THE DREAMS OF YOUTH
Signed article dated 16 May, 1923
We have born in this world to fulfill a purpose - to preach a message. As the sun rises to illumine the world, flowers blossom in the forest to spread fragrance, the river flows to the sea with the gift of ambrosial water, we too have come down to this earth with the ecstasy and full vigor of youth to establish a truth. The unknown and mysterious purpose which makes our otherwise worthless life meaningful must be discovered-and discovered through contemplation and experience gained in a life of action, which only can make our otherwise senseless existence, meaningful.
The high tide of youth has carried us here to make everybody taste the joy eternal (Ananda), because we are the manifestation of that bliss (Ananda-Swarup). We shall stride across the earth as the very embodiment of Ananda. We shall rejoice out of the Ananda which is in us and shall also make the whole world resound with our laughter. In whichever direction we may turn the darkness of sorrow will disappear, with our life-giving touch will vanish disease, misery and suffering.
We shall inundate this vale of tears, this painful world of man with the flood of Ananda.
We have come with hope, enthusiasm, spirit of sacrifice and heroism. We have come to create, because it is in creation that Ananda lies. We shall dedicate our bodies, our minds, our lives and our intelligence. All the goodness, all the truth and all the divinity inherent in us will be manifest in our creations. We shall be surcharged with the Ananda that comes from selfsacrifice, and the world will be blessed by tasting that Ananda.
But there is no end to what we can give; there is no end to what we can do, because
"The more we sacrifice of our lives
The more powerful will be the flow of life, Life then will never come to an end,
There is so much to say, so many songs to sing, And so much of the life-force within me ;
There is so much happiness, so much to aspire for My life is just full of them."
Yata deva pran vahe yave pran phurave na ar pran ;
eta katha ache eta gan ache eta pran ache mar;
eta sukh ache eta sadh ache pran hoye ache bhor.
We have come with eternal hope, limitless enthusiasm immeasurable energy and indomitable courage, so none will be able to resist the flow of our life. Let mountains of faithfulness and despair block our path, let the inimical forces of mankind combine and stand against us, our onward joyous march will remain unimpaired.
We have a particular religion of our own and we always follow its precepts. We are votaries of whatever is new, whatever is vital and whatever has not been tasted before. We bring newness into the old, motion into matter, novelty into maturity and the infinite into the finite. We are not always prepared to accept past experiences generated by history. Undoubtedly we are travellers to eternity, yet we always prefer the untrodden path-the unknown future is what we love darely. We demand 'the right to make blunders'. Hence many do not sympathise with our nature, we appear to many as wayward and turbulent.
But in this lies our Ananda and in this lies our pride. Youth everywhere and forever is wayward and turbulent. Roused by unfulfilled desires we forge ceaselessly forward and we have absolutely no leisure to listen to sermons of the wise. We make mistakes, we fall in errors, we stumble but we never lose our enthusiasm and never retreat. There is no end to the turbulence we create because we are forever dynamic.
It is we who create the history of freedom from country to country. We have not come here to apply the balm of peace. We have come to generate conflicts, to spread the message of struggle and to usher in revolution. We make our appearance with the sword in our hands wherever there is bondage, wherever there is superstition and dogmatism, wherever there is prejudice or narrow-mindedness. Our only business in life is to keep the road to freedom free from all obstruction so that the freedom-fighters can march along that road without let or hindrance.
To us human life is a truth absolute. Therefore the kind of freedom we demand-without which life is utterly meaningless and to gain which we have been shedding our blood cheerfully through the ages, that freedom is all-pervasive. We have come to preach the message of freedom in every sphere and field of life. Be it sociology, economics! politics or ethics, we want to bring the light of truth! the upsurge of Ananda and the fundamentals of liberalism.
From time immemorial we have been singing the music of freedom. Since our very childhood the yearning for freedom has been flowing through our veins. Our cry at birth only signifies our protest against material bondage. In our childhood crying is our only weapon but when we grow into youth brawn and brain are added to our armoury. And what wonders have we been able to perform with our brawn and brain-read the history of Babylonia! Phoenesia, Assyria, Egypt! Greece, Rome, Turkey! England, France, Germany, Russia! China, Japan or Hindusthan or whatever other country-you will find that on every page of history our achievements have been written in letters of gold. All emperors have mounted the throne with our help and that every enperor had to flee leaving his throne behind because we only indicated to him to do so. On the one hand we built the Tajmahat a petrified symbol of the tear of love and on the other we made the earth purple with rivers of blood. With our united strength we have built society, state, literature! arts and sciences in different countries through the ages ; again when we have assumed the role of the 'destroyer' (Rudra) and started the dance of destruction-so many societies, so many empires have been reduced to dust under our dancing feet.
Now after ages we have realized our strength, we have been able to recognise where lies our DHARMA. Who dares now to exploit us or to rule over us? Amidst this new awakening the highest achievement and the greatest hope is that youth has been able to assert its presence. Now that the slumbering spirit of youth is awake in every sphere of life and in life itself the red glow of youth will shine brightly. This youth movements is all-pervasive as it is universal. Today in every country of the world, especially where dark cold senility is casting its shadow the youth have come forward and are standing erect firmly and proudly. Who can tell with what divine light will they illumine the world? Oh my youthful harbingers of new life, arise, awake, the streaks of dawn are visible already.
THE CALL OF THE MOTHERL1AND
Signed article dated 27 December, 1925
One hundred and fifty years ago it was the Bengalees who showed the foreigners the way to penetrate India. Now it is incumbent on the Bengalees of the twentieth century to expiate that sin. The men and women of Bengal must now recover the lost glory of India. How to accomplish this task in the best possible manner is the problem with which the Bengaleese should be primarily concerned.
Though Mahatma Gandhi, the initiator of the nationalist movement is a non-Bengalees yet this movement has had its wider impact in Bengal than in the other provinces. This is my experience after touring Bihar, United Provinces, and Central Provinces.
Though the Bengalees are not quite pioneers in other fields of life, yet this is my firm conviction that the Bengalees are in the forefront in the struggle of Swaraj. I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that India is going to win Swaraj and that primarily the Bengalees have to bear the brunt in the onerous task of attaining Swaraj. There are many who lament that Bengalees have failed to be like the Marwaris and the Bhatias. I ,on my part always pray that may the Bengalees remain forever Bengalees.
Shri Krishna has said in the Gita, 'Sadharme Nidhanang Sreya Parodharma Bhayabaha', One should rather die for one's own Dharma but to change one's Dharma is frightful. I believe in this saying, For the Bengalees to forsake their Swadharma is tantamount to the sin of suicide. God has not bestowed on us wealth but he has enriched us with the wealth of life. If we loose our richness of life in the craze for wealth, then we should better forego wealth.
Bengalees should always remember that they have a distinctive place in India-why only in India, in the whole world-and they have a duty to fulfill in keeping with that position. Bengalees have got to win freedom and as soon as freedom is won they have got to build up a new India. And that new India has to be built by the Bengalees through varied activities, in the field of literature, science, music and the arts, activities connected with the physical prowess and skill, athletics, and through charity and benevolence. It is only the Bengalees who have the power to bring about progress in every field of national life and also the instinct for cultural synthesis.
I believe that the Bengalees have a character peculiarly their own. This special characteristic of the Bengalees has been manifested in education, culture and the inherent mental make-up of the, Bengalees. There is a special feature also in the landscape of Bengal. Is there not something unique in the soil of Bengal, in her rivers and dales, in her skies, in her luscious green fields and in her ponds ringed by palmyras? Has not this unique natural setting of Bengal added something to the character of the Bengalees? Having been born in CI land with such a tender soil, the Bengalees are so warm-hearted! Having been brought up against this beautiful natural background, they have become worshippers of beauty. Nourished by food and water provided by their wellwatered, fertile and highly productive motherland the Bengalees have been able to show such creative faculties in literature and verse.
The wave of natural awakening that swept over Bengal two or three years ago has now no doubt lost its momentum, yet in no time the tide will return. The flood gates of nationalism in Bengal will again be thrown open. That flood will reawaken the spirit of Bengal again. The Bengalees will once again be mad for freedom and stake their all for it. The country will once again gird up its loins to win freedom.
Who can tell where is that fortunate one now who will assume the role of the high-priest of this undertaking and in what sort of Sadhana he may now be engaged? We do not know whether Mahatma Gandhi will lead this movement or a new seer will take his place.
But we must not wait with folded hands for answers to these questions. We must be prepared from this very moments for that new awakening. We have to take to Sadhana through a comprehensive process of contemplation, introspection, deep thinking, work, sacrifice, enjoyment etc., so that when the call comes we shall be ready.
Mother Bengal demands a band of new young Sanyasins. Brethren, those of you who are ready for self-sacrifice, come forward. Our motherland can offer you only sorrow, suffering, hunger, poverty and the rigors of imprisonment. If you are prepared to swallow the position of suffering and poverty like the Nilkantha without a protest then come forward because the Country needs you. If God wills and if you eventually survive you will enjoy life in a free India. If you die in your holy task in the service of your motherland blessings of heaven will be upon you after your death. If you are real heroic sons of your motherland then come forward.
Oh you, youthful harbingers of new life, it is you who have created the history of freedom in country after country. Will you be asleep when in an awakening world the message of freedom is ringing everywhere? It is you who have forever made 'life and death' your slave, it is you who have in every country built temples of nationalism on the sacred base sacrifice and it is you who have gladly accepted all kinds of suffering and torture and have offered service and devotion in return. You have never been after any gain, you have ever been untouched by fear and inspired with the message of freedom, you have" embraced death like heroic soldiers. In recognition of your valour, your heroism and the strength of your character mother earth has put the mark of victory on your unblemished forehead.
Oh you, the youth of Bengal! I invite you to the holy task of service to the country. Come running all of you. wherever you may be and in whatever situation! The skies are reverberating with the sound of the holy conch of the Mother. There on the eastern horizon the arbiter of India's destiny has appeared in the form of the newly rising sun. Blessed with the holy light of freedom, even China, Japan, Turkey, and Egypt are now standing with their heads erect in the comity of nations. Will you still be asleep and stupefied? Arise, awake,-there is no time to lose. The sin committed by your forefathers in the eighteenth century by way of leading the foreign traders into India must be expiated by you in this twentieth century. The resurgent national spirit of India is today crying out for freedom. So I appeal to you all to come forward, to put on Rakhi -the symbol of brotherhood, and be initiated in the temple of the mother with the vow that you will put an end to the shame that afflicts our mother, re-establish India again on the high pedestal of freedom and recover the lost glory of our Holy MotherIndia.
THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION
Signed article dated October, 1926
Just as in a human being so also in the life of a nation we find childhood, youth, middle age and old age. Man dies and after his death he is reincarnated; similarly, a nation also dies and through the process of death regains a new life. But the difference between a man and a nation is that there are nations which fail to have a new life after death. A nation whose existence does not have any significance any more, a nation which has completely lost its life-force disappears from the face of the earth or if it at all survives somehow it leads a life similar to the life of lowly creatures-living somehow biologically but no impact of its existence is felt anywhere except in the pages of history.
The Indian nation died more than once but after death attained new life. This is because of the fact that the existence of India had significance in the past and has even now India has a message to give to the whole of humanity; there is something in the culture of India which is essential to the whole humanity and if that is not accepted by mankind, world civilisation will fail to reach its true fulfillment. Not only that-our nation has something to contribute and to teach in the fields of science, arts, literature, industry and commerce to the world at large. The seers of India therefore kept alive with the utmost care the light of knowledge of India even through periods of darkness. We are their descendants, how can we die without fulfilling this national mission?
Human body is reduced to the elements but the soul of man never dies. Similarly even when a nation dies, its wisdom, culture and civilisation survived as its soul; only when the creative power of a nation is gone it has to be assumed that the nation is about to die. Its activity is confined to eating, sleeping and propagating children and fulfilling a mere routine becomes its way of existence.
Even certain nation which have descended to such a state regenerate themselves provided there is a purpose in their existence. Such a nation when engulfed by darkness somehow keeps alive the heritage of its culture and civilisation and does not loose its identity by merging itself with other nations. Then by the decree of Providence or Destiny a renaissance takes place in such a nation. Darkness gradually vanishes and the nation awakened from slumber opens its eyes once again ; it regains its creative power. Then like a thousand-petaled lotus the life-force of the nation blossoms again and manifests itself in newer and newer forms, newer and newer ideas and newer and newer fields. The Indian nation has passed through so many deaths and resurrections and that is because of the fact that India has a mission and Indian civilisation has a purpose which has not yet been fulfilled.
Only that Indian who believes in the mission of India is really alive. It is not that all the thirtythree crores of Indians are alive in the true sense of the term. As the youth of India a.nd ot l>l'llc/\l have this faith in the mission of India so they are truely alive.
As I spent month after month in prison in a far-off country, this question used to arise in my mind often. What cause and what inspiration are making us all the more courageous instead of being disheartened by the burden of prison life? I used to get the answer from within, the essence of which was this: 'India has a mission and India has a glorious future ; and we are the heirs of that India of the £uture. It is we who are creating the history of the freedom of India and will continue to do so in the future. It is because of this faith that we are able to put up with all sorrow and suffering, can disregard the gloomy present and can demolish the cruel facts or reality by striking them with the strength of our ideas. It is because of this indomitable, and unwavering faith that the youth power of Bengal can defy death itself.'
The man who has this self confidence and this sense of reverence is creative and he is entitled to serve his country. Whatever noble efforts are seen in this world, they are but the reflections of this self-confidence and creative power that reside inside man. Can that man create anything who has neither confidence in himself, nor in the nation?
The Bengalees undoubtedly suffer from many defects but there is one quality which the Bengalees possess and which has overshadowed many of their defects and on account of which they are respected in this world as human beings. The Bengalees have self-confidence, the Bengalees have an emotional frame of mind and imagination, and they can therefore visualize great ideals regardless of all the failings, all the limitations and failures in the material life in Bengal today. They can loose themselves completely in the contemplation of those ideals and devote themselves unreservedly to achieve what apparently appear to be unattainable. It is because of this power of imagination and of self-confidence that Bengal has produced so many dedicated men and more will be born in future. It is because of this that the backbone of the Bengalees will never give way in the face of sorrows, sufferings and tortures. A nation which possesses idealism will gladly put up with sorrows and sufferings to gain for the achievement of its ideals.
There are many who think that suffering brings only pain, but this is not true. Just as there is pain in suffering there is also an element of infinite joy in it. One who has not tasted this feeling of bliss, to whom suffering only means suffering, is overwhelmed under the pressure of sorrows and sufferings. But the man who has tasted that indescribable pleasure in sorrows and sufferings, to whom suffering is a matter of glory, instead of being defeated by sorrows and suffering, becomes all the more powerful and glorious. Now the question is, 'What is the source of this joy? Wherein lies the source of the lightening that flashes across the overcast sky in a dark night?' To me it appears that the fountain of this joy is nothing but the love of ideals. To the man who suffers because of his selfless devotion to some great ideals, suffering are not meaningless. To him suffering is transmitted into joy, and the nectar of sublime joy brings strength through his veins. Only he who has been able to sacrifice himself at the alter of idealism can realise the meaning of life and can have a taste of indwelling Rasa of life.
Last April while I was reading a Russian novel I heard an echo of my ideas. The Russian novelist has this to say to Russian people through his hero :
'There is still much suffering in store for the people, much of their blood will yet flow, squeezed out by the hands of greed; but for all that, all my suffering, all my blood is a small price for that which is already stirring in my breast, in my mind, in the marrow of my bones! I am already rich, as a star is rich in golden rays. And I will bear all, will suffer all because there is within me a joy which no one, nothing can ever stifle! In this joy there is a world of strength.'
The man who makes 'Nilkantha' his ideal and says -the fountain of bliss is flowing freely inside me, so I can accept with all my heart all the sorrows and sufferings of the world ; the man who can say~I am taking upon myself the entire burden of suffering and misery-because that is the way to discover the truth, that man indeed has attained spiritual realisation.
Today we have got to attain that realisation. Those who want to create a new India, they have only to renounce, to sacrifice throughout their lives, to give themselves away completely and become paupers without asking anything in return. Life will attain fulfillment on the basis of total sacrifice of life itself. Votaries of such an ideal will have no treasures other than self-confidence, idealism and Ananda.
A few days ago I met a student friend and he asked me a few questions smacking of pessimism and lack of faith. The burden of his questions is that, nothing at all is going to be achieved in our country. After I had answered a few of his questions he asked me, 'Is it not futile to try to enter the Council, obstruct the government and drive away the ministers?' I answered, 'Well, if you do not want to do all such things, will that not be equally futile?' Then observing his lack of faith and lack of reverence I said, 'Look, you are much younger than me, and inspired by certain ideals you have taken to path of non-cooperation. As my idealism is growing with age while in your case it is ebbing away.' Then he confessed that as a result of various troubles and tribulations during the last few years he had lost his mental equilibrium.
Now, it cannot be simply refuted that during the last two years Bengal is temporarily in the grip of pessimism and frustration. This has to a certain extent paralyzed our vitality but now it is time to get rid of what is rotten inside us. There can not be a greater enemy than the one that lurks in the mind of man. So, you have got to first defeat the enemy within in the form of faithlessness and then we shall be able to defeat the enemy outside. Today the Bengalees have not to regain indomitable self-confidence. We must have faith in idealism. Our confidence in our own strength, firm belief in India's glorious future and so inspired we shall conquer the conscience of the world.
A survey of present day Bengal gives us hope for two reasons: (1) the penchant for physical culture and world travel, (2) the awakening of the youth. The Bengalees had to suffer from a stigma current everywhere that they were cowards and now that stigma is no more. Even the greatest enemy of Bengalees will not now dare to slander Bengalees in that way. Every Bengalee knows who gave them the bad name and how the accusation was done away with and I need not go into that here at present. But even now the blemish physical weakness is there which the Bengalees must get rid off.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that Bengalees are now determined to overcome this drawback and organizations are being established everywhere with this end in view. If this stigma is to be wiped off for all time, the Bengalees must become strong and powerful as a nation. This aim cannot be achieved only by having amongst us a few world famous wrestlers to bring glory to the nation ; that does not lead to an improvement of the physical strength of the Bengalees in general. In judging a particular nation one should take into consideration not only its best representatives but one must have a look at the common people as well.
It is a matter of the highest satisfaction that Bengalees have now developed a wanderlust. Who would have believed even twenty years ago that the Bengalee would leave his home behind and would go out into the wide world on feet, on cycle, or swimming? Such yearning to see unknown lands, to trade the unbeaten track, to know people yet unknown leads to the founding of empires. Nations who do not and cannot go beyond their narrow national limits inevitably decline. On the other hand, nations, who disregarding all obstacles and the fear of death, travel all over the world, develop physically and mentally day by day and become founders of Empires. When poet Dwijendralal sang-
Amar a deshetei janma, jano a deshetei mori
(I was born in this country and I want to die here).
He put before us a wrong idea. It is now time for us to declare : 'Ami jabo na, jabo na jabo na ghore, bahir karechhe pagol more'. (I will not keep myself confined to my home anymore, the wide world outside has intoxicated me).
Now it is time for us to leave the narrow confines of our homes and to be out in the wide world. First, we must cross over the frontiers of our land, travel across the world and discover lands still unknown and undiscovered. A nation which can perform such things gains in physical strength, courage, knowledge and experience and simultaneously goes ahead in trade and commerce and in the establishment of empires. The principal reason why the British are so advanced today and have built up a big empire is that they as a people are immensely fond of travel. Although we do not have any desire to establish an empire, can there be any doubt that travelling round the world will make us large-hearted, vyill add to knowledge and experience, strengthen our· self-confidence and also result in a flowering of our intellect. But to reap the maximum possible benefit out of world travel, one should not go about like the very rich modern American tourists but travel on feet, on horse-back or on the cycle disregarding all discomfort.
Another great sign of hope is that today a movement among the youth is noticeable in almost every district. This movement is a sign of the vitality of life. Youthful minds are awake and the youth has started to realise where their duty lay and that is why so many youth conferences are being held in different placesnow-a-days. From time to time it is heard that young men are prepared for action but they are groping for the right road. Some say that the youth are unable to accomplish anything owing to the absence of leaders. That the youth are wide awake and are trying to appreciate their duties and the responsibilities is no small matter even though they have not found the proper leader and the right road. Now what I want to say is even if you fail to find the leader, are you going to sit idle? Create your own leaders and then go ahead and do your work. A leader does not descend out of the blue, it is the movement which creates the leader.
And then, you cannot just say 'Quo vadis' and remain idle holding the head in your hands,-this will not do. Try to find Qut the way for,yourself in the light of your own conscience and intellect. The problem is not as difficult as you think it to be. Our ideal is that we wish to build up a nation that will excel in every sphere of life and will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other leading nations of the world, in knowledge and in action, in education and in religion. So there must be all-round awakening in the life of the nation. No sphere of life must be left out. Everybody has to choose his own field of work according to his ability and inclination. Everybody· must offer to the motherland whatever power there is in him as a matter of inheritance or gift from God.
During the last twenty years Bengal has produced many seers, poets, men of letters, scientists, men of action and leaders of the people. Many among them have after completing their mission left this world leaving their countrymen in tears. Even now the void they left behind has not been filled by others. Is this not a matter of utter shame for the Bengalees? If the Bengalees are a living nation then men must come into being who can fill the void as early as possible. When a nation is really alive such emptiness does not continue for long-with the departure of the great a new generation of gifted persons come and take their place. A nation that is engaged in dedicated work in the different fields of human endeavour never lacks proper men for different tasks. Bengal's Sadhana is yet to be all-pervading and perfect in all respects, that is why after the departure of a man of genius, or of ct leader their places are not immediately taken up by others.
Unless we keep before our eyes the vision of a nation, fully developed nation, we shall never be able to achieve success and fulfilment in our mission. The life of a nation is manifold-the nation must be builtup from all directions. When a nation is infused with the vital life-force, the nation must flourish in all spheres of life. Without this, we shall have something patchy and not completely beautiful.
Young Bengal must come into its own. Without being dependent on outside forces it must be selfreliant. The task of building up a new nation has devolved on the youth. To fulfil such a responsible task the youth must stake even life itself and dedicate itself. It is a very good augury that everywhere preparations are going on for the task ahead. Shall we sit with folded arms in the face of this great undertaking? No, that can never be ; so I call upon you-O you! the harbingers of new life! Corne, let us approach the holy altar with this mantram 'Mantram ba Sadhayeyam Sariram ba Patayeyam'.
We shall achieve our object, else we shall lay down our lives in the attempt.
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