Among the many beautiful revelations given to mankind by Sri Aurobindo, one of them is that a nation is not just a geographical piece of land, not even its people, but something more. This something more, deeper and subtle is the Nation-soul. Just as an individual has a body, the nation too has a physical body which is represented by its geographical boundaries. It also has a national mind represented by the will and thoughts and feelings and the collective aspirations of its people. But there is something else that makes the truth of a nation. It is its secret soul that evolves through millenniums and cycles of birth and death. Of course the soul of a nation, just like the soul of an individual never dies. It is the imperishable element, the spiritual support that guides a nation’s destiny, steers it even during its critical phases using the people as its instruments. The body is of course the base and must be kept robust, healthy and intact for the national life to express itself. That is the reason one has to safeguard the national borders and ensure that the body remains intact and strong. It is the base and if it becomes weak in the force of its manliness then the national life gets crippled and the soul of a nation is unable to express itself fully.
Next comes the people. If the will of the people is divided and filled with contradictions, self-doubts, uncertainties and fears, self-depreciation ruled by the spirit of slavery then the soul will find it difficult to fulfil its mission. In that case it may go through another cycle when it withdraws into the background under a foreign occupation while its people are prepared through hard sacrifice and difficult experiences. When the soil tilled by this hard labour ensuing through an era of darkness and death is ready the nation gets its freedom again and is ready for the new cycle and a new journey. That is what we see happening during India’s freedom struggle. Through all the pain and labour and hard sacrifice India was reborn at midnight on the auspicious day of Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, the 15th August 1947.
Her birth however was a fractured birth because the will of the people was divided. It is necessary therefore for India to once regain its lost parts for only when its outer body is complete can it truly fulfil its mission. This seems to have begun and sooner or later it is inevitable that all the fragmented parts of India will come together as a confederation of states and work together for humanity’s progress. But the time and circumstance depend upon the collective will of the nation. If Indians remain largely united within then the circumstances will become favourable to the inevitable union of the different parts of India. However, if the will is severely fractured then the union will be imposed through difficult circumstances, much needless suffering, sacrifice and bloodshed. This is what is being prepared now. As the people of this country regardless of the differences of religion, language, custom etc rise together as one voice, when they stop thinking of their petty selfish interests and think of the country as a whole we shall see India too rising to fulfil its destiny.
This destiny bequeathed to our nation is well-known. It is written all over its history. Through all the ups and downs of this great and unique country, through all the changing names and empires, during peace and even during war India has been the Light that has shown the world the ways of Truth and Light and God and Freedom and Immortality. This is the soul of this nation and it never dies. It is our imperishable truth and the sooner we understand this the better it is for us and for the world. For though India has never annexed other boundaries respecting them as something sacred, yet its Light has time and again spread across the world giving the much needed spiritual sustenance for a humanity athirst for Truth and Peace and Compassion and Love. Its heroic souls have given beautiful examples of sacrifice and its luminaries gone far and wide as teachers to awaken and illumine mankind in its quest for God. Therefore it is necessary for India to rise to its lost glory and greatness for the good of the world. A strong, resurgent India is a bringer of Hope and Light for the world. A weak India puts the world in peril.
What we have to do therefore is to align our will and thoughts and life increasingly in this direction of India’s destiny. It means to awaken our sleeping spiritual energies and to release them into various activities of the life. Not a world-withdrawing asceticism but a world enriching and God-fulfilling way of life has to be our path now. The ascetic path is needed during periods of India’s decline so that the truths of the Spirit can be preserved in the heart of a few who turn away from the battle and the struggle. But now that India is free, the need of the hour is the way of the Gita, the path shown to us by Sri Aurobindo, – the path that leads us to the reintegration of the Spiritual and material aspects of life, the path that unites God and world, Soul and nature in a harmonious embrace. Let us therefore leave behind the conflicts and confusions of our recent past and filling our breath with the power of the Spirit say with one voice, – ‘Bande Mataram, Bande Mataram, Bande Mataram.’
August 2019, Pondicherry