Monday, June 30, 2014

Two chapters from my Recently Published book:The Story of India's Progress

India Forever India Efforts to Desecrate Ancient Indian Heritage foiled Towards the end of the eighteenth century the ruling British scholars took special interest in finding the truth of ancient India. They made in depth study of Sanskrit language and its relation with the other European groups of languages. Their similarities led them to name the whole group of languages as Indo European language of which Aryan comprised the leading part. After the discovery of Harrappa and Mohenjo-Daro sites, known as the Indus Valley Civilisation, the rulers and the like minded scholars found out, to satisfy their superiority, that Aryans were the people originating in Europe spread to India and other areas who destroyed the Dravidian or the Indus Valley Civilisaiton. Beginning with Mortimar Wheeler numbers of foreign scholars took interest to prove that India had the Dravidian people and other ignoramuses like hill living tribes who were driven out by the superior Aryan people. Many Indian scholars too helped them in explaining and elaborating such theories. Frederick Max Muller, the German scholar living in England, favoured specially by none of the two countries, took great interest in proving the above theory with apparent show of educating and civilising India with the aim of and by way of conversion to Christian religion. Historians and Indologists like Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, R. K. Mookerjee, D. D. Kosambi, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, K. D. Sethna, N. Rajaram, Romila Thapar, and many others were and are on the job of elucidating the Indian past. Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900) was a great Indologist and scholar who twisted his scholarship, sometimes contradicting himself, to propagate his ideas for a distinct purpose of denigrating Indian past, to help getting it converted to Christianity. Professor Ratna Basu of Calcutta University in her paper “Max Muller’s Indology Revisited” observed (Read at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata; 15-16 December, 2000), “If we survey his long life, we find India alone had been the centre of all his herculean intellectual efforts and outstanding academic creations. He tried to uproot our established perceptions of our own past and transplant new ones in their place. We had believed that our Vedas had a divine origin and had existed from eternity. He, by publishing for the first time the full text of the Rig-Veda along with the 14th century commentary by Sayana in six volumes between 1849 and 1873, tried to convince us that Rig-Veda was man made and that its antiquity did not go beyond 1200 B.C. We knew that Rig-Veda led us through a maze of multiplicity of cosmic deities to one ultimate reality, but Max Muller told us that Rig-Veda reflected the religious yearnings of a nature fearing primitive man and it neither represented polytheism, nor monotheism, rather henotheism, a word coined by him.” She further wrote, “Not that Max Muller was not aware of the hoary antiquity of the Rig-Veda. In his Autobiography, written in his last days and published after his death by his son, he admits: ‘As to the actual date of the Veda … if we were to place it at 5000 B.C. I doubt whether any body could reduce such a date, while if we go back beyond the Veda, and come to measure the time required for the formation of Sanskrit, and of the Proto-Aryan language, I doubt very much whether even 5000 years would suffice for that. There is an unfathomable depth in language, layer following after layer, long before we arrive at roots, and what a time and what an effort must have been required for their elaboration, and for elaboration of the ideas expressed in them.’ (Muller/120-121) “Max Muller knew the thing at heart but wrote the opposite and talked controversially. His design is clear from his letter to his wife in 1866, ‘I am convinced, though I shall not live to see that day, that this edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India … . It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.’ (Max Muller/V.1) “In a speech delivered in the hall of St. John’s College on request of the Vicar of St. Giles in 1887 he said. ‘When I undertook to publish for the University Press a series of translations of the most important of these sacred books, one of my objects was to assist the missionaries. What shall we think of a missionary who came to convert us, and who had never read our Bible . . .’ (Max Muller/V.2/455) While he wrote for his own purpose it struck the right cord in another heart without his knowing. Sri Aurobindo’s biographer writes, “While reading Max Muller’s translations in the ‘Sacred Books of the East’ series, he came across the idea of self or Atman. This struck him as some reality and he decided in his mind that Vedanta has something that is to be realized in life.” (Sri Aurobindo/35) It will not be out of place to add the address of Lord Macaulay to the British Parliament on 2 February, 1835 to view the similarity of their purpose. “ I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that, I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” (Web; http://g20dalycollege.com/index.php/quet/lord-macaulays-speech-in-the-british-parliament-on-2nd-february-1835.html) Taking a clue from Professor Asko Parpola of the University of Helsinki, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu made huge propaganda in favour of Tamil language and covertly of the community for his political purpose which was resented later by other personalities of similar importance. True that Tamil is one of the oldest extant languages of which some links were discovered by professor Parpola with the Indus Valley scripts which remains, in spite of all claims, so far undeciphered. Asko Parpola was awarded ‘Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award’ on 23 June 2010 by the President of India at Chennai with much fanfare. Let us quote from the speech given by Parpola on the occasion, as reported by a newspaper: “‘While Tamils were entitled to ‘some pride’ for having preserved so well the linguistic heritage of the Indus valley civilization, Tamil was not alone in India in possessing a rich heritage’, Asko Parpola, Professor-Emeritus of Indology, Institute of World Cultures, University of Helsinki, Finland, said on Wednesday. . . . ‘There are, of course, different opinions, but many critical scholars agree that even the Rig-Veda, collected in the Indus Valley about 1000 BCE, has at least half a dozen Dravidian loan words,’ he told a large gathering.” (Hindu/24.6.10) In the introductory part titled, “The Indus Civilization and its historical context”, Parpola, the author of the book writes, “No unambiguous information has been preserved to tell us the names of the Indus kings or their subjects, the name of the gods they worshipped, or even what language they spoke. The Harappan language and religion continue to be among the most vexing problems of South Asian protohistory.” (Parpola/ 3) But inside the book he has the other story to tell following the footsteps of some early Western scholars with some details like, “In the third millennium when the Aryan languages had probably not yet arrived and the Gangetic Valley had not yet become intensively cultivated . . . the Harappan languages are likely to have formed the majority of the South Asian population . . . . the Dravidian family is the best match for Harappan among the known non-Aryan families of long standing in South Asia . . . . about one-quarter of the entire population spoke Dravidian.” (Parpola/169) He thought that the Aryan language did not arrive before1000 B.C. Let us now come to Sri Aurobindo, the scholar, social thinker and philologist who was the greatest interpreter of Vedas as he linked up with the origin of it as seen or heard by the Rishis, the recorders of such Shruti, through his yogic power. He found out the symbolic meaning of the words of Veda and wrote them with elaborate explanation which was far from the ken of an archaeologist or a scholar. He wrote as if visualizing the scene of awarding professor Parpola, “The philologists have, for instance, split up, on the strength of linguistic differences, the Indian nationality into northern Aryan race and the southern Dravidian, but sound observation shows a single physical type with minor variations pervading the whole of India from Cape Comorin to Afghanistan. Language is therefore discredited as an ethnological factor. The races of India may be all pure Dravidians, if indeed such an entity as a Dravidian race exists or ever existed, or they may be pure Aryans, if indeed such an entity as an Aryan race exists or ever existed, or they may be a mixed race with one predominant strain, but in any case, the linguistic division of the tongues of India into the Sanskrit and Tamilic counts for nothing in that problem. Yet so great is the force of attractive generalisations and widely popularized errors that all the world goes on perpetuating the blunder talking of the Indo-European races, claiming or disclaiming Aryan kinship and building on that basis of falsehood the most far-reaching political, social or pseudo-scientific conclusion.” (Veda/553-554) Let us read some more pieces out of the vast work he did on the Veda. “The symbolism of the Veda depends upon the image of the life of man as a sacrifice, a journey and a battle. The ancient Mystics took for their theme the spiritual life of man, but, in order both to make it concrete to themselves and to veil its secrets from the unfit, they expressed it in poetical images drawn from the outward life of their age.” (Veda/ 175) “Secret words that have kept indeed their secret ignored by the priest, the ritualist, the grammarian, the pundit, the historian, the mythologist, to whom they have been words of darkness or seals of confusion and not what they were to the supreme ancient forefathers and their illumined posterity . . .” (Veda/202) These are the words of revelation by the yogi and the greatest interpreter of the Veda. If there are half a dozen Tamil loan words in Sanskrit language there are hundreds and hundreds of Sanskrit words in all the languages of South India. See everywhere; in personal names, names of shops and institutions and parks and in songs where they love to add Sanskrit words; in every temple Vedic chanting is done. Even when attempts were made to appoint priest from the common folk in Tamil Nadu it was resisted vehemently and the court had to disallow it. Again in October 2011 the Madras High Court dismissed a writ petition challenging the engagement of security guards from the pool run by other religious denomination for a temple under its jurisdiction, telling that even a contractor cannot be engaged if it is run by other religionists as the temple is Hindu temple and it is a matter of their faith; it is not a state affair. Sanskrit is the backbone, the flowing blood in all Indians; they love it with the love for their regional tongues. It is the source of the Mother Tongue of most of the north Indian languages. Ancient India still runs through the veins of India as the river Saraswati flows unseen. Indian people are the same with innumerable variations due to huge admixture in the past and present but basically, culturally India is one. Any fissiparous tendency and attempt is doomed to failure. Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, M. K. Gandhi, Radhakrishnan, K.D. Malavya, Jawharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad and host of other great names in the nineteenth and twentieth century were the voices of integration and unity. Going forward in tune with the past, breaking from it whenever it is obscure and obsolete, is our holy aim. Speaking about the vigour and achievement of India in the past Sri Aurobindo observed, “Not only was India in the first rank in mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, surgery, all the branches of physical knowledge which were practiced in ancient times, but she was, along with the Greeks, the teacher of the Arabs from whom Europe recovered the lost habit of scientific enquiry and got the basis from which modern science started. In many directions India had the priority of discovery,- to take only two striking examples among a multitude, the decimal notation in mathematics or the perception that the earth is a moving body in astronomy,- cala prithvi sthira bhati, the earth moves and only appears to be still, said the Indian astronomer many centuries before Galileo.” (Indian Culture/67) In general, he said, “The ancient Indian culture attached quite as much value to the soundness, growth and strength of the mind, life and body as the old Hellenic or the modern scientific thought, although for a different end and a greater motive.” (Indian Culture/427-428) The soul of Indi has survived all barbaric onslaughts for two thousand years. In the concluding part-4 of his ‘Indian Polity’ Sri Aurobindo’s ever positive mind summarised his long discourse on India. He said, “India has never been nationally and politically one. India was for close on a thousand years swept by barbaric invasions and for another thousand years in servitude to successive foreign masters . . . . (Indian Culture/363) He further analysed, “The problem that presented itself at the beginning was that of a huge area containing more than a hundred kingdoms, clans, peoples, tribes, races, in this respect another Greece, but a Greece of an enormous scale, almost as large as modern Europe.” (Indian Culture/366) The whole of the continent was divided into many kingdoms or different divisions, there arose no question of political unity except under some great or powerful kings who won and unified as it happened during reign of Asoka, during the Mughal period and during the British period. India has peculiar mental and spiritual make up. This Sri Aurobindo explains, “The whole basis of Indian mind is its spiritual and inward turn, its propensity to seek the things of the spirit and the inner being first and foremost and to look at all else as secondary, dependent, to be handled and determined in the light of the higher knowledge and as an expression, a preliminary or field or aid or at least a pendent to the deeper spiritual aim,- a tendency therefore to create first on the inner plane and afterwards in its other aspects. This mentality and this consequent tendency to create from within outwards being given, it was inevitable that the unity India first created for herself should be the spiritual and cultural oneness.” (Indian Culture/366) He further explained that Rome and Greece though militarily unified, could not endure. He did not find a fault in Indian mind, rather a special trend he found in it: “It is due to this original peculiarity, to this indelible spiritual stamp, to this underlying oneness amidst all diversities that if India is not yet a single organized political nation, she still survives and is still India. “After all, the spiritual and cultural is the only enduring unity and it is by a persistent mind and spirit much more than by an enduring physical body and outward organization that the soul of a people survives.” (Indian Culture/366-67) Work Cited 1. Max Muller, My Autography. Indian reprint, N. Delhi, 2002, pp. 120-121. Published in ‘Dialogue’; a quarterly journal of Astha Bharati. January – March, 2008. V. 9. No.3 2.The Hindu. Chennai, dated 24 June 2010 3. Life & Letter. Max Muller. Asian Education Service. 2005. V.1 and V.2 4. Deciphering The Indus Script. Asko Parpola. New Delhi; Replica Press Pvt. Ltd. 2000. p.3 5. The Foundations of Indian Culture. Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry; SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. V.14. Independence: A Look Back How and What Freedom was Achieved Subhas Chandra Bose and his Azad Hind Fauz, though defeated by the axis force as a matter of course in the Second World War, represented the true angst and anxiety of the Indian people against the colonial force. Revolt and non-cooperation in the Indian Navy and Army added strength to the other violent and non-violent forces. All these forces added strength to Gandhi’s Non-Violent movement though Quit India movement continued without Gandhi’s presence; he with all important Congress leader of the time was put in jail, urgently. The combined force helped India to finally achieve freedom, though of divided India. The situation was such that war ravished Britain had huge internal problems including the economic set back. They thought it dangerous to carry on further. It was never that the non-violent movement brought a soul-change in them to give up possession of the country. They had no way but to give independence to India due mainly to their economic breakdown for their total involvement in Second World War and due to the revolt in Indian Army and Navy for which they expected to get no cooperation from them unlike before. They effectively used their last weapon of dividing the country. And Indian leaders had the weakness to welcome it. So they gave freedom to two Indias; India and Pakistan. Now it is three with Bangladesh as the last entrant in the group. The country did not want a vivisection of Bharat Mata. Congress Working Committee had to pass the resolution of partition with 29 votes in favour and 15 against in spite of M. K. Gandhi’s pleading for it though he once declared that if the country was to be partitioned it would be over his body. The partition was a national holocaust. Leaders in the forefront were in a hurry somehow to get the independence, even accepting the partition as it suited their purpose. West Bengal Assembly accepted it as a matter of routine but rejected the division on the basis of religion, as a matter of principle, as Sri Aurobindo had advised Surendra Mohan Ghose, the then Congress Chief in the province. On the occasion of India’s independence on 15 August 1947 Sri Aurobindo in a message to All India Radio said, “India today is free but she has not achieved unity…. the old communal division into Hindus and Muslims seems now to have hardened into a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that this settled fact will not be accepted as settled for ever or as any thing more than a temporary expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest . . . . the partition must go …. by whatever means, in whatever way, the division must go; unity must and will be achieved, for it is necessary for the greatness of India’s future.” (Sri Aurobindo/405) Sri Aurobindo gave a message on 5. 2. 1948, on the occasion of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Among other things he wrote, “A free and united India will be there and the Mother will gather around her sons and weld them into a single national strength in the life of a great and united people.”(Sri Aurobindo/407) In July 1950 K. M. Munshi, a Minister, Government of India and once a student of Aurobindo Ghose, felt an urge to see the Master after more than 40 years. During their conversation, he wrote in his article, “Then he sprang a surprise on me. ‘When do you expect India to be united?’ he asked. “I was taken aback. I explained to him how our leaders had agreed to partition. ‘So long as the present generation of politicians is concerned, I cannot think of any time when the two countries- India and Pakistan- can be united.’ “The Master smiled, ‘India will be re-united. I see it clearly.’ Was it an opinion? Or a prophesy? Or was it a clear perception?” (Munshi/The Hindusthan Times) It is evident from the above quotes that at no point Sri Aurobindo gave any time frame within which the two countries would be re-united for in no case those were an astrologer’s prophesy or a simple wishful thinking. It was a nationalist leader’s dream supported by his yogic vision as he loved his country as his mother. Sri Aurobindo always saw possibilities and he always elaborated it with ‘If’s and ‘Or’s. So the happenings depend on many things, mainly on the mind set and wish of the people that matter, of the capacity of the leaders. Possibilities arose when the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram encouraged the Indian Prime Ministers to achieve unity. It could be done if properly acted but the chances were allowed to be lapsed. The Mother had a map of united India including the present Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, drawn by herself in 1951, with her symbol made of brass, fixed on it. The map, made of plaster, is fixed on the wall in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Playground. In a note on July 29 1964 she wrote- “It is the map of true India despite all fleeting appearances, and it shall always remain the map of true India, whatever people may think.” (Mother/108) Still there are possibilities in the womb of time. But the evil possibility of a foreign attack and partial conquest happened when the then Prim Minister was busy in giving shape to his Panchsheel programme. China attacked India unprovoked in any way, as if a bold from the blue, and entered quite inside our country destroying lives and property on their way in 1962. However, the invaders left on their own; that was a different story. They always pose problems and threats to India which seems with futuristic designs. They have already occupied a large extent of area of Arunachal Pradesh disputing their claim over it and declared their existence by erecting ten in Ladakh, inside 19 km inside the border, an area of strategic military importance for India, at the border of Pakistan. The existence of Pakistan is a constant threat and disturbance to India. Kashmir issue Coming to the partition and independence days of India we find that India was almost lost to communal frenzy, all efforts by the secular minded people utterly failed. Even after partition the Kashmir issues plagues us. Let us see how efforts have been made by some scholars by fallacious arguments to establish that Kashmir is a land belonging to Muslims from olden times. The first Sufi was Suhrawardi Saint Hazrat Sayyed Sharfuddin Abdur Rahman or Bulbul Shah, who came from Turkestan in 1324 C.E. Thereafter numerous Sufis from Central Asia and Iran made their way to Kashmir. Hazrat Nuruddin Nurani (1356-1440 C.E.) founded the Rishi order. Although the Rishis were Muslims and saw the spread of Islam as their primary task, wrote Yoginder Sikand in his The Muslim Rishis of Kashmir. He said that they championed the cause of the poor and the marginalized. It is said that conversion to Islam was made an essential condition for joining the Rishi order. Hazrat Nuruddin’s father, Shaikh Salaruddin, a Rajput, was converted to Islam by Yasman Rishi, we are informed. Mustafa Muhammad Tahan, born in Lebanon in 1938, is a respected ideologue among the Muslims. In his book The Political Challenges Before the Islamic Movement he asserts that violence has no place in Islam, that no one can call the other a kafir, meaning disbeliever. He supports his view by quoting from Quran. But he says that Muslims are united by their common faith and spreading Islam is their legitimate right and that where the majority is Muslim, there should be an Islamic State, based on Shariat and Shura. He says that people of Islamic group have liberated Muslim lands from Western imperialists, like Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Nigeria, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Indonesia. (as referred by Yoginder Sikand in his The Islamic Movement and the Political Challenge. Bangalore. 2000) This is a way to establish a claim over Kashmir as the land of Suffi Rishis. But India is one of the oldest civilizations on earth. The antiquity of the Vedas and the existence of the drasta Rishis or seers of the Vedic hymns become evident when one understands that the Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries were the failing remnants of such traditions. Compared to such hoary past of India and Indian Rishis, the Sufi Rishis of Kashmir belonged to a much later period, beginning in 1324 C.E. Sufism originated thousands of years after the advent of Vedic world. The word Rishi must have been borrowed from Indian tradition. According to some writers even Jesus Christ spent the major portion of his life there and became what the world saw him at the age of 30 years. Before many other countries India had established civilisation, much before the advent of Islam. India is replete with different ideas and faiths. It is a multi-religious, multilingual State. Yet it is not burning like places where a movement is going on to spread a religious faith or to occupy other’s territory and to convert others. India has withstood many such attacks but she has rarely attacked any country going over the alien land. This country has sheltered one of the largest numbers of Muslims in the world. Physically Kashmir was and is an Indian province. The then Princely State of Kashmir had agreed to join the Indian Union at some time after partition of the country in 1947. But terrorists invaded the area. Instead of driving the terrorists out, as happens now, as happened specially on three subsequent occasions after independence; in 1965, 1971 and 1999, the then Prime Minister of India had allowed the creation of the LOC or Line Of Control. The sore continues to trouble the subcontinent. With reference to this claim on Kashmir one remembers that there has been many such claims and conversions in countries the world over where Islam is the main religion. Regarding Islam as faith and religion we may or may not agree exactly as the writer Naipaul defined it but we cannot deny it too- “Islam is in its origins an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a covert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It marks imperial demands. A convert’s world view alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his sacred language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his. The disturbance for societies is immense, and even after a thousand years can remain unresolved; the turning away has to be done again. People develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism. These countries can be easily set on the boil. (Naipaul/1) India has been receiving and accepting innumerable guests from foreign countries; people of different faith and belief, people of different cultures have assimilated into the body of Mother India. Indian subcontinent contains many other countries in her body. India is, as if, the country of countries. In whatever way Muslims came, they have become part of this country. The Kashmir issue has been plaguing us since the days of independence, internecine struggle and conflict has been raged. It seems that it is in the nature of things to get the problem solved permanently, specially when China is ever ready to foment and actually create troubles for India in an aggressive way. Pakistan itself is the victim of partition as it has become a land of ever increasing terrorism, torn between vociferous armed groups, hanging between military and civil governments. Subhas Chandra Bose and Independent India Subhas Chandra Bose was the only leader who could usher in the country’s New-birth. The search for Subhas Chandra Bose’s whereabouts after his disappearance in 1945 never received a fillip from the Government. The Government has always discouraged and opposed such searches trying to establish the occurrence of his death due to plane crash, the cause of his death. There have ever been all actions to declare his death at Taihoku (now Taipei) thereby confirming his cremation with the tangible proof of his ashes lodged at Renkoji temple in Japan. The discovery of truth of the real activities and whereabouts of the highest political personality of India has ever been suppressed under the pressure of top-secrecy up to this time for 68 years since his disappearance with the fond hope that public memory always helps the wrong doers by oblivion. “Speaking in the Lok Sabha in 1978 Morarji Desai had to set aside the findings of GD Khosla and Shah Nawaz Panels in view of the glaring contradictions in evidence and ‘contemporary official documentary records.’” (Dhar/11) But after the Mukherjee Commission was formed these documents were not found as per the affidavit of the PMO and it was maintained even when Justice Mukherjee pointed out that in some secret file there were some notings confirming the existence of such records. When ‘Netaji Mission’ people pointed out to the Chief Information Commissioner of the existence of 202 of such documents, the Government could not deny though they challenged the seekers of truth under the “Right to Information Act’. The Commission ordered the government to produce all such documents to the Mission. “But despite this high-level decision, out of 202 only 91 exhibits were eventually released by the MHA to us. One paper- a note by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru-remained classified. There was no word about the rest 110-including Home, Foreign ministry records/files; letters from Home Minister, High Commissioner, Taiwan government and intelligence Bureau Director; a report on the INA treasure said to have been lost along with Bose and a memo from Director of Military Intelligence over Mahatma Gandhi’s view on the matter. “The papers were simply ‘unavailable’. The difficulty in accepting this skewed explanation was that many of the ‘unavailable’records contained information against the air crash theory.” (Dhar/16) “In a nutshell, there it was; the latest in the several government successes in riding out of the storm of Bose mystery. But unlike previous occasions when the controversy was contained with the charge that it was a mere conspiracy theory, the year 2006 marked a turnaround. For the first time, unimpeachable evidence of an official cover-up emerged. And because it related to a six-decade-old controversy spawning mind-boggling subplots, taking a bewildering array of high-profile personalities in its fold and leaving a stockpile of classified records in its wake-it had to be India’s biggest cover-up.” (Dhar/18) During the birthday of the patriot in 2013 many of his family members except one brother’s family gathered and demanded that the 103 files lying in different Central Government offices as classified be declassified for public view for after so many years of his disappearance the files should not remain as secret of some other people. On a separate meeting Netaji’s daughter also claimed that the files be declassified though two of the family members, mother and son, objected to such demand to declassify telling the gathering that there are so many files already available. Let the people be satisfied with those. It means that they wanted to keep the secrecy in the documents remain undisclosed. (Hindusthan Times; 24.1.13 and 26.1.13) The real lovers of the country, the truth seekers seem to be obdurate. They do not forget. Large numbers of books have been published, researches are done, organisations are running in spite of obstinate impediments from the authorities not to allow any leakage in top secrecies. Some incorrigible obstinate fellows and large number of people still love Subhas and they want to know what happened really behind the screen. Why this secrecy? It may very well be that the secrecies were conspiracies; the secrecies if opened to public view may reveal the real characters of those who are adored by the media and the establishment. Is it not the time that we should know the correct positions about Bose’s activities and end, if end happened to the mortal body of the true patriot of India who did so much including the self sacrifice for the country after doing such things that “No Indian leader of his stature could ever think of the things he did,” as Anuj Dhar has written (Dhar/3)? Why his countrymen will not know the continuation of the story of what the great son of Mother India did risking his life and everything for the freedom of India, crossing seas, influencing the two million Indian Origin people of South Asia besides the Indians, forming its own army and declaring India as Free! He came to Andamans and marched up to Manipur thereby declaring it Free with a guerilla force with no aircraft, no artillery, no heavy mortars, no tanks or AFVs. He did not get these helps not even from Japan in their falling condition during the Second World War. Out of 15000 and odd INA soldiers who actually saw action, “It was never a cause of real trouble or annoyance to the Allies,” as per the Indian military assessment in1946, as noted by Dhar. (Dhar/5) Is it not the time that we should know what would have happened had Subhas come back before that official, negotiated hand over of the key of the country to some nominated leaders? To know is to know the real history saved for posterity against the immense efforts by the inheritors of rulers who rule as their followers, who wish to continue in their thrones. We have been witnessing what has been happening in India since independence. Why history should be known to one learned person called historian? It is the historian’s duty to make the real history available to everyone to make them also learned. And why one? Weren’t there, aren’t there many historians? Let us see what happened in India even in his absence for the work he did, “In the winter of 1945 Netaji’s soldiers were brought to the Red Fort of Delhi. The trial of some of their officers and the saga of the INA reached every Indian home. ‘The whole country has been roused,’ Gandhi observed, ‘and even the regular forces have been stirred into a new political consciousness and have begun to think in terms of independence.’ Netaji had hailed the Mahatma as ‘the father of our nation’; Gandhi now returned the compliment by describing Subhas as ‘the prince among patriots,’” wrote Sugata Bose, the grand nephew of the patriot. (India Today/Bose) Gandhi was honoured by Bose when he was alive and he enjoyed the title like many other things. But alas, Bose was not there to rejoice the leader’s confidence on him. It was because of Gandhi and his group’s total non-cooperation against Bose, the second time Congress President against the wishes of Gandhi, thereby proving his popularity among the party men of his time, that Subhas Chandra Bose had to take a dangerous route to flee from the police custody and join the most dangerous human group during the war time to set his country free in spite of all impediments by his political colleagues. Was not such an opposition a political violence? Bose could have done great things had he lived in India. Had he not been opposed (in non-violent way!) he might have done the work perhaps without the partition. He might have given a new-birth to India. Partition of the country was a great violent action. Anuj Dhar wrote, “But the idea to make the Red Fort trials the Indian version of Nuremberg and Tokyo trials backfired. Bose’s war was justified. “The humiliation of the INA soldiers- Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian- galvanised the Indians like they hadn’t been ever since India was brought under direct British government rule. The Governor of what is now called Uttar Pradesh wrote to the Viceroy in New Delhi in November 1945 that those hitting the streets were actually suggesting that “Bose is rapidly usurping the place held by Gandhi in Popular esteem.” (Dhar/5) And what would have happened if he came back? “In 1946, the British had already decided to leave India to ‘God and anarchy’. The primary casualty of Bose’s re-emergence would have been the Congress and, particularly, Gandhi’s anointed leader, Jawaharlal Nehru. Netaji’s jackboots would have become the alternative to both the Mahatma’s chakra and Nehru’s genteel socialism.” (Outlook/Dasgupta) M. K. Gandhi the Mahatma M. K. Gandhi by dint of his immense capacity to undergo bodily suffering, enough strength to fast unto anything, by virtue of his kindness towards the people in the low rung of the society and by his God gifted capacity to mismerise the impulsive, emotional people of India for the time being, became the poor and neglected people’s fond leader. For his leaning towards the Christian belief and the way of his harmless non violent movement against the colonizers they understood him well, comprehending no real danger from him. His constant dealing with the rulers who patronised him innumerably as the most acceptable congress leader compared to their violent opponents, the uncompromising freedom fighters, brought him to the limelight through the media. This and his different fad and fetish, idiosyncrasies not beyond the reach of common people, with his zeal for social reforms more than the freedom of the country made him very popular in his time. On this account it must be admitted that he galvanized the people of India for quite some time and in his social position he went on deciding the political fate of the country. But please take note that at the time towards achieving the political freedom of India he allowed himself to recede, almost compulsorily, to the background and after the independence almost none of his pet ideas were translated into action in independent India. How many people follow him now? Is not violence; physical, economic, moral and ethical the leading force in the country? How many people fast for their inner reformation? Fasting is only an instrument of political action, a way of creating pressure on the opponent, then and now; consider if it is fully non-violent in the real sense. Satya or Truth! Real spirituality is one thing and rites are different as we always view around us in innumerable fashions, ways and styles. M. K. Gandhi as a dreamer and social practitioner was great, had great power over his people but as a political leader he created how many Himalayan blunders future generations have to decide; some he himself admitted. If Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s disappearance remains a mystery, though it is a shame for the country in a sense that it still remains so, M. K. Gandhi’s position remains misty. History, Politics, Literature and some such things are very controversial. It is desirable that all the students and learners should be given the opportunity to learn from different sources so they can by their own judgment arrive at their own opinion on the subjects. Work Cited 1 On Himself. Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry; SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. 1972 2 Sri Aurobindo Ashram- A Pilgrimage by K.M. Munshi. The Hindusthan Times. 15 August 1952 3 India the Mother. Mother. Mysore; Mira Aditi Centre. 1998 4 The Islamic Movement and the Political Challenge. Yoginder Sikand. Bangalore; Yoginder Sikand.2000 5 Beyond Belief. V. S. Naipaul. New Delhi; Penguin Books India. 1998. 6 “Subhas Chandra Bose-Maximum Leader” by Sugata Bose in India Today. Millennium Series; V.1. 2000 7 India’s Biggest cover-up. Anuj Dhar. New Delhi; Vista Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 2012 8 “What if Netaji came back?” by Swapan Dasgupta in Outlook. 23.8.2004.

From my recently published book: The Mother of all Beings- Mother Said

Mother Said “It was an occasion of a host of silly events that occur constantly and make people repeat, ‘Mother said, Mother felt, Mother did, Mother . …’ I wondered, ‘Can’t I make them understand?’ well, I have seen that It’s impossible, so I don’t bother about it anymore. I simply said to those who have goodwill, ‘Don’t listen to what people tell you; when they come and tell you, ‘Mother said, Mother wanted…’ don’t believe a word of it, that’s all; let them say what they like, it doesn’t matter.” Mother said during one of her talks on 22 July1964. 1 It seems that she was disgusted. It is true that she said different things to different people, often contradictory, as per their differing inner needs. Many were her advices to individuals as per the then, temporal needs, specific to their nature or situation. Some of her words were of universal nature carrying value for all, said on special occasions. Usually those are understood but they are on many instances misused. She explained it but gave up the idea of making people understand. It is fact that we often hear, “Mother said, Mother did, Mother wanted”, but rarely do we hear, “Sri Aurobindo said” or “Sri Aurobindo wanted.” There is difficulty in it and usually it is not as common as the Mother’s day-to-day advices to her disciples or others as she would look after all arrangements, everyday needs. Knowing Mother and her works are the first steps toward a movement to know her thoughts and ideas. Innumerable were the subjects she had spoken about. Concentration on a few controversial and important topics, about which she had repeated her statements, opinions and acted continuously to establish her ideas, may perhaps help us to clear the cloud. In this connection we have to remember that human actions stem from reactions whereas divine action is spontaneous, it speaks to each thing or being according to its dharma, by which Mother meant both law and truth. She confirmed that her actions were the result of neither mental nor vital nor emotional or physical reactions. Religion and Spirituality- Mother was against any hollow ritualistic practices. She was ardently in favour of spirituality. On 23 May 1956, about her sojourn to India for the first time in a Japanese boat she gave detailed report of how on a Sunday everyone crowded down into the lounge and the Presbyterian made a speech. Everybody listened very religiously and when it was over, they all came up again “with the satisfied air of someone who has done his duty. And, of course, five minutes later they were in the bar drinking and playing cards, and their religious ceremony was forgotten… there was nothing more to be said about it.” When repeatedly insisted to speak her mind why she did not take part in it, she said to the clergyman, “I don’t feel that you are sincere, neither you nor your flock. You all went there to fulfil a social duty and a social custom, but not at all because you really wanted to enter into communion with God.” Puzzled, the questioner uttered, “Enter into communion with God! But we can’t do that!” 2 Someone asked her permission to visit a church on 25 December 1969 to see the midnight ceremony. Mother replied that while Sri Aurobindo spent his whole life to free men from the bondage of religions, does he want to contradict his work for the sake of a childish curiosity? But we must remember from such examples that such perfunctory religiosity is found with most human beings belonging to any religious denomination. Most of them are not awake to their devotional or routine rituals done because in the absence of it they would feel vacant, feel afraid inwardly or as in most cases they would feel isolated from their group of general practitioners. Let us see what Sri Aurobindo said about freedom from the bondage of religion, about the spirituality: “Spirituality is not a high intellectuality, not idealism, not an ethical turn of mind or moral purity and austerity, not religiosity or an ardent and exalted emotional fervour, not even a compound of all these excellent things…. Spirituality is in its essence an awakening to the inner reality of our being, to a spirit, self, soul which is other than our mind, life and body, an inner aspiration to know, to feel, to be that, to enter into contact with the greater Reality- beyond and pervading the universe which inhabits also our own being, to be in communion with It and union with It, and a turning, a conversion, a transformation of our whole being … a growth or waking into a new becoming or new being, a new self, a new nature.” 3 A note from Mother dated 19 March 1973 was- “Here we have no religion. We replace religion with spiritual life, which is truer and both deeper and higher, that is to say, closer to the Divine. For the Divine is in all things, but we are not conscious of it. This is the immense progress that men must make.” 4 Her oft repeated statement was again said on 5 April 1967, “What is most important, is to get rid of that division. And they all have it in their minds- each and everyone of them! The division between living a spiritual life or living the ordinary life, having a spiritual consciousness or having an ordinary consciousness- there is only One consciousness! “It’s still the old idea. Still the old idea of the sage, the yogi, the sannyasin, the . . . who represents spiritual life, while all others represent ordinary life- but it’s not true! It’s not true, not true at all.” 5 She stressed in elaborating it. What she wanted to say is that it is not the denial of life by the sannyasin or the rigidity of rituals that should be our goal for our goal is much vaster; spiritual. As a conclusion she quoted Sri Aurobindo, from his Essays on the Gita, “We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future.” 6 But we see that she spoke of the two consciousnesses too and differentiated between them at certain other times. Whatever ceremonies and festivals she participated, in whatever position, were gestures of her goodwill and benediction towards her disciples and devotees not for the festival or the occasion. “The true spiritual life begins when one is in communion with the Divine in the psychic, when one is conscious of the divine Presence in the psychic and in constant communion with the psychic. Then the spiritual life begins, not before. . . . “Before that, one may be an aspirant to the spiritual life, but one doesn’t have a spiritual life.” She said. 7 “All that opens to us the road to the supreme realities, pulls us out from the mud of the Ignorance in which we are stuck, opens the door to us, shows us the path, leads us to where we have to go- this is what man has called ‘Spirit’ “In fact, the vast majority of men are like prisoners with all the doors and windows closed, so they suffocate, which is quite natural.” 8 “There are people who live constantly in a higher consciousness, while others have to make an effort to enter there.” 9 With an understanding of what is spiritual consciousness and what is not or what is ordinary consciousness we shall move to the most important tool to attend spiritual consciousness: Meditation- Some have the idea that Mother was against doing meditation, almost a compulsory discipline in every yogic, spiritual system. How could Mother, who used to spontaneously meditate for hours in the jungle of Fontainbleu in Paris during her teens, how could she, who used to meditate in the early morning for decades and note her experiences in her notebooks, later published as Prayers and Meditations, how could she who often entered into trance, who led and gave meditations to her disciples for years, who showed the greatest example of surrender during her silent meditation with Sri Aurobindo on 29 March when she first met him in 1914, show disregard for it? Let us see. On 17 February 1951 she explained during the question hour that during the meditation session in the Ashram she used to try to kindle the flame of aspiration, to help it to rise up in her disciples and during Playground meditations she invited those who wanted the perfection of their physical body for the yoga. About the Ashram meditation she said, “I tried to unify the consciousness of all who were present and to lift it in an aspiration towards higher regions; it was a movement of ascent, of aspiration- whereas what we do here, in concentration, is a movement of descent. . . . . “Who really want the perfection of their physical body can come, not those wh want to escape from life, escape from themselves, escape from their body to enter into the heights.” 10 “With a little practice one reaches a state which may be obtained at will in a few seconds, that is, one doesn’t waste any meditation time.” She said on 5 June 1957. About the result she said, “It may be an illumination, an understanding truer or closer to the truth, or a power of transformation which helps you to achieve a psychological progress or a widening of the consciousness or a greater control over your movements, over the activities of the being.” 11 “Is not sitting down to meditation an indispensable discipline and does it not give a more intense and concentrated union with the Divine?” someone asked. Mother did not deny it. “That may be,” she said, “But a discipline in itself is not what we are seeking. What we are seeking is to be concentrated on the Divine in all that we do, at all times, in all our acts and in every movement.” During her Question and Answer session in 1929 she said, “The number of hours spent in meditation is no proof of spiritual progress. It is a proof if your progress when you no longer have to make an effort to meditate . . . . “There are some who have been asked to meditate; but also there are others who have not been asked to do any meditation at all . . . . To work, to act with devotion and an inner consecration is also a spiritual discipline. The final aim is to be in constant union with the divine, not only in meditation but in all circumstances and in all the active life.” 12 She stopped taking meditation for sometime for an atmosphere of formidable mass of stupid prejudices which created an irreconcilable antagonism between material and spiritual life, as she explained. This she considered to be foolishness which is to be uprooted to pave the way toward Supramental manifestation. “What I most fear are those who believe themselves very exceptional because they sit down and meditate…. they become so vain and so full of self-satisfaction that they close up in this way all avenues of progress…. There is one thing that has always been said, but always misunderstood, it is the necessity of humility,” 13 She said, “Whatever work it is- if you do it and while doing it are careful not to forget the Divine, to offer to Him what you do and try so to give yourself to Him that He may change all your actions . . . then in that way you will make progress.” 14 “The Ashram is meant for yoga, not for musical entertainment or other social activities. “Those that live in the Ashram are requested to live quietly and noiselessly and if they are not capable themselves of meditation they must, at least, leave the others to meditate,” she said on 25 April 1958. 15 She hastened to add that she liked music very much as she was a practicing musician but said that it should be limited to a good atmosphere. Sri Aurobindo insisted on meditation as a process of doing yoga. Mother never denied it. She herself was a great practitioner of it, but she disliked any pretence and demanded absolute sincerity. She felt that one would meditate when the real time arrives for him, almost under compulsion. She wanted sadhaks to always meditate and offer, in all circumstances, amidst all actions, which are much more difficult that usual meditation, she admitted. In reply to some questions about sports and Mother’s attention toward it, about the playground meditation, Sri Aurobindo made it clear that playground meditation was an ordinary concentration for physical exercise while meditation for spiritual development was guided by the Mother in the Ashram. He said that sports was given its due place but that could not take the place of sadhana in the Ashram. All these references are to confirm that Mother was never against meditation in favour of any work done for any purpose. We may here verify Mother’s views and actions on certain important social institutions and ceremonies, on human activities in collective and individual life to clear our faith on her which are contrary to what some say as “Mother said”. Marriage is important in every society. It is the second important stage of life, Garhasthya ashrama, according to Hindu social system. Mother usually blessed the newly married couple or those going to be married. But her opinions are given below which throw sufficient light on the subject. In a letter on 28 July 1937 she wrote, that she never advised anyone to marry; it is a terrible bondage. But she did not restrict anyone to marry. She gave them freedom saying that “you are free and that it is for you to make the decision; that’s all.” In a letter on 13 October 1940 she said, “Marriage is not a direct way to prepare oneself for sadhana. It can be an indirect one if the outward nature needs troubles and disappointments to get rid of worldly attachments….” 16 During her talks on 19 October 1963 she mentioned- “I had the experience of a young couple who came to see me (It has become a custom nowadays that young people who are going to marry and whose families I know, or who live here, come to receive my blessings before marrying! That’s the new fashion.) …. to receive my blessings. Then they went. And they left behind in the room … a vital formation, very bubbly, absolutely ignorant, very bubbly with a joie de vivre, a joie de vivre so blissfully ignorant of all possible difficulties, all possible miseries, and not only for oneself but for everyone! …. (Note that these young people belong to the ‘top’ of society) …. I wondered if it isn’t even more widespread in Western countries than here- I think it is.” 17 During the same year Bharatidi, a French lady of 73, wrote to Mother, if she would have to marry to get an interview. Mother’s reply was both humorous and penetrating. “O Bharaitidi, our dear friend! “Don’t marry, it will be such a big loss for all- for you would have to leave the Ashram, at least during the honey-moon…. My programme is generally five minutes of meditation, sometimes less- and how I ask you to climb two storeys for that…. And your voice resounds at times to my inner hearing- and I always reply in the silence.” Generally it may be said that she advised someone or the other depending on their condition of life to marry or not to marry but it cannot be said that she viewed it as an ideal position for leading a life that she professed. Rules and Regulations Mother did not prescribe too many rules for her governance, for they give scopes for revolt. She expected that with the growth of spirituality in her disciples lower-nature and propensities to immoral things would fall off from their nature. However, for those who intended to practice integral yoga, she prohibited three things- sexual relation, drinking alcohol and smoking. She also prohibited politics. Politics- She was always for organizing the country beyond politics. Party is like a box, a limitation. Taking the clue from what Sri Aurobindo said, she thought that, “We represent no party! We represent India”. During talks she said, “I am not saying officially; because I have said and always repeat that politics is in complete Falsehood, based on Falsehood, and I am not dealing with it, meaning that I am not in politics, I don’t want to be- but that doesn’t stop me from seeing clearly!” 18 “If there is a man who feels like going in for politics, that is different; but I think the others will be strong without being inside.” She said on 25 May 1970. 19 But she loved India, loved men. She would not leave any area of life unexplored, specially such an important area of country’s progress, but not through politics. She was very clear on the point and advised- “It is to organise the country beyond politics. And it is the only way. . . . “There is no hope in going backwards; it would make things last endlessly. We must go forward, absolutely, and go beyond, beyond party. And no body can explain that better than Sri Aurobindo, because he was so much, so much beyond party; he saw the advantages and disadvantages of all parties and he stated them exactly.” 20 This journey of finding what Mother said and what she meant is very lengthy and repetitious, labyrinthine. I have tried to bring home some common areas where “Mother Said” is quite popular. A nice example will make the point acute; “Do not trouble yourselves with what others do, I cannot repeat it to you too often. Do not judge, do not criticise, do not compare. That is not your lookout.” (1957) 21 If this were Mother’s dictum for all it would be a paradise for the looters and whimsical actors, a play ground for all wrong doers but fortunately the publisher of the volume 14, titled ‘Words of the Mother’(The Mother. Collected Works. Centenary Edition. 1978.) wrote in his Note, “The reader should note that most of these statements were written for individuals under particular circumstances and were not, at the time of writing, intended for general circulation.” Still this write up is often put up for general consumption. After many years of her departure Mother has become a myth and superstition; Mother’s words, her smile, her Prasad are much in demand for multiple uses around her last abode and perhaps beyond. This is an effort to bring out what Mother actually said, what she intended her children to do, to become, to the extent possible, for deviations are part of life. She was Mother of love. She never refused anybody. She always smiled. Even when she was utterly busy, she received people, corresponded with a large number of them. Large number of people regularly met her in spite of her failing health, simply for the satisfaction of receiving her blessings, for a work or ritual, perhaps very personal and not so important generally. She could not refuse when people around her pushed them. Many received her Divine smile, flowers and other things during their sole visit to the Ashram. Many, who happened to be there, near her, received her smile, touch, blessings for days, months and years together, as the chance occurred during the days of her ministry. Mother accommodated her children in many ways, giving relaxation to norms, showing special kindness to some out of benevolence. But perhaps she, only she, who knew the inner sides of everything and everyone, could do it. Let all those who received such bounty keep them as treasures in the special chambers of their hearts. But that might neither be due to any speciality of the recipients’ character nor their legitimate due but because they remained or occupied a physical nearness to her at that particular point of time. Wonderful was her world, from wonder she traveled to wonder. Notes 1 Mother’s Agenda. Satprem. Paris; Institut de Recherches Evolutive. 1988. V-5. p.133 2 The Mother. Collected Works. Centenary Edition. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram. V-8. pp.149-150 3 The Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry; SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.Vol-19. p. 857 4 Mother’s Agenda. V-13. p. 379 5 Mother’s Agenda. V-8. pp. 100 and 98 6 Mother’s Agenda. V-8. p. 103 7 The Mother. V-8. p. 136 8 The Mother. V-9. pp. 430-431 9 The Mother. V-4. p. 230 10 The Mother. V-4. pp. 122-123 11 The Mother. V-9. p.115 12 The Mother. V-3. p. 20 13 The Mother. V-5. p. 45 14 The Mother. V-5. p. 44 15 The Mother. V-13. p. 120 16 The Mother. V-14.p. 313 17 Mother’s Agenda. V-4. pp. 358-59 18 India The Mother. Paris and Mysore; Institut de Recherches Evolutives and Mira Aditi. 1998. p.146 19 The Mother. V-15. p.467 20 The Mother. V-15. pp.426-427 21 The Mother. V-14. p.293