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Memories of Another day

Memories of Another day
While my Parents Pulin babu and Basanti devi were living

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

THE RELIGION OF MAN RABINDRANATH TAGOR

THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930   THE RELIGION OF MAN         RABINDRANATH TAGORJS     THE RELIGION         BEING     THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930         NEW YORK     THE MACMILLAN COMPANY   1931         COPYRIGHT, 1931,   BY THE MACM1LLAN COMPANY.     All rights reserved no part of this book   may be reproduced in any form without   permission in writing from the publisher.     Set up and elcctrotypcd Published February, 193         8T W BY MAWtf WKmiRltS WKOTVWtfl   MIHTBri IK TI1K UNITXD MATft tif A V1RU'A         TO     DOROTHY ELMHIRST         PREFACE     THE chapters included in this book, which com-   prises the Hibbert Lectures delivered in Oxford,   at Manchester College, during the month of May   1930, contain also the gleanings of my thoughts on   the same subject from the harvest of many lectures   and addresses delivered in different countries of   the world over a considerable period of my life.     The fact that one theme runs through all only   proves to me that the Religion of Man has been   growing within my mind as a religious experience   and not merely as a philosophical subject In fact,   a very large portion of my writings, beginning   from the earlier products of my immature youth   down to the present time, carry an almost con-   tinuous trace of the history of this growth. To-day   I am made conscious of the fact that the works   that I have started and the words that I have   uttered are deeply linked by a unity of inspiration   whose proper definition has often remained un-   revealed to me.     In the present volume I offer the evidence of   my own personal life brought into a definite focus.   To some of my readers this will supply matter of   psychological interest; but for others I hope it   will carry with It its own ideal value important for   such a subject as religion.     7         PREFACE     My sincere thanks are due to the Hibbert Trus-   tees, and especially to Dr. W. H. Drummond,   with whom I have been in constant correspond-   ence, for allowing me to postpone the delivery of   these Hibbert Lectures from the year 1928, when   I was too ill to proceed to Europe, until the sum-   mer of 1930. I have also to thank the Trustees for   their very kind permission given to me to present   the substance of the lectures in this book in an   enlarged form by dividing the whole subject into   chapters instead of keeping strictly to the lecture   form in which they were delivered in Oxford*   May I add that the great kindness of my hostess*   Mrs. Drummond, in Oxford, will always remain   in my memory along with these lectures as inti-   mately associated with them?     In the Appendix I have gathered together from   my own writings certain parallel passages which   bring the reader to the heart of my main theme.   Furthermore, two extracts, which contain histori-   cal material of great value, are from the pen of my   esteemed colleague and friend, Professor KshitI   Mohan Sen, To him I would express my gratitude   for the help he has given me in bringing before me   the religious ideas of medieval India which* touch   the subject of my lectures.     RABINDMNATH TAGORE     September 1930   8         CONTENTS     PAGE     PREFACE 7     CHAPTER     I. MAN'S UNIVERSE n     II. THE CREATIVE SPIRIT * 3     III. THE SURPLUS IN MAN 49     IV, SPIRITUAL UNION 63   V. THE PROPHET 7 z     VI. THE VISION 88     VII. THE MAN OF MY HEART 107     VIII. THE MUSIC MAKER 117     IX. THE ARTIST 127     X. MAN'S NATURE 141     XL THE MEETING 154     XII. THE TEACHER 163     XIII. SPIRITUAL FREEDOM 179     XIV. THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 189   XV. CONCLUSION 202     APPENDIX     I. THE BAtJL SINGERS OF BENGAL 207     II- NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY aa*     IIL DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM 226     IV. NIGHT AND MORNING 333     INDEX 43         The eternal Dream     is borne on the wings of ageless Light   that rends the veil of the vague     and goes across Time   weaving ceaseless patterns of Being.     The mystery remains dumb,     the meaning of this pilgrimage,     the endless adventure of existence   whose rush along the sky     flames up into innumerable rings of paths,   till at last knowledge gleams out from the dusk   in the infinity of human spirit,     and in that dim lighted dawn     she speechlessly gazes through the break in the mist   at the vision of Life and of Love     rising from the tumult of profound pain and joy,     Santiniketan   September 16, 1939     (Composed for the Opening Day Celebrations of the Indian College,   Montpelier, France.)         THE RELIGION OF MAN.     CHAPTER I   MAN'S UNIVERSE     LIGHT, as the radiant energy of creation, started   the ring-dance of atoms in a diminutive sky, and   also the dance of the stars in the vast, lonely theatre   of time and space* The planets came out of their   bath of fire and basked in the sun for ages. They   were the thrones of the gigantic Inert, dumb and   desolate, which knew not the meaning of its own   blind destiny and majestically frowned upon a   future when its monarchy would be menaced.     Then came a time when life was brought into   the arena in the tiniest little monocycle of a cell.   With its gift of growth and power of adaptation   it faced the ponderous enormity of things, and   contradicted the unmeaningness of their bulk. It   was made conscious not of the volume but of the   value of existence, which it ever tried to enhance   and maintain in many-branched paths of creation,   overcoming the obstructive inertia of Nature by   obeying Nature's law*     But the miracle of creation did not stop here in   this isolated speck of life launched on a lonely   voyage to the Unknown. A multitude of cells were   bound together into a larger unit, not through     IX         THE RELIGION OF MAN     aggregation, but through a marvellous quality of   complex inter-relationship maintaining a perfect   co-ordination of functions. This is the creative   principle of unity, the divine mystery of existence,   that baffles all analysis. The larger co-operative   units could adequately pay for a greater freedom   of self-expression, and they began to form and   develop in their bodies new organs of power, ne\v   instruments of efficiency. This was the march of   evolution ever unfolding the potentialities of life,     But this evolution which continues on the physi-   cal plane has its limited range. All exaggeration   in that direction becomes a burden that breaks the   natural rhythm of life, and those creatures that   encouraged their ambitious flesh to grow in dimen-   sions have nearly all perished of their cumbrous   absurdity.     Before the chapter ended Man appeared and   turned the course of this evolution from an indefi-   nite march of physical aggrandisement to a free-   dom of a more subtle perfection. This has made   possible his progress to become unlimited, and has   enabled him to realize the boundless in his power,     The fire is lighted, the hammers are working,   and for laborious days and nights amidst dirt and   discordance the musical instrument is being made,   We may accept this as a detached fact and follow   its evolution* But when the music is revealed, we   know that the whole thing is a part of the manifes*     12         MAN'S UNIVERSE     tation of music in spite of its contradictory charac-   ter. The process of evolution, which after ages has   reached man, must be realized in its unity with   him; though in him it assumes a new value and   proceeds to a different path. It is a continuous   process that finds its meaning in Man ; and we must   acknowledge that the evolution which Science   talks of is that of Man's universe. The leather   binding and title-page are parts of the book itself ;   and this world that we perceive through our senses   and mind and life's experience is profoundly one   with ourselves.     The divine principle of unity has ever been that   of an inner inter-relationship. This is revealed in   some of its earliest stages in the evolution of multi-   cellular life on this planet. The most perfect in-   ward expression has been attained by man in his   Wn body. But what is most important of all is the   ( f act that man has also attained its realization in a   ,more subtle body outside his physical system. He   'misses himself when isolated; he finds his own   larger and truer self in his wide human relation-   Ship, His multicellular body is born and it dies;   his multi-personal humanity is immortal In this   ideal of unity he realizes the eternal in his life and   the boundless in his love. The unity becomes not a   mere subjective idea, but an energizing truth.   Whatever name may be given to it, and whatever   form it symbolizes, the consciousness of this unity     13         THE RELIGION OF MAN     is spiritual, and our effort to be true to it is our   religion. It ever waits to be revealed in our history   in a more and more perfect illumination.     We have our eyes, which relate to us the vision   of the physical universe. We have also an inner   faculty of our own which helps us to find our rela-   tionship with the supreme self of man, the universe   of personality. This faculty is our luminous imagi-   nation, which in its higher stage is special to man.   It offers us that vision of wholeness which for the   biological necessity of physical survival is super-   fluous; its purpose is to arouse in us the sense of   perfection which is our true sense of immortality.   For perfection dwells ideally in Man the Eternal,   inspiring love for this ideal in the individual, urg-   ing him more and more to realize it     The development of intelligence and physical   power is equally necessary in animals and men for   their purposes of living; but what is unique in man   is the development of his consciousness which   gradually deepens and widens the realization of   his immortal being, the perfect, the eternal. It   inspires those creations of his that reveal the divin-   ity in him which is his humanity in the varied   manifestations of truth, goodness and beauty, in   the freedom of activity which is not for his use but   for his ultimate expression* The individual man   must exist for Man the great, and must express him   in disinterested works, in science and philosophy,     14         MAN' S UNIVERSE     in literature and arts, in service and worship. This   is his religion, which is working in the heart of all   his religions in various names and forms. He   knows and uses this world where it is endless and   thus attains greatness, but he realizes his own   truth where it is perfect and thus finds his ful-   filment,     The idea of the humanity of our God, or the   divinity of Man the Eternal, is the main subject of   this book. This thought of God has not grown in   my mind through any process of philosophical rea-   soning* On the contrary, it has followed the cur-   rent of my temperament from early days until it   suddenly flashed into my consciousness with a   direct vision. The experience which I have de-   scribed in one of the chapters which follow con-   vinced me that on the surface of our being we have   the ever-changing phases of the individual self,   but in the depth there dwells the Eternal Spirit of   human unity beyond our direct knowledge. It very   often contradicts the trivialities of our daily life,   and upsets the arrangements made for securing our   personal exclusiveness behind the walls of indi-   vidual habits and superficial conventions. It in-   spires in us works that are the expressions of a   Universal Spirit; it invokes unexpectedly in the   midst of a self-centred life a supreme sacrifice. At   its call, we hasten to dedicate our lives to the cause     15         THE RELIGION OF MAN     of truth and beauty, to unrewarded service of   others, in spite of our lack of faith in the positive   reality of the ideal values.     During the discussion of my own religious   experience I have expressed my belief that the   first stage of my realization was through my feel-   ing of intimacy with Nature not that Nature   which has its channel of information for our mind   and physical relationship with our living body,   but that which satisfies our personality with mani-   festations that make our life rich and stimulate our   imagination in their harmony of forms, colours,   sounds and movements. It is not that world which   vanishes into abstract symbols behind its own testi-   mony to Science, but that which lavishly displays   its wealth of reality to our personal self having its   own perpetual reaction upon our human nature.     I have mentioned in connection with my per-   sonal experience some songs which I had often   heard from wandering village singers, belonging   to a popular sect of Bengal, called Baiiis,' who   have no images, temples, scriptures, or ceremo-   nials, who declare in their songs the divinity of   Man, and express for him an intense feeling of   love. Coming from men who are unsophisticated,   living a simple life in obscurity, it gives us a clue   to the inner meaning of all religions. For it sug*   gests that these religions are never about a God of     * Se Appendix I,   16         MAN'S UNIVERSE     cosmic force, but rather about the God of human   personality.     At the same time it must be admitted that even   the impersonal aspect of truth dealt with by   Science belongs to the human Universe. But men   of Science tell us that truth, unlike beauty and   goodness, is independent of our consciousness.   They explain to us how the belief that truth is   independent of the human mind is a mystical   belief, natural to man but at the same time inex-   plicable. But may not the explanation be this, that   ideal truth does not depend upon the individual   mind of man, but on the universal mind which   comprehends the individual? For to say that truth,   as we see it, exists apart from humanity is really to   contradict Science itself; because Science can only   organize into rational concepts those facts which   man can know and understand, and logic is a   machinery of thinking created by the mechanic   man.     The table that I am using with all its varied   meanings appears as a table for man through his   special organ of senses and his special organ of   thoughts* When scientifically analysed the same   table offers an enormously different appearance to   him from that given by his senses. The evidence   of his physical senses and that of his logic and his   scientific instruments are both related to his own   power of comprehension; both are true and true         THE RELIGION OF MAN     for him. He makes use of the table with full confi-   dence for his physical purposes, and with equal   confidence makes intellectual use of it for his scien-   tific knowledge. But the knowledge is his who is a   man. If a particular man as an individual did not   exist, the table would exist all the same, but still   as a thing that is related to the human mind. The   contradiction that there is between the table of   our sense perception and the table of our scientific   knowledge has its compon centre of reconciliation   in human personality.     The same thing holds true in the realm of idea.   In the scientific idea of the world there is no gap   in the universal law of causality. Whatever hap-   pens could never have happened otherwise. This   is a generalization which has been made possible   by a quality of logic which is possessed by the   human mind. But this very mind of Man has its   immediate consciousness of will within him which   is aware of its freedom and ever struggles for it   Every day in most of our behaviour we acknowl-   edge its truth; in fact, our conduct finds its best   value in its relation to its truth. Thus this has its   analogy in our daily behaviour with regard to a   table. For whatever may be the conclusion that   Science has unquestionably proved about the table,   we are amply rewarded when we deal with it as a   solid fact and never as a crowd of fluid elements   that represent a certain kind of energy. We can     18         MAN'S UNIVERSE     also utilize this phenomenon of the measurement   The space represented by a needle when magnified   by the microscope may cause us no anxiety as to   the number of angels who could be accommo-   dated on its point or camels which could walk   through its eye. In a cinema-picture our vision of   time and space can be expanded or condensed   merely according to the different technique of the   instrument. A seed carries packed in a minute   receptacle a future which is enormous in its con-   tents both in time and space. The truth, which is   Man, has not emerged out of nothing at a certain   point of time, even though seemingly it might   have been manifested then. But the manifestation   of Man has no end in itself not even now.   Neither did it have its beginning in- any particular   time we ascribe to it The truth of Man is in the   heart of eternity, the fact of it being evolved   through endless ages. If Man's manifestation has   round it a background of millions of light-years,   still it is his own background. He includes in him-   self the time, however long, that carries the process   of his becoming, and he is related for the very   truth of his existence to all things that surround   him.     Relationship is the fundamental truth of this   world of appearance. Take, for instance, a piece   of coal When we pursue the fact of it to its ulti-   mate composition, substance which seemingly is         THE RELIGION OF MAN     the most stable element in it vanishes in centres of   revolving forces. These are the units, called the   elements of carbon, which can further be analysed   into a certain number of protons and electrons.   Yet these electrical facts are what they are, not in   their detachment, but in their inter-relationship,   and though possibly some day they themselves may   be further analysed, nevertheless the pervasive   truth of inter-relation which is manifested in them   will remain.     We do not know how these elements, as carbon,   compose a piece of coal ; all that we can say is that   they build up that appearance through a unity of   inter-relationship, which unites them not merely   in an individual piece of coal, but in a comrade-   ship of creative co-ordination with the entire   physical universe.     Creation has been made possible through the   continual self-surrender of the unit to the universe.   And the spiritual universe of Man is also ever   claiming self-renunciation from the individual   units. This spiritual process is not so easy as the   physical one in the physical world, for the intelli-   gence and will of the units have to be tempered   to those of the universal spirit     It is said in a verse of the Upanishad that this   world which is all movement is pervaded by one   supreme unity, and therefore true enjoyment can   never be had through the satisfaction of greed, but     20         MAN'S UNIVERSE     only through the surrender of our individual self   to the Universal Self.     There are thinkers who advocate the doctrine   of the plurality of worlds, which can only mean   that there are worlds that are absolutely unrelated   to each other. Even if this were true it could never   be proved. For our universe is the sum total of   what Man feels, knows, imagines, reasons to be,   and of whatever is knowable to him now or in   another time. It affects him differently in its dif-   ferent aspects, in its beauty, its inevitable sequence   of happenings, its potentiality; and the world   proves itself to him only in its varied effects upon   his senses, imagination and reasoning mind.     I do not imply that the final nature of the world   depends upon the comprehension of the individual   person* Its reality is associated with the universal   human rnind which comprehends all time and all   possibilities of realization. And this is why for the   accurate knowledge of things we depend upon   Science that represents the rational mind of the   universal Man, and not upon that of the individual   who dwells in a limited range of space and time   and the immediate needs of life. And this is why   there is such a thing as progress in our civiliza-   tion; for progress means that there is an ideal per-   fection which the individual seeks to reach by   extending his limits in knowledge, power, love,   enjoyment, thus approaching the universal. The     21         THE RELIGION OF MAN     most distant star, whose faint message touches the   threshold of the most powerful telescopic vision,   has its sympathy with the understanding mind of   man, and therefore we can never cease to believe   that we shall probe further and further into the   mystery of their nature. As we know the truth of   the stars we know the great comprehensive mind   of man.     We must realize not only the reasoning mind,   but also the creative imagination, the love and wis-   dom that belong to the Supreme Person, whose   Spirit is over us all, love for whom comprehends   love for all creatures and exceeds in depth and   strength all other loves, leading to difficult en-   deavours and martyrdoms that have no other gain   than the fulfilment of this love itself.     The Isha of our Upanishad, the Super Soul,   which permeates all moving things, is the God of   this human universe whose mind we share in all   our true knowledge, love and service, and whom   to reveal in ourselves through renunciation of self   is the highest end of life.         CHAPTER II   THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     ONCE, during the improvisation of a story by a   young child, I was coaxed to take my part as the   hero. The child imagined that I had been shut in   a dark room locked from the outside. She asked   me, "What will you do for your freedom?" and I   answered, "Shout for help". But, however desir-   able that might be if it succeeded immediately, it   would be unfortunate for the story. And thus she   in her imagination had to clear the neighbourhood   of all kinds of help that my cries might reach. I   was compelled to think of some violent means of   kicking through this passive resistance ; but for the   sake of the story the door had to be made of steel.   I found a key, but it would not fit, and the child   was delighted at the development of the story   jumping over obstructions.     Life's story of evolution, the main subject of   which is the opening of the doors of the dark dun-   geon, seems to develop in the same manner. Diffi-   culties were created, and at each offer of an answer   the story had to discover further obstacles in order   to carry on the adventure. For to come to an abso-   lutely satisfactory conclusion is to come to the end   of all things, and in that case the great child would     33         THE RELIGION OF MAN     have nothing else to do but to shut her curtain and   go to sleep.     The Spirit of Life began her chapter by intro-   ducing a simple living cell against the tremen-   dously powerful challenge of the vast Inert. The   triumph was thrillingly great which still refuses to   yield its secret She did not stop there, but defi-   antly courted difficulties, and in the technique of   her art exploited an element which still baffles our   logic.     This is the harmony of self-adjusting inter-rela-   tionship impossible to analyse. She brought close   together numerous cell units and, by grouping   them into a self-sustaining sphere of co-operation,   elaborated a larger unit It was not a mere agglom-   eration. The grouping had its caste system in the   division of functions and yet an intimate unity of   kinship. The creative life summoned a larger   army of cells under her command and imparted   into them, let us say, a communal spirit that fought   with all its might whenever its integrity was   menaced.     This was the tree which has its inner harmony   and inner movement of life in its beauty, its   strength, its sublime dignity of endurance, its pil-   grimage to the Unknown through the tiniest gates   of reincarnation. It was a sufficiently marvellous   achievement to be a fit termination to the creative   venture. But the creative genius cannot stop     24         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     exhausted ; more windows have to be opened ; and   she went out of her accustomed way and brought   another factor into her work, that of locomotion.   Risks of living were enhanced, offering opportuni-   ties to the daring resourcefulness of the Spirit of   Life. For she seems to revel in occasions for a fight   against the giant Matter, which has rigidly pro-   hibitory immigration laws against all new-comers   from Life's shore. So the fish was furnished with   appliances for moving in an element which offered   its density for an obstacle. The air offered an even   more difficult obstacle in its lightness; but the   challenge was accepted, and the bird was gifted   with a marvellous pair of wings that negotiated   with the subtle laws of the air and found in it a   better ally than the reliable soil of the stable earth.   The Arctic snow set up its frigid sentinel; the   tropical desert uttered in its scorching breath a   gigantic "No" against all life's children. But those   peremptory prohibitions were defied, and the   frontiers, though guarded by a death penalty, were   triumphantly crossed.     This process of conquest could be described as   progress for the kingdom of life. It journeyed on   through one success to another by dealing with the   laws of Nature through the help of the invention   of new instruments. This field of life's onward   march is a field of ruthless competition. Because   the material world is the world of quantity, where     25         THE RELIGION OF MAN     resources are limited and victory waits for those   who have superior facility in their weapons, there-   fore success in the path of progress for one group   most often runs parallel to defeat in another.     It appears that such scramble and fight for   opportunities of living among numerous small   combatants suggested at last an imperialism of big   bulky flesh a huge system of muscles and bones,   thick and heavy coats of armour and enormous   tails. The idea of such indecorous massiveness   must have seemed natural to life's providence; for   the victory in the world of quantity might reason-   ably appear to depend upon the bigness of dimen-   sion. But such gigantic paraphernalia of defence   and attack resulted in an utter defeat, the records   of which every day are being dug up from the des-   ert sands and ancient mud flats. These represent   the fragments that strew the forgotten paths of a   great retreat in the battle of existence. For the   heavy weight which these creatures carried was   mainly composed of bones, hides, shells, teeth and   claws that were non-living, and therefore imposed   its whole huge pressure upon life that needed free-   dom and growth for the perfect expression of its   own vital nature. The resources for living which   the earth offered for her children were recklessly   spent by these megalomaniac monsters of an im-   moderate appetite for the sake of maintaining a   cumbersome system of dead burdens that thwarted     26         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     them in their true progress. Such a losing game   has now become obsolete. To the few stragglers   of that party, like the rhinoceros or the hippopota-   mus, has been allotted a very small space on this   earth, absurdly inadequate to their formidable   strength and magnitude of proportions, making   them look forlornly pathetic in the sublimity of   their incongruousness. These and their extinct   forerunners have been the biggest failures in life's   experiments. And then, on some obscure dusk of   dawn, the experiment entered upon a completely   new phase of a disarmament proposal, when little   Man made his appearance in the arena, bringing   with him expectations and suggestions that are   unfathomably great.     We must know that the evolution process of the   world has made its progress towards the revelation   of its truth that is to say some inner value which   is not in the extension in space and duration in   time. When life came out it did not bring with it   any new materials into existence. Its elements are   the same which are the materials for the rocks and   minerals. Only it evolved a value in them which   cannot be measured and analysed. The same thing   is true with regard to mind and the consciousness   of self ; they are revelations of a great meaning, the   self-expression of a truth. In man this truth has   made its positive appearance, and is struggling to   make its manifestation more and more clear. That     27         THE RELIGION OF MAN     which is eternal is realizing itself in history   through the obstructions of limits.     The physiological process in the progress of   Life's evolution seems to have reached its finality   in man. We cannot think of any noticeable addi-   tion or modification in our vital instruments which   we are likely to allow to persist. If any individual   is born, by chance, with an extra pair of eyes or   ears, or some unexpected limbs like stowaways   without passports, we are sure to do our best to   eliminate them from our bodily organization. Any   new chance of a too obviously physical variation is   certain to meet with a determined disapproval   from man, the most powerful veto being expected   from his aesthetic nature, which peremptorily re-   fuses to calculate advantage when its majesty is   offended by any sudden license of form. We all   know that the back of our body has a wide surface   practically unguarded. From the strategic point of   view this oversight is unfortunate, causing us   annoyances and indignities, if nothing worse,   through unwelcome intrusions. And this could   reasonably justify in our minds regret for retrench-   ment in the matter of an original tail, whose   memorial we are still made to carry in secret But   the least attempt at the rectification of the policy   of economy in this direction is indignantly re-   sented. I strongly believe that the idea of ghosts   had its best chance with our timid imagination in     28         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     our sensitive back a field of dark ignorance; and   yet it is too late for me to hint that one of our eyes   could profitably have been spared for our burden-   carrier back, so unjustly neglected and haunted by   undefined fears.     Thus, while all innovation is stubbornly op-   posed, there is every sign of a comparative care-   lessness about the physiological efficiency of the   human body. Some of our organs are losing their   original vigour. The civilized life, within walled   enclosures, has naturally caused in man a weaken-   ing of his power of sight and hearing along with   subtle sense of the distant. Because of our habit of   taking cooked food we give less employment to   our teeth and a great deal more to the dentist.   Spoilt and pampered by clothes, our skin shows   lethargy in its function of adjustment to the atmos-   pheric temperature and in its power of quick   recovery from hurts.     The adventurous Life appears to have paused   at a crossing in her road before Man came. It   seems as if she became aware of wastefulness in   carrying on her experiments and adding to her   inventions purely on the physical plane. It was   proved in Life's case that four is not always twice   as much as two. In living things it is necessary to   keep to the limit of the perfect unit within which   the inter-relationship must not be inordinately   strained* The ambition that seeks power in the     29         THE RELIGION OF MAN     augmentation of dimension is doomed; for that   perfection which is in the inner quality of harmony   becomes choked when quantity overwhelms it in   a fury of extravagance. The combination of an   exaggerated nose and arm that an elephant carries   hanging down its front has its advantage. This   may induce us to imagine that it would double the   advantage for the animal if its tail also could grow   into an additional trunk. But the progress which   greedily allows Life's field to be crowded with an   excessive production of instruments becomes a   progress towards death. For Life has its own nat-   ural rhythm which a multiplication table has not;   and proud progress that rides roughshod over   Life's cadence kills it at the end with encum-   brances that are unrhythmic. As I have already   mentioned, such disasters did happen in the history   of evolution.     The moral of that tragic chapter is that if the   tail does not have the decency to know where to   stop, the drag of this dependency becomes fatal to   the body's empire.     Moreover, evolutionary progress on the physical   plane inevitably tends to train up its subjects into   specialists. The camel is a specialist of the desert   and is awkward in the swamp. The hippopotamus   which specializes in the mudlands of the Nile is   helpless in the neighbouring desert Such one-   sided emphasis breeds professionalism in Life's     30         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     domain, confining special efficiencies in narrow   compartments. The expert training in the aerial   sphere is left to the bird ; that in the marine is par-   ticularly monopolized by the fish. The ostrich is   an expert in its own region and would look utterly   foolish in an eagle's neighbourhood. They have to   remain permanently content with advantages that   desperately cling to their limits. Such mutilation   of the complete ideal of life for the sake of   some exclusive privilege of power is inevitable;   for that form of progress deals with materials   that are physical and therefore necessarily lim-   ited.     To rescue her own career from such a multiply-   ing burden of the dead and such constriction of   specialization seems to have been the object of the   Spirit of Life at one particular stage. For it does   not take long to find out that an indefinite pursuit   of quantity creates for Life, which is essentially   qualitative, complexities that lead to a vicious cir-   cle. These primeval animals that produced an   enormous volume of flesh had to build a gigantic   system of bones to carry the burden. This required   in its turn a long and substantial array of tails to   give it balance. Thus their bodies, being com-   pelled to occupy a vast area, exposed a very large   surface which had to be protected by a strong,   heavy and capacious armour. A progress which   represented a congress of dead materials required         THE RELIGION OP MAN     a parallel organization of teeth and claws, or horns   and hooves, which also were dead.     In its own manner one mechanical burden links   itself to other burdens of machines, and Life grows   to be a carrier of the dead, a mere platform for   machinery, until it is crushed to death by its inter-   minable paradoxes. We are told that the greater   part of a tree is dead matter; the big stem, except   for a thin covering, is lifeless. The tree uses it as a   prop in its ambition for a high position and the life-   less timber is the slave that carries on its back the   magnitude of the tree. But such a dependence upon   a dead dependant has been achieved by the tree at   the cost of its real freedom. It had to seek the   stable alliance of the earth for the sharing of its   burden, which it did by the help of secret under-   ground entanglements making itself permanently   stationary.     But the form of life that seeks the great privilege   of movement must minimize its load of the dead   and must realize that life's progress should be a   perfect progress of the inner life itself and not of   materials and machinery; the non-living must not   continue outgrowing the living, the armour dead-   ening the skin, the armament laming the arms.     At last, when the Spirit of Life found her form   in Man, the effort she had begun completed its   cycle, and the truth of her mission glimmered into   suggestions which dimly pointed to some direction     32         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     of meaning across her own frontier. Before the   end of this cycle was reached, all the suggestions   had been external. They were concerned with   technique, with life's apparatus, with the efficiency   of the organs. This might have exaggerated itself   into an endless boredom of physical progress. It   can be conceded that the eyes of the bee possessing   numerous facets may have some uncommon advan-   tage which we cannot even imagine, or the glow-   worm that carries an arrangement for producing   light in its person may baffle our capacity and com-   prehension. Very likely there are creatures having   certain organs that give them sensibilities which   we cannot have the power to guess.     All such enhanced sensory powers merely add   to the mileage in life's journey on the same road   lengthening an indefinite distance. They never   take us over the border of physical existence.     The same thing may be said not only about life's   efficiency, but also life's ornaments. The colouring   and decorative patterns on the bodies of some of   the deep sea creatures make us silent with amaze-   ment The butterfly's wings, the beetle's back, the   peacock's plumes, the shells of the crustaceans, the   exuberant outbreak of decoration in plant life,   have reached a standard of perfection that seems   to be final. And yet if it continues in the same   physical direction, then, however much variety of   surprising excellence it may produce, it leaves out     33         THE RELIGION OF MAN     some great element of unuttered meaning. These   ornaments are like ornaments lavished upon a cap-   tive girl, luxuriously complete within a narrow   limit, speaking of a homesickness for a far away   horizon of emancipation, for an inner depth that   is beyond the ken of the senses. The freedom in   the physical realm is like the circumscribed free-   dom in a cage. It produces a proficiency which is   mechanical and a beauty which is of the surface.   To whatever degree of improvement bodily   strength and skill may be developed they keep life   tied to a persistence of habit It is closed, like a   mould, useful though it may be for the sake of   safety and precisely standardized productions. For   centuries the bee repeats its hive, the weaver-bird   its nest, the spider its web; and instincts strongly   attach themselves to some invariable tendencies of   muscles and nerves never being allowed the privi-   lege of making blunders. The physical functions,   in order to be strictly reliable, behave like some   model schoolboy, obedient, regular, properly re-   peating lessons by rote without mischief or mistake   in his conduct, but also without spirit and initia-   tive. It is the flawless perfection of rigid limits, a   cousin possibly a distant cousin of the inani-   mate.     Instead of allowing a full paradise of perfection   to continue its tame and timid rule of faultless   regularity the Spirit of Life boldly declared for     34         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     a further freedom and decided to eat of the fruit   of the Tree of Knowledge. This time her struggle   was not against the Inert, but against the limitation   of her own overburdened agents. She fought   against the tutelage of her prudent old prime min-   ister, the faithful instinct She adopted a novel   method of experiment, promulgated new laws, and   tried her hand at moulding Man through a his-   tory which was immensely different from that   which went before. She took a bold step in throw-   ing open her gates to a dangerously explosive fac-   tor which she had cautiously introduced into her   council the element of Mind. I should not say   that it was ever absent, but only that at a certain   stage some curtain was removed and its play was   made evident, even like the dark heat which in its   glowing intensity reveals itself in a contradiction   of radiancy.     Essentially qualitative, like life itself, the Mind   does not occupy space. For that very reason it has   jio bounds in its mastery of space. Also, like Life,   Mind has its meaning in freedom, which it missed   in its earliest dealings with Life's children. In the   animal, though the mind is allowed to come out of   the immediate limits of livelihood, its range is   restricted, like the freedom of a child that might   run out of its room but not out of the house; or,   rather, like the foreign ships to which only a cer-   tain port was opened in Japan in the beginning of     33         THE RELIGION OF MAN     her contact with the West in fear of the danger   that might befall if the strangers had their uncon-   trolled opportunity of communication. Mind also   is a foreign element for Life; its laws are different,   its weapons powerful, its moods and manners most   alien.     Like Eve of the Semitic mythology, the Spirit   of Life risked the happiness of her placid seclusion   to win her freedom. She listened to the whisper   of a tempter who promised her the right to a new   region of mystery, and was urged into a permanent   alliance with the stranger. Up to this point the   interest of life was the sole interest in her own   kingdom, but another most powerfully parallel   interest was created with the advent of this adven-   turer Mind from an unknown shore. Their inter-   ests clash, and complications of a serious nature   arise. I have already referred to some vital organs   of Man that are suffering from neglect. The only   reason has been the diversion created by the Mind   interrupting the sole attention which Life's func-   tions claimed in the halcyon days of her undisputed   monarchy. It is no secret that Mind has the habit   of asserting its own will for its expression against   life's will to live and enforcing sacrifices from hen   When lately some adventurers accepted the dan-   gerous enterprise to climb Mount Everest, it was   solely through the instigation of the arch-rebel   Mind. In this case Mind denied its treaty of co-     36         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     operation with its partner and ignored Life's   claim to help in her living. The immemorial   privileges of the ancient sovereignty of Life are   too often flouted by the irreverent Mind; in fact,-   all through the course of this alliance there are   constant cases of interference with each other's   functions, often with unpleasant and even fatal   results. But in spite of this, or very often because   of this antagonism, the new current of Man's evo-   lution is bringing a wealth to his harbour infinitely   beyond the dream of the creatures of monstrous   flesh.     The manner in which Man appeared in Life's   kingdom was in itself a protest and a challenge,   the challenge of Jack to the Giant. He carried in   his body the declaration of mistrust against the   crowding of burdensome implements of physical   progress. His Mind spoke to the naked man,   "Fear not" ; and he stood alone facing the menace   of a heavy brigade of formidable muscles. His   own puny muscles cried out in despair, and he had   to invent for himself in a novel manner and in a   new spirit of evolution. This at once gave him his   promotion from the passive destiny of the animal   to the aristocracy of Man* He began to create his   further body, his outer organs the workers which   served him and yet did not directly claim a share   of his life. Some of the earliest in his list were   bows and arrows. Had this change been under-     37         THE RELIGION OF MAN     taken by the physical process of evolution, modify-   ing his arms in a slow and gradual manner, it   might have resulted in burdensome and ungainly   apparatus. Possibly, however, I am unfair, and   the dexterity and grace which Life's technical in-   stinct possesses might have changed his arm into   a shooting medium in a perfect manner and with   a beautiful form. In that case our lyrical literature   to-day would have sung in praise of its fascination,   not only for a consummate skill in hunting victims,   but also for a similar mischief in a metaphorical   sense. But even in the service of lyrics it would   show some limitation. For instance, the arms that   would specialize in shooting would be awkward in   wielding a pen or stringing a lute. But the great   advantage in the latest method of human evolution   lies in the fact that Man's additional new limbs,   like bows and arrows, have become detached. They   never tie his arms to any exclusive advantage of   efficiency.     The elephant's trunk, the tiger's paws, the claws   of the mole, have combined their best expressions   in' the human arms, which are much weaker in   their original capacity than those limbs I have   mentioned. It would have been a hugely cumber-   some practical joke if the combination of animal   limbs had had a simultaneous location In the hu-   man organism through some overzeal in biological   inventiveness.     38         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     The first great economy resulting from the new   programme was the relief of the physical burden,   which means the maximum efficiency with the   minimum pressure of taxation upon the vital re-   sources of the body. Another mission of benefit   was this, that it absolved the Spirit of Life in   Man's case from the necessity of specialization for   the sake of limited success. This has encouraged   Man to dream of the possibility of combining in   his single person the fish, the bird and the fleet-   footed animal that walks on land. Man desired in   his completeness to be the one great representative   of multiform life, not through wearisome subjec-   tion to the haphazard gropings of natural selection,   but by the purposeful selection of opportunities   with the help of his reasoning mind. It enables   the schoolboy who is given a pen-knife on his   birthday to have the advantage over the tiger in   the fact that it does not take him- a million years   to obtain its possession, nor another million years   for its removal, when the instrument proves un-   necessary or dangerous. The human mind has   compressed ages into a few years for the acquisi-   tion of steel-made claws. The only cause of anxiety   is that the instrument and the temperament which   uses it may not keep pace in perfect harmony. In   the tiger, the claws and the temperament which   only a tiger should possess have had a synchronous   development, and in no single tiger is any malad-         THE RELIGION OF MAN     justment possible between its nails and its tigerli-   ness. But the human boy, who grows a claw in the   form of a pen-knife, may not at the same time   develop the proper temperament necessary for its   use which only a man ought to have. The new   organs that to-day are being added as a supple-   ment to Man's original vital stock are too quick   and too numerous for his inner nature to develop   its own simultaneous concordance with them, and   thus we see everywhere innumerable schoolboys in   human society playing pranks with their own and   other people's lives and welfare by means of newly   acquired pen-knives which have not had time to   become humanized.     One thing, I am sure, must have been noticed   that the original plot of the drama is changed, and   the mother Spirit of Life has retired into the back-   ground, giving full prominence, in the third act,   to the Spirit of Man though the dowager queen,   from her inner apartment, still renders necessary   help. It is the consciousness in Man of his own   creative personality which has ushered in this new   regime in Life's kingdom. And from now onwards   Man's attempts are directed fully to capture the   government and make his own Code of Legislation   prevail without a break. We have seen in India   those who are called mystics, impatient of the con-   tinued regency of mother Nature in their own     40         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     body, winning for their will by a concentration of   inner forces the vital regions with which our mas-   terful minds have no direct path of communi-   cation.     But the most important fact that has come into   prominence along with the change of direction   in our evolution, is the possession of a Spirit which   has its enormous capital with a surplus far in   excess of the requirements of the biological animal   in Man. Some overflowing influence led us over   the strict boundaries of living, and offered to us an   open space where Man's thoughts and dreams   could have their holidays. Holidays are for gods   who have their joy in creation. In Life's primitive   paradise, where the mission was merely to live,   any luck which came to the creatures entered in   from outside by the donations of chance; they   lived on perpetual charity, by turns petted and   kicked on the back by physical Providence. Beg-   gars never can have harmony among themselves;   they are envious of one another, mutually suspi-   cious, like dogs living upon their master's favour,   showing their teeth, growling, barking, trying to   tear one another. This is what Science describes   as the struggle for existence. This beggars' para-   dise lacked peace ; I am sure the suitors for special   favour from fate lived in constant preparedness,   inventing and multiplying armaments.     41         THE RELIGION OF MAN     But above the din of the clamour and scramble   rises the voice of the Angel of Surplus, of leisure,   of detachment from the compelling claim of   physical need, saying to men, "Rejoice". From his   original serfdom as a creature Man takes his right   seat as a creator. Whereas, before, his incessant   appeal has been to get, now at last the call comes   to him to give. His God, whose help he was in   the habit of asking, now stands Himself at his door   and asks for his offerings. As an animal, he is still   dependent upon Nature; as a Man, he is a sover-   eign who builds his world and rules it     And there, at this point, comes his religion,   whereby he realizes himself in the perspective of   the infinite. There is a remarkable verse in the   Atharva Veda which says: "Righteousness, truth,   great endeavours, empire, religion, enterprise,   heroism and prosperity, the past and the future,   dwell in the surpassing strength of the sur-   plus."     What is purely physical has its limits like the   shell of an egg ; the liberation is there in the atmos-   phere of the infinite, which is indefinable, invisible.   Religion can have no meaning in the enclosure of   mere physical or material interest; it is in the sur-   plus we carry around our personality the surplus   which is like the atmosphere of the earth, bringing   to her a constant circulation of light and life and   delightfulness*     42         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     I have said in a poem of mine that when the   child is detached from its mother's womb it finds   its mother in a real relationship whose truth is in   freedom. Man in his detachment has realized him-   self in a wider and deeper relationship with the   universe. In his moral life he has the sense of his   obligation and his freedom at the same time, and   this is goodness. In his spiritual life his sense of   the union and the will which is free has its cul-   mination in love. The freedom of opportunity he   wins for himself in Nature's region by uniting his   power with Nature's forces. The freedom of social   relationship he attains through owning responsi-   bility to his community, thus gaining its collective   power for his own welfare. In the freedom of con-   sciousness he realizes the sense of his unity with   his larger being, finding fulfilment in the dedicated   life of an ever-progressive truth and ever-active   love.     The first detachment achieved by Man is physi-   cal. It represents his freedom from the aecessity   of developing the power of his senses and limbs   in the limited area of his own physiology, having   for itself an unbounded background with an im-   mense result in consequence. Nature's original   intention was that Man should have the allowance   of his sight-power ample enough for his surround-   ings and a little over. But to have to develop an   astronomical telescope on our skull would cause     43         THE RELIGION OF MAN     a worse crisis of bankruptcy than it did to the   Mammoth whose densely foolish body indulged in   an extravagance of tusks. A snail carries its house   on its back and therefore the material, the shape   and the weight have to be strictly limited to the   capacity of the body. But fortunately Man's house   need not grow on the foundation of his bones and   occupy his flesh. Owing to this detachment, his   ambition knows no check to its daring in the di-   mension and strength of his dwellings. Since his   shelter does not depend upon his body, it survives   him. This fact greatly affects the man who builds   a house, generating in his mind a sense of the eter-   nal in his creative work. And this background of   the boundless surplus of time encourages architec-   ture, which seeks a universal value overcoming the   miserliness of the present need.     I have already mentioned a stage which Life   reached when the units of single cells formed them-   selves into larger units, each consisting of a multi-   tude. It was not merely an aggregation, but had   a mysterious unity of inter-relationship, complex   in character, with differences within of forms and   function. We can never know concretely what this   relation means, There are gaps between the units,   but they do not stop the binding force that per-   meates the whole. There is a future for the whole   which is in its growth, but in order to bring this     44         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     about each unit works and dies to make room for   the next worker. While the unit has the right to   claim the glory of the whole, yet individually it   cannot share the entire wealth that occupies a his-   tory yet to be completed.     Of all creatures Man has reached that multicel-   lular character in a perfect manner, not only in his   body but in his personality. For centuries his evo-   lution has been the evolution of a consciousness   that tries to be liberated from the bonds of indi-   vidual separateness and to comprehend in its rela-   tionship a wholeness which may be named Man.   This relationship, which has been dimly instinc-   tive, is ever struggling to be fully aware of itself.   Physical evolution sought for efficiency in a per-   fect communication with the physical world; the   evolution of Man's consciousness sought for truth   in a perfect harmony with the world of personality.     There are those who will say that the idea of   humanity is an abstraction, subjective in character*   It must be confessed that the concrete objective-   ness of this living truth cannot be proved to its   own units. They can never see its entireness from   outside; for they are one with it The individual   cells of our body have their separate lives; but they   never have the opportunity of observing the body   as a whole with its past, present and future. If   these cells have the power of reasoning (which     45         THE RELIGION OF MAN     they may have for aught we know) they have the   right to argue that the idea of the body has no   objective foundation in fact, and though there is   a mysterious sense of attraction and mutual influ-   ence running through them, these are nothing posi-   tively real ; the sole reality which is provable is in   the isolation of these cells made by gaps that can   never be crossed or bridged.     We know something about a system of explosive   atoms whirling separately in a space which is im-   mense compared to their own dimension. Yet we   do not know why they should appear to us a solid   piece of radiant mineral. And if there is an   onlooker who at one glance can have the view of   the immense time and space occupied by innumer-   able human individuals engaged in evolving a   common history, the positive truth of their solidar-   ity will be concretely evident to him and not the   negative fact of their separateness.     The reality of a piece of iron is not provable   if we take the evidence of the atom ; the only proof   is that I see it as a bit of iron, and that it has cer-   tain reactions upon my consciousness. Any being   from, say, Orion, who has the sight to see the atoms   and not the iron, has the right to say that we human   beings suffer from an age-long epidemic of hallu-   cination. We need not quarrel with him but go   on using the iron as it appears to us. Seers there   have been who have said "Vedahametam", "I see",     46         THE CREATIVE SPIRIT     and lived a life according to that vision. f And   though our own sight may be blind we have ever   bowed our head to them in reverence.     However, whatever name our logic may give to   the truth of human unity, the fact can never be   ignored that we have our greatest delight when   we realize ourselves in others, and this is the defi-   nition of love. This love gives us the testimony of   the great whole, which is the complete and final   truth of man. It offers us the immense field where   we can have our release from the sole monarchy   of hunger, of the growling voice, snarling teeth and   tearing claws, from the dominance of the limited   material means, the source of cruel envy and   ignoble deception, where the largest wealth of the   human soul has been produced through sympathy   and co-operation ; through disinterested pursuit of   knowledge that recognizes no limit and is unafraid   of all time-honoured tabus; through a strenuous   cultivation of intelligence for service that knows   no distinction of colour and clime. The Spirit of   Love, dwelling in the boundless realm of the sur-   plus, emancipates our consciousness from the illu-   sory bond of the separateness of self; it is ever   trying to spread its illumination in the human   world. This is the spirit of civilization, which in   all its best endeavour invokes our supreme Being   for the only bond of unity that leads us to truth,   namely, that of righteousness:     47         THE RELIGION OF MAN     Ya efco varno bahudha saktiyogat   varnan anekan nihitartho dadhati   vichaitti chante viavamadau sa devah   sa no budhya subhaya samyunaktu.     "He who is one, above all colours, and who with his manifold   power supplies the inherent needs of men of all colours, who   is in the beginning and in the end of the world, is divine, and   may he unite us in a relationship of good will."         CHAPTER III   THE SURPLUS IN MAN     THERE are certain verses from the Atharva Veda   in which the poet discusses his idea of Man, indi-   cating some transcendental meaning that can be   translated as follows :     "Who was it that imparted form to man, gave him majesty,   movement, manifestation and character, inspired him with wis-   dom, music and dancing? When his body was raised upwards   he found also the oblique sides and all other directions in him   he who is the Person, the citadel of the infinite being."     Tasmad vai vidvan purushamidan brahmeti manyate.   "And therefore the wise man knoweth this person as Brahma."   Sanatanam enam ahur utadya syat punarnavah.     "Ancient they call him, and yet he is renewed even now   to-day."     In the very beginning of his career Man asserted   in his bodily structure his first proclamation of   freedom against the established rule of Nature.   At a certain bend in the path of evolution he   refused to remain a four-footed creature, and the   position which he made his body to assume carried   with it a permanent gesture of insubordination.   For there could be no question that it was Nature's     49         THE RELIGION OF MAN     own plan to provide all land-walking mammals   with two pairs of legs, evenly distributed along   their lengthy trunk heavily weighted with a head   at the end. This was the amicable compromise   made with the earth when threatened by its con-   servative downward force, which extorts taxes for   all movements. The fact that man gave up such an   obviously sensible arrangement proves his inborn   mania for repeated reforms of constitution, for   pelting amendments at every resolution proposed   by Providence.     If we found a four-legged table stalking about   upright upon two of its stumps, the remaining two   foolishly dangling by its sides, we should be afraid   that it was either a nightmare or some supernormal   caprice of that piece of furniture, indulging in a   practical joke upon the carpenter's idea of fitness.   The like absurd behaviour of Man's anatomy   encourages us to guess that he was born under the   influence of some comet of contradiction that   forces its eccentric path against orbits regulated by   Nature. And it is significant that Man should per-   sist in his foolhardiness, in spite of the penalty he   pays for opposing the orthodox rule of animal   locomotion. He reduces by half the help of an easy   balance of his muscles. He is ready to pass his   infancy tottering through perilous experiments in   making progress upon insufficient support, and   followed all through his life by liability to sudden   50         THE SURPLUS IN MAN     downfalls resulting in tragic or ludicrous conse-   quences from which law-abiding quadrupeds are   free. This was his great venture, the relinquish-   ment of a secure position of his limbs, which he   could comfortably have retained in return for   humbly salaaming the all-powerful dust at every   step.     This capacity to stand erect has given our body   its freedom of posture, making it easy for us to   turn on all sides and realize ourselves at the centre   of things. Physically, it symbolizes the fact that   while animals have for their progress the prolonga-   tion of a narrow line Man has the enlargement of   a circle. As a centre he finds his meaning in a wide   perspective, and realizes himself in the magnitude   of his circumference.     As one freedom leads to another, Man's eyesight   also found a wider scope. I do not mean any   enhancement of its physical power, which in many   predatory animals has a better power of adjust-   ment to light But from the higher vantage of our   physical watch-tower we have gained our view,   which is not merely information about the location   of things but their inter-relation and their unity*     But the best means of the expression of his physi-   cal freedom gained by Man in his vertical position   is through the emancipation of his hands. In our   bodily organization these have attained the high-   est dignity for their skill) their grace, their useful     Si         THE RELIGION OF MAN     activities, as well as for those that are above all   uses. They are the most detached of all our limbs.   Once they had their menial vocation as our car-   riers, but raised from their position as shudras,   they at once attained responsible status as our   helpers. When instead of keeping them under-   neath us we offered them their place at our side,   they revealed capacities that helped us to cross the   boundaries of animal nature.     This freedom of view and freedom of action   have been accompanied by an analogous mental   freedom in Man through his imagination, which   is the most distinctly human of all our faculties. It   is there to help a creature who has been left unfin-   ished by his designer, undraped, undecorated,   unarmoured and without weapons, and, what is   worse, ridden by a Mind whose energies for the   most part are not tamed and tempered into some   difficult ideal of completeness upon a background   which is bare. Like all artists he has the freedom   to make mistakes, to launch into desperate adven-   tures contradicting and torturing his psychology   or physiological normality. This freedom is a   divine gift lent to the mortals who are untutored   and undisciplined ; and therefore the path of their   creative progress is strewn with debris of devasta-   tion, and stages of their perfection haunted by   apparitions of startling deformities. But, all the   same, the very training of creation ever makes     5*         THE SURPLUS IN MAN     clear an aim which cannot be in any isolated freak   of an individual mind or in that which is only   limited to the strictly necessary.     Just as our eyesight enables us to include the   individual fact of ourselves in the surrounding   view, our imagination makes us intensely conscious   of a life we must live which transcends the indi-   vidual life and contradicts the biological meaning   of the instinct of self-preservation. It works at   the surplus, and extending beyond the reservation   plots of our daily life builds there the guest cham-   bers of priceless value to offer hospitality to the   world-spirit of Man. We have such an honoured   right to be the host when our spirit is a free spirit   not chained to the animal self. For free spirit is   godly and alone can claim kinship with God.     Every true freedom that we may attain in any   direction broadens our path of self-realization,   which is in superseding the self. The unimagina-   tive repetition of life within a safe restriction im-   posed by Nature may be good for the animal, but   never for Man, who has the responsibility to out-   live his life in order to live in truth.     And freedom in its process of creation gives rise   to perpetual suggestions of something further than   its obvious purpose. For freedom is for expressing   the infinite; it imposes limits in its works, not to   keep them in permanence but to break them over   and over again, and to reveal the endless in unend-     53         THE RELIGION OF MAN     Ing surprises. This implies a history of constant   regeneration, a series of fresh beginnings and con-   tinual challenges to the old in order to reach a more   and more perfect harmony with some fundamental   ideal of truth.     Our civilization, in the constant struggle for   a great Further, runs through abrupt chapters of   spasmodic divergences. It nearly always begins   its new ventures with a cataclysm ; for its changes   are not mere seasonal changes of ideas gliding   through varied periods of flowers and fruit They   are surprises lying in ambuscade provoking revo-   lutionary adjustments. They are changes in the   dynasty of living ideals the ideals that are active   in consolidating their dominion with strongholds   of physical and mental habits, of symbols, cere-   monials and adornments* But however violent   may be the revolutions happening in whatever   time or country, they never completely detach   themselves from a common centre. They find their   places in a history which is one.     The civilizations evolved in India or China,   Persia or Judaea, Greece or Rome, are like several   mountain peaks having different altitude, tempera-   ture, flora and fauna, and yet belonging to the   same chain of hills. There are no absolute barriers   of communication between them; their foundation   is the same and they affect the meteorology of an   atmosphere which is common to us all. This is at     54         THE SURPLUS IN MAN     the root of the meaning of the great teacher who   said he would not seek his own salvation if all   men were not saved ; for we all belong to a divine   unity, from which our great-souled men have   their direct inspiration; they feel it immediately   in their own personality, and they proclaim in their   life, "I am one with the Supreme, with the Death-   less, with the Perfect".     Man, in his mission to create himself, tries to   develop in his mind an image of his truth accord-   ing to an idea which he believes to be universal,   and is sure that any expression given to it will per-   sist through all time. This is a mentality abso-   lutely superfluous for biological existence. It rep-   resents his struggle for a life which is not limited   to his body. For our physical life has its thread of   unity in the memory of the past, whereas this ideal   life dwells in the prospective memory of the   future* In the records of past civilizations, un-   earthed from the closed records of dust, we find   pathetic efforts to make their memories uninter-   rupted through the ages, like the effort of a child   who sets adrift on a paper boat his dream of reach-   ing the distant unknown. But why is this desire?   Only because we feel instinctively that in our ideal   life we must touch all men and all times through   the manifestation of a truth which is eternal and   universal. And in order to give expression to it   materials are gathered that are excellent and a     55         THE RELIGION O MAN     manner of execution that has a permanent value*   For we mortals must offer homage to the Man of   the everlasting life. In order to do so, we are ex-   pected to pay a great deal more than we need for   mere living, and in the attempt we often exhaust   our very means of livelihood, and even life itself.     The ideal picture which a savage imagines of   himself requires glaring paints and gorgeous finer-   ies, a rowdiness in ornaments and even grotesque   deformities of over-wrought extravagance* He   tries to sublimate his individual self into a mani-   festation which he believes to have the majesty of   the ideal Man. He is not satisfied with what he is   in his natural limitations ; he irresistibly feels some-   thing beyond the evident fact of himself which   only could give him worth. It is the principle of   power, which, according to his present mental   stage, is the meaning of the universal reality   whereto he belongs, and it is his pious duty to give   expression to it even at the cost of his happiness.   In fact, through it he becomes one with his God,   for him his God is nothing greater than power.   The savage takes immense trouble, and often suf-   fers tortures, in order to offer in himself a repre-   sentation of power in conspicuous colours and dis-   torted shapes, in acts of relentless cruelty and in-   temperate bravado of self-indulgence. Such an   appearance of rude grandiosity evokes a loyal rev-   erence in the members of his community and a     56         THE SURPLUS IN MAN     fear which gives them an aesthetic satisfaction   because it illuminates for them the picture of a   character which, as far as they know, belongs to   ideal humanity. They wish to see in him not an   individual, but the Man in whom they all are rep*   resented. Therefore, in spite of their sufferings,   they enjoy being overwhelmed by his exaggerations   and dominated by a will fearfully evident owing   to its magnificent caprice in inflicting injuries.   They symbolize their idea of unlimited wilfulness   in their gods by ascribing to them physical and   moral enormities in their anatomical idiosyncracy   and virulent vindictiveness crying for the blood of   victims, in personal preferences indiscriminate in   the choice of recipients and methods of rewards   and punishments. In fact, these gods could never   be blamed for the least wavering in their conduct   owing to any scrupulousness accompanied by the   emotion of pity so often derided as sentimentalism   by virile intellects of the present day.     However crude all this may be, it proves that   Man has a feeling that he is truly represented in   something which exceeds himself. He is aware   that he is not imperfect, but incomplete. He knows   that in himself some meaning has yet to be real-   ized. We do not feel the wonder of it, because it   seems so natural to us that barbarism in Man is   not absolute, that its limits are like the limits of   the horizon. The call is deep in his mind the     57         THE RELIGION OF MAN     call of his own inner truth, which is beyond his   direct knowledge and analytical logic. And indi-   viduals are born who have no doubt of the truth   of this transcendental Man. As our consciousness   more and more comprehends it, new valuations are   developed in us, new depths and delicacies of de-   light, a sober dignity of expression through elimi-   nation of tawdriness, of frenzied emotions, of all   violence in shape, colour, words, or behaviour, of   the dark mentality of Ku-Klux-Klanism.     Each age reveals its personality as dreamer in   its great expressions that carry it across surging   centuries to the continental plateau of permanent   human history. These expressions may not be con-   sciously religious, but indirectly they belong to   Man's religion. For they are the outcome of the   consciousness of the greater Man in the individual   men of the race. This consciousness finds its man-   ifestation in science, philosophy and the arts, in   social ethics, in all things that carry their ultimate   value in themselves. These are truly spiritual and   they should all be consciously co-ordinated in one   great religion of Man, representing his ceaseless   endeavour to reach the perfect in great thoughts   and deeds and dreams, in immortal symbols of art,   revealing his aspiration for rising in dignity of   being.     I had the occasion to visit the ruins of ancient   Rome, the relics of human yearning towards the   58         THE SURPLUS IN MAN     immense, the sight of which teases our mind out   of thought. Does it not prove that in the vision   of a great Roman Empire the creative imagination   of the people rejoiced in the revelation of its trans-   cendental humanity? It was the idea of an Empire   which was not merely for opening an outlet to the   pent-up pressure of over-population, or widening   its field of commercial profit, but which existed as   a concrete representation of the majesty of Roman   personality, the soul of the people dreaming of a   world-wide creation of its own for a fit habitation   of the Ideal Man. It was Rome's titanic endeavour   to answer the eternal question as to what Man   truly was, as Man. And any answer given in earn-   est falls within the realm of religion, whatever   may be its character ; and this answer, in its truth,   belongs not only to any particular people but to   us all. It may be that Rome did not give the most   perfect answer possible when she fought for her   place as a world-builder of human history, but she   revealed the marvellous vigour of the indomitable   human spirit which could say, "Bhumaiva suk-   hamf "Greatness is happiness itself". Her Em-   pire has been sundered and shattered, but her faith   in the sublimity of man still persists in one of the   vast strata of human geology. And this faith was   the true spirit of her religion, which had been dim   in the tradition of her formal theology, merely   supplying her with an emotional pastime and not         THE RELIGION OF MAN     with spiritual inspiration. In fact this theology   fell far below her personality, and for that reason   it went against her religion, whose mission was to   reveal her humanity on the background of the   eternal. Let us seek the religion of this and other   people not in their gods but in Man, who dreamed   of his own infinity and majestically worked for all   time, defying danger and death.     Since the dim nebula of consciousness in Life's   world became intensified into a centre of self in   Man, his history began to unfold its rapid chap-   ters ; for it is the history of his strenuous answers   in various forms to the question rising from this   conscious self of his, "What am I?" Man is not   happy or contented as the animals are ; for his hap-   piness and his peace depend upon the truth of his   answer. The animal attains his success in a physi-   cal sufficiency that satisfies his nature. When a   crocodile finds no obstruction in behaving like an   orthodox crocodile he grins and grows and has no   cause to complain. It is truism to say that Man   also must behave like a man in order to find his   truth. But he is sorely puzzled and asks in be-   wilderment: "What is it to be like a man? What   am I?" It is not left to the tiger to discover what   is his own nature as a tiger, nor, for the matter of   that, to choose a special colour for his coat accord-   ing to his taste.     But Man has taken centuries to discuss the ques-   60         THE SURPLUS IN MAN     tion of his own true nature and has not yet come   to a conclusion. He has been building up elab-   orate religions to convince himself, against his nat-   ural inclinations, of the paradox that he is not what   he is but something greater. What is significant   about these efforts is the fact that in order to know   himself truly Man in his religion cultivates the   vision of a Being who exceeds him in truth and   with whom also he has his kinship. These religions   differ in details and often in their moral signifi-   cance, but they have a common tendency. In them   men seek their own supreme value, which they call   divine, in some personality anthropomorphic in   character. The Mind, which is abnormally scien-   tific, scoffs at this ; but it should know that religion   is not essentially cosmic or even abstract; it finds   itself when it touches the Brahma in man; other-   wise it has no justification to exist.     It must be admitted that such a human element   introduces into our religion a mentality that often   has its danger in aberrations that are intellectually   blind, morally reprehensible and aesthetically   repellent But these are wrong answers; they dis-   tort the truth of man and, like all mistakes in   sociology, in economics or politics, they have to   be fought against and overcome. Their truth has   to be judged by the standard of human perfection   and not by some arbitrary injunction that refuses   to be confirmed by the tribunal of the human con-     6*         THE RELIGION OF MAN     science. And great religions are the outcome of   great revolutions in this direction causing funda-   mental changes of our attitude. These religions   invariably made their appearance as a protest   against the earlier creeds which had been unhu-   man, where ritualistic observances had become   more important and outer compulsions more im-   perious. These creeds were, as I have said before,   cults of power; they had their value for us, not   helping us to become perfect through truth, but to   grow formidable through possessions and magic   control of the deity.     But possibly I am doing injustice to our ances-   tors. It is more likely that they worshipped power   not merely because of its utility, but because they,   in their way, recognized it as truth with which   their own power had its communication and in   which it found its fulfilment They must have nat-   urally felt that this power was the power of will   behind nature, and not some impersonal insanity   that unaccountably always stumbled upon correct   results. For it would have been the greatest depth   of imbecility on their part had they brought their   homage to an abstraction, mindless, heartless and   purposeless; in fact, infinitely below them in its   manifestation.         CHAPTER IV   SPIRITUAL UNION     WHEN Man's preoccupation with the means of   livelihood became less insistent he had the leisure   to come to the mystery of his own self, and could   not help feeling that the truth of his personality   had both its relationship and its perfection in an   endless world of humanity. His religion, which in   the beginning had its cosmic background of power,   came to a higher stage when it found its back-   ground in the human truth of personality. It must   not be thought that in this channel it was narrow-   ing the range of our consciousness of the infinite.   The negative idea of the infinite is merely an   indefinite enlargement of the limits of things; in   fact, a perpetual postponement of infinitude. I am   told that mathematics has come to the conclusion   that our world belongs to a space which is limited.   It does not make us feel disconsolate. We do not   miss very much and need not have a low opinion   of space even if a straight line cannot remain   straight and has an eternal tendency to come back   to the point from which it started. In the Hindu   Scripture the universe is described as an egg; that     63         THB RELIGION OF MAN     is to say, for the human mind it has its circular   shell of limitation. The Hindu Scripture goes still   further and says that time also is not continuous   and our world repeatedly comes to an end to begin   its cycle once again. In other words, in the region   of time and space infinity consists of ever-revolving   finitude.     But the positive aspect of the infinite is in   advaitam, in an absolute unity, in which compre-   hension of the multitude is not as in an outer re-   ceptacle but as in an inner perfection that per-   meates and exceeds its contents, like the beauty in   a lotus which is ineffably more than all the con-   stituents of the flower. It is not the magnitude of   extension but an intense quality of harmony which   evokes in us the positive sense of the infinite in our   joy, in our love. For advaitam is anandam; the   infinite One is infinite Love. For those among   whom the spiritual sense is dull, the desire for   realization is reduced to physical possession, an   actual grasping in space. This longing for magni-   tude becomes not an aspiration towards the great,   but a mania for the big. But true spiritual realiza-   tion is not through augmentation of possession in   dimension or number. The truth that is infinite   dwells in the ideal of unity which we find in the   deeper relatedness. This truth of realization is not   in space, it can only be realized in one's own inner   spirit     64         SPIRITUAL UNION     Ekadhaivanudrashtavyam etat aprameyam dhruvam.   (This infinite and eternal has to be known as One.)     Para akasat aja atma "this birthless spirit is   beyond space". For it is Purushahj it is the   "Person".     The special mental attitude which India has in   her religion is made clear by the word Yoga, whose   meaning is to effect union. Union has its signifi-   cance not in the realm of to have, but in that of   to be. To gain truth is to admit its separateness,   but to be true is to become one with truth. Some   religions, which deal with our relationship with   God, assure us of reward if that relationship be   kept true. This reward has an objective value. It   gives us some reason outside ourselves for pursuing   the prescribed path. We have such religions also   in India. But those that have attained a greater   height aspire for their fulfilment in union with   Narayana, the supreme Reality of Man, which is   divine.     Our union with this spirit is not to be attained   through the mind. For our mind belongs to the   department of economy in the human organism.   It carefully husbands our consciousness for its own   range of reason, within which to permit our rela-   tionship with the phenomenal world* But it is the   object of Yoga to help us to transcend the limits   built up by Mind. On the occasions when these   are overcome, our inner self is filled with joy,     65         THE RELIGION OF MAN     which indicates that through such freedom we   come into touch with the Reality that is an end in   itself and therefore is bliss.     Once man had his vision of the infinite in the   universal Light, and he offered his worship to the   sun. He also offered his service to the fire with   oblations. Then he felt the infinite in Life, which   is Time in its creative aspect, and he said, "Yat   *kincha yadidam sarvam prana ejati nihsritam/* "all   that there is comes out of life and vibrates in it".   He was sure of it, being conscious of Life's mystery   immediately in himself as the principle of purpose,   as the organized will, the source of all his activi-   ties. His interpretation of the ultimate character   of truth relied upon the suggestion that Life had   brought to him, and not the non-living which is   dumb. And then he came deeper into his being   and said "Raso vai sah" 9 "the infinite is love itself ",   the eternal spirit of joy. His religion, which is   in his realization of the infinite, began its journey   from the impersonal dyaus, "the sky", wherein   light had its manifestation; then came to Life,   which represented the force of self-creation in   time, and ended in purushak, the "Person", in   whom dwells timeless love. It said, "Tarn vedyam   purusham ve-dah", "Know him the Person who is   to be realized", "Yatha ma vo mrityug parivya~   thah" "So that death may not cause you sorrow".   For this Person is deathless in whom the individual     66         S PIRITUAL UNION     person has his immortal truth. Of him it is said :   "Esha devo uisvakarma mahatma sada jananam   hridaye sannivishatah". "This is the divine being,   the world-worker, who is the Great Soul ever   dwelling inherent in the hearts of all people."     Ya etad vidur amritas te bhavanti. "Those who   realize him, transcend the limits of mortality"   not in duration of time, but in perfection of truth.     Our union with a Being whose activity is world-   wide and who dwells in the heart of humanity   cannot be a passive one. In order to be united with   Him we have to divest our work of selfishness and   become visvakarma, "the world-worker", we must   work for all. When I use the words "for all", I   do not mean for a countless number of individuals.   All work that is good, however small in extent, is   universal in character. Such work makes for a   realization of Fisvakarma, "the World-Worker"   who works for all. In order to be one with this   Mahatma, "the Great Soul", one must cultivate   the greatness of soul which identifies itself with   the soul of all peoples and not merely with that of   one's own. This helps us to understand what   Buddha has described as Brahmavihara, "living in   the infinite". He says:     "Do not deceive each other, do not despise any-   body anywhere, never in anger wish anyone to suf-   fer through your body, words or thoughts. Like a   mother maintaining her only son with her own     67         THE RELIGION OF MAN     life, keep thy immeasurable loving thought for all   creatures.     "Above thee, below thee, on all sides of thee,   keep on all the world thy sympathy and immeas-   urable loving thought which is without obstruc-   tion, without any wish to injure, without enmity.     "To be dwelling in such contemplation while   standing, walking, sitting or lying down, until   sleep overcomes thee, is called living in Brahma".     This proves that Buddha's idea of the infinite   was not the idea of a spirit of an unbounded cos-   mic activity, but the infinite whose meaning is in   the positive ideal of goodness and love, which   cannot be otherwise than human. By being chari-   table, good and loving, you do not realize the   infinite, in the stars or rocks, but the infinite re-   vealed in Man. Buddha's teaching speaks of Nir-   vana as the highest end. To understand its real   character we have to know the path of its attain-   ment, which is not merely through the negation of   evil thoughts and deeds but through the elimination   of all limits to love. It must mean the sublimation   of self in a truth which is love itself, which unites   in its bosom all those to whom we must offer our   sympathy and service.     When somebody asked Buddha about the orig-   inal cause of existence he sternly said that such   questioning was futile and irrelevant Did he not   mean that it went beyond the human sphere as     68         SPIRITUAL UNION     our goal that though such a question might   legitimately be asked in the region of cosmic phi-   losophy or science, it had nothing to do with man's   dharma, man's inner nature, in which love finds   its utter fulfilment, in which all his sacrifice ends   in an eternal gain, in which the putting out of the   lamplight is no loss because there is the all-pervad-   ing light of the sun. And did those who listened   to the great teacher merely hear his words and   understand his doctrines? No, they directly felt   in him what he was preaching, in the living lan-   guage of his own person, the ultimate truth of   Man.     It is significant that all great religions have their   historic origin in persons who represented in their   life a truth which was not cosmic and unmoral,   but human and good. They rescued religion from   the magic stronghold of demon force and brought   it into the inner heart of humanity, into a fulfil-   ment not confined to some exclusive good fortune   of the individual but to the welfare of all men.   This was not for the spiritual ecstasy of lonely   souls, but for the spiritual emancipation of all   races. They came as the messengers of Man to   men of all countries and spoke of the salvation that   could only be reached by the perfecting of our   relationship with Man the Eternal, Man the   Divine. Whatever might be their doctrines of   God, or some dogmas that they borrowed from     69         THE RELIGION OF MAN     their own time and tradition, their life and teach-   ing had the deeper implication of a Being who is   the infinite in Man, the Father, the Friend, the   Lover, whose service must be realized through   serving all mankind. For the God in Man de-   pends upon men's service and men's love for his   own love's fulfilment     The question was once asked in the shade of   the ancient forest of India :     Kasmai devaya havisha vidhema?   "Who is the God to whom we must bring our oblation?"     That question is still ours, and to answer it we   must know in the depth of our love and the   maturity of our wisdom what man is know him   not only in sympathy but in science, in the joy of   creation and in the pain of heroism ; tena tyaktena   bhunjitha, "enjoy him through sacrifice" the sac-   rifice that comes of love ; ma gridhah, "covet not" ;   for greed diverts your mind to that illusion in you   which is your separate self and diverts it from   truth in which you represent the parama purushah f   "the supreme Person".     Our greed diverts our consciousness to materials   away from that supreme value of truth which is   the quality of the universal being. The gulf thus   created by the receding stream of the soul we try   to replenish with a continuous stream of wealth,   which may have the power to fill but not the power     70         SPIRITUAL UNION     to unite and recreate. Therefore the gap is danger-   ously concealed under the glittering quicksand oi   things, which by their own weight cause a sudden   subsidence while we are in the depths of sleep.     The real tragedy, however, does not lie in the   risk of our material security but in the obscuration   of Man himself in the human world. In the crea-   tive activities of his soul Man realizes his sur-   roundings as his larger self, instinct with his own   life and love. But in his ambition he deforms and   defiles it with the callous handling of his voracity.   His world of utility assuming a gigantic propor-   tion, reacts upon his inner nature and hynotically   suggests to him a scheme of the universe which is   an abstract system. In such a world there can be   no question of mukti, the freedom in truth, because   it is a solidly solitary fact, a cage with no sky   beyond it. In all appearance our world is a closed   world of hard facts ; it is like a seed with its tough   cover. But within this enclosure is working our   silent cry of life for mukti, even when its possibil-   ity is darkly silent When some huge overgrown   temptation tramples into stillness this living aspi-   ration then does civilization die like a seed thai   has lost its urging for germination. And this mukh   is in the truth that dwells in the ideal man.         CHAPTER V   THE PROPHET     IN my introduction I have stated that the universe   to which we are related through our sense percep-   tion, reason or imagination, is necessarily Man's   universe- Our physical self gains strength and   success through its correct relationship in knowl-   edge and practice with its physical aspect. The   mysteries of all its phenomena are generalized by   man as laws which have their harmony with his   rational mind. In the primitive period of our his-   tory Man's physical dealings with the external   world were most important for the maintenance   of his life, the life which he has in common with   other creatures, and therefore the first expression   of his religion was physical it came from his   sense of wonder and awe at the manifestations of   power in Nature and his attempt to win it for him-   self and his tribe by magical incantations and rites.   In other words his religion tried to gain a perfect   communion with the mysterious magic of Nature's   forces through his own power of magic. Then came   the time when he had the freedom of leisure to   divert his mind to his inner nature and the mystery   72         THE PROPHET     of his own personality gained for him its highest   importance. And instinctively his personal self   sought its fulfilment in the truth of a higher per-   sonality. In the history of religion our realization   of its nature has gone through many changes even   like our realization of the nature of the material   world. Our method of worship has followed the   course of such changes, but its evolution has been   from the external and magical towards the moral   and spiritual significance.     The first profound record of the change of direc-   tion in Man's religion we find in the message of   the great prophet in Persia, Zarathustra, and as   usual it was accompanied by a revolution. In a   later period the same thing happened in India,   and it is evident that the history of this religious   struggle lies embedded in the epic Mahabharata   associated with the name of Krishna and the teach-   ings of Bhagavadgita.     The most important of all outstanding facts of   Iranian history is the religious reform brought   about by Zarathustra. There can be hardly any   question that he was the first man we know who   gave a definitely moral character and direction to   religion and at the same time preached the doctrine   of monotheism which offered an eternal founda-   tion of reality to goodness as an ideal of perfection.   All religions of the primitive type try to keep men   bound with regulations of external observances.     73         THE RELIGION OF MAN     Zarathustra was the greatest of all the pioneer   prophets who showed the path of freedom to man,   the freedom of moral choice, the freedom from the   blind obedience to unmeaning injunctions, the   freedom from the multiplicity of shrines which   draw our worship away from the single-minded   chastity of devotion.     To most of us it sounds like a truism to-day   when we are told that the moral goodness of a   deed comes from the goodness of intention. But   it is a truth which once came to Man like a revela-   tion of light in the darkness and it has not yet   reached all the obscure corners of humanity. We   still see around us men who fearfully follow, hop-   ing thereby to gain merit, the path of blind formal-   ism, which has no living moral source in the mind.   This will make us understand the greatness of   Zarathustra. Though surrounded by believers in   magical rites, he proclaimed in those dark days of   unreason that religion has its truth in its moral   significance, not in external practices of imagin-   ary value; that its value is in upholding man in   his life of good thoughts, good words and good   deeds.     "The prophet' *, says Dr. Geiger, "qualifies his   religion as 'unheard of words' (Yasna 31. i) or as   a "mystery" (Y. 48. 3.) because he himself regards   it as a religion quite distinct from the belief of the   people hitherto. The revelation he announces is     74         THE PROPHET     to him no longer a matter of sentiment, no longer   a merely undefined presentiment and conception   of the Godhead, but a matter of intellect, of spirit-   ual perception and knowledge. This is of great   importance, for there are probably not many re-   ligions of so high antiquity in which this funda-   mental doctrine, that religion is a knowledge or   learning, a science of what is true, is so precisely   declared as in the tenets of the Gathas. It is the   unbelieving that are unknowing; on the contrary,   the believing are learned because they have pene-   trated into this knowledge."     It may be incidentally mentioned here, as show-   ing the parallel to this in the development of In-   dian religious thought, that all through the Upan-   ishad spiritual truth is termed with a repeated   emphasis, vidya, knowledge, . which has for its   opposite avidya, acceptance of error born of un-   reason.     The outer expression of truth reaches its white   light of simplicity through its inner realization.   True simplicity is the physiognomy of perfection.   In the primitive stages of spiritual growth, when   man is dimly aware of the mystery of the infinite   in his life and the world, when he does not fully   know the inward character of his relationship with   this truth, his first feeling is either of dread, or of   greed of gain. This drives him into wild exag-   geration in worship, frenzied convulsions of cere-     75         THE RELIGION OF MAN     monialism. But in Zarathustra's teachings, which   are best reflected in his Gathas, we have hardly   any mention of the ritualism of worship. Con-   duct and its moral motives have there received   almost the sole attention.     The orthodox Persian form of worship in an-   cient Iran included animal sacrifices and offering   of haema to the daevas. That all these should be   discountenanced by Zarathustra not only shows   his courage, but the strength of his realization of   the Supreme Being as spirit. We are told that it   has been mentioned by Plutarch that "Zarathustra   taught the Persians to sacrifice to Ahura Mazda,   Vows and thanksgivings' ". The distance between   faith in the efficiency of the bloodstained magi-   cal rites, and cultivation of the moral and spiritual   ideals as the true form of worship is immense. It   is amazing to see how Zarathustra was the first   among men who crossed this distance with a cer-   tainty of realization which imparted such a fer-   vour of faith to his life and his words. The truth   which filled his mind was not a thing which he   borrowed from books or received from teachers;   he did not come to it by following a prescribed   path of tradition, but it came to him as an illu-   mination of his entire life, almost like a commu-   nication of his universal self to his personal self,   and he proclaimed this utmost immediacy of his   knowledge when he said:     76         THE PROPHET     When I conceived of Thee, O Mazda, as the very First and   the Last, as the most Adorable One, as the Father of the Good   Thought, as the Creator of Truth and Right, as the Lord Judge   of our actions in life, then I made a place for Thee in my very   eyes. Yasna 31,8 (Translation D. J. Irani).     It was the direct stirring of his soul which made   him say:     Thus do I announce the Greatest of all ! I weave my songs of   praise for him through Truth, helpful and beneficent of all that   live. Let Ahura Mazda listen to them with his Holy Spirit,   for the Good Mind instructed me to adore Him; by his wis-   dom let Him teach me about what is best. Yasna 45.6 (Trans-   lation D. J, Irani).     The truth which is not reached through the ana-   lytical process of reasoning and does not depend for   proof on some corroboration of outward facts or   the prevalent faith and practice of the people   the truth which comes like an inspiration out of   context with its surroundings brings with it an   assurance that it has been sent from an inner source   of divine wisdom, that the individual who has   realized it is specially inspired and therefore has   his responsibility as a direct medium of communi-   cation of Divine Truth.     As long as man deals with his God as the dis-   penser of benefits only to those of His worshippers   who know the secret of propitiating Him, he tries   to keep Him for his own self or for the tribe to   which he belongs* But directly the moral nature,     77         THE RELIGION OF MAN     that is to say, the humanity of God is apprehended,   man realizes his divine self in his religion, his God   is no longer an outsider to be propitiated for a   special concession. The consciousness of God   transcends the limitations of race and gathers to-   gether all human beings within one spiritual circle   of union. Zarathustra was the first prophet who   emancipated religion from the exclusive narrow-   ness of the tribal God, the God of a chosen people,   and offered it the universal Man, This is a great   fact in the history of religion. The Master said,   when the enlightenment came to him :     Verily I believed Thee, O Ahura Mazda, to be the Supreme   Benevolent Providence, when Sraosha came to me with the   Good Mind, when first I received and became wise with your   words. And though the task be difficult, though woe may come   to me, I shall proclaim to all mankind Thy message, which   Thou declarest to be the best. Yasna 43 (Translation D. J.   Irani).     He prays to Mazda :     This I ask Thee, tell me truly, O Ahura, the religion that   is best for all mankind, the religion, which based on truth,   should prosper in all that is ours, the religion which establishes   our actions in order and justice by the Divine songs of Perfect   Piety, which has for its intelligent desire of desires, the desire   for Thee, O Mazda* Yasna 44.10 (Translation D, J. Irani).     With the undoubted assurance and hope of one   who has got a direct vision of Truth he speaks to   the world ;   78         THE PROPHET     Hearken unto me, Ye who come from near and from far!   Listen for I shall speak forth now; ponder well over all things,   weigh my words with care and clear thought. Never shall the   false teacher destroy this world for a second time, for his tongue   stands mute, his creed exposed. Yasna 45.1 (Translation D.   J. Irani),     I think it can be said without doubt that such a   high conception of religion, uttered in such a   clear note of affirmation with a sure note of con-   viction that it is a truth of the ultimate ideal of   perfection which must be revealed to all humanity,   even at the cost of martyrdom, is unique in the   history of any religion belonging to such a remote   dawn of civilization.     There was a time when, along with other Aryan   peoples, the Persian also worshipped the elemental   gods of Nature, whose favour was not to be won   by any moral duty performed or service of love.   That in fact was the crude beginning of the scien-   tific spirit trying to unlock the hidden sources of   power in nature. But through it all there must   have been some current of deeper desire, which   constantly contradicted the cult of power and in-   dicated worlds of inner good, infinitely more   precious than material gain. Its voice was not   strong at first nor was it heeded by the majority   of the people ; but its influences, like the life within   the seed, were silently working.     Then comes the great prophet; and in his life   and mind the hidden fire of truth suddenly bursts     79         THE RELIGION OF MAN     out into flame. The best in the people works for   long obscure ages in hints and whispers till it finds   its voice which can never again be silenced. For   that voice becomes the voice of Man, no longer   confined to a particular time or people. It works   across intervals of silence and oblivion, depression   and defeat, and comes out again with its conquer-   ing call. It is a call to the fighter, the fighter   against untruth, against all that lures away man's   spirit from its high mission of freedom into the   meshes of materialism.     Zarathustra's voice is still a living voice, not   alone a matter of academic interest for historical   scholars who deal with the facts of the past; nor   merely the guide of a small community of men in   the daily details of their life. Rather, of all teach-   ers Zarathustra was the first who addressed his   words to all humanity, regardless of distance of   space or time. He was not like a cave-dweller who,   by some chance of friction, had lighted a lamp   and, fearing lest it could not be shared with all,   secured it with a miser's care for his own domestic   use. But he was the watcher in the night, who   stood on the lonely peak facing the East and broke   out singing the paeans of light to the sleeping world   when the sun came out on the brim of the horizon.   The Sun of Truth is for all, he declared its light   is to unite the far and the near. Such a message     So         THE PROPHET     always arouses the antagonism of those whose   habits have become nocturnal, whose vested in-   terest is in the darkness. And there was a bitter   fight in the lifetime of the prophet between his   followers and the others who were addicted to the   ceremonies that had tradition on their side, and   not truth.     We are told that "Zarathustra was descended   from a kingly family", and also that the first con-   verts to his doctrine were of the ruling caste. But   the priesthood, "the Kavis and the Karapans, often   succeeded in bringing the rulers over to their side".   So we find that, in this fight, the princes of the   land divided themselves into two opposite parties   as we find in India in the Kurukshetra War.     It has been a matter of supreme satisfaction to   me to realize that the purification of faith which   was the mission of the great teachers in both com-   munities, in Persia and in India, followed a similar   line. We have already seen how Zarathustra spir-   itualized the meaning of sacrifice, which in former   days consisted in external ritualism entailing   bloodshed. The same thing we find in the Gita,   in which the meaning of the word Yajna has been   translated into a higher significance than it had   in its crude form.     According to the Gita, the deeds that are done   solely for the sake of self fetter our soul; the     81         THE RELIGION OF MAN     disinterested action, performed for the sake of the   giving up of self, is the true sacrifice. For creation   itself comes of the self-sacrifice of Brahma, which   has no other purpose; and therefore, in our per-   formance of the duty which is self-sacrificing, we   realize the spirit of Brahma.     The Ideal of Zoroastrian Persia is distinctly   ethical. It sends its call to men to work together   with the Eternal Spirit of Good in spreading and   maintaining Kshathra, the kingdom of righteous-   ness, against all attacks of evil. This ideal gives   us our place as collaborators with God in distribu-   ting his blessings over the world.     Clear is this to the man of wisdom as to the man who care-   fully thinks;     He who upholds Truth with all the might of his power,   He who upholds Truth the utmost in his words and deed,   He, indeed, is Thy most valued helper, O Mazda Ahura!   Ifasna 31.22 (Translation D. J. Irani)     It is a fact of supreme moment to us that the   human world is in an incessant state of war be-   tween that which will save us and that which will   drag us into the abyss of disaster. Our one hope   lies in the fact that Ahura Mazda is on our side   if we choose the right course.     The active heroic aspect of this religion reflects   the character of the people themselves, who later   on spread conquests far and wide and built up   great empires by the might of their sword. They     82         THE PROP HEX     accepted this world in all seriousness. They had   their zest in life and confidence in their own   strength. They belonged to the western half of   Asia and their great influence travelled through   the neighbouring civilization of Judaea towards   the Western Continent Their ideal was the ideal   of the fighter. By force of will and deeds of sacri-   fice they were to conquer haurvatat welfare in   this world, and ameratat immortality in the   other. This is the best ideal in the West, the great   truth of fight. For paradise has to be gained   through conquest. That sacred task is for the   heroes, who are to take the right side in the battle,   and the right weapons.     There was a heroic period in Indian history,   when this holy spirit of fight was invoked by the   greatest poet of the Sanskrit Literature. It is not   to be wondered at that his ideal of fight was simi-   lar to the ideal that Zarathustra preached. The   problem with which his poem starts is that para-   dise has to be rescued by the hero from its invasion   by evil beings. This is the eternal problem of   man. The evil spirit is exultant and paradise is   lost when Sati, the spirit of Sat (Reality), is dis-   united from Siva, the Spirit of Goodness. The   Real and the Good must meet in wedlock if the   hero is to take his birth in order to save all that is   true and beautiful. When the union was attempted   through the agency of passion, the anger of God     83         THE RELIGION OF MAN     was aroused and the result was a tragedy of dis-   appointment At last, by purification through   penance, the wedding was effected, the hero was   born who fought against the forces of evil and   paradise was regained. This is a poem of the ideal   of the moral fight, whose first great prophet was   Zarathustra.     We must admit that this ideal has taken a   stronger hold upon the life of man in the West   than in India the West, where the vigour of life   receives its fullest support from Nature and the   excess of energy finds its delight in ceaseless   activities. But everywhere in the world, the un-   realized ideal is a force of disaster. It gathers its   strength in secret even in the heart of prosperity,   kills the soul first and then drives men to their   utter ruin. When the aggressive activity of will,   which naturally accompanies physical vigour, fails   to accept the responsibility of its ideal, it breeds   unappeasable greed for material gain, leads to   unmeaning slavery of things, till amidst a raging   conflagration of clashing interests the tower of am-   bition topples down to the dust     And for this, the prophetic voice of Zarathustra   reminds us that all human activities must have an   ideal goal, which is an end to itself, and therefore   is peace, is immortality. It is the House of Songs,   the realization of love, which comes through   strenuous service of goodness.     84         THE PROPHET     All the joys of life which Thou boldest, O Mazda, the joys   that were, the joys that are, and the joys that shall be, Thou   dost apportion all in Thy love for us.     We, on the other hand, in the tropical East, who   have no surplus of physical energy inevitably over-   flowing in outer activities, also have our own ideal   given to us. Our course is not so much through the   constant readiness to fight in the battle of the good   and evil, as through the inner concentration of   mind, through pacifying the turbulence of desire,   to reach that serenity of the infinite in our being   which leads to the harmony in the all. Here, like-   wise, the unrealized ideal pursues us with its   malediction. As the activities of a vigorous vitality   may become unmeaning, and thereupon smother   the soul with a mere multiplicity of material, so   the peace of the extinguished desire may become   the peace of death ; and the inner world, in which   we would dwell, become a world of incoherent   dreams.     The negative process of curbing desire and con-   trolling passion is only for saving our energy from   dissipation and directing it into its proper chan-   nel. If the path of the channel we have chosen   runs withinwards, it also must have its expression   in action, not for any ulterior reward, but for the   proving of its own truth. If the test of action is   removed, if our realization grows purely sub j Ac-   tive, then it may become like travelling in a desert     9s         THE RELIGION OF MAN     in the night, going round and round the same cir-   cle, imagining all the while that we are following   the straight path of purpose.     This is why the prophet of the Gita in the first   place says:     Who so forsakes all desires and goeth onwards free from yearn-   ings, selfless and without egoism, he goeth to peace.     But he does not stop here, he adds :     Surrendering all actions to me, with Thy thoughts resting on   the Supreme Self, from hope and egoism freed, and of mental   fever cured, engage in battle.     Action there must be, fight we must have not   the fight of passion and desire, or arrogant self-   assertion, but of duty done in the presence of the   Eternal, the disinterested fight of the serene soul   that helps us in our union with the Supreme   Being.     In this, the teaching of Zarathustra, his sacred   gospel of fight finds its unity. The end of the fight   he preaches is in the House of Songs, in the   symphony of spiritual union. He sings :     Ye, who wish to be allied to the Good Mind, to be friend with   Truth, Ye who desire to sustain the Holy Cause, down with   all anger and violence, away with all ill-will and strife! Such   benevolent men, O Mazda, I shall take to the House of Songs !     The detailed facts of history, which are the battle-   ground of the learned, are not my province. I am   86         THE PROP HEX     a singer myself, and I am ever attracted by the   strains that come forth from the House of Songs.   When the streams of ideals that flow from the   East and from the West mingle their murmur in   some profound harmony of meaning it delights   my soul.     In the realm of material property men are jeal-   ously proud of their possessions and their exclusive   rights. Unfortunately there are quarrelsome men   who bring that pride of acquisition, the worldli-   ness of sectarianism, even into the region of spirit-   ual truth. Would it be sane, if the man in China   should lay claim to the ownership of the sun be-   cause he can prove the earlier sunrise in his own   country?     For myself, I feel proud whenever I find that   the best in the world have their fundamental   agreement. It is their function to unite and to   dissuade the small from bristling-up, like prickly   shrubs, in the pride of the minute points of their   differences, only to hurt one another.         87         CHAPTER VI   THE VISION     I HOPE that my readers have understood, as they   have read these pages, that I am neither a scholar   nor a philosopher. They should not expect from   me fruits gathered from a wide field of studies or   wealth brought by a mind trained in the difficult   exploration of knowledge. Fortunately for me the   subject of religion gains in interest and value by   the experience of the individuals who earnestly   believe in its truth. This is my apology for offer-   ing a part of the story of my life which has always   realized its religion through a process of growth   and not by the help of inheritance or importation.     Man has made the entire geography of the earth   his own, ignoring the boundaries of climate ; for,   unlike the lion and the reindeer, he has the power   to create his special skin and temperature, includ-   ing his unscrupulous power of borrowing the skins   of the indigenous inhabitants and misappropriat-   ing their fats.     His kingdom is also continually extending in   time through a great surplus in his power of mem-   ory, to which is linked his immense facility of bor-   88         V1OJ.V/JN         rowing the treasure of the past from all quarters   of the world. He dwells in a universe of history,   in an environment of continuous remembrance.   The animal occupies time only through the multi-   plication of its own race, but man through the   memorials of his mind, raised along the pilgrim-   age of progress. The stupendousness of his knowl-   edge and wisdom is due to their roots spreading   into and drawing sap from the far-reaching area   of history.     Man has his other dwelling place in the realm   of inner realization, in the element of an imma-   terial value. This is a world where from the sub-   terranean soil of his mind his consciousness often,   like a seed, unexpectedly sends up sprouts into the   heart of a luminous freedom, and the individual   is made to realize his truth in the universal Man.   I hope it may prove of interest if I give an account   of my own personal experience of a sudden spir-   itual outburst from within me which is like the   underground current of a perennial stream unex-   pectedly welling up on the surface.     I was born in a family which, at that time, was   earnestly developing a monotheistic religion based   upon the philosophy of the Upanishad, Somehow   my mind at first remained coldly aloof, absolutely   uninfluenced by any religion whatever. It was   through an idiosyncrasy of my temperament thai   I refused to accept any religious teaching merelj     89         THE RELIGION" OF MAN     because people in my surroundings believed it to   be true. I could not persuade myself to imagine   that I had a religion because everybody whom I   might trust believed in its value.     Thus my mind was brought up in an atmos-   phere of freedom freedom from the dominance   of any creed that had its sanction in the definite   authority of some scripture, or in the teaching of   some organized body of worshippers. And, there-   fore, the man who questions me has every right to   distrust my vision and reject my testimony. In   such a case, the authority of some particular book   venerated by a large number of men may have   greater weight than the assertion of an individ-   ual, and therefore I never claim any right to   preach.     When I look back upon those days, it seems to   me that unconsciously I followed the path of my   Vedic ancestors, and was inspired by the tropical   sky with its suggestion of an uttermost Beyond.   The wonder of the gathering clouds hanging heavy   with the unshed rain, of the sudden sweep of   storms arousing vehement gestures along the line   of coconut trees, the fierce loneliness of the blaz-   ing summer noon, the silent sunrise behind the   dewy veil of autumn morning, kept my mind with   the intimacy of a pervasive companionship.     Then came my initiation ceremony of Brahmin-   hood when the gayatri verse of meditation was     90         THE VISION     given to me, whose meaning, according to the ex-   planation I had, runs as follows:     "Let me contemplate the adorable splendour of Him who   created the earth, the air and the starry spheres, and sends the   power of comprehension within our minds."     This produced a sense of serene exaltation in me,   the daily meditation upon the infinite being which   unites in one stream of creation my mind and the   outer world. Though to-day I find no difficulty   in realizing this being as an infinite personality   in whom the subject and object are perfectly   reconciled, at that time the idea to me was vague.   Therefore the current of feeling that it aroused in   my mind was indefinite, like the circulation of air   an atmosphere which needed a definite world to   complete itself and satisfy me. For it is evident   that my religion is a poet's religion, and neither   that of an orthodox man of piety nor that of a   theologian. Its touch comes to me through the   same unseen and trackless channel as does the in-   spiration of my songs. My religious life has fol-   lowed the same mysterious line of growth as has   my poetical life. Somehow they are wedded to   each other and, though their betrothal had a long   period of ceremony, it was kept secret to me.     When I was eighteen, a sudden spring breeze   of religious experience for the first time came to   my life and passed away leaving in my memory a     91         THE RELIGION OF MAN     direct message of spiritual reality. One day while   I stood watching at early dawn the sun sending   out its rays from behind the trees, I suddenly felt   as if some ancient mist had in a moment lifted   from my sight, and the morning light on the face   of the world revealed an inner radiance of joy.   The invisible screen of the commonplace was re-   moved from all things and all men, and their ulti-   mate significance was intensified in my mind ; and   this is the definition of beauty. That which was   memorable in this experience was its human mes-   sage, the sudden expansion of my consciousness   in the super-personal world of man. The poem I   wrote on the first day of my surprise was named   "The Awakening of the Waterfall". The water-   fall, whose spirit lay dormant in its ice-bound iso-   lation, was touched by the sun and, bursting in   a cataract of freedom, it found its finality in an   unending sacrifice, in a continual union with the   sea. After four days the vision passed away, and   the lid hung down upon my inner sight In the   dark, the world once again put on its disguise of   the obscurity of an ordinary fact     When I grew older and was employed in a   responsible work in some villages I took my place   in a neighbourhood where the current of time ran   slow and joys and sorrows had their simple and   elemental shades and lights. The day which had   its special significance for me came with all its     92         THE VISION     drifting trivialities of the commonplace life. The   ordinary work of my morning had come to its   close and before going to take my bath I stood for   a moment at my window, overlooking a market   place on the bank of a dry river bed, welcoming   the first flood of rain along its channel. Suddenly   I became conscious of a stirring of soul within   me. My world of experience in a moment seemed   to become lighted, and facts that were detached   and dim found a great unity of meaning. The feel-   ing which I had was like that which a man, grop-   ing through a fog without knowing his destination,   might feel when he suddenly discovers that he   stands before his own house.     I still remember the day in my childhood when   I was made to struggle across my lessons in a first   primer, strewn with isolated words smothered   under the burden of spelling. The morning hour   appeared to me like a once-illumined page, grown   dusty and faded, discoloured into irrelevant marks,   smudges and gaps, wearisome in its moth-eaten   meaninglessness. Suddenly I came to a rhymed   sentence of combined words, which may be trans-   lated thus "It rains, the leaves tremble". At once   I came to a world wherein I recovered my full   meaning. My mind touched the creative realm   of expression, and at that moment I was no longer   a mere student with his mind muffled by spelling   lessons, enclosed by classroom. The rhythmic pic-     93         THE RELIGION OF MAN     ture of the tremulous leaves beaten by the rain   opened before my mind the world which does not   merely carry information, but a harmony with my   being. The unmeaning fragments lost their indi-   vidual isolation and my mind revelled in the unity   of a vision. In a similar manner, on that morning   in the village, the facts of my life suddenly ap-   peared to me in a luminous unity of truth. All   things that had seemed like vagrant waves were   revealed to my mind in relation to a boundless sea.   I felt sure that some Being who comprehended me   and my world was seeking his best expression in   all my experiences, uniting them into an ever-   widening individuality which is a spiritual work   of art.     To this Being I was responsible ; for the creation   in me is his as well as mine. It may be that it was   the same creative Mind that is shaping the uni-   verse to its eternal idea; but in me as a person it   had one of its special centres of a personal relation-   ship growing into a deepening consciousness. I   had my sorrows that left their memory in a long   burning track across my days, but I felt at that   moment that in them I lent myself to a travail of   creation that ever exceeded my own personal   bounds like stars which in their individual fire-   bursts are lighting the history of the universe. It   gave me a great joy to feel in my life detachment   at the idea of a mystery of a meeting of the two in   94         THE VISION     a creative comradeship. I felt that I had found my   religion at last, the religion of Man, in which the   infinite became defined in humanity and came   close to me so as to need my love and co-opera-   tion.     This idea of mine found at a later date its ex-   pression in some of my poems addressed to what I   called Jivan devata, the Lord of my life. Fully   aware of my awkwardness in dealing with a for-   eign language, with some hesitation I give a trans-   lation, being sure that any evidence revealed   through the self-recording instrument of poetry is   more authentic than answers extorted through   conscious questionings :     Thou who art the innermost Spirit of my being,   art thou pleased,     Lord of my life?   For I gave to thee my cup   filled with all the pain and delight   that the crushed grapes of my heart had surrendered,   I wove with the rhythm of colours and songs the cover     for thy bed,     and with the molten gold of my desires   I fashioned playthings for thy passing hours.     I know not why thou chosest me for thy partner,     Lord of my life !     Didst thou store my days and nights,   my deeds and dreams for the alchemy of thy art,   and string in the chain of thy music my songs of autumn     and spring,   and gather the flowers from my mature moments for thy     crown?     95         THE RELIGION OF MAN     I see thine eyes gazing at the dark of my heart,     Lord of my life,     I wonder if my failures and wrongs are forgiven.   For many were my days without service   and nights of f orgetf ulness ;   futile were the flowers that faded in the shade not     offered to thee.     Often the tired strings of my lute   slackened at the strain of thy tunes.   And often at the ruin of wasted hours   my desolate evenings were filled with tears.     But have my days come to their end at last,     Lord of my life,     while my arms round thee grow limp,   my kisses losing their truth?   Then break up the meeting of this languid day.   Renew the old in me in fresh forms of delight;   and let the wedding come once again   in a new ceremony of life.     You will understand from this how unconsciously   I had been travelling towards the realization which   I stumbled upon in an idle moment on a day in   July, when morning clouds thickened on the east-   ern horizon and a caressing shadow lay on the   tremulous bamboo branches, while an excited   group of village boys was noisily dragging from   the bank an old fishing boat ; and I cannot tell how   at that moment an unexpected train of thoughts   ran across my mind like a strange caravan carry-   ing the wealth of an unknown kingdom.     From my infancy I had a keen sensitiveness   which kept my mind tingling with consciousness     96         THE VISION     of the world around me, natural and human. We   had a small garden attached to our house ; it was   a fairyland to me, where miracles of beauty were   of everyday occurrence.     Almost every morning in the early hour of the   dusk, I would run out from my bed in a great   hurry to greet the first pink flush of the dawn   through the shivering branches of the palm trees   which stood in a line along the garden boundary,   while the grass glistened as the dew-drops caught   the earliest tremor of the morning breeze. The   sky seemed to bring to me the call of a personal   companionship, and all my heart my whole body   in fact used to drink in at a draught the over-   flowing light and peace of those silent hours. I   was anxious never to miss a single morning, be-   cause each one was precious to me, more precious   than gold to the miser. I am certain that I felt a   larger meaning of my own self when the barrier   vanished between me and what was beyond myself.     I had been blessed with that sense of wonder   which gives a child his right of entry into the   treasure house of mystery in the depth of exist-   ence. My studies in the school I neglected, because   they rudely dismembered me from the context of   my world and I felt miserable, like a caged rabbit   in a biological institute. This, perhaps, will ex-   plain the meaning of my religion. This world was   living to me, intimately close to my life, perme-     97         THE RELIGION OF MAN     ated by a subtle touch of kinship which enhanced   the value of my own being.     It is true that this world also has its impersonal   aspect of truth which is pursued by the man of   impersonal science. The father has his personal   relationship with his son ; but as a doctor he may   detach the fact of a son from that relationship and   let the child become an abstraction to him, only a   living body with its physiological functions. It   cannot be said that if through the constant pursuit   of his vocations he altogether discards the personal   element in his relation to his son he reaches a   greater truth as a doctor than he does as a father.   The scientific knowledge of his son is information   about a fact, and not the realization of a truth. In   his intimate feeling for his son he touches an ulti-   mate truth the truth of relationship, the truth   of a harmony in the universe, the fundamental   principle of creation. It is not merely the number   of protons and electrons which represents the truth   of an element; it is the mystery of their relation-   ship which cannot be analysed. We are made con-   scious of this truth of relationship immediately   within us in our love, in our joy; and from this   experience of ours we have the right to say that   the Supreme One, who relates all things, compre-   hends the universe, is all love the love that is the   highest truth being the most perfect relationship.   98         THE VISION     I still remember the shock of repulsion I re-   ceived as a child when some medical student   brought to me a piece of a human windpipe and   tried to excite my admiration for its structure. He   tried to convince me that it was the source of the   beautiful human voice. But I could not bear the   artisan to occupy the throne that was for the artist   who concealed the machinery and revealed the   creation in its ineffable unity. God does not care   to keep exposed the record of his power written in   geological inscriptions, but he is proudly glad of   the expression of beauty which he spreads on the   green grass, in the flowers, in the play of the col-   ours on the clouds, in the murmuring music of run-   ning water.     I had a vague notion as to who or what it was   that touched my heart's chords, like the infant   which does not know its mother's name, or who   or what she is. The feeling which I always had was   a deep satisfaction of personality that flowed into   my nature through living channels of communica-   tion from all sides.     I am afraid that the scientist may remind me   that to lose sight of the distinction between life   and non-life, the human and the non-human, is a   sign of the primitive mind. While admitting it,   let me hope that it is not an utter condemnation,   but rather the contrary. It may be a true instinct     99         THE RELIGION OF MAN     of Science itself, an instinctive logic, which makes   the primitive mind think that humanity has be-   come possible as a fact only because of a universal   human truth which has harmony with its reason,   with its will. In the details of our universe there   are some differences that may be described as   non-human, but not in their essence. The bones   are different from the muscles, but they are organi-   cally one in the body. Our feeling of joy, our   imagination, realizes a profound organic unity   with the universe comprehended by the human   mind. Without minimizing the differences that   are in detailed manifestations, there is nothing   wrong in trusting the mind, which is occasionally   made intensely conscious of an all-pervading   personality answering to the personality of   man.     The details of reality must be studied in their   differences by Science, but it can never know the   character of the grand unity of relationship per-   vading it, which can only be realized immediately   by the human spirit. And therefore it is the   primal imagination of man the imagination   which is fresh and immediate in its experiences   that exclaims in a poet's verse:     Wisdom and spirit of the universe!   Thou soul, that art the eternity of thought,   And giv'st to forms and images a breath   And everlasting motion.   100         THE VISION     And in another poet's words it speaks of     That light whose smile kindles the universe,   That Beauty in which all things work and move.     The theologian may follow the scientist and shake   his head and say that all that I have written is   pantheism. But let us not indulge in an idolatry   of name and dethrone living truth in its favour.   When I say that I am a man, it is implied by that   word that there is such a thing as a general idea   of Man which persistently manifests itself in every   particular human being, who is different from all   other individuals. If we lazily label such a belief   as "pananthropy" and divert our thoughts from   its mysteriousness by such a title it does not help   us much. Let me assert my faith by saying that   this world, consisting of what we call animate and   inanimate things, has found its culmination in   man, its best expression. Man, as a creation, repre-   sents the Creator, and this is why of all creatures   it has been possible for him to comprehend this   world in his knowledge and in his feeling and in   his imagination, to realize in his individual spirit a   union with a Spirit that is everywhere.     There is an illustration that I have made use of   in which I supposed that a stranger from some   other planet has paid a visit to our earth and hap-   pens to hear the sound of a human voice on the   gramophone. All that is obvious to him and most     IOI         THE RELIGION OF MAN     seemingly active, is the revolving disc. He is un-   able to discover the personal truth that lies behind,   and so might accept the impersonal scientific fact   of the disc as final the fact that could be touched   and measured. He would wonder how it could be   possible for a machine to speak to the soul. Then,   if in pursuing the mystery, he should suddenly   come to the heart of the music through a meeting   with the composer, he would at once understand   the meaning of that music as a personal communi-   cation.     That which merely gives us information can be   explained in terms of measurement, but that which   gives us joy cannot be explained by the facts of a   mere grouping of atoms and molecules. Some-   where in the arrangement of this world there seems   to be a great concern about giving us delight,   which shows that, in the universe, over and above   the meaning of matter and forces, there is a mes-   sage conveyed through the magic touch of person-   ality. This touch cannot be analysed, it can only   be felt. We cannot prove it any more than the   man from the other planet could prove to the sat-   isfaction of his fellows the personality which re-   mained invisible, but which, through the machin-   ery, spoke direct to the heart     Is it merely because the rose is round and pink   that it gives me more satisfaction than the gold   which could buy me the necessities of life, or any     102         THE VISION     number of slaves? One may, at the outset, deny   the truth that a rose gives more delight than a   piece of gold. But such an objector must remem-   ber that I am not speaking of artificial values. If   we had to cross a desert whose sand was made of   gold, then the cruel glitter of these dead particles   would become a terror for us, and the sight of a   rose would bring to us the music of paradise.     The final meaning of the delight which we find   in a rose can never be in the roundness of its   petals, just as the final meaning of the joy of music   cannot be in a gramophone disc. Somehow we feel   that through a rose the language of love reached   our heart. Do we not carry a rose to our beloved   because in it is already embodied a message which,   unlike our language of words, cannot be analysed.   Through this gift of a rose we utilize a universal   language of joy for our own purposes of expres-   sion.     Fortunately for me a collection of old lyrical   poems composed by the poets of the Vaishnava   sect came to my hand when I was young. I became   aware of some underlying idea deep in the obvious   meaning of these love poems. I felt the joy of an   explorer who suddenly discovers the key to the   language lying hidden in the hieroglyphs which   are beautiful in themselves. I was sure that these   poets were speaking about the supreme Lover,   whose touch we experience in all our relations of     103         THE RELIGION OF MAN     love the love of nature's beauty, of the animal,   the child, the comrade, the beloved, the love that   illuminates our consciousness of reality. They   sang of a love that ever flows through numerous   obstacles between men and Man the Divine, the   eternal relation which has the relationship of   mutual dependence for a fulfilment that needs   perfect union of individuals and the Universal.     The Vaishnava poet sings of the Lover who has   his flute which, with its different stops, gives out   the varied notes of beauty and love that are in   Nature and Man. These notes bring to us our   message of invitation. They eternally urge us to   come out from the seclusion of our self-centred   life into the realm of love and truth. Are we deaf   by nature, or is it that we have been deafened by   the claims of the world, of self-seeking, by the   clamorous noise of the market-place? We miss the   voice of the Lover, and we fight, we rob, we ex-   ploit the weak, we chuckle at our cleverness, when   we can appropriate for our use what is due to   others; we make our lives a desert by turning away   from our world that stream of love which pours   down from the blue sky and wells up from the   bosom of the earth.     In the region of Nature, by unlocking the secret   doors of the workshop department, one may come   to that dark hall where dwells the mechanic and   help to attain usefulness, but through it one can     104         THE VISION     never attain finality. Here is the storehouse of   innumerable facts and, however necessary they   may be, they have not the treasure of fulfilment in   them. But the hall of union is there, where dwells   the Lover in the heart of existence. When a man   reaches it he at once realizes that he has come to   Truth, to immortality, and he is glad with a glad-   ness which is an end, and yet which has no end.     Mere information about facts, mere discovery   of power, belongs to the outside and not to the   inner soul of things. Gladness is the one criterion   of truth, and we know when we have touched   Truth by the music it gives, by the joy of greeting   it sends forth to the truth in us. That is the true   foundation of all religions. It is not as ether waves   that we receive light; the morning does not wait   for some scientist for its introduction to us. In   the same way we touch the infinite reality immedi-   ately within us only when we perceive the pure   truth of love or goodness, not through the explana-   tions of theologians, not through the erudite dis-   cussion of ethical doctrines.     I have already made the confession that my   religion is a poet's religion. All that I feel about   it is from vision and not from knowledge. Frankly,   I acknowledge that I cannot satisfactorily answer   any questions about evil, or about what happens   after death. Nevertheless, I am sure that there   have come moments in my own experience when     105         THE RELIGION OF MAN     my soul has touched the infinite and has become   intensely conscious of it through the illumination   of joy. It has been said in our Upanishad that our   mind and our words come away baffled from the   Supreme Truth, but he who knows truth through   the immediate joy of his own soul is saved from   all doubts and fears.     In the night we stumble over things and become   acutely conscious of their individual separateness.   But the day reveals the greater unity which em-   braces them. The man whose inner vision is   bathed in an illumination of his consciousness at   once realizes the spiritual unity reigning supreme   over all differences. His mind no longer awk-   wardly stumbles over individual facts of separate-   ness in the human world, accepting them as final.   He realizes that peace is in the inner harmony   which dwells in truth and not in any outer adjust-   ments. He knows that beauty carries an eternal   assurance of our spiritual relationship to reality,   which waits for its perfection in the response of   our love.         106         CHAPTER VII   THE MAN OF MY HEART     AT the outburst of an experience which is unusual,   such as happened to me in the beginning of my   youth, the puzzled mind seeks its explanation in   some settled foundation of that which is usual,   trying to adjust an unexpected inner message to an   organized belief which goes by the general name   of a religion. And, therefore, I naturally was   glad at that time of youth to accept from my father   the post of secretary to a special section of the   monotheistic church of which he was the leader. I   took part in its services mainly by composing   hymns which unconsciously took the many-   thumbed impression of the orthodox mind, a com-   posite smudge of tradition. Urged by my sense of   duty I strenuously persuaded myself to think that   my new mental attitude was in harmony with that   of the members of our association, although I con-   stantly stumbled upon obstacles and felt con-   straints that hurt me to the quick.     At last I came to discover that in my conduct I   was not strictly loyal to my religion, but only to   the religious institution. This latter represented   an artificial average, with its standard of truth at     107         THE RELIGION OF MAN     its static minimum, jealous of any vital growth   that exceeded its limits. I have my conviction that   in religion, and also in the arts, that which is com-   mon to a group is not important Indeed, very   often it is a contagion of mutual imitation. After a   long struggle with the feeling that I was using a   mask to hide the living face of truth, I gave up my   connection with our church.     About this time, one day I chanced to hear a   song from a beggar belonging to the Baiil * sect   of Bengal We have in the modern Indian Re-   ligion deities of different names, forms and mythol-   ogy, some Vedic and others aboriginal. They   have their special sectarian idioms and associations   that give emotional satisfaction to those who are   accustomed to their hypnotic influences. Some of   them may have their aesthetic value to me and   others philosophical significance overcumbered by   exuberant distraction of legendary myths. But what   struck me in this simple song was a religious ex-   pression that was neither grossly concrete, full of   crude details, nor metaphysical in its rarified trans-   cendentalism. At the same time it was alive with   an emotional sincerity. It spoke of an intense   yearning of the heart for the divine which is in   Man and not in the temple, or scriptures, in   images and symbols. The worshipper addresses   his songs to the Man the ideal, and says:     1 See Appendix I.   108         THE MAN OF MY HEART     Temples and mosques obstruct thy path,     and I fail to hear thy call or to move,     when the teachers and priest angrily crowd round me.     He does not follow any tradition of ceremony, but   only believes in love. According to him     Love is the magic stone, that transmutes by its touch greed into   sacrifice.     He goes on to say:     For the sake of this love heaven longs to become earth and gods   to become man.     Since then I have often tried to meet these people,   and sought to understand them through their songs,   which are their only form of worship. One is often   surprised to find in many of these verses a striking   originality of sentiment and diction; for, at their   best, they are spontaneously individual in their   expressions. One such song is a hymn to the Ever   Young. It exclaims:     O my flower buds, we worship the Young ;     for the Young is the source of the holy Ganges of life ;     from the Young flows the supreme bliss.     And it says:     We never offer ripe corn in the service of the Young,     nor fruit, nor seed,     but only the lotus bud which is of our own mind.     The young hour of the day, the morning,     is our time for the worship of Him.     from whose contemplation has sprung the Universe*     109         THE RELIGION OF MAN     It calls the Spirit of the Young the Brahma   Kamal, "the infinite lotus". For it is something   which has perfection in its heart and yet ever   grows and unfolds its petals.     There have been men in India who never wrote   learned texts about the religion of Man but had   an overpowering desire and practical training for   its attainment They bore in their life the testi-   mony of their intimacy with the Person who is in   all persons, of Man the formless in the individual   forms of men. Rajjab, a poet-saint of medieval   India, says of Man:     God-man (nara-narayand) is thy definition, it is not a delusion   but truth. In thee the infinite seeks the finite, the perfect knowl-   edge seeks love, and when the form and the Formless (the indi-   vidual and the universal) are united love is fulfilled in devotion.     Ravidas, another poet of the same age, sings:     Thou seest me, O Divine Man (narahari}> and I see thee, and   our love becomes mutual.     Of this God-man a village poet of Bengal says:     He is within us, an unfathomable reality. We know him when   we unlock our own self and meet in a true love with all others.     A brother poet of his says:     Man seeks the man in me and I lose myself and run out.     And another singer sings of the Ideal Man, and   says:   no         THE MAN OF MY HEART     How could the scripture know the meaning of the Lord who has   his play in the world of human forms?     Listen, O brother man (declares Chandidas), the truth of   man is the highest truth, there is no other truth above it.     All these are proofs of a direct perception of   humanity as an objective truth that rouses a pro-   found feeling of longing and love. This is very   unlike what we find in the intellectual cult of   humanity, which is like a body that has tragically   lost itself in the purgatory of shadows.   Wordsworth says:     We live by admiration, hope and love,   And ever as these are well and wisely fixed   In dignity of being we ascend.     It is for dignity of being that we aspire through   the expansion of our consciousness in a great real-   ity of man to which we belong. We realize it   through admiration and love, through hope that   soars beyond the actual, beyond our own span of   life into an endless time wherein we live the life of   all men.     This is the infinite perspective of human per-   sonality where man finds his religion. Science may   include in its field of knowledge the starry world   and the world beyond it; philosophy may try to   find some universal principle which is at the root   of all things, but religion inevitably concentrates   itself on humanity, which illumines our reason,   inspires our wisdom, stimulates our love, claims     in         THE RELIGION OF MAN     our intelligent service. There is an impersonal   idea, which we call law, discoverable by an imper-   sonal logic in its pursuit of the fathomless depth of   the hydrogen atom and the distant virgin worlds   clothed in eddying fire. But as the physiology of   our beloved is not our beloved, so this impersonal   law is not our God, the Pitritamah pitrinam, the   Father who is ultimate in all fathers and mothers,   of him we cannot say:         Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya-         ( Realize him by obeisance, by the desire to know, by service )     For this can only be relevant to the God who is   God and man at the same time; and if this faith be   blamed for being anthropomorphic, then Man is   to be blamed for being Man, and the lo^er for   loving his dear one as a person instead of as a   principle of psychology. We can never go beyond   Man in all that we know and feel, and a mendicant   singer of Bengal has said:     Our world is as it is in our comprehension; the thought and   existence are commingled. Everything would be lost in uncon-   sciousness if man were nought ; and when response comes to your   own call you know the meaning of reality.     According to him, what we call nature is not a   philosophical abstraction, not cosmos, but what is   revealed to man as nature. In fact it is included in   himself and therefore there is a commingling of   his mind with it, and in that he finds his <jwn     112         THE MAN OF MY HEART     being. He is truly lessened in humanity if he can-   not take it within him and through it feel the ful-   ness of his own existence. His arts and literature   are constantly giving expression to this intimate   communion of man with his world- And the Vedic   poet exclaims in his hymn to the sun :     Thou who nourishest the earth, who walkest alone, O Sun,   withdraw thy rays, reveal thy exceeding beauty to me and let   me realize that the Person who is there is the One who I am.     It is for us to realize the Person who is in the   heart of the All by the emancipated consciousness   of our own personality. We know that the highest   mission of science is to find the universe enveloped   by the human comprehension ; to see man's visva-   rupa, his great mental body, that touches the   extreme verge of time and space, that includes the   whole world within itself.     The original Aryans who came to India had for   their gods the deities of rain, wind, fire, the cosmic   forces which singularly enough found no definite   shapes in images. A time came when it was recog-   nized that individually they had no separate, un-   related power of their own, but there was one   infinite source of power which was named Brahma.   The cosmic divinity developed into an impersonal   idea ; what was physical grew into a metaphysical   abstraction, even as in modern science matter   vanishes into mathematics. And Brahma, accord-     113         THE RELIGION OF MAN     ing to those Indians, could neither be apprehended   by mind nor described by words, even as matter in   its ultimate analysis proves to be.     However satisfactory that idea might be as the   unknowable principle relating to itself all the   phenomena that are non-personal, it left the per-   sonal man in a void of negation. It cannot be gain-   said that we can never realize things in this world   from inside, we can but know how they appear to   us. In fact, in all knowledge we know our own   self in its condition of knowledge. And religion   sought the highest value of man's existence in this   self. For this is the only truth of which he is   immediately conscious from within. And he said :     Purushanna para kinchit   sa kashthta sa para gatih     (Nothing is greater than the Person; he   is the supreme, he is the ultimate goal.)     It is a village poet of East Bengal who preaches in   a song the philosophical doctrine that the universe   has its reality in its relation to the Person, which I   translate in the following lines:     The sky and the earth are born of mine own eyes,     The hardness and softness, the cold and the heat are the products     of mine own body,   The sweet smell and the bad are of my own nostrils.     This poet sings of the Eternal Person within him,   coming out and appearing before his eyes, just as   114         THE MAN OF MY HEART     the Vedic Rishi speaks of the Person, who is in   him, dwelling also in the heart of the sun :     I have seen the vision,     the vision of mine own revealing itself,     coming out from within me.     In India, there are those whose endeavour is to   merge completely their personal self in an imper-   sonal entity which is without any quality or defini-   tion ; to reach a condition wherein mind becomes   perfectly blank, losing all its activities. Those who   claim the right to speak about it say that this is the   purest state of consciousness, it is all joy and with-   out any object or content This is considered to   be the ultimate end of Yoga, the cult of union, thus   completely to identify one's being with the infinite   Being who is beyond all thoughts and words. Such   realization of transcendental consciousness accom-   panied by a perfect sense of bliss is a time-honoured   tradition in our country, carrying in it the positive   evidence which cannot be denied by any negative   argument of refutation. Without disputing its   truth I maintain that it may be valuable as a great   psychological experience but all the same it is not   religion, even as the knowledge of the ultimate state   of the atom is of no use to an artist who deals in   images in which atoms have taken forms. A cer-   tain condition of vacuum is needed for studying   the state of things in its original purity, and the         THE RELIGION OF MAN     same may be said of the human spirit; but the   original state is not necessarily the perfect state*   The concrete form is a more perfect manifestation   than the atom, and man is more perfect as a man   than where he vanishes in an original indefinite-   ness. This is why the Ishopanishat says : "Truth is   both finite and infinite at the same time, it moves   and yet moves not, it is in the distant, also in the   near, it is within all objects and without them."     This means that perfection as the ideal is im-   movable, but in its aspect of the real it constantly   grows towards completion, it moves. And I say of   the Supreme Man, that he is infinite in his essence,   he is finite in his manifestation in us the individu-   als. As the Ishopanishat declares, a man must live   his full term of life and work without greed, and   thus realize himself in the Being who is in all   beings. This means that he must reveal in his own   personality the Supreme Person by his disinterested   activities.         CHAPTER VIII   THE MUSIC MAKER     A PARTICLE of sand would be nothing if it did not   have its background in the whole physical world.   This grain of sand is known in its context of the   universe where we know all things through the   testimony of our senses. When I say the grain of   sand is f the whole physical world stands guarantee   for the truth which is behind the appearance of   the sand.     But where is that guarantee of truth for this   personality of mine that has the mysterious faculty   of knowledge before which the particle of sand   offers its credential of identification? It must be   acknowledged that this personal self of mine also   has for its truth a background of personality   where knowledge, unlike that of other things, can   only be immediate and self-revealed.     What I mean by personality is a self-conscious   principle of transcendental unity within man which   comprehends all the details of facts that are indi-   vidually his in knowledge and feeling, wish and   will and work. In its negative aspect it is limited   to the individual separateness, while in its posi-     117         THE RELIGION OF MAN     tive aspect it ever extends itself in the infinite   through the increase of its knowledge, love and   activities.     And for this reason the most human of all facts   about us is that we do dream of the limitless un-   attained the dream which gives character to what   is attained. Of all creatures man lives in an end-   less future. Our present is only a part of it. The   ideas unborn, the unbodied spirits, tease our imagi-   nation with an insistence which makes them more   real to our mind than things around us. The atmos-   phere of the future must always surround our   present in order to make it life-bearing and sugges-   tive of immortality. For he who has the healthy   vigour of humanity in him has a strong instinctive   faith that ideally he is limitless. That is why our   greatest teachers claim from us a manifestation that   touches the infinite. In this they pay homage to   the Supreme Man. And our true worship lies in   our indomitable courage to be great and thus to   represent the human divine and ever to keep open   the path of freedom towards the unattained.     We Indians have bad the sad experience in our   own part of the world how timid orthodoxy, its   irrational repressions and its accumulation of dead   centuries, dwarfs man through its idolatry of the   past. Seated rigid in the centre of stagnation, it   firmly ties the human spirit to the revolving wheels   pf habit till f aintness overwhelms her- Like a slug-     1x8         THE MUSIC MAKER     gish stream choked by rotting weeds, it is divided   into shallow slimy pools that shroud their dumb-   ness in a narcotic mist of stupor. This mechanical   spirit of tradition is essentially materialistic, it is   blindly pious but not spiritual, obsessed by phan-   toms of unreason that haunt feeble minds in the   ghastly disguise of religion. For our soul is   shrunken when we allow foolish days to weave   repeated patterns of unmeaning meshes round all   departments of life. It becomes stunted when we   have no object of profound interest, no prospect of   heightened life, demanding clarity of mind and   heroic attention to maintain and mature it. It is   destroyed when we make fireworks of our animal   passions for the enjoyment of their meteoric sensa-   tions, recklessly reducing to ashes all that could   have been saved for permanent illumination. This   happens not only to mediocre individuals hugging   fetters that keep them irresponsible or hungering   for lurid unrealities, but to generations of insipid   races that have lost all emphasis of significance in   themselves, having missed their future.     The continuous future is the domain of our mil-   lennium, which is with us more truly than what   we see in our history in fragments of the present.   It is in our dream. It is in the realm of the faith   which creates perfection. We have seen the rec-   ords of man's dreams of the millennium, the ideal   reality cherished by forgotten races in their ad-     119         THE RELIGION OP MAN     miration, hope and love manifested in the dignity   of their being through some majesty in ideals and   beauty in performance. While these races pass   away one after another they leave great accom-   plishments behind them carrying their claim to   recognition as dreamers not so much as con-   querors of earthly kingdoms, but as the designers   of paradise. The poet gives us the best definition   of man when he says:     We are the music-makers,     We are the dreamers of dreams.     Our religious present for us the dreams of the ideal   unity which is man himself -as he manifests the   infinite. We suffer from the sense of sin, which is   the sense of discord, when any disruptive passion   tears gaps in our vision of the One in man, creat-   ing isolation in our self from the universal   humanity.     The Upanishad says, r Ma gridah, "covet not".   For coveting diverts attention from the infinite   value of our personality to the temptation of   materials. Our village poet sings: "Man will   brightly flash into your sight, my heart, if you   shut the door of desires."     We have seen how primitive man was occupied   with his physical needs, and thus restricted him-   self to the present which is the time boundary of   the animal; and he missed the urge of his con-     120         THE MUSIC MAKER     sciousness to seek its emancipation in a world of   ultimate human value.     Modern civilization for the same reason seems   to turn itself back to that primitive mentality.   Our needs have multiplied so furiously fast that   we have lost our leisure for the deeper realization   of our self and our faith in it It means that we   have lost our religion, the longing for the touch of   the divine in man, the builder of the heaven, the   music-maker, the dreamer of dreams. This has   made it easy to tear into shreds our faith in the   perfection of the human ideal, in its wholeness, as   the fuller meaning of reality. No doubt it is won-   derful that music contains a fact which has been   analysed and measured, and which music shares   in common with the braying of an ass or of a   motor-car horn. But it is still more wonderful that   music has a truth, which cannot be analysed into   fractions; and there the difference between it and   the bellowing impertinence of a motor-car horn is   infinite. Men of our own times have analysed the   human mind, its dreams, its spiritual aspirations,   most often caught unawares in the shattered state   of madness, disease and desultory dreams and   they have found to their satisf action that these are   composed of elemental animalities tangled into   various knots. This may be an important discov-   ery; but what is still more important to realize is   the fact that by some miracle of creation man     121         THE RELIGION OF MAN     infinitely transcends the component parts of his   own character.     Suppose that some psychological explorer sus-   pects that man's devotion to his beloved has at   bottom our primitive stomach's hankering for   human flesh, we need not contradict him ; for what-   ever may be its genealogy, its secret composition,   the complete character of our love, in its perfect   mingling of physical, mental and spiritual asso-   ciations, is unique in its utter difference from can-   nibalism. The truth underlying the possibility of   such transmutation is the truth of our religion. A   lotus has in common with a piece of rotten flesh   the elements of carbon and hydrogen. In a state   of dissolution there is no difference between them,   but in a state of creation the difference is immense ;   and it is that difference which really matters. We   are told that some of our most sacred sentiments   hold hidden in them instincts -contrary to what   these sentiments profess to be. Such disclosures   have the effect upon certain persons of the relief   of a tension, even like the relaxation in death of   the incessant strenuousness of life.     We find in modern literature that something like   a chuckle of an exultant disillusionment is becom-   ing contagious, and the knights-errant of the cult   of arson are abroad, setting fire to our time-   honoured altars of worship, proclaiming that the   images enshrined on them, even if beautiful, arc     122         THE MUSIC MAKER     made of mud. They say that it has been found out   that the appearances in human idealism are decep-   tive, that the underlying mud is real. From such   a point of view, the whole of creation may be said   to be a gigantic deception, and the billions of re-   volving electric specks that have the appearance   of "you" or "me" should be condemned as bearers   of false evidence.     But whom do they seek to delude? If it be beings   like ourselves who possess some inborn criterion   of the real, then to them these very appearances in   their integrity must represent reality, and not their   component electric specks. For them the rose   must be more satisfactory as an object than its   constituent gases, which can be tortured to speak   against the evident identity of the rose. The rose,   even like the human sentiment of goodness, or   ideal of beauty, belongs to the realm of creation,   in which all its rebellious elements are reconciled   in a perfect harmony. Because these elements in   their simplicity yield themselves to our scrutiny,   we in our pride are inclined to give them the best   prizes as actors in that mystery-play, the rose. Such   an analysis is really only giving a prize to our own   detective cleverness.     I repeat again that the sentiments and ideals   which man in his process of self -creation has built   up, should be recognized in their wholeness. In all   our faculties or passions there is nothing which is     123         THE RELIGION OF MAN     absolutely good or bad; they all are the constitu-   ents of the great human personality. They are   notes that are wrong when in wrong places ; our   education is to make them into chords that may   harmonize with the grand music of Man. The   animal in the savage has been transformed into   higher stages in the civilized man in other words   has attained a truer consonance with Man the   divine, not through any elimination of the original   materials, but through a magical grouping of them,   through the severe discipline of art, the discipline   of curbing and stressing in proper places, establish-   ing a balance of lights and shadows in the back-   ground and foreground, and thus imparting a   unique value to our personality in all its com-   pleteness.     So long as we have faith in this value, our energy   is steadily sustained in its creative activity that   reveals the eternal Man. This faith is helped on   all sides by literature, arts, legends, symbols, cere-   monials, by the remembrance of heroic souls who   have personified it in themselves,     Our religion is the inner principle that compre-   hends these endeavours and expressions and dreams   through which we approach Him in whose image   we are made. To keep alive our faith in the reality   of the ideal perfection is the function of civiliza-   tion, which is mainly formed of sentiments and the   images that represent that ideal. In other words,     124         THE MUSIC MAKER     civilization is a creation of art, created for the   objective realization of our vision of the spiritually   perfect It is the product of the art of religion. We   stop its course of conquest when we accept the cult   of realism and forget that realism is the worst form   of untruth, because it contains a minimum of truth.   It is like preaching that only in the morgue can   we comprehend the reality of the human body   the body which has its perfect revelation when seen   in life. All great human facts are surrounded by   an immense atmosphere of expectation. They are   never complete if we leave out from them what   might be, what should be, what is not yet proven   but profoundly felt, what points towards the im-   mortal. This dwells in a perpetual surplus in the   individual, that transcends all the desultory facts   about him.     The realism in Man is the animal in him, whose   life is a mere duration of time; the human in him   is his reality which has life everlasting for its back-   ground. Rocks and crystals being complete defi-   nitely in what they are, can keep as "mute insen-   sate things" a kind of dumb dignity in their stol-   idly limited realism ; while human facts grow un-   seemly and diseased^ breeding germs of death,   when divested of their creative ideal the ideal of   Man the divine, The difference between the notes   as mere facts of sound and music as a truth of ex-   pression is immense. For music though it compre-     125         THE RELIGION OF MAN     hends a limited number of notes yet represents the   infinite. It is for man to produce the music of the   spirit with all the notes which he has in his psy-   chology and which, through inattention or per*   versity, can easily be translated into a frightful   noise. In music man is revealed and not in a noise.         CHAPTER IX   THE ARTIST     THE fundamental desire of life is the desire to   exist. It claims from us a vast amount of training   and experience about the necessaries of livelihood.   Yet it does not cost me much to confess that the   food that I have taken, the dress that I wear, the   house where I have my lodging, represent a stu-   pendous knowledge, practice and organization   which I helplessly lack; for I find that I am not   altogether despised for such ignorance and ineffi-   ciency. Those who read me seem fairly satisfied   that I am nothing better than a poet or perhaps a   philosopher which latter reputation I do not   claim and dare not hold through the precarious   help of misinformation.     It is quite evident in spite of my deficiency that   in human society I represent a vocation, which   though superfluous has yet been held worthy of   commendation. In fact, I am encouraged in my   rhythmic futility by being offered moral and mate-   rial incentives for its cultivation. If a foolish   blackbird did not know how to seek its food, to   build its nest, or to avoid Its enemies, but special-     127         THE RELIGION OF MAN     ized in singing, its fellow creatures, urged by their   own science of genetics, would dutifully allow it   to starve and perish. That I am not treated in a   similar fashion is the evidence of an immense dif-   ference between the animal existence and the civil-   ization of man. His great distinction dwells in the   indefinite margin of life in him which affords a   boundless background for his dreams and creations.   And it is in this realm of freedom that he realizes   his divine dignity, his great human truth, and is   pleased when I as a poet sing victory to him, to   Man the self-revealer, who goes on exploring ages   of creation to find himself in perfection.     Reality, in all its manifestations, reveals itself   in the emotional and imaginative background of   our mind. We know it, not because we can think   of it, but because we directly feel it. And there-   fore, even if rejected by the logical mind, it is not   banished from our consciousness. As an incident   it may be beneficial or injurious, but as a revelation   its value lies in the fact that it offers us an experi-   ence through emotion or imagination ; we feel our-   selves in a special field of realization. This feeling   itself is delightful when it is not accompanied by   any great physical or moral risk, we love to feel   even fear or sorrow if it is detached from all prac-   tical consequences. This is the reason of our enjoy-   ment of tragic dramas, in which the feeling of pain   rouses our consciousness to a white heat of intensity.     128         THE ARTIST     The reality of my own self is immediate and   indubitable to me. Whatever else affects me in a   like manner is real for myself, and it inevitably   attracts and occupies my attention for its own sake,   blends itself with my personality, making it richer   and larger and causing it delight. My friend may   not be beautiful, useful, rich or great, but he is real   to me ; in him I feel my own extension and my joy.     The consciousness of the real within me seeks   for its own corroboration the touch of the Real   outside me. When it fails the self in me is de-   pressed. When our surroundings are monotonous   and insignificant, having no emotional reaction   upon our mind, we become vague to ourselves. For   we are like pictures, whose reality is helped by   the background if it is sympathetic. The punish-   ment we suffer in solitary confinement consists in   the obstruction to the relationship between the   world of reality and the real in ourselves, causing   the latter to become indistinct in a haze of inactive   imagination: our personality is blurred, we miss   the companionship of our own being through the   diminution of our self. The world of our knowl-   edge is enlarged for us through the extension of our   information ; the world of our personality grows in   its area with a large and deeper experience of our   personal self in our own universe through sym-   pathy and imagination.     As this world, that can be known through knowl-         THE RELIGION OF MAN     edge, is limited to us owing to our ignorance, so   the world of personality, that can be realized by   our own personal self, is also restricted by the   limit of our sympathy and imagination. In the   dim twilight of insensitiveness a large part of our   world remains to us like a procession of nomadic   shadows. According to the stages of our conscious-   ness we have more or less been able to identify our-   selves with this world, if not as a whole, at least   in fragments; and our enjoyment dwells in that   wherein we feel ourselves thus united. In art we   express the delight of this unity by which this   world is realized as humanly significant to us. I   have my physical, chemical and biological self ; my   knowledge of it extends through the extension of   my knowledge of the physical, chemical and bio-   logical world. I have my personal self, which has   its communication with our feelings, sentiments   and imaginations, which lends itself to be coloured   by our desires and shaped by our imageries.     Science urges us to occupy by our mind the   immensity of the knowable world; our spiritual   teacher enjoins us to comprehend by our soul the   infinite Spirit which is in the depth of the moving   and changing facts of the world ; the urging of our   artistic nature is to realize the manifestation of   personality in the world of appearance, the reality   of existence which is in harmony with the real   within us. Where this harmony is not deeply felt,     130         THE ARTIST     there we are aliens and perpetually homesick. For   man by nature is an artist; he never receives   passively and accurately in his mind a physical   representation of things around him. There goes   on a continual adaptation, a transformation of facts   into human imagery, through constant touches of   his sentiments and imagination. The animal has   the geography of its birthplace ; man has his coun-   try, the geography of his personal self. The vision   of it is not merely physical ; it has its artistic unity,   it is a perpetual creation. In his country, his con-   sciousness being unobstructed, man extends his   relationship, which is of his own creative person-   ality. In order to live efficiently man must know   facts and their laws. In order to be happy he must   establish harmonious relationship with all things   with which he has dealings. Our creation is the   modification of relationship.     The great men who appear in our history remain   in our mind not as a static fact but as a living his-   torical image. The sublime suggestions of their   lives become blended into a noble consistency in   legends made living in the life of ages. Those men   with whom we live we constantly modify in our   minds, making them more real to us than they   would be in a bare presentation. Men's ideal of   womanhood and women's ideal of manliness are   created by the imagination through a mental   grouping of qualities and conducts according to         THE RELIGION OF MAN     our hopes and desires, and men and women con-   sciously and unconsciously strive- towards its attain-   ment. In fact, they reach a degree of reality for   each other according to their success in adapting   these respective ideals to their own nature. To say   that these ideals are imaginary and therefore not   true is wrong in man's case. His true life is in his   own creation, which represents the infinity of man.   He is naturally indifferent to things that merely   exist; they must have some ideal value for him,   and then only his consciousness fully recognizes   them as real. Men are never true in their isolated   self, and their imagination is the faculty that brings   before their mind the vision of their own greater   being.     We can make truth ours by actively modulating   its inter-relations. This is the work of art; for   reality is not based in the substance of things but   in the principal of relationship. Truth is the in-   finite pursued by metaphysics; fact is the infinite   pursued by science, while reality is the definition   of the infinite which relates truth to the person.   Reality is human ; it is what we are conscious of,   by which we are affected, that which we express.   When we are intensely aware of it, we are aware   of ourselves and it gives us delight. We live in it,   we always widen its limits. Our arts and literature   represent this creative activity which is fundamen-   tal in man.     132         TH E ARTIST     But the mysterious fact about it is that though   the individuals are separately seeking their ex-   pression, their success is never individualistic in   character. Men must find and feel and represent   in all their creative works Man the Eternal, the   creator. Their civilization is a continual discovery   of the transcendental humanity. In whatever it   fails it shows the failure of the artist, which is the   failure in expression; and that civilization perishes   in which the individual thwarts the revelation of   the universal. For Reality is the truth of Man,   who belongs to all times, and any individualistic   madness of men against Man cannot thrive for   long.     Man is eager that his feeling for what is real to   him must never die ; it must find an imperishable   form. The consciousness of this self of mine is   so intensely evident to me that it assumes the   character of immortality, I cannot imagine that   it ever has been or can be non-existent- In a similar   manner all things that are real to me are for my-   self eternal, and therefore worthy of a language   that has a permanent meaning. We know indi-   viduals who have the habit of inscribing their   names on the walls of some majestic monument of   architecture. It is a pathetic way of associating   their own names with some works of art which   belong to all times and to all men. Our hunger for   reputation comes from our desire to make objec-     133         THE RELIGION OF MAN     lively real that which is inwardly real to us. He   who is inarticulate is insignificant, like a dark star   that cannot prove itself. He ever waits for the   artist to give him his fullest worth, not for any-   thing specially excellent in him but for the won-   derful fact that he is what he certainly is, that he   carries in him the eternal mystery of being.     A Chinese friend of mine while travelling with   me in the streets of Peking suddenly exclaimed   with a vehement enthusiasm: "Look, here is a   donkey!" Surely it was an utterly ordinary don-   key, like an indisputable truism, needing no special   introduction from him. I was amused ; but it made   me think. This animal is generally classified as   having certain qualities that are not recommend-   able and then hurriedly dismissed. It was obscured   to me by an envelopment of commonplace associa-   tions ; I was lazily certain that I knew it and there-   fore I hardly saw it. But my friend, who pos-   sessed the artist mind of China, did not treat it   with a cheap knowledge but could see it afresh   and recognize it as real. When I say real, I mean   that it did not remain at the outskirt of his con-   sciousness tied to a narrow definition, but it easily   blended in his imagination, produced a vision, a   special harmony of lines, colours and life and   movement, and became intimately his own. The   admission of a donkey into a drawing-room is vio-   lently opposed ; yet there is no prohibition against     134         THE ARTIST     its finding a place in a picture which may be ad-   miringly displayed on the drawing-room wall.     The only evidence of truth in art exists when it   compels us to say "I see". A donkey we may pass   by in Nature, but a donkey in art we must acknowl-   edge even if it be a creature that disreputably   ignores all its natural history responsibility, even   if it resembles a mushroom in its head and a palm-   leaf in its tail.     In the Upanishad it is said in a parable that   there are two birds sitting on the same bough,   one of which feeds and the other looks on. This is   an image of the mutual relationship of the infinite   being and the finite self. The delight of the bird   which looks on is great, for it is a pure and free   delight. There are both of these birds in man him-   self, the objective one with its business of life, the   subjective one with its disinterested joy of vision.     A child comes to me and commands me to tell   her a story. I tell her of a tiger which is disgusted   with the black stripes on its body and comes to my   frightened servant demanding a piece of soap.   The story gives my little audience immense   pleasure, the pleasure of a vision, and her mind   cries out, "It is here, for I see!" She knows a tiger   in the book of natural history, but she can see the   tiger in the story of mine.     I am sure that even this child of five knows that   it is an impossible tiger that is out on its untigerly         THE RELIGION OF MAN     quest of an absurd soap. The delightfulness of the   tiger for her is not in its beauty, its usefulness, or   its probability; but in the undoubted fact that she   can see it in her mind with a greater clearness of   vision than she can the walls around her the walls   that brutally shout their evidence of certainty   which is merely circumstantial. The tiger in the   story is inevitable, it has the character of a com-   plete image, which offers its testimonial of truth   in itself. The listener's own mind is the eye-wit-   ness, whose direct experience could not be contra-   dicted. A tiger must be like every other tiger in   order that it may have its place in a book of   Science; there it must be a commonplace tiger to   be at all tolerated. But in the story it is uncommon,   it can never be reduplicated. We know a thing   because it belongs to a class ; we see a thing because   it belongs to itself. The tiger of the story com-   pletely detached itself from all others of its kind   and easily assumed a distinct individuality in the   heart of the listener. The child could vividly see   it, because by the help of her imagination it became   her own tiger, one with herself, and this union of   the subject and object gives us joy. Is it because   there is no separation between them in truth, the   separation being the Maya, which is creation?     There come in our history occasions when the   consciousness of a large multitude becomes sud-   denly illumined with the recognition of a reality     136         THE ARTIST     which rises far above the dull obviousness of daily   happenings. The world becomes vivid; we see,   we feel it with all our soul. Such an occasion there   was when the voice of Buddha reached distant   shores across physical and moral impediments.   Then our life and our world found their profound   meaning of reality in their relation to the central   person who offered us emancipation of love. Men,   in order to make this great human experience ever   memorable, determined to do the impossible ; they   made rocks to speak, stones to sing, caves to re-   member; their cry of joy and hope took immortal   forms along the hills and deserts, across barren   solitudes and populous cities. A gigantic creative   endeavour built up its triumph in stupendous   carvings, defying obstacles that were overwhelm-   ing. Such heroic activity over the greater part of   the Eastern continents clearly answers the question :   "What is Art?" It is the response of man's crea-   tive soul to the call of the Real.     Once there came a time, centuries ago in Bengal,   when the divine love drama that has made its   eternal playground in human souls was vividly   revealed by a personality radiating its intimate   realization of God. The mind of a whole people   was stirred by a vision of the world as an instru-   ment, through which sounded out invitation to the   meeting of bliss. The ineffable mystery of God's   love-call, taking shape in an endless panorama of         THE RELIGION OF MAN     colours and forms, inspired activity in music that   overflowed the restrictions of classical convention-   alism. Our Kirtan music of Bengal came to its   being like a star flung up by a burning whirlpool   of emotion in the heart of a whole people, and their   consciousness was aflame with a sense of reality   that must be adequately acknowledged.     The question may be asked as to what place   music occupies in my theory that art is for evoking   in our mind the deep sense of reality in its richest   aspect. Music is the most abstract of all the arts,   as mathematics is in the region of science. In fact   these two have a deep relationship with each other.   Mathematics is the logic of numbers and dimen-   sions. It is therefore employed as the basis of our   scientific knowledge. When taken out of its con-   crete associations and reduced to symbols, it re-   veals its grand structural majesty, the inevitable-   ness of its own perfect concord. Yet there is not   merely a logic but also a magic of mathematics   which works at the world of appearance, producing   harmony the cadence of inter-relationship. This   rhythm of harmony has been extracted from its   usual concrete context, and exhibited through the   medium of sound. And thus the pure essence of   expressiveness in existence is offered in music. Ex-   pressiveness finds the least resistance in sound, hav-   ing freedom unencumbered by the burden of facts   and thoughts. This gives it a power to arouse in     138         THE ARTIST     us an intimate feeling of reality. In the pictorial,   plastic and literary arts, the object and our feelings   with regard to it are closely associated, like the   rose and its perfumes. In music, the feeling dis-   tilled in sound, becoming itself an independent   object It assumes a tune-form which is definite,   but a meaning which is undefinable, and yet which   grips our mind with a sense of absolute truth.     It is the magic of mathematics, the rhythm   which is in the heart of all creation, which moves   in the atom and, in its different measures, fashions   gold and lead, the rose and the thorn, the sun and   the planets. These are the dance-steps of numbers   in the arena of time and space, which weave the   maya, the patterns of appearance, the incessant   flow of change, that ever is and is not It is the   rhythm that churns up images from the vague and   makes tangible what is elusive. This is may a, this   is the art in creation, and art in literature, which   is the magic of rhythm.     And must we stop here? What we know as in-   tellectual truth, is that also not a rhythm of the   relationship of facts, that weaves the pattern of   theory, and produces a sense of convincingness to   a person who somehow feels sure that he knows the   truth? We believe any fact to be true because of   a harmony, a rhythm in reason, the process of   which is analysable by the logic of mathematics,   but not its result in me, just as we can count the     139         THE RELIGION OP MAN     notes but cannot account for the music. The mys-   tery is that I am convinced, and this also belongs   to the may a of creation, whose one important, in-   dispensable factor is this self-conscious personality   that I represent     And the Other? I believe it is also a self-con-   scious personality, which has its eternal harmony   with mine.         140         CHAPTER X   MAN'S NATURE     FROM the time when Man became truly conscious   of his own self he also became conscious of a mys-   terious spirit of unity which found its manifesta-   tion through him in his society. It is a subtle   medium of relationship between individuals, which   is not for any utilitarian purpose but for its own   ultimate truth, not a sum of arithmetic but a value   of life. Somehow Man has felt that this compre-   hensive spirit of unity has a divine character which   could claim the sacrifice of all that is individual in   him, that in it dwells his highest meaning trans-   cending his limited self, representing his best   freedom,     Man's reverential loyalty to this spirit of unity   is expressed in his religion ; it is symbolized in the   names of his deities. That is why, in the begin-   ning, his gods were tribal gods, even gods of the   different communities belonging to the same tribe.   With the extension of the consciousness of human   unity his God became revealed to him as one and   universal, proving that the truth of human unity is   the truth of Man's God.     In the Sanskrit language, religion goes by the   name dharma, which in the derivative meaning im-         THE RELIGION OF MAN     plies the principle of relationship that holds us   firm, and in its technical sense means the virtue of   a thing, the essential quality of it; for instance, heat   is the essential quality of fire, though in certain   of its stages it may be absent     Religion consists in the endeavour of men to   cultivate and express those qualities which are in-   herent in the nature of Man the Eternal, and to   have faith in him. If these qualities were abso-   lutely natural in individuals, religion could have   no purpose. We begin our history with all the   original promptings of our brute nature which   helps us to fulfil those vital needs of ours that are   immediate. But deeper within us there is a current   of tendencies which runs in many ways in a con-   trary direction, the life current of universal hu-   manity. Religion has its function in reconciling   the contradiction, by subordinating the brute na-   ture to what we consider as the truth of Man.   This is helped when our faith in the Eternal Man,   whom we call by different names and imagine in   different images, is made strong. The contradic-   tion between the two natures in us is so great that   men have willingly sacrificed their vital needs and   courted death in order to express their dharma,   which represents the truth of the Supreme Man.     The vision of the Supreme Man is realized by   our imagination, but not created by our mind.   More real than individual men, he surpasses each     142         MAN'S NATURE     of us in his permeating personality which is trans-   cendental. The procession of his ideas, following   his great purpose, is ever moving across obstruc-   tive facts towards the perfected truth. We, the   individuals, having our place in his composition,   may or may not be in conscious harmony with his   purpose, may even put obstacles in his path bring-   ing down our doom upon ourselves. But we gain   our true religion when we consciously co-operate   with him, finding our exceeding joy through suf-   fering and sacrifice. For through our own love for   him we are made conscious of a great love that   radiates from his being, who is Mahatma, the   Supreme Spirit.     The great Chinese sage Lao-tze has said : "One   who may die, but will not perish, has life ever-   lasting". It means that he lives in the life of the   immortal Man. The urging for this life induces   men to go through the struggle for a true survival.   And it has been said in our scripture: "Through   adharma (the negation of dharma] man prospers,   gains what appears desirable, conquers enemies,   but he perishes at the root." In this saying it is   suggested that there is a life which is truer for men   than their physical life which is transient.     Our life gains what is called "value" in those of   its aspects which represent eternal humanity in   knowledge, in sympathy, in deeds, in character   and creative works. And from the beginning of     143         THE RELIGION OF MAN     our history we are seeking, often at the cost of   everything else, the value for our life and not   merely success; in other words, we are trying to   realize in ourselves the immortal Man, so that we   may die but not perish. This is the meaning of the   utterance in the Upanishad: "Tarn vedyam p<uru-   sham veda, yatha ma vo mrityuh parivyathah"   "Realize the Person so that thou mayst not suffer   from death."     The meaning of these words is highly paradoxi-   cal, and cannot be proved by our senses or our rea-   son, and yet its influence is so strong in men that   they have cast away all fear and greed, defied all   the instincts that cling to the brute nature, for the   sake of acknowledging and preserving a life which   belongs to the Eternal Person. It is all the more   significant because many of them do not believe   in its reality, and yet are ready to fling away for it   all that they believe to be final and the only positive   fact.     We call this ideal reality "spiritual". That word   is vague; nevertheless, through the dim light   which reaches us across the barriers of physical   existence, we seem to have a stronger faith in the   spiritual Man than in the physical ; and from the   dimmest period of his history, Man has a feeling   that the apparent facts of existence are not final ;   that his supreme welfare depends upon his being   able to remain in perfect relationship with some     144         MAN'S NATURE     great mystery behind the veil, at the threshold of   a larger life, which is for giving him a far higher   value than a mere continuation of his physical life   in the material world.     Our physical body has its comprehensive reality   in the physical world, which may be truly called   our universal body, without which our individual   body would miss its function. Our physical life   realizes its growing meaning through a widening   freedom in its relationship with the physical   world, and this gives it a greater happiness than   the mere pleasure of satisfied needs. We become   aware of a profound meaning of our own self at   the consciousness of some ideal of perfection, some   truth beautiful or majestic which gives us an inner   sense of completeness, a heightened sense of our   own reality. This strengthens man's faith, effec-   tive even if indefinite his faith in an objective   ideal of perfection comprehending the human   world. His vision of it has been beautiful or dis-   torted, luminous or obscure, according to the stages   of development that his consciousness has attained.   But whatever may be the name and nature of his   religious creed, man's ideal of human perfection   has been based upon a bond of unity running   through individuals culminating in a supreme   Being who represents the eternal in human person-   ality. In his civilization the perfect expression of   this idea produces the wealth of truth which is for         THE RELIGION OF MAN     the revelation of Man and not merely for the suc-   cess of life. But when this creative ideal which   is dharma gives place to some overmastering pas-   sion in a large body of men civilization bursts out   in an explosive flame, like a star that has lighted   its own funeral pyre of boisterous brilliancy.     When I was a child I had the freedom to make   my own toys out of trifles and create my own games   from imagination. In my happiness my playmates   had their full share, in fact the complete enjoy-   ment of my games depended upon their taking part   in them. One day, in this paradise of our child-   hood, entered the temptation from the market   world of the adult. A toy brought from an English   shop was given to one of our companions; it was   perfect, it was big and wonderfully life-like. He   became proud of the toy and less mindful of the   game ; he kept that expensive thing carefully away   from us, glorying in his exclusive possession of it,   feeling himself superior to his playmates whose   toys were cheap. I am sure if he could use the   modern language of history he would say that he   was more civilized than ourselves to the extent of   his owning that ridiculously perfect toy.     One thing he failed to realize in his excitement   a fact which at the moment seemed to him insig-   nificant that this temptation obscured something   a great deal more perfect than his toy, the revela-   tion of the perfect child which ever dwells in the     146         MAN'S NATURE     heart of man, in other words, the dharma of the   child. The toy merely expressed his wealth but   not himself, not the child's creative spirit, not the   child's generous joy in his play, his identification   of himself with others who were his compeers in   his play world. Civilization is to express Man's   dharma and not merely his cleverness, power and   possession.     Once there was an occasion for me to motor   down to Calcutta from a place a hundred miles   away. Something wrong with the mechanism made   it necessary for us to have a repeated supply of   water almost every half-hour. At the first village   where we were compelled to stop, we asked the   help of a man to find water for us. It proved quite   a task for him, but when we offered him his re-   ward, poor though he was, he refused to accept it   In fifteen other villages the same thing happened.   In a hot country, where travellers constantly need   water and where the water supply grows scanty in   summer, the villagers consider it their duty to offer   water to those who need it They could easily make   a business out of it, following the inexorable law   of demand and supply. But the ideal which they   consider to be their dharma has become one with   their life. They do not claim any personal merit   for possessing it.     Lao-tze, speaking about the man who is truly   good, says: "He quickens but owns not He acts         THE RELIGION OF MAN     but claims not. Merit he accomplishes but dwells   not in it. Since he does not dwell in it, it will never   leave him." That which is outside ourselves we   can sell ; but that which is one with our being we   cannot sell. This complete assimilation of truth   belongs to the paradise of perfection ; it lies beyond   the purgatory of self-consciousness. To have   reached it proves a long process of civilization.     To be able to take a considerable amount of   trouble in order to supply water to a passing   stranger and yet never to claim merit or reward   for it seems absurdly and negligibly simple com-   pared with the capacity to produce an amazing   number of things per minute. A millionaire tour-   ist, ready to corner the food market and grow rich   by driving the whole world to the brink of starva-   tion, is sure to feel too superior to notice this sim-   ple thing while rushing through our villages at   sixty miles an hour.     Yes, it is simple, as simple as it is for a gentle-   man to be a gentleman ; but that simplicity is the   product of centuries of culture. That simplicity   is difficult of imitation. In a few years' time, it   might be possible for me to learn how to make   holes in thousands of needles simultaneously by   turning a wheel, but to be absolutely simple in   one's hospitality to one's enemy, or to a stranger,   requires generations of training. Simplicity takes   no account of its own value, claims no wages, and     148         MAN'S NATURE     therefore those who are enamoured of power do   not realize that simplicity of spiritual expression   is the highest product of civilization.     A process of disintegration can kill this rare   fruit of a higher life, as a whole race of birds pos-   sessing some rare beauty can be made extinct by   the vulgar power of avarice which has civilized   weapons. This fact was clearly proved to me when   I found that the only place where a price was   expected for the water given to us was a suburb at   Calcutta, where life was richer, the water supply   easier and more abundant and where progress   flowed in numerous channels in all directions. It   shows that a harmony of character which the peo-   ple once had was lost the harmony with the inner   self which is greater in its universality than the   self that gives prominence to its personal needs.   The latter loses its feeling of beauty and generos-   ity in its calculation of profit; for there it repre-   sents exclusively itself and not the universal Man.     There is an utterance in the Atharva Veda,   wherein appears the question as to who it was that   gave Man his music. Birds repeat their single   notes, or a very simple combination of them, but   Man builds his world of music and establishes ever   new rhythmic relationship of notes. These reveal   to him a universal mystery of creation which can-   not be described. They bring to him the inner   rhythm that transmutes facts into truths. They     149         THE RELIGION OF MAN     give him pleasure not merely for his sense of hear-   ing, but for his deeper being, which gains satisfac-   tion in the ideal of perfect unity. Somehow man   feels that truth finds its body in such perfection;   and when he seeks for his own best revelation he   seeks a medium which has the harmonious unity,   as has music. Our impulse to give expression to   Universal Man produces arts and literature. They   in their cadence of lines, colours, movements,   words, thoughts, express vastly more than what they   appear to be on the surface. They open the win-   dows of our mind to the eternal reality of man.   They are the superfluity of wealth of which we   claim our common inheritance whatever may be   the country and time to which we belong; for they   are inspired by the universal mind. And not merely   in his arts, but in his own behaviour, the individual   must for his excellence give emphasis to an ideal   which has some value of truth that ideally belongs   to all men. In other words, he should create a   music of expression in his conduct and surround-   ings which makes him represent the supreme Per-   sonality. And civilization is the creation of the   race, its expression of the universal Man.     When I first visited Japan I had the opportu-   nity of observing where the two parts of the human   sphere strongly contrasted ; one, on which grew up   the ancient continents of social ideal, standards of   beauty, codes of personal behaviour ; and the other     150         MAN'S NATURE     part, the fluid element, the perpetual current that   carried wealth to its shores from all parts of the   world. In half a century's time Japan has been   able to make her own the mighty spirit of progress   which suddenly burst upon her one morning in a   storm of insult and menace. China also has had   her rousing, when her self-respect was being   knocked to pieces through series of helpless years,   and I am sure she also will master before long the   instrument which hurt her to the quick. But the   ideals that imparted life and body to Japanese   civilization had been nourished in the reverent   hopes of countless generations through ages which   were not primarily occupied in an incessant hunt   for opportunities. They had those large tracts of   leisure in them which are necessary for the blos-   soming of Life's beauty and the ripening of her   wisdom.     On the one hand we can look upon the modern   factories in Japan with their numerous mechanical   organizations and engines of production and de-   struction of the latest type. On the other hand,   against them we may see some fragile vase, some   small piece of silk, some architecture of sublime   simplicity, some perfect lyric of bodily movement.   We may also notice the Japanese expression of   courtesy daily extracting from them a considerable   amount of time and trouble. All these have come   not from any accurate knowledge of things but         THE RELIGION OF MAN     from an intense consciousness of the value of real-   ity which takes time for its fullness. What Japan   reveals in her skilful manipulation of telegraphic   wires and railway lines, of machines for manufac-   turing things and for killing men, is more or less   similar to what we see in other countries which   have similar opportunity for training. But in her   art of living, her pictures, her code of conduct, the   various forms of beauty which her religious and   social ideals assume Japan expresses her own per-   sonality, her dharma, which, in order to be of any   worth, must be unique and at the same time repre-   sent Man of the Everlasting Life.     Lao-tze has said: "Not knowing the eternal   causes passions to rise ; and that is evil". He has   also said: "Let us die, and yet not perish". For   we die when we lose our physical life, we perish   when we miss our humanity. And humanity is the   dharma of human beings.     What is evident in this world is the endless pro-   cession of moving things; but what is to be real-   ized, is the supreme human Truth by which the   human world is permeated.     We must never forget to-day that a mere move-   ment is not valuable in itself, that it may be a   sign of a dangerous form of inertia. We must be   reminded that a great upheaval of spirit, a uni-   versal realization of true dignity of man once   caused by Buddha's teachings in India, started a     152         MAN'S NATURE     movement for centuries which produced illumina-   tion of literature, art, science and numerous efforts   of public beneficence. This was a movement whose   motive force was not some additional accession of   knowledge or power or urging of some overwhelm-   ing passion. It was an inspiration for freedom, the   freedom which enables us to realize dharma, the   truth of Eternal Man.     Lao-tze in one of his utterances has said : "Those   who have virtue (dharma) attend to their obliga-   tions; those who have no virtue attend to their   claims." Progress which is not related to an inner   dharma, but to an attraction which is external,   seeks to satisfy our endless claims. But civiliza-   tion, which is an ideal, gives us the abundant   power to renounce which is the power that realizes   the infinite and inspires creation.     This great Chinese sage has said : "To increase   life is called a blessing." For, the increase of life   realizes the eternal life and yet does not transcend   the limits of life's unity* The mountain pine   grows tall and great, its every inch maintains the   rhythm of an inner balance, and therefore even in   its seeming extravagance it has the reticent grace   of self-control. The tree and its productions belong   to the same vital system of cadence; the timber,   the flowers, leaves and fruits are one with the tree ;   their exuberance is not a malady of exaggeration,   but a blessing.     153         CHAPTER XI   THE MEETING     OUR great prophets in all ages did truly realize   in themselves the freedom of the soul in their con-   sciousness of the spiritual kinship of man which is   universal. And yet human races, owing to their   external geographical condition, developed in   their individual isolation a mentality that is ob-   noxiously selfish. In their instinctive search for   truth in religion either they dwarfed and deformed   it in the mould of the primitive distortions of their   own race-mind, or else they shut their God within   temple walls and scriptural texts safely away, espe-   cially from those departments of life where his   absence gives easy access to devil-worship in vari-   ous names and forms. They treated their God in   the same way as in some forms of government the   King is treated, who has traditional honour but no   effective authority. The true meaning of God has   remained vague in our minds only because our   consciousness of the spiritual unity has been   thwarted.     One of the potent reasons for this our geo-   graphical separation has now been nearly re-   moved. Therefore the time has come when we     154         THE MEETING     must, for the sake of truth and for the sake of that   peace which is the harvest of truth, refuse to allow   the idea of our God to remain indistinct behind   unrealities of formal rites and theological misti-   ness.     The creature that lives its life screened and   sheltered in a dark cave, finds its safety in the very   narrowness of its own environment. The economi-   cal providence of Nature curtails and tones down   its sensibilities to such a limited necessity. But   if these cave-walls were to become suddenly re-   moved by some catastrophe, then either it must   accept the doom of extinction, or carry on satis-   factory negotiations with its wider surroundings.     The races of mankind will never again be able   to go back to their citadels of high-walled exclu-   siveness. They are to-day exposed to one another,   physically and intellectually. The shells, which   have so long given them full security within their   individual enclosures have been broken, and by no   artificial process can they be mended again. So   we have to accept this fact, even though we have   not yet fully adapted our minds to this changed   environment of publicity, even though through it   we may have to run all the risks entailed by the   wider expansion of life's freedom.     A large part of our tradition is our code of   adjustment which deals with the circumstances   special to ourselves. These traditions, no doubt,     155         THE RELIGION OF MAN     variegate the several racial personalities with their   distinctive colours colours which have their   poetry and also certain protective qualities suitable   to each different environment We may come to   acquire a strong love for our own colourful race   speciality; but if that gives us fitness only for a   very narrow world, then, at the slightest variation   in our outward circumstances, we may have to   pay for this love with our life itself.     In the animal world there are numerous in-   stances of complete race-suicide overtaking those   who fondly clung to some advantage which later   on became a hindrance in an altered dispensation.   In fact the superiority of man is proved by his   adaptability to extreme surprises of chance   neither the torrid nor the frigid zone of his destiny   offering him insuperable obstacles.     The vastness of the race problem with which   we are faced to-day will either compel us to train   ourselves to moral fitness in the place of merely   external efficiency, or the complications arising   out of it will fetter all our movements and drag us   to our death. 1     When our necessity becomes urgently insistent,   when the resources that have sustained us so long   are exhausted, then our spirit puts forth all its   force to discover some other source of sustenance   deeper and more permanent. This leads us from     1 See Appendix iy,     156         THE MEETING     the exterior to the interior of our store-house*   When muscle does not fully serve us, we come to   awaken intellect to ask for its help and are then   surprised to find in it a greater source of strength   for us than physical power. When, in their turn,   our intellectual gifts grow perverse, and only help   to render our suicide gorgeous and exhaustive, our   soul must seek an alliance with some power which   is still deeper, yet further removed from the rude   stupidity of muscle.     Hitherto the cultivation of intense race egotism   is the one thing that has found its fullest scope at   this meeting of men. In no period of human his-   tory has there been such an epidemic of moral   perversity, such a universal churning up of jeal-   ousy, greed, hatred and mutual suspicion. Every   people, weak or strong, is constantly indulging in   a violent dream of rendering itself thoroughly   hurtful to others. In this galloping competition of   hurtfulness, on the slope of a bottomless pit, no   nation dares to stop or slow down. A scarlet fever   with a raging temperature has attacked the entire   body of mankind, and political passion has taken   the place of creative personality in all departments   of life.     It is well known that when greed has for its   object material gain then it can have no end. It   is like the chasing of the horizon by a lunatic. To   go on in a competition multiplying millions be-     J57         THE RELIGION OF MAN     comes a steeplechase of insensate futility that has   obstacles but no goal. It has for its parallel the   fight with material weapons weapons which   must perpetually be multiplied, opening up new   vistas of destruction and evoking new forms of   insanity in the forging of frightfulness. Thus   seems now to have commenced the last fatal ad-   venture of drunken Passion riding on an intellect   of prodigious power.     To-day, more than ever before in our history,   the aid of spiritual power is needed. Therefore, I   believe its resources will surely be discovered in   the hidden depths of our being. Pioneers will   come to take up this adventure and suffer, and   through suffering open out a path to that higher   elevation of life in which lies our safety.     Let me, in reference to this, give an instance   from the history of Ancient India, There was a   noble period in the early days of India when, to   a band of dreamers, agriculture appeared as a   great idea and not merely useful fact The heroic   personality of Ramachandra, who espoused its   cause, was sung in popular ballads, which in a   later age forgot their original message and were   crystallized into an epic merely extolling some   domestic virtues of its hero. It is quite evident,   however, from the legendary relics lying entombed   in the story, that a new age ushered in by the   spread of agriculture came as a divine voice to     158         those who could hear. It lifted up the primeval   screen of the wilderness, brought the distant near,   and broke down all barricades- Men who had   formed separate and antagonistic groups in their   sheltered seclusions were called upon to form a   united people.     In the Vedic verses, we find constant mention of   conflicts between the original inhabitants of An-   cient India and the colonists. There we find the   expression of a spirit that was one of mutual dis-   trust and a struggle in which was sought either   wholesale slavery or extermination for the oppo-   nents carried on in the manner of animals who   live in the narrow segregation imposed upon them   by their limited imagination and imperfect sym-   pathy. This spirit would have continued in all its   ferocious vigour of savagery had men failed tc   find the opportunity for the discovery that man's   highest truth was in the union of co-operation and   love.     The progress of agriculture was the first exter-   nal step which led to such a discovery* It not onl}   made a settled life possible for a large number oJ   men living in close proximity, but it claimed foi   its very purpose a life of peaceful co-operation   The mere fact of such a sudden change from   nomadic to an agricultural condition would no   have benefited Man if he had not developed there   with his spiritual sensitiveness to an inner principL     159         THE RELIGION OF MAN     of truth. We can realize, from our reading of the   Ramayana, the birth of idealism among a section   of the Indian colonists of those days, before whose   mind's eye was opened a vision of emancipation   rich with the responsibility of a higher life. The   epic represents in its ideal the change of the peo-   ple's aspiration from the path of conquest to that   of reconciliation.     At the present time, as I have said, the human   world has been overtaken by another vast change   similar to that which had occurred in the epic age   of India. So long men had been cultivating, almost   with a religious fervour, that mentality which is   the product of racial isolation; poets proclaimed,   in a loud pitch of bragging, the exploits of their   popular fighters; money-makers felt neither pity   nor shame in the unscrupulous dexterity of their   pocket-picking; diplomats scattered lies in order   to reap concessions from the devastated future of   their own victims. Suddenly the walls that sep-   arated the different races are seen to have given   way, and we find ourselves standing face to face.     This is a great fact of epic significance. Man,   suckled at the wolf's breast, sheltered in the   brute's den, brought up in the prowling habit of   depredation, suddenly discovers that he is Man,   and that his true power lies in yielding up his   brute power for the freedom of spirit.     The God of humanity has arrived at the gates     160         THE ME ETING     of the ruined temple of the tribe. Though he has   not yet found his altar, I ask the men of simple   faith, wherever they may be in the world, to bring   their offering of sacrifice to him, and to believe   that it is far better to be wise and worshipful than   to be clever and supercilious. I ask them to claim   the right of manhood to be friends of men, and   not the right of a particular proud race or nation   which may boast of the fatal quality of being the   rulers of men. We should know for certain that   such rulers will no longer be tolerated in the new   world, as it basks in the open sunlight of mind and   breathes life's free air.     In the geological ages of the infant earth the   demons of physical force had their full sway. The   angry fire, the devouring flood, the fury of the   storm, continually kicked the earth into frightful   distortions. These titans have at last given way   to the reign of life. Had there been spectators in   those days who were clever and practical they   would have wagered their last penny on these titans   and would have waxed hilariously witty at the   expense of the helpless living speck taking its   stand in the arena of the wrestling giants. Only   a dreamer could have then declared with unwaver-   ing conviction that those titans were doomed be-   cause of their very exaggeration, as are, to-day :   those formidable qualities which, in the parlance   of schoolboy science, are termed Nordic.     161         THE RELIGION OF MAN     I ask once again, let us, the dreamers of the East   and the West, keep our faith firm in the Life that   creates and not in the Machine that constructs   in the power that hides its force and blossoms in   beauty, and not in the power that bares its arms   and chuckles at its capacity to make itself obnox-   ious. Let us know that the Machine is good when   it helps, but not so when it exploits life; that   Science is great when it destroys evil, but not when   the two enter into unholy alliance.         162         CHAPTER XII   THE TEACHER     I HAVE already described how the nebulous idea   of the divine essence condensed in my conscious-   ness into a human realization. It is definite and   finite at the same time, the Eternal Person mani-   fested in all persons. It may be one of the numer-   ous manifestations of God, the one in which is com-   prehended Man and his Universe. But we can   never know or imagine him as revealed in any   other inconceivable universe so long as we remain   human beings. And therefore, whatever character   our theology may ascribe to him, in reality he is   the infinite ideal of Man towards whom men move   in their collective growth, with whom they seek   their union of love as individuals, in whom they   find their ideal of father, friend and beloved.     I am sure that it was this idea of the divine   Humanity unconsciously working in my mind,   which compelled me to come out of the seclusion   of my literary career and take my part in the world   of practical activities. The solitary enjoyment of   the infinite in meditation no longer satisfied me,   and the texts which I used for my silent worship     163         THE RELIGION OF MAN     lost their inspiration without my knowing it. I am   sure I vaguely felt that my need was spiritual self-   realization in the life of Man through some disin-   terested service. This was the time when I founded   an educational institution for our children in Ben-   gal. It has a special character of its own which   is still struggling to find its fulfilment; for it is a   living temple that I have attempted to build for   my divinity. In such a place education necessarily   becomes the preparation for a complete life of   man which can only become possible by living   that life, through knowledge and service, enjoy-   ment and creative work. The necessity was my   own, for I felt impelled to come back into a ful-   ness of truth from my exile in a dream-world.     This brings to my mind the name of another poet   of ancient India, Kalidasa, whose poem of Meg-   haduta reverberates with the music of the sorrow   of an exile.     It was not the physical home-sickness from   which the poet suffered, it was something far more   fundamental, the home-sickness of the soul. We   feel from almost all his works the oppressive at-   mosphere of the kings' palaces of those days,   dense with things of luxury, and also with the   callousness of self-indulgence, albeit an atmos-   phere of refined culture based on an extravagant   civilization.     The poet in the royal court lived in banishment     164         THE TEACHER     banishment from the immediate presence of the   eternal. He knew it was not merely his own ban-   ishment, but that of the whole age to which he was   born, the age that had gathered its wealth and   missed its well-being, built its storehouse of things   and lost its background of the great universe.   What was the form in which his desire for perfec-   tion persistently appeared in his drama and poems?   It was the form of the tapovana, the forest-dwell-   ing of the patriarchal community of ancient India.   Those who are familiar with Sanskrit literature   will know that this was not a colony of people with   a primitive culture and mind. They were seekers   after truth, for the sake of which they lived in an   atmosphere of purity but not of Puritanism, of the   simple life but not the life of self-mortification.   They never advocated celibacy and they had con-   stant intercommunication with other people who   lived the life of worldly interest. Their aim and   endeavour have briefly been suggested in the   Upanishad in these lines :     Te sarvagam sarvatah prapya dhira   yuktatmanah sarvamevavisanti.     (Those men of serene mind enter into the All, having realized   and being in union everywhere with the omnipresent Spirit.)     It was never a philosophy of renunciation of a   negative character, but a realization completely   comprehensive. How the tortured mind of Kali-     165         THE RELIGION OF MAN     dasa in the prosperous city of Ujjaini, and the   glorious period of Vikramaditya, closely pressed   by all-obstructing things and all-devouring self,   let his thoughts hover round the vision of a tapo-   vana for his inspiration of life!     It was not a deliberate copy but a natural coin-   cidence that a poet of modern India also had the   similar vision when he felt within him the misery   of a spiritual banishment In the time of Kalidasa   the people vividly believed in the ideal of tapo-   vana, the forest colony, and there can be no doubt   that even in the late age there were communities   of men living in the heart of nature, not ascetics   fiercely in love with a lingering suicide, but men   of serene sanity who sought to realize the spiritual   meaning of their life. And, therefore, when Kali-   dasa sang of the tapovana, his poems found their   immediate communion in the living faith of his   hearers. But to-day the idea has lost any definite   outline of reality, and has retreated into the far-   away phantom-land of legend. Therefore the   Sanskrit word in a modern poem would merely   be poetical, its meaning judged by a literary stand-   ard of appraisement. Then, again, the spirit of the   forest-dwelling in the purity of its original shape   would be a fantastic anachronism in the present   age, and therefore, in order to be real, it must find   its reincarnation under modern conditions of life.   It must be the same in truth, but not identical in     166         THE TEACHER     fact. It was this which made the modern poet's   heart crave to compose his poem in a language of   tangible words.     But I must give the history in some detail.   Civilized man has come far away from the orbit of   his normal life. He has gradually formed and in-   tensified some habits that are like those of the bees   for adapting himself to his hive-world. We often   see men suffering from ennui, from world-weari-   ness, from a spirit of rebellion against their envi-   ronment for no reasonable cause whatever. Social   revolutions are constantly ushered in with a sui-   cidal violence that has its origin in our dissatisfac-   tion with our hive-wall arrangement the too   exclusive enclosure that deprives us of the perspec-   tive which is so much needed to give us the proper   proportion in our art of living. All this is an indi-   cation that man has not been moulded on the model   of the bee and therefore he becomes recklessly   anti-social when his freedom to be more than social   is ignored.     In our highly complex modern condition   mechanical forces are organized with such effi-   ciency that materials are produced that grow far   in advance of man's selective and assimilative   capacity to simplify them into harmony with his   nature and needs.     Such an intemperate overgrowth of things, like   rank vegetation in the tropics, creates confinement     167         THE RELIGION OF MAN     for man. The nest is simple, it has an early rela-   tionship with the sky; the cage is complex and   costly ; it is too much itself excommunicated from   whatever lies outside. And man is building his   cage, fast developing his parasitism on the monster   Thing, which he allows to envelop him on all   sides. He is always occupied in adapting himself   to its dead angularities, limits himself to its limita-   tions, and merely becomes a part of it.     This may seem contrary to the doctrine of those   who believe that a constant high pressure of living,   produced by an artificially cultivated hunger of   things, generates and feeds the energy that drives   civilization upon its endless journey. Personally, I   do not believe that this has ever been the principal   driving force that has led to eminence any great   civilization of which we know in history.     I was born in what was once the metropolis of   British India. My own ancestors came floating to   Calcutta upon the earliest tide of the fluctuating   fortune of the East India Company. The uncon-   vential code of life for our family has been a   confluence of three cultures, the Hindu, Moham-   medan and British. My grandfather belonged to   that period when the amplitude of dress and cour-   tesy and a generous leisure were gradually being   clipped and curtailed into Victorian manners, eco-   nomical in time, in ceremonies, and in the dignity   of personal appearance. [This will show that I     168         THE TEACHER     came to a world in which the modern citybred   spirit of progress had just begun driving its trium-   phal car over the luscious green life of our ancient   village community. Though the trampling process   was almost complete round me, yet the wailing cry   of the past was still lingering over the wreckage.     Often I had listened to my eldest brother de-   scribing with the poignancy of a hopeless regret   a society hospitable, sweet with the old-world   aroma of natural kindliness, full of simple faith   and the ceremonial-poetry of life. But all this was   a vanishing shadow behind me in the dusky golden   haze of a twilight horizon the all-pervading fact   around my boyhood being the modern city newly   built by a company of western traders and the   spirit of the modern time seeking its unaccustomed   entrance into our life, stumbling against countless   anomalies.     But it always is a surprise to me to think that   though this closed-up hardness of a city was my   only experience of the world, yet my mind was   constantly haunted by the home-sick fancies of an   exile. It seems that the sub-conscious remem-   brance of a primeval dwelling-place, where, in   our ancestor's minds, were figured and voiced the   mysteries of the inarticulate rocks, the rushing   water and the dark whispers of the forest, was con-   stantly stirring my blood with its call. Some   shadow-haunting living reminiscence in me seemed     169         THE RELIGION OF MAN     to ache for the pre-natal cradle and playground it   shared with the primal life in the illimitable magic   of the land, water and air. The shrill, thin cry of   the high-flying kite in the blazing sun of the dazed   Indian midday sent to a solitary boy the signal of   a dumb distant kinship. The few coconut plants   growing by the boundary wall of our house, like   some war captives from an older army of invaders   of this earth, spoke to me of the eternal compan-   ionship which the great brotherhood of trees has   ever offered to man.     Looking back upon those moments of my boy-   hood days, when all my mind seemed to float   poised upon a large feeling of the sky, of the light,   and to tingle with the brown earth in its glistening   grass, I cannot help believing that my Indian   ancestry had left deep in my being the legacy of   its philosophy the philosophy which speaks of   fulfilment through our harmony with all things.   The founding of my school had its origin in the   memory of that longing for the freedom of con-   sciousness, which seems to go back beyond- the   skyline of my birth.     Freedom in the mere sense of independence has   no content, and therefore no meaning. Perfect   freedom lies in a perfect harmony of relationship,   which we realize in this world not through our   response to it in knowing, but in being. Objects of   knowledge maintain an infinite distance from us     170         THE TEACHER     are the knowers. For knowledge is not union.   Therefore the further world of freedom awaits us   there where we reach truth, not through feeling it   by our senses or knowing it by our reason, but   through the union of perfect sympathy.     Children with the freshness of their senses come   lirectly to the intimacy of this world. This is the   5rst great gift they have. They must accept it   laked and simple and must never again lose their   Dower of immediate communication with it. For   3ur perfection we have to be vitally savage and   nentally civilized ; we should have the gift to be   latural with nature and human with human   society. My banished soul sitting in the civilized   isolation of the town-life cried within me for the   enlargement of the horizon of its comprehension.   [ was like the torn-away line of a verse, always in   i state of suspense, while the other line, with which   it rhymed and which could give it fulness, was   smudged by the mist away in some undecipherable   listance. The inexpensive power to be happy,   which, along with other children, I brought to   this world, was being constantly worn away by   friction with the brick-and-mortar arrangement   3f life, by monotonously mechanical habits and the   customary code of respectability.     In the usual course of things I was sent to school,   but possibly my suffering was unusually greater   than that of most other children. The non-civilized     171         THE RELIGION OF MAN     in me was sensitive; it had the great thirst for   colour, for music, for movement of life. Our city-   built education took no heed of that living fact.   It had its luggage-van waiting for branded bales of   marketable result. The relative proportion of the   non-civilized to the civilized in man should be   in the proportion of the water and the land in our   globe, the former predominating. But the school   had for its object a continual reclamation of the   civilized. Such a drain in the fluid element causes   an aridity which may not be considered deplorable   under city conditions. But my nature never got ac-   customed to those conditions, to the callous decency   of the pavement The non-civilized triumphed in   me only too soon and drove me away from school   when I had just entered my teens. I found myself   stranded on a solitary island of ignorance, and had   to rely solely upon my own instincts to build up   my education from the very beginning.     This reminds me that when I was young I had   the great good fortune of coming upon a Bengali   translation of Robinson Crusoe. I still believe that   it is the best book for boys that has ever been   written. There was a longing in me when young   to run away from my own self and be one with   everything in Nature. This mood appears to be   particularly Indian, the outcome of a traditional   desire for the expansion of consciousness. One has   to admit that such a desire is too subjective in its     172         THE TEACHER     character ; but this is inevitable in the geographical   circumstances which we have to endure. We live   under the extortionate tyranny of the tropics, pay-   ing heavy toll every moment for the barest right of   existence. The heat, the damp, the unspeakable   fecundity of minute life feeding upon big life, the   perpetual sources of irritation, visible and invis-   ible, leave very little margin of capital for extrava-   gant experiments. Excess of energy seeks obstacles   for its self-realization. That is why we find so   often in Western literature a constant emphasis   upon the malignant aspect of Nature, in whom the   people of the West seem to be delighted to discover   an enemy for the sheer enjoyment of challenging   her to fight. The reason which made Alexander   express his desire to find other worlds to conquer,   when his conquest of the world was completed,   makes the enormously vital people of the West   desire, when they have some respite in their sub-   lime mission of fighting against objects that are   noxious, to go out of their way to spread their coat-   tails in other people's thoroughfares and to claim   indemnity when these are trodden upon. In order   to make the thrilling risk of hurting themselves   they are ready to welcome endless trouble to hurt   others who are inoffensive, such as the beautiful   birds which happen to know how to fly away, the   timid beasts, which have the advantage of inhabit-   ing inaccessible regions, and but I avoid the dis~         THE RELIGION OF MAN     courtesy of mentioning higher races in this con-   nection.     Life's fulfilment finds constant contradictions in   its path ; but those are necessary for the sake of its   advance. The stream is saved from the sluggish-   ness of its current by the perpetual opposition of   the soil through which it must cut its way. It is   this soil which forms its banks. The spirit of fight   belongs to the genius of life. The tuning of an   instrument has to be done, not because it reveals   a proficient perseverance in the face of difficulty,   but because it helps music to be perfectly realized.   Let us rejoice that in the West life's instrument is   being tuned in all its different chords owing to the   great fact that the West has triumphant pleasure   in the struggle with obstacles. The spirit of crea-   tion in the heart of the universe will never allow,   for its own sake, obstacles to be completely re-   moved. It is only because positive truth lies in that   ideal of perfection, which has to be won by our   own endeavour in order to make it our own, that   the spirit of fight is great But this does not imply   a premium for the exhibition of a muscular   athleticism or a rude barbarism of ravenous   rapacity.     In Robinson Crusoe, the delight of the union   with Nature finds its expression in a story of ad-   venture in which the solitary Man is face to face   with solitary Nature, coaxing her, co-operating     174         THE TEACHER     with her, exploring her secrets, using all his facul-   ties to win her help.     This is the heroic love-adventure of the West,   the active wooing of the earth. I remember how,   once in my youth, the feeling of intense delight   and wonder followed me in my railway journey   across Europe from Brindisi to Calais, when I   realized the chaste beauty of this continent every-   where blossoming in a glow of health and richness   under the age-long attention of her chivalrous   lover, Western humanity. He had gained her,   made her his own, unlocked the inexhaustible gen-   erosity of her heart. And I had intently wished   that the introspective vision of the universal soul,   which an Eastern devotee realizes in the solitude   of his mind, could be united with this spirit of its   outward expression in service, the exercise of will   in unfolding the wealth of beauty and well-being   from its shy obscurity to the light.     I remember the morning when a beggar woman   in a Bengal village gathered in the loose end of her   sari the stale flowers that were about to be thrown   away from the vase on my table; and with an   ecstatic expression of tenderness buried her face   in them, exclaiming, "Oh, Beloved of my Heart!"   Her eyes could easily pierce the veil of the outward   form and reach the realm of the infinite in these   flowers, where she found the intimate touch of her   Beloved, the great, the universal Human. But in     175         THE RELIGION OF MAN     spite of it all she lacked that energy of worship,   that Western form of direct divine service, the   service of man, which helps the earth to bring out   her flowers and spread the reign of beauty on the   desolate dust. I refuse to think that the twin spirits   of the East and the West, the Mary and Martha,   can never meet to make perfect the realization of   truth. And in spite of our material poverty in the   East and the antagonism of time I wait patiently   for this meeting.     Robinson Crusoe's island conies to my mind   when I think of some institution where the first   great lesson in the perfect union of Man and   Nature, not only through love, but through active   communication and intelligent ways, can be had   unobstructed. We have to keep in mind the fact   that love and action are the only intermediaries   through which perfect knowledge can be obtained ;   for the object of knowledge is not pedantry but   wisdom. The primary object of an institution   should not be merely to educate one's limbs and   mind to be in efficient readiness for all emergen-   cies, but to be in perfect tune in the symphony of   response between life and world, to find the balance   of their harmony which is wisdom. The first im-   portant lesson for children in such a place would   be that of improvisation, the constant imposition   of the ready-made having been banished from   here. It is to give occasions to explore one's     176         THE TEACHER     capacity through surprises of achievement I must   make it plain that this means a lesson not in simple   life, but in creative life. For life may grow com-   plex, and yet if there is a living personality in its   centre, it will still have the unity of creation; it   will carry its own weight in perfect grace, and will   not be a mere addition to the number of facts that   only goes to swell a crowd.     I wish I could say that I had fully realized my   dream in my school. I have only made the first   introduction towards it and have given an oppor-   tunity to the children to find their freedom in   Nature by being able to love it. For love is free-   dom; it gives us that fulness of existence which   saves us from paying with our soul for objects that   are immensely cheap. Love lights up this world   with its meaning and makes life feel that it has that   "enough" everywhere which truly is its "feast".   I know men who preach the cult of simple life by   glorifying the spiritual merit of poverty. I refuse   to imagine any special value in poverty when it is a   mere negation. Only when the mind has the sensi-   tiveness to be able to respond to the deeper call of   reality is it naturally weaned away from the lure   of the fictitious value of things. It is callousness   which robs us of our simple power to enjoy, and   dooms us to the indignity of a snobbish pride in   furniture and the foolish burden of expensive   things. But the callousness of asceticism pitted     *77         THE RELIGION OF MAN     against the callousness of luxury is merely fighting   one evil with the help of another, inviting the piti-   less demon of the desert in place of the indiscrimi-   nate demon of the jungle,     I tried my best to develop in the children of my   school the freshness of their feeling for Nature,   a sensitiveness of soul in their relationship with   their human surroundings, with the help of litera-   ture, festive ceremonials and also the religious   teaching which enjoins us to come to the nearer   presence of the world through the soul,, thuscjo   gain it more than can be measured like gaining   an instrument in truth by bringing out its music.         178         CHAPTER XIII   SPIRITUAL FREEDOM     THERE are injuries that attack our life; they hurt   the harmony of life's functions through which is   maintained the harmony of our physical self with   the physical world; and these injuries are called   diseases. There are also factors that oppress our   intelligence. They injure the harmony of relation-   ship between our rational mind and the universe   of reason; and we call them stupidity, ignorance   or insanity. They are uncontrolled exaggerations   of passions that upset all balance in our personal-   ity. They obscure the harmony between the spirit   of the individual man and the spirit of the uni-   versal Man; and we give them the name sin. In   all these instances our realization of the universal   Man, in his physical, rational and spiritual aspects,   is obstructed, and our true freedom in the realms   of matter, mind and spirit is made narrow or   distorted.     All the higher religions of India speak of the   training for Mukti, the liberation of the soul. In   this self of ours we are conscious of individuality   and all its activities are engaged in the expressior     179         THE RELIGION OF MAN     and enjoyment of our finite and individual nature.   In our soul we are conscious of the transcendental   truth in us, the Universal, the Supreme Man ; and   this soul, the spiritual self, has its enjoyment in the   renunciation of the individual self for the sake of   the supreme soul. This renunciation is not in the   negation of self, but in the dedication of it The   desire for it comes from an instinct which very   often knows its own meaning vaguely and gropes   for a name that would define its purpose. This   purpose is in the realization of its unity with some   objective ideal of perfections, some harmony of   relationship between the individual and the infinite   man. It is of this harmony, and not of a barren   isolation that the Upanishad speaks, when it says   that truth no longer remains hidden in him who   finds himself in the All.     Once when I was on a visit to a remote Bengali   village, mostly inhabited by Mahomedan culti-   vators, the villagers entertained me with an op r -   eratic performance the literature of which belonged   to an obsolete religious sect that had wide influence   centuries ago. Though the religion itself is dead,   its voice still continues preaching its philosophy to   a people, who, in spite of their different culture,   are not tired of listening. It discussed according   to its own doctrine the different elements, material   and transcendental, that constitute human person-   ality, comprehending the body, the self and the     180         SPIRITUAL FREEDOM     soul. Then came a dialogue, during the course of   which was related the incident of a person who   wanted to make a journey to Brindaban, the Gar-   den of Bliss, but was prevented by a watchman   who startled him with an accusation of theft. The   thieving was proved when it was shown that inside   his clothes he was secretly trying to smuggle into   the garden the self, which only finds its fulfilment   by its surrender. The culprit was caught with the   incriminating bundle in his possession which   barred for him his passage to the supreme goal.   Under a tattered canopy, supported on bamboo   poles and lighted by a few smoking kerosene   lamps, the village crowd, occasionally interrupted   by howls of jackals in the neighbouring paddy   fields, attended with untired interest, till the small   hours of the morning, the performance of a drama   that discussed the ultimate meaning of all things   in a seemingly incongruous setting of dance, music   and humorous dialogue.     This illustration will show how naturally, in   India, poetry and philosophy have walked hand in   hand, only because the latter has claimed its right   to guide men to the practical path of their life's   fulfilment. What is that fulfilment? It is our free-   dom in truth, which has for its prayer :     Lead us from the unreal to reality,     For satyam is anandam, the Real is Joy.     181         THE RELIGION OF MAN     In the world of art, our consciousness being   freed from the tangle of self interest, we gain an   unobstructed vision of unity, the incarnation of   the real, which is a joy for ever.     As in the world of art, so in the spiritual world,   our soul waits for its freedom from the ego to   reach that disinterested joy which is the source and   goal of creation. It cries for its mukti, its freedom   in the unity of truth. The idea of mukti has af-   fected our lives in India, touched the springs of   pure emotions and supplications; for it soars   heavenward on the wings of poesy. We constantly   hear men of scanty learning and simple faith sing-   ing in their prayer to Tara, the Goddess Re-   deemer :     "For what sin should I be compelled to remain   in this dungeon of the world of appearance?"     They are afraid of being alienated from the   world of truth, afraid of perpetual drifting amidst   the froth and foam of things, of being tossed about   by the tidal waves of pleasure and pain and never   reaching the ultimate meaning of life. Of these   men, one may be a carter driving his cart to mar-   ket, another a fisherman plying his net. They may   not be prompt with an intelligent answer if they   are questioned about the deeper import of the song   they sing, but they have no doubt in their^mind,   that the abiding cause of all misery is not so much   in the lack of life's furniture as in the obscurity     182         SPIRITUAL FREEDOM     of life's significance. It is a common topic with   such to decry an undue emphasis upon "me" and   "mine", which falsifies the perspective of truth.   For have they not often seen men, who are not   above their own level in social position or intellec-   tual acquirement, going out to seek Truth, leaving   everything that they have behind them?     They know that the object of these adventurers   is not betterment in worldly wealth and power   it is muktij freedom. They possibly know some   poor fellow villager of their own craft, who re-   mains in the world carrying on his daily vocation   and yet has the reputation of being emancipated in   the heart of the Eternal. I myself have come across   a fisherman singing with an inward absorption of   mind, while fishing all day in the Ganges, who was   pointed out to me by my boatman, with awe, as a   man of liberated spirit He is out of reach of the   conventional prices that are set upon men by so-   ciety, and which classify them like toys arranged   in the shop-windows according to the market   standard of value.     When the figure of this fisherman comes to my   mind, I cannot but think that their number is not   small who with their lives sing the epic of the   unfettered soul, but will never be known in his-   tory. These unsophisticated Indian peasants know   that an Emperor is merely a decorated slave, re-   maining chained to his Empire, that a millionaire     183         THE RELIGION OF MAN     is kept pilloried by his fate in the golden cage of   his wealth, while this fisherman is free in the realm   of light When, groping in the dark, we stumble   against objects, we cling to them believing them   to be our only hope.. When light comes, we slacken   our hold, finding them to be mere parts of the   All to which we are related. The simple man of   the village knows what freedom is freedom from   the isolation of self, from the isolation of things,   which imparts a fierce intensity to our sense of   possession. He knows that this freedom is not the   mere negation of bondage, in the bareness of our   belongings, but in some positive realization which   gives pure joy to our being, and he sings: "To   him who sinks into the deep, nothing remains   unattained." He says again:     Let my two minds meet and combine,   And lead me to the city Wonderful.     When that one mind of ours which wanders in   search of things in the outer region of the varied,   and the other which seeks the inward vision of   unity, are no longer in conflict, they help us to   realize the ajab, the anirvachaniya, the ineffable.   The poet saint Kabir has also the same message   when he sings :     By saying that Supreme Reality only dwells in the inner realm   of spirit, we shame the outer world of matter; and also when   we say that he is only in the outside, we do not speak the   truth.     184         SPIRITUAL FREEDOM     According to these singers, truth is in unity, and   therefore freedom is in its realization. The texts   of our daily worship and meditation are for train-   ing our mind to overcome the barrier of separate-   ness from the rest of existence and to realize   advaitam, the Supreme Unity which is anantam, in-   finitude. It is philosophical wisdom, having its   universal radiation in the popular mind in India,   that inspires our prayer, our daily spiritual prac-   tices. It has its constant urging for us to go beyond   the world of appearances, in which facts as facts   are alien to us, like the mere sounds of foreign   music; it speaks to us of an emancipation in the   inner truth of all things, where the endless Many   reveal the One.     Freedom in the material world has also the   same meaning expressed in its own language.   When nature's phenomena appeared to us as   irrelevant, as heterogeneous manifestations of an   obscure and irrational caprice, we lived in an alien   world never dreaming of our swaraj within'its ter-   ritory. Through the discovery of the harmony of   its working with that of our reason, we realize our   unity with it, and therefore our freedom.     Those who have been brought up in a mis-   understanding of this world's process, not knowing   that it is one with themselves through the relation-   ship of knowledge and intelligence, are trained as   cowards by a hopeless faith in the ordinance of     185         THE RELIGION OF MAN     a destiny darkly dealing its blows. They submit   without struggle when human rights are denied   them, being accustomed to imagine themselves   born as outlaws in a world constantly thrusting   upon them incomprehensible surprises of accidents.     Also in the social or political field, the lack of   freedom is based upon the spirit of alienation, on   the imperfect realization of the One. There our   bondage is in the tortured link of union. One may   imagine that an individual who succeeds in dis-   sociating himself from his fellow attains real free-   dom, inasmuch as all ties of relationship imply   obligation to others. But we know that, though it   may sound paradoxical, it is true that in the human   world only a perfect arrangement of interdepend-   ence gives rise to freedom. The most individualis-   tic of human beings who own no responsibility are   the savages who fail to attain their fulness of man-   ifestation. They live immersed in obscurity, like   an ill-lighted fire that cannot liberate itself from   its envelope of smoke. Only those may attain their   freedom from the segregation of an eclipsed life   who have the power to cultivate mutual under-   standing and co-operation. The history of the   growth of freedom is the history of the perfection   of human relationship.     It has become possible for men to say that exist-   ence is evil, only because in our blindness we have   missed something wherein our existence has its     186         SPIRITUAL FREEDOM     truth. If a bird tries to soar with only one of its   wings, it is offended with the wind for buffeting it   down to the dust All broken truths are evil. They   hurt because they suggest something they do not   offer. Death does not hurt us, but disease does,-   because disease constantly reminds us of health   and yet withholds it from us. And life in a half-   world is evil because it feigns finality when it is   obviously incomplete, giving us the cup but not   the draught of life. All tragedies result from truth   remaining a fragment, its cycle not being com-   pleted. That cycle finds its end when the indi-   vidual realizes the universal and thus reaches   freedom.     But because this freedom is in truth itself and   not in an appearance of it, no hurried path of suc-   cess, forcibly cut out by the greed of result, can be   a true path. And an obscure village poet, unknown   to the world of recognized respectability, sings:     O cruel man of urgent need, must you scorch with fire the   mind which still is a bud? You will burst it into bits, destroy   its perfume in your impatience. Do you not see that my Lord,   the Supreme Teacher, takes ages to perfect the flower and never   is in a fury of haste? But because of your terrible greed, you   only rely on force, and what hope is there for you, O man of   urgent need? "Prithi", says Madan the poet, "Hurt not the   mind of my Teacher. Know that only he who follows the   simple current and loses himself, can hear the voice, O man of   urgent need."     This poet knows that there is no external means of     187         THE RELIGION OF MAN     taking freedom by the throat. It is the inward   process of losing ourselves that leads to it Bondage   in all its forms has its stronghold in the inner self   and not in the outside world; it is in the dimming   of our consciousness, in the narrowing of our per-   spective, in the wrong valuation of things.     Let me conclude this chapter with a song of the   Baiil sect in Bengal, over a century old, in which   the poet sings of the eternal bond of union between   the infinite and the finite soul, from which there can   be no mukti, because love is ultimate, because it is   an inter-relation which makes truth complete, be-   cause absolute independence is the blankness of   utter servility. The song runs thus :     It goes on blossoming for ages, the soul-lotus, in which I am   bound, as well as thou, without escape. There is no end to the   opening of its petals, and the honey in it has so much sweetness   that thou, like an enchanted bee, canst never desert it, and   therefore thou art bound, and I am, and mukti is nowhere.         188         CHAPTER XIV   THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE     I HAVE expressly said that I have concentrated my   attention upon the subject of religion which is   solely related to man, helping him to train his atti-   tude and behaviour towards the infinite in its hu-   man aspect. At the same time it should be under-   stood that the tendency of the Indian mind has   ever been towards that transcendentalism which   does not hold religion to be ultimate but rather to   be a means to a further end. This end consists in   the perfect liberation of the individual in the uni-   versal spirit across the furthest limits of humanity   itself.     Such an extreme form of mysticism may be ex-   plained to my Western readers by its analogy in   science. For science may truly be described as   mysticism in the realm of material knowledge. It   helps us to go beyond appearances and reach the   inner reality of things in principles which are   abstractions; it emancipates our mind from the   thraldom of the senses to the freedom of reason.     The commonsense view of the world that is ap-   parent to us has its vital importance for ourselves.     189         THE RELIGION OF MAN     For all our practical purposes the earth is flat, the   sun does set behind the western horizon and what-   ever may be the verdict of the great mathematician   about the lack of consistency in time's dealings we   should fully trust it in setting our watches right   In questions relating to the arts and our ordinary   daily avocations we must treat material objects as   they seem to be and not as they are in essence. But   the revelations of science even when they go far   beyond man's power of direct perception give him   the purest feeling of disinterested delight and a   supersensual background to his world. Science   offers us the mystic knowledge of matter which   very often passes the range of our imagination. We   humbly accept it following those teachers who   have trained their reason to free itself from the   trammels of appearance or personal preferences.   Their mind dwells in an impersonal infinity where   there is no distinction between good and bad, high   and low, ugly and beautiful, useful and useless,   where all things have their one common right of   recognition, that of their existence.     The final freedom of spirit which India aspires   after has a similar character of realization* It is   beyond all limits of personality, divested of all   moral, or aesthetic distinctions ; it is the pure con-   sciousness of Being, the ultimate reality which has   an infinite illumination of bliss. Though science   brings our thoughts to the utmost limit of mind's     190         THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE     territory it cannot transcend its own creation made   of a harmony of logical symbols. In it the chick   has come out of its shell but not out of the defini-   tion of its own chickenhood. But in India it has   been said by the yogi that through an intensive   process of concentration and quietude our con-   sciousness does reach that infinity where knowledge   ceases to be knowledge, subject and object become   one, a state of existence that cannot be defined.     We have our personal self. It has its desires   which struggle to create a world where they could   have their unrestricted activity and satisfaction.   While it goes on we discover that our self-realiza-   tion reaches its perfection in the abnegation of self.   This fact has made us aware that the individual   finds his meaning in a fundamental reality compre-   hending all individuals the reality which is the   moral and spiritual basis of the realm of human   values. This belongs to our religion. As science is   the liberation of our knowledge in the universal   reason which cannot be other than human reason,   religion is the liberation of our individual person-   ality in the universal Person who is human all the   same.     The ancient explorers in psychology in India   who declare that our emancipation can be carried   still further into a realm where infinity is not   bounded by human limitations, are not content   with advancing this as a doctrine; they advocate         THE RELIGION OF MAN     its pursuit for the attainment of the highest goal of   man. And for its sake the path of discipline has   been planned which should be opened out across   our life through all its stages helping us to develop   our humanity to perfection so that we may surpass   it in a finality of freedom.     Perfection has its two aspects in man which can   to some extent be separated, the perfection in   being, and perfection in doing. It can be imagined   that through some training or compulsion good   works may possibly be extorted from a man who   personally may not be good. Activities that have   fatal risks are often undertaken by cowards even   though they are conscious of the danger. Such works   may be useful and may continue to exist beyond the   lifetime of the individual who produced them. And   yet where the question is not that of utility but of   moral perfection we hold it important that the   individual should be true in his goodness. His   outer good work may continue to produce good   results but the inner perfection of his personality   has its own immense value which for him is spirit-   ual freedom and for humanity is an endless asset   though we may not know it. For goodness repre-   sents the detachment of our spirit from the exclu-   siveness of our egoism; in goodness we identify   ourselves with the universal humanity. Its value   is not merely in some benefit for our fellow beings   but in its truth itself through which we realize     192         THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE     within us that man is not merely an animal bound   by his individual passions and appetites but a spirit   that has its unfettered perfection. Goodness is the   freedom of our self in the world of man, as is love.   We have to be true within, not for worldly duties   but for that spiritual fulfilment, which is in har-   mony with the Perfect, in union with the Eternal.   If this were not true, then mechanical perfection   would be considered to be of higher value than the   spiritual. In order to realize his unity with the   universal, the individual man must live his perfect   life which alone gives him the freedom to tran-   scend it     Doubtless Nature, for its own biological pur-   poses, has created in us a strong faith in life, by   keeping us unmindful of death. Nevertheless, not   only our physical existence, but also the environ-   ment which it builds up around itself, may desert   us in the moment of triumph, the greatest pros-   perity comes to its end, dissolving into emptiness;   the mightiest empire is overtaken by stupor amidst   the flicker of its festival lights. All this is none the   less true because its truism bores us to be reminded   of it     And yet it is equally true that, though all our   mortal relationships have their end, we cannot   ignore them with impunity while they last If we   behave as if they do not exist, merely because they   will not continue forever, they will all the same     193         THE RELIGION OF MAN     exact their dues, with a great deal over by way of   penalty. Trying to ignore bonds that are real,   albeit temporary, only strengthens and prolongs   their bondage. The soul is great, but the self has   to be crossed over in order to reach it. We do not   attain our goal by destroying our path.     Our teachers in ancient India realized the soul   of man as something very great indeed. They saw   no end to its dignity, which found its consumma-   tion in Brahma himself. Any limited view of man   would therefore be an incomplete view. He could   not reach his finality as a mere Citizen or   Patriot, for neither City nor Country nor the bub-   ble called the World, could contain his eternal   soul.     Bhartrihari, who was once a king, has said :     What if you have secured the fountain-head of all desires ; what   if you have put your foot on the neck of your enemy, or by   your good fortune gathered friends around you? What, even,   if you have succeeded in keeping mortal bodies alive for ages   tatah kirn, what then?     That is to say, man is greater than all these ob-   jects of his desire. He is true in his freedom.     But in the process of attaining freedom one must   bind his will in order to save its forces from dis-   traction and wastage, so as to gain for it the veloc-   ity which comes from the bondage itself. Those   also, who seek liberty in a purely political plane,   constantly curtail it and reduce their freedom of     194         THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE     thought and action to that narrow limit which is   necessary for making political power secure, very   often at the cost of liberty of conscience.     India had originally accepted the bonds of her   social system in order to transcend society, as the   rider puts reins on his horse and stirrups on his   own feet in order to ensure greater speed towards   his goal.     The Universe cannot be so madly conceived that   desire should be an interminable song with no   finale. And just as it is painful to stop in the mid-   dle of the tune, it should be as pleasant to reach its   final cadence.     India has not advised us to come to a sudden   stop while work is in full swing. It is true that the   unending procession of the world has gone on,   through its ups and downs, from the beginning of   creation till to-day; but it is equally obvious that   each individual's connection therewith does get   finished. Must he necessarily quit it without any   sense of fulfilment?     So, in the divisions of man's world-life which   we had in India, work came in the middle, and   freedom at the end. As the day is divided into   morning, noon, afternoon and evening, so India   had divided man's life into four parts, following   the requirements of his nature. The day has the   waxing and waning of its light; so has man the   waxing and waning of his bodily powers. Ac-     J9S         THE RELIGION OF MAN     knowledging this, India gave a connected meaning   to his life from start to finish.     First came brahmacharya, the period of disci-   pline in education; then garhasthya, that of the   world's work; then vanaprasthya, the retreat for   the loosening of bonds; and finally pravrajya, the   expectant awaiting of freedom across death.     We have come to look upon life as a conflict   with death, the intruding enemy, not the natural   ending, in impotent quarrel with which we spend   every stage of it. When the time comes for youth   to depart, we would hold it back by main force.   When the fervour of desire slackens, we would   revive it with fresh fuel of our own devising. When   our sense organs weaken, we urge them to keep up   their efforts. Even when our grip has relaxed we   are reluctant to give up possession. We are not   trained to recognize the inevitable as natural, and   so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go,   but needs must wait till it is snatched from us. The   truth comes as conqueror only because we have   lost the art of receiving it as guest     The stem of the ripening fruit becomes loose,   its pulp soft, but its seed hardens with provision   for the next life. Our outward losses, due to age,   have likewise corresponding inward gains. But,   in man's inner life, his will plays a dominant part,   so that these gains depend on his own disciplined     196         THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE     striving; that is why, in the case of undisciplined   man, who has omitted to secure such provision for   the next stage, it is so often seen that his hair is   grey, his mouth toothless, his muscles slack, and   yet his stem-hold on life has refused to let go its   grip, so much so that he is anxious to exercise his   will in regard to worldly details even after death.     But renounce we must, and through renuncia-   tion gain, that is the truth of the inner world.     The flower must shed its petals for the sake of   fruition, the fruit must drop off for the re-birth of   the tree. The child leaves the refuge of the womb   in order to achieve the further growth of body and   mind in which consists the whole of the child life;   next, the soul has to come out of this self-contained   stage into the fuller life, which has varied relations   with kinsman and neighbour, together with whom   it forms a larger body; lastly comes the decline of   the body, the weakening of desire, and, enriched   with its experiences, the soul now leaves the nar-   rower life for the universal life, to which it dedi-   cates its accumulated wisdom and itself enters into   relations with the Life Eternal; so that, when   finally the decaying body has come to the very end   of its tether, the soul views its breaking away quite   simply and without regret, in the expectation of   its own entry into the Infinite.     From individual body to community, from com-     197         THE RELIGION OF MAN     munity to universe, from universe to Infinity,   this is the soul's normal progress.     Our teachers, therefore, keeping in mind the   goal of this progress, did not, in life's first stage   of education, prescribe merely the learning of   books or things, but brahmacharya, the living in   discipline, whereby both enjoyment and its renun-   ciation would come with equal ease to the strength-   ened character. Life being a pilgrimage, with lib-   eration in Brahma as its object, the living of it was   as a spiritual exercise to be carried through its dif-   ferent stages, reverently and with a vigilant deter-   mination. And the pupil, from his very initiation,   had this final consummation always kept in his   view.     Once the mind refuses to be bound by temperate   requirements, there ceases to be any reason why it   should cry halt at any particular limit; and so,   like trying to extinguish fire with oil, its acquisi-   tions only make its desires blaze up all the fiercer.   That is why it is so essential to habituate the mind,   from the very beginning, to be conscious of, and   desirous of, keeping within the natural limits; to   cultivate the spirit of enjoyment which is allied   with the spirit of freedom, the readiness for renun-   ciation.     After the period of such training comes the   period of world-life, the life of the householder.   Manu tells us:     198         THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE     It is not possible to discipline ourselves so effectively if out of   touch with the world, as while pursuing the world-life with   wisdom.     That is to say, wisdom does not attain complete-   ness except through the living of life; and disci-   pline divorced from wisdom is not true discipline,   but merely the meaningless following of custom,   which is only a disguise for stupidity.     Work, especially good work, becomes easy only   when desire has learnt to discipline itself. Then   alone does the householder's state become a centre   of welfare for all the world, and instead of being   an obstacle, helps on the final liberation.     The second stage of life having been thus spent,   the decline of the bodily powers must be taken as   a warning that it is coming to its natural end. This   must not be taken dismally as a notice of dismissal   to one still eager to stick to his post, but joyfully   as maturity may be accepted as the stage of ful-   filment.     After the infant leaves the womb, it still has to   remain close to its mother for a time, remaining   attached in spite of its detachment, until it can   adapt itself to its new freedom. Such is the case   in the third stage of life, when man though aloof   from the world still remains in touch with it while   preparing himself for the final stage of complete   freedom. He still gives to the world from his store   of wisdom and accepts its support ; but this inter-     199         THE RELIGION OF MAN     change is not of the same intimate character as in   the stage of the householder, there being a new   sense of distance.     Then at last comes a day when even such free   relations have their end, and the emancipated soul   steps out of all bonds to face the Supreme Soul.     Only in this way can man's world-life be truly   lived from one end to the other, without being en-   gaged at every step in trying "conclusions with   death, not being overcome, when death comes in   due course, as by a conquering enemy.     For this fourfold way of life India attunes man   to the grand harmony of the universal, leaving no   room for untrained desires of a rampant individu-   alism to pursue their destructive career unchecked,   but leading them on to their ultimate modulation   in the Supreme.     If we really believe this, then we must uphold   an ideal of life in which everything else, the dis-   play of individual power, the might of nations,   must be counted as subordinate and the soul of man   must triumph and liberate itself from the bond of   personality which keeps it in an ever revolving   circle of limitation.     If that is not to be, tatah kirn, what then?     But such an ideal of the utter extinction of the   individual separateness has not a universal sanction   in India. There are many of us whose prayer is   for dualism so that for them the bond of devotion     200         THE FOUR STAGES OP LIFE     with God may continue forever. For them religion   is a truth which is ultimate and they refuse to envy   those who are ready to sail for the further shore of   existence across humanity. They know that human   imperfection is the cause of our sorrow but there   is a fulfilment in love within the range of our lim-   itation which accepts all sufferings and yet rises   above them.         201         CHAPTER XV   CONCLUSION     IN the Sanskrit Language the bird is described   as "twice-born" once in its limited shell and then   finally in the freedom of the unbounded sky. Those   of our community who believe in the liberation of   man's limited self in the freedom of the spirit re-   tain the same epithet for themselves. In all de-   partments of life man shows this dualism his   existence within the range of obvious facts and his   transcendence of it in a realm of deeper meaning.     Having this instinct inherent in his mind which   ever suggests to him the crossing of the border,   he has never accepted what is apparent as final and   his incessant struggle has been to break through   the shell of his limitations. In this attempt he   often goes against the instincts of his vital nature,   and even exults in his defiance of the extreme penal   laws of the biological kingdom. The best wealth   of his civilization has been achieved by his follow-   ing the guidance of this instinct in his ceaseless   adventure of the Endless Further, His achieve-   ment of truth goes far beyond his needs and the   realization of his self strives across the frontier     202         CONCLUSION     of its individual interest. This proves to him his   infinity and makes his religion real to him by his   own manifestation in truth and goodness. Only   for man there can be religion because his evolution   is from efficiency in nature towards the perfection   of spirit.     According to some interpretations of the Ve-   danta doctrine Brahman is the absolute Truth, the   impersonal It, in which there can be no distinction   of this and that, the good and the evil, the beauti-   ful and its opposite, having no other quality except   its ineffable blissfulness in the eternal solitude of   its consciousness utterly devoid of all things and   all thoughts. But, as our religion can only have its   significance in this phenomenal world compre-   hended by our human self, this absolute conception   of Brahman is outside the subject of my discussion.   What I have tried to bring out in this book is the   fact that whatever name may have been given to   the divine Reality it has found its highest place   in the history of our religion owing to its human   character, giving meaning to the idea of sin and   sanctity, and offering an eternal background to all   the ideals of perfection which have their harmony   with man's own nature.     We have the age-long tradition in our country,   as I have already stated, that through the process   of yoga man can transcend the utmost bounds of   his humanity and find himself in a pure state of     203         THE RELIGION OF MAN     consciousness of his undivided unity with Para-   brahman, There is none who has the right to con-   tradict this belief ; for it is a matter of direct ex-   perience and not of logic. It is widely known in   India that there are individuals who have the   power to attain temporarily the state of Samadhi,   the complete merging of the self in the infinite, a   state which is indescribable. While accepting their   testimony as true, let us at the same time have faith   in the testimony of others who have felt a profound   love, which is the intense feeling of union, for a   Being who comprehends in himself all things that   are human in knowledge, will and action. And he   is God, who is not merely a sum total of facts, but   the goal that lies immensely beyond all that is   comprised in the past and the present         204         APPENDICES         APPENDIX I   THE BAttL SINGERS OF BENGAL     (The following account of the Baiils in Northern India has   been given in the Visvabharati Quarterly by my friend   and fellow-worker, Professor Kshiti Mohun Sen of   Santiniketan, to whom I am grateful for having kindly   allowed me to reproduce what he has written in this   Appendix. )     Baiil means madcap, from bayu (Skt. Vayu) in its   sense of nerve current, and has become the appel-   lation of a set of people who do not conform to   established social usage. This derivation is sup-   ported by the following verse of Narahari :     That is why, brother, I became a madcap Baiil.   No master I obey, nor injunctions, canons or custom.   Now no men-made distinctions have any hold on me,   And I revel only in the gladness of my own welling love.   In love there's no separation, but commingling always.   So I rejoice in song and dance with each and all.     These lines also introduce us to the main tenets of   the cult The freedom, however, that the Baiils   seek from all forms of outward compulsion goes   even further, for among such are recognized as   well the compulsions exerted by our desires and   antipathies. Therefore, according to this cult, in   order to gain real freedom, one has first to die to   the life of the world whilst still in the flesh for   only then can one be rid of all extraneous claims.   Those of the Baiils who have Islamic leanings call   such "death in life'* fana, a term -used by the Sufis     207         THE RELIGION OF MAN     to denote union with the Supreme Being. True   love, according to the Baiils, is incompatible with   any kind of compulsion. Unless the bonds of neces-   sity are overcome, liberation is out of the question.   Love represents the wealth of life which is in excess   of need. . . . From hard, practical politics touch-   ing our earth to the nebulous regions of abstract   metaphysics, everywhere India expressed the   power of her genius equally well. . , And yet   none of these, neither severally nor collectively,   constituted her specific genius; none showed the   full height to which she could raise herself, none   compassed the veritable amplitude of her inner-   most reality. It is when we come to the domain   of the Spirit, of God-realization, that we find the   real nature and stature and genius of the Indian   people ; it is here that India lives and moves as in   her own home of Truth.     The Baiil cult is followed by householders as   well as homeless wanderers, neither of whom ac-   knowledge class or caste, special deities, temples   or sacred places. Though they congregate on the   occasion of religious festivals, mainly of the Vaish-   navas, held in special centres, they never enter any   temple. They do not set uj> any images of divini-   ties, or religious symbols, in their own places of   worship or mystic realization. True, they some-   times maintain with care and reverence spots sacred   to some esteemed master or devotee, but they per-   form no worship there. Devotees from the lowest   strata of the Hindu and Moslem communities are   welcomed into their ranks, hence the Bauls are   looked down upon by both. It is possible that their   own contempt for temples had its origin in the     208         A PPENDICES     denial of admittance therein to their low class   brethren. What need, say they, have we of other   temples, is not this body of ours the temple where   the Supreme Spirit has His abode? The human   body, despised by most other religions, is thus for   them the holy of holies, wherein the Divine is   intimately enshrined as the Man of the Heart.   And in this wise is the dignity of Man upheld by   them.     Kabir, Nanak, Ravidas, Dadu and his followers   have also called man's body the temple of God   the microcosm in which the cosmic abode of the   all-pervading Supreme Being is represented.     Kabir says :     In this body is the Garden of Paradise; herein are comprised   the seven seas and the myriad stars ; here is the Creator mani-   fest (I. 101.)     Dadu says:     This body is my scripture; herein the All-Merciful has written   for me His message.     Rajjab (Dadu's chief Moslem disciple) says:     Within the devotee is the paper on which the scriptures are   written in letters of Life. But few care to read them; they   turn a deaf ear to the message of the heart.     Most Indian sects adopt some distinct way of keep-   ing the hair of head and face as a sign of their   sect or order. Therefore, so as to avoid being   dragged into any such distinctions, the Baiils allow   hair and beard and moustache to grow freely.   Thus do we remain simple, they say. The similar   practice of the Sikhs in this matter is to be noted.     209         THE RELIGION OF MAN     Neither do the Baiils believe that lack of clothing   or bareness of body conduce to religious merit   According to them the whole body should be kept   decently covered. Hence their long robe, for   which, if they cannot afford a new piece of cloth,   they gather rags and make it of patches. In this   they are different from the ascetic sanyasins, but   resemble rather the Buddhist monks*     The Baiils do not believe in aloofness from, or   renunciation of, any person or thing; their central   idea is yoga, attachment to and communion with   the divine and its manifestations, as the means of   realization. We fail to recognize the temple of   God in the bodily life of man, they explain, be-   cause its lamp is not alight The true vision must   be attained in which this temple will become mani-   fest in each and every human body, whereupon   mutual communion and worship will spontane-   ously arise. Truth cannot be communicated to   those on whom you look down. You must be able   to see the divine light that shines within them, for   it is your own lack of vision that makes all seem   dark.     Kabir says the same thing:     In every abode the light doth shine; it is you who are blind   that cannot see. When by dint of looking and looking you at   length can discern it, the veils of this world will be torn   asunder. (II. 33.)     It is because the devotee is not in communion that he says   the goal is far away. (II. 34.)     Many such similarities are to be observed between   the sayings of the B axils and those of the Upper   Indian devotees of the Middle Ages, but, unlike   the case of the followers of the latter, the Baiils   210         APPENDICES     did not become crystallized into any particular   order or religious organization. So, in the Baiils   of Bengal, there is to be found a freedom and in-   dependence of mind and spirit that resists all   attempt at definition. Their songs are unique in   courage and felicity of expression. But under   modern conditions they are becoming extinct, or   at best holding on to external features bereft of   their original speciality. It would be a great pity   if no record of their achievements should be kept   before their culture is lost to the world.     Though the Baiils count amongst their follow-   ing a variety of sects and castes, both Hindu and   Moslem, chiefly coming from the lower social   ranks, they refuse to give any other account of   themselves to the questioner than that they are   Baiils. They acknowledge none of the social or   religious formalities, but delight in the ever-chang-   ing play of life, which cannot be expressed in mere   words but of which something may be captured in   song, through the ineffable medium of rhythm   and tune.     Their songs are passed on from Master to disci-   ple, the latter when competent adding others of   his own, but, as already mentioned, they are never   recorded in book form. Their replies to questions   are usually given by singing appropriate selections   from these songs. If asked the reason why, they   say: "We are like birds. We do not walk on our   legs, but fly with our wings."     There was a Brahmin of Bikrampur, known as   Chhaku Thakur, who was the disciple of a Baiil   of the Namasudra caste (accounted one of the low-   est) and hence had lost his place in his own com-     2X1         THE RELIGION OF MAN     munity. When admonished to be careful about   what he uttered, so as to avoid popular odium, he   answered with the song:     Let them relieve their minds by saying what they will,     I pursue my own simple way, fearing none at all.     The Mango seed will continue to produce Mango trees, no     Jambolans.   This seed of mine will produce the real me all glory to my     Master !     Love being the main principle according to the   Baiils, a Vaishnava once asked a Baiil devotee   whether he was aware of the different kinds of   love as classified in the Vaishnava scriptures.   "What should an illiterate ignoramus like me   know of the scriptures?" was the reply. The   Vaishnava then offered to read and explain the   text, which he proceeded to do, while the Baul   listened with such patience as he could muster.   When asked for his opinion, after the reading was   over, he sang:     A goldsmith, methinks, has come into the flower garden.   He would appraise the lotus, forsooth,   By rubbing it on his touchstone!     Recruits from the higher castes are rare amongst   the Baiils. When any such do happen to come,   they are reduced to the level of the rest. Are the   lower planks of a boat of any lesser importance   than the upper? say they.     Once in Vikrampur, I was seated on the river   bank by the side of a Baiil. "Father", I asked him,   "why is it that you keep no historical record of   yourselves for the use of posterity?" "We follow   the sahaj (simple) way", he replied, "and so leave   no trace behind us." The tide had then ebbed, and     2X2         APPENDICES     there was but little water in the river bed. Only   a few boatmen were to be seen pushing their boats   along the mud. The Baxil continued : "Do the boats   that sail over the flooded river leave any mark?   What should these boatmen of the muddy track,   urged on by their need, know of the sahaj (sim-   ple) way? The true endeavour is to keep oneself   simply afloat in the stream of devotion that flows   through the lives of devotees to mingle one's own   devotion with theirs. There are many classes of   men amongst the Baiils, but they are all Baiils   they have no other achievement or history. All the   streams that fall into the Ganges become the   Ganges. So must we lose ourselves in the common   stream, else will it cease to be living."     On another Baiil being asked why they did not   follow the scriptures, "Are we dogs", he replied,   "that we should lick up the leavings of others?   Brave men rejoice in the output of their own   energy, they create their own festivals. These   cowards who have not the power to rejoice in them-   selves have to rely on what others have left. Afraid   lest the world should lack festivals in the future,   they save up the scraps left over by their predeces-   sors for later use. They are content with glorify-   ing their forefathers because they know not how   to create for themselves."     If you would know that Man,     Simple must fae your endeavour.     To the region of the simple must you fare.     Pursuers of the path of man's own handiwork,     Who follow the crowd, gleaning their f alsp leavings,     What news can they get of the Real?     It is hardly to be wondered at that people wH<   think thus should have no use for history I     213         THE RELIGION OF MAN     We have already noticed that, like all the fol-   lowers of the simple way, the Baiils have no faith   in specially sacred spots or places of pilgrimage,   but that they nevertheless congregate on the occa-   sion of religious festivals. If asked why, the Baiil   says:     We would be within hail of the other Boatmen, to hear their     calls,   That we may make sure our boat rightly floats on the sahaj     stream.     Not what men have said or done in the past, but   the living human touch is what they find helpful.   Here is a song giving their ideas about pilgrimage :     I would not go, my heart, to Mecca or Medina,   For behold, I ever abide by the side of my Friend.   Mad would I become, had I dwelt afar, not knowing Him.   There's no worship in Mosque or Temple or special holy day.   At every step I have my Mecca and Kashi; sacred is every   moment.     If a Baiil is asked the age of his cult whether it   comes before or after this one or that, he says,   "Only the artificial religions of the world are   limited by time. Our sahaj (simple, natural) reli-   gion is timeless, it has neither beginning nor end,   it is of all time." The religion of the Upanishads   and Puranas, even that of the Vedas, is, according   to them, artificial.     The followers of the sahaj cult believe only in   living religious experience. Truth, according to   them, has two aspects, inert and living. Confined   to itself truth has no value for man. It becomes   priceless when embodied in a living personality.   The conversion of the inert into living truth by the     214         APPENDICES     devotee they compare to the conversion into milk   by the cow of its fodder, or the conversion by the   tree of dead matter into fruit He who has this   power of making truth living, is the Guru or Mas-   ter. Such Gurus they hold in special reverence, for   the eternal and all-pervading truth can only be   brought to man's door by passing through his life.   The Baiils say that emptiness of time and space   is required for a playground. That is why God has   preserved an emptiness in the heart of man, for the   sake of His own play of Love. Our wise and   learned ones were content with finding in Brahma   the tat (lit. "that" the ultimate substance). The   Baiils, not being Pandits, do not profess to under-   stand all this fuss about thatness, they want a Per-   son. So their God is the Man of the Heart (maner   manush) sometimes simply the Man (purush).   This Man of the Heart is ever and anon lost in   the turmoil of things. Whilst He is revealed   within, no worldly pleasures can give satisfaction.   Their sole anxiety is the finding of this Man.     The Baiil sings:     Ah, where am I to find Him, the Man of my Heart?   Alas, since I lost Him, I wander in search of Him,   Thro* lands near and far.     The agony of separation from Him cannot be miti-   gated for them by learning or philosophy :     Oh, these words and words, my mind would none of them,   The Supreme Man it must and shall discover*   So long as Him I do not see, these mists slake not my thirst.   Mad am I ; for lack of that Man I madly run about ;   For his sake the world IVe left ; for Bisha naught eke will   serve,         THE RELIGION OF MAN     This Bisha was a bhuin-mali, by caste, disciple of   Bala, the Kaivarta,     This cult of the Supreme Man is only to be   found in the Vedas hidden away in the Purusha-   sukta (A.V. 19.6). It is more freely expressed by   the Upper Indian devotees of the Middle Ages.   It is all in all with the Bauls. The God whom   these illiterate outcastes seek so simply and natu-   rally in their lives is obscured by the accredited   religious leaders in philosophical systems and   terminology, in priestcraft and ceremonial, in in-   stitutions and temples.     Not satisfied with the avatars (incarnations of   God) mentioned in the scriptures, the Baiil sings:     As we look on every creature, we find each to be His avatar.   What can you teach us of His ways? In ever-new play He   wondrously revels.     And Kabir also tells us:     All see the Eternal One, but only the devotee, in his solitude,   recognizes him.     A friend of mine was once much impressed by the   reply of a Baiil who was asked why his robe was   not tinted with ascetic ochre:     Can the colour show outside, unless the inside is first tinctured?   Can the fruit attain ripe sweetness by the painting of its skin?     This aversion of the Baiil from outward marks of   distinction is also shared by the Upper Indian   devotees, as I have elsewhere noticed.     The age-long controversy regarding Jvaita   (dualism) and advaita (monism) is readily solved   by these wayfarers on the path of Love. Love is     216         APPENDICES     the simple striving, love the natural communion,   so believe the Baiils. "Ever two and ever one, of   this the name of Love", say they. In love, oneness   is achieved without any loss of respective self-   hood.     The same need exists for the reconcilement of the   antagonism between the outer call of the material   world and the inner call of the spiritual world, as   for the realization of the mutual love of the indi-   vidual and Supreme self. The God who is Love,   say the Baiils, can alone serve to turn the currents   of the within and the without in one and the same   direction.     Kabir says:     If we say He is only within, then the whole Universe is shamed.   If we say He is only without, then that is false.   He, whose feet rest alike on the sentient and on the inert,   fills the gap between the inner and the outer world.     The inter-relations of man's body and the Universe   have to be realized by spiritual endeavour. Such   endeavour is called Kaya Sadhan (Realization   through the body) .     One process in this Kaya Sadhan of the Baiils   is known as Urdha-srota (the elevation of the cur-   rent). Waters flow downwards according to the   ordinary physical law. But with the advent of>   Life the process is reversed. When the living seed   sprouts the juices are drawn upwards, and on the   elevation that such flow can attain depends the   height of the tree. It is the same in the life of man.   His desires ordinarily flow downward towards ani-   mality. The endeavour of the expanding spirit is   to turn their current upwards towards the light*     217         THE RELIGION OF MAN     The cu-rrents of jiva (animal life) must be con-   verted into the current of Shiva (God life). They   form a centre round the ego ; they must be raised   by the force of love.     Says Dadu's daughter, Nanimata :     My life is the lamp afloat on the stream.     To what bourne shall it take me ?     How is the divine to conquer the carnal,     The downward current to be upward turned?     As when the wick is lighted the oil doth upward flow,     So simply is destroyed the thirst of the body.     The Yoga Vasistha tells us :     Uncleansed desires bind to the world, purified desires give   liberation.     References to this reversal of current are also to be   found in the Atharva Veda (X. 2.9; 2.34). This   reversal is otherwise considered by Indian devotees   as the conversion of the sthula (gross) in the   sukshma (fine).     The Baiil sings:     Love is my golden touch it turns desire into service :   Earth seeks to become Heaven, man to become God.     Another aspect of the idea of reversal has been put   thus by Rabindranath Tagore in his Broken Ties:   "If I keep going in the same direction along which   He comes to me, then I shall be going further and   further away from Him. If I proceed in the oppo-   site direction, then only can we meet He loves   form, so He is continually descending towards   form. We cannot live by form alone, so we must   art         APPENDICES     ascend towards His formlessness. He is free, so   His play is within bonds. We are bound, so we   find our joy in freedom. All our sorrow is because   we cannot understand this. He who sings, proceeds   from his joy to the tune ; he who hears, from the   tune to joy. One comes from freedom into bond-   age, the other goes from bondage into freedom;   only thus can they have their communion. He   sings and we hear. He ties the bonds as He sings to   us, we untie them as we listen to Him."     This idea also occurs in our devotees of the   Middle Ages.     The "sahaj" folk endeavour to seek the bliss of   divine union only for its own sake. Mundane de-   sires are therefore accounted the chief obstacles in   the way. But for getting rid of them, the wise   Guru, according to the Bauls, does not advise   renunciation of the good things of the world, but   the opening of the door to the higher self. Thus   guided, says Kabir,     I close not my eyes, stop not my ears, nor torment my body*   But every path I then traverse becomes a path of pilgrimage,     whatever work I engage in becomes service.   This simple consummation is the best.     The simple way has led its votaries easily and nat-   urally to their living conception of Humanity.     Raj jab says:     All the world is the Veda, all creations the Koran. Why read   paper scriptures, O Rajjab.     Gather ever fresh wisdom from the Universe. The eternal wis-   dom shines within the concourse     of the millions of Humanity.     219         THE RELIGION OF MAN     The Baiil sings:     The simple has its thirty million strings whose mingled sym-   phony ever sounds.     Take all the creatures of the World into yourself. Drown your-   self in that eternal music.     I conclude with a few more examples of Baiil   songs, esoteric and otherwise, from amongst many   others of equal interest.     By Gangaram, the Namasudra     Realize how finite and unbounded are One,     As you breathe in and out.     Of all ages, then, you will count the moments,     In every moment find the ages,     The drop in the ocean, the ocean in the drop.     If your endeavour be but sahaj, beyond argument and cogita-   tion,     You will taste the precious quintessence.     Blinded are you by over-much journeying from bourne to   bourne,     O Gangaram, be simple! Then alone will vanish all your   doubts.     By Bisha, the disciple of Bala:     The Simple Man was in the Paradise of my heart,     Alas, how and when did I lose Him,     That now no peace I know, at home or abroad ?     By meditation and telling of beads, in worship and travail,     The quest goes on for ever ;     But unless the Simple Man comes of Himself,     Fruitless is it all ;     For he yields not to forge tfulness of striving.     Bisha's heart has understood right well,     That by His own simple way alone is its door unlocked.     "Listen, O brother man", declares Chandidas, "the   Truth of Man is the highest of truths ; there is no   other truth above it"   220         APPENDIX II   NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY     (A conversation between Rabindranath Tagore and Professor   Albert Einstein, in the afternoon of July 14, 1930, at the   Professor's residence in Kaputh.)     E. : Do you believe in the Divine as isolated   from the world?     T. : Not isolated. The infinite personality of   Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be   anything that cannot be subsumed by the human   personality, and this proves that the truth of the   Universe is human truth. I have taken a scientific   fact to illustrate this Matter is composed of pro-   tons and electrons, with gaps between them; but   matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity   is composed of individuals, yet they have their   inter-connection of human relationship, which   gives living solidarity to man's world. The entire   universe is linked up with us in a similar manner,   it is a human universe. I have pursued this   thought through art, literature and the religious   consciousness of man.     E. : There are two different conceptions about   the nature of the universe: (i) The world as a   unity dependent on humanity. (2) The world as   a reality independent of the human factor.     T. : When our universe is in harmony with Man,   the eternal, we know it as truth, we feel it as   beauty.     221         THE RELIGION OF MAN     E,: This is a purely human conception of the   universe.     T.: There can be no other conception. This   world is a human world the scientific view of it   is also that of the scientific man. There is some   standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it   truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose ex-   periences are through our experiences.     E.: This is a realization of the human entity.     T. : Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize   it through our emotions and activities. We realize   the Supreme Man who has no individual limita-   tions through our limitations. Science is concerned   with that which is not confined to individuals; it   is the impersonal human world of truths. Religion   realizes these truths and links them up with our   deeper needs; our individual consciousness of   truth gains universal significance. Religion ap-   plies values to truth, and we know truth as good   through our own harmony with it.     E. : Truth, then, or Beauty, is not independent   of man?     T.:No.     E.: If there would be no human beings any   more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be   beautiful.     T.:No.     E.: I agree with regard to this conception of   Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.     T,: Why not? Truth is realized through man.     E. : I cannot prove that my conception is right,   but that is my religion.     T.: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony   which is in the Universal Being; Truth the perfect     222         APPE NDI CES     comprehension of the Universal Mind. We indi-   viduals approach it through our own mistakes and   blunders, through our accumulated experience,   through our illumined consciousness *how, other-   wise, can we know Truth?     E. : I cannot prove scientifically that truth must   be conceived as a truth that is valid independent   of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for   instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geom-   etry states something that is approximately true,   independent of the existence of man. Anyway, if   there is a reality independent of man there is also   a truth relative to this reality; and in the same   way the negation of the first engenders a negation   of the existence of the latter.     T\: Truth, which is one with the Universal   Being, must essentially be human, otherwise what-   ever we individuals realize as true can never be   called truth at least the truth which is described   as scientific and can only be reached through the   process of logic, in other words, by an organ of   thoughts which is human. According to Indian   Philosophy there is Brahman the absolute Truth,   which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the   individual mind or described by words, but can   only be realised by completely merging the indi-   vidual in its infinity. But such a truth cannot be-   long to Science* The nature of truth which we are   discussing is an appearance that is to say what   appears to be true to the human mind and there-   fore is human, and may be called maya, or illusion,     E. : So according to your conception, which may   be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of   the individual, but of humanity as a whole.     223         THE RELIGION OF MAN     T. : In science we go through the discipline of   eliminating the personal limitations of our indi-   vidual minds and thus reach that comprehension   of truth which is in the mind of the Universal   Man.     E. : The problem begins whether Truth is inde-   pendent of our consciousness.     T. : What we call truth lies in the rational har-   mony between the subjective and objective aspects   of reality, both of which belong to the super-   personal man.     E. : Even in our everyday life we feel compelled   to ascribe a reality independent of man to the ob-   jects we use. We do this to connect the experiences   of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if   nobody is in this house, yet that table remains   where it is.     T. : Yes, it remains outside the individual mind,   but not outside the universal mind. The table   which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind   of consciousness which I possess.     E. : Our natural point of view in regard to the   existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be   explained or proved, but it is a belief which no-   body can lack no primitive beings even. We   attribute to Truth a. super-human objectivity; it is   indispensable for us, this reality which is inde-   pendent of our existence and our experience and   our mind though we cannot say what it means.     T. : Science has proved that the table as a solid   object is an appearance, and therefore that which   the human mind perceives as a table would not   exist if that mind were naught. At the same time   it must be admitted that the fact, that the ultimate     224         APPENDICES     physical reality of the table is nothing but a mul-   titude of separate revolving centres of electric   forces, also belongs to the human mind.     In the apprehension of truth there is an eternal   conflict between the universal human mind and the   same mind confined in the individual. The per-   petual process of reconciliation is being carried on   in our science and philosophy, and in our ethics.   In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unre-   lated to humanity then for us it is absolutely non-   existing.     It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which the   sequence of things happens not in space, but only   in time like the sequence of notes in music. For   such a mind its conception of reality is akin to the   musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry   can have no meaning. There is the reality of   paper, infinitely different from the reality of lit-   erature. For the kind of mind possessed by the   moth, which eats that paper, literature is abso-   lutely non-existent, yet for Man's mind literature   has a greater value of truth than the paper itself,   In a similar manner, if there be some truth which   has no sensuous or rational relation to the human   mind it will ever remain as nothing so long as we   remain human beings.     E,: Then I am more religious than you arel     T. : My religion is in the reconciliation of ^thc   Super-personal Man, the Universal human spirit   in my own individual being* This has been the   subject of my Hibbert Lectures, which I have   called "The Religion of Man".         225         APPENDIX III   DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM     (From an article in the Vwuabharati Quarterly   by Professor Kshiti Mohan Sen.)     THE language of man has been mainly occupied   with telling us about the elements into which the   finite world has been analysed ; nevertheless, now   and again, it reveals glimpses of the world of the   Infinite as well ; for the spirit of man has discov-   ered rifts in the wall of Matter. Our intellect can   count the petals, classify the scent, and describe the   colour of the rose, but its unify finds its expression   when we rejoice in it.     The intellect at best can give us only a broken   view of things. The marvellous vision of the Seer,   in spite of the scoffing in which both Science and   Metaphysics so often indulge, can alone make   manifest to us the truth of a thing in its complete-   ness. When we thus gain a vision of unity, we are   no longer intellectually aware of detail, counting,   classifying, or distinguishing for them we have   found admittance into the region of the spirit,   and there we simply measure the truth of our   realization by the intensity of our joy.     What is the meaning of this unutterable joy?   That which we know by intellectual process is   something outside ourselves. But the vision of any-   thing in the fulness of its unity involves the reali-     226         APPENDI C ES     zation of the unity of the self within, as well as of   the relation between the two. The knowledge of   the many may make us proud, but it makes us glad   when our kinship with the One is brought home to   us. Beauty is the name that we give to this ac-   knowledgment of unity and of its relationship with   ourselves.     It is through the beauty of Nature, or of Human   Character, or Service, that we get our glimpses of   the Supreme Soul whose essence is bliss. Or rather,   it is when we become conscious of Him in Nature,   or Art, or Service, that Beauty flashes out And   whenever we thus light upon the Dweller-within,   all discord disappears and Love and Beauty are   seen inseparable from Truth. It is really the com-   ing of Truth to us as kinsman which floods our   being with Joy.     This realization in Joy is immediate, self-suffi-   cient, ultimate. When the self experiences Joy   within, it is completely satisfied and has nothing   more to ask from the outside world. Joy, as we   know it, is a direct, synthetic measure of Beauty   and neither awaits nor depends upon any analyti-   cal process. In our Joy, further, we behold not only   the unity, but also the origin, for the Beauty which   tells us of Him can be nothing but radiance re-   flected, melody re-echoed, from Him; else would   all this have been unmeaning indeed Society,   Civilization, Humanity. The progress of Man   would otherwise have ended in an orgy of the   gratification of his animal passions.     The power of realization, for each particular   individual, is limited. All do not attain the privi-   lege of directly apprehending the universal Unity.     227         THE RELIGION OF MAN     Nevertheless, a partial vision of it, say in a flower,   or in a friend, is a common experience; moreover,   the potentiality is inherent in every individual soul,   by dint of disciplined striving, to effect its own   expansion and thereupon eventually to achieve the   realization of the Supreme SouL     By whom, meanwhile, are these ineffable tidings   from the realm of the Spirit, the world of the In-   finite, brought to us? Not by potentates or phi-   losophers, but by the poor, the untutored, the   despised. And with what superb assurance do they   lead us out of the desert of the intellect into the   paradise of the Spirit!     When our metaphysicians, dividing themselves   into rival schools of Monism, Dualism or Monis-   tic-Dualism, had joined together in dismissing the   world as Maya, then, up from the depths of their   social obscurity, rose these cobblers, weavers, and   sewers of bags, proclaiming such theorems of the   intellect to be all nonsense; for the metaphysicians   had not seen with their own inner vision how the   world overflowed with Truth and Love, Beauty   and Joy.     Dadu, Ravidas, Kabir and Nanafc were not   ascetics; they bore no message of poverty, or re-   nunciation, for their own sake; they were poets   who had pierced the curtain of appearances and   had glimpses of the world of Unity, where God   himself is a poet Their wprds cannot stand the   glare of logical criticism; they babble, like babes,   of the joy of their vision of Him, of the ecstasy   into which His music has thrown them.     Nevertheless, it is they, not the scientists or phi-   losophers, who have taught us of reality. On the     228         APP E NDICES     one side the Supreme Soul is alone, on the other   my individual soul is alone. If the two do not come   together, then indeed there befalls the greatest of   all calamities, the utter emptiness of chaos. For   all the abundance of His inherent joy, God is in   want of my joy of Him; and Reality in its perfec-   tion only blossoms where we meet     "When I look upon the beauty of this Universe",   says Dadu, "I cannot help asking: 'How, O Lord,   did you come to create it? What sudden wave of   joy coursing through your being compelled its own   manifestation? Was it really due to desire for self-   expression, or simply on the impulse of emotion?   Or was it perhaps just your fancy to revel in the   play of form? Is this play then so delightful to   you ; or is it that you would see your own inborn   delight thus take shape?' Oh, how can these ques-   tions be answered in words?" cries Dadu. "Only   those who know will understand."     "Why not go to him who has wrought this mar-   vel", says Dadu elsewhere, "and ask: 'Cannot your   own message make clear this wondrous making of   the One into the many?' When I look on creation   as beauty of form, I see only Form and Beauty.   When I look on it as life, everywhere I see Life.   When I look on it as Brahma, then indeed is Dadu   at a loss for words. When I see it in relation, it is   of bewildering variety. When I see it in my own   soul, all its variousness is merged in the beauty of   the Supreme Soul. This eye of mine then becomes   also the eye of Brahma, and in this exchange of   mutual vision does Dadu behold Truth."     The eye cannot see the face for that purpose a   mirror is necessary. That is to say, either the face     229         THE RELIGION OF MAN     has to be put at a distance from the eye, or the eye   moved away from the face in any case what was   one has to be made into two. The image is not the   face itself, but how else is that to be seen?     So does God mirror Himself in Creation; and   since He cannot place Himself outside His own   Infinity, He can only gain a vision of Himself   and get a taste of His own joy through my joy in   Him and in His Universe. Hence the anxious   striving of the devotee to keep himself thoroughly   pure not through any pride of puritanism, but   because his soul is the playground where God   would revel in Himself. Had not God's radiance,   His beauty, thus found its form in the Universe,   its joy in the devotee, He would have remained   mere formless, colourless Being in the nothingness   of infinity.     This is what makes the Mystery so profound, so   inscrutable. Whether we say that only Brahma is   true, or only the universe is true, we are equally   far from the Truth, which can only be expressed   as both this and that, or neither this nor that.     And Dadu can only hint at it by saying: "Neither   death nor life is He; He neither goes out, nor does   He come in; nor sleeps, nor wakes; nor wants, nor   is satisfied. He is neither I nor you, neither One   nor Two, For no sooner do I say that all is One,   than I find us both ; and when I say there are two,   I see we're One. So, O Dadu, rest content to look   on Him just as He is, in the dee of your heart,   and give up wrestling with vain imaginings and   empty words."     "Words shower", Dadu goes on, "when spouts   the fount of the intellect; but where realization     230         APPENDICES     grows, there music has its seat" When the intellect   confesses defeat, and words fail, then, indeed, from   the depth of the heart wells up the song of the joy   of realization. What words cannot make clear,   melody can; to its strains one can revel in the   vision of God in His revels.     "That is why", cries Dadu, "your universe, this   creation of yours, has charmed me so your waters   and your breezes, and this earth which holds them,   with its ranges of mountains, its great oceans, its   snow-capped poles, its blazing sun, because,   through all the three regions of earth, sky and   heaven, amidst all their multifarious life, it is your   ministration, your beauty, that keeps me en-   thralled. Who can know you, O Invisible, Unap-   proachable, Unfathomable! Dadu has no desire   to know ; he is satisfied to remain enraptured with   all this beauty of yours, and to rejoice in it with         To look upon Form as the play of His love is not   to belittle it. In creating the senses God did not   intend them to be starved, "And so", says Dadu,   "the eye is feasted with colour, the ear with music,   the palate with flowers, wondrously provided."   And we find that the body longs for the spirit, the   spirit for the body; the flower for the scent the   scent for the flower ; our words for truth, the Truth   for words; form for its ideal, the ideal for form;   all thus mutual worship is but the worship of the   ineffable Reality behind, by whose Presence every   one of them is glorified. And Dadu struggles not,   but simply keeps his heart open to this shower of   love and thus rejoices in perpetual Springtime.     Every vessel of form the Formless fills with         THE RELIGION OF MAN     Himself, and in their beauty He gains them in re-   turn. With His love the Passionless fulfils every   devoted heart and sets it a-dance, and their love   streams back to the Colourless, variegated with the   tints of each. Beauteous Creation yields up her   charms, in all their purity, to her Lord. Need she   make further protestation, in words of their mutual   love? So Dadu surrenders his heart, mind and   soul at the feet of his Beloved. His one care is that   they be not sullied.     If any one should object that evanescent Form is   not worthy to represent the Eternal, Dadu would   answer that it is just because Form is fleeting that   it is a help, not a hindrance, to His worship. While   returning back to its Origin, it captures our mind   and takes it along with itself. The call of Beauty   tells us of the Unthinkable, towards whom it lies.   In passing over us, Death assures us of the truth   of Life,         232         APPENDIX IV   NIGHT AND MORNING     (An address in the Chapel of Manchester College, Oxford, on   Sunday, May 25, 1930, by Rabindranath Tagore.)     IN his early youth, stricken with a great sorrow at   the death of his grandmother, my father painfully   groped for truth when his world had darkened,   and his life lost its meaning. At this moment of   despair a torn page of a manuscript carried by a   casual wind was brought to his notice. The text it   contained was the first verse of the Ishopanishad :     Isavasyam fdam survam     Yat Kincha jagatyam jagat.   tena tyaktena bhunjitha     Ma grdhah Kasyasvitdhanam. -     It may be thus translated :     "Thou must know that whatever moves in this moving world   in enveloped by God. And therefore find thy enjoyment in   renunciation, never coveting what belongs to others."     In this we are enjoined to realize that all facts that   move and change have their significance in their   relation to one everlasting truth. For then we can   be rid of the greed of acquisition, gladly dedicat-   ing everything we have to that Supreme Truth.   The change in our mind is immense in its generos-   ity of expression when an utter sense of vanity and   vacancy is relieved at the consciousness of a per-   vading reality.     333         THE RELIGION OF MAN     I remember once while on a boat trip in a strange   neighbourhood I found myself unexpectedly at the   confluence of three great rivers as the daylight   faded and the night darkened over a desolation   dumb and inhospitable. A sense of dread pos-   sessed the crew and an oppressive anxiety bur-   dened my thoughts, with its unreasonable exag-   geration all through the dark hours. The morning   came and at once the brooding obsession vanished.   Everything remained the same only the sky was   filled with light.     The night had brought her peace, the peace of a   black ultimatum in which all hope ceased in an   abyss of nothingness, but the peace of the morning   appeared like that of a mother's smile, which in its   serene silence utters, "I am here". I realized why   birds break out singing in the morning, and felt   that their songs are their own glad answers to the   emphatic assurance of a Yes in the morning light   in which they find a luminous harmony of their   own existence. Darkness drives our being into an   isolation of insignificance and we are frightened   because in the dark the sense of our own truth   dwindles into a minimum. Within us we carry a   positive truth, the consciousness of our personality,   which naturally seeks from our surroundings its   response in a truth which is positive, and then in   this harmony we find our wealth of reality and arc   gladly ready to sacrifice. That which distinguishes   man from the animal is the fact that he expresses   himself not in his claims, in his needs, but in his   sacrifice, which has the creative energy that builds   his home, his society, his civilization. It proves   that his instinct acknowledges the inexhaustible     234         APPENDICES     wealth of a positive truth which gives highest value   to existence. In whatever we are mean, greedy   and unscrupulous, there are the dark bands in the   spectrum of our consciousness; they prove chasms   of bankruptcy in our realization of the truth that   the world moves, not in a blank sky of negation,   but in the bosom of an ideal spirit of fulfil-   ment.     Most often crimes are committed when it is   night. It must not be thought that the only reason   for this is that in the dark they are likely to remain   undetected. But the deeper reason is that in the   dark the negative aspect of time weakens the posi-   tive sense of our own humanity. Our victims, as   well as we ourselves, are less real to us in the   night, and that which we miss within we desper-   ately seek outside us. Wherever in the human   world the individual self forgets its isolation, the   light that unifies is revealed the light of the Ever-   lasting Yes, whose sound-symbol in India is OM.   Then it becomes easy for man to be good not be-   cause his badness is restrained, but because of his   joy in the positive background of his own reality,   because his mind no longer dwells in a fathomless   night of an anarchical world of denial.     Man finds an instance of this in the idea of his   own country, which reveals to him a positive truth,   the idea that has not the darkness of negation which   is sinister, which generates suspicion, exaggerates   fear, encourages uncontrolled greed ; for his own   country is an indubitable reality to him which   delights his soul. In such intense consciousness of   reality we discover our own greater self that   spreads beyond our physical life and immediate     235         THE RELIGION OF MAN     present, and offers us generous opportunities of   enjoyment in renunciation.     In the introductory chapter of our civilization   individuals by some chance found themselves to-   gether within a geographic enclosure. But a mere   crowd without an inner meaning of inter-relation   is negative, and therefore it can easily be hurtful.   The individual who is a mere component part of   an unneighbourly crowd, who in his exclusiveness   represents only himself, is apt to be suspicious of   others, with no inner control in hating and hitting   his fellow-beings at the very first sight This sav-   age mentality is the product of the barren spirit   of negation that dwells in the spiritual night But   when the morning of mutual recognition broke out,   the morning of co-operative life, that divine mys-   tery which is the creative spirit of unity, imparted   meaning to individuals in a larger truth named   "people". These individuals gladly surrendered   themselves to the realization of their true human-   ity, the humanity of a great wholeness composed of   generations of men consciously and unconsciously   building up a perfect future. They realized peace   according to the degree of unity which they at-   tained in their mutual relationship, and within   that limit they found the one sublime truth which   pervades time that moves, the things that change,   the life that grows, the thoughts that flow onwards.   They united with themselves the surrounding   physical nature in her hills and rivers, in the dance   of rhythm in all her forms and colours, in the blue   of her sky, the tender green of her corn shoots.     In gradual degrees men became aware that the   subtle intricacies of human existence find their per-     236 *         APPENDICES     faction in the harmony of interdependence, never   in the vigorous exercise of elbows by a mutually   pushing multitude, in the arrogant assertion of   independence which fitly belongs to the barren   rocks and deserts grey with the pallor of death.     For rampant individualism is against what is   truly human that is to say spiritual it belongs   to the primitive poverty of the animal life, it is the   confinement of a cramped spirit, of restricted con-   sciousness.     The limited boundaries of a race or a country   within which the supreme truth of humanity has   been more or less realized in the past are crossed   to-day from the outside. The countries are physi-   cally brought closer to each other by science. But   science has not brought with it the light that helps   understanding. On the contrary science on its prac-   tical side has raised obstacles among them against   the development of a sympathetic knowledge.     But I am not foolish enough to condemn science   as materialistic. No truth can be that Science   means intellectual probity in our knowledge and   dealings with the physical world and such con-   scientiousness has a spiritual quality that encour-   ages sacrifice and martyrdom. But in science the   oft-used half-truth that honesty is the best policy   is completely made true and our mind's honesty   in this field never fails to bring us the best profit   for our living. Mischief finds its entry through   this back-door of utility, tempting the primitive   in man, arousing his evil passions. And through   this the great meeting of races has been obscured   of its great meaning. When I view it in my mind   I am reminded of the fearful immensity of the     237         THE RELIGION OF MAN     meeting of the three mighty rivers where I found   myself unprepared in a blackness of universal   menace. Over the vast gathering of peoples the   insensitive night darkly broods, the night of un-   reality. The primitive barbarity of limitless suspi-   cion and mutual jealousy fills the world's atmos-   phere to-day the barbarity of the aggressive indi-   vidualism of nations, pitiless in its greed, un-   ashamed of its boastful brutality.     Those that have come out for depredation in this   universal night have the indecent audacity to say   that such conditions are eternal in man, that the   moral ideals are only for individuals but that the   race belongs to the primitive nature of the animal.     But when we see that in the range of physical   power man acknowledges no limits in his dreams,   and is not even laughed at when he hopes to visit   the neighbouring planet; must he insult his hu-   manity by proclaiming that human nature has   reached its limit of moral possibility? We must   work with all our strength for the seemingly im-   possible ; we must be sure that faith in the perfect   builds the path for the perfect that the external   fact of unity which has surprised us must be sub-   limated in an internal truth of unity which would   light up the Truth of Man the Eternal.     Nations are kept apart not merely by interna-   tional jealousy, but also by their Karma, their own   past, handicapped by the burden of the dead. They   find it hard to think that the mentality which they   fondly cultivated within the limits of a narrow   past has no continuance in a wider future, they are   never tired of uttering the blasphemy that warfare   is eternal, that physical might has its inevitable     238         THE RELIGION OF MAN     right of moral cannibalism where the flesh is   weak. The wrong that has been done in the past   seeks to justify itself by its very perpetuation, like   a disease by its chronic malignity, and it sneers   and growls at the least proposal of its termi-   nation. Such an evil ghost of a persistent past, the   dead that would cling to life, haunts the night to-   day over mutually alienated countries, and men   that are gathered together in the dark cannot see   each other's faces and features.     We in India are unfortunate in not having the   chance to give expression to the best in us in creat-   ing intimate relations with the powerful nations,   whose preparations are all leading to an enormous   waste of resources in a competition of brow-beating   and bluff. Some great voice is waiting to be heard   which will usher in the sacred light of truth in the   dark hours of the nightmare of politics, the voice   which will proclaim that "God is over all", and   exhort us never to covet, to be great in renunciation   that gives us the wealth of spirit, strength of truth,   leads us from the illusion of power to the fullness   of perfection, to the Sdntam, who is peace eternal,   to the Advaltam who is the infinite One in the   heart of the manifold. But we in India have not   yet had the chance. Yet we have our own human   voice which truth demands. The messengers of   truth have ever joined hands across centuries,   across the seas, across historical barriers, and they   help to raise up the great continent of human   brotherhood from avidya, from the slimy bottom   of spiritual apathy. We individuals, however   small may be our power and whatever corner of   the world we may belong to, have a claim upon     239         THE RELIGION OF MAN     us to add to the light of the consciousness that com-   prehends all humanity. And for this cause I ask   your co-operation, not only because co-operation   gives us strength in our work, but because co-   operation itself is the best aspect of the truth we   represent; it is an end and not merely the means.     Let us keep our faith firm in the objectivity of   the source of our spiritual ideal of unity, though   it cannot be proved by any mathematical logic. Let   us proclaim in our conduct that it has already been   given to us to be realized, like a song which has   only to be mastered and sung, like the morning   which has only to be welcomed by raising the   screens, opening the doors.     The idea of a millennium is treasured in our   ancient legends. The instinct cradled and nour-   ished in them has profound meaning. It is like   the instinct of a chick which dimly feels that an   infinite world of freedom is already given to it,   truer than the narrow fact of its immediate life   within the egg. An agnostic chick has the rational   right to doubt it, but at the same time it cannot   help pecking at its shell. The human soul, confined   in its limitation, has also dreamt of millennium,   and striven for a spiritual emancipation which   seems impossible of attainment, and yet it feels its   reverence for some ever-present source of inspira-   tion in which all its experience of the true, the   good and beautiful finds its reality.     And therefore it has been said by the Upani-   shad: "Thou must know that God pervades all   things that move and change in this moving world ;   find thy enjoyment in renunciation, covet not what   belongs to others."     240         APPENDICES     Ya eko varno bahudha saktiyogat   Varnan ariekan nihitartho dadhati.   Vichaiti chante visvamadau sa devah   Sa no buddhya subhaya samjrunaktu.     He who is one, and who dispenses the inherent   needs of all peoples and all times, who is in the   beginning and the end of all things, may he unite   us with the bond of truth, of common fellowship,   of righteousness.         241         INDEX         Ahwa Mazda, 76, 78, etc.     Aryan, 79     Aryans, 113     Atharva Veda, 42, 49, etc-,     Baiil, 1 6, 207, etc.   Bengal, 16, etc.   Bikrampur, 211   Bisha, 216     Brahma, 67, 68, etc., 113   Brahman, 203   Brahma Vidya, 9   Brahminhood, 90   Brindisi, 175   British, 168   Buddha, 67, 68, etc.   Buddhistic, 234     Calais, 175   Calcutta, 147   Chandidas, in   Chhaku Thakur, 211   China, 54> 87   Chinese, 134, 143     Dadu, 209   Drummond, Mrs., 8   Drummond, Dr. W., 8     Einstein, A., 221   Europe, 8   Eve, 36   Everest, Mount, 36         Gangaram, 220   Ganges, 109, 213   Gathas, 76     149 Geiger, Dr., 74   Gita, 8 1   Greece, 54   Guru, 215     Hibbert Lectures, 7, 225     Hindu, 168     Hindu Scripture, 64     India, 40, 54, etc., 158, etc.   Irani, D. J., 77, 78, etc,   Is ha, 22   Ishopanishat, 116     Japan, 35> *5O, 151   Jivan-Dcvata, 95   Judaea, 54, 83     Kabir, 184, 209, 228   Kalidasa, 164, 1 66   Karapan, 81   Kashi, 214   Kavi, 8 1   Kirtan, 138   Koran, 219   Ku-Klux-Klan, 58     Lao-Tze, 143, 152, 153, etc.         Mahatma, 143   Manchester College, 7         343         INDEX         Manu, 198   Martha, 176   Mary, 176   Maya, 139   Mecca, 214   Medina, 214   Mohammedan, 168   Monism, 228   Monistic Dualism, 228     Namasudra, 211   Nanak, 209, 228   Nanimata, 218   Nordic, 161     Orion, 46   Oxford, 7, 8     Pandit, 215   Parabrahman, 204   Paradise, 209   Peking, 134   Persia, 54, 81   Persian, 79   Pur anas, 214   Puritanism, 165   Purushah f 65   Purusha-sukta, 216   Pythagorean, 223     Raj jab, no, 209   Ravidas, 209, 228   Rishi, US         Robinson Crusoe, 172   Rome, 54, 58, 59> etc.     Samadhit 204     Sanskrit, 83, 202     Sati, 83     Self universal, 21     Semitic mythology, 36     Sen, Prof. Kshiti Mohan, 207     226     Sikhs, 209   Siva, 83     Tagore, Rabindranath, 218, 221   Tara, 182     Ujjaini, 166     Upanishad, 20, 120, 135, 144     Vaisnava, 103   Vedanta, 203   Vedic, 108   Victorian, 168   Visvabharati, 207, 226   Visvakarma, 67     Western, 189   Wordsworth, in     Tfajna, 81   Hoga, 65   Yoga Vasistha, 218     Zarathustra, 74, 76, etc.         244   

1 comment:

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