty, is not independent of man? T.:No. E.: If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful. T.:No. E.: I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth. T,: Why not? Truth is realized through man. E. : I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion. T.: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the Universal Being; Truth the perfect 222 APPE NDI CES comprehension of the Universal Mind. We indi- viduals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experience, through our illumined consciousness *how, other- wise, can we know Truth? E. : I cannot prove scientifically that truth must be conceived as a truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geom- etry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. Anyway, if there is a reality independent of man there is also a truth relative to this reality; and in the same way the negation of the first engenders a negation of the existence of the latter. T\: Truth, which is one with the Universal Being, must essentially be human, otherwise what- ever we individuals realize as true can never be called truth at least the truth which is described as scientific and can only be reached through the process of logic, in other words, by an organ of thoughts which is human. According to Indian Philosophy there is Brahman the absolute Truth, which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words, but can only be realised by completely merging the indi- vidual in its infinity. But such a truth cannot be- long to Science* The nature of truth which we are discussing is an appearance that is to say what appears to be true to the human mind and there- fore is human, and may be called maya, or illusion, E. : So according to your conception, which may be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of the individual, but of humanity as a whole. 223 THE RELIGION OF MAN T. : In science we go through the discipline of eliminating the personal limitations of our indi- vidual minds and thus reach that comprehension of truth which is in the mind of the Universal Man. E. : The problem begins whether Truth is inde- pendent of our consciousness. T. : What we call truth lies in the rational har- mony between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, both of which belong to the super- personal man. E. : Even in our everyday life we feel compelled to ascribe a reality independent of man to the ob- jects we use. We do this to connect the experiences of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if nobody is in this house, yet that table remains where it is. T. : Yes, it remains outside the individual mind, but not outside the universal mind. The table which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind of consciousness which I possess. E. : Our natural point of view in regard to the existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be explained or proved, but it is a belief which no- body can lack no primitive beings even. We attribute to Truth a. super-human objectivity; it is indispensable for us, this reality which is inde- pendent of our existence and our experience and our mind though we cannot say what it means. T. : Science has proved that the table as a solid object is an appearance, and therefore that which the human mind perceives as a table would not exist if that mind were naught. At the same time it must be admitted that the fact, that the ultimate 224 APPENDICES physical reality of the table is nothing but a mul- titude of separate revolving centres of electric forces, also belongs to the human mind. In the apprehension of truth there is an eternal conflict between the universal human mind and the same mind confined in the individual. The per- petual process of reconciliation is being carried on in our science and philosophy, and in our ethics. In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unre- lated to humanity then for us it is absolutely non- existing. It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which the sequence of things happens not in space, but only in time like the sequence of notes in music. For such a mind its conception of reality is akin to the musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry can have no meaning. There is the reality of paper, infinitely different from the reality of lit- erature. For the kind of mind possessed by the moth, which eats that paper, literature is abso- lutely non-existent, yet for Man's mind literature has a greater value of truth than the paper itself, In a similar manner, if there be some truth which has no sensuous or rational relation to the human mind it will ever remain as nothing so long as we remain human beings. E,: Then I am more religious than you arel T. : My religion is in the reconciliation of ^thc Super-personal Man, the Universal human spirit in my own individual being* This has been the subject of my Hibbert Lectures, which I have called "The Religion of Man". 225 APPENDIX III DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM (From an article in the Vwuabharati Quarterly by Professor Kshiti Mohan Sen.) THE language of man has been mainly occupied with telling us about the elements into which the finite world has been analysed ; nevertheless, now and again, it reveals glimpses of the world of the Infinite as well ; for the spirit of man has discov- ered rifts in the wall of Matter. Our intellect can count the petals, classify the scent, and describe the colour of the rose, but its unify finds its expression when we rejoice in it. The intellect at best can give us only a broken view of things. The marvellous vision of the Seer, in spite of the scoffing in which both Science and Metaphysics so often indulge, can alone make manifest to us the truth of a thing in its complete- ness. When we thus gain a vision of unity, we are no longer intellectually aware of detail, counting, classifying, or distinguishing for them we have found admittance into the region of the spirit, and there we simply measure the truth of our realization by the intensity of our joy. What is the meaning of this unutterable joy? That which we know by intellectual process is something outside ourselves. But the vision of any- thing in the fulness of its unity involves the reali- 226 APPENDI C ES zation of the unity of the self within, as well as of the relation between the two. The knowledge of the many may make us proud, but it makes us glad when our kinship with the One is brought home to us. Beauty is the name that we give to this ac- knowledgment of unity and of its relationship with ourselves. It is through the beauty of Nature, or of Human Character, or Service, that we get our glimpses of the Supreme Soul whose essence is bliss. Or rather, it is when we become conscious of Him in Nature, or Art, or Service, that Beauty flashes out And whenever we thus light upon the Dweller-within, all discord disappears and Love and Beauty are seen inseparable from Truth. It is really the com- ing of Truth to us as kinsman which floods our being with Joy. This realization in Joy is immediate, self-suffi- cient, ultimate. When the self experiences Joy within, it is completely satisfied and has nothing more to ask from the outside world. Joy, as we know it, is a direct, synthetic measure of Beauty and neither awaits nor depends upon any analyti- cal process. In our Joy, further, we behold not only the unity, but also the origin, for the Beauty which tells us of Him can be nothing but radiance re- flected, melody re-echoed, from Him; else would all this have been unmeaning indeed Society, Civilization, Humanity. The progress of Man would otherwise have ended in an orgy of the gratification of his animal passions. The power of realization, for each particular individual, is limited. All do not attain the privi- lege of directly apprehending the universal Unity. 227 THE RELIGION OF MAN Nevertheless, a partial vision of it, say in a flower, or in a friend, is a common experience; moreover, the potentiality is inherent in every individual soul, by dint of disciplined striving, to effect its own expansion and thereupon eventually to achieve the realization of the Supreme SouL By whom, meanwhile, are these ineffable tidings from the realm of the Spirit, the world of the In- finite, brought to us? Not by potentates or phi- losophers, but by the poor, the untutored, the despised. And with what superb assurance do they lead us out of the desert of the intellect into the paradise of the Spirit! When our metaphysicians, dividing themselves into rival schools of Monism, Dualism or Monis- tic-Dualism, had joined together in dismissing the world as Maya, then, up from the depths of their social obscurity, rose these cobblers, weavers, and sewers of bags, proclaiming such theorems of the intellect to be all nonsense; for the metaphysicians had not seen with their own inner vision how the world overflowed with Truth and Love, Beauty and Joy. Dadu, Ravidas, Kabir and Nanafc were not ascetics; they bore no message of poverty, or re- nunciation, for their own sake; they were poets who had pierced the curtain of appearances and had glimpses of the world of Unity, where God himself is a poet Their wprds cannot stand the glare of logical criticism; they babble, like babes, of the joy of their vision of Him, of the ecstasy into which His music has thrown them. Nevertheless, it is they, not the scientists or phi- losophers, who have taught us of reality. On the 228 APP E NDICES one side the Supreme Soul is alone, on the other my individual soul is alone. If the two do not come together, then indeed there befalls the greatest of all calamities, the utter emptiness of chaos. For all the abundance of His inherent joy, God is in want of my joy of Him; and Reality in its perfec- tion only blossoms where we meet "When I look upon the beauty of this Universe", says Dadu, "I cannot help asking: 'How, O Lord, did you come to create it? What sudden wave of joy coursing through your being compelled its own manifestation? Was it really due to desire for self- expression, or simply on the impulse of emotion? Or was it perhaps just your fancy to revel in the play of form? Is this play then so delightful to you ; or is it that you would see your own inborn delight thus take shape?' Oh, how can these ques- tions be answered in words?" cries Dadu. "Only those who know will understand." "Why not go to him who has wrought this mar- vel", says Dadu elsewhere, "and ask: 'Cannot your own message make clear this wondrous making of the One into the many?' When I look on creation as beauty of form, I see only Form and Beauty. When I look on it as life, everywhere I see Life. When I look on it as Brahma, then indeed is Dadu at a loss for words. When I see it in relation, it is of bewildering variety. When I see it in my own soul, all its variousness is merged in the beauty of the Supreme Soul. This eye of mine then becomes also the eye of Brahma, and in this exchange of mutual vision does Dadu behold Truth." The eye cannot see the face for that purpose a mirror is necessary. That is to say, either the face 229 THE RELIGION OF MAN has to be put at a distance from the eye, or the eye moved away from the face in any case what was one has to be made into two. The image is not the face itself, but how else is that to be seen? So does God mirror Himself in Creation; and since He cannot place Himself outside His own Infinity, He can only gain a vision of Himself and get a taste of His own joy through my joy in Him and in His Universe. Hence the anxious striving of the devotee to keep himself thoroughly pure not through any pride of puritanism, but because his soul is the playground where God would revel in Himself. Had not God's radiance, His beauty, thus found its form in the Universe, its joy in the devotee, He would have remained mere formless, colourless Being in the nothingness of infinity. This is what makes the Mystery so profound, so inscrutable. Whether we say that only Brahma is true, or only the universe is true, we are equally far from the Truth, which can only be expressed as both this and that, or neither this nor that. And Dadu can only hint at it by saying: "Neither death nor life is He; He neither goes out, nor does He come in; nor sleeps, nor wakes; nor wants, nor is satisfied. He is neither I nor you, neither One nor Two, For no sooner do I say that all is One, than I find us both ; and when I say there are two, I see we're One. So, O Dadu, rest content to look on Him just as He is, in the dee of your heart, and give up wrestling with vain imaginings and empty words." "Words shower", Dadu goes on, "when spouts the fount of the intellect; but where realization 230 APPENDICES grows, there music has its seat" When the intellect confesses defeat, and words fail, then, indeed, from the depth of the heart wells up the song of the joy of realization. What words cannot make clear, melody can; to its strains one can revel in the vision of God in His revels. "That is why", cries Dadu, "your universe, this creation of yours, has charmed me so your waters and your breezes, and this earth which holds them, with its ranges of mountains, its great oceans, its snow-capped poles, its blazing sun, because, through all the three regions of earth, sky and heaven, amidst all their multifarious life, it is your ministration, your beauty, that keeps me en- thralled. Who can know you, O Invisible, Unap- proachable, Unfathomable! Dadu has no desire to know ; he is satisfied to remain enraptured with all this beauty of yours, and to rejoice in it with To look upon Form as the play of His love is not to belittle it. In creating the senses God did not intend them to be starved, "And so", says Dadu, "the eye is feasted with colour, the ear with music, the palate with flowers, wondrously provided." And we find that the body longs for the spirit, the spirit for the body; the flower for the scent the scent for the flower ; our words for truth, the Truth for words; form for its ideal, the ideal for form; all thus mutual worship is but the worship of the ineffable Reality behind, by whose Presence every one of them is glorified. And Dadu struggles not, but simply keeps his heart open to this shower of love and thus rejoices in perpetual Springtime. Every vessel of form the Formless fills with THE RELIGION OF MAN Himself, and in their beauty He gains them in re- turn. With His love the Passionless fulfils every devoted heart and sets it a-dance, and their love streams back to the Colourless, variegated with the tints of each. Beauteous Creation yields up her charms, in all their purity, to her Lord. Need she make further protestation, in words of their mutual love? So Dadu surrenders his heart, mind and soul at the feet of his Beloved. His one care is that they be not sullied. If any one should object that evanescent Form is not worthy to represent the Eternal, Dadu would answer that it is just because Form is fleeting that it is a help, not a hindrance, to His worship. While returning back to its Origin, it captures our mind and takes it along with itself. The call of Beauty tells us of the Unthinkable, towards whom it lies. In passing over us, Death assures us of the truth of Life, 232 APPENDIX IV NIGHT AND MORNING (An address in the Chapel of Manchester College, Oxford, on Sunday, May 25, 1930, by Rabindranath Tagore.) IN his early youth, stricken with a great sorrow at the death of his grandmother, my father painfully groped for truth when his world had darkened, and his life lost its meaning. At this moment of despair a torn page of a manuscript carried by a casual wind was brought to his notice. The text it contained was the first verse of the Ishopanishad : Isavasyam fdam survam Yat Kincha jagatyam jagat. tena tyaktena bhunjitha Ma grdhah Kasyasvitdhanam. - It may be thus translated : "Thou must know that whatever moves in this moving world in enveloped by God. And therefore find thy enjoyment in renunciation, never coveting what belongs to others." In this we are enjoined to realize that all facts that move and change have their significance in their relation to one everlasting truth. For then we can be rid of the greed of acquisition, gladly dedicat- ing everything we have to that Supreme Truth. The change in our mind is immense in its generos- ity of expression when an utter sense of vanity and vacancy is relieved at the consciousness of a per- vading reality. 333 THE RELIGION OF MAN I remember once while on a boat trip in a strange neighbourhood I found myself unexpectedly at the confluence of three great rivers as the daylight faded and the night darkened over a desolation dumb and inhospitable. A sense of dread pos- sessed the crew and an oppressive anxiety bur- dened my thoughts, with its unreasonable exag- geration all through the dark hours. The morning came and at once the brooding obsession vanished. Everything remained the same only the sky was filled with light. The night had brought her peace, the peace of a black ultimatum in which all hope ceased in an abyss of nothingness, but the peace of the morning appeared like that of a mother's smile, which in its serene silence utters, "I am here". I realized why birds break out singing in the morning, and felt that their songs are their own glad answers to the emphatic assurance of a Yes in the morning light in which they find a luminous harmony of their own existence. Darkness drives our being into an isolation of insignificance and we are frightened because in the dark the sense of our own truth dwindles into a minimum. Within us we carry a positive truth, the consciousness of our personality, which naturally seeks from our surroundings its response in a truth which is positive, and then in this harmony we find our wealth of reality and arc gladly ready to sacrifice. That which distinguishes man from the animal is the fact that he expresses himself not in his claims, in his needs, but in his sacrifice, which has the creative energy that builds his home, his society, his civilization. It proves that his instinct acknowledges the inexhaustible 234 APPENDICES wealth of a positive truth which gives highest value to existence. In whatever we are mean, greedy and unscrupulous, there are the dark bands in the spectrum of our consciousness; they prove chasms of bankruptcy in our realization of the truth that the world moves, not in a blank sky of negation, but in the bosom of an ideal spirit of fulfil- ment. Most often crimes are committed when it is night. It must not be thought that the only reason for this is that in the dark they are likely to remain undetected. But the deeper reason is that in the dark the negative aspect of time weakens the posi- tive sense of our own humanity. Our victims, as well as we ourselves, are less real to us in the night, and that which we miss within we desper- ately seek outside us. Wherever in the human world the individual self forgets its isolation, the light that unifies is revealed the light of the Ever- lasting Yes, whose sound-symbol in India is OM. Then it becomes easy for man to be good not be- cause his badness is restrained, but because of his joy in the positive background of his own reality, because his mind no longer dwells in a fathomless night of an anarchical world of denial. Man finds an instance of this in the idea of his own country, which reveals to him a positive truth, the idea that has not the darkness of negation which is sinister, which generates suspicion, exaggerates fear, encourages uncontrolled greed ; for his own country is an indubitable reality to him which delights his soul. In such intense consciousness of reality we discover our own greater self that spreads beyond our physical life and immediate 235 THE RELIGION OF MAN present, and offers us generous opportunities of enjoyment in renunciation. In the introductory chapter of our civilization individuals by some chance found themselves to- gether within a geographic enclosure. But a mere crowd without an inner meaning of inter-relation is negative, and therefore it can easily be hurtful. The individual who is a mere component part of an unneighbourly crowd, who in his exclusiveness represents only himself, is apt to be suspicious of others, with no inner control in hating and hitting his fellow-beings at the very first sight This sav- age mentality is the product of the barren spirit of negation that dwells in the spiritual night But when the morning of mutual recognition broke out, the morning of co-operative life, that divine mys- tery which is the creative spirit of unity, imparted meaning to individuals in a larger truth named "people". These individuals gladly surrendered themselves to the realization of their true human- ity, the humanity of a great wholeness composed of generations of men consciously and unconsciously building up a perfect future. They realized peace according to the degree of unity which they at- tained in their mutual relationship, and within that limit they found the one sublime truth which pervades time that moves, the things that change, the life that grows, the thoughts that flow onwards. They united with themselves the surrounding physical nature in her hills and rivers, in the dance of rhythm in all her forms and colours, in the blue of her sky, the tender green of her corn shoots. In gradual degrees men became aware that the subtle intricacies of human existence find their per- 236 * APPENDICES faction in the harmony of interdependence, never in the vigorous exercise of elbows by a mutually pushing multitude, in the arrogant assertion of independence which fitly belongs to the barren rocks and deserts grey with the pallor of death. For rampant individualism is against what is truly human that is to say spiritual it belongs to the primitive poverty of the animal life, it is the confinement of a cramped spirit, of restricted con- sciousness. The limited boundaries of a race or a country within which the supreme truth of humanity has been more or less realized in the past are crossed to-day from the outside. The countries are physi- cally brought closer to each other by science. But science has not brought with it the light that helps understanding. On the contrary science on its prac- tical side has raised obstacles among them against the development of a sympathetic knowledge. But I am not foolish enough to condemn science as materialistic. No truth can be that Science means intellectual probity in our knowledge and dealings with the physical world and such con- scientiousness has a spiritual quality that encour- ages sacrifice and martyrdom. But in science the oft-used half-truth that honesty is the best policy is completely made true and our mind's honesty in this field never fails to bring us the best profit for our living. Mischief finds its entry through this back-door of utility, tempting the primitive in man, arousing his evil passions. And through this the great meeting of races has been obscured of its great meaning. When I view it in my mind I am reminded of the fearful immensity of the 237 THE RELIGION OF MAN meeting of the three mighty rivers where I found myself unprepared in a blackness of universal menace. Over the vast gathering of peoples the insensitive night darkly broods, the night of un- reality. The primitive barbarity of limitless suspi- cion and mutual jealousy fills the world's atmos- phere to-day the barbarity of the aggressive indi- vidualism of nations, pitiless in its greed, un- ashamed of its boastful brutality. Those that have come out for depredation in this universal night have the indecent audacity to say that such conditions are eternal in man, that the moral ideals are only for individuals but that the race belongs to the primitive nature of the animal. But when we see that in the range of physical power man acknowledges no limits in his dreams, and is not even laughed at when he hopes to visit the neighbouring planet; must he insult his hu- manity by proclaiming that human nature has reached its limit of moral possibility? We must work with all our strength for the seemingly im- possible ; we must be sure that faith in the perfect builds the path for the perfect that the external fact of unity which has surprised us must be sub- limated in an internal truth of unity which would light up the Truth of Man the Eternal. Nations are kept apart not merely by interna- tional jealousy, but also by their Karma, their own past, handicapped by the burden of the dead. They find it hard to think that the mentality which they fondly cultivated within the limits of a narrow past has no continuance in a wider future, they are never tired of uttering the blasphemy that warfare is eternal, that physical might has its inevitable 238 THE RELIGION OF MAN right of moral cannibalism where the flesh is weak. The wrong that has been done in the past seeks to justify itself by its very perpetuation, like a disease by its chronic malignity, and it sneers and growls at the least proposal of its termi- nation. Such an evil ghost of a persistent past, the dead that would cling to life, haunts the night to- day over mutually alienated countries, and men that are gathered together in the dark cannot see each other's faces and features. We in India are unfortunate in not having the chance to give expression to the best in us in creat- ing intimate relations with the powerful nations, whose preparations are all leading to an enormous waste of resources in a competition of brow-beating and bluff. Some great voice is waiting to be heard which will usher in the sacred light of truth in the dark hours of the nightmare of politics, the voice which will proclaim that "God is over all", and exhort us never to covet, to be great in renunciation that gives us the wealth of spirit, strength of truth, leads us from the illusion of power to the fullness of perfection, to the Sdntam, who is peace eternal, to the Advaltam who is the infinite One in the heart of the manifold. But we in India have not yet had the chance. Yet we have our own human voice which truth demands. The messengers of truth have ever joined hands across centuries, across the seas, across historical barriers, and they help to raise up the great continent of human brotherhood from avidya, from the slimy bottom of spiritual apathy. We individuals, however small may be our power and whatever corner of the world we may belong to, have a claim upon 239 THE RELIGION OF MAN us to add to the light of the consciousness that com- prehends all humanity. And for this cause I ask your co-operation, not only because co-operation gives us strength in our work, but because co- operation itself is the best aspect of the truth we represent; it is an end and not merely the means. Let us keep our faith firm in the objectivity of the source of our spiritual ideal of unity, though it cannot be proved by any mathematical logic. Let us proclaim in our conduct that it has already been given to us to be realized, like a song which has only to be mastered and sung, like the morning which has only to be welcomed by raising the screens, opening the doors. The idea of a millennium is treasured in our ancient legends. The instinct cradled and nour- ished in them has profound meaning. It is like the instinct of a chick which dimly feels that an infinite world of freedom is already given to it, truer than the narrow fact of its immediate life within the egg. An agnostic chick has the rational right to doubt it, but at the same time it cannot help pecking at its shell. The human soul, confined in its limitation, has also dreamt of millennium, and striven for a spiritual emancipation which seems impossible of attainment, and yet it feels its reverence for some ever-present source of inspira- tion in which all its experience of the true, the good and beautiful finds its reality. And therefore it has been said by the Upani- shad: "Thou must know that God pervades all things that move and change in this moving world ; find thy enjoyment in renunciation, covet not what belongs to others." 240 APPENDICES Ya eko varno bahudha saktiyogat Varnan ariekan nihitartho dadhati. Vichaiti chante visvamadau sa devah Sa no buddhya subhaya samjrunaktu. He who is one, and who dispenses the inherent needs of all peoples and all times, who is in the beginning and the end of all things, may he unite us with the bond of truth, of common fellowship, of righteousness. 241 INDEX Ahwa Mazda, 76, 78, etc. Aryan, 79 Aryans, 113 Atharva Veda, 42, 49, etc-, Baiil, 1 6, 207, etc. Bengal, 16, etc. Bikrampur, 211 Bisha, 216 Brahma, 67, 68, etc., 113 Brahman, 203 Brahma Vidya, 9 Brahminhood, 90 Brindisi, 175 British, 168 Buddha, 67, 68, etc. Buddhistic, 234 Calais, 175 Calcutta, 147 Chandidas, in Chhaku Thakur, 211 China, 54> 87 Chinese, 134, 143 Dadu, 209 Drummond, Mrs., 8 Drummond, Dr. W., 8 Einstein, A., 221 Europe, 8 Eve, 36 Everest, Mount, 36 Gangaram, 220 Ganges, 109, 213 Gathas, 76 149 Geiger, Dr., 74 Gita, 8 1 Greece, 54 Guru, 215 Hibbert Lectures, 7, 225 Hindu, 168 Hindu Scripture, 64 India, 40, 54, etc., 158, etc. Irani, D. J., 77, 78, etc, Is ha, 22 Ishopanishat, 116 Japan, 35> *5O, 151 Jivan-Dcvata, 95 Judaea, 54, 83 Kabir, 184, 209, 228 Kalidasa, 164, 1 66 Karapan, 81 Kashi, 214 Kavi, 8 1 Kirtan, 138 Koran, 219 Ku-Klux-Klan, 58 Lao-Tze, 143, 152, 153, etc. Mahatma, 143 Manchester College, 7 343 INDEX Manu, 198 Martha, 176 Mary, 176 Maya, 139 Mecca, 214 Medina, 214 Mohammedan, 168 Monism, 228 Monistic Dualism, 228 Namasudra, 211 Nanak, 209, 228 Nanimata, 218 Nordic, 161 Orion, 46 Oxford, 7, 8 Pandit, 215 Parabrahman, 204 Paradise, 209 Peking, 134 Persia, 54, 81 Persian, 79 Pur anas, 214 Puritanism, 165 Purushah f 65 Purusha-sukta, 216 Pythagorean, 223 Raj jab, no, 209 Ravidas, 209, 228 Rishi, US Robinson Crusoe, 172 Rome, 54, 58, 59> etc. Samadhit 204 Sanskrit, 83, 202 Sati, 83 Self universal, 21 Semitic mythology, 36 Sen, Prof. Kshiti Mohan, 207 226 Sikhs, 209 Siva, 83 Tagore, Rabindranath, 218, 221 Tara, 182 Ujjaini, 166 Upanishad, 20, 120, 135, 144 Vaisnava, 103 Vedanta, 203 Vedic, 108 Victorian, 168 Visvabharati, 207, 226 Visvakarma, 67 Western, 189 Wordsworth, in Tfajna, 81 Hoga, 65 Yoga Vasistha, 218 Zarathustra, 74, 76, etc. 244
रवींद्र का दलित विमर्श-एक
मनुष्यता ही मनुष्य का धर्म, मनुष्यता ही इतिहास भूगोल
(सत्ता की राजनीति हमारे इतिहास,जीवन दर्शन,संस्कृति,मातृभाषा,लोक,जनपद और जीवन यापन पर हावी है।जिन शाश्वत मूल्यों पर आधारित है भारत की सभ्यता,उन्हें सिरे से बदलने की कोशिश हो रही है।ब्रिटिश हुकूमत के साम्राज्यवाद के खिलाफ भारतीय जनता के एकताबद्ध महासंग्राम ने इस देश को एकसूत्र में बांधा है।इससे पहले भारत अलग अलग राष्ट्रीयताओं के खंडित भूगोल का समूह मात्र था।स्वतंत्रता,संप्रभुता और लोकतंत्र की दिशा में भारतीय स्वतंत्रता संग्राम की विरासत हमारी नींव है।भारतीय रेलवे नेटवर्क,इंडियन स्टैंडर्ड टाइम,भारतीय सिनेमा,भारतीय रंगकर्म,भारतीय संविधान के साथ साथ भारत की संत फकीर बाउल गुरु परंपरा में विविधता,बहुलता के मध्य एकता और सहिष्णुता के भारत का निर्माण हुआ जिसका इतिहास पिर बौद्धमय है।हड़प्पा मोहनजोदोड़ो की सिंधुसभ्यता,वैदिकी सभ्यता और बौद्धमय भारत के इतिहास और विकास के मध्य भारतीय जीवन दर्शन का लोकतंत्र है।रवींद्र साहित्य की भावभूमि यही है,जो दरअसल आधुनिक भारत की परिकल्पना है,जिसका अंतिम लक्ष्य समानता और न्याय है।असहिष्णुता,घृणा,हिंसा की मुक्तबाजारी कारपोरेट नरसंहार संस्कृति में जब भारतीय सभ्यता,इतिहास,विरासत और लोकतंत्र,स्वतंत्रता और संप्रभुता के साथ राष्ट्रीय एकता और अखंडता के लिए गंभीर चुनौतियां हैं,तब रवींद्र के व्यक्तित्व और कृतित्व को मिटाने के लिए विभाजनकारी धर्मोन्मादी अंध राष्ट्रवाद की सुनामी चली है।
मैंने अस्पृश्यता,असमानता और अन्याय के खिलाफ मनुष्यता और भारतीयता के रवींद्र दर्शन पर एक पुस्तक 2002-2003 के दौरान लिखी थी,जो प्रकाशित नहीं हो सकी।इस बीच मैंने अपनी तमाम प्रकाशित अप्रकाशित रचनाओं और संदर्भ पुस्तकों को पैक अप की तैयारी में कबाड़ीवाले को दे दिया है क्योंकि बहुत जल्दी किराये का यह दड़बा छोड़ना है।संजोग से रवींद्र का दलित विमर्श की पांडिलिपि की कुछ टुकड़े बचे हुए मिल गये हैं,जो अधूरे हैं।नये संदर्भों और सवालों के परिप्रेक्ष्य में मैं कोशिश कर रहा हूं कि वह विमर्श कमसकम मेरे ब्लागों के जरिये आपको शेयर करुं।उम्मीद है कि आप इस विमर्श में सहभागी बनेंगे।यह उपक्रम अमेरिका से सावधान की तरह इंटरएक्टिव हो,मेरी कोशिश यही रहेगी।मेरे पास फिलहाल कोई काम नहीं है तो मैंने वक्त बिताने का यह बहाना खोज लिया है,ऐसा समझकर विद्वतजन मेरे दुस्साहस का अन्यथा नहीं लेंगे,उम्मीद है।)
आर्यावर्त का भूगोल भारत का भूगोल नहीं है।भारत के भूगोल को बदलने में गुरखा और डोगरा शासकों की जैसी भूमिका रही है,जैसे तमिलराजाओं का दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया तक साम्राज्य विस्तार रहा है,जैसे कनिष्क और समद्र गुप्त के समय भारत का भूगोल रहा है या सम्राट अशोक या चंद्रगुप्त के समय भारत का भूगोल रहा है या पठानों की सल्तनत और मुगलिया हिंदुस्तान का भूगोल रहा है,वैसा कोई भूगोल उसीतरह भारत का नक्शा नहीं है जैसे सिंधु सभ्यता में रेशम पथ के समूचे भूखंड,भूमध्य सागर, मध्यएशिया और डेनमार्क नार्वे तक विस्तृत भारत के इतिहास का भूगोल बारत का नक्शा नहीं है।आर्यावर्त में तो समूचा गायपट्टी भी नहीं है।विंध्य और अरावली के उत्तर तक आर्यावर्त सीमाबद्ध रहा है,जिसमें बंगाल,ओड़ीशा समेत पूर्वोत्तर भारत कभी नहीं रहा है।वैदिकी सभ्यता का भूगोल यही रहा है।जबकि बौद्धमय भारत का भूगोल लगभग समूचा भारत और तिब्बत चीन से लेकर दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया तक विस्तृत रहा है और इसीतरह तमिल अनार्य राजाओं का साम्राज्य लगभग समूचे दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया है,जो कंबोडिया और वियतनाम तक विस्तृत है।
जाहिर है कि भारतीय इतिहास सिर्फ वैदिकी और आर्य सभ्यता का इतिहास नहीं है।यह सिर्फ रामायण महाभारत का भूगोल भी नहीं है और न वेदों,उपनिषदों,पुराणों,स्मृतियों तक सीमाबद्ध है भारत,जैसा कि अब इतिहास बदलने वाले लोग साबित करने का उपक्रम चला रहे हैं।इस इतिहास का एक बड़ा हिस्सा प्राचीन भारत की सिंधु सभ्यता है तो बौद्धमय भारत के बिना यह इतिहास भूगोल अधूरा है।
वेद, उपनिषद, पुराण और स्मृतियां बेशक भरतीय इतिहास और संस्कृति के महत्वपूर्ण अध्याय हैं,लेकिन वह अनार्य, द्रविड़, तमिल, शक, हुण, कुषाण, खस, गुरखा, डोगरी, अहमिया,बंग,उत्कल सभ्यताओं की विविधताओं के बिना अधूरा है।
रवींद्रनाथ विविधता और बहुलता,सहिष्णुता,मनुष्यता,सभ्यता,संस्कृति और विश्वबंधुत्व के शायद सबसे बड़े प्रवक्ता रहे हैं और वैसे ही वे भारतीयता के सबसे बड़े भविष्यद्रष्टा भी थे।जिस धर्मोन्मादी राष्ट्रवाद और अस्मिता राजनीति के तहत उन्हें अस्पृश्य बहिस्कृत करने का कार्यक्रम है,वह कोई नया उपक्रम भी नहीं है।
बंगाल के नवजागरण के समय से यथास्थिति की जन्मजात मनुस्मृति स्थाई बंदोबस्त प्रगति के खिलाफ लगातार सक्रिय है,उन्होंने रवींद्र नाथ को शुरु से अस्पृश्य बना रखा है।
पश्चिम ने रवींद्रनाथ को नोबेल पुरस्कार देने के तुरंत बाद उन्हें भारतीय सभ्यता की संत परंपरा में शामिल किया हुआ है।गीतांजलि के लिए उन्हें मिले नोबेल पुरस्कार के बाद यूरोप के तमाम अखबारों में एक भारतीय संत रवींद्रनाथ की चर्चा होती रही है,जिनका धर्म मनुष्यता है।
रवींद्रनाथ के व्यक्तित्व और कृतित्व को समझने के लिए मनुष्यता के इस धर्म को समझना बेहद जरुरी है,जिसकी जड़ें मनुस्मृति विरोधी निराकार एकेश्वरवादी ब्रहमसमाज आंदोलन और बंगाल में सतीप्रथा,बाल विवाह,बहुविवाह जैसी कुरीतियों का अंत करने वाले पितृसत्ता के विरुद्ध स्त्री मुक्ति आंदोलन के साथ साथ जल जंगल जमीन के हकहकूक के लिए भारत के आदिवासियों,बहुजनों,किसानों के जनविद्रोहों और भारत की एकताबद्ध साम्राज्यवाद विरोधी स्त्रतंत्रता संग्राम और साधु, संत,फकीर,बाउल की सामंतवाद विरोधी मनुष्यता के दर्शन और बौद्धमयभारत में हैं।
1930 में आक्सफोर्ड विश्वविद्यालय में मनुष्य के धर्म शीर्षक से हिबर्ट लेक्चर में विश्वकवि गुरुदेव रवींद्रनाथ ने विशवबंधुत्व के इस मनुष्यता के धर्म पर विस्तार से अपना वक्तव्य रखा है,जिसे बाद में उन्होंने पुस्तकाकर में प्रकशाति किया है।भारतीय इतिहास,साहित्य और संस्कृति के छात्रों के लिए यह एक अनिवार्य पाठ है।
विकीपीडिया के मुताबिकः
The Religion of Man (Manusher Dhormo) (1931) is a compilation of lectures by Rabindranath Tagore, edited by him and drawn largely from his Hibbert Lectures given at Oxford University in May 1930. A Brahmo playwright and poet of global renown, Tagore deals with largely universal themes of God, divine experience, illumination, and spirituality. A brief conversation between him and Albert Einstein, "Note on the Nature of Reality", is included as an appendix.
बांग्ला में इस पुस्तक की भूमिका में रवींद्रनाथ ने भारतीय धर्म क्रम के आध्यात्मिक शाश्वत मूल्यों की ही चर्चा की हैः
মানুষের একটা দিক আছে যেখানে বিষয়বুদ্ধি নিয়ে সে আপন সিদ্ধি খোঁজে। সেইখানে আপন ব্যক্তিগত জীবনযাত্রানির্বাহে তার জ্ঞান, তার কর্ম, তার রচনাশক্তি একান্ত ব্যাপৃত। সেখানে সে জীবরূপে বাঁচতে চায়।
কিন্তু মানুষের আর-একটা দিক আছে যা এই ব্যক্তিগত বৈষয়িকতার বাইরে। সেখানে জীবনযাত্রার আদর্শে যাকে বলি ক্ষতি তাই লাভ, যাকে বলি মৃত্যু সেই অমরতা। সেখানে বর্তমান কালের জন্যে বস্তু সংগ্রহ করার চেয়ে অনিশ্চিত কালের উদ্দেশে আত্মত্যাগ করার মূল্য বেশি। সেখানে জ্ঞান উপস্থিত-প্রয়োজনের সীমা পেরিয়ে যায়, কর্ম স্বার্থের প্রবর্তনাকে অস্বীকার করে। সেখানে আপন স্বতন্ত্র জীবনের চেয়ে যে বড়ো জীবন সেই জীবনে মানুষ বাঁচতে চায়।
স্বার্থ আমাদের যে-সব প্রয়াসের দিকে ঠেলে নিয়ে যায় তার মূল প্রেরণা দেখি জীবপ্রকৃতিতে; যা আমাদের ত্যাগের দিকে, তপস্যার দিকে নিয়ে যায় তাকেই বলি মনুষ্যত্ব, মানুষের ধর্ম।
কোন্ মানুষের ধর্ম। এতে কার পাই পরিচয়। এ তো সাধারণ মানুষের ধর্ম নয়, তা হলে এর জন্যে সাধনা করতে হত না।
আমাদের অন্তরে এমন কে আছেন যিনি মানব অথচ যিনি ব্যক্তিগত মানবকে অতিক্রম করে 'সদা জনানাং হৃদয়ে সন্নিবিষ্টঃ'। তিনি সর্বজনীন সর্বকালীন মানব। তাঁরই আকর্ষণে মানুষের চিন্তায় ভাবে কর্মে সর্বজনীনতার আবির্ভাব। মহাত্মারা সহজে তাঁকে অনুভব করেন সকল মানুষের মধ্যে, তাঁর প্রেমে সহজে জীবন উৎসর্গ করেন। সেই মানুষের উপলব্ধিতেই মানুষ আপন জীবসীমা অতিক্রম করে মানবসীমায় উত্তীর্ণ হয়। সেই মানুষের উপলব্ধি সর্বত্র সমান নয় ও অনেক স্থলে বিকৃত বলেই সব মানুষ আজও মানুষ হয় নি। কিন্তু তাঁর আকর্ষণ নিয়ত মানুষের অন্তর থেকে কাজ করছে বলেই আত্মপ্রকাশের প্রত্যাশায় ও প্রয়াসে মানুষ কোথাও সীমাকে স্বীকার করছে না। সেই মানবকেই মানুষ নানা নামে পূজা করেছে, তাঁকেই বলেছে 'এষ দেবো বিশ্বকর্মা মহাত্মা'। সকল মানবের ঐক্যের মধ্যে নিজের বিচ্ছিন্নতাকে পেরিয়ে তাঁকে পাবে আশা করে তাঁর উদ্দেশে প্রার্থনা জানিয়েছে-
স নো বুদ্ধ্যা শুভয়া সংযুনক্তু।
সেই মানব, সেই দেবতা, য একঃ, যিনি এক, তাঁর কথাই আমার এই বক্তৃতাগুলিতে আলোচনা করেছি।
শান্তিনিকেতন রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর
১৮ মাঘ, ১৩৩৯
रवींद्रे के व्यक्तित्व कृतित्व पर किसी विमर्श से पहले यह भाषण पूरा पढ़ लेंः
THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930
THE RELIGION OF MAN
THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
BY THE MACM1LLAN COMPANY.
All rights reserved no part of this book
may be reproduced in any form without
permission in writing from the publisher.
Set up and elcctrotypcd Published February, 193
8T W BY MAWtf WKmiRltS WKOTVWtfl
MIHTBri IK TI1K UNITXD MATft tif A V1RU'A
THE chapters included in this book, which com-
prises the Hibbert Lectures delivered in Oxford,
at Manchester College, during the month of May
1930, contain also the gleanings of my thoughts on
the same subject from the harvest of many lectures
and addresses delivered in different countries of
the world over a considerable period of my life.
The fact that one theme runs through all only
proves to me that the Religion of Man has been
growing within my mind as a religious experience
and not merely as a philosophical subject In fact,
a very large portion of my writings, beginning
from the earlier products of my immature youth
down to the present time, carry an almost con-
tinuous trace of the history of this growth. To-day
I am made conscious of the fact that the works
that I have started and the words that I have
uttered are deeply linked by a unity of inspiration
whose proper definition has often remained un-
revealed to me.
In the present volume I offer the evidence of
my own personal life brought into a definite focus.
To some of my readers this will supply matter of
psychological interest; but for others I hope it
will carry with It its own ideal value important for
such a subject as religion.
My sincere thanks are due to the Hibbert Trus-
tees, and especially to Dr. W. H. Drummond,
with whom I have been in constant correspond-
ence, for allowing me to postpone the delivery of
these Hibbert Lectures from the year 1928, when
I was too ill to proceed to Europe, until the sum-
mer of 1930. I have also to thank the Trustees for
their very kind permission given to me to present
the substance of the lectures in this book in an
enlarged form by dividing the whole subject into
chapters instead of keeping strictly to the lecture
form in which they were delivered in Oxford*
May I add that the great kindness of my hostess*
Mrs. Drummond, in Oxford, will always remain
in my memory along with these lectures as inti-
mately associated with them?
In the Appendix I have gathered together from
my own writings certain parallel passages which
bring the reader to the heart of my main theme.
Furthermore, two extracts, which contain histori-
cal material of great value, are from the pen of my
esteemed colleague and friend, Professor KshitI
Mohan Sen, To him I would express my gratitude
for the help he has given me in bringing before me
the religious ideas of medieval India which* touch
the subject of my lectures.
I. MAN'S UNIVERSE n
II. THE CREATIVE SPIRIT * 3
III. THE SURPLUS IN MAN 49
IV, SPIRITUAL UNION 63
V. THE PROPHET 7 z
VI. THE VISION 88
VII. THE MAN OF MY HEART 107
VIII. THE MUSIC MAKER 117
IX. THE ARTIST 127
X. MAN'S NATURE 141
XL THE MEETING 154
XII. THE TEACHER 163
XIII. SPIRITUAL FREEDOM 179
XIV. THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 189
XV. CONCLUSION 202
I. THE BAtJL SINGERS OF BENGAL 207
II- NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY aa*
IIL DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM 226
IV. NIGHT AND MORNING 333
The eternal Dream
is borne on the wings of ageless Light
that rends the veil of the vague
and goes across Time
weaving ceaseless patterns of Being.
The mystery remains dumb,
the meaning of this pilgrimage,
the endless adventure of existence
whose rush along the sky
flames up into innumerable rings of paths,
till at last knowledge gleams out from the dusk
in the infinity of human spirit,
and in that dim lighted dawn
she speechlessly gazes through the break in the mist
at the vision of Life and of Love
rising from the tumult of profound pain and joy,
September 16, 1939
(Composed for the Opening Day Celebrations of the Indian College,
THE RELIGION OF MAN.
LIGHT, as the radiant energy of creation, started
the ring-dance of atoms in a diminutive sky, and
also the dance of the stars in the vast, lonely theatre
of time and space* The planets came out of their
bath of fire and basked in the sun for ages. They
were the thrones of the gigantic Inert, dumb and
desolate, which knew not the meaning of its own
blind destiny and majestically frowned upon a
future when its monarchy would be menaced.
Then came a time when life was brought into
the arena in the tiniest little monocycle of a cell.
With its gift of growth and power of adaptation
it faced the ponderous enormity of things, and
contradicted the unmeaningness of their bulk. It
was made conscious not of the volume but of the
value of existence, which it ever tried to enhance
and maintain in many-branched paths of creation,
overcoming the obstructive inertia of Nature by
obeying Nature's law*
But the miracle of creation did not stop here in
this isolated speck of life launched on a lonely
voyage to the Unknown. A multitude of cells were
bound together into a larger unit, not through
THE RELIGION OF MAN
aggregation, but through a marvellous quality of
complex inter-relationship maintaining a perfect
co-ordination of functions. This is the creative
principle of unity, the divine mystery of existence,
that baffles all analysis. The larger co-operative
units could adequately pay for a greater freedom
of self-expression, and they began to form and
develop in their bodies new organs of power, ne\v
instruments of efficiency. This was the march of
evolution ever unfolding the potentialities of life,
But this evolution which continues on the physi-
cal plane has its limited range. All exaggeration
in that direction becomes a burden that breaks the
natural rhythm of life, and those creatures that
encouraged their ambitious flesh to grow in dimen-
sions have nearly all perished of their cumbrous
Before the chapter ended Man appeared and
turned the course of this evolution from an indefi-
nite march of physical aggrandisement to a free-
dom of a more subtle perfection. This has made
possible his progress to become unlimited, and has
enabled him to realize the boundless in his power,
The fire is lighted, the hammers are working,
and for laborious days and nights amidst dirt and
discordance the musical instrument is being made,
We may accept this as a detached fact and follow
its evolution* But when the music is revealed, we
know that the whole thing is a part of the manifes*
tation of music in spite of its contradictory charac-
ter. The process of evolution, which after ages has
reached man, must be realized in its unity with
him; though in him it assumes a new value and
proceeds to a different path. It is a continuous
process that finds its meaning in Man ; and we must
acknowledge that the evolution which Science
talks of is that of Man's universe. The leather
binding and title-page are parts of the book itself ;
and this world that we perceive through our senses
and mind and life's experience is profoundly one
The divine principle of unity has ever been that
of an inner inter-relationship. This is revealed in
some of its earliest stages in the evolution of multi-
cellular life on this planet. The most perfect in-
ward expression has been attained by man in his
Wn body. But what is most important of all is the
( f act that man has also attained its realization in a
,more subtle body outside his physical system. He
'misses himself when isolated; he finds his own
larger and truer self in his wide human relation-
Ship, His multicellular body is born and it dies;
his multi-personal humanity is immortal In this
ideal of unity he realizes the eternal in his life and
the boundless in his love. The unity becomes not a
mere subjective idea, but an energizing truth.
Whatever name may be given to it, and whatever
form it symbolizes, the consciousness of this unity
THE RELIGION OF MAN
is spiritual, and our effort to be true to it is our
religion. It ever waits to be revealed in our history
in a more and more perfect illumination.
We have our eyes, which relate to us the vision
of the physical universe. We have also an inner
faculty of our own which helps us to find our rela-
tionship with the supreme self of man, the universe
of personality. This faculty is our luminous imagi-
nation, which in its higher stage is special to man.
It offers us that vision of wholeness which for the
biological necessity of physical survival is super-
fluous; its purpose is to arouse in us the sense of
perfection which is our true sense of immortality.
For perfection dwells ideally in Man the Eternal,
inspiring love for this ideal in the individual, urg-
ing him more and more to realize it
The development of intelligence and physical
power is equally necessary in animals and men for
their purposes of living; but what is unique in man
is the development of his consciousness which
gradually deepens and widens the realization of
his immortal being, the perfect, the eternal. It
inspires those creations of his that reveal the divin-
ity in him which is his humanity in the varied
manifestations of truth, goodness and beauty, in
the freedom of activity which is not for his use but
for his ultimate expression* The individual man
must exist for Man the great, and must express him
in disinterested works, in science and philosophy,
MAN' S UNIVERSE
in literature and arts, in service and worship. This
is his religion, which is working in the heart of all
his religions in various names and forms. He
knows and uses this world where it is endless and
thus attains greatness, but he realizes his own
truth where it is perfect and thus finds his ful-
The idea of the humanity of our God, or the
divinity of Man the Eternal, is the main subject of
this book. This thought of God has not grown in
my mind through any process of philosophical rea-
soning* On the contrary, it has followed the cur-
rent of my temperament from early days until it
suddenly flashed into my consciousness with a
direct vision. The experience which I have de-
scribed in one of the chapters which follow con-
vinced me that on the surface of our being we have
the ever-changing phases of the individual self,
but in the depth there dwells the Eternal Spirit of
human unity beyond our direct knowledge. It very
often contradicts the trivialities of our daily life,
and upsets the arrangements made for securing our
personal exclusiveness behind the walls of indi-
vidual habits and superficial conventions. It in-
spires in us works that are the expressions of a
Universal Spirit; it invokes unexpectedly in the
midst of a self-centred life a supreme sacrifice. At
its call, we hasten to dedicate our lives to the cause
THE RELIGION OF MAN
of truth and beauty, to unrewarded service of
others, in spite of our lack of faith in the positive
reality of the ideal values.
During the discussion of my own religious
experience I have expressed my belief that the
first stage of my realization was through my feel-
ing of intimacy with Nature not that Nature
which has its channel of information for our mind
and physical relationship with our living body,
but that which satisfies our personality with mani-
festations that make our life rich and stimulate our
imagination in their harmony of forms, colours,
sounds and movements. It is not that world which
vanishes into abstract symbols behind its own testi-
mony to Science, but that which lavishly displays
its wealth of reality to our personal self having its
own perpetual reaction upon our human nature.
I have mentioned in connection with my per-
sonal experience some songs which I had often
heard from wandering village singers, belonging
to a popular sect of Bengal, called Baiiis,' who
have no images, temples, scriptures, or ceremo-
nials, who declare in their songs the divinity of
Man, and express for him an intense feeling of
love. Coming from men who are unsophisticated,
living a simple life in obscurity, it gives us a clue
to the inner meaning of all religions. For it sug*
gests that these religions are never about a God of
* Se Appendix I,
cosmic force, but rather about the God of human
At the same time it must be admitted that even
the impersonal aspect of truth dealt with by
Science belongs to the human Universe. But men
of Science tell us that truth, unlike beauty and
goodness, is independent of our consciousness.
They explain to us how the belief that truth is
independent of the human mind is a mystical
belief, natural to man but at the same time inex-
plicable. But may not the explanation be this, that
ideal truth does not depend upon the individual
mind of man, but on the universal mind which
comprehends the individual? For to say that truth,
as we see it, exists apart from humanity is really to
contradict Science itself; because Science can only
organize into rational concepts those facts which
man can know and understand, and logic is a
machinery of thinking created by the mechanic
The table that I am using with all its varied
meanings appears as a table for man through his
special organ of senses and his special organ of
thoughts* When scientifically analysed the same
table offers an enormously different appearance to
him from that given by his senses. The evidence
of his physical senses and that of his logic and his
scientific instruments are both related to his own
power of comprehension; both are true and true
THE RELIGION OF MAN
for him. He makes use of the table with full confi-
dence for his physical purposes, and with equal
confidence makes intellectual use of it for his scien-
tific knowledge. But the knowledge is his who is a
man. If a particular man as an individual did not
exist, the table would exist all the same, but still
as a thing that is related to the human mind. The
contradiction that there is between the table of
our sense perception and the table of our scientific
knowledge has its compon centre of reconciliation
in human personality.
The same thing holds true in the realm of idea.
In the scientific idea of the world there is no gap
in the universal law of causality. Whatever hap-
pens could never have happened otherwise. This
is a generalization which has been made possible
by a quality of logic which is possessed by the
human mind. But this very mind of Man has its
immediate consciousness of will within him which
is aware of its freedom and ever struggles for it
Every day in most of our behaviour we acknowl-
edge its truth; in fact, our conduct finds its best
value in its relation to its truth. Thus this has its
analogy in our daily behaviour with regard to a
table. For whatever may be the conclusion that
Science has unquestionably proved about the table,
we are amply rewarded when we deal with it as a
solid fact and never as a crowd of fluid elements
that represent a certain kind of energy. We can
also utilize this phenomenon of the measurement
The space represented by a needle when magnified
by the microscope may cause us no anxiety as to
the number of angels who could be accommo-
dated on its point or camels which could walk
through its eye. In a cinema-picture our vision of
time and space can be expanded or condensed
merely according to the different technique of the
instrument. A seed carries packed in a minute
receptacle a future which is enormous in its con-
tents both in time and space. The truth, which is
Man, has not emerged out of nothing at a certain
point of time, even though seemingly it might
have been manifested then. But the manifestation
of Man has no end in itself not even now.
Neither did it have its beginning in- any particular
time we ascribe to it The truth of Man is in the
heart of eternity, the fact of it being evolved
through endless ages. If Man's manifestation has
round it a background of millions of light-years,
still it is his own background. He includes in him-
self the time, however long, that carries the process
of his becoming, and he is related for the very
truth of his existence to all things that surround
Relationship is the fundamental truth of this
world of appearance. Take, for instance, a piece
of coal When we pursue the fact of it to its ulti-
mate composition, substance which seemingly is
THE RELIGION OF MAN
the most stable element in it vanishes in centres of
revolving forces. These are the units, called the
elements of carbon, which can further be analysed
into a certain number of protons and electrons.
Yet these electrical facts are what they are, not in
their detachment, but in their inter-relationship,
and though possibly some day they themselves may
be further analysed, nevertheless the pervasive
truth of inter-relation which is manifested in them
We do not know how these elements, as carbon,
compose a piece of coal ; all that we can say is that
they build up that appearance through a unity of
inter-relationship, which unites them not merely
in an individual piece of coal, but in a comrade-
ship of creative co-ordination with the entire
Creation has been made possible through the
continual self-surrender of the unit to the universe.
And the spiritual universe of Man is also ever
claiming self-renunciation from the individual
units. This spiritual process is not so easy as the
physical one in the physical world, for the intelli-
gence and will of the units have to be tempered
to those of the universal spirit
It is said in a verse of the Upanishad that this
world which is all movement is pervaded by one
supreme unity, and therefore true enjoyment can
never be had through the satisfaction of greed, but
only through the surrender of our individual self
to the Universal Self.
There are thinkers who advocate the doctrine
of the plurality of worlds, which can only mean
that there are worlds that are absolutely unrelated
to each other. Even if this were true it could never
be proved. For our universe is the sum total of
what Man feels, knows, imagines, reasons to be,
and of whatever is knowable to him now or in
another time. It affects him differently in its dif-
ferent aspects, in its beauty, its inevitable sequence
of happenings, its potentiality; and the world
proves itself to him only in its varied effects upon
his senses, imagination and reasoning mind.
I do not imply that the final nature of the world
depends upon the comprehension of the individual
person* Its reality is associated with the universal
human rnind which comprehends all time and all
possibilities of realization. And this is why for the
accurate knowledge of things we depend upon