Leaders of the freedom struggle were those who were divinely inspired, not the political animals or petty-minded immature religious preachers that we see today! We know how Vivekananda inspired them to love and take pride in our nation and the Irish, Margaret Noble, helped many.
When Sri Aurobindo went to jail the whole country was alive with the cry of Bande Matram of which he was an active participant and on coming out he gave this speech saying, I have to speak to the whole of Indian nation of what was spoken to me first in jail; of that knowledge which God gave to me in Alipore jail daily during my year of imprisonment and it is that which He has commanded me to speak to you.
In the Jail He placed the Gita in my hand and His strength entered into me and I was able to do the sadhana of Gita. Not only to understand intellectually but to realize what Krishna demands of those who aspire to do His work – to be free from repulsion and desire, to do work for Him without demand of fruit, to renounce self-will and become a passive and faithful instrument in His hands, to have equal heart for high and low, friend and opponent, success and failure, yet not do his work negligently.
I realized what Hindu religion meant, Santana dharma, of which we talk; but few know what it is. Other religions are religions of faith and profession but Santana dharma is not belief, is to be lived; it is life itself. It is for the salvation of humanity and it is to give this ideal that India is rising.
India doesn’t rise as other countries do, for self or to be strong and trample over the weak. She is rising to shed over the world the eternal light entrusted to her. India has always existed for humanity and not for herself and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great. And, He made me realize the central truth of Hindu religion. I looked at the jail that secluded me, but I saw it was Vasudeva who surrounded me; the trees, my cell, sentry, thieves, murders, swindlers, I saw as Vasudeva. Many of the thieves put me to shame by their sympathy, kindness, humanity. And He told me behold the people, that you have to work with.
In Court I was trying to put across my case; and He told me ‘I am in all men and I overrule their actions and words, now leave the case in my hands. I am in the Nation and its uprising and what I will, shall be’.
I knew that I the man was a mass of weakness, prey to my own faults, strong only when a higher strength entered into me. I found myself among those of mighty courage, power of self-effacement, a few who were my superior in character and intellectual ability on which I prided myself. And He told me, this is the young generation, the mighty nation that is arising, who will take up your work; you have to step aside. You have only got some strength from me to speak a word to this nation which will help to raise it.
He showed me His wonders and made me realize the utter truth of the Hindu Religion. I had had many doubts before. I was brought up in England among foreign ideas and inclined to believe that many things in Hinduism were imaginations, delusion. But now I realized the truths, they became living experiences and things were opened to me which no material science could explain.
First, I was not a Bhakta, nor a Gyani, I hardly had faith and the agnostic, the atheist, the sceptic was in me, I wasn’t sure there was a God; I didn’t feel his presence. Yet something drew me to the truth of Vedas, Gita, Hindu religion. So, I turned to Yoga in this spirit and prayer “if Thou art, then Thou knowest my heart. I don’t ask for Mukti, I ask only for strength to uplift the nation, to live and work for this people whom I love and to whom I pray that I may devote my life”. In the seclusion of the jail, of the solitary cell I prayed, “Give me Thy Adesh. I don’t know what work to do or how to do it”.
In the communion of Yoga two messages came. The first was, “I have given you the work to uplift this nation”. The second said, “I have cleared your doubts about the Hindu religion. It is this religion that I am raising up before the world, that I have perfected thru the Rishis, saints, Avatars, this is Santana dharma which you really didn’t know before. When you go forth, speak to your nation always that it is for Santana dharma that they arise, it is for the world and not for themselves that they rise.
When it is said India shall rise, shall be great, expand and extend, it is the Santana dharma that shall. It is for dharma and by dharma that India exists.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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