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CREATIVE UNITY .

OF TORONTO CANADA. LIMITED BOMBAY CALCUTTA MELBOURNE MADRAS THE MACMILLAN COMPANY NFVV YORK DALLAS BOSTON CHICAGO SAN FRANCISCO THE MACMILLAN CO. ..MACMILLAN AND LONDON CO. LID.

CO..CREATIVE UNITY BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE MACMILLAN AND ST. LONDON 1922 . LIMITED MARTIN'S STREET.

COPYRIGHT PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN .

EDWIN H.TO DR. LEWIS .

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chemical. knowledge of a tree is the knowledge of a unity. it Its creations are a pastime. It is some untold mystery of unity infinite in me. It in different aspects. in spite of the seeming contradiction of the endless facts Its contained in the single fact of the room. physical. that has the simplicity of the single point. This One in me is creative. which appears in the aspect of a tree. and reduces the immense mass of multitude to a This One in me knows whatever it the universe of the many. only because this room is One knows the knows this room it One to it. endless. But.INTRODUCTION IT costs me nothing to feel that I am it is no burden to me. and other innumerable facts concerning all branches of knowledge which have united in myself could be broken up. through which gives expression . And yet if the mental. in knows. they would prove .

Such are its pictures. which would be absurd had there been no great medium of truth to give In love we find a joy which is ultimate it reality. This is a fact. through the sacrifice of self. is the object alike of our individual life and our society. It seeks itself in others. in which it finds joy only because they reveal the perfect forms of an inherent unity.vi CREATIVE UNITY to an ideal of unity in its endless show of variety. images of unity for its delight it also seeks union in love for its fulfilment. "the One is Love. This One in me not only seeks unity in knowledge for its understanding and creates . Therefore it Upanishads that the advaitam is anantam. . "the One is Infinite". because is it is the ultimate truth. through the harmony of the many . the Infinite. music. To to the One. that the advaitam is anandtun. the Love." said in the give perfect expression to the One. poems.

.. .. .. 167 vii ... . PAGE v i THE CREATIVE IDEAL THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST . ... . . ... .... . . ..131 141 155 AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY .... .. . .. .. THE MODERN AGE . . . . THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM THE NATION WOMAN AND HOME . .. .. .... .. . . 29 43 67 91 AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION EAST AND WEST ... .... . .. .... ...CONTENTS INTRODUCTION THE POET'S RELIGION .113 . .

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THE POET'S RELIGION ffi .

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no patience for anything else but fulfilment of purpose. They rush hustle. . It reveals the man himself and has no ulterior purpose. It requires for its perfection patience. and an leisure. like music. words and action. they do not care to be ever so slightly more than useful. they have not the least shame for their immannerliness. gesture and move- environment of is ment. For genuine courtesy It is a a creation. harmonious blending of voice. . they have no surplus of leisure. like pictures.THE CIVIIJTY is POET'S RELIGION beauty of behaviour. Our needs and are always in a hurry. they are rude and unceremonious . We frequently see in our country at the present day men utilising empty kerosene cans for carrying These cans are emblems of discourtesy they are curt and abrupt. water. self-control. in which generosity of conduct is expressed.

it is One. The quality of the infinite is not the magnitude of extension. Wherever our heart it touches the One. I finds was speaking to some one of the joy we have in our personality. of Unity. mense amount of And yet men spend an imtheir time and resources in contradicting this assertion. In all probability he had been suffering from some break of harmony between his surroundings and the spirit of unity within him. but the truth comprehending them all has no dimension . clothes. comforts and convenience. the touch of the infinite. in them an ideal of perfection. which is a harmony between parts and a harmony with surroundings. the mystery Facts occupy endless time and space . but I was sure he exaggerated. I said it was because we were made conscious by it of a spirit of unity He answered that he had no within ourselves. in the small or the big. a sense of unity. meaning of health comes home to us with all painful force when disease disturbs it.4 CREATIVE UNITY The instruments of our necessity assert that we must have food. since . it is in the A dv ait am. shelter. such feeling of joy about himself. proving The the more strongly its truth. to prove that they are not a mere living catalogue of endless wants that there is .

Life's tragedies occur.THE and is POET'S RELIGION 5 health expresses the unity of the vital functions accordingly joyful. not to* demonstrate their own reality. union create to this misery. The joy of unity within ourselves. but in their relatedness. to which they gave a rude shaking. taken " as a vessel only. seeking . becomes creative whereas our desire is for the fulfilment of our needs constructive. is What the truth of this world ? It is not in the masses of substance. for its existence. It reveals in its form a unity to which all that seems various in it is beauty it so related that. giving rise to the baser passions that are expressions of finitude. expression. in a mysterious manner. But where is has no question to answer. It is the object of this Oneness in us to realise its infinity by All obstacles perfect union of love with others. which neither . but to reveal that eternal principle of joy in life. raises the question. but to be. not in the number of things. of that separateness which is negative and therefore mdyd. it strikes sympathetic chords to the music of unity in our own being. " ? The water vessel. it has nothing to do. its fitness Why does it exist at all it offers it Through the apology a work of of construction.

constantly before us. centripetal and centrifugal. not the kitchen. are kept out of our recognition. They the are the day-labourers not admitted into audience-hall of creation. but seasons . drop of water is not a particular assortment of elements it is the miracle of a harmonious . What is claiming our attention. is the feast not the anatomy of the world. Even the giant forces of the world. But light and gay dresses as troubadours singing serenades before the windows in sound come to us their of the senses. for our . in that relation which is truth. the many-coloured wings of . A mutuality. of wind and water erratic life the elusive play of lights and shadows. All our. but in the expression which is one. Matter is an abstraction we shall never be able to realise what it is.6 CREATIVE UNITY can be counted. in which the two reveal the One. of analysis can reveal to us this mystery of unity. flitting between birth and death. It is not in the materials which are many. but in their language qf . There is the dancing ring of . but its countenance. No amount world of reality does not acknowledge it. nor measured. lie The importance of these does not in their existence as mere facts. nor abstracted. know- ledge of things is knowing them in their relation to the Universe.

we forget to accept its invitation and its hospitality. But do not see it in its aspect of unity.THE POET'S RELIGION 7 harmony. . because we are driven to distraction by our pursuit of the . which the unity of perfect relationship. it is because we it is . it brings these rebellious forces under its sway and creation is revealed the creation which is is peace. This is what Wordsworth complained of when he The world Little is said : too much with us . late and soon. has no sense of decorum but when brought it is under the ideal of social fellowship. Getting* and spending. We*grow out of touch with this great truth. is Our greed it for eating in itself ugly . the mother-tongue of our own soul. through which they are communicated to us. -when in quest of external success our works become unspiritual and unexpressive. and selfish. fragmentary. regulated . But directly an ideal of unity raises its banner in their centre. They are like our individual impulses seeking Left to the unlimited freedom of wilfulness. not because the world has grown too familiar to us on the contrary. Materials as materials are savage they are solitary they are ready to hurt one another. is we see in Nature that ours. themselves they are destructive. we lay waste our powers.

natures in interweaving the Creator. dominof love. whose pleasure . and made ornamental it is changed into a daily In human nature sexual passion festivity of life. But we have to consider that this companionship was true in which I was born had . by giving up opposition. it has been made to man which is his kinship of love with the Infinite. and the Many. II I remember.8 CREATIVE UNITY . which deals with it. companionship as living as I was know it was my imagination which transmuted the world around world me into my own the imagination which seeks unity. that a row of cocoanut trees by our garden wall. Thus we find it is the One which expresses itself in creation. is fiercely individual ated by the ideal flower into a perfection of beauty. with their branches beckoning the rising sun on the horizon. when I was a child. becoming in its best expression symbolical of the spiritual truth in and destructive. that the universe in it an element profoundly akin to my one which wakens in own all children's is imaginative mind. but. gave me a I myself. make the revelation of unity perfect.

something which has an affinity to us. behind all appear- which gives the touch of companionship. Wordsworth A be pagan suckled in a creed outworn I. So might standing on this pleasant lea. Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea. It is us. that is to say. making the child creates his own world in answer . An immense amount of our activity is engaged in making images. not for serving any useful purpose or formulating rational to propositions. . In this passage the poet says we are less forlorn in a world agination. but for giving varied responses In this imagethe varied touches of this reality. the reality revealed. The fact that the world our imagination in sympathy tells us that this creative imagination is a common truth stirs both in us and says : in the heart of I'd rather existence.THE the POET'S RELIGION own 9 web of creation with His many-coloured strands. which we meet with our imThat can only be possible if through is our imagination ances. . When we find some strings vibrating in unison with others. and therefore harmonious to our imagination. we know that this sympathy carries in it patterns of something akin to an eternal reality. Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

child in us finds glimpses of his eternal playmate from behind the veil of things. which no factory can produce is a dream. And my fruit : hang 'mid men . production and transport to market a whole But the picture array of machines and factories. that it possible for the child to find delight in sea. which inspires in us our joy in activities imagining. The painted canvas is durable and substantial it has for its The dream persists . not the canvas. as theirs is bread The goodly men and the sun-hazed sleeper.10 CREATIVE UNITY The to the world in which he finds himself. dreams. more real than even bread which has substance and use. duces in our The rhythm of cosmic motion prois mind the emotion which creative. and yet it. poet has said about his destiny as a dreamer. has the meaning of ultimate reality. There is an image-making joy in the infinite. Time shall reap but after the reaper The world shall glean to me. me the sleeper. makes or Triton blowing his wreathed And the playmate is the' Reality. which do not inform or bring assistance but merely express. about the worthlessness of his dreams A and yet I their permanence is : my heedless head. it is . as Proteus rising from the horn. . a mdyd.

All my hopes and fears. April. Laugh thy golden But the moment laughter. Weep thy girlish tears ! April. He but the one thing which is neither seen nor can be explained is the truth of the music. him are a cabinet made of wood and a revolving a gramophone. If I tell thee. this April.THE POETS RELIGION 11 A poet describes Autumn I : saw old Autumn in the misty morn Stand shadowless like Silence. that mine ears Like a lover greetest. after ! Weep thy golden tears This Autumn. which his personality must immedidisc producing sound . sweetest. for no lonely bird would sing Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn. Of April another poet sings April. : Laugh thy girlish laughter Then the moment after . April. It is . are they nothing but phantasy ? Let us suppose that the Man from the Moon comes to the earth and listens to some music in seeks for the origin of the The facts before delight produced in his mind. listening To silence. ately acknowledge as a personal message. April.

not be but essentially true. but the music gives us The bare facts about personal companionship. as can reasonably be supposed^ he will write about a fairy imprisoned in that box. nor in the disc. murmurs and movements.12 CREATIVE UNITY neither in the wood.washed leaves glistening in the sun. The facts of the gramophone make us aware of the laws of sound. in a fairyland forlorn. of . and pale clouds floating in strings of imagination. foam of some It will perilous sea. in April. gives us not sensation. stractions have For these intellectual abfor our lute- no magical touch no dreams. mere shocks of music. who sits spinning fabrics of songs expressing her cry for a far-away magic casement opening on the literally. even a downright materialist is in sympathy with him. If the Man from the Moon be a poet. but unity of joy as does Therefore when a poet sees the vision of a girl in April. They are the blue. . But we know that the same individual would be menacingly angry if the law of heredity or a geometrical problem were described as a girl or a rose or even as a cat or a camel. April are alternate sunshine and showers but the subtle blending of shadows and lights. nor in the sound of the notes. rain. as are the harmony of bird-songs.

Unity comes to us from the One. we are the musicis makers. there is stagecraft but this logic nods its disillusionment. lines and colours. : ditties We We I build And up the world* s great out of a fabulous story fashion an empire's glory. looks foolish when questioned." " This dreaming or music-making it is not a function of the lotus-eaters. with ideas and With wonderful deathless men cities. does not have the secret of unity. with for is fragments. creative impulse the which makes songs not only with words and tunes.THE The ultimate POET'S RELIGION 18 we truth of our personality is that are no mere biologists or geometricians . no drama at all and then head and wearily talks about But the greenroom. It is for faith to answer. faith the spectator in us which finds the meaning of the drama from the unity of the performance but logic lures us into the greenroom where . but with stones and metals. and the One in ourselves opens the door and receives it with " . dealing . is The reason is. have been told by a scholar friend of mine that by constant practice in logic he has weakened his natural instinct of faith. or wears the sneering smile of Mephistopheles its it . " we are the dreamers of dreams. which somewhere else.

the stage masks and The ropes and dream which is changed. and the all its reality is the drama presented tinsel.14 joy. is before us. made one wheels perish. dost tease us out of thought. . which takes perfection. paint and in pageantry. us beyond all thought into the immediate touch . for there remains the eternal Dreamer. what our creations are and personal experience we instinctively know through it what creation truth of personality. ." CREATIVE UNITY The function of poetry and the arts is to remind us that the greenroom is the greyest of illusions. . As doth eternity. the final truth of which is the a religion directly a system of metaphysics apprehended. but the drama remains true. and not know in our to be analysed and argued. silent form. When Keats said in his "Ode to a Grecian Urn " : Thou. Ill Poetry and the arts cherish in them the of his being profound faith of man in the unity with all existence. art. It is We around us means. he felt the ineffable which is in all forms of the mystery of the One.

would be defeated by the antagonism of facts. separation between the positive ideal and the material obstacle to its attainment. in spite of all.THE of the Infinite. Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darken'd ways Made for our searching yes. of the inhuman dearth Of noble natures. of the gloomy days. POET'S RELIGION This is 15 the mystery which is for a poet to realise and to reveal. facts cause despondence and gloom are mere mist. not the dis- realise that Creation is jointed multitude. it has the The everlasting meaning of reality. the perpetual harmony between the infinite ideal We realisation of perfection and the eternal continuity of its that so long as there is no absolute . a rent in the eternal fabric of things. and Truth is the One. Love is true and not hatred . we need not . and when through the mist beauty that breaks out in momentary gleams. : In this there is a suggestion that truth reveals itself in beauty. then it would hurt. Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits. For if beauty were mere accident. Beauty is no phantasy. we realise that Peace is true and not conflict. It comes out in Keats' poems with struggling gleams through consciousness of suffering and despair : Spite of despondence.

like the atmosphere round the earth where lights and shadows play hide-and-seek. No doubt it but only because its ambition is not to shackle the Infinite and tame it for domestic use but rather to help our consciousness to emancipate itself from materialism. but rather the attitude of our entire being towards a truth which its is ever to be revealed in own endless creation. poet's religion we find no doctrine or injunction. and the wind like a shepherd boy plays upon its reeds among . the fever and the openly admits It . and feeds them with light. But answered. be afraid of suffering and poet's religion. indefinite as the morning. and elastic. all In dogmatic religion all questions are definitely doubts are finally laid to rest. the poet's religion is fluid. it acknowledges the facts of evil " the weariness. because itself.16 CREATIVE UNITY loss. It is as . . This is the Those who are habituated to the rigid frame- work of is sectarian creeds will find such a religion as this too indefinite so. flocks of clouds. and yet as luminous it calls our thoughts. feelings. it has no walls round . and actions into In the freedom. It never undertakes to lead anybody anywhere to any solid conclusion yet it reveals endless spheres of light.

I The arid the sea moaned. beckoning asked thee^ " Does the dream-harvest ripen in the " island beyond the blue ? The silence of thy smile fell on my question like the silence of sunlight on waves. full of dewy wine. $ And mid-day's eldest child. and I I left the shore to follow the waves. I awoke at the flutter of thy Lady of my Voyage. Let me read a translation from an Eastern poet to show in Bengali : how this idea comes out in a poem In the morning boat-sails. The day passed on through storm and through calm. But . and the pastoral eglantine.THE fret " POET'S RELIGION men sit 17 in the world " where " . and hear each other groan yet it remembers that in spite of all there is the song of the nightingale." and there is : White hawthorn. The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves . and " haply the Queen Moon is on her throne. asked thee. The coming musk-rose. " Does thy sleep-tower stand somewhere beyond the dying embers of the day's funeral pyre?" C . all this has not the definiteness of an answer it has only the music that teases us out of thought as it fills our being. time after time. perplexed winds changed their course.

This hymn rang out of his heart when he carne to the end of his pilgrimage and stood face to face with the Divinity. night. only thine eyes smiled like the edge of a sunset cloud. glimpses of which had All his already filled his soul with restlessness.18 CREATIVE UNITY No answer came from It is tliee. " Thy IV In Shelley we clearly see the growth of his religion through periods of vagueness and doubt. But he did at length struggle and searching." By the of the that poem the poet evidently means a beauty not merely a passive quality of particular but a spirit that manifests itself through tilings. the apparent antagonism of the unintellectual life. though he died young. Thy figure grows dim in the dark. experiences of beauty had ever teased him with the question as to what was its truth. My I ask thee hands grope to touch the hem of thy robe. Thy wind-blown hair flits on my cheek and thrills my sadness with its scent. come to a positive utterance of his faith. Lady my Voyage. and " Is there thy garden of death beyond the of stars. " Its final expression is in his title Hymn is to Intellectual Beauty. Some- . where thy silence blossoms into songs ? smile shines in the heart of the hush like the star-mist of midnight.

which is the fulfilment of have heard some poets scoff at it in love. Like memory of music fled. Like clouds in starlight widely spread. elate hastened to the spot whence I and gay. that beauty is the self-offering of the other One.THE POET'S RELIGION 19 where he sings of a nosegay which he makes of violets. even though not answered. had come. mother's face with heaven-collected tears. might there present it ! Oh ! to whom ? This carries question. And the faith itself is this. which hurts truth. creation of beauty a significance. One to the In the Beauty" " Hymn to Intellectual part of his on the inconstancy and dwells Shelley first evanescence of the it manifestation of beauty. daisies. half in tenderness and mirth. frailty which imparts to and unreality : an appearance of Like hues and harmonies of evening. A suggests a fulfilment. bitterness and despair . . but it is like a sick child We beating its own mother it is a sickness of faith. but proves it by its very pain and anger.ends by saying I : And That I then. He. child. tender bluebells and That Like a Its tall flower that wets.

according to this poet. unknown and awful as thou art. fear and dream and death and birth Cast on the daylight of this earth Such gloom. in the man to realise it in some The highest reality has The gain of truth is not end . This very elusiveness of beauty suggests the vision of immortality and of omnipotence. he says. rouses in our Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown. guide us in our voyage of realisation ? Men have ever been struggling for direction : Therefore the names of Demon. Ghost. chance and mutability. whose uttered charm might not hear and all avail to sever. From all we we see. it reveals itself through the endless But what is there to length of achievement.. Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart. Doubt. are like magic spells they only prove men's desperate endeavour and not their success. and stimulates the effort in idea of permanence. Frail spells. Didst thou. He knows that the end we .20 CREATIVE UNITY mind the question : This. despondency and hope ? Why The poet's own answer to this question is : Man were immortal. actively to be achieved. The prevalent rites and practices of piety. and Heaven Remain the records of their vain endeavour. Avhy man has such a scope For love and hate. and omnipotent.

is and he the sea. creation lation of is it realisation of truth through the trans- into our own symbols. Or moonlight on a midnight stream Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream. sent. For man. About on. he is the river that leads to the sea. its 21 light to own direct call itself. like mist o'er mountain driven.* Arid truth's says : call is the call of Of this he Thy light alone. drawing me out of my house to everywhere. . is the landing place.THE seek has its POET'S RELIGION to us. a village singer of Bengal sings My master's flute sounds in everything. grew with his life it was not given to him in fixed and ready-made doctrines creative he rebelled against them. in Shelley. . He had the mind which could only approach Truth For true through its joy in creative effort. the best opportunity realisation has for such a It is been in men's Society. own guide us to beauty. Religion. Or music by the night wind Thro' strings of some still instrument. a . this revelation of truth is which calls us and yet which : everywhere. I listen is While For he to it I know that every step I take in my master's house.

as he does in music. unless which has personality. In a society. From that Unity. Living things start with this wholeness from the beginning of their career. A child has its own perfection as . degenerates. Had it usefulness. may go on. The one question before all others that has to be answered by our civilisations is not what they have and in what quantity. as in the interminable pro- longing of a straight people forget to follow some spiritual design of life which curbs them and transforms them into an organic whole.22 collective social CREATIVE UNITY creation of his. men came to the sense of their God. it ever suggests concerted movements a living truth as its But. For growth is towards a yet fuller wholeness. the production and circulation of materials. through which his being tries to find itself in its truth and beauty. the amassing and spending of money. that Society merely manifested its would be inarticulate like a dark it in its soul. if its not that enlargement which is merely adding to the dimensions of incompleteGrowth is the movement of a whole ness. And therefore every religion began with its tribal God. but what they express and how. star. line. In this large life of social communion man feels the mystery of the sense of Unity.

according to its perfection. expression of man. which have railway lines but no stations which rush on towards a collision of uncontrolled forces or to a sudden breakdown of the overstrained machinery. civilisation becomes a gigantic office to which the home is a the The predominance of appendix. POET'S RELIGION 23 would be ugly if it appeared as an unLife is a continual process of finished man. that expression is obscure. and the other is his office. then his faith in the Infinite that is within him becomes weak then his idea of aspiration cannot go beyond the success. Otherwise they have the insane aspect of the eternally unfinished . his desire for success is constructive one is his home. When . His faith in the Infinite is . and that expression. With the overwhelming growth of necessity. Our activities synthesis. leads him to the full realisation of the divine in humanity. they become like locomotive engines . and not of additions.THE a child . Of production and enjoyment of wealth attain it that spirit of wholeness when they are blended with a creative ideal. pursuit of success gives to society the mere . Through creation man . creative . expresses his truth through that expression he gains back his truth Human society is for the best in its fulness.

In a the Kshatriya. call Skudra in India. and we feel. which was greater than victory itself. The word denotes a classification which includes all naked machines that have lost their completeness of humanity. O awful Loveliness. The name Shudra symbolises a man who has no margin round him beyond his bare utility. urged to call on God like When Shelley in his view of the world realised the Spirit of Beauty. . which is the vision of the Infinite. " Cover them up for mercy's sake with " some veil of beauty and life 1 walking stomachs or in pity. They are brains. This was his faith in the Infinite. be their work manual or intel- knight. this faith in the reality of the ideal of perfection. It led his aspiration towards the region of freedom and perfection which was beyond the immediate and This faith in God. he thus uttered his faith : Never joy illumed my brow Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free Tins world from its dark slavery That thou. followed his honour for his lectual. has above the successful.24 character of fighting CREATIVE UNITY what we battle. and cry. the noble ideal-. but the mercenary Shudra has success for his object. . Wouldst give whate'er these words cannot express.

takes its place it destroys. But age . and in a brilliant fireworks of star- money. When it wakens material power.THE built POET'S RELIGION is 25 world. that one great creative force in our civilisation. itself and VI Men wake up of great faith have always called us to to great expectations. in fights and dies in mimicry suddenly exhausts ashes and smoke. There was a day when the human reality was the That was the only capital we brutal reality. then our faith in . mere procession of notes does not make music indefinitely To keep A it . had with which to begin our career. and there not. it is only when we have in the heart of the m^rch of sounds some musical idea that creates song. and human its reality has to be called forth from is obscure depth by man's faith which creative. along a zigzag course of change. Our is faith in the infinite reality is of Perfection that musical idea. and the prudent have always laughed at them and said that these But the poet in man did not belong to reality. knows that reality is a creation. is negative and barren. up all that great in the human walking on.

26 CREATIVE UNITY come all after age there has to us the call of faith. to-day. where it is a creation." are You unbelievers had laughed and tried to kill the faith. which will say to us : out of your present limitations. and have no thought or space to spare to welcome the sudden guest who comes as the messenger of emancipation. you are immortal ? nations are not prepared to accept it. This great world. borne by thunder-clouds. ushered in by a universal agony Has not a new age come of suffering ? Are we not waiting to-day for a " Come great call of faith. an expression of the infinite where its morning sings of joy to the newly awakened life. worn. are bound to court defeat whatever may be their present wealth and power. more than your circumstances seem to warrant. evening stars sing to the traveller. You are to " The attain the impossible. You are to attain the impossible. who have all their trust in their present machines of who system. you are immortal. which " said against the evidence of fact : more than you appear to be. of the triumph of life in a new birth across and its weary and . But faith grew stronger with the strength The of martyrdom and at her bidding higher realities have been created over the strata of the lower.

in his extension of sympathy across of caste arid colour . it is in his illumination of mind.THE death. in our own creations. 27 has ever has its call The call roused the creator in man. and urged him to reveal the truth. POET'S RELIGION for us. its society exists to remind us. which finds itself in freedom of spirit. in his recognition of the world. but as a habitation of man's its spirit. through various voices. reminding us of our divine nature. with its eternal music of beauty and inner light of the divine presence. not merely as a storehouse of power. to reveal the Infinite in himself. . co-operation with God. It is ever claiming from us. that the ultimate truth in Our man is not in his intellect or his possessions all barriers .

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THE CREATIVE IDEAL .

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THE CREATIVE IDEAL IN an old Sanskrit book there describes the essential is a verse which The first in order is elements of a picture. in their very separateness. as a responsibility to . A licence to make a caricature of it 31 itself. all forms remained obstinately separate. if each of Forms are many. has its But. then there would be a But the varied fearful loneliness of multitude. same verse. forms. otherwise there would be no creation. " separate- Vri'ipa-bhdddh ness of forms. dismembered from the body has the fullest portions." different. But if this were absolute. must carry something which indicates the paradox of their ultimate unity. the leg principle of mutual accommodation. forms are them having its limits. member of the body. after the enumeration of separateness comes that of Pramandni pro- So in the Proportions indicate relationship.

rest. The logical relationship present in an intellectual inproposition. truth beauty. that poet Beauty is truth. but in harmony of facts. it must keep its proportion. in a book of logic means the proofs by which the All proofs truth of a proposition is ascertained." . both agree in consists. Inof truth are credentials of relationship.32 CREATIVE UNITY . one thing. Any attempt to overcome the law of proportion altogether and to assert absolute separateness is rebellion it means either offer to the spectator . stalker. the living unity which rules the body it must behave properly. or remaining The same Sanskrit word Pramanfini. it could outgrow by yards its it fellow then we know what a picture would and what embarrassment to the body itself. dividual facts have to produce such passports to show that they are not expatriated. running the gauntlet of the segregated. it is Of the this fundamental note of reality has " said. that they are not a break in the unity of the whole. If. and the aesthetic relationship of dicated in the proportions of a work art. which in a book of aesthetics means proportions. They affirm that truth not in facts. by some monstrous chance of physiological profiteering.

one single idea of the General. of men is desultory. passive and inert. which consciousness the of unity in ourselves. which makes him one with the whole vast army. is But the . which prove relativity. crowd outward language of creative ideals. motive. : following verse D . The creation of an army has. becomes like the or prominently distinct when coloured by joy sorrow. On the other hand. the expressive.THE CREATIVE IDEAL A 33 form the Proportions. the revelation of a is work of art is a fulfilment in itself. the energy of blue. which is visible because takes different aspect with the change of colours. for example. for its inner principle. and which an emotional ideal not like that is necessary. Take. a conproduction is either a work of art or a mere All the materials and regulations of a joint-stock company have the unity of an inner struction. not the end expression of this unity itself ulterior it ever indicates an purpose. it is It is sky. or some other emotion. The consciousness of personality. therefore. as its unity is but actively of a crystal. But this is not all. In the creation of art. but in a march of soldiers every man keeps his proportion of time and space and relative movement. According 'to the nature of that ruling idea.

permeates the words and throbs in their rise and fall. tender-hearted fly Thou grey-eyed mourner. The idea flows through it is the rhythm. I prithee. stated in un- rhythmic prose. nor other treasure To buy a garland my love to-day. June. But the emotional idea. And thou For I too. the mere idea of the above-quoted poem. . rhyme and But cadence. fain Sorrow. would have no appeal to us with all . incarnated in a rhythmic form. yet and stay. The words in this quotation. and November. Sorrow. me For thy wings. On the other hand. a mourning for love's yesterday. Fold fly CREATIVE UNITY not Pleasure. acquires the dynamic quality needed for those things which take part in the world's eternal pageantry. inertly static. which would not bear repetition. April. its perfection and its proportion. would borrow Thy To make sad weeds to-morrow. Take the following doggerel : Thirty days hath September. not yet away. when the outer body of an inner idea it assumes a personality. would represent only a fact. my heart no measure for Knows.34 Oh. merely showing the metre. pleasant-hearted Pleasure. it would only be a construction.

implicit in our own works of art. gives us the clue to the mystery of creation. Therefore creation . solicitor The know it claims no fees from us . And when our soul is stirred by the song. we feel that this is world is a that in its centre there itself a living idea which reveals perfect time. but the bridegroom sings to his bride. and it simulates the movement of life. that runs from sky to sky. .THE CREATIVE IDEAL 35 The metre is there. but it brings the tribute of love and a call from the bridegroom. is not made for of facts it is not " We know the mere enumeration key to the truth of existence it is personality acting upon personalities through incessant mani. we festations. find that the endless rhythms of the world We are not merely constructive heart-strings it is . keeping Thirty " it has its direct revelahath September days That delight gives us the tion in our delight. they strike our own and produce music. But it finds no synchronous response in the metre of our heart-beats . it has not in its centre the living idea which creates for itself an It is like a bag which is conindivisible unity. that this great worldverse. all played on innumerable instruments. This truth. venient. and not like a body which is inevitable. does not sing to his client. in an eternal symphony.

however. These decorations carry the emotional motive of the " I find joy in my creation artist. But this cannot be true." is That why the Sanskrit verse has given us for the essential elements of a picture. not as merely existing. the emotional idea." It is is the outcome of detachment from self and lives in freedom of spirit. not only the manifoldness of forms and the unity of their proportions. colours and lines is . but also bhdvah. without expression of reality any other allurements Beauty is that profound which satisfies our hearts but its own ultimate value. but as decorated in its forms. Joy good. we see the world. sounds. The following It is . it is All the language of joy is beauty. we feel in all our hearts that there things through One who "I have proclaims: joy in my creation. needless to say that upon a mere expression of emotion even the best expression of it no criterion of art can rest. When in some pure moments of ecstasy we realise this in the world around us.36 It CREATIVE UNITY may be said that in pictorial and other arts some designs that are purely decorative and apparently have no living and inner ideal to express. which says there are : . and beauty not mere prettiness. necessary to note. that joy is not pleasure.

which mere material. for shame To save thee from the blame Of all And I my grief arid grame. Closing his benediction. and the darkening air Thrills with the sense of the triumphing night. lyric is indefinably more than the sentiment expressed in it. responsible for the lyric and not for the is sentiment. The fire assumes used . say nay.THE CREATIVE IDEAL poem is 37 earnest described by the poet " : as " An Suit to his unkind Mistress And wilt thou leave me thus ! ? Say nay. ! So be my passing My My task accomplished and the long day done. Sinks. and in my heart late lark singing. Some . or the truth am He is of his avowed necessity. Night with her train of stars And her great gift of sleep. different colours according to the fuel only the flames. wilt thou leave me thus ! ? Say nay say nay ! sure the poet would not be offended if I expressed my doubts about the earnestness of his appeal. wages taken. as a rose is more than Let us take a poem in which the its substance. fuel. but we do not discuss the A earnestness of sentiment is truer and deeper than : the one I have quoted above The sun.

which with its bulk and pressure dethrones the unity of creation. serene. churches suffer most of the from lack of subject. The sentiment expressed in this poem is a But for a poem subject for a psychologist. For in them the deliberate assuming the first importance. This is why. benumbs or kills the poem.38 Let CREATIVE UNITY me be gathered to the quiet West. The subject is the material wealth for the sake of which poetry . carbon in a living plant which the lover of plants ignores. granted that the poem is there to give it occasion to display its powers. The sundown splendid and Death. For a in similar reason hymns used poetry. the subject is completely merged in its poetry. Most patriotic poems have the same deficiency. art is under a disadvantage. In such an atmosphere the boisterous passion breaks through the cordon of harmony and thrusts itself forward as the subject. They are like hill streams born of sudden showers. when some storm of feeling sweeps across the country. leaving it for a charcoal-burner like to seek. which are more proud of their rocky beds than of their water currents in them the athletic and arrogant subject takes it for .

is it is the fire in the heart of the Infinite the script of creation. sings ! Hark ah. To see our own home in flames is not to see fire in its verity. from that moonlit cedar what a hurst what pain What triumph hark ! ! ! ! But pain. become prominent subjects for ourselves. the nightingale The tawny-throated ! Hark. there. in his poem addressed to a : nightingale. They rise up like obstructions and obscure their own back- ground.THE CREATIVE IDEAL 39 should never be tempted to barter her soul. when met within the boundaries of . In everyday life our personality moves in a narrow circle of immediate self-interest. He the pure medium must never make use of this love is except for its own perfect expression. In their vehement self-assertion they ignore their unity with the All. there to find in its true perspective. Matthew Arnold. even though the temptation should come in the name and shape of public good or some usefulness. But the fire in the stars . within that short range. But art gives our personality the disit interested freedom of the eternal. Between the artist arid his art must be that perfect detachment which of love. Arid therefore our feelings and events.

" They say ifc And : Sa tapas tapatva sarvam asrajata Yadidam kincha. mystic in Bengal : Of this sings a village My My dark night.) The is sacrifice. it is discordant But the pain the has detachment of some great martyrdom It appears in all its majesty. like a lotus. not 011 .40 CREATIVE UNITY . (God from the heat of his pain created all that there is. On the other hand. of eternity. both joy and pain at the same moment. love in for by hurting love it harmony great reveals the infinity of love in all its truth and . harmonious in the context of everlasting life like the thunder-flash in the stormy sky. in. heart. the pain involved beauty. repels and hurts with the narrow scope of life. consumes till nothing remains but ashes. From joy has come forth all creation. which is in the heart of creation. Pain on that scale has its the laboratory wire. limited reality. closes its petals eyes drown in the darkness of joy. it kills and in business insolvency is discordant . : The poet How sings again thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves ! Eternal Passion! Eternal Pain ! the truth of pain in eternity has been sung by those Vedic poets who had said. the rapture of the .

the flaming constellations w here creation throbs with Eternal Passion. function of poetry. 41 That song speaks of a joy which is deep like the blue sea. Eternal Pain. 1 found my songs its ! To detach the individual idea from con- finement of everyday facts and to give its soaring wings the freedom of the universal this is the : The ambition of Macbeth. the jealousy of Othello. would be at best sensational in police court proceedings but in Shakespeare's dramas they are carried among . which all sufferings are made poet of mediaeval India tells us about his source of inspiration in a poem containing a question and an answer : A Where were your in the nest ? songs. r . when you spent your nights Was not all your pleasure stored therein ? What makes you lose your heart to the sky. soared into the limitless. my bird. endless like the blue sky which has the magnificence of the night. it is the unfathomed joy one. and in its limitless darkness enfolds the radiant worlds in the lawfulness of peace in .THE CREATIVE IDEAL . limitless ? the sky that is The bird answers I : had my I When pleasure while I rested within bounds.

.

THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST 43 .

.

And thus. : upon the principle of unity. kasyasvit dhanam.) . moves in this moving world as enveloped by enjoyment through renunciation. in our realisation of the truth of existence.THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST stand before this great world. The truth of our lite depends upon our attitude of mind WE towards it an attitude which is formed by our habit of dealing with it according to the special circumstance of our surroundings and our tempera- guides our attempts to establish relations with the universe either by conquest or ments. It by union. either through the cultivation of power or through that of sympathy. we put our emphasis either upon the principle of dualism or in the Upanishads that the emancipation of our soul lies in its realisThey said ing the ultimate truth of unity. that find (Know all God and . not through 45 greed of possession. The Indian sages have held Yena tyakt^na bhunjitha ma graha Ishavasyam idam sarvam yat kinch jagatyam jagat.

nature presented herself to those men in her aspect of a danger. but represents certain ideals of life which still guide the history and inspire the creations of that race. that. a barrier which seemed .46 CREATIVE UNITY The meaning of this is. related in our epics cluster under the forest shade bearing all through their The legends the narrative message of the forest -dwellers. when we know the Infinite . In the sea. Our two greatest classical dramas find their background in scenes of the forest hermitage. The history of the Northmen of Europe sea. when we know the final truth. the multiplicity of things as try to augment ourselves by the external possession of them but. which are permeated by the association of these sages. (they enter Their perfect relation with into all things). is resonant with the music of the That sea is not merely topographical in its significance. This ideal of perfection preached by the forestdwellers of ancient India runs through the heart of our classical literature and still dominates our mind. we Soul as the with it it final truth. we realise then through our union the joy of our soul. has been said of those this world is the relation of union. Therefore who have attained their " sarvam eva vishanti " fulfilment.

but rather So the view of the truth. still maintains it is the fight against disease and did not flinch . with their work and which these men found. This refers to a people who live by the sea. which has no reconciliation. They uttered their faitli " Yadidam kinch sarvam in these words prana : . tyranny of matter and of man. . They could not as think of other surroundings separate or inimical.THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST to be at constant war with the land arid children. the perpetual conflict of good and evil. They find delight Truth appears to them turning by force the antagonism of circum- stances into obedience. and ride on it as on a wild. man poverty. leisure. which can only end in victory or defeat. But grand in the level tracts of Northern India lives men found no barrier between their life and the The that permeates the universe. champing horse. the unity of all things. forest entered into a close living relationship with their daily necessities and contemplations. And he fought and won. and the This fight he spirit of fight continued in him. catching service in it by its from shore mane and making it render to shore. did not make manifest the difference. 47 its The sea was the challenge of untamed nature to the indomitable human soul. in her aspect of dualism.

for the machine has its place in this world. know this world then its and then we set up our machines and our methods to deal with it and make as much profit as our knowaspect takes prominence in our mind ledge of its mechanism allows us to do. may be used as machines and made to yield powerful results. When we mechanical . has three phases. that Reality. The view of this world which India has taken is summed up is in one compound is Sanskrit word. Sachidananda. our con- . This view of things does not play us false. .48 djati life. The meaning which first is essentially one. Europe has done so and has reaped a rich harvest. The the simple fact that things are. Sat it is second is Chit . it is the fact that we know. : relates us to all things through the relationof knowledge. The third is Ananda it is ship the fact that we enjoy. According to the true Indian view. which unites us with all which things through the relationship of love. but human beings also. . the fact which relates us to all things through The the relationship of common existence. life). This aspect of truth cannot be ignored it has to be known and mastered. And not only this material universe. CREATIVE UNITY nihsratam" (All that is vibrates with having come out from as alien to us.

Ujjayini a great capital. the love and reverence with which its poet sang about the hermitage shows what was the dominant ideal that occupied the mind of India what was the one current of memory that continually flowed the Scythian arid the Persian. the Greek and had crowded round us. Roman. But. and as governed by laws.THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST 49 sciousness of the world. Then we had taken our stand in the midst of the great concourse of humanity. the age of India's forest retreats had passed. merely as the sum total of things that exist. realising our through expansion not alienating ourselves from it and dominating it. When The Chinese and the Hun. is imperfect. even in that age of pomp and prosperity. But it is perfect when our consciousness realises all things as spiritually one with it. the . own selves in it it with ourselves in perfect union. and Kalidasa its poet. knowing it and making use of it. through her life. E . but . For us the highest purpose of this world is not merely living in it. II Vikramaditya became king. but comprehending and uniting of sympathy . and -therefore capable of giving us joy.

which dominates the play. tells us of the posture to the A of salutation in the flowering lianas as they bow wind of the sacrifice offered by the trees . It is The hermitage shines again the same story. human characters drown our attention in the vortex of their passions. and of the deer caressing with their tongues the young hermit boys. In the Western dramas. of the grove re- sounding with the lessons chanted by the neophytes. poet of a later age. while describing a hermitage in his Kadambari. overshadowing the king's palace. Nature occasionally peeps always a trespasser. out. and the verses repeated by the parrots. in all our ancient literature. Shakuntala. enjoying lake for their portion of the grass seed spread in the cottage yards to dry. as the place where the chasm between man and the rest of creation has been bridged. scattering their blossoms . the hermitage. learnt by constantly hearing them " .50 -CREATIVE UNITY In Kalidasa's drama. has the same idea running through it the recognition of the kinship of man with conscious and unconscious creation alike. but she is almost who has to offer excuses. . out. of the " wild-fowl vaishva-deva-bali-pinda food the offered to (the divinity which is in all of the ducks coining up from the creatures) .

'It is snatched away. rain of the season and the south breezes. proving the* she has her great function. right. naked. Shakuntald. glistening in the first cool . the Kadamba forest. is clearly a work of Kalidasa's The youthful love-song in it does immaturity. our dramas which still retain their fame. temper it with their murmur. moonbeams of the summer evening. desires. to impart the peace of the eternal to human emotions. tune of these voluptuous outbreaks varied is But the set to the The harmony of Nature's symphony. The context of the All it . bow Nature stands on her own fury of passion in two of Shakespeare's youthful poems is exhibited in conspicuous isolation. such as Mrit-Shakatikd. from the has not the green earth or the blue sky around it it is there ready to bring to our view the raging fever which is in man's . not reach the sublime reticence which is in Shakuntald and Kumdra-Sambhava.THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST or 51 But in all apologetically and depart. and not the balm of health and repose it which encircles Rit&samkdra in the universe. resonant with the flow of fountains. Uttara-Rdmacharita. carry- ing the scent of the mango blossoms. acknowledge it as a In its rhythm sways part of its own melody. .

the brave one who can defy and vanquish the evil demon laying waste heaven's own kingdom It " ? becomes evident that such a problem had become acute in Kalidasa's time.52 CREATIVE UNITY In the third canto of Kumara . when the old The simplicity of Hindu life had broken up. and India was being repeatedly devastated by the Scythians. Hindu kings. It answers the one idea is deep and of all time. Its inner for which the gods wait in suspense. enters Madana. But the boisterous outbreak of passion so caused was shown against a background of universal The divine love-thrills of Sati and Shiva life. the forest sanctuary to set free a sudden flood of desire amid the serenity of the ascetics' meditation. Not only its third canto but the whole of the Kumara-Sambhava poem is painted upon a limitless canvas. in which animals and trees have their life-throbs. forgetful of their duties. . and its fulfilment. its question that humanity asks through all its en" How is the birth of the hero to be deavours : brought about. found their response in the world-wide immensity of youth. the God Eros. love.Sambhava. had Tbecome self-seeking epicureans. It tells of the eternal wedding of wooing and sacrifice.

ideal contain the voice of warnings against the .THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST What answer. penance. in the time of Kalidasa. from the union of the freedom of the through humiliation. excelling as she did in luxury. the Spirit of Reality. litera- ture and the it is arts. India. of won the Heart of Shiva. Viewed from without. In the commencement of the poem we find that the God Shiva. appeared to have reached the zenith of civilisation. But Kumar a-Sambhava How was the poem of Paradise Regained. does the 53 poem question it raises ? Its message is of weakness lies in the inner life of the soul. Goodness. Paradise was lost. deAnd then tached from the world of reality. suffering. the Spirit And thus. the Good. some dissociation from the True. was born the heroism that released Paradise from the demon real of Lawlessness. then. and with the restraint of the Good. is give to the that the cause It some break of harmony with the Good. is it regained? When Sati. But from the poems of evident that this very magnificence of wealth and enjoyment worked against the Kalidasa that sprang and flowed forth from the These poems sacred solitude of the forest. had remained for long lost in in the self-centred solitude of his asceticism.

He begins his poem as the But serenity of sunrise. With a calm restraint of language the poet tells us of the kingly glory crowned with purity. amid scenes of age. eloquent for a time with the sumptuous splendour of sunset. but overtaken at last by the devouring darkness which sweeps away all its brilliance into night. in which he traced the history of the rise and fall of the ideal that should guide the rulers of men. And from his seat beside all the glories of Vikramaditya's throne the poet's heart yearns for the purity and simplicity of India's past age of spiritual striving. entered upon the with Queen Sudakshina. in the extravagance of self. in the the end. as of the evening. like a Himalayan avalanche. which. King Dilipa. was slowly gliding down to an abyss of catastrophe. In this beginning and this ending of his poem . The great monarch is busy tending the cattle of the hermitThus the poem opens. lavish are the colours in which he describes day begins. has life of the forest. But it ends in the simplicity and self-denial. palace of magnificence.enjoyment.54 CREATIVE UNITY gorgeous unreality of that age. And it was this yearning which impelled him to go back to the annals of the ancient Kings of Raghu's line for the narrative poem.

THE KELIGION OF THE EOREST
there
lies

55

hidden that message of the forest which found its voice in the poet's words. There
runs through the narrative the idea that the

glowed gloriously ahead only when there was in the atmosphere the calm of self-control, of purity and renunciation. When downfall had
fiiture

become imminent, the hungry

fires

of desire,

aflame at a hundred different points, dazzled the eyes of all beholders.
Kalidasa in almost
all his

works represented

the unbounded impetuousiiess of kingly splendour on the one side and the serene strength of

Even in the regulated desires on the other. minor drama of Mdlavikdgnimitra we find the
same thing
in a different

manner.

It

must never

be thought that, in
liberate object

was him to a literary orgy of by inviting The very introductory verse passion.

play, the poet's deto pander to his royal patron
this

lust

and

indicates

the object towards which this play is directed. The poet begins the drama with the prayer, " Sanmargalokayan vyapanayatu sa nastamasi

(Let God, to illumine for us the path of truth, sweep away our passions, bred of This is the God Shiva, in whose darkness).
vritimishah

"

nature Parvati, the eternal

Woman,

is

ever com-

mingled

in

an ascetic purity of love.

The unified

56

CREATIVE UNITY

being of Shiva and Parvati is the perfect symbol of the eternal in the wedded love of man and

woman.
it is

the poet opens his drama with an invocation of this Spirit of the Divine Union
the message with which he greets his kingly audience. The whole drama goes to show the ugliness of the treachery and cruelty inherent in unchecked
it
it

When

evident that

contains in

self-indulgence.
ideals
is

In the play the conflict of between the King and the Queen,
signifilies

between Agnimitra and Dharini, and the
cance of the contrast
the

hidden in the very
heroine.
it

names of the hero and the

Though

ises in

historical, yet symbolthe poet's mind the destructive force of uncontrolled desire just as did the name

name Agnimitra

is

Agnivarna
his

in

Raghuvamsha.
is

Agnimitra, "the

friend of the fire," the reckless person,

who

in

love-making playing with fire, not knowing that all the time it is scorching him black.

And what

a great name is Dharini, signifying the fortitude and forbearance that comes from

majesty of soul

!

What

an association

it

carries

of the infinite dignity of love, purified by a selfabnegation that rises far above all insult and
baseness of betrayal
!

In Shakuutald this conflict of ideals has been

THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST
shown,
the
all

57

through the drama, by the contrast of
heartlessness of the king's court

pompous

and the natural purity of the forest hermitage. The drama opens with a hunting scene, where the king is in pursuit of an antelope. The
appears like a menace symbolising the spirit of the king's life clashing against the spirit of the forest retreat, which is
the chase
cruelty of

"sharanyam sarva-bhiUanam

"

(where

all

crea-

tures find their protection of love). And the pleading of the forest-dwellers with the king to spare the life of the deer, helplessly innocent

and

beautiful, is the pleading that rises from the " heart of the whole drama. Never, oh, never is

the arrow meant to pierce the tender body of a deer, even as the fire is not for the burning of
flowers."

In the Rdmdyana,
in their banishment,
forest
;

Rama

and

his

companions,
forest after

had to traverse

they had to live in sleep on the bare ground.

leaf- thatched huts, to

But

as their hearts

felt their

kinship with woodland,

hill,

and stream,

they were not in exile amidst these. Poets, brought up in an atmosphere of different ideals,
opportunity of depicting in dismal colours the hardship of the forest-life
this

would have taken

in order to bring out the

martyrdom of Rama-

58

CREATIVE UNITY
the emphasis of a strong conBut, in the Rdwdyana, we are led to
all

chandra with
trast.

realise the greatness of the hero,

not in a fierce

struggle with Nature, but in sympathy with it. Sita, the daughter-in-law of a great kingly

read house, goes along the forest paths. " She asks Kama about the flowering trees, and shrubs and creepers which she has not seen
:

We

her request Lakshmana gathers and brings her plants of all kinds, exuberant with flowers, and it delights her heart to see the
before.

At

forest rivers, variegated with their streams

and

sandy banks, resounding with the and duck.
"

call

of heron

When Rama

first

took

his

abode in the

Chitrakuta peak, that delightful Chitrakuta, by the Malyavati river, with its easy slopes for landing, he forgot all the pain of leaving his

home

in the capital at the sight of those

wood-

lands, alive with beast

and

bird."

Having lived on that hill for long, Rama, who " was " giri-vaiia-priya (lover of the mountain
and the
"
forest), said

one day to Sita

:

When

I look

the loss of

my

upon the beauties of this hill, kingdom troubles me no longer,

nor does the separation from

my

friends cause

me any

pang."

Ill Strangely enough. the loss seemed to be so great to the forest itself. only to each other. but to the universe of That is why. when Sita was taken away. now in hermitage. : but preaches. These only seem tolerable in comparison with the vicissitudes of fortune in the life. in Shakespeare's dramas. now in woodland.THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST Rama riot life. foreign scenes have been introduced in connection with some working of the life of unscrupulous ambition. we find a secret vein of complaint against the artificial life of the king's court the life of ungrateful treachery and falsehood. 59 Thus passed Ramachandra's exile. does not bring peace. almost everywhere. The love which and Sita bore to each other united them. in his dramas. In Cymbeline the mountainous forest and the cave appear in their aspect of obstruction to life's Athens but there Nature opportunities. like those of Kalidasa. artificial court is In As You Like It the It it forest of Arden didactic in its lessons. when says . It is And perfectly obvious in offers Timon of no message or balm to the injured soul of man.

and Nature cowers before it. I hope it is needless for me to say that these . to contribute her own music to the music of man's Juliet Tale the cruelty of a king's suspicion stands bare in its relentlessness. we are introduced his to a scene of barren heath where the three witches appear as personifications of Nature's malignant forces and in King Lear it is the . fury of a father's love turned into curses by the ingratitude born of the unnatural life of the on the heath. In The Winters consolation. offering no love. In Macbeth. through Prosperous treatment of Ariel and Caliban we realise man's struggle with Nature and longing to sever connection with her. Except in a passing glimpse of a court that finds its symbol in the storm moonlight night in the love scene in the Merchant of Venice. including Rorneo and and Antony and Cleopatra. Nature has not been allowed in other dramas of this series. as a prelude to a bloody crime of treachery and treason. The tragic intensity of Hamlet and Othello is unrelieved by any touch of Nature's eternity.60 CREATIVE UNITY Hath not old custom made this life more sweet Than that of painted pomp ? Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious court ? In the Tempest.

but to show in his works the gulf between Nature and human nature owing to the tradition of his race and time. In Milton's Paradise Lost. find no trace of the love We . the very subject India which stirred the soul of dwelling in the garden of Paradise seems to afford a special opportunity for bringing out the true greatness of man's relationship with Man Nature. there of kinship between them and man. though he has shown to us the animals living there in amity and peace among themselves. attitude of We observe a completely different mind in the later English poets like Wordsworth and Shelley.THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST observations are 61 not intended to minimise Shakespeare's great power as a dramatic poet. But though the poet has described to us the beauties of the garden. to recognise in them the truth of the interpenetration of human life with the cosmic life of the world. is no reality They were created for man's enjoyment man was their lord and master. through the influence of the newly discovered philosophy of Germany and aroused the attention of other Western countries. which can be attributed in the main to the great mental change in Europe. at that particular period. . is nature It cannot be said that beauty of in his ignored writings only he fails .

ara-Sambhava and Shakuntala. such was their awe of man. according to her. such as we find in the love scenes between the man and woman Kum. that India denied the superiority of man. of the Ganges and the Jamuna are India has saturated with her love and . Lake Manasa and the conrivers are sacred. insect or worm Durst enter none. fluence sacred. all spots which display a special beauty or splendour of nature. These had no original attraction on account of any special fitness for cultivation or settlement. IV India holds sacred. Here. upon supply of his necessities. where the first man and in woman rested in the garden of Paradise Bird. but the test of that superiority lay. The Himalayas of India are Her majestic sacred and the Vindhya Hills. in the comprehensiveness of in the aloofness Not sympathy. beast.62 CREATIVE UNITY first gradually and themselves overflowing the rest surpassing of creation. In the seclusion of the bower. and counts as places of pilgrimage. not of absolute distinction. man look to Nature as a not source of is free. but to realise his soul beyond himself.

THE RELIGION OF THE FOREST 63 worship the great Nature with which her children are surrounded. but the two shores spoke historical to me in of the two different dramas its enacted. The civilisation which found growth Egypt was continued life. which awakening to the soul of man. India gains the world through worship. kept apart by the tearful entreaty of the sea from whose womb they had their birth. in my recent voyage to Europe. When. . across long centuries. through spiritual communion and the idea of freedom to which she aspired was based upon the realisation brings its . of her spiritual unity. elaborately rich with senti- ments and expressions of with pictures. There was an immense stretch of silence on the left shore as well as on the right. we passed by the red and barren rocks of Arabia on our right side left. food gives them and whose water cleanses them. and from whose majestic mystery conies forth the constant revelation of the infinite in music. whose light fills their eyes with gladness. scent. and the gleaming sands of Egypt on our They seemed to me like two giant brothers exchanging with each other burning glances of hatred. and colour. whose life. our ship left Aden and sailed along the sea which lay between the two continents.

Both of them were great. naturally dwelt two eminent sages have been described in our mythology. The one contained in it the spirit of conquest and the other the spirit of harmony. His mind upon the principle of separateIt roused in him the spirit of fight. One was Vashishtha and another Vishvamitra. And both of these have their truth and purpose in human existence. The . There man never raised the barrier of alienation between himself and the rest of the world. This was sculptures. which spread the festivities of life on its banks across the heart of the land. His idea of God became that of a jealous God. a country whose guardian -spirit was a noble river. this spirit was a force that drove him far and wide.64 CREATIVE UNITY and ceremonials. These two civilisations represented two fundamental divisions of human nature. There man felt himself isolated in his hostile and bare surroundings. and ness. temples. Vishvamitra sought to achieve characters of . On soil civilisation the opposite shore of the Red Sea the which grew up in the inhospitable of Arabia had a contrary character to that of Egypt. but they represented two and there was conflict different types of wisdom between them.

its discipline. . all the fire and fight are changed into the smile of flowers and the songs of birds. who called him to kill war from the demons and gave him weapons that were irresistible. But his hurt and his loss could not touch the ^illumination of his soul forgive. of inner peace and perhis initiation to But he had Vishvamitra. But the harmony .THE RELIGION OF THE F. 65 power and was proud of it Vashishtha was rudely smitten by that power. Its best wisdom. Can it be true that they shall never be reconciled ? If so. When they join hands. has been busy with the one great creation of spiritual life. the fection. epic. Those two sages symbolise in themselves the two guiding spirits of civilisation. then either there is the death of cold rigidity or that of suicidal explosion. for ages. the great hero of our his initiation to the spiritual life life had from Vashishtha. teachers.OREST . its literature and art. all the teachings and self-sacrifice of its noblest have been for this. Humanity. can ever the age of peace and co-operation dawn upon the human world ? Creation is the harmony of contrary forces the forces of attrac- tion and repulsion. for he rose above them and could Ilamachandra. When there is only one of them triumphant and the other defeated.

has not yet been perfected by man in his civilisation. is that the power which accomplishes the miracle of ruins. He comes back to his work. building his world in the midst of desolation and baffled over His history is the history of his aspiration interrupted and renewed. however. no passion. . but a love which accepts the bonds of self-control from the joy of its own immensity a love whose sacrifice is the manifestation of its endless wealth within itself. which give their rhythm to all creation. creation. and the Creator in him is and over again. therefore. and makes himself busy. And one truth of which he must be reminded. by bringing conflicting forces into the is harmony of the One.66 CREATIVE UNITY of contrary forces.

AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION 67 .

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but through the practices voice of a living man and the love that flowed from a human heart. nor in religious by ages. neither in texts of Scripture. declared salvation to all almost within the master's lifetime. . sanctified And I believe this was the first occasion in the history of the world when Western Avatfir found its place in religion. nor in symbols of deities. without disWhat was the tinction." This wisdom came. as by right man's own. "I am here to emancipate you from the miseries of the thraldom of self. special force which startled men's minds and. spread his It was the unique signifiteachings over India ? cance of the event.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION IN historical time the Buddha comes first of those who men. scholars are never tired of insisting that Buddhism 69 the idea of the. and said to when a man came to men them.

quite true. must in that heart to process itself reveal to in all humanity. adventures of love and beneficence. The its personality which stirs the immense depths. a religion in the complete Like the religion of the Upanishads. ism also generated two diyergent currents the one impersonal. making sense of the word. The religious enthusiasm which cannot be bound but overflows into within any daily ritual. men that the infinite which is is And it what happened in Buddhism. In answer. coldly leading to the path of extinction. it may possibly be said that this was due to the personBut that also is not ality of Buddha himself. They forget that it was held to be a religion that roused in its devotees an inextinguishable fire of enthusiasm say that a philosophy of suicide can keep kindled in human hearts for centuries such fervour of self-sacrifice barriers. is and carried them to mountain and desert lifelong exile across the To to go against all the laws of sane psychology.70 is CREATIVE UNITY of the nature of a moral code. . preaching the abnegation of and the other perself through discipline. must have in its centre that element of personality which rouses the whole soul. leading it human to impossible deeds of heroism. Buddh.

find its reality in the emptiness of the truthless abyss. suffering. some planets were We discovered exactly in the place where they should be. some ultiwhich in its greatness can accept suffering and transmute it into the profound peace of self-renunciation. by any logic. some positive ideal.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION t 71 the cultivation of sympathy for all creatures. Mahayana. which is immeasurable love. is The meaning of such sacrifice to reach mate truth. and devotion to the infinite truth of love the other. preaching . by calculations made in accordance with the law of gravitation. True emancipation from self. And the object of Buddha's meditation and his teachings sufferings. which is called the sonal. but rather by changing its value in the realm of truth the truth of the higher life of love. was to free humanity from But what was the path that he ? revealed to us Was it some negative way it? of evading pain and seeking security against On the contrary. his path was the path of sacrifice the utmost sacrifice of love. Such a law of gravita- . It could never. which life is the inalienable condition of the limited of the can never be attained by fleeing from it. had its origin in the positive element contained in Buddha's teachings. have learnt that.

since the very idea itself came to them as a freedom a free- whom dom from nificance. as a man. the And when ginated the doctrine of the Dharma-kaya. even without any corroborative evidence. positive and powerful. when felt the individual. we can be sure. Infinite in himself the made concrete. The joy was too great for them. but for the purpose of giving oil The light to the lamp. not for the purpose of diminishing it. as they were by the preaching of the Buddha.72 tion there CREATIVE UNITY is also in the moral world. discover in the heart of the Mahayana system and we have no hesitation in saying that the truth of Buddhism is there. that there must have been some great luminous body of attraction. I repeat. It was the felt first instance. the sense of their measureless insigIt was the first time. and not a mere unfathomable vacancy. has to be burnt. the Infinite Wisdom and Love manifested in the Buddha. he said at the same Thus orilove must be realised. . said. as I have indi- when men that the Universal and the Eternal Spirit was revealed in a human vidual they had known and touched. And when we find men's minds disturbed. that the self moment that Buddha said must go. It is exactly this which we .

AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION What was more. as one with the current of the Eternal Love itself. The idea grew and widened until men began to feel that this Infinite Being was already in every one of them. the potentiality of Buddha that is to say. They felt truth. in we its find the arts and sciences springing up wake. and that it rested with them- remove the sensual obstructions and In every indireveal him in their own lives. selves to vidual there was. institutions started for alleviating the . they realised. was in the eternal nature of must belong to a series of manifestations there must have been numberless other revelations in the past and endless instead that it others to follow. were Struck with the idea that such an effluence could never have been due to a single cataclysm of history unnatural and therefore untrue. the Infinite made manifest. that the event . to keep in mind the great fact that the preaching of the Buddha in India was not We have followed by stagnation of would surely have happened if humanity was without any positive goal and his teaching was without any life as permanent value in itself. On the contrary. those 73 men who felt the love welling forth from the heart of Buddhism.

During the period of Buddhism the doctrine of deliverance flourished. in our own country human nature. that power came into the individual being It made like was the sudden discovery of a great mine of living wealth. In the time of the dividual discovered his first by witnessing a in sympathy with all creatures. man who united his heart . It like the is not its birthright. Buddha the inown immensity of worth. from its despised corner of indignity. Some mighty power was suddenly roused from its obscurity. through the power of a love that knew no bounds and then by learning that the same . activity man in a large part of its full And only by conscious of his infinite worth. which reached all mankind and released man's inner resources from Even to-day we see neglect and self-insult. and sending out its eager branches into freedom. slowly and painfully finding its way to assert the inborn majesty imprisoned tree finding a rift in the wall. that its love is for the sunshine. human and non-human. in all worlds. to prove that darkness is of man. which worked for long centuries and changed the history of the world. and great centres of education founded.74 CREATIVE UNITY misery of all creatures.

T. sees for love is the essence . and that " the heart of the Eternal Enlightenment veiling in his this every moment claimed its un- Nagarjuna speaks of Bodhi-hridaya (another of whose names is heart. and love's does not lead to emptiness. to Bodhi-hridaya. the positive quality of the Infinite. : own Bodhi-Citta) as follows One who understands of Bodhi-hridaya. but to fulfilment. . by the further help of illustration from a popular religious sect of Bengal. Man truth is not in his limitations. " the heart sacrifice accordingly of enlightenment. Suzaki." The members 1 of the religious sect I have Outlines of Mahdydna Buddhism. but that this For love is truth can be attained by love. 1 everything with a loving heart the nature of the Bodhi-hridaya.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION behind the clouds of the Bodhi-hridaya " 75 light of perfection lay confined within himself selfish desire. Infinite. which give him assurance that this of the individual self. by which he can transcend the finite nature would never feel the indignity of his limitations if these were inWithin him he has glimpses of the evitable. that the reli- My gious instinct of man urges him towards a truth. by Dr. object in writing this paper is to show. D.

my reli- which seem to belong to opposite poles. to point out the fundamental unity in them. not through any conventional valuation of society. and sings : Make way^ O J3urst The bud. the eternal light of love. and their very obscurity helps them in their seeking. is But together these two faith. who have no system of metaphysics to support their object in bringing close gions. emancipating In both these religions us from the we find man's yearning to attain the infinite worth of his individuality. this to the fulfilment likens blossoming of a bud. from a direct source. ? Canst thou remain a bud any longer .76 CREATIVE UNITY call mentioned themselves " Baiil. the enlightenment which the soul longs for. opening spirit has overtaken thee. in a fulfilment Both of them believe reached by love's which is dominance of self. It would be absurd to say that there is little difference between Buddhism and the religion of these simple people. in holding that the realisation of our ultimate The Baiil object is waiting for us in ourselves. but through his They agree perfect relationship with Truth. make way." They live outside social recognition. open Lliy heart and make way.

in her direct vision of the infinite personality in the heart of all things. and reverently murmured to herself. Just at that basket." I felt that this woman. . t>n woman from to see me." Then she took the discarded flowers in her . moment my gardener came with his when the woman understood that in the vase and the flowers away. kissed them and touched them with her forehead. truly represented the spirit of India. she " You are and said to on my me. to looked pained table were going to be thrown make place for the fresh ones. palms. are " ? you coming to meet me underneath Evidently she pitied me who lived (according to her) prisoned behind walls. ban* ished away from the great meeting-place of the the trees All." my " When She fixed her star-like eyes upon face and startled me with the question.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION IT 77 One ascetic day. the mean" ing of which is the woman who is mad about all things. " Beloved of my heart. where she had her dwelling. the neighbourhood came She had the name " Sarva-khepi " given to her by the village people. in a small village in Bengal. always engaged reading and writing you do not see.

Its words are so simple that it makes me hesitate to render them in a foreign tongue. profoundly stirred my mind. The first Baiil song.78 CREATIVE UNITY In the same village I came into touch with Baiil singers. the best part of a song is missed for thereby its when the tune is absent movement and its colour are lost. the Man of my Heart. whichr I chanced to hear with any attention. vaguely classifying general name of Vairagis. and it becomes like a butterfly whose wings have been plucked. He gives . Man of my " This phrase. I some their names. but is usual with the shall " The Where first line may be translated thus : I meet him. the supreme truth of all existence in the revelation of the Infinite in my own humanity. It means that. for is me. and set them forward for critical observation. the " Baiil sect." to the Baiil. them in my mind under the ascetics." Heart ? is not peculiar to this song. Besides. or and so passed them by. . occasionally seen had known them by them singing and begging in the street. "The Man of my Heart. is like a divine instrument perfectly tuned. The time came when I had occasion to meet with some members of the same body and talk to them about spiritual matters.

AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION 79 expression to infinite truth in the music of life. And a sect. is common to most of the songs of his sect. This has to be done daily by its perfect expression in life. in gladness of heart. the Man of my Heart ? I seek him wandering from land that moonrise of beauty. am listless for which which to light my life. where the light of modern it is education hardly finds an entrance. In the song I have translated above. while wealth and respectability shun its utter indigence. earning ^bout ten shillings a month. And the longing for the truth which is in us. the longing of the singer to realise the infinite in his own personality is expressed. He was a which he gave such intensity of expression. The sentiment. breaks out in the following Baiil song riot : which we have Where shall I He js I lost to me and meet him. of the poet who wrote this . to land. I 'long to see in the fulness of vision. yet realised. and he died before he had completed his teens. to He modern age. song was almost illiterate and the ideas he received from his Baiil teacher found no distraction from the self -consciousness of the village postman. in . is The name was Gagan. almost exclusively confined to that lower floor of society.

own Over and regard to its religious consciousness. but also that God is in each of special incarnations in their simple theology. love . has been Something of in the working popular mind of India. of the modern age the of truth in its perfection life In the political idea of democracy has given the individual. and the Finite. man is assert that Why finds ? gods in Paradise envy human beings. . Therefore Humanity is a necessary its factor in the perfecting of the divine truth. the same idea. Because God's will. just as the personal expression is beauty. These people have no is God special that to be born a that can fall They say the greatest privilege to a creature in all the world. in giving his love. Then only the unity the Cycle of Truth complete. must is rise into of the Infinite. completeness in man's will returning that love. over again it tries to assert. comes down into the manifoldness of the Finite for its self-realisation. we find. . The for its Infinite. with possibilities. It gives each mankind faith in man trust in his and pride in his humanity.80 love. not only that God is^or each of us. CREATIVE UNITY For the personal expression of is life. because they know that us. in its perfection. They to each individual. self-expression.

in his eternal right of Truth. then this song would be pathetic in its presumption. my Lover But this longing is not only mine. but also yours. composed. its music. If the world were a mere expression of formative forces. Your power is great and there I am not equal to you but it lies even in me to make you smile. then it would be an to utter humiliation to exist at all in this world. only in your delight in my love . in letters. then this play of love remains complete. For your lips can have their smile. fact almost below zero : longing is to meet you in play of love. and if you and I in- never meet. and therefore you are importunate.AN INDIAN FOLK RELJGION The 81 dignity of man. and your flute My . creation call all in is But why is there beauty at the beauty whose only meaning : disinterestedness as a u Your flute response ? The poet proudly says could not have its music of beauty if your delight in a that claims were not in my love." If this were not true. not by a theologian or a man of but by one who belongs to that ninety per cent of the population of British India whose education has been far less than elementary. If it were solely our business seek the . even as I am. finds expression in the following song.

my friend. for long I refuse to beg a sight of you. that he is neither wealthy nor learned. if you do not feel my need.82 Lover. and CREATIVE UNITY Jiis to keep himself passively aloof in the infinity of his glory. goes ahout singing for alms from door to door. and so wait. and the poet uses this incident for his to : simile . and refuse to accept the everlasting insult latent in the onesided importunity of Baiil says a slave. great compensation. my heart's lover. Do not ask me to walk farther. for he has Yet he has come close to his his Lovers in In Bengal the women bathing the river often use their overturned water heart. let from seeing you. or actively masterful we only in imposing his commands upon us. in the world of men. in hopes that your own love will send you to find me out. am blind with market dust and midday glare. with his one-stringed instrument and long robe of patched-up rags on his back I : what the stop and sit here on the road. jars keep themselves floating when they swim. . And this is he who. me turn back I Yet I have been travelling to seek you. then should dare to defy him. The poet is fully conscious that his value in is the world's market pitifully small . If your love can be complete without mine.

AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION It is 83 lucky that I am an empty vessel. but the whose presence is needed to give the royal banquet its sole meaning. and I dance rhythm of your heart-throbs and heaving of the waves. look fortunate ones. and have become scarce invited guest from the very exquisiteness of their excelIn the following poem he is addressing lence. and wealth can. is not Let confined to any particular sect in India. ever misses the touch of the Lover's arms. down upon them as the who are left on the shore but whose life unfor their worldly uses. they are use . The feeling that man is not a mere casual visitor at the palace-gate of the world. honour. distinguished people of the world do not know that these beggars deprived of education. in the pride The great of their souls. For when you swim. for But I am to the carried to the river in your arms. me quote here some poems from a mediaeval poet of Western India Jnandas whose works are nearly forgotten. in the dusk of our day's end. God's messenger. and : in the night's dark- ness . Your full vessels are left on the empty shore. who comes to us in the morning light of our childhood. I keep floating by your side.

the proud servant. carries the same message God's love finding its finality in man's love. habited in. wretch. bring the invitation with all ceremony. . and How who Open your It is will you keep him waiting. and then came night. And I. gate. God. man. to lure the heart of one who is nothing ? is the answer of the messenger : Great is the festival hall where you are to be the only guest. my dear one. your song wore a tune of ascetic grey. and make this very moment fit for the O the song of man's pride in the value given to him by Supreme Love andrealised by his own love. has waited for you for ages in silence and stillness? union.84 CREATIVE UNITY Messenger. morning brought you. is the complement of the Lover. The Vaishnava : religion. After sunset. O King of I Kings ? My Kingdom long is poor for want of him. wait for him in sorrow. thus the poet knows that the silent rows of stars carry God's own invitation to the individual soul. And The same poet What hast thou sings to : come beg from the beggar. the lover. Your message was written Why This is in bright letters across the black. in the internal According to it. such splendour about you. which has become the popular religion of India. gold. Therefore the letter to you is written from sky to sky.

his teacher. full of the dignified beauty of truth. sweet juice but by artificially but many. all tinsels of ornament. which shuns poet.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION love 85 ever drama of existence . The Baiil poet expressly Baiils says that the senses if we try to approach : God through we miss him of your eyes Bring him not into your house as the guest but let him come at your heart's invitation. that ripe. and God's call is wafted in man's heart in the world-music. . ripe. have no temple or image for their is needful for worship. . song that the true colour decoration appears on the skin of the fruit when its inner core is filled with smearing it with colour from outside you do not make it And he says of his Guru. who. For his teacher is not one. . is to lose Opening your doors to that which is seen only. drawThis idea has been ing him towards the union. he is puzzled to find in which direction he must make salutation. moving on. and this utter simplicity men whose one subject is to realise the innermost nearness of God. But for these Bauls this idea is direct arid simple. expressed in rich elaboration of symbols verging upon realism. form a procession of wayfarers. The Baiil sect mark on when asked why he had no answered in his his forehead. it.

lie also knows that the objects of sense can reveal their spiritual meaning only when they : are not seen through mere physical eyes Eyes can see only dust and But feel it with your heart. the outward shelters which are too costly for But this human body people like themselves. it is pure joy. . earth. It is a truth easier of discovery by these people their superiority. which they the philosophy of the body. God finds his joy in dwelling in others of yet lower birth. may of humble origin than by men of proud estate. some men. 1 leave it with the observation that this mystic philosophy of the body is the outcome of the attempt to get rid of .86 CREATIVE UNITY Yet. in every form. The flowers of delight blossom on all sides. all of ours is made by God's own and even if hand. and the key to it has to be found from those who know. from his in the pride of own love. Evidently the underlying idea is that the individual's body is itself the temple. despise it. being a poet. but they keep its Baiils it is only for the initiated. Divine appears before the soul. But as the key is not for us outsiders. in whose inner mystic shrine the secret. but where is your heart's thread to weave them in a garland ? These call have a philosophy.

. summer and in rains. While the ambitious world of wealth and power despises him. but he knows how precious his own life has been Lover. He does : I am poured forth in living notes of joy in and sorrow I by your breath. If ever let it fall into other hands. the tune is so precious to me. So we find that this man also has his disgust of defilement. not grieve.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION i 87 pride of the Baiil beggar is not in his worldly distinction. am fashioned to music. He feels himself like a flute The through which God's own breath of : love has been breathed My My heart is like a flute he has played on. he in his turn thinks that the world's touch desecrates him who has been made sacred by the touch of his not envy us our life of ambition and achievements. Let him break it to pieces and strew the dust with them. fling it him lover's. Our joys and sorrows are contradictory wheif But for the self separates them in opposition. dear to him. Therefore. but in the distinction that God himself has given to him. if to-day alien breath have entered it and sounded strange notes. Morning and evening. Yet should I shall I be wholly spent in some flight of song. flute is away.

or sorrow that he in God's hands.88 CREATIVE UNITY heart in which self merges in God's love. Though you never make the shore. though you let me sink. or pain. and also the boatman. saving how them from degradation imposed by the or of the . that I had neither the training nor the opportunity to It is study this mendicant religious sect in Bengal from an ethnological standpoint. Save me or kill me as you wish. TIT needless to say. you are the sea. not by the learned authorities in the . then what is the sea ? Let it surge and toss me on its waves. they So the Balil's prayer is lose their absoluteness. to feel in all situations is in danger. how the spirit of man. society of the learned. of the rich. whatever and however you appear. only never leave me in If others' hands. I was attracted to find out the living currents of religious movements work in the heart of the people. before I conclude. I shall be content. led thither. He solves the problem of emancipation from sufferings by accepting and setting them in a higher context : the boat. reaches fulfilment. why should I be foolish and afraid ? 1 am Is the reaching the shore a greater prize than losing myself with you ? you are only the haven. as they say. by making high-born use even of its obstacles. I live in you.

Whatever the words I sang. ever-moving. time seemed lost in darkness. and whatever I O my Lover. pain cried through them for even my songs thirsted O my When Lover. The night deepened. O my Lover. my Best in all the world. my Best in all the world. a longing burned in my heart. its thy hand dropped sceptre to take up the lute and . my Beloved. or aspiration of the loving soul. but by the unsophisticated scriptures. then I bowed my head towards thy kingly court still far away. arid pure. I my can think of nothing better than to conclude paper with a poem of Jnandas. my Beloved. who is this whose arms enfold me ? Whatever I have to leave. cold. my Beloved.. let Only . even getting mixed with some mud in its course. But God's manifest shower falls direct on the plain of humble as hearts. me walk with thee. let me leave have to bear. let me bear. in which the all aspiration of simple spirits has found a devout expression I : had travelled all day and was tired . it is soaked into the underground currents.AN INDIAN FOLK RELIGION I 89 by the mechanical impulse of the dogma-driven crowd. Ah. strike the uttermost chords And my heart sang out. . flowing there in various channels. On the inaccessible mountain peaks of theology the snows of creed remain eternally rigid. but invisible. my Best in all the world.

come down And in my heart sing thy songs. . in love. Descend at whiles from thy high audience amid joys and sorrows. O my Lover.90 CREATIVE UNITY hall. my Beloved. my Best in all the world. Hide in all forms and delights.

EAST AND WEST 91 .

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shame or exaltation. joy or sorrow. For lack of time and for the sake of convenience we generalise and crush our human facts into the packages within the steel trunks that hold our travellers' reports. Our knowledge of our own countrymen and our feelings about them have slowly and unconsciously grown out of innumerable facts of contradictions and subject to incessant change.EAST AND WEST I IT is not always a profound interest in man that carries travellers nowadays to distant lands. It is an immediate consciousness of much personality. because we know because our knowledge is more than knowledge. We cannot define to our- selves what we . are as a whole. any evaluation of which carries some emotion. 93 . More often it is the facility for rapid movement. They have the elusive mystery which are full and too fluidity of life.

but. on being compelled to conclusions. When a stranger from the West travels in the Eastern world he takes the facts that displease him and readily makes use of them for his rigid fixed upon the unchallengeable of It is like his authority personal experience. habits are insular. and expect the latchkey that opens their lodging-house door on earth to fit their front door in the other world. . . some strange watercourse. and in their intellectual nature love home comforts. draws angry comparisons as he goes from every patch of mud and every pebble which his feet across wade encounter.94 CREATIVE UNITY in a foreign land But we try to find our com- pensation for the meagreness of our data by the compactness of the generalisation which our imperfect sympathy itself helps us to form. As travellers for they have grown too they are a failure accustomed to their mental easy-chairs. There are men who dis- become impatient and angry at the least comfort when their habits are incommoded. Our mind has but its faculties which are universal. their In idea of the next world of conjure up the ghosts their they probably slippers and dressing-gowns. a man who has his own boat for crossing his village stream.

. in their rounded com- The modern age has brought the geography difficult for of the earth near to us. been the case with regard to the meeting of Western people in our days with others for whom they do not recognise any obligation of kinship. or else obstructed. like earth are full of ups and downs. our knowledge of foreign people grows insensitive. but made it us to come into touch with man. and therefore easily becomes both unjust and cruel in its character. that our mutual under- standing is either aided. selfish Such has. too often. which. We hardly meet men : but only specimens of are in haste to seek for general knowledge. strange lands and observe . We go to we do not live there. by the general emanations forming the social atmoThese emanations are our collective sphere. been admitted that the dealings between different races of men are not merely It has between individuals . yet are one pleteness. types and overlook individuals. more than the itself.EAST AND WEST i 95 realities which are of of life. local make. and also and contemptuous in its application. We When we fall into the habit of neglecting to use the understanding that comes of sympathy in our travels.

it. who he is under the influence of no longer a pure individual with his conscience fully awake to the judging of the is value of a passive human being. When we approach an Indian this collective idea. the caste-idea is a collective idea in India. the people have a certain collective idea that obscures their humanity. He is more or less a medium for giving expression to the is sentiment of a whole community. Let me try to explain what I feel about II Lately I w ent r to visit some battlefields of France which had been devastated by war. It emphasises the negative side of the his individual separateness. hurts the complete truth in man.96 ideas CREATIVE UNITY and collective feelings. For instance. still The awful calm wrinkles of pain of desolation. In the West. It adjusts human beings according to some mechanical arrangeIt ment. also. which bore ugly ridges death-struggles stiffened into brought before my mind the vision . merely institutional. It is evident that the caste-idea it is not creative. generated according to special historical circumstances.

but inhospitIt has no simple-hearted welcome for able. It was a purpose. which had a living body. a and complete humanity to temper it. yet gaping mouth that could devour. in the same soil. and bulging brains that could conspire and plan. H . is produced in I realise the effect of the West life my mind when upon Eastern to us. and in customs expressing the poetry of social relationship. which is stupendously big and powerful. In that country the old world presents itself with some ideal of perfection. in which man has his varied opportunities of self-revelation in art. but no tear. 1 feel the contrast very strongly in Japan. in religious faith. in ceremonial. which had no shape.EAST AND WEST 97 of a huge demon. is the West which. in its relation all plan and purpose incarnate. There one feels that deep delight of hospitality which life offers to life. in Something of the same sense of oppression a different degree. no meanhad two arms that could strike and break ing. And side by side. the same desolation in a different aspect. and yet not having the wholeness of life it was the most terrible of life's enemies. stands the modern world. without any superfluous humanity. Because it was passion belonging to life.

The West comes to not with the imagination and sympathy that create and unite. through the mastery of laws of nature. is to liberate human souls from the dark dungeon of matter. I have been fortunate in coming into felt close touch with individual men and women with of the Western countries. . if my pride to acknowledge that. Western humanity has received its mission to be the in darkness. are causing pain and indignation throughout the Eastern countries. of conflict. teacher of the world For this very reason I have realised all the more . of a The wriggling utilitarianism. a mere force. ideal within yet the incompleteness of cannot but hurt humanity. I feel is my God the great light of culture be extinct in Europe. which has in it the principle of separation. in the present age. with all tentacles cold-blooded which the West has grasped the easily yielding succulent portions of the East. who even those who deny Him. and have them I their sorrows and shared their aspirations.98 CREATIVE UNITY It is man. but with a shock of passion us. have known that they seek the same God. It does mourn not hurt that her science. This passion is passion for power and wealth. life's living it . our horizon in the East will certain that.

There can be no doubt that God's choice has fallen upon the knights-errant of the West service of the present age . in spiritual power to blend and harmonise it lacks the sense of the great personality of man.EAST AND WEST 99 strongly. and emasculating entire races of men to the utmost degree of It is helplessness. to drug a great people with soul-killing poison. but the creative genius is in Man's spiritual ideal. Such a to momentous meeting be fruitful. on the other hand. in order in its heart some great emotional idea. wholly wanting . must have of humanity. that the dominant collective idea in the Western countries is not creative. She will destroy it. . if she does not use it for a great creation of man. darkening their whole future with the black mist of stupefaction. The materials for such a creation are in the hands of science. that the West has met the East. arms and armour but have they yet realised in their hearts the single-minded loyalty to their cause which can resist all temptations of bribery from the devil? The world to-day is offered to the West. It is ready to enslave or kill indi- viduals. for the have been given to them . generous and creative. The most significant fact of modern days is this.

in money. yet he was always afraid of intrusion. he had not in his nature the least trace of that selfsufficiency of goodness. sional mission of teaching sectarian creeds . upon exercising refused to hire con- He was pitiless in his exaction from veyances. teaching them French and German. Though he did our language. himself of his resources. and freely offered them his service. the people of the country. whom which humiliates by gifts the victims of its insolent benevolence. found employment in the houses of the rich.100 CREATIVE UNITY III When came I was young a stranger from Europe He chose his lodging among to Bengal. . and the He money thus earned he students in buying books. and strength. he took every occasion to frequent our meetings and cereriot know monies . yet whom he dearly He did not come to us with a profesloved. for the sake of a people who were obscure. to he was not born. shared with them their frugal diet. for. time. intent lie the utmost economy. to the point of privation and all this . hours of walking in the tropical spent to help poor This meant for him mid-day heat of a summer .

his health broke down. in We our mind. that it gave rise in our mind to a feeling of love bordering upon awe.EAST AND WEST and tenderly anxious lest 101 he might offend us by At last. who may not be known to and whose names have no place in the pages of history. according to his express desire. paradise of my individual life. his unstinted self-sacrifice for a people who had not even the power to give publicity to any benefacliving. and was cremated at our burning-ground. his name was Hamwas most remarkable in the coming to us in Bengal was the He came from What margren. He died. where dwell deathless memories of persons who brought some divine light to our life's experience. Let me confess to you that this man lives as one of those immortals in the others. all have a realm. a private paradise. event of his fact that in his own country he had chanced to read some works of my great countryman. were so utterly unlike anything we were accustomed to associate with the Europeans in India. Sweden. Ram . the manner of his the object of his life. The attitude of his mind. his modesty. under his ignorance of our customs. the continual strain of work in an alien climate and surroundings. tion bestowed upon them.

in spite of racial differences. to realise the It moved him greatness of Ram Mohan Roy. and all the inheritances of his His stay among us was too short He failed even to produce any outward result. and offer her his service. so deeply that lie resolved to go to the country which produced this great man. which was to found by the help of his scanty earnings a library as a memorial to Ram Mohan him a visible Roy. This young Swede had the unusual gift of a far- him even from and sighted intellect and sympathy. There he came at last. away from home and kindred motherland. which enabled his distance of space and time. Ram Mohan Roy lived in the beginning of the last century. and it is no exaggeration when I describe him as one of the immortal personalities of modern time. not the memory . 'and for his genius an immense veneration and his character. He was poor. and he had to wait some time in England before he could earn his passage money to India. But what I prize most in this life European youth. and thus to leave behind symbol of his devotion. and in reckless generosity of love utterly spent himself to the last breath of his life. who is left no record of his behind him.102 CREATIVE UNITY felt Mohan Roy. to achieve during his life what he had in his mind.

hands in comradeship by the two great hemi- spheres of the human world across the sea. . Nobel Prize was of individual merit . a greeting of hunian fellowship. which had the chief It meant joining cance for the present age. As no doubt but it was the acknowledgment of the East as a collaborator with the Western continents. and whom it is so easy to ignore or to humiliate. it was a recognition of great value to me.EAST AND WEST 103 of any service of goodwill. For the first time in the modern days this obscure individual from Sweden brought to our country the chivalrous courtesy of the West. of contempt is than the blindness of ignorance kills The blindness . IV To-day the real East remains unexplored. The coincidence came to me with a great and delightful surprise when the offered to me from Sweden. in contributing its riches to the common signifi- stock of civilisation. more hopeless for contempt the light which ignorance merely leaves The East is waiting to be underunignited. but the! precious gift of respect which he offered to a people who are fallen upon evil times.

It had all the glowing enthusiasm of a religion. in order not only to be able to give what is true in her. I have no doubt in Western countries . In Indian history. But the fact still remains that the Western mind.104 CREATIVE UNITY stood by the Western races. and it produced an immediate and a vast result even in his own lifetime. feelings of envy mutual among Western races themselves. the object of whose dream was the unification of hearts and ideals. spirit of martyrdom for the cause of justice arid truth which I have met with in the have been a great lesson and inspiration to me. everywhere raising thorny hedges of exclusion and offering human sacrifices to national It self-seeking. We must again guard our minds from any distrust encroaching of the individuals of a The active love of humanity and the nation. but also to be confident of her own mission. after centuries of contact with the East. the meeting of the Mussulman and the Hindu produced Akbar. as they fight over their spoils and display a carnivorous pride in their snarling rows of has intensified the teeth. has not evolved the enthusiasm of a chivalrous ideal It is which can bring this age to its fulfilment.

The time has come when Europe must know that the forcible parasitism which she has been practising upon the two large Continents of the world the two most unwieldy whales of humanity must be causing to her moral nature a gradual atrophy and degeneration. As an example. by Messrs. Now we care- must fully steal his limbs. guiding the helm of It is a passion." These two sentences. the more costly it will prove to her at last. articulated.EAST AND WEST my mind not so that the to its 105 West owes much of ttue greatness. as to its spirit of service devoted to the I welfare speak with a personal feeling of pain and sadness about the collective man. . Therefore power which civilisation. with a smack of enjoyment. Grogan and Sharp. In their reference to the African they are candid. when the accounts have to be rendered. And the signs are unmistakable. as when doctrines writers who have they say. " We have stolen his land. let me quote the following extract from the concluding chapter of From the Cape to Cairo. not an is The more success it has brought to Europe. Western ideal. marvellous training of intelits lect. that the accounts have been called for. two the power to inculcate their by precept and example.

We the white man of South Africa will decide/' The authors also confess that they have seen too much of the world "to have any lingering belief that Western civilisation benefits native races. or we must give we must make abuse of those And mere who point out the impasse cannot change the must decide. just as the modern avoids the word "injunction" politician adroitly "mandate. writers seem to hold that the only important . : " Either up the country commercially." The logic is simple the logic of egoism." "Compulsory word the and uses " labour in some form." And they add : " It is pathetic.106 CREATIVE UNITY have been nhore clearly explained in the following statement." implying thereby that moral sentiments have no serious effect in the history of human beings. and soon. where some sense of that the attenuated ghost of a buried conscience. prompts the writers to use the phrase "compulsory labour" in place of the decency which is honest word " slavery". is the corollary of our occupation of the country. But the argument is simplified by lopping off For these the greater part of the premise." they say. but it is history. Elsewhere they write the African work. Or rather facts.

trying to read the future by the light of the . and not a mere living profit to profit. Such. reckoning with the been made to serve it. appetites has its final stomach For. creeps back nearer home that the cultivation of unwholesome .EAST AND WEST 107 question for the white men of Sotith Africa is. it can sign peace " give peace . we ? are asking ourselves It everywhere in the East: " Is this frightfully over- grown power spirit? really great it can bruise us but can from without. a spiritual after man is being.. has been the condition of things for more than a century and to-day. Possibly they ignore the fact that commercial and political cannibalism. which has all. profitably practised upon foreign races. Possibly they believe that moral laws have a special domesticated breed of comfortable concessions for the service of the people in power. and dance jazz dances over the misery and degradation of a whole race of fellow-beings of a different colour from their own. how indefinitely to grow fat on ostrich feathers and diamond mines. however. European conflagration. money-bag jumping from and breaking the backbone of human races in its financial leapfrog. but can It ? add to our wealth of treaties.

the humiliation. but in harmony of life. what the confusion of thought was to which the Western poet. when a great personality. struck the keynote of the solemn music of the soul love for all creatures. the death on the other. not in the conflict of exploitation.108 It CREATIVE UNITY was about two thousand years ago that all-powerful Rome in one of its eastern provinces executed on a cross a simple teacher of an obscure tribe of fishermen. When we we see at once . then. Roman appetite governor or sleep. mountains. habits. not in the that music crossed seas. dwelling upon the difference think of it. shall we bow the head Kasmai devaya havisha vidhema ? (To which God shall we offer oblation ?) We of life know of an instance in our own history India. and deserts. felt no that day the falling off of his On that day there was. and languages were drawn together. And to-day ? ? To whom. in amity and peace. That was creation. both in his and voice. the agony. And Races belonging to different climates. On and festivity in the Governor's palace. on the one hand. the pomp of pride . clash of arms.

EAST AND WEST between said. has not sent out its humanity to meet the man Therefore in the East. but through the the of the West. a great deal more to man than that. but only its machine. and condescensions from printed circulars that give notice but never speak. You must know that red tape can never be a common human bond that official sealing-wax . not through to give us. can never provide means of mutual attachment that it is a painful ordeal for human beings to . The presence of the Western people in the East is a human fact. must are to gain anything from them. mere facts in a juxtaposition. it not be a mere sum-total of legal codes and If we Man is systems of civil and military services. if man . have to receive favours from animated pigeonholes. 109 East and West. referred when he It is " Never the twain shall meet" true that they are not yet showing any real sign of But the reason is because the West meeting. have our human birthright to claim direct help from We he has anything great It must come to us. never the twain shall wed. the poet's line has to be changed into something like this : Man And is man^ machine is machine.

that the East and the West are ever in search of each other. ye children of the Im- mortal. the fulness of physical strength. There. and on for the revelation that all that there : is. has the need of the left. he has sat face to face w ith the Infinite. which wields the sword. The East has its seat in the vast plains watched over by the snow-peaked mountains and fertilised by rivers carrying mighty volumes of water to the sea. who dwell in the Kingdom of Heaven. waiting r and sunset. in a rapture of realisation " Hearken to me. Earnestly I ask the poet of the Western world to realise and sing to yon with all the great power of music which he has. under the blaze of a tropical sun.110 CREATIVE UNITY spontaneous sacrifice made by those who have the gift. There man has had the repose of mind which has ever tried to set itself in inner notes of existence. and therefore the responsibility. He opens up the heart of has said. . in and that they must meet not merely . which holds the shield of safety. the physical life has bedimmcd the light of its vigour and lessened its claims. but in fulness of truth that the right hand. rise harmony with the In the silence of sun- star-crowded nights.

mystic consciousness of the Infinite. shining with the radiance of the sun. in structure. who in of the to the East. with his faith in his soul had met the touch did he Supreme Person in the never come you West and Heaven? Kingdom one of speak to you of the Did he not unite the truth. Such union became West with the East came to the possible. was greatly needed by the man of the West to give him his balance. Truth has its nest as well as sky. and not The the passion that destroys moral bonds. Supreme Person. in the realisation of one great Personality in all human persons ? Yes." The man from the eternal. from beyond darkness.EAST AND WEST I 111 the have known. That nest is definite . in the all East and the spiritual West in bond between unity of children of the Immortal. because with the ideal that is creative. the East did once meet the West profoundly in the growth of her life. which she brought with her. the East must find her own its balance in Science that the West the magnificent gift can bring to her. On the other hand. the need of it is never- . accurate in law of construction and though it has to be changed and rebuilt over and over again.

She has spurned the earth.112 CREATIVE UNITY ending and Its laws are eternal. But has she then to be told that the messenger of the sky and the builder of the nest shall never meet ? . her wings are hurt and she is tired. sorely needing help. She has not been attentive Trying to cross the trackthe East has relied solely upon her wings. less infinite. to learn its secret. till. buffeted by storms. For some centuries the East has neglected the nestbuilding of truth.

THE MODERN AGE 113 .

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The blow it gave to me was owing to the precious of the days of my boyhood. hand. a relationship of pure it ignores the rights utility humiliates man and needs of his deeper nature it feels no comthe other . the signatures of beauty. the first thing that shocked me. was the ruthless intrusion of the factories for making gunny-bags on both banks of the Ganges. Some on my years ago.THE MODERN AGE WHEREVER man ship. when I set out from Calcutta voyage to Japan. when the of this river was the only great thing near scenery memory 115 . On punction in maltreating and killing things of beauty that can never be restored. meets man in a living relation- the meeting finds its natural expression in works of art. in which the mingling of the personal touch leaves its memorial. with a sense of personal injury.

appeared to me like the loving arms of the villages clinging to it. the landing-stairs descending into its waters. with her up-tilted nose and stony stare. historical as- any annals of brave sufferings. But as an instance of the contrast of the . gathered around her any great sociations. had not completely disowned her foster-mother. the spirit of the ledger. She the Office ! brought with her no dower of distinction. which may uttered through its megaphone. no majesty of noble or romantic origin she never . "Let there be " and there was Calcutta. : In the truly be said about her genesis beginning there was the spirit of the Shop. caressed by its tides. bound in dead leather. when Calcutta. or memory of mighty deeds. sentiment in an upstart town with no depth of It her face and in her manners. I .116 CREATIVE UNITY of birthplace reminding me of the existence a world which had its direct communication with my our innermost Calcutta is spirit. The only thing which gave her the sacred baptism of beauty was the was fortunate enough to be born before the smoke-belching iron dragon had devoured the greater part of the life of its banks when river. and had not sur- rendered body and soul to her wealthy paramour. rural Bengal.

THE MODERN AGE ' 117 different ideal of a different age. in spontaneous generosity of But our minds will nevermore cease to be haunted by the perturbed spirit of the ques" " What about I admit they tion. which has become one with the love of the best in man. but overflow in self-sacrifice. gunny-bags ? are indispensable. with space for joy and worship. incarnated in the form of a town. if my opponent will only admit that even gunny-bags should have their limits. the to Benares memory of my last visit my mind. mother -call of the river Ganges. ever filling the atmosphere with an " unheard melody. What impressed I was there. which do not clamour gifts. and a and will ." attracting the whole population to its bosom comes to me most every hour of the day. and am willing to allow them a place in society. which nourishes its civilisation on its banks. The river. has given rise to this town as an expression of reverence. I am proud of the fact that India has felt a most profound love for this river. hills to guiding the sea with love of this course from the silence of the its myriad voices of solitude. was the while deeply. are sentiments in us which are for gain. This is to show that there creative. acknowledge the importance of leisure to man.

they will play havoc with our love of beauty. have some aspect of the complete in them but the fact that he is a manufacis infamy of their wealth. of truth. by those who earn more than cent per cent profit and wallow facts that in the is and generous and self-sacrificing. that he The man social . and and production are allowed to run amuck. by some proud . life. comes about that the who live on the brink of everlasting famine. and it our fellow-beings. are combined against.118 CREATIVE UNITY home of wholesale privacy. turer of gunny-bags is too ridiculously small to claim the right of reducing his higher nature to insignificance. to deaden our sensitiveness to its bragging of own of virility. So driven to lower the price of their labours to the point of blank despair. The pity is coarseness as a sign that when in the centre of our activities we acknowledge. of justice. If this concession to if profit humanity be denied or curtailed. The fragmentariness of utility should never forget human affairs. brave and kind. and also with our love for peasant cultivators of jute. subordinate position in It must not be permitted to its occupy more than its legitimate place and power in society. nor to have the liberty to desecrate the poetry of ideals. with associations of chaste love and mutual service.

119 name. or production not less wanton.THE MODERN AGE. tampering with our the best moral pride. becomes an outrage when it occupies those seats which are specially reserved for the im- mortals. there can be should be allowed a sufficiently large no question but . For in those days our intellect was not tempted to put its weight value. do not for a moment mean to imply that in any particular period of history men were free from the disturbance of their lower passions. But in recent centuries a devastating change has come over our mentality with regard to the Whereas in former ages acquisition of money. treated it men That it disrespect. by bribing us. it now with condescension. the supremacy of wanton destructiveness. balance of forces in society and our passions cherished no delusions about their own rank and They contrived no clever devices to hoodwink our moral nature. we shut out all the lights of our souls. and in that darkness our conscience and our consciousness of shame are hidden. and our love of freedom I is killed. Yet there was a struggle to maintain a . even with they bend their knees to it. into the balance on the side of over-greed. recruiting strength of . place in society. Selfishness ever had its share in government and trade.

got into our brain and it has occu- pied the throne of high social ideals. the possibilities of and pageantry.120 CREATIVE UNITY society in a traitor's campaign against human ideals. of the . and the idealising of organised selfishness. In former times the intellectual upheld their dignity of independence and were not giddily rocked on the tides of the money market. using every means. presuming It has not only science for its ally. methods Its are far-reaching and Like the claws of a tiger's paw. But. thus disguising. with the help of pomp Such true insignificance. by menace and threat. a state of things has come to pass because. with con- moral orbit. and. its profit have suddenly become immoderate. causing in our society a marked deviation from the the gravitational planet of greed. with the help of science. has pull of a giant centric rings of innumerable satellites. to seize upon the tempted by opportunity. they are softly sheathed. spiritual and powers of this earth as in the last fatal stages of disease. Like a usurper. to judge it. The its whole human world. such as nation -worship Its sure. this fatal influence of money lias affected our heart. felt throughout length and breadth. . right. but other forces also that have some semblance of religion.

plunder is ruthless behind a scientific system of screens. In fact. attacking the very roots of life. keeps its respectIt makes a liberal use of it falsehood in diplomacy. but the ideal to impart to it the depth responsibility. reverted to his primitive barbarism. By whitewashing ability its stains unblemished. only feeling embarrassed when its evidence is disclosed by others of the trade. superficial life. which have the formal appearance of being open and responsible to inquiries. a barbarism structive forces that whose path is lit up by the lurid light of inFor barbarism is the simplicity of a tellect. An It unscrupulous system of propaganda paves the tion. because they are fundaIts mental. man has been able to make his pursuit of power easier to-day by his art of mitigating the ob- come from the higher region With his cult of power and of his humanity. It may and be bewildering in its it surface adornments lacks complexities. of moral . in a great measure.THE MODERN AGE 121 massacres are invisible. administered in bottles with moral labels works up crowd upon them of soothing colours. his idolatry of money he has. way for widespread misrepresentathe psychology through regulated hypnotic doses at repeated intervals.

Through such catastrophe we can realise what formidable forces of annihilation are kept in check in our com- munities by bonds of social ideas nay. There is generated a disinterested passion of ravage. The force. This unhappiness goes on smouldering in the subconscious mind of the community to till its life is is reduced ashes or a sudden combustion produced. repressed personality of man generates an its inflammable moral gas deadly in explosive late war.122 CREATIVE UNITY II Society suffers from a profound feeling of unhappiness. fruitfulness. how human individuals freed from moral and We have seen in the still some of the spiritual bonds find a boisterous joy in a debauchery of destruction. made into multitudinous manifestations of beauty and . and also in more recent events of history. Thus we know that evils are. . not so much when it is in material poverty as when its members are deprived of a large part of their humanity. like meteors. stray fragments of life. which need the attraction of some great ideal in order to be assimilated with the wholesomeness of creation.

The genii of the self . said that forces lying latent in even a handful of dust are liberated from their bond when the the buildings of a w hole neighbourhood to the height of a mountain. . . It is elemental character of forces. it is in the mastery of it. In modern society the ideal of wholeness has lost its force. Goodness is the miracle which turns the into good. but the power of self-control and the love are truer subjects for the exultation of mankind.THE MODERN AGE The evil forces are literally 123 . outlaws they only need the control and cadence of to change spiritual laws The true goodness is not the negation of badness. irresponsible free- booters. . To own the secret of utilising these forces is a proud fact for us. Therefore its different sections have become detached and resolved into their Labour is a force so also is Capital so are the Government and the People so are Man and Woman.dedication of Arabian Nights may have in their magic their But the consciouslure and fascination for us. infinitely more . poses. of unity. they can lift r Such disfranchised forces. but may human be useful to us for certain purhabitations standing secure on their foundations are better for us. ness of God is of another order. them tumult of chaos into a dance of beauty.

play further tricks upon humanity by suddenly spiriting it away to some hill-top of desolation. and even now. their devotees are getting ready to . tion was not an arithmetical one its truth was deeper than the truth of number. to But our modern education is producing a habit of mind which is ever weakening in us the of truth spiritual apprehension a the truth of person as the ultimate reality of existence. any large body of people in their history became aware of their unity. They felt that their community was not a mere agglutination but a creation. just as grammar has its .124 CREATIVE UNITY precious in imparting to our minds ideas of the Yet these genii are spiritual power of creation. having upon it the living touch of the infinite Person. The realisation of this truth having been an end in itself. it self-sacrifice. Ill We know that when. Science has its proper sphere in analysing this world as a construction. that their combinaFor they of divinity. they expressed it in felt some popular symbol . at first. fulfilment. after the abroad everywhere late war. a gave meaning to the acceptance even of death.

in the infinite spirit. This modern meeting of men has not yet received the blessing of God. which is religion. and ships are plying from shore to shore to bring us together. it too is more than a syntax. remains no longer un- which an enormous number of men are used as materials. (He who the infinite revealed. a poem. and man. for In the modern become utilitarian. But the world. the reign of the machine and of method has been firmly established. though railway lines are laid far and wide. has been made and a homeless tramp. as a creation. and human relationships have in a large measure civilisation. and spirit in all beings. is not a mere construction It is . humanly speaking. They have humanity for sheer gain of power. man is imperfectly revealed.THE MODERN AGE 125 legitimate office in analysing the syntax of a poem. the As nomads. which we are apt to forget when takes exclusive hold of our minds. grammar Upon the loss of this sense of a universal personality. restless. For it has kept us apart. .) sees all things in dlma. It has been said in the Upanishads : Yastu sarvani bhutani atmanyevamipashyati Sarva bhuteshu chatmanam na tato vijugupsate. ravenous men from the West have exploited our Eastern corne to us.

which is sure to affect the successful peoples of the world in their intemperate prosperity. and in con- sequence there have appeared signs of a universal Faced with disruption which seems not far ofF. . tremendous in its force. spread all over the world . or by giving up the exclusive advan- West tages which they have unjustly acquired. the possibility of such a disaster.126 CREATIVE UNITY revelation does not lie For man's he is in the fact that The prea power. the great Powers of the are seeking peace. in the present scientific age. and its ashes smother IV terribly efficient method of repressing personality in the individuals and the races who The have failed to resist it has. not by curbing their greed. its in its outburst of fire and fume shelters life. themselves But can powers find ? Power has their to be made equilibrium in secure not . but made creeping lava covers up human by the ages. is like the eruption of Etna. and organises men into machines. but that he is a spirit. valence of the theory which realises the power of the machine in the universe. but by concentrating their forces for mutual security.

burrows bulk of the prosperous. The weak are as great a danger for the strong as quicksands for an elephant. The air which is so thin and un- substantial gives birth to storms that nothing This has been proved in history can resist. but also against weakness for there lies the peril of its losing balance. down. They do not assist progress because they do not resist they only .THE MODERN AGE 127 . in a moment the dissolving in air at under the explosion caused by the weak and outraged besiegers ? Politicians calculate upon the number of mailed hands that . The people who grow accustomed to wield absolute power over others are apt to forget that by so doing they generate an unseen force which some day rends that power into pieces. Yet in the psychology of the strong the lesson is despised and no count taken of the terribleness of the weak. Have we never securely buttressed on all sides. drag. only against power. read of the castle of power. over and over again. and stormy forces arising from the revolt of insulted humanity are openly gathering in the air at the present time. that. like This is the latent ignorance an unsuspected worm. finds its fury of the downtrodden awful support from the universal law of The dumb moral balance.

These prophecies have not for their vision the fettering of the world and reducing it to tameiiess by means of a close-linked power forged in the factory of a political steel trust. They represent the highest expectation of man. crying in the wilderness when I and while the West raise the voice of warning I know I am . in organisation of a machine-made will still continue to nourish by its its iniquities the the underground forces of earthquake Eastern Continent. The West seems it unconscious that Science. The strong form their league by a combination of powers. thereby indicating his faith in a truth which he instinctively considers as ultimate the truth of love. driving the weak to form their own league alone with their God. is tempting it to suicide and encouraging it to accept the challenge of the disarmed . is busy with it peace. One of the .128 CREATIVE UNITY : are kept on the sword-hilts they do not possess the third eye to see the great invisible hand that clasps in silence the hand of the helpless and waits its time. it does not know that the challenge comes from a higher source. Two are prophecies about the world's salvation cherished in the hearts of the two great of religions the world. by providing with more and more power.

THE MODERN AGE
religions has for its meditation the

129

image of the

Buddha who
of love
;

to come, Maitreya, the Buddha and he is to bring peace. The other
is

religion waits for the

coming of

Christ.

For
love,

Christ

preached peace when he preached
.he

when

preached the oneness of the Father with the brothers who are many. And this was
Christ never held that peace the truth of peace. was the best policy. For policy is not truth.

The

calculation of sell-interest can never success-

fully fight

the irrational force of passion the passion which is perversion of love, and which So can only be set right by the truth of love.

long as the powers build a league on the foundation of their desire for safety, secure enjoyment
gains, consolidation of past injustice, putting off the reparation of wrongs, while their

of

and

fingers still wriggle for greed and reek of blood, and in future rifts will appear in their union
;

their conflicts will take greater force

and magdifferent

nitude.

It
is

is

political

and commercial egoism

which
sions,

the evil harbinger of war.
it

By

combinations

changes

its

but not its nature. held sacred, and made a religion; and such a and by new religion, by a mere change of temple,
committees of
priests, will

shape and dimenThis egoism is still

never save mankind.

K

130

CREATIVE UNITY
must know
that,
as,

We

through science and

of the unity of the material world gives us power, so the realisation of the great spiritual Unity of Man alone can

commerce, the

realisation

give us peace.

THE

SPIRIT OF

FREEDOM

131

it is like an open space I to one who is blindfolded.THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM TO THE (A LETTER FROM NEW YORK AUTHOR'S OWN COUNTRYMEN) WHEN freedom is not an inner idea which imparts strength to our activities and breadth to our creations. In the of In the present age intrigue plays a wider 133 . and much plotting and planning among age the conspiring courtiers to manipulate the king as the instrument of their own purposes. monarchy the king lived surrounded by a miasma of intrigue. when it is merely a thing of external circumstance. In my recent travels in the as West have felt that out there freedom feeble an idea has become spirit and ineffectual. At court there was an endless whispering of lies and calumny. Consequently a is of repression and coercion politics fast spreading in the and social relationships of the people.

CREATIVE UNITY and affects the whole country. But this power is robbed by hosts of self-seekers. hypocrisy. and is captured and stabled because of his of freedom over space. In the old order the king was given to under- stand that he was the freest individual in the world. while its true freedom is curtailed on every side. of organised interest in its choosing of ideas and forming of opinions it is hindered either by some punitive force or by the constant insinuation of untruths . and they have the sovereign power in their hands. The same thing is happening now with the people of the West. The mob-mind is gift allowed the enjoyment of an apparent liberty. he had than other individuals. They are flattered into believing that they are free. But they built for him a gorgeous prison of unreality. A greater semblance of external freedom. their pockets picked under anaesthetics of flattery. it is made to dwell in an . no doubt.134 part. the horse Its thoughts are fashioned according to the plans . The people are drugged with the hashish of false hopes and urged to deeds of frightfulness by the goadiiigs of manufactured panics their higher feelings are exploited by devious channels of unctuous . their very psychology affected by a conspiracy of money and unscrupulous diplomacy.

and therefore they are ruthless even where they are least afraid of mischances. sacrificed their souls to the passion of profitmaking and the drunkenness of power are constantly pursued by phantoms of panic and suspicion. appalling which are growing familiar to us. In fact. The mentality is that of a slave-owning community.THE artificial SPIRIT OF FREEDOM 135 world of hypnotic phrases. It is the The mentality of mutual distrust and fear. the people have become the storehouse of a power that attracts round it a swarm of adventurers who are secretly investing for their own devices. its walls to exploit it Thus to it has become more arid more evident me that the ideal of freedom has grown tenuous in the atmosphere of the West. They become morally incapable of allowing freedom to others. . and in their eagerness to curry favour with the powerful they not only connive at the injustice done by their own but participate in partners in political gambling. of and scenes inhumanity injustice. with a mutilated multitude of men tied to its commercial and political treadmill. cruelty can be uglier in its ferocity than the The people who have cruelty of the coward. are the out- come of JsTo a psychology that deals with terror.

Therefore 1 would urge if my own countrymen to ask themselves aspire is one of the freedom to which they external conditions.136 it. he who builds walls to create exclusion for others builds walls across his own freedom his . behind screens of camouflage. has impressed me freedom is deeply with the truth that real of the mind and spirit it can never . He who to cares to have must chain himself them he . and antipathy. where I have realised the immense power of money and of My working everywhere organised propaganda. creating an atmosphere of distrust. until at length they are ready to forgo liberty for themselves and for experience in the West. freedom and others. timidity. who only has freedom ideally loves freedom himself and is glad to it He extend slaves to others. who distrusts freedom in others loses Sooner or later he is moral right to it. lured into the meshes of physical and moral servility. come to us from outside. CREATIVE UNITY A perpetual anxiety for the protection of their gains at any cost strikes at the love of justice. Is it merely a transferable commodity acquired a true love of freedom faith in it ? Are they ready to Have they ? Have they make space in ? .

full gives us a wonderful vision of of the freedom of inquiry the age of the Buddha came. Have we not made We We boast that. When India gave voice to immortal thoughts. The great epic of the soul of our people the MaMbharata an overflowing life. in this world. The freedom of mind which it and experiment. 137 their society for the in minds of their children to un- by that are unjust and elaborately permanent the walls of our social compartments ? are tenaciously proud of their exclusiveness. When produced expressed itself in in a wealth its of creation. becomes an outrage when artificially fixed under the threat of military persecution. her children had the fearless spirit of the seekers of truth. in the time of fullest vigour of vitality. humanity was stirred in our country to its uttermost depth. But with the ebb . spreading everywhere richness over the continent of Asia. no other society but our own has come to finality in the classifying of its living members.THE grow up hindered irrational ? SPIRIT OF the ideal of restrictions FREEDOM human dignity. Yet in our political agitations conveniently forget that any unnaturalness in the relationship of governors and we governed which it humiliates is us.

harmony with our its place apart from the feet. It hardened into an age of inert construction.138 of life CREATIVE UNITY in India the spirit of creation died away. I admit. and passivity. have ignored the laws of life and growth. but they vital are natural and are in functions. the head never exchanges But have our function for that of the feet. of mastering their own destiny. Life has its inequalities. not through some external arrangement If the body is or any conspiracy of coercion. The head keeps compelled to turn somersaults for an indefinite its relative period. social divisions the same inevitableness of organic " the hardihood to say " yes to that question. then how can we blame an alien people for subjecting us to a political order law ? If we have which they are tempted to believe eternal ? By we squeezing human beings in the grip of an inelastic system and forcibly holding them fixed. organic unity of a varied and elastic society gave way to a conventional order which proved its artificial character hy its inexorable law of The exclusion. We have forced living souls into a permanent making them incapable of moulding circumstance to their own intrinsic design. Borrowing our ideal of life from a dark period of our de- .

Unless it we have true faith in freedom. and plucked all the feathers from the wings of the living spirit of our people. We have And and for us. not only do we lose the right to claim freedom in politics. knowing to be creative. removable only by another accident from outside. we have covered up our sensitiveness of soul under the immovable weight of a remote set up an elaborate ceremonial of cage. punishment has been terrible.THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM 139 generacy. insult. by coercing them at every step the cruel threat of persecution into following a . manfully taking all its risks. it but we also lack the our strength. cannot be a mere accident of history. Our stupefaction has become so absolute that we do not even realise that this persistent misfortune. with our centuries of degradation with the amorphousiiess of our national unity. with our helplessness before the attack of disasters from without and our un- the reasoning self -obstructions from within. of never to be trusted in the most their personal life.worship. And God to a confirmed who men. past. dogging our steps for ages. assigning the service of all with power to maintain For that would be like atheist. contemptuously treat trivial details their own brothers and sisters as eternal babies.

man in the grip of rigid regula- repression of individual freedom makes it only too easy for men to be forced into In both of submission of all kinds and degrees. mechanical control in excess of . and The West power in is mechanical control. is no God vain. and therefore gives rise to slavery both within its boundaries and outside. and of fighting civilisation The spirit of the West has in it the of the machine which must move . will be incapable of holding a just politics. but not its truth. The present civilisation of India has the constraining power of the mould. for its worship. movement human lives are offered as keeping up the steam-power. is it offered is up to something which has therefore utterly which in is not life a sacrifice. They freedom in in freedom's cause. and to that blind fuel. driving a number of them into hypocrisy and into moral inertia. will fail over of their and over again to rise to the height true and severe responsibility. continually producing excess of its spiritual and India has produced a system of its vitality. It squeezes living tions. It represents the active aspect of inertia which has the appearance of freedom.140 CREATIVE UNITY blind lane leading to nowhere. its and these traditions life .

THE NATION .

.

organising. and therefore their inner aspects and outward expressions are everywhere monotonously the same.THE NATION They have their peoples are living beings. Their differences are merely differences in degree of efficiency. it to survive. struggle that began in Central Asia between cultivated areas of man's habitation and the till continually encroaching desert sands. out of existence. at fittest least. But nations are organdistinct personalities. proudly asserts itself as the But it is the survival of 143 . isations THE of power. life the human region of and beauty was choked the spread of higher not held to be important. In the modern world the fight is going on between the living spirit of the people and the It is like the methods of nation. of time. ideals of When humanity is the hardening method of national efficiency gains a certain strength and for some limited period .

art. destruction may be so. are like different dishes at one common They add richness to our enjoyment and understanding of truth. from this London to Tokyo. from San Francisco to London. duction are necessary. corner the living man who then the harmony strophe. and the people's history runs at a break-neck speed towards some fatal cata- Humanity. social These creations are symbols and ceremonials. are everywhere the same. is guided by . They are making the world of man fertile of life and variedly beautiful. create. and this leads to their distinctive creations. They show no faces. is the reason why dead monotony the The modern sign of the spread of the Nation. towns. they merely Organisations for pro- Even But organisations for when. they crowd away into a creates. literature.144 CREATIVE UNITY And is this that part of man which is the least living. actuated by greed and hatred. where it is living. But the nations do not produce and destroy. The have peoples. being living personalities. must their self-expression. but merely masks. which present the physiognomy due to dominance of the Nation. is lost. They feast.

145 but where it is a dead organisation Its building an external only process process. . mercilessly elbowing each other in struggle to is come to the front. without doubt its but it must not be allowed to exceed healthy limits. could individuals. . pass through obstacles that are gross and nonplastic. to assume complete mastery over the personal man. its the field where his spirit has itself which freedom to and to grow. They were considered primarily as social necessities. This professionalism their is the region where men their their knowledge and organise specialise power. Man is as a person has his individuality. exclusively intent upon pursuit of success at the cost of his faith in ideals. The professional express man carries a rigid crust around him which has very little variation and hardly any elasticity. making him narrow and hard. In ancient India professions were kept within limits by social regulation. Professionalism necessary. and in its response to the moral guidance it has to is becomes impervious to them.THE NATION inner ideals it . and in the second place as the means of livelihood for Thus man. being free from the constant urging of unbounded competition.

Newspapers. who With are the growth of nationalism. out of greed and fear. The greater the amount of success. the stronger are the conflicts enormous success. it can be utilised for creating a tremendous amount of power. hold it to be their duty to foster in the popular mind universal panic. Therefore the con- tinual presence of panic goads that very nationalism into ever-increasing menace. Like steam and other physical forces. Crowd psychology is a blind force. unreasoning pride in their own race. and hatred of others. living. thereby making it more and more necessary still for other peoples. are bent upon turning their peoples into machines of power. nature in its com- The Cult of of the Nation is the professionalism is the people. to stiffen into nations. and even religious services . who. of interest and jealousy and hatred which are aroused in men's minds. to man has become the greatest menace man. And therefore rulers of men.146 CREATIVE UNITY his have leisure to cultivate pleteness. try to train this crowd They psychology for their special purposes. This cult becoming bringing their greatest danger. because it is them making them impatient of the claims of higher ideals. school-books.

for the kept alive for all time by artificial means. For the crowd mind is crowd. But in the Nation this hyper-consciousness is Then. then his at when But consciousness of his household becomes acute and over-wrought. his near intensity stranger passing of self-consciousness is nothing of which a man fly . A man if has to act the part of a policeman his he finds house invaded by burglars. that remains his normal condition.THE NATION are . even when he feels but the same individual. Therefore the Nation take for ever advantage of this watching to enormous power of darkness. when he with the all. its is forces are elemental. making him every This house. This suppression of higher humanity in crowd minds is productive of enormous strength. His moral sense becomes blurred. the consciousness of solidarity becomes aggressively wide-awake. its time being. or are socially ostracised. The individual thinks. does not reason at essentially primitive . 147 made use of for this object and those who have the courage to express their disapprobation of this blind and impious cult are either punished in the law-courts. feels . The people's instinct of self-preservation has been made dominant at particular times of crisis.

like that of the professional man. body of men train themselves for a particular narrow purpose. should feel proud certainly it is not healthful. The ideal of the social man is unselfishness. hut at the cost of the eternal in man. When not but hold firm the faith that this Age of Nationalism. it becomes a common interest with them to keep up that purpose and preach absolute loyalty to it. We cana whole . Nationalism is the training of a whole people and when it gets hold of for a narrow ideal their minds it is sure to lead them to moral degeneracy and intellectual blindness. In like manner. are when the true spirit of freedom will have sway. the unchecked growth of Nationalism the moral foundation of man's civilisation is With unconsciously undergoing a change. incessant self-consciousness in is a nation serves its It highly injurious for the people.148 CREATIVE UNITY . This is why selfishness in the is selfishness. immediate purpose. . but the ideal of the Nation. of gigantic vanity and selfishness. is only a passing phase in civilisation. and those who making permanent arrangements for accommodating this temporary mood of history will be unable to fit themselves for the coming age.

the collective self-interest of a people. Of course. It was the criminal tribe's own murderous instinct deified the instinct. But in the case of the latter their goddess frankly represented the principle of destruction. to take an example. in modern churches. It is like a robber's supporting religion by quoting the amount of his stolen property. not of one individual. the nationalism. need . Nations cele- brate their successful massacre of churches. which stands for the expression the interest of all. while in the nation extolled. but of the whole community. and therefore held sacred. we find men more and more convinced of the superior claims of Christianity. it can even be in harmony with Therefore.THE NATION individual it is 149 condemned. hatred and vanity in their collective aspect of national instincts do not scruple to share the homage paid to God. pursuit of self-interest need not be wholly selfish . ideally speaking. merely because Christian nations are in possession of the greater part of the world. selfishness. Therefore. their men the in their They in forget that Thugs to also ascribed success manslaughter favour of their goddess. of . confusing the religion of the people with the religion of the nation. which leads to hopeless moral is blindness. In the same manner.

In former ages. maintains its is. And this material prosperity not only feeds continually the selfish instincts of the people. true that But what we see in practiee every nation which has prospered has done so through its career of aggressive selfishness cither in commercial adventures or in foreign possessions.150 CREATIVE UNITY itself if it not be ashamed of limitations. But they carry on their foreheads their own brand of infamy. through man's history there will be some suffer. in spite of our faith in moral laws and our training in self-control. or in both. We must admit that evils there are in human nature. but a continuous process like the process of burning in a flame. selfishness is a necessity the emphasis laid in Europe upon the idea of the Nation's constant increase of power. and therefore a It is danger to man. but impresses men's minds with the lesson that. for a nation. who The conquest of evil will never be a fully accomplished fact. both in its direct activity and its power of infection. All and others who cause suffering. when some particular people became turbulent and tried to rob others of their human rights. which is becoming the greatest virtue. they sometimes achieved success . their very success adding to their monstrosity.

The spirit of siege against national selfishness is that brain disease of a people which shows itself in red eyes and clenched fists. But shattering its natural the power of self- together with the is moral faculty of sympathy and co-operation. it is the brain that is constantly directing the all disease forces. It unconsciously generates in people's minds an attitude of defiance against moral law. which has met with universal acceptance in the present day. all the wiiile restorative sacrifice. simply because that selfishness is gigantic in stature. in violence of talk and move- ments. of social vitality. powers. tries to pass off the cult of collective selfishness as a moral duty. but attacks the very vitals of humanity. while yet it scatters to the winds the moral law that the people have held sacred. But when idea of the Nation. It has been said that a disease becomes most For Acutely critical when the brain is affected. it not only commits depredation. For men are taught by repeated devices the lesson that the Nation is greater than the people.THE NATION and sometimes failed. a beneficent relation of harmony with the guiding spirit Its function is to maintain its sur- . 151 And it amounted this to nothing more than that.

with the showy title of "patriotism. which has attained such sinister strength and vast dimensions. What decked worse. When we we suffer as a result of a particular system. friends have often been asked by my Western how to cope with this evil.152 roundings. believe that some other system would are apt to forget that all systems produce evil sooner or later. and offering no alternative. bring us better luck. passing itself off as a Thus it has spread its highly moral influence. its over the world. a feeling of envy at not having their temperature as high as that of their It is delirious neighbours and not being able to cause as much mischief. when We is the psychology which at the root of them is . inflammatory contagion claiming health. I have often been blamed for merely giving warning. In fact." is proudly walks abroad. profever flush to be the best sign of all causing in the hearts of peoples. naturally inoffensive. this aberration of a people. strength becomes like the strength of madness which ends in self-destruction. CREATIVE UNITY But when is moral law which then begins to ignore the universal and uses it only it within the bounds of its its own narrow sphere. but merely having to suffer from I it.

passions. Therefore I do not put my faith in any new institution. 153 The system which is national to-day assume the shape of the international tomay morrow hut so long as men have not forsaken their idolatry of primitive instincts and collective . any architect . feel nobly. itself. and act rightly. world who chisels and hammers. they spread for their their roots in the soil their branches in the sky. without consulting plans. Like and trees.THE NATION wrong. but in the individuals all over the think clearly. Arid because we are trained to confound efficient system with moral goodness every ruined system makes us more and more distrustful of moral law. thus becoming the channels of moral Our moral ideals do not work with truth. the new system will only become a new instrument of suffering.

.

WOMAN AND HOME .

.

its truth and beauty. expression natural to her a cadence of restraint in her behaviour. 157 . producing poetry of life. This is why. the creative power. music and religion. though biologically her function is different from that of man. psychologically she is identical with him . then before long it For life finds will be reduced to utter inanity. if the human world in its mentality becomes exclusively male. not in any exaggeration of sameness. but in harmony. his restless energy into an immense variety of creations in literature. If woman's nature were identical with man's. But if woman begins to believe that. art. CREATIVE She has been an inspiration to man.WOMAN AND HOME expressions attain their perfect form \Vomaii has that through emotions modulated. in India. most often unconsciously. woman has been described as the symbol of Shakti. guiding.

Along with the case in inherent in their respective natures. and the love that binds women to their children binds them to their homes. However. is a rebellion against a necessity. which equal for both the partners. indignity. it would But only give rise to a monotonous superfluity. It ance of such a paradox cannot be ignored. that she was not so was proved by the banish- Eve were ment she secured from a ready-made Paradise. is not Love in all forms has its obligations. whose materials were to be produced and gathered by her comrade. She had the instinctive wisdom to realise that it was her mission to help her mate in creating a Paradise of their own on earth. it is evident in that an number of women the West increasing are ready to is assert that their difference from men unim- The reason for the vehement utterportant. making us submit a tyrant. But necessity to injury and ing advantage over us to those who are wholly Such or comparatively free from its burden. allowis has been the between difference man the social relationship and woman. there have grown up between them inequalities .158 if CREATIVE UNITY a mere tautology of Adam. whose ideal she was to supply with her life.

and some by satisfying his higher nature. and therefore he has the liberty to give her the security of home. acting in the depth of life. Man is riot handicapped by the same biological and psychological responsibilities as woman. scious exercise of allurements. This liberty exacts payment when it offers its boon.WOMAN AND HOME fostered 159 by circumstances. is There it ho actual objection to this in itself. life's It is weight of tragedies so painfully heavy for woman to bear. for offers a stimulus. which But a great deal leads to creative exuberance. till the sex-consciousness in our society has grown abnormal and overpowering. some by pandering to his weakness. women were denounced as the chief The constant and conobstacle in their way. mitigation of her disadvantage has been effected by her rendering herself and her home a luxury to man. because to give or to withhold the gift is the unequal freedom in their mutual relationships which has made the within its power. of it is a forced growth of compulsion bearing In those ages when men acknowledged spiritual perfection to be their object. which gave women . seeds of degradation. qualities in herself Some She has accentuated those which insidiously impose their bondage over her mate.

when woman refuses to . Hotels are being erected on the ruins of are homes productions more growing stupendous than creations and most men have. their pipes.160 CREATIVE UNITY weak their power. between man and woman was in a measure established when home wielded a strong enough attraction to make men But at last the time lias accept its obligations. come when the material ambition of man has assumed such in colossal proportions that its home is danger of losing is centre of gravity for him. made precious by the touch of love. For all relationships tainted with repression of freedom must become sources of degeneracy to the strong who impose such repression. is Reactions and rebellions. attacked the spots in man's nature. and gambling clubs. and by doing so added to its weakness. however. guns. receding farther and farther from The arid zone in the social life is spreading fast. The simple comforts of home. their character. not being normal in go on hurting truth until peace Therefore. . Balance of power. their dogs and horses. restored. for the materials of their . are giving way to luxuries that can only have their full extension in the isolation of self-centred life. its and he orbit. happiness and recreation.

But all expressions beauty lose their truth when compelled to accept the patronage of the gross and the indifferent. which compels her to turn her disabilities into attractions. All great sufferings indicate some wrong somewhere. then the whole thing becomes a tragedy of desecration. she does not convince us of suffering. women have naturally accepted the training which imparts to their life and to their home a spirit of harmony. From the beginning of our society. In the present case. Society is full of such tragedies. the wrong is in woman's lack of freedom in her relationship with man. might Women have slavery to the realm of grace. while she is suffering from the precariousness of her position. through be raised from the domain of beauty. and to use untruths as her allies in the battle of life. Therefore when necessity drives women to fashion their lives to the taste of of the insensitive or the sensual. It is their instinct to perform their manner that these.WOMAN AND HOME acknowledge the distinction between her truth. Many of the laws and social regulations guiding the relationships of M . services in such a tried to prove that in the building life they are artists up of social and not artisans. but only proves to us that she is 161 life and its that of man.

power of the ideal must have infinite patience. is sells if cheated goods. such as those of parents and children. or fulfils his he fails to realise payment. one revealing in herself Woman. but literally worshipped and she who is gifted with it is called Devi.162 CREATIVE UNITY are relics of a barbaric age. in the may I never felt have women of India is the consciousness of this ideal their simple faith in the sanctity of is devotion lighted by love which divine. The the social bond vulgarity of it still persists in between the sexes because of the economic helplessness of woman. the Divine. The man who contract. held to be in is True womanliness is regarded It our not country as the saintliness merely praised there. husbands and wives. makes us so stupidly mean as the superiority which the us. as of love. brutal pride of an exclusive possesits man and woman when the sion had dominance in human relations. masters and servants. Nothing sense of power of the purse confers upon The powers of muscle and of money have but the opportunities of immediate satisfaction. That this has not been a mere metaphor to us . . teachers and disciples. his but he who gives form to some ideal What get his due and be fully paid.

like sunlight. Our women know by heart the legends of the great women of the epic age Savitri who by the power of love conquered death. for these are to create her life's atmofrom which her world would be sphere. at the mercy of the hurts and insults of life. and that love's . Women of India. the idea of God in an eternal feminine is Thus the Eastern woman. but that is manifestations whose value the destiny of is not in success or reward in honour. They know that it is their duty to make this' life an image of the life eternal. Woman cannot has to allow her be ready to suffer. and becomes. be an admitted that there are chances of such the coarse-minded all influence failing to penetrate the callousness of . who is deeply aware It has to in her heart of the sacredness of her mission. everywhere. She emotions to be dulled or polluted. have their share of but it radiates through the ideal. a creative force in like women their world.WOMAN AND HOME is 163 because. suffering. and Sita who hud no other reward for her life of sacrifice but the sacred majesty of sorrow. our mind is familiar with aspect. apart dark and dead. in India. This leaves her heart without any protection of insensibility. a constant education to man.

It is of their the consciousness of the spiritual character life's work. It is a religious responsibility for them to live the life which is their own. or organising power. in a perspective truer than can be found in its present conventional associations. and transmutes their suffering and sorrow into a crown of light. With agriculture there in our history. its enclosure. his the discovery and development of came a period of settled life The nomad cattle . and love for the personality of man. The permanent significance I of home in is not in the narrowness of idea. ever moved on with tents and its he explored space and exploited contents. For their activity is not for money-making. but for establishing and maintaining human relationships requiring the highest moral qualities. which lifts them above the immediate and the passing. but an eternal moral It represents the it truth of human relationship reveals loyalty Let us take a wider view. he had .164 CREATIVE UNITY mission truly performed has a spiritual meaning. utilitarian standard of the must guard myself from the risk of a possible misunderstanding. surrounds them with the dignity of the eternal. . in its The cultivator of land for explored time immensity. or intellectually probing the mystery of existence.

burden of things. essentially a civilisation of tl^ie human relationship. This is why agri- cultural civilisation. life In the meanwhile. which grows heavier and more complex every day. disregarding the human and Its powerful pressure from all the spiritual. narrows the limits of home. life. women But such a state of things can never have the . to which all its outer adventures are subordinated. in this region region of the human world. like that of India is and China. 165 Comparatively secured from the uncertainty of his outer resources. of is In other co-operation and not competition. It is Its basis deep-rooted in the inner life of man. tunities. and strong. the nomadic with its predatory instinct of exploitation has developed It is immensely proud into a great civilisation. words. adjustment of mutual obligations. the personal Thus. sides of are every day hustled out of their shelter for want of accommodation.WOMAN AND HOME leisure. he had the opportunity to deal with his moral resources in the realm of human truth. killing leisure and pursuing oppor- minimises the claims of personal relationship and is jealously careful of its unhampered freedom for acquiring wealth and It Its burden is the asserting its will upon others. its principle is the principle of home.

materials. of beauty to the body. which an illusion. man away is multiplying. She has been aroused to remember that womanliness is not chiefly decorative. the present age has sent its cry to asking her to come out from her segrega- tion in order to restore the spiritual supremacy of all that is human in the world of humanity. but joy to the mind and perfection to .166 effect of CREATIVE UNITY changing it woman into man. world as a machine. and the Guardian Spirit of the personal in human nature will extend the ministry of woman over all developHabituated to deal with the ments of life. On the contrary. which not only imparts the bloom life. At last women. It is like that vital health. his banishing his happiness is and sacrificing love to comfort. will lead her to find her place in the unlimited range of society.

AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY 167 .

.

Asia is awakening. On the other hand. far from attaining its true fulfilment. great event. if it be but directed along the right is IN the midst of much that lines.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY discouraging in the present state of the world. but for the whole world. lias given rise to a universal spirit of conflict. and antipathetic forces have been accumulating for years in the depth of the Eastern mind. The meeting of the East and the West has remained incomplete. is full of hope. it has to be admitted that the relationship of the AVest with the East. growing more and more complex and widespread for over two centuries. not only for Asia herself. The consequent strain and unrest have profoundly disturbed Asia. there is one symptom This of vital promise. and commercial adventures 169 carried on by . because the occasions of The political it have not been disinterested.

The demoralising influence constant estrangement between the two hemispheres. and threatens us] with a world. to grow into a people. from their dream of security. individuals were gathered together within geographical en- At . The perils threatened by this unnatural relationship have long been contemptuously ignored by the Western which is blind confidence of the strong in their apparent invincibility has often led them. however. greed fear. into terrible surprises of history. and hypocrisy on the one hand suspiciousness and flattery on the other. has been developing. which It is loss to is one the most imof portant. The time has come when we must use all our wisdom to understand the situation. first In the beginning of man's history his social object was to form a community. West. pride. But the not the fear of danger or people or another.wide spiritual disaster. . and to control it. ance than in with a stronger trust in moral guidany array of physical forces.170 CREATIVE UNITY races very often by force and against and wishes of the countries they have the interest have created a moral alienation. dealt with deeply injurious to both parties. which affects the baser passions of man. that early period.

realise the God in man by a larger faith and world-wide basis. build the temple of our faith on a sure and The first step towards realisation is to create opportunities for revealing the different peoples This can never be done in those to one another. in range. which is this earth. but of various is of men. is not a meeting of individuals. We must find some meeting-ground. geographical barriers have almost lost their reality. with its facility of communication. deeper in sentiment. wider than large. and the great federation waiting either to find its true scope or to break asunder in a final catastrophe. share together our and realise that artists in all parts of the world common pursuit common heritage. where the exploiting utilitarian spirit is supreme. 171 But in the present age. where we can work together in a of truth. Mankind must realise a unity. where there can be no question of conflicting fields interests. One of such places is the University. Now the freedom of self-expression and their bond of federation. where the races as individuals must find both their races. to to we have to solve it on a bigger scale. which human problem before us is of one single country. . stronger in power Now that the problem is ever before.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY closures.

for its own sake and for the sake of the is This world. teaches us to respect real. the problem of the present age. all When man not we understand it this truth in a disinterested spirit. must not remain unrevealed. yet remain conscious of our oneperfection of unity is and to know that in uniformity. but in harmony. saints made the truth of the spiritual world organic in their own merely for some particular race to which they belonged. we just. it knows and attains truth. can never be Being strongly impressed with the need and the responsibility. For where we do not understand. The East. riot When earth's the science of meteorology knows the atmosphere as continuously one. scientists discovered secrets of the universe. but in a harmony of adjustments. lives. we must know that the great mind of man is one. is The deep- est source of all calamities in history misunder- standing. but for all mankind. philosophers solved the problems of existence. And so. which every individual to-day . working through the many differences which are needed to ensure the full result of its fundamental unity.172 CREATIVE UNITY have created forms of beauty. too. affecting the different parts of the world differently. the differences in that are ness .

India has her renaissance. the memory of which will become brighter as the regeneration of the East grows in vigour and creative power. literature. possibilities. will invite students from the West to study the different systems of Indian philosophy. This Institution.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY must realise 173 according to his power. I have formed the nucleus of an International University in India. according to the plan I have in mind. In the past she produced her great culture. pregnant with precious when any disinterested oiler of co- the West will have operation from any part of an immense moral value. and in the present age she has an equally important contribution to of the make is is to the culture New World which emerging from the a wreckage of the Old. This momentous period of her history. to make preparing her contribution to the world of the She is future. art and music in their proper environment. as one of the best means of promoting mutual understanding between the East and the West. Universities give their students an opportunity to learn what all the European to their Western peoples have contributed The Western . encouraging them to carry on research work in collaboration with the scholars already engaged in this task.

taking her stand on such a culture. They must pass the test of the world-market. There was a time when the great countries of Asia had. she will allow her priceless inheritance to trying to replace it tions of the West. clumsily with feeble imita- make herself superfluous. she turns toward the West. Otherwise. CREATIVE UNITY Thus the intellectual mind of the West has What for luminously revealed to the world. and. to nurture its own comparative seclusion. and open a new vista of thought to the world.174 culture. Now has come the age of co-ordination and co-operation. she will take. she must base her structure on a synthesis of all the different cultures which she has. . from her own vantage-ground. her own view of truth. if their maximum value is to be obtained. crumble into dust. But before Asia is in a position to co-operate own with the culture of Europe. needed to complete this illumination is the East to collect its own scattered lamps is been and offer them to the enlightenment of the world. The seedlings that were reared within civilisation apart in narrow plots must now be transplanted into the open fields. each of them. When. with a confident sense of mental freedom.

If she thus loses her individuality and her specific power to exist. then such an parody of the modern age will crushed beneath its own absurdity. will it in the least help the rest of the world ? Will not her terrible Western mind last into ? bankruptcy involve also the If the whole world grows at die. Semitic.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY 175 cheap and ludicrous. an exaggerated West. the shrine of wealth has changed its But the East is famed also for her storage site. there rises the cry of privation when. and the seekers were attracted from across the sea. that a genuine interest has been roused there in the philosophy and the arts of the East. Mon- golian and Its object will be to reveal the Eastern mind to the world. from which the Western fresh inspiration mind seeks Once the of truth and beauty. midst of the pursuit of power and wealth. of wisdom. it is my desire to extend by degrees the scope of this University on simple lines. Since then. Of one in thing I felt certain during my travels Europe. East had her reputation of fabulous wealth. in the . the Aryan. illimitable In this belief. until it comprehends the whole range of Eastern cultures others. as now. harvested by her patriarchs from long And successive ages of spiritual endeavour.

will be glad to know that her complexion is white. it its own colour and character. carpenter's shop. or in the end. sure. at the expense of our is In India our goddess of learning My audience in the West. The latter was treated like a libraryshelf solidly made of wood. In fact. Once upon such a thing as living. an opportunity is offered to the East to offer her store to those who need it. But the signal fact is that she is living and she is .176 CREATIVE UNITY from the famished spirit of man. and also our finer ideas. a time we were in possession of our own mind in India. That this mind could be of any use in the process. expressed itself. while our intellectual vacancy has been crammed with what is described in official reports as Education. we have bought our spectacles eyesight. of our education was overlooked by our modern educational dispensation. I am Saraswati. It was it felt. It was receptive as well as productive. In consequence. We are provided with buildings and books and other magnificent burdens calculated to suppress our mind. to be loaded with has lost leather-bound volumes of second-hand information. and has borrowed polish from the All this has cost us money. it It thought.

The introduction of this education was not a part 'of the solemn marriage ceremony which was to unite the minds of the East and West in mutual understanding. The is Western education is which we have chanced to know but also white.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY a 177 woman. but was cut down to be made into packing-cases. that she dwells in the centre of life and the heart of all existence. This want of ideals still clings to our education method of our Universities have latterly burdened their syllabus with a greater number system. I have described elsevery My feeling was much the same as a tree might have. I was to school. though of subjects than before. is the whiteness of the white- washed class-room walls. which opens itself in beauty to the light of heaven. and her seat is on a lotus-flower. The effect which where. which was not allowed to live its full life. it Its complexion impersonal. ficial It represented an arti- training specially calculated to produce the carriers of the white man's burden. it had on go my mind compelled to when. as a boy. The symbolic meaning of this is. It dwells in the cold- storage compartments of lessons and the icepacked minds of the schoolmasters. But it is only like N .

should offer their intellectual hospitality. It is a deliberate culti- vation of disloyalty to truth. and we into die young. But as we are by means of forget the existence of mind. of intellectual dishonesty. of a foolish imposition by which the mind is encouraged to rob itself. we are supremely happy at the result. and earn their proud right in return to receive gifts from the rest of But in the whole length and breadth the world. Universities should never be made mechanical organisations for collecting and disThrough them the people tributing knowledge. lawyers and police inspectors. and shrivel up into it made to We clerks. adding to the bags of wheat the bullock carries to market it does not make the bullock any better off.178 CREATIVE UNITY . Success consists in obtaining the largest number of marks with the strictest economy of knowledge. Mind. their wealth of mind to others. pass examinations. develops an unnatural craving for success and our students have fallen victims to the mania for success . not a single University established in the modern time where a foreign or an of India there is . when long deprived of its natural food of truth and freedom of growth. in examinations.

and in spite of my as a poet. Culture only acknowledges the excellence whose . Educational institu- our country are India's alms-bowl of knowledge. they lower our intellectual selfrespect . when he my inspiration only It is is a schoolmaster. in face of many difficulties and disown vocation couragements. to judge by own standard.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY 179 Indian student can properly be acquainted with For that the best products of the Indian mind. to seek the truth and make this truth its its own wherever found. which is the pride of its culture. and knock at the doors of France and Germany. they encourage us to decorations make a foolish display of feathers. we have tions in to cross the sea. that he forgets hope that in this school a nucleus has been who finds his true formed. Man's intellect has a natural pride in its own aristocracy. composed of borrowed This it was that led me to found a school in Bengal. give expression to its own creative genius. and offer its wisdom to the guests who come from other parts of the world. round which an indigenous University of our own land will find its natural growth a University which will help India's mind to concentrate and to be fully conscious of itself free .

At last the very authorities who are responsible for this are blaming their victims. It bears its worst grudge against those it has injured. not in any external success. It is as if some tribe which had the primiits tive habit of decorating tribal members with birds' plumage were some day to hold these very birds guilty of the crime of being . Such is the perversity of human nature. through her very education. has been thrust aside. not for learning anything. has been humiliation. and the consequent disaffection has been widespread. but a community of qualified candidates. and we are made to own tread the mill of passing examinations. to When it some compulsion of man. intellectual brings humiliation to the Modern India. but for notifying that we are employments under organisations conducted in English. Our educated community is not a cultured community. Meanwhile the proqualified for portion of possible employments to the number of claimants has gradually been growing narrower.180 criticism is CREATIVE UNITY in its inner perfection. made to suffer this provided her children with a culture which was the product she herself Once of her it But ages of thought and creation. pride succumbs necessity or lure of this material advantage.

" He who and and write is rides in a carriage is In English there power. remind the fettered bird that soaring is . a promise of an ulterior " Knowledge a similar proverb. The most pathetic feature of the tragedy is that the bird itself has learnt to use its chain for its ornament. held before us as inducements to be good or to pursue uncongenial paths." prospective bribe to the student. 181 There are belated attempts on the part of our governors to read us pious homilies about disinterested love of learning. "Honesty which politicians all over the world seem to laugh in their sleeves. simply because the chain jingles in fairly respectable English. But unfortunately. while the old machinery goes on working." translated." at able piety. are most often flimsy lies or halftruths.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY extinct. It is an offer of a reward which is more important than knowledge itself. In the Bengali language there is a modern maxim which can be learns to read pair. education conducted under a special providence of . Temptations. but it is wings are for better to cut the chain which its holding it to its perch. whose product It is good to is not education but certificates. such as the oft-quoted is maxim of respect- the best policy.

we can clearly see tion in its the life-process guides educavital purpose. does lead one to that special on earth. specially trained men. and the singing in chorus of songs from the old religious literature. Evidently. widespread irrigation of culture. according . dramatic narration of the lives of ancient heroes. but is dying out. of eating the fruit of knowledge from the wrong end. performance of plays founded upon the early myths and legends. are in constant requisition. from authentic sources. of instruction includes the recitation expounding of the scriptures. the daily rides And the West. Where society is comparatively simple and obstructions are not too numerous. It flowed naturally through the social channels and education. was one with the people's life. The system of folkis how indigenous to India. and find crowded meetings in our villages. It is a system of Its teachers. which are the classical records of old history. reading from the Puranas. where they repeat the best thoughts and express the ideals of the land in the most effective form: The mode of epics. carriage and pair.182 CREATIVE UNITY purposefulness. is aspiring paradise in one's I own have heard in its educa- tion after that special cultivation of worldhness. which made its way everywhere.

though have been made conscious of the sanctity of social relationships. the best function of education is to enable us to realise that to live as a man great. and heroism in is its conduct. is needless. must the gods. but he By displays little skill. failMost ing which there will be endless conflict. viewing this seem like the flounder- ings of a giant who has got and knows not how to swim. But the fundamental principle of social life in its different stages the same. requiring profound philosophy for its ideal.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY 183 to this system. out of his deptL . poetry for its expression. collectively expressed in Such a system of education may sound too simple for the complexities of modern life. man may bearing this burden civilised be showing great strength. things in the civilised world occupy more than Much of their burden their legitimate space. entailing constant sacrifice and self-control. people of India. Owing to this vital method of culture the common technically illiterate. and in of development remains no circumstance can the truth be ignored that all human complexities must harmonise in organic unity with life. urged and supported by ideals one word. it To from on high. Dharma.

They need and knowledge. which betrays the encroachment of and worldly prudence over pure intellect. myself in the little For the first few years there no trouble. Professions in the modern age are more numerous and lucrative than ever before. But as soon as the upper class reached. their worldly wisdom the malady of the aged They rebelliously begins to assert itself. find almost And this is why we everywhere in the world a growing dissatisfaction with the prevalent system of teaching. lishing national schools and colleges. senility In India.184 CREATIVE UNITF source of all The main slavery is forms of voluntary It is the desire of gain. but rather pass examinations. unfortunately. insist that they must no longer learn. . a vague feeling of discontent has given rise to numerous attempts at estabBut. I when modern it civilisation is have realised boys of my own is is school. But man's deeper nature is hurt his smothered life seeks to be liberated from the suffocating folds and sensual ties of prosperity. tempting education to yield its spiritual freedom to specialisation of training the claims of utilitarian ambitions. our very education has been . this difficult to fight against tainted with such a universal contamination of avarice. also.

But when we go to borrow help from a foreign neighbourhood we are apt to overlook the real source of help behind all that is external and apparent. 185 successful in depriving us of our real initiative The training we in our schools the constant has get implication in it that it is not for us to produce but to borrow. I am sure he would give most of the credit to the branches of the trees and very little to the monkey itself! In a foreign University we its see the branching wildernesses of furniture.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY and our courage of thought. we forget that. for proficiency in walking. and syllabus. regulations. And we are casting about to borrow our educational plans from European institutions. at our skill living although they clatter and cause more surprise in using them than if they were and real. Had the deep-water fishes happened to produce a scientist who chose the jumping of a monkey for his research work. The trampled plants of Indian corn are dreaming of recouping their harvest from the neighbouring wheat fields. it is better to train the muscles of our own legs than to strut upon wooden ones of foreign make. buildings. but the monkey. which is a difficult creature to catch . To change the figure.

is like the stagnant reservoir of water which finds its purification in the showers of rain to which keeps itself open. their literature. compare and disseminate them. instead. we have in India all the furniture of the European University except the human it teacher. It is and more convenient for us to overlook the fact that among the Europeans the living spirit of is widely spread in their society. They have creative their thoughts published in their books as well as through the medium of living men who think those thoughts. and who criticise. which we are apt A .186 CREATIVE UNITY difficult to manufacture. to our misfortune. and the numerous activities of their corporate life. their parliament. most important truth. we are likely to treat as a mere accident of minor importance. of book-lore in whom mere purveyors the paper god of the bookshop has been made vocal. We have. In all these functions they are in perpetual touch with the great personality of the land which is the University and heroic in its constant acts of self-expression and self-sacrifice. Some at least of the drawbacks of their academic education are re- deemed by the living energy of the intellectual It personality pervading their social organism. But.

at one. It should be an open house. have mind has primarily for its not be a dead cage in which living minds are fed with food artificially prepared. but merely repeats his lessons to his students. with which they have a learned acquaintance. unless he is 187 that a teacher can never truly teach learning himself. dominated by a common aspiration for truth and a need of sharing all the delights* In former days the great masterof culture. can only load their minds . Truth not only must inform but out. he cannot quicken them. The I educational institution. inspire. their subjects are like dead specimens of once living things. is still A come traffic to the end of his subject. for most of our teachers. which in object which from the of the constant pursuit truth. It must imparting of truth naturally follows.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY to forget. If the inspiration dies and the information only accumulates. truth loses The greater part of our learning in the schools has been wasted because. then its infinity. lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues The teacher who has to burn its own flame. therefore. . who has no living with his knowledge. but no communication of life and love. in which students and teachers are live their They must complete life to- gether.

but truth in its living with her lovers and seekers and Also we must know that the con- centration of the mind-forces scattered throughout the country is the most important mission of a University. For our Universities labelled packages of truth we must claim. which. should be the centre of the intellectual life of the people. but thusiasm. his sacrifice. his honesty. therefore the vital part of education remains incomplete. That was the place where knowledge could be- come its living that knowledge which not only has its atmosphere subtly informed by a creative personality. difficult to the verge of fact that India has so impossibility owing to the . but not the man who pursues the subjects . like the nucleus of a living cell. For intellectual knowledge also has its aspect of creative art. not and authorised agents to distribute association discoverers.188 CREATIVE UNITY craftsmen had students in their workshops where they co-operated in shaping things to perfection. in which the man who explores truth expresses something which is human in him his en- substance and law. In merely academical teaching we find subjects. The bringing about in India is. them. his courage. I am of an intellectual unity told. and his skill.

true that in the earlier stages of her culture is the whole of Europe had Latin for her learned tongue. were closed in one point. which has its own separate language. But the perfection of her mental unfolding was not represented by the When the singularity of her literary vehicle. great European countries found their individual languages. the loss to European civilisation We so richly copious and can well imagine what* would be if . life's Let us admit that India is not like any one of the great countries of Europe. And yet Europe has a common civilisation. should find it impossible to realise unity in himself. when all her petals of self-expression. because he has a diversity of limbs.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY many different languages. branching out into different peoples with many different languages. and the very differences of the channels made the com- merce of ideas in Europe so variedly active. but is rather like Europe herself. and that only an earthworm composed of a tail and nothing else could truly know that it had a body. then only the true federation of cultures became possible in the West. That was in her intellectual budding time. with an intellectual unity which It is not based upon uniformity of language. 189 is Such a statement as unreasonable as to say that man.

she her vernaculars should attain required that their perfect powers.190 CREATIVE UNITY France. of self-expression. and England herself. complete commerce of her thought. just as when lungs are given to the whale in the sea. In the United States. have their own separate history and their it own must constantly hamper the of culture and destroy indiindigenous growth of viduality judgement and the perfect freedom life-growth. is with all its its products and acquisitions. Italy and Germany. peoples might manifest their idiosyncrasies and this could never be done through a foreign tongue. birth and growth in the history of the British this language. common coffer their individual There was a time with us when India had her common for the language of culture in Sanskrit. the language of the people is It has a great literature which had its English. The inherited wealth of the English language. If such is the case even with . with all its splendour. through which her different . matured by ages on own mother which carried into foreign lands. in Canada and other British Colonies. But when soil. becomes an impediment when taken into different surroundings. all But. had not through their separate agencies contributed to the earnings. Islands.

for vehicle culture. Rome and Paris is such to-day in France. and will fail even drag a cart. in Italy . that great sacrificial fire which can radiate the sacred light of wisdom abroad. one can it imagine what sterility means of for a people which accepts. language is not like an umbrella or an overcoat. where a high standard of learning is.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY races 191 whose grandmother-tongue naturally con- tinues to be their own its mother-tongue. If the body of a draught-horse enters into the skin of a racehorse. All great countries have their vital centres for intellectual life. Athens was such a centre in Greece. results but such cleverness has only the perfection of artificial flowers which never bear fruit. where the minds of the people are naturally attracted. . an altogether foreign language. on the common altar of the land. it is like the living skin itself. Thus they kindle. it will be safe to wager that such an anomaly to will never win a race. that can be A borrowed by unconscious or deliberate mistake ' . Have we not watched some modern Japanese artists imitating European art ? The imitation may sometimes produce clever . maintained. where they find their genial atmosphere. in which to prove their worth and to contribute their share to the country's culture.

in which the use and beauty. But Sanskrit learning does not exhaust all the elements of culture that exist in modern India. . I believe that the shock of such Let me necessary for the vitality of It is admitted that mir intellectual nature. then it would be like depending for daybreak upon some\star. cold starlight for stirring the sap in our branches. say clearly that I have no distrust of any culture because of its foreign character. extraneous forces is much of the spirit of Christianity runs counter. but it can never open the full view of truth In fact. and giving colour and bloom to our life. what some people maintain. mere school lessons for and no culture a box of matches. give us light. The may give us direction in our voyage of exploration. good illumination. but not the day it .192 CREATIVE UNITY still Benares has been and continues to be the centre of our Sanskrit culture. but not the small uses of the light of morning. On the contrary. we can never use this before our eyes. and all the subtle mysteries of life are blended in one. which star is may the sun of a far distant sphere. that Western culture is the If we were only source of light for our mind. This is the reason for India why European education lias become . to take for granted.

The same thing is happening The European culture has come its in to its not only with knowledge. What I object the space of our national mind. when they India. and gratefully accept it in order to be saved from the curse of futility by lagging behind. humanity for all must claim it from her 'hands. has been a most important factor in movement strengthening and enriching her civilisation. We shall fail to reap the harvest of the present age the artificial arrangement which education tends to occupy all by foreign to is if we delay. We. constantly yet running against the natural mental current of Europe. but with us velocity. on account of the sharp antagonism of its intellectual direction. the great opportunity for the creation of a new thought-power by a new combination o . or hampers.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY not only to the to the this classical culture of 193 Europe. in India. the life vernaculars woke up felt to European and fruitful the impact of this foreign thought-power with all its oriental forms and vigour affinities. first In fact. Then. let admit that modern Europe's great gift to time to coine. but European temperament alien altogether. arid thus kills. us. Science is again. And of ideas.

four streams. The main in river in Indian culture has flowed the Vedic. the Puranic. to get mastery over this culture. The Tibetan Brahmaputra is a tributary to the Indian Ganges. not to resist the Western to culture. has repeatedly come into India with his own stores of from outside. belonging to a country. the Muhammadans have made their permanent and precious contribution. not as our burden . and the Jain. our architecture. Contributions have similarly found their way to India's original culture. the It has its source in Buddhist. laden knowledge and feeling and his wonderful religious democracy. is not fed by its own waters alone. Those who have studied the lives and writings of our medieval saints. our pictorial art. the heights of the Indian consciousness. and not to live on its outskirts as the hewers of texts and drawers of hook-learning. that all CREATIVE UNITY urge have the elements in our own culture It is this which makes me to he strengthened. use it for our sustenance. The Muhammadan. and all the great religious movements that sprang up in the time . bringing freshet after freshet to swell the current. To our music. But a river. for example. our literature.194 of truths. hut truly to accept and assimilate it .

the Puranic. India did not remain isolated within her own boundaries. in our centre of Indian learning. Japanese. know how deep our debt to this foreign current that has so intimately mingled with our life. the past. stock. There are some who are exclusively modern. in her relation to the whole continent of Asia. but only a legacy of debts. Buddhist. shall For only then we be to our able to assimilate this last contribu- tion common is . placed the Western culture. A river flowing it within banks its" truly our own. in order to learn what she was. and have to be added for. and can contain due tributaries but our relations with a flood can only prove disastrous. the Islamic.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY of the 195 is Muhammadan rule. the Jain. the Sikh and the* Zoroastrian. we must provide for the co-ordinate study of all these the Vedic. Therefore. were those great ages of renaissance in history which is . They refuse to believe that the army who marching forward can be fed from the It is well to remind such persons that the rear. So. in . believe that the past is the bankrupt time. the different cultures. The Tibetan will also Chinese. these cultures too must be Side by side with them must finally be studied. leaving no assets for us.

They have missed their seed for cultivation. and movements. even in the West. It must lines and Through our mastery of these we not only make our whole nature articulate. to break open the treasure. other languages.trove of our ancestors. and use it for our commerce of life. We must not imagine that we are one of these disinherited The time has come for us peoples of the world. is the intellectual training which receives almost far I So exclusive emphasis. it aspect of Education. but also understand man in all his attempts to feveal his clime.196 CREATIVE UNITY discovered when man suddenly thought the seeds of in the granary of the past. Let us. universities have not yet truly recognised that fulness of expression is man its can never find its a large part of expression in the mere therefore seek for colours. The innermost being in every age and great use of Education is not merely . and not continue our existence as the eternal ragpickers in other people's dustbins. and go begging for their bare livelihood. with its help. sounds And language of words. fulness of The Western life. make our future our own. lost The unfortunate people who have the harvest of their past have lost their present age. have dwelt only upon the intellectual For.

life We almost completely ignore the aesthetic it of man. leaving to grow there. men From the of its So our notion or at best literary. our .AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY to collect facts. AVe make the arts. at least to some extent. the duty of every being to master. is To be brought up in ignorance of it of the knowledge and ance of humanity. and in them we meeting-places are vociferous wear to shreds the things we have borrowed from our English teachers. dismal and damp with the But where are our ances. like the . not only the language of intellect. eternal voice of It is to be deprived use of that great inherit- to remain deaf to the all Man. this growing world of his own creative human nature. that speaks to the messages that are beyond speech. which has been growing and waiting for every one of us from the beginning of our history. but also that It is personality which is the language of Art. allowing weeds Our newspapers are prolific. modern culture is limited within the lines of boundary grammar and the laboratory. air tears of our griev- which. but to oneself 197 know man and It is to make known to man. This is the world of Art. educational point of view we know Europe where it is scientific. uncultivated. a great world of reality for man. vast and profound.

because their whole life not merely their official life was lived in this land and it is the wholeBut our ness of life from which originates Art. where the colours are not nor the Ours is the forms of delight. life is The only the other side of timber merchant may foliage . know to his cost that the During the Moghal period. this great deficiency of our modern carry to we are condemned to the end a dead load of miserable outcasts. court. are deprived of our place and wait at the outer for us.198 CREATIVE UNITY outbreak of spring flowers. English teachers are birds of passage . education of a prison-house. . that the joy of the strength of life. dumb wisdom. music and art in India found a great impetus from the rulers. they . We are made to forget that the perfection of colour and form and expression belongs to the perfection of vitality. think that the flowers and are mere frivolous decorations of a tree but if these are suppressed. are the spontaneous overflow of our deeper nature and spiritual' magnificence ? Through education. nor the songs. Like we in the festival of culture. he will timber too will fail. with hard labour and with a drab dress cut to the limits of minimum decency and necessity.

music and art must have their prominent seats of honour. have close association with this economic The highest mission of education is to help us to realise the inner principle of the unity of all knowledge and all the activities of our social and spiritual being. must life. The different systems of music and" different schools of art which lie scattered in the different ages and provinces of India. in order to obtain their fulness of truth. and also those belonging to the other great countries of Asia. I have already hinted that Education should not be dragged out of its native element. the whole width of the fundamental basis of society. and riot be given merely a tolerant nod* of recognition. when . must no longer be encouraged. but do not sing. have to be brought there together and studied. which had communication with India. Society in its its early stage was held together by economic co-operation. because its necessities are the simplest and the most universal. and in the different strata of society. owing to this narrowness of culture. the Economic life covers life-current of the people. ifi not in the land of their exile. Educational institutions.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY cackle to us. In the centre of Indian culture which I am proposing. 199 their true heart Constriction of life.

And civilisation will fall to pieces if it never again realises the spirit of mutual help and the common sharing of benefits in the elemental necessaries of life. but the centre of her economic life also. it. Civilisation could never at if all have been started such was not the case. or forest schools. ancient ttipovanas. the villages round spin cloths. and calling science to very existence should depend upon the success of its industrial activities its aid. were not shut off Our Masters from the daily life of the people. oil from it must the necessaries.200 all its CREATIVE UNITY members felt in unison a natural interest in their right to live. Spiritual education was a part of the spiritual life itself. culture should not only be the centre of the intellectual life of India. It must co-operate with oil-seeds . breed cattle. using the best materials. Its . Our centre of which comprehended all life. press all cultivate land. supporting themselves by the work of their own hands. The idea of such economic co-operation should be made the basis of our It must not only instruct. devising the best produce means. . not only think. and took their cattle out to graze. and students gathered fruit and fuel. but live University. but produce. which were our natural universities.

tending trees. learning to feel the immense mystery of the soil and water and air. It is the spiritual and truth beauty of our attitude towards our for half surroundings. feeding birds and animals. our conscious relationship with the Infinite. greed of profit. and the lasting power of the Eternal in the passing ideal moments of our life. What must be the religious ideal that is to rule our centre of Indian culture ? The one abiding ideal in the religious life of India has been Mukti. an hour each day. Before I conclude my paper. a delicate question remains to be considered. the deliverance of man's soul from the grip of self. .AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY carried out 201 on the co-operative principle. which will unite the teachers and students and villagers of the neighbourhood in a living and active bond This will give us also a practical industrial training. whose motive force is not the of necessity. daily to grow in an atmosphere of service offered to all creatures. Such a religious can only be made possible by making pro- vision for students to live in intimate touch with nature. as a subject in the class. its its communion with the Infinite Soul through This union in ananda with the universe.doctrine to be taught. religion of spiritual harmony is not a theological .

202 CREATIVE UNITY this. should be simple. In such an atmosphere students would learn to understand that humanity is a divine harp of many strings. waiting for its one grand music. mon studying their crafts. inviting them to the feasts. We should never believe that sim- plicity of life might make us unsuited to the requirements of the society of our time. and by the sheer necessity of love's sacrifice for its own sake. to the great Those who realise this meeting of Man in the future. joining them in works of co-operation and in our intercourse for communal welfare . not by moral maxims or the condescension of social superiority. but by natural sympathy of life for life. Along with there should be some com- sharing of life with the tillers of the soil and the humble workers in the neighbouring villages . Life. and clean. in call such a centre. which is needed all the more because of the intricacy In the morning of strings in the instrument. and along the path of sacrifice. for which the comes to us across the darkness. It is the simplicity of the tuning-fork. unity are made ready for the pilgrimage through the night of suffering. 'of our career our nature needs the pure and the perfect note of a spiritual ideal in order . we should be guided.

bound by social bonds. In other words. Edinburgh. LIMITED. . independent. rich with ever-renewing life. a world in itself. by R. growing with the growth of their soul . self- sustaining. & R. radiating life across space and time. THE END Printed in Great Britain. but aspiring towards spiritual freedom and final perfection. CLARK. who is intellectual as well as economic. should be a perpetual creation by the co-operative enthusiasm of teachers and students. attract- ing and maintaining round it a planetary system Its aim should lie in imof dependent bodies. parting life-breath to the complete man.AN EASTERN UNIVERSITY to fit 203 us for the complications this institution of our later years.

BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE
GITANJALL the Author.

a Portrait

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