Note:This essay is the sixth part in the series of articles based on Guruji's Bunch of Thoughts. Here is the link to fifth part-https://myind.net/Home/viewArticle/guruji-golwalkars-spurring-call-of-our-national-soul
The focus of this essay is to examine the role of Dharma in our national life and how it is to be used for both individual development and social solidarity. The concept of “Chaturvidha Purushartha” has been discussed in order to explain the importance of Dharma in one’s life. Warning against the limitations of materialism, Guruji Golwalkar has talked about how the richest nation has failed to get its people out of misery. Talking about the spirit of selfless service, Guruji has also delved on our glorious past when India was considered as Vishwa-Guru because of the sterling character of our spiritual giants who travelled the world over to spread the message of divinity in man.
Our supreme goal must be one of bringing to life the all-round glory and greatness of our Hindu Rashtra. In order to have a correct grasp of this goal, we should understand what exactly this “great glory”, Param Vaibhavam as we call it in our Prarthana, connotes. Then we have also to understand how to attain and maintain that glorious condition of our nation.
Ordinarily, the glory of a nation is measured in terms of its material affluence. There is no doubt that a nation in glory has necessarily to be in affluence. All the necessities of life must be fully provided to every individual in the nation. But, is that the complete image of our national glory that we conceive of? This is the most important question which we have to ponder over.
Our Vision of Glory
Each nation has its own priorities in life and marches ahead in tune with that national ethos. Our Hindu Nation has also preserved a unique characteristic since times immemorial. To us, the aspects of material happiness, i.e.- arth (the amassing of wealth) and kama (the satisfaction of physical desires) are only a part of man’s life. Our great ancestors declared that there are two more aspects of human endeavor, dharma and moksha. They built up our society on the basis of this four-fold achievement, the chaturvidha purushartha of dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. We are therefore called a highly moral, spiritual and philosophical people, who have kept as their ultimate goal nothing short of direct communion with God himself, i.e. - moksha. If this final aim of human existence is left out, then what remains except the feeding of the brute in man? If to eat, drink and enjoy abundantly is the only criterion then man will have to be equated to a beast. Therefore, we say that we have also to feed the spirit of man. It is only when we do that we can look upon our national existence as being really great and glorious. It has been said, धर्मादर्थश्च कामश्च , that is, first follow dharma, and dharma will also give artha and kama.
Role of Dharma
When we say that we want to protect and rejuvenate dharma, do we mean the revival of its external form of rituals and formalities? These things have meaning for those who have faith in them. And they are just small external signs of our all-comprehensive dharma. They must not be confused with dharma itself.
Our definition of Dharma is twofold. The first is proper rehabilitation of man’s mind; and the second is adjustment of various individuals for a harmonious corporate existence, i.e., a good social order to hold the people together. What is meant by the rehabilitation of mind? We know that the personality of man is only a projection of his mind. But the mind is like an animal which runs after so many things and it is so constituted as to be one with all the desired things. Therefore the mind is to be cultivated in self-restraint and certain other great qualities. Those attributes of good conduct are mentioned in various contexts in Bhagwad-Gita and our other holy scriptures. They have described five yamas for the body and five niyamas for the mind.
There is one more way of looking at this blending of the development of the individual with the integrity and welfare of the society. We have been told by our great thought-givers to discriminate between what is permanent and what is impermanent. Shankarachaya has called it nityanitya-vastu-viveka. Let us, for the time being, keep apart its high philosophical interpretations and apply it to our national life. Individuals come and go. Countless generations have come and gone. But the nation has remained. We, the individuals, appear on the surface like bubbles or drops for a moment, and disappear. The ‘permanent’, therefore, is the national life. The ‘impermanent’ is the individual. The ideal arrangement would therefore be to transform the impermanent-the individual-into a means to attain the permanent-the social good-which would at the same time enable the individual to enrich and blossom his latent divinity. This is dharma in its twofold aspect, which leads mankind to its ultimate goal of realization of Godhead-moksha.
The Present Warnings
Unfortunately, the persons at the helm of affairs of our country today have lost this national vision and become infatuated with foreign ‘isms’ which have not risen beyond the materialist view of prosperity and glory. They have given currency to the slogan of ‘raising the standard of life,’ which only means increasing man’s desires and trying to fulfil them by increasing physical comforts and conveniences.
It is a matter of common experience that physical desires can never be satiated. A person who has a bundle of unsatisfied desires can never be happy in spite of any amount of multiplication of the means for their satisfaction. In America, for example, in spite of its boundless affluence and prosperity, the incidence of various sorts of heinous crimes and mental diseases in all strata of society is growing at an alarming rate. Millions of Americans drug themselves every night with sleeping pills before going to bed. This only betrays a serious lacuna in their philosophy of life. Having kept the political and economic factors as the sole and supreme consideration in life, they have ignored the roots of spirituality which alone restrain and ennoble the human mind and nurture the human soul to grow and blossom in peace and happiness.
Let us not, therefore, forget that it was the complete life-concept of chaturvidha purushartha marked out our society and made us shine bright on the horizon of the world. Our national past bears ample testimony to the fact that this life-concept was not just a Utopia but a living reality for thousands of years of our national life. A disciple of Buddha had gone to Tibet, China and Japan. His idol was actually worshipped as God in these countries. How did this miracle happen? It was the intense spirit of self-sacrifice and service, the all-embracing love, and the sheer merit of noble character of such missionaries that made them the cultural preceptors of these people and earned the name of Vishwa Guru-World Teacher-for our Bharat.
Strength is Life, Weakness is Death
It is well known that in this age, especially, the strength to protect ourselves from external aggression and internal chaos lies in the organized life of the people- संघे शक्ति कलियुगे. Therefore, when we say that our nation should be taken to the pinnacle of glory, it also means that our people should be made alert, organized and powerful. We have to be so strong that none in the world will be able to overawe and subdue us.
Character is Everything
Physical strength is necessary, but character is more important. Strength without character will only make a brute of man. Purity of character from the individual as well as the national standpoint, is the real-life breath of national glory and greatness.
Fearlessness is the first virtue of a hero, the starting point of all other noble virtues. Even in the Gita, the enumeration of the various godly qualities starts with abhayam (fearlessness). Our founder, Dr. Hedgewar, used to say that the work of national consolidation should proceed in such a way that it neither frightens anybody nor will be afraid of anybody:
“ना भय देत काहू को, ना भय जानत आप"
Duty to Country First
There may be occasions when conflicts arise in our mind while fixing priorities among our several duties. Then we will have to discriminate, take a detached view and respond to the supreme call of the ideal that we have chosen for our life. The martyrdom of Tanaji Malasure is a shining example in this regard. When Shivaji sent word to him and assigned him the challenging task of winning the formidable Kondana fort (later called Sinhagad), Tanaji was busy making preparations for his son’s marriage. But at the word of Shivaji, Tanaji gave up the thought of the marriage saying, “My son’s marriage may well wait for some time; I will first carry out the command of my king. My first duty is towards the Swaraj.” Without a moment’s hesitation Tanaji proceeded to conquer Kondana. The heroic attempt was crowned with success, but it has claimed its price the life of Tanaji himself.
It is when we bend all our energies towards this fundamental process- the great process of man- making – that our ancient and sacred nation can once again attain its original position of greatness and glory, shedding peace and plenty, culture and character all-round.
Image Credits: Ennapadam Panchajanya