The political parties and national consolidations - England and Bharat - Need for radical cure - How to transform minds - Momentary upsurges recoil - Rules for samskars - From little things to great things - Indiscipline, enemy of strength - True discipline - Present misconceptions - Swayamsevak, a missionary - Self-effacement - Practising, then preaching -Disciplined and dedicated - Nucleus for national resurrection.
THE concept of total national reorganisation that the Sangh has been striving to bring into reality naturally implies the non-political nature of its work. After all, a political party can but represent a very small fraction of the people. Nor can national oneness be achieved through elections and political propaganda. Political techniques - and even political power for that matter - can hardly infuse the spirit of devotion, heroism, character, amity and sacrifice in the people. In fact, without having those grass-roots of a well-knit national life, the political parties degenerate into mutual hostility and ruin the national fabric.
Chasing forms, Losing Spirit
That is the unfortunate predicament in which we find ourselves today. Devoid of the living faith in a single national entity and of the supreme consciousness of national interest we find that most of the political parties have become merely breeding-centres for disruptive forces and fissiparous tendencies. We often find them joining hands with avowedly anti-national elements within the country and sometimes even with outside enemy powers in a bid to further their narrow party interests.
One may ask whether it is not desirable to have two parties working in a spirit of healthy competition so that each may act as a corrective to the other and thus keep the national health free from the poison of dictatorship of a single party or a single person. The democratic institution has undoubtedly that saving feature. But even, that will come into play only when the people are firmly rooted in the consciousness of 'nation above party'. Even in those Western countries where the people are steeped in that particular tradition for the past several centuries, parties are not entirely free from mutual rivalry and envy. However, they are able to keep the political pulls within limits and subservient to the
higher call of national welfare. For them such institutions do good and add vigour to their life. If a healthy and strong man puts on a shirt made of very fine mulmul, it will appear very nice for him. But if a person whose limbs are lean and thin, his chest gone in and who cannot even stand erect, wears that and tries to strut about, he only makes of himself a laughing-stock in the eyes of others.
For example, compare the conditions of our country with those of England. Some years back, when Pandit Nehru halted at London on his way to America, some of our own countrymen in London went to the aerodrome to stage a black flag demonstration against him simply because they professed to belong to a different party. They forgot that such an act against our Prime Minister in a foreign land was an insult to our nation.
Now, see the instance of England. When Winston Churchill, then the leader of the Opposition in Britain, was touring in America, some persons put him questions about his attitude towards the Labour Government in his homeland. Churchill bluntly replied, "Abroad we are one, whatever our differences at home." Even during the two wars, in spite of the immense suffering and misery the people there had to undergo, no political party tried to make capital out of that situation for its own party ends. The repeated miserable failures of the Communists in that country to save even their deposits in the elections give us an indication of the Britishers' deep-rooted sense of nationalism.
The Lurid Contrast
It is out of a superficial view of the external set-up of institutions in other countries without looking into their inner spirit that some persons ask us, "Countries like England have been progressing and triumphing over difficulties and ordeals even without any special effort such as yours. The people there are engaged in their normal routine life. The political parties carry on the affairs of the country quite successfully. Then, where is the need for a separate organisation such as yours in our country and for the day-to-day training that you are carrying on?"
But there everyone is a born patriot. There is no need even to mention that a particular person is a patriot just as we do not add the prefix 'man' while referring to an individual. That he is a man is taken for granted. But in our country we often hear the word 'patriot' as a special word of tribute applied to certain persons. In England in every one of their institutions - whether a school or a college, a literary club or a youth league, a social meet or cultural body and even at home - the first lesson that every child learns is, "England! With all thy faults, I live thee still!" And here, our great leaders speak of our glorious Himalayas as a place where 'not a blade of grass grows'!
And again see the inspiring tradition of patriotism, which England has set up over centuries. During the whole of the past few centuries there were hardly any traitors. During the Second World War, there was but a single notable case of betrayal. The son of Lord Amery, who was then the Secretary of State for India, has worked for the Germans. After the war, he was tried and sentenced to death. His father would not even think of exerting the influence of his high office to get the punishment lessened. On the other
hand, he declined to submit a mercy petition. On the day of his son's execution he even refused to see him, saying that it was a sin to see the face of one who was a blot on the glorious patriotic tradition of their family!
And here? A whole race of traitors right from the times of Dahir and Prithviraj down to the times British rule was born here. And that has continued unabated even to this day. Nowadays treachery has become almost a passport for higher posts in our country. The gentleman who had manoeuvred to divert to Pakistan a shipload of arms bound for our country, when he was our ambassador there, was later appointed as the Governor of one of our States!
There, politics is a healthy sport for them. When the Labour Party was in power, it deputed as its ambassadors the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Party to America and China, respectively. Can we ever dream of such a healthy convention on the part of the party in power in our country? Even the third-rate and fourth-rate persons of the ruling party are considered superior to the ablest in other parties. As a result, the entire administration is monopolised by the ruling party. They have not stopped even at that. The state machinery in freely exploited to serve their party interest. Agitations and movements by opposition parties are sought to be suppressed by brutal government measures.
This is not a recent development either. The present perversion began setting in even as early as 1937 when Congress began tasting the loaves of political power. We know from our own experience that the leaders of Congress were freely associating themselves with the work of the Sangh in the initial stages. Our founder too had participated in Congress movements even after the founding of the Sangh. But after Congress formed ministries in several provinces in 1937, it contracted itself into a political shell, prohibited its members from participating in the activities of the Sangh and introduced the new poison of 'political untouchability' in our body-politic.
Once in 1937, in a province having the Congress ministry, police firing was ordered to suppress a political agitation. A gentleman wrote to the Congress President* asking how a Government run by Congress committed to non-violence could resort to firing. The Congress President replied, "Our policy of non-violence is applicable only towards the British and not towards our people." And that gentleman published the correspondence in papers!
The Radical Cure
With such germs of national disintegration eating into the vitals of our nation, it is useless to expect that mere copying of the political and other institutions of other countries will solve our problems and bring about all-round national rejuvenation. Our malady is far deeper and requires a far more radical cure. It is to root out the basic malady that the Sangh has evolved the method of day-to-day training, the day-to-day
inculcation of qualities such as the spirit of sacrifice, discipline and national devotion that go to build a resurgent and unified national life.
Therefore we say, let us come together in Shakha, daily and regularly. It is common experience that if a particular idea is repeated at a fixed hour regularly it goes deep into our being and becomes an inseparable part of our character. Hence the untiring stress on regularity and punctuality in the Sangh.
There is a small story to illustrate the point. A rich man used to go to his beautiful garden in the afternoon to sit in its cool shade. One day a peacock came and sat on a tree spreading its charming feathers. The owner thought, "How nice it would be if it comes daily at this hour!" He prepared some eatables mixed with a trace of opium and threw them before the peacock. The peacock ate them and felt elated. Next day also, the peacock came remembering that sensation of happiness and the man fed it with another dose of opium. Ultimately the bird was so habituated that it used to come regularly at that hour even without that opium.
That is the nature of the mind. Habit is formed by the regular repetition of an idea in thought, speech and action. Here regularity counts much. Irregularity destroys the formation of good character. There are so many persons who are labouring very hard, working at the anvils or cutting down trees or breaking stones. But none of them becomes a Sandow though they are really undergoing strenuous physical labour. That is because their labour is disorderly and irregular. But a person who takes regular exercise, even with less exertion, can build up his physique and become an athlete. The famous German general Field Marshal Hindenburg, who became the President of Germany after the First World War, was agile and strong even at the age of eighty. When asked about the secret of his remarkable vigour he said that he used to cut wood for about an hour regularly and punctually and was continuing that practice even at that age.
Fate of Momentary Upsurges
It gives us a sense of elation, no doubt, while listening to an inspiring idea or making a resolve to practice a particular thing. But how long does that feeling and resolution last? Is it not common experience to find our young men making 'solemn resolves' on certain auspicious days to write daily or to take regular exercise and so on and forgetting them on the very next day?
We often come across persons who work by fits and starts. We also find exuberance of people's feelings and emotions on certain occasions. But such temporary upsurges will not help to imprint abiding samskars on people's mind. Nowadays people say that there is a wave of religious awakening all over the country. Religious sermons are broadcast through loudspeakers. Millions gather to take a dip in the Ganga every year. Vast numbers assemble for religious discourses like puranas and harikathas and festivals like Ramanavami, Satyanarayan Pooja, and Ganeshotsav. But are these programmes having the desired effect? Are they able to instil in people's mind the noble resolve to put an end
to their present-day self-centred life and to live up to those sacred teachings of character, service and sacrifice?
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa used to remark jocularly about persons going for Gangasnana. "Well, as they approach the holy banks of Ganga, their sins fly from their body and sit on the distant trees. But as soon as they start back after their bath, the sins pounce back upon them!" The moral is, man's character cannot be moulded by mere momentary upsurges of emotions. It is only one in a million who will be endowed with the mental stamina to turn a momentary gush of feelings into an abiding part of his character. That is why, all our great authorities on mental discipline have ordained us not to succumb to overflow of emotions and weep in the name of God but to apply ourselves to a strict discipline of day-to-day penance. Effusion of emotions will only shatter the nerves and make the person weaker than before leaving him a moral wreck. It is just like a liquor-addict who is left imbecile after the effects of liquor subside.
Once an elderly gentleman, after attending one of our meetings, became extremely enthused and announced to his family members that all his family ties were cut and he would thereafter be solely dedicated to the mission of Sangh! Needless to say, after the exuberance subsided he relapsed into his old self-centred life without even so much as remembering that vow of total renunciation!
Acts that Boomerang
Falling a victim to emotional upsurges may also disturb the mental balance to a dangerous extent. Those who cannot restrain their emotions will give vent to them in several undesirable channels. Some will give themselves up in grieving and lamenting; some others indulge in desperate acts harming the interests of the ideal itself. Often such reckless acts even destroy whatever favourable conditions the others might have built up over a long time by their patient toil. There is a tragic instance during the days of freedom struggle of Italy. Garibaldi, Mazzini and other top Italian leaders had forged a secret pact with some French leaders with a view to hastening the achievement of Italian independence. But all of a sudden news reached Mazzini that some one had shot the French emperor. Mazzini was shocked. He exclaimed: "God help us! May the assailant prove to be some one other than an Italian!" However, fate willed otherwise. The assailant turned out to be an Italian. The secret plans of Mazzini and others were dashed to the ground.
The Time-Honoured Technique
What then is the process for imprinting permanent samskars? Psychologists tell us that three factors - firstly, constant meditation on the ideal that is to be formed into a smaskar; secondly, constant company of persons devoted to the same ideal; and finally, engaging the body in activities congenial to that ideal - are necessary in fashioning the character of a person after the ideal. But for all common people who have to engage themselves for most part of the day in personal and family affairs, earning money, rearing up children and so on, this formula involving all 24 hours of the day is an impractical proposition.
Even an all-renouncing yogi cannot remain in the sate of total samadhi for more than three days; his body will fall off after that.
So, the great builders, of the society have introduced a system for the common man embodying the essence of those principles of samskars. And that is, to keep apart a definite period of the day, in the morning, evening or at night and concentrate all the powers and activities of his body, mind and intellect on the chosen ideal at that particular hour regularly and punctually and to remain in the company of similar-minded devotees for at least some period of the day.
The Sangh too has evolved the present technique of Shakha on the same time-honoured pattern of imparting samskars. In consonance with the ideal of national reorganisation, the process of daily samskars inspired by the spirit of Rashtradevo bhava (Be a devotee to Nation-God) is carried on in the Shakha. Charged with that spirit, the various apparently little things like games, wielding of lathi, singing, marching, etc., acquire the potency of instilling deep samskars for an organised and powerful national life.
It is the coming together of little things in an organised manner that goes to make a great thing. "Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves" is an adage that is true to a letter in the moulding of great characters. Great characters do no come up as ready-made products in a day. They are built silently and steadily, and their glorious heights scaled inch by inch and step by step.
How to Cure Evil?
Bad characters too develop starting with a small lapse somewhere. There is the story of a young man condemned to the gallows for murder. To fulfil his wish his mother came to meet him. But as soon as he saw his mother, he pounced upon her and bit off her ears. He was dragged away and denounced for his brutal behaviour even at the moment of his death. Then he exclaimed that she was the cause of his tragic end! He said, "As a young boy I once stole some money and brought it to my mother. At that time she did not pinch my ears and set me right. From that day onwards, that evil habit grew upon me and I have to suffer its dire consequences today."
There is a small English poem, which I read in my boyhood days, which highlights the importance of little things. The poem which starts with the sentence, "For want of a nail, the shoe was lost", goes on to narrate how "for want of a shoe the horse was lost", then the rider was lost, then the battle was lost and finally the kingdom was lost. The poem ends with the sentence. "And all for want of a horseshoe nail"!
The bad habits and tendencies that have grown upon us for the past several centuries cannot be washed off in a single day. Therefore the daily imprinting of samskars is an urgent necessity. Even the body requires to be washed daily. Then the mind which is far more susceptible to contamination requires to be purified with much more diligence and regularity, as it is continuously in contact with various evil tendencies which are in the air all around us. When Totapuri, the Advaitic Guru of Sri Ramakrishna, was asked why
even he, a realised soul, was continuing his daily routine of samskars. He replied that the mind, as long as it exists in this world, is required to be cleansed daily, just as a vessel used for drinking-water needs a daily scrubbing.
The Man-Making Process
The Sangh has therefore evolved a course of samskars wherein the mind, intellect and body of an individual are trained so as to make him a living limb of the great corporate body of society. In a human body, for instance, there are so many limbs and in each limb, millions of cells. Each cell feels its identity with the entire body and is ever ready to sacrifice itself for the sake of the health and growth of the body. In fact, it is the self-immolation of millions of such cells that release the energy for every bodily activity.
The training that is imparted every day in the Shakha in a strictly regulated fashion imparts that spirit of identification and well-concerted action. It gives the individual the necessary incentive to rub away his angularities, to behave in a spirit of oneness with the rest of the brethren in society and fall in line with the organised and disciplined way of life by adjusting himself to the varied outlooks of other minds. The persons assembling there learn to obey a single command. Discipline enters their blood. More important than the discipline of the body is the discipline of the mind. They learn to direct their individual emotions and impulses towards the great national cause. Thus the exemplary discipline that takes shape in the Sangh is self-imposed as it stems from a spirit of intense national dedication. Such a discipline is bound to enrich and bring to blossom the latent potentialities of the individual in harmony with the national good. It is such men, in full bloom of manly virtues, imbued with the spirit of mutual love and co-operation and bound by the bond of self-inspired discipline, all ready to go into action at the same time, who go to build up an inexhaustible reservoir of national strength.
Our One Great Undoing
Discipline is thus a very important factor in national life. Mere assemblage of people with a common goal but without discipline has no power of concerted action. Such an assemblage fails in achieving its goal. Every year lakhs of pilgrims flock to have the darshan of Lord Jagannath at Puri. In that rush many persons fall, break their limbs or get crushed under the feet of others. Such mishaps are quite a common occurrence. Doubtless all of them have a common goal - the darshan of Lord Jagannath. But as there is no order, no discipline, there is only confusion and disaster instead of Jagannath's darshan. That is the experience in all walks of life. A disorderly crowd of even hundreds of person stands nowhere in comparison with a handful of disciplined men in their capacity for work. In our own history we have seen that the British armies could put to rout our armies several times their number. The obvious reason was their superior discipline.
Indiscipline has been our one great undoing in past history. The Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 was a crucial moment for the rising Hindu Swaraj. The great Hindu army was headed by the veteran general Sadashivarao Peshwa and the army of the invaders by Ahmedshah Abdally. When the officers of the Hindu army sat in conference to decide the
war strategy, Malharrao Holkar and some others advocated guerrilla warfare to bring the enemy to his knees. But Sadashivarao who had won laurels as a matchless general in pitched battles, decided that a pitched battle would be more effective in smashing the enemy at one stroke. To this Malharrao would not agree, and in anger he withdrew from the war. The rest of the army under Sadashivarao went into battle. There was a critical moment when just a little help from Malharrao Holkar who was at no great distance from the scene of the battle could have turned the eventual disastrous defeat into a great victory and probably changed the whole course of our history. But this army simply kept looking on. And Panipat had to witness the utter rout and ruin of the finest flowers of our Hindu forces. The reason was, those two persons could not agree to a common course of action, although both had the same goal of throwing out the invader.
The spirit of discipline needed for national re-organisation, as visualised by the Sangh, is not merely of the body; it is not of the police or the military type. Once a friend asked me whether our organisation was of the type built by Vikramaditya or the one built by Shankaracharya. I replied that neither would serve the purpose in the present age. The military organisation of Vikramaditya served the limited purpose of throwing out the enemy for the time being and lasted for just over a century. But such a technique can neither unify our people for all time nor infuse abiding national virtues in them. As for the latter technique of intellectual discussions and moral discourses adopted by Shankaracharya, the intellectual honesty, the integrity that was prevalent then is conspicuous by its absence today. The wife of Mandana Mishra could sit as a judge to decide the winner in that famous debate between her husband and Shankaracharya. And she gave her judgement in favour of Shankaracharya! And according to the terms of the debate both Mandana Mishra and his wife embraced sannyas and became his ardent disciples.
But such is not the condition at present. There are very few who are intellectually upright and honest enough to accept what they come to know as right and act up to it. It is our common experience that most of the eminent leaders who bitterly oppose the views of the Sangh in public express their complete agreement in private! We have therefore evolved this unique technique wherein the whole of our people are forged into a self-inspired, well-disciplined and nationally devoted force trained to act fearlessly according to the dictates of their conviction.
However, there is a lot of misconception regarding this true nature of our discipline. When the people, accustomed as they are to see military and police type of discipline where there is the element of fear of punishment or lure of money and position, see the spirit of stern discipline that pervades the programms of the Sangh and the behaviour of its workers, they begin to say that the Sangh is a semi-military body, a private army and so on. It only betrays their stark ignorance, their incapacity to appreciate the spirit of
oneness, comradeship and dedication to a mission which moulds the behaviour of its members for self-restraint and self-imposed discipline.
It is the same ignorance that makes some people ask us, "What is the use of your training in lathi and such outmoded weapons in this age of atomic missiles?" They forget that it is the army that has to receive training in the handling of weapons like atomic bombs and missiles. In no country, not even in America and Russia, are such things allowed to be handled by the common people. Even in those countries, so far as the common people are concerned, training is imparted through elementary physical exercises and simple instruments. Such a training is necessary to instill discipline of the body and the mind in the people.
There are some others - probably finding it rather troublesome to undergo the regular course of our organisation! - who say that they do not desire to be bound by any restrictions, that these are the days of 'individual freedom' and so on. One such gentleman charged the Sangh as being 'fascist' because, according to him, all persons in the Sangh right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari whether aged or in their teens gave the same kind of reply to a question, which indicated that there was no freedom of thought in the Sangh! I asked him, "I say two and two makes four, what do you say?", "Why, of course, four!" he replied. I said, "Then you are not a democrat at all! You have given the same reply as I have and therefore you too are a fascist!" The simple fact that there can be but one correct reply to any given question did not occur to that gentleman.
It is but natural that the persons in the Sangh imbued with the correct national perspective react spontaneously to the various national problems that arise from time to time in the same manner. To mistake it for mental regimentation is to call the spirit of nationalism itself as an instrument of regimentation! It is the undigested modern ideas like 'freedom of thought' and 'freedom of speech' that are playing havoc in the minds of our young men who look upon freedom as licence and self-restraint as mental regimentation!
Swayamsevak, a Missionary
The discipline nurtured in the 'Sangh is the spontaneous self-restraint of a cultured people. It is a discipline wherein each one feels that he has a higher duty to the nation and that his personal and family wants can wait. He prepares himself to respond to that higher call in a well-ordered, co-ordinated manner. It is the type of discipline where all will pool together their intelligence, feelings, physical energies and their material possessions in the greater cause of national welfare.
It is this spirit of spontaneous and willing self-restraint and self-sacrifice that marks out a person who undergoes training in the Shakha. He is called a 'Swayamsevak'. A Swayamsevak is not a mere volunteer - as is ordinarily understood these days - who moves about in uniform on certain public occasions and participate in physical demonstrations. No, he is not a passive entity simply carrying out some manual work free of charge at the bidding of others. The Swayamsevak is a missionary with a national
vision. Intensely aware that he is to work out the great plan of organising a nation torn asunder for the past thousand years with thousand and one considerations, he resolves to prepare himself for that historic role. He learns to harmonise and direct his natural impulses, emotions and tendencies so as to become an effective instrument for the task of national reconstruction. He effaces from his mind all ideas of selfish gains, of pelf and power, of name and fame, while he serves the nation.
The Brooding Spirit
This spirit is manifest in all the various aspects of the Sangh technique. The Swayamsevaks who participate in the various training camps and conferences, however poor they may be, meet from their own pockets all their expenses. They pay the camp fees, purchase their uniform, spend for their to and fro charges - everything inspired with a spirit of self-reliance and self-sacrifice.
The ancient tradition of Gurudakshina that the Sangh has followed is also in keeping with this spirit. Once a year on the auspicious Guru Poornima day, every Swayamsevak worships the sacred Guru, the Bhagawa Dhwaj, and offers his dakshina (offering of money). The system of fund collection or monthly and yearly subscription has no place in the Sangh. The offerings are made in a spirit of worship. The Swayamsevaks do not even desire that their names and offerings be made public. A Swayamsevak does not in fact consider it a sacrifice at all but a natural duty for which he has no right to expect anything in return, not even name or fame. They are trained in the spirit of the saying of Tukaram:
vkrk mjyks midkjk iqjrkA
(Now I exist only for the service of others). The words of an inspired poet -
rsjk oSHko vej jgs ek¡ ge fnu pkj jgs u jgsA
(May your glory, O Mother, remain immortal; it matters little if we survive for a few days more or not.) - always stir the soul of a Swayamsevak.
But unfortunately, the general atmosphere in our country today presents a dismal contrast. The spirit of 'cashing one's sacrifice', of demanding something in return for one's services is raging everywhere. The craving for name and fame is seen even in the worship of God. We see stones and tablets in temples displaying the names of the donors. Once in my travels a Swami was with me. I found a name inscribed on his vessel. When I asked him the reason, the Swami explained that it was the name of the person who had gifted a large number of such utensils to the Ashram! Can we call this a dan? Any offering made with the object of procuring something in return - even a name - is not an offering but a bargain. In the Sangh, such a mercenary attitude is never allowed to develop. We deem the offering made with real devotion as the noblest and highest, just as Jesus considered the old woman's small coin a nobler offering than the treasures donated to the Temple by persons rolling in wealth.
Foundation for Success
The various systems and conventions evolved in the Sangh are all inspired with this spirit of self-offering. And the one-hour Shakha is the fountainhead of that spirit.
An elderly lady was carrying on the various household works with her left hand only. I asked her the reason. She said that she offered the right hand to God for one year and that it would be used only for His worship. Though a simple vow, how beautifully it symbolises the spirit of devotion to God amidst all the various distracting activities of the day! Verily this is the spirit behind the man-making process of the Shakha involving 'one-hour offering' that moulds the men participating in that process for dedicated efforts all through their life.
Often people doubt whether this small one-hour programme will be able to bring about the magnificent and all-round transformation of society that the Sangh has conceived of. It has been a common human experience that people follow living example and not dry precepts. And the one-hour training moulds such living images of national character as radiate an irresistible power of drawing people to their path.
There is an illuminating incident in the life of Sri Ramakrishan. Once a lady brought her child to him and requested him to cure the child of its inordinate infatuation for sweets as it was telling upon its health. Sri Ramakrishna asked her to come after a week. She came. But he again asked her to come a few days later. When she again came Sri Ramakrishna called the child near him and said, "Dear child, it is not good to eat much of sweets. Give it up." The child instantly promised to do so. From that day onwards the child gave up sweets. The disciples who had observed this asked Sri Ramakrishns, "Sir, why did you not tell the child not to eat sweets on the very first day, but instead made the lady to come here thrice all the way?" Sri Ramakrishna replied, "Well, I had myself a weakness for sweets. Then how could I advise the child to give up that weakness? Even if I had advised, my words would have failed to impress the child. So I asked the lady to come again. But during that period I could not give any thought to it. So I had to ask her to come once again. After that I gave up attachment to sweets altogether and so I felt myself competent to advise the child."
There is one more fact of human experience and that is, mighty manifestations of power and endeavour are invariably made up of countless small little efforts.
One of our friends narrated his experience after returning from a pilgrimage. He had also visited the tomb of a Muslim peer. The moulvi there would ask the visitors to lift a big stone lying nearby. After they had tried and failed, he would ask all of them to apply their hands to the stone and command them to lift it up with the cry 'Peer Sahib ki jai.' And lo, the stone would go up! That was taken to be a miracle of that peer. After listening to the 'miracle', I called a few Swayamsevaks and asked them to apply a finger each to a stone bigger than that peer's stone. Then I asked them to shout 'Jai' and lift. And what a surprise, the stone rose to a height greater than the 'peer stone'! And the 'miraculous power' of the Peer Sahib lay exposed! The secret of that 'power' lay in the simultaneous
and co-ordinated application of small bits of efforts and the shouting of 'Jai' was only an aid. And so can millions of men, offering one hour a day in a spirit of dedicated and disciplined action, move mountains and work miracles in our national life.
Nucleus for Integration
A question arises whether it is practicable to bring the crores and crores of our people on 'Sanghasthan' (Shakha-ground) and make them go through the day-to-day activities of the Shakha. Further, the Sangh is restricted to men only, debarring half of society, i.e., women, from the daily Shakha. Then there is the substantial section of old men and children and many others too who, for various reasons, are unable to go through the regular course of Shakha training. How then are we going to succeed in reorganising the whole society through this day-to-day man-moulding process?
It is to attend to this paramount aspect of work that, apart from the one-hour Shakha, the Swayamsevaks meet our other brethren in society and share in their joys and sorrows and inspire confidence in their hearts by their sterling character, by their spirit of all-embracing love and disciplined and dedicated service. Men and women, young and old, in the homes of Swayamsevaks and their sympathisers and friends become charged with the spirit of the Sangh. The Shakha becomes the symbol and the spearhead of the collective love and will of the people of the area. Thus steadily and silently, these day-to-day and heart-to-heart contacts during the rest of the day envelop all sections of people - even those who do not actually partake of the training in Shakha - in unbreakable bonds of mutual love and devotion to the national cause.
Ganga Merging in Ocean
Thus with infinite patience and persuasion the Swayamsevaks reach and touch each and every heart, in hamlet and in city. Everywhere they carry with them the same ennobling atmosphere of national oneness. Dissensions born out of apparent difference of language, province, food and dress vanish in their radiating presence. Even in villages and far-off forest abodes they speak to them in the language they understand. They narrate the stories of Rama and Krishna and the examples of our great saints and heroes, engrave the complete picture of our motherland and its sanctity in their minds by reference to the places of pilgrimage spread all over the land, make them conscious of a wide national brotherhood through religious and social functions and thus convert them into an inexhaustible source of national power.
Swayamsevaks also meet at the taluk, district, provincial and all-Bharat levels. Training camps are organised which are practical processes of national integration. Fired with the vision and trained in the technique the Swayamsevaks carry forward the torch of this Rashtra Dharma to every nook and corner of the land. And looking at such lives the people in general too feel inspired to suffer and sacrifice in the cause of the nation. Whether in affluence or in adversity the people are drawn spontaneously into following in their footsteps. The latent energies of a whole people are thus released for national reconstruction, and the dream of a resurgent and reorganised national life rises to life.
The various spheres of national life will then become self-generating centres for continuing the tradition set up by the Swayamsevaks. The process of samskars will continue to mould generation after generation and thus serve as the perennial life-spring for national reorganisation and resurgence. Thus the process that the Sangh has set in motion in our national life is eternal state of organised national life - each one of its institutions and traditions consciously and diligently watering the living seeds of national samskars - the Sangh will have no need to retain its separate institutional name and form. The Sangh will then merge in the nation like the Ganga in the ocean and live as the moving national spirit for all time to come.
3. EFFICACY OF THE TECHNIQUE
Moulding lion-hearted men-For spontaneous unity, self-restraint, self-sacrifice-Technique that suits- Role of elders.
The history of the growth and the beneficial effects of the work of the Sangh over the past four decades has amply borne out the practicability of the vision of its great founder. The technique that he evolved has proved its merit to the hilt. It is now established and accepted even by those who do not belong to the Sangh that this is a technique, which succeeds.
The Potency of the Sacred Dust
Once a big Army officer met me in Punjab. He Asked me, "What is the special training that is given in the Sangh?" I said, "Only playing and singing." He replied, "How can it be? There must be something more than that. Because, personally I know of instances in Punjab during those terrible days of Partition where the Sangh Swayamsevaks excelled even our trained military men in heroism and sacrifice. I also know that many of them have laid down their lives cheerfully while protecting our people. So I would like to know the special training which could make them such heroes." I explained to him the simple programme of our Shakha and said, "Kabaddi sums up our whole training." Hearing my reply he stared at me with an unbelieving look.
That is the potency of the sacred dust of our Sanghasthan where the children of our great motherland come and play together, sing and pray together for the glory of their divine mother, Bharat Mata. It is the same spirit as the one that made the Duke of Wellington utter that famous sentence - "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playground of Eton and Harrow."
Successful on All Scores
Several have been the occasions when the spirit of discipline and dedication of the Swayamsevaks was put on trial and the man-moulding process of the Shakha tested. And after every such ordeal the mettle of the Swayamsevaks has shone all the more bright. In 1948, when Government had clamped a ban on the Sangh ignoring all canons of justice, the Sangh was forced to launch a countrywide movement in vindication of justice and
fairplay in national life. In spite of the all-out measures of the Government to suppress the movement, its singular success proved the matchless potency of the technique of the Sangh in moulding men fired with a spirit of unbounded sacrifice, heroism and discipline in the national cause.
The other techniques that we see all around us today, no doubt, make a loud noise. But what exactly will there be inside is a point in question. A drum doubtless makes a big noise, but it is all hollow inside! The loud trumpeting and beating of drums by others will not therefore affect the workers of the Sangh in the least. They are aware that Sangh has a method that has proved its efficacy on all scores in realising the dream of a resurgent and reorganised national life.
The Method that Suits
There is the instance of a great personality - great but not famous. As we know, not all great men are famous and not all famous men are great! Once an European gentleman said to him, "What a queer type of dress you Hindus wear! You wear dhoti; and when you have to fight, you will get entangled in it and fall." That great man sharply replied, "Who told you that we are always on the look-out for a fight? We are cultured human beings. We think of the peace of the world. Om shantih, shantih, shantih - that is our motto. We behave and dress accordingly. You have no peace of mind and are always with daggers drawn at each other. And so you dress as though you are on a battlefield all the time. We are fearless, peaceful and therefore dress ourselves accordingly. Only when we are challenged, we put on the warrior dress". What a fitting answer it was!
Similarly is our method eminently suited for the particular goal that we have chosen. Often, the simple rugged appearance of our daily Shakha baffles the keenest of intellects and makes them doubt whether it can take us to such a sublime goal. Suppose a gardener wants to grow mango fruits. Does he place the seed in a pot of honey scented with perfume in order that it may give rise to more delicious fruits? Will he not, on the other hand, plant it in the soil mixed with manure? It is a matter of experience that in the process of imparting samskars of strength a rugged exterior is a 'must'.
Role of Elders
Looking at the external form of our daily programmes in the Shakha there is a misconception, especially among our elderly generation, that all this daily routine of playing, physical exercises, singing, prayer, etc., are meant for the boys and youths and that the role of elders is only of sympathisers, blessing and supporting the youngsters. That would be totally missing the spirit of our organisation. When we say, this is a work of reorganising society, it implies the present society. And by 'present society' we mean those who are the elders - the grihasthas - in society. Nobody will say that children are the present society. Suppose some naked kids are playing by the roadside in a town. Will anybody who sees them say that the people in that town go about naked always playing on the roadside? Children are after all the generation of tomorrow. So, the responsibility of organising our society lies squarely on the shoulders of the present generation, i.e., the
elders. As such, it is they who have to take the lead in actively working for this great mission of national reorganisation.
When this viewpoint is put forth, usually two reasons are advanced by the elders to plead their inability. Firstly, insufficiency of the time at their disposal. But is it not a fact that it is the busy man with capacity for work who can find time to take up extra activity in the public field also? He alone is capable of adjusting his other works and keeping apart some time for it once he feels it his essential duty. It is only an idle man who says that he finds no time. Though this appears a bit paradoxical, nevertheless this is the truth.
Secondly, there is a feeling that being respectable elders, it would not be befitting them to move about and take part in physical programmes with half-pants on just like boys. They feel it below their dignity. But is it a right attitude? If it is a fact that we do possess prestige in society, does it reside in our inherent worth or in the external dress? If we imagine that it is due to our outer dress, then its entire credit must go to a tailor or a washerman! On the other hand, if we have no real worth or prestige at all, then the outer get-up can help very little to make up that inner deficiency!
There is a very important viewpoint which we should bear in mind in this regard. It is said in the Bhagavad Gita -
~~~~~~~~ *ftU: ~~~~f~f~~~f vim:1
(As the great ones behave, so do the rest of the people.) When the elders with real worth and prestige in society take to a particular mode of behaviour to suit a noble ideal, the same will become popular and respectable in the eyes of others also. In fact, by that, they will be only adding to their prestige. For instance, when Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Malaviyaji had gone to England to participate in the R.T.C., they were dressed in our own swadeshi style. Their prestige did not suffer on that account. On the other hand people's respect for them increased.
A special responsibility has developed today upon the present elderly generation to protect the young budding generation from the current atmosphere breeding with poisonous germs of dissension and dissipation, so that it may flower into a noble and virile manhood capable of making our nation rise to its heights of greatness and glory. For that purposes they have to set an example in their daily life by becoming the living instruments of the mission of national reorganisation that the Sangh has been successfully pursuing all these years.
The Happy Augury
Once Sister Nivedita, the chosen disciple of Swami Vivekananda, said, "If only Hindus collectively pray daily for ten minutes in the morning and in the evening, they will become an invincible society." The daily Shakha of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh augurs the realisation of the passionate dream of that dedicated soul.
May we all rise in response to the supreme call of action, in the form of Shakha - of steady, silent, perseverant and day-to-day rebuilding of a unified country-wide brotherhood, disciplined and dedicated at the feet of our sacred nation.
4. CALL OF THE GURU
Bhagawa Dhwaj, the greatest national symbol - Signifies sacrifice, Knowledge, renunciation and service - Real worship is to become the Guru himself.
,SRI Guru Poornima, which is also called Vyasa Poornima, is an occasion of great significance and sanctity for us. It was the great sage Vyasa who classified and organised the vast storehouse of knowledge, the Vedas. He highlighted the sublime virtues and values of life evolved in Bharat Varsha over the ages and offered a beautiful synthesis of the thought and practice embedded therein. His work stands as a lighthouse of guidance not only for our countrymen but for the entire humanity. Veda Vyasa, therefore, is rightly called Jagad-Guru, and world preceptor. It is because of this, that Guru Pooja is also known as Vyasa Pooja.
On this day, we offer our worship to our Guru, whoever he may be, and place at his feet our humble offering. We seek his blessings and resolve to march ahead on the path of our life-ideal in the light of his guidance.
So far as our organisational set-up is concerned, we have not looked upon any particular individual as the Guru. Our scriptures have eulogised in glowing terms the qualities of the Guru and placed him on a pedestal equal to God Himself. Naturally, it would be impossible to find such a Guru in the person of any human being. No mortal can ever be expected to be perfect, without any blemish or shortcoming. And, after all, a human being is a fleeting entity. He can't be a permanent guide for a nation from generation to generation.
We, in Sangh, have therefore chosen a symbol, which would at once reflect the highest and the noblest in our national heritage. And that is the sacred Bhagawa Dhwaj.
Yajna Symbolised Yajna - sacrifice - occupies a pivotal position in our cultural heritage. The term Yajna carries several meanings. Offering one's individual life in the cause of social regeneration is Yajna. To offer as oblation all that is unworth, undesirable and unholy in us in the fire of virtues, too, is Yajna. And to take to a fiery path of dedication, sacrifices, service and penance is the very essence of Yajna. The presiding deity of Yajna is fire. Flame represents the fire and the sacred Bhagawa flag is the symbol of the orange-coloured sacrifice flames.
Flag of Bhagawan
We are the devotees of Shraddha - faith - and not of superstition. We are the devotees of knowledge and not of ignorance. Our seers and sages did severe penance to get rid of ignorance and to attain the light of true and everlasting knowledge. Darkness represents ignorance and the sun represents the light of knowledge. In our ancient literature the sun Suryanarayana - is described as sitting in a chariot drawn by seven horses. And before he arrives on the sky, the saffron-coloured flag fluttering from his chariot appears on the eastern horizon in shining colours. It is symbolic of the saffron hue of the eastern effulgence at the sunrise, dispelling darkness and heralding the coming of daylight. That flag of Bhagawan Suryanarayana is the flag of Bhagawan - God - Himself. That term later on became Bhagawa Dhwaj.
The highest stage of human development is represented by the fourth and the final ashrama - the sannyasa -, which demands a spirit of total renunciation and service. The sannyasi has to tread unflinchingly on the fiery path of self-sacrifice. And as a constant reminder of his sacrificial life the sannyasi wears the Bhagawa.
Thus ”Bhagawa" has been the symbol of the highest principles and practices evolved over ages in this sacred land. Now, what is the attitude that we cherish while worshipping such a Guru? Offering flowers, sandal paste, waving lights form only the externals. The true import of worship, however, lies in trying to assimilate in our life the qualities symbolized by the Guru. Thus, to become more and more identified with the Guru himself would be the real worship. There is an old command, which says that he who worships Shiva should become Shiva himself - Shivo Bhutva Shivam Yajet.
The offering that we make on this day of Guru Pooja in the form of money is to remind ourselves that the earnings that we make all our life is made possible because of the cooperation of society around us. Not only the financial earnings but our entire security and happiness is a thing vouchsafed by society. As such it becomes our duty to pay back that social debt, to the maximum extent possible for us. In fact, the daily one-hour Shakha wherein we offer our body, mind and intellect is intended to fulfil that social obligation in our daily life. It is in tune with this spirit of self-offering nurtured in Sangh that the system of Guru Dakshina also has been evolved.