Bankim Tilak Dayananda by Shri Aurobindo

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Bankim Tilak Dayananda by Shri Aurobindo

  1. 1. TEXT FLY WITHINTHE BOOK ONLY
  2. 2. J< OU_1 58876 >[g
  3. 3. Publishers:SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAMPONDICHERRYAll rights reservedFirst Edition, November 1940Second Edition, March 1947Third Edition, January 1955SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM PRESSPONDICHERRYPRINTED IN INDIA1025/12/54/1500
  4. 4. CONTENTSPageL BANDE MATARAM .... iII. RISHI BANKIM CHANDRA . . .7III. BAL GANGADHAR TILAK ... 14IV. DAYANANDA(i) The Man and His Wosk .39xXii) Dayananda and the Veda .48V. THE MEN THAT PASS . . , 6r
  5. 5. PUBLISHERS NOTEOur acknowledgements are due to Messrs.Gancsh & Go, and to the Editor of theVcdic Magazine for permission to reprint theappreciation of Tilak, which was written as aforeword to the Speeches of Bal Gangadhar Tilakand the articles on Dayananda.
  6. 6. BANKIM-TILAK-DAYANANDA
  7. 7. BANDE MATARAM(Original Bengali in Devanagri Character)-^^ PtdII
  8. 8. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAgfir*TTfrf^TTff Hld<H II
  9. 9. BANDE MATARAM(Translation}Mother, I bow to thee!Rich with thy hurrying streams.Bright with thy orchard gleams.Cool with thy winds of delight,Dark fields waving. Mother of might,Mother free.Glory of moonlight dreams,Over thy branches and lordly streams,Clad in thy blossoming trees,Mother, giver of ease,Laughing low and sweet!Mother, I kiss thy feet,Speaker sweet and low!Mother, to thee I bow.Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands,When the swords flash out in twice seventymillion handsAnd seventy million voices roarThy dreadful name from shore to shore?With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
  10. 10. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDATo thee I call. Mother and Lord !Thou who savest, arise and save !To her I cry who ever her foemen draveBack from plain and seaAnd shook herself free.Thou art wisdom,, thou art law,Thou our heart, our soul, our breath,Thou the love divine, the aweIn our hearts that conquers death.Thine the strength that nerves the arm,Thine the beauty, thine the charm.Every image made divineIn our temples is but thine.Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,And the Muse a hundred-toned.Pure and perfect without peer,Mother, lend thine ear.Rich with thy hurrying streams,Bright with thy orchard gleams,Dark of hue, O candid-fairIn thy soul, with jewelled hairAnd thy glorious smile divine,Loveliest of all earthly lands.Showering,.wealth from well-stored hands !Mother, mother mine!Mother sweet, I bow to thee,Mother great and free !
  11. 11. BANDE MATARAM(Translation in prose*}I bow to thee. Mother,richly-watered, richly-fruited,cool with the winds of the south,dark with the crops of the harvests,the Mother!Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,her lands clothed beautifully with her treesin flowering bloom,sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,the Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss !Terrible with the clamorous shout ofseventy million throats,and the sharpness of swords raised in twiceseventy million hands.* TRANSLATORS NOTEIt is difficult to translate the National Anthem of Bengalinto verse in another language owing to its unique unionof sweetness, simple directness and high poetic force. Allattempts in this direction have been failures. In order,therefore, to bring the reader unacquainted with Bengalinearer to the exact force of the original, I give the translationin prose line by line.
  12. 12. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAWho sayeth to thee, Mother, that thou art weak?Holder of multitudinous strength,I bow to her who saves,to her who drives from her the armies of her foemen*the Mother!Thou art knowledge, thou art conduct,thou our heart, thou our soul,for thou art the life in our body.In the arm thou art might, O Mother,in the heart, O Mother, thou art love and faith,it is thy image we raise in every temple.For thou art Durga holding her ten weapons of war,Kamala at play in the lotusesand Speech, the goddess, giver of all lore,to thee I bow!I bow to thee, goddess of wealth,pure and peerless,richly-watered, richly-fruited,the Mother!I bow to thee, Mother,dark-hued, candid,sweetly smiling, jewelled and adorned,the holder of wealth, the lady of plenty,the Mother!Karmayogin2Qh November, 1909
  13. 13. RISHI BANKIM CHANDRATHERE are many who, lamenting the by-gone glories ofthis great and ancient nation, speak as if the Rishisof old, the inspired creators of thought and civilisation,were a miracle of our heroic age, not to be repeatedamong degenerate men and in our distressful present*This is an error and thrice an error. Ours is the eternalland, the eternal people, the eternal religion, whosestrength, greatness, holiness may be overclouded butnever, even for a moment, utterly cease. The hero, theRishi, the saint, are the natural fruits of our Indian soil;and there has been no age in which they have not beenborn. Among the Rishis of the later age we have at lastrealised that we must include the name of the man whogave us the reviving mantra which is creating a new India,the mantra Bande Mataram.The Rishi is different from the saint. His life maynot have been distinguished by superior holiness norhis character by an ideal beauty. He is not great bywhat he was himself but by what he has expressed.
  14. 14. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAA great and vivifying message had to be given to a na-tion or to humanity, and God has chosen this mouth onwhich to shape the words of the message. A momentousvision had to be revealed; and it is his eyes which theAlmighty first unseals. The message which he hasreceived, the vision which has been vouchsafed to him,he declares to the world with all the strength that is inhim, and in one supreme moment of inspiration ex-presses it in words which have merely to be uttered tostir mens inmost natures, clarify their minds, seizetheir hearts and impel them to things which would havebeen impossible to them in their ordinary moments.Those words are the mantra which he was bom to revealand of that mantra he is the seer.What is it for which we worship the name of Bankimtoday? what was his message to us or what the visionwhich he saw and has helped us to see? He was a greatpoet, a master of beautiful language and a creator offair and gracious dream-figures in the world of imagi-nation; but it is not as a poet, stylist or novelist thatBengal does honour to him today. It is probable thatthe literary critic of the future will reckon Kapalkundala,Bishabriksha zn&Krishnakanter Will as his artistic master-pieces, and speak with qualified praise ofDevi Ghaudhu-rani) Ananda Math, Krishnacharit or Dharmatattwa. Yetit is the Bankim of these latter works and not the Bankimof the great creative masterpieces who will rank among8
  15. 15. RISHI BANKIM CHANDRAthe Makers of Modern India. The earlier Bankim wasonly a poet and stylist the later Bankim was a seerand nation-builder.But even as a poet and stylist Bankim did a workof supreme national importance, not for the whole ofIndia, or only indirectly for the whole of India, butfor Bengal which was destined to lead India and be inthe vanguard of national development. No nation cangrow without finding a fit and satisfying medium ofexpression for the new self into which it is developingwithout a language which shall give permanent shapeto its thoughts and feelings and carry every new impulseswiftly and triumphantly into the consciousness of all.It was Bankims first great service to India that he gavethe race which stood in its vanguard such a perfect andsatisfying medium. He was blamed for corrupting thepurity of the Bengali tongue; but the pure Bengali of theold poets could have expressed nothing but a conser-vative and unprogressing Bengal. The race wasexpanding and changing, and it needed a means ofexpression capable of change and expansion. He wasblamed also for replacing the high literary Bengali of thePundits by a mixed popular tongue which was neitherthe learned language nor good vernacular. But theBengali of the Pundits would have crushed the growingrichness, variety and versatility of the Bengali geniusunder its stiff inflexible ponderousness. We needed a
  16. 16. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAtongue for other purposes than dignified treatises anderudite lucubrations. We needed a language which shouldcombine the strength, dignity or soft beauty of Sanskritwith the nerve and vigour of the vernacular, capableat one end of the utmost vernacular raciness and at theother of the most sonorous gravity. Bankim divinedour need and was inspired to meet it, he gave us ameans by which the soul of Bengal could express itselfto itself.As he had divined the linguistic need of his countrysfuture, so he divined also its political need. He, firstof our great publicists, understood the hollowness andinutility of the method of political agitation which pre-vailed in his time and exposed it with merciless satirein his Lokarahasya and Kamalakanter Daptar. But hewas not satisfied merely with destructive criticism,he had a positive vision of what was needed for thesalvation of the country. He saw that the force fromabove must be met by a mightier reacting force frombelow, the strength of repression by an insurgent na-tional strength. He bade us leave the canine methodof agitation for the leonine. The Mother of his visionheld trenchant steel in her twice seventy million handsand not the bowl of the mendicant. It was the gospelof fearless strength and force which he preached undera veil and in images in Ananda Math and Dm Chau-dhurani. And he had an inspired unerring vision of the10
  17. 17. RISHI BANKIM CHANDRAmoral strength which must be at the back of the outerforce. He perceived that the first element of the moralstrength mut be tydga> complete self-sacrifice for thecountry and complete self-devotion to the work ofliberation. His workers and fighters for the mother-land are political byragees who have no other thoughtthan their duty to her and have put all else behind themas less dear and less precious and only to be resumedwhen their work for her is done. Whoever loves selfor wife or child or goods more than his country is apoor and imperfect patriot; not by him shall the greatwork be accomplished. Again, he perceived that thesecond element of the moral strength needed must beself-discipline and organization. This truth he ex-pressed in the elaborate training of Devi Chaudhuranifor her work, in the strict rules of the Association of the"Ananda Math" and in the pictures of perfect organiza-tion which those books contain. Lastly, he perceived thatthe third element of moral strength must be the infusionof religious feeling into patriotic work. The religion ofpatriotism, this is the master idea of Bankings writings.It is already foreshadowed in Devi Chaudhurani. InDharmatattwa the idea and inKrishnacharit the picture ofa perfect and many-sided Karmayoga is sketched, thecrown of which shall be work for ones country and oneskind. In Ananda Math this idea is the keynote of thewhole book and received its perfect lyrical expression inII
  18. 18. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAthe great song which has become the national anthem ofUnited India. This is the second great service of Ban-kim to this country that he pointed out to it the way ofsalvation and gave it the religion of patriotism. Of thenew spirit which is leading the nation to resurgence andindependence,, he is the inspirer and political guru.The third and supreme service of Bankim to hisnation was that he gave us the vision of our Mother,The bare intellectual idea of the motherland is not initself a great driving force; the mere recognition of thedesirability of freedom is not an inspiring motive. Thereare few Indians at present, whether loyalist, moderateor nationalist in their political views, who do not recog-nise that the country has claims on them or that freedomin the abstract is a desirable thing. But most of us,when it is a question between the claims of the countryand other claims, do not in practice prefer the serviceof the country; and Awhile many may have the wish tosee freedom accomplished, few have the will to accom-plish it. There are other things which we hold dearerand which we fear to see imperilled either in the strugglefor freedom or by its accomplishment. It is not till theMotherland reveals herself to the eye of the mind assomething more than a stretch of earth or a mass ofindividuals, it is not till she takes shape as a great Divineand Maternal Power in a form of beauty that can domi-nate the mind and seize the heart that these petty fears12
  19. 19. RISHI BANKIM CHANDRAand hopes vanish in the all-absorbing passion for theMother and her service, and the patriotism that worksmiracles and saves a doomed nation is born. To somemen it is given to have that vision and reveal it to others.It was thirty-two years ago that Bankim wrote his greatsong and few listened; but in a sudden moment of awaken-ing from long delusions the people of Bengal looked roundfor the truth and in a fated moment somebody sangBande Mataram. The mantra had been given and in asingle day a whole people had been converted to thereligion of patriotism. The Mother had revealed herself.Once that vision has come to a people, there can be norest, no peace, no further slumber till the temple hasbeen made ready, the image installed and the sacrificeoffered. A great nation which has had that vision cannever again bend its neck in subjection to the yoke of aconqueror.Bandemataraml6th April, 1907
  20. 20. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKNEITHER Mr. Tilak nor his speeches really require anypresentation or foreword. His speeches are, like thefeatureless Brahman, self-luminous. Straightforward,lucid, never turning aside from the point which theymean to hammer in or wrapping it up in ornamentalverbiage, they read like a series of self-evident propo-sitions. And Mr. Tilak himself, his career, his placein Indian politics are also a self-evident proposition, aliard fact baffling and dismaying in the last degree tothose to whom his name has been anathema and hisincreasing pre-eminence figured as a portent of evil.The condition of things in India being given, the onepossible aim for political effort resulting and the solemeans and spirit by which it could be brought about,this man had to come and, once in the field, had to cometo the front. He could not but stand in the end wherehe stands today, as one of the two or three leaders ofthe Indian people who are in their eyes the incarnationsof the national endeavour and the God-given captains ofthe national aspiration. His life, his character, his workand endurance, his acceptance by the heart and the
  21. 21. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKmind of the people are a stronger argument than all thereasonings in his speeches, powerful as these are, forSwaraj, Self-government, Home Rule, by whatever namewe may call the sole possible present aim of our effort,the freedom of the life of India, its self-determinationby the people of India. Arguments and speeches do notwin liberty for a nation; but where there is a will in thenation to be free and a man to embody that will in everyaction of his life and to devote his days to its realisationin the face of every difficulty and every suffering, andwhere the will of the nation has once said, "This manand his life mean what I have in my heart and in mypurpose," that is a sure signpost of the future which noone has any excuse for mistaking.That indomitable will and that unwavering devotionhave been the whole meaning of Mr. Tilaks life; theyare the reason of his immense hold on the people. Forhe does not owe his pre-eminent position to any of thecauses which have usually made for political leading inIndia, wealth and great social position, professionalsuccess, recognition by Government, a power of fervidoratory or of fluent and taking speech; for he had noneof these things to help him. He owes it to himself aloneand to the thing his life has meant and because he hasmeant it with his whole mind and his whole soul. Hehas kept back nothing for himself or for other aims,but has given all himself to his country.
  22. 22. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAYet is Mr. Tilak a man of various and no ordinarygifts, and in several lines of life he might have achievedpresent distinction or a pre-eminent and enduring fame.Though he has never practised, he has a close knowledgeof law and an acute legal mind which, had he cared inthe least degree for wealth and worldly position, wouldhave brought him to the front at the bar. He is a greatSanskrit scholar, a powerful writer and a strong, subtleand lucid thinker. He might have filled a large placein the field of contemporary Asiatic scholarship. Evenas it is, his Orion and his Arctic Home have acquired atonce a worldwide recognition and left as strong a markas can at all be imprinted on the ever-shifting sands oforiental research. His work on the Gita, no mere com-mentary but an original criticism and presentation ofethical truth, is a monumental work, the first prosewriting of the front rank in weight and importance inthe Marathi language, and likely to become a classic.This one book sufficiently proves that had he devotedhis energies in this direction, he might easily have filleda large place in the history of Marathi literature and inthe history of ethical thought, so subtle and compre-hensive is its thinking, so great the perfection and satis-fying force of its style. But it was psychologicallyimpossible for Mr. Tilak to %devote his energies in anygreat degree to another action than the one life-missionfor which the Master of his works had chosen him. His16
  23. 23. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKpowerful literary gift has been given up to a journalisticwork, ephemeral as even the best journalistic work mustbe, but consistently brilliant, vigorous, politically educa-tive through decades, to an extent seldom matched andcertainly never surpassed. His scholastic labour hasbeen done almost by way of recreation. Nor can anythingbe more significant than the fact that the works whichhave brought him a fame other than that of the politicianand patriot, were done in periods of compulsory cessationfrom his life-work, planned and partly, if not wholly,executed during the imprisonments which could aloneenforce leisure upon this unresting worker for his country.Even these by-products of his genius have some referenceto the one passion of his life, the renewal, if not thesurpassing of the past greatness of the nation by thegreatness of its future. His Vedic researches seek to fixits pre-historic point of departure; the Gita-rahasyatakes the scripture which is perhaps the strongest andmost comprehensive production of Indian spiritualityand justifies to that spirituality, by its own authoritativeancient message, the sense of the importance of life, ofaction, of human existence, of mans labour for mankindwhich is indispensable to the idealism of the modernspirit.The landmarks of Mr. Tilaks life are landmarksalso in the history of his province and his country. Hisfirst great step associated him in a pioneer work whose
  24. 24. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAmotive was to educate the people for a new life underthe new conditions, on the one side a purely educationalmovement of which the fruit was the Ferguson College,fitly founding the reawakening of the country by aneffort of which co-operation in self-sacrifice was themoving spirit, on the other the initiation of the Kesarinewspaper, which since then has figured increasingly asthe characteristic and powerful expression of the politicalmind of Maharashtra. Mr. Tilaks career has countedthree periods each of which had an imprisonment for itsculminating point. His first imprisonment in the Kolha-pur case belongs to this first stage of self-developmentand development of the Mahratta country for new ideasand activities and for the national future.The second period brought in a wider conception anda profounder effort. For now it was to reawaken notonly the political mind, but the soul of the people bylinking its future to its past; it worked by a more strenuousand popular propaganda which reached its height in theorganization of the Shivaji and the Ganapati festivals.His separation from the social reform leader, Agarkar,had opened the way for the peculiar role which he hasplayed as a trusted and accredited leader of conservativeand religious India in the paths of democratic politics.It was this position which enabled him to effect theunion of the new political spirit with the tradition andsentiment of the historic past and of both with the18
  25. 25. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKineradicable religious temperament of the people ofwhich these festivals were the symbol. The Congressmovement was for a long time purely occidental in itsmind, character and methods, confined to the English-educated few, founded on the political rights and interestsof the people read in the light of English history andEuropean ideals, but with no roots either in the past ofthe country or in the inner spirit of the nation. Mr.Tilak was the first political leader to break through theroutine of its somewhat academical methods, to bridgethe gulf between the present and the past and to restorecontinuity to the political life of the nation. He developeda language and a spirit and he used methods whichindianised the movement and brought into it the masses.To his work of this period we owe that really living,strong and spontaneously organized movement in Maha-rashtra which has shown its energy and sincerity inmore than one crisis and struggle. This divination ofthe mind and spirit of his people and its needs and thispower to seize on the right way to call it forth provestrikingly the political genius of Mr. Tilak; they madehim the one man predestined to lead them in this tryingand difficult period when all has to be discovered andall has to be reconstructed. What was done then byMr. Tilak in Maharashtra has been initiated for all Indiaby the Swadeshi movement. To bring in the mass ofthe people, to found the greatness of the future on the
  26. 26. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAgreatness of the past, to infuse Indian politics with Indianreligious fervour and spirituality are the indispensableconditions for a great and powerful political awakeningin India. Others, writers, thinkers, spiritual leaders,had seen this truth. Mr. Tilak was the first to bring itinto the actual field of practical politics. This secondperiod of his labour for his country culminated in alonger and harsher imprisonment which was, as it were,the second seal of the divine hand upon his work; forthere can be no diviner seal than suffering for a cause.A third period, that of the Swadeshi movement,brought Mr. Tilak forward prominently as an All-Indialeader; it gave him at last the wider field, the greaterdriving power, the larger leverage he needed to bring hislife-work rapidly to a head, and not only in Maharashtrabut throughout the country. The incidents of that periodare too fresh in memory to need recalling. From theinception of the Boycott to the Surat catastrophe andhis last and longest imprisonment, which was its sequel,the name and work of Mr. Tilak are a part of Indianhistory. These three imprisonments, each showing moreclearly the moral stuff and quality of the man under thetest and the revealing glare of suffering, have been thethree seals of his career. The first found him one of asmall knot of pioneer workers; it marked him out to bethe strong and inflexible leader of a strong and sturdypeople. The second found him already the inspiring20
  27. 27. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKpower of a great reawakening of the Maratha spirit; itleft him an uncrowned king in the Deccan and gave himthat high reputation throughout India which was thefoundation-stone of his present commanding influence.The last found him the leader of an All-India party, theforemost exponent and head of a thorough-going Na-tionalism: it sent him back to be one of the two or threeforemost men of India adored and followed by the wholenation. He now stands in the last period of his life-longtoil for his country. It is one in which for the first timesome ray of immediate hope, some prospect of nearsuccess shines upon a cause which at one time seemeddestined to a long frustration and fulfilment only perhapsafter a century of labour, struggle and suffering.The qualities which have supported him and givenhim his hard-earned success, have been comparativelyrare in Indian politics. The first is his entirely represen-tative character as a born leader for the sub-nation towhich he belongs. India is a unity full of diversities andits strength as well as its weakness is rooted in thosediversities: the vigour of its national life can exist onlyby the vigour of its regional life. Therefore in politicsas in everything else a leader, to have a firm basis forhis life-work, must build it upon a living work andinfluence in his own sub-race or province. No man wasmore fitted to do this than Mr. Tilak. He is the verytype and incarnation of the Maratha character, the
  28. 28. BANKIA1 TILAK DAYANANDAMaratha qualities, the Maratha spirit, but with theunified solidityJin the character, the touch of genius inthe qualities, the vital force in the spirit which make agreat personality readily the representative man of hispeople. The Maratha race, as their soil and their historyhave made them, are a rugged, strong and sturdy people,democratic in their every fibre, keenly intelligent andpractical to the very marrow, following in ideas, evenin poetry, philosophy and religion the drive towardslife and action, capable of great fervour, feeling andenthusiasm, like all Indian peoples, but not emotionalidealists, having in their thought and speech always aturn for strength, sense, accuracy, lucidity and vigour,in learning and scholarship patient, industrious, careful,thorough and penetrating, in life simple, hardy andfrugal, in their temperament courageous, pugnacious,full of spirit, yet with a tact in dealing with hard factsand circumventing obstacles, shrewd yet aggressivediplomatists, born politicians, born fighters. All thisMr. Tilak is with a singular and eminent completeness,and all on a large scale, adding to it all a lucid simplicityof genius, a secret intensity, an inner strength of will,a single-mindedness in aim of quite extraordinary force,which remind one of the brightness, sharpness andperfect temper of a fine sword hidden in a sober scabbard.As he emerged on the political field, his people saw moreand more clearly in him their representative man, them-
  29. 29. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKselves in large, the genius of their type. They felt himto be of one spirit and make with the great men who hadmade their past history, almost believed him to be a re-incarnation of one of them returned to carry out his oldwork in a new form and under new conditions. Theybeheld in him the spirit of Maharashtra once again em-bodied in a great individual. He occupies a position inhis province which has no parallel in the rest of India.On the wider national field also Mr. Tilak has rarequalities which fit him for the hour and the work. He isin no sense what his enemies have called him, a dema-gogue: he has not the loose suppleness, the oratoricalfervour, the facile appeal to the passions which demagogyrequires; his speeches are too much made up of hardand straight thinking, he is too much a man of seriousand practical action. None more careless of mereeffervescence, emotional applause, popular gush, publicovations. He tolerates them since popular enthusiasmwill express itself in that way; but he has always beena little impatient of them as dissipative of serious strengthand will and a waste of time and energy which mightbetter have been solidified and devoted to effective work.But he is entirely a democratic politician, of a type notvery common among our leaders, one who can bothawaken the spirit of the mass and respond to their spirit,able to lead them, but also able to see where he mustfollow the lead of their predominant sense and will and23
  30. 30. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAfeelings. He moves among his followers as one of themin a perfect equality, simple and familiar in his dealingswith them by the very force of his temperament andcharacter, open, plain and direct and, though capableof great reserve in his speech, yet, wherever necessary,admitting them into his plans and ideas as one takingcounsel of them, taking their sense even while enforcingas much as possible his own view of policy and actionwith all the great strength of quiet will at his command.He has that closeness of spirit to the mass of men, thatunpretentious openness of intercourse with them, thatfaculty of plain and direct speech which interprets theirfeelings and shows them how to think out what theyfeel, which are pre-eminently the democratic qualities.For this reason he has always been able to unite allclasses of men behind him, to be the leader not only ofthe educated, but of the people, the merchant, the trader,the villager, the peasant. All Maharashtra understandshim when he speaks or writes; all Maharashtra is readyto follow him when he acts. Into his wider field in thetroubled Swadeshi times he carried the same qualitiesand the same power of democratic leadership.It is equally a mistake to think of Mr. Tilak as bynature a revolutionary leader; that is not his characteror his political temperament. The Indian peoplegenerally, with the possible exception of emotional andidealistic Bengal, have nothing or very little of the24
  31. 31. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKrevolutionary temper; they can be goaded to revolution,like any and every people on the face of the earth, butthey have no natural disposition towards it. They arecapable of large ideals and fervent enthusiasms, sensitivein feeling and liable to gusts of passionate revolt whichare easily appeased by even an appearance of concession;but naturally they are conservative in temperament anddeliberate in action. Mr. Tilak, though a strong-willedman and a fighter by nature, has this much of the ordinaryIndian temperament, that with a large mind open toprogressive ideas he unites a conservative temperamentstrongly in touch with the sense of his people. In a freeIndia he would probably have figured as an advancedLiberal statesman eager for national progress and great-ness, but as careful of every step as firm and decided init and always seeking to carry the conservative instinctof the nation with him in every change. He is besides aborn Parliamentarian, a leader for the assembly, thoughalways in touch with the people outside as the constantsource of the mandate and the final referee in differences.He loves a clear and fixed procedure which he can abideby and use, even while making the most of its details,of which the theory and practice would be alwaysat his finger-ends, to secure a practical advantage inthe struggle of parties. He always set a high value onthe Congress for this reason; he saw in it a centralisingbody, an instrument and a first, though yet shapeless,
  32. 32. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAessay at a popular assembly. Many after Surat spoke ofhim as the deliberate breaker of the Congress, but tono one was the catastrophe so great a blow as to Mr.Tilak. He did not love the do-nothingness of thatassembly, but he valued it both as a great national factand for its unrealised possibilities and hoped to makeit a central organization for practical work. To destroyan existing and useful institution was alien to his wayof seeing and would not have entered into his ideas orhis wishes.Moreover, though he has ideals, he is not an idealistby character. Once the ideal fixed, all the rest is forhim practical work, the facing of hard facts, thoughalso the overcoming of them when they stand in theway of the goal, the use of strong and effective meanswith the utmost care and prudence consistent with theprimary need of as rapid an effectivity as will and earnestaction can bring about. Though he can be obstinateand iron-willed when his mind is made up as to thenecessity of a course of action or the indispensablerecognition of a principle, he is always ready for a com-promise which will allow of getting real work done, andwill take willingly half a loaf rather than no bread, thoughalways with a full intention of getting the whole loaf ingood time. But he will not accept chaff or plaster inplace of good bread. Nor does he like to go too far aheadof possibilities, and indeed has often shown in this res-26
  33. 33. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKpect a caution highly disconcerting to the more im-patient of his followers. But neither would he mistake,like the born Moderate, the minimum effort and theminimum immediate aim for the utmost possibility ofthe moment. Such a man is no natural revolutionist,but a constitutionalist by temper, though always in suchtimes necessarily the leader of an advanced party orsection. A clear constitution he could use, amend andenlarge would have suited him much better than tobreak existing institutions and get a clear field for inno-vations which is the natural delight of the revolutionarytemperament.This character of Mr. Tilaks mind explains his atti-tude in social reform. He is no dogmatic reactionary.The Maratha people are incapable of either the un-reasoning or too reasoning rigid conservatism or of thefiery iconoclasm which can exist side by side, they areoften only two sides of the same temper of mind, inother parts of India. It is attached to its social institu-tions like all peoples who live close to the soil, but ithas always shown a readiness to adapt, loosen andaccommodate them in practice to the pressure of actualneeds. Mr. Tilak shares this general temperament andattitude of his people. But there have also been otherreasons which a strong political sense has dictated; andfirst, the clear perception that the political movementcould not afford to cut itself off from the great mass of
  34. 34. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAthe nation or split itself up into warring factions by apremature association of the social reform question withpolitics. The proper time for that, a politician wouldnaturally feel, is when the country has a free assemblyof its own which can consult the needs or carry out themandates of the people. Moreover, he has felt stronglythat political emancipation was the one pressing needfor the people of India and that all else not directlyconnected with it must take a second place; that hasbeen the principle of his own life and he has held thatit should be the principle of the national life at the presenthour. Let us have first liberty and the organised controlof the life of the nation, afterwards we can see how weshould use it in social matters; meanwhile let us moveon without noise and strife, only so far as actual needand advisability demand and the sense of the people isready to advance. This attitude may be right or wrong;but, Mr. Tilak being what he is and the nation beingwhat it is, he could take no other.If, then, Mr. Tilak has throughout his life been anexponent of the idea of radical change in politics andduring the Swadeshi agitation the head of a party whichcould be called extremist, it is due to that clear practicalsense, essential in a leader of political action, whichseizes at once on the main necessity and goes straightwithout hesitation or deviation to the indispensablemeans. There are always two classes of political mind:28
  35. 35. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKone is preoccupied with details for their own sake, revelsin the petty points of the moment and puts away into thebackground the great principles and the great necessities,the other sees rather these first and always and detailsonly in relation to them. The one type moves in a routinecircle which may or may not have an issue; it cannotsee the forest for the trees and it is only by an accidentthat it stumbles, if at all, on the way out. The other typetakes a mountain-top view of the goal and all the direc-tions and keeps that in its mental compass through allthe deflections, retardations and tortuosities which thecharacter of the intervening country may compel it toaccept; but these it abridges as much as possible. Theformer class arrogate the name of statesman in their ownday; it is to the latter that posterity concedes it and seesin them the true leaders of great movements. Mr. Tilak,like all men of pre-eminent political genius, belongs tothis second and greater order of mind.Moreover in India, owing to the divorce of politicalactivity from the actual government and administrationof the affairs of the country, an academical turn of thoughtis too common in our dealings with politics. But Mr.Tilak has never been an academical politician, a "stu-dent of politics" meddling with action; his turn hasalways been to see actualities and move forward in theirlight. It was impossible for him to view the facts andneeds of current Indian politics of the nineteenth century29
  36. 36. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAin the pure serene or the dim religious light of the Wite-nagemot and the Magna Charta and the constitutionalhistory of England during the past seven centuries, orto accept the academic sophism of a gradual preparationfor liberty, or merely to discuss isolated or omnibusgrievances and strive to enlighten the darkness of theofficial mind by luminous speeches and resolutions, aswas the general practice of Congress politics till 1905.A national agitation in the country which would makethe Congress movement a living and acting force wasalways his ideal, and what the Congress would not do,he, when still an isolated leader of a handful of enthu-siasts in a corner of the country, set out to do in his ownstrength and for his own hand. He saw from the firstthat for a people circumstanced like ours there couldbe only one political question and one aim, not thegradual improvement of the present administration intosomething in the end fundamentally the opposite ofitself, but the early substitution of Indian and nationalfor English and bureaucratic control in the affairs ofIndia. A subject nation does not prepare itself by gradualprogress for liberty; it opens by liberty its way to rapidprogress. The only progress that has to be made in thepreparation for liberty, is progress in the awakening ofthe national spirit and in the creation of the will to befree and the will to adopt the necessary means andbear the necessary sacrifices for liberty. It is these
  37. 37. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKclear perceptions that have regulated his political career.Therefore the whole of the first part of his politicallife was devoted to a vigorous and living propagandafor the reawakening and solidifying of the nationallife of Maharashtra. Therefore, too, when the Swadeshiagitation gave the first opportunity of a large movementin the same sense throughout India, he seized on it withavidity, while his past work in Maharashtra, his positionas the leader of a small advanced section in the old Con-gress politics and his character, sacrifices and sufferingsat once fixed the choice of the New Party on him as theirpredestined leader. The same master-idea made himseize on the four main points which the Bengal agitationhad thrown into some beginning of practical form, Swaraj,Swadeshi, National Education and Boycott, and for-mulate them into a definite programme, which he suc-ceeded in introducing among the resolutions of theCongress at the Calcutta session, much to the detrimentof the uniformity of sage and dignified impotence whichhad characterised the august, useful and calmly leisurelyproceedings of that temperate national body. We allknow the convulsion that followed the injection of thisforeign matter; but we must see why Mr. Tilak insistedon administering annually so potent a remedy. The fourresolutions were for him the first step towards shakingthe Congress out of its torpid tortoise-like gait andturning it into a living and acting body.
  38. 38. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDASwaraj, complete and early self-government in what-ever form, had the merit in his eyes of making definiteand near to the national vision the one thing needful,the one aim that mattered, the one essential change thatincludes all the others. No nation can develop a livingenthusiasm or accept great action and great sacrificesfor a goal that is lost to its eye in the mist of far-off cen-turies; it must see it near and distinct before it, magni-fied by a present hope, looming largely and actualised asa living aim whose early realisation only depends on agreat, sustained and sincere effort. National educationmeant for him the training of the young generation inthe new national spirit to be the architects of liberty,if that was delayed, the citizens of a free India whichhad rediscovered itself, if the preliminary conditionswere rapidly fulfilled. Swadeshi meant an actualising ofthe national self-consciousness and the national willand the readiness to sacrifice which would fix them inthe daily mind and daily life of the people. In Boycott,which was only a popular name for passive resistance,he saw the means to give to the struggle between thetwo ideas in conflict, bureaucratic control and nationalcontrol, a vigorous shape and body and to the popularside a weapon and an effective form of action. Himselfa man of organization and action, he knew well that byaction most, and not by thought and speech alone, canthe will of a people be vivified, trained and made solid
  39. 39. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKand enduring. To get a sustained authority from theCongress for a sustained effort in these four directionsseemed to him of capital importance; this was the reasonfor his inflexible insistence on their unchanged inclusionwhen the programme seemed to him to be in danger.Yet also, because he is a practical politician and a manof action, he has always, so long as the essentials weresafe, been ready to admit any change in name or form orany modification of programme or action dictated by thenecessities of the time. Thus during the movement of1905-1910 the Swadeshi leader and the Swadeshi partyinsisted on agitation in India and discouraged relianceon agitation in England, because the awaking and fixingof self-reliant national spirit and will in India was theone work for the hour and in England no party or bodyof opinion existed which would listen to the nationalclaim, nor could exist, as anybody with the least know-ledge of English politics could have told, until thatclaim had been unmistakably and insistently made andwas clearly supported by the fixed will of the nation.The Home Rule leader and the Home Rule party oftoday, which is only the "New Party" reborn with anew name, form and following, insist on the contrary onvigorous and speedy agitation in England, because theclaim and the will have both been partially, but notsufficiently recognised, and because a great and growingBritish party now exists which is ready to make the
  40. 40. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAIndian ideal part of its own programme. So, too, theyinsisted then on Swaraj and rejected with contempt allpetty botching with the administration, because so alonecould the real issue be made a living thing to the nation;now they accept readily enough a fairly advanced butstill half-and-half scheme, but always with the provisothat the popular principle receives substantial embodi-ment and the full ideal is included as an early goal andnot put off to a far-distant future. The leader of men inwar or politics will always distrust petty and episodicalgains which, while giving false hopes, are merely nominaland put off or even endanger the real issue, but will al-ways seize on any advantage which brings decisive victorydefinitely nearer. It is only the pure idealist, but letus remember that he too has his great and indispensableuses, who insists always on either all or nothing. Notrevolutionary methods or revolutionary idealism, butthe clear sight and the direct propaganda and action ofthe patriotic political leader insisting on the one thingneedful and the straight way to drive at it, have beenthe sense of Mr. Tilaks political career.The speeches in this book belong both to the Swadeshiand the Home Rule periods, but mostly to the latter.They show Mr. Tilaks mind and policy and voice withgreat force that will and political thought now dominantin the country which he has so prominently helped tocreate. Mr. Tilak has none of the gifts of the orator34
  41. 41. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKwhich many lesser men have possessed, but his forceof thought and personality make him in his own way apowerful speaker. He is at his best in his own Marathitongue rather than in English; for there he finds alwaysthe apt and telling phrase, the striking application, thevigorous figure which go straight home to the popularmind. But there is essentially the same power in both.His words have the directness and force no force canbe greater of a sincere and powerful mind always goingimmediately to the aim in view, the point before it,expressing it with a bare, concentrated economy of phraseand the insistence of the hammer full on the head ofthe nail which drives it in with a few blows. But thespeeches have to be read with his life, his character,his life-long aims as their surrounding atmosphere.That is why I have dwelt on their main points;not that all I have said is not well-known, but therepetition of known facts has its use when they areimportant and highly significant.Two facts of his life and character have to be insistedon as of special importance to the country because theygive a great example of two things in which its politicallife was long deficient and is even now not sufficient.First, the inflexible will of the patriot and man of sincereheart and thorough action which has been the very grainof his character: for aspirations, emotion, enthusiasm.are nothing without this; will alone creates and prevails.35
  42. 42. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAAnd wish and will are not the same thing, but dividedby a great gulf: the one, which is all most of us get to>is a puny, tepid and inefficient thing and, even when mostenthusiastic, easily discouraged and turned from itsobject; the other can be a giant to accomplish and endure.Secondly, the readiness to sacrifice and face suffering,not needlessly or with a useless bravado, but with afirm courage when it comes, to bear it and to outlive,returning to work with ones scars as if nothing hadhappened. No prominent man in India has sufferedmore for his country; none has taken his sacrifices andsufferings more quietly and as a matter of course.The first part of Mr. Tilaks life-work is accomplished.Two great opportunities have hastened its success, ofwhich he has taken full advantage. The lava-like floodof the Swadeshi movement fertilised the soil and didfor the country in six years the work of six ordinarydecades; it fixed the goal of freedom in the mind of thepeople. The sudden irruption of Mrs. Besant into thefield with her unequalled gift, born of her untiringenergy, her flaming enthusiasm, her magnificent andmagnetic personality, her spiritual force, for bringingan ideal into the stage of actuality with one rapid whirland rush, has been the second factor. Indeed the pre-sence of three such personalities as Mr. Tilak, Mrs. Besantand Mr. Gandhi at the head and in the heart of thepresent movement, should itself be a sure guarantee of
  43. 43. BAL GANGADHAR TILAKsuccess. The nation has accepted the near fulfilmentof his great aim as its own political aim, the one objectof its endeavour, its immediate ideal. The Governmentof India and the British nation have accepted completeself-government as their final goal in Indian adminis-tration; a powerful party in England, the party whichseems to command the future, has pronounced for itsmore speedy and total accomplishment. A handful ofdissentients there may be in the country who still see onlypetty gains in the present and the rest in the dim vistaof the centuries, but with this insignificant exception,all the Indian provinces and communities have spokenwith one voice. Mr. Tilaks principles of work havebeen accepted; the ideas which he had so much troubleto enforce have become the commonplaces and truismsof our political thought. The only question that re-mains is the rapidity of a now inevitable evolution. Thatis the hope for which Mr. Tilak still stands, a leader ofall India. Only when it is accomplished, will his life-work be done; not till then can he rest while he lives,even though age grows on him and infirmities gather,for his spirit will always remain fresh and vigorous,any more than a river can rest before the power of itswaters has found their goal and discharged them intothe sea. But whether that end, the end of a first stageof our new national life, the beginning of a greater Indiareborn for self-fulfilment and the service of humanity.
  44. 44. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAcome tomorrow or after a little delay, its accomplish-ment is now safe, and Mr. Tilaks name stands already forhistory as a nation-builder, one of the half-dozen greatestpolitical personalities, memorable figures, representativemen of the nation in this most critical period of Indiasdestinies, a name to be remembered gratefully solong as the country has pride in its past and hopefor its future.Introduction toSpeeches and Writings of Tilak1918
  45. 45. DAYANANDATHE MAN AND His WORKAMONG |the"ygreat company of remarkable figures thatwill appear to the eye of posterity at the head of theIndian Renascence, one stands out by himself withpeculiar and solitary distinctness, one unique in histype as he is unique in his work. It is as if one wereto walk for a long time amid a range of hills rising to agreater or lesser altitude, but all with sweeping contours,green-clad, flattering the eye even in their most boldand striking elevation. But amidst them all, one hillstands apart, piled up in sheer strength, a mass of bareand puissant granite, with verdure on its summit, asolitary pine jutting out into the blue, a great cascadeof pure, vigorous and fertilising water gushing out fromits strength as a very fountain of life and health to thevalley. Such is the impression created on my mind byDayananda.It was Kathiawar that gave birth to this puissantrenovator and new-creator. And something of the very39
  46. 46. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAsoul and temperament of that peculiar land entered intohis spirit, something of Girnar and the rocks and hills,something of the voice and puissance of the sea thatflings itself upon those coasts, something of thathumanity which seems to be made of the virgin and un-spoilt stuff of Nature, fair and robust in body, instinctwith a fresh and primal vigour, crude but in a developednature capable of becoming a great force of genialcreation.When I seek to give an account to myself of my senti-ment and put into precise form the impression I havereceived, I find myself starting from two great salientcharacteristics of this mans life and work which markhim off from his contemporaries and compeers. Othergreat Indians have helped to make India of today by aself-pouring into the psychological material of the race,a spiritual infusion of themselves into the fluent andindeterminate mass which will one day settle into con-sistency and appear as a great formal birth of Nature.They have entered in as a sort of leaven, a power ofunformed stir and ferment out of which forms mustresult. One remembers them as great souls and greatinfluences who live on in the soul of India. They are inus and we would not be what we are without them. Butof no precise form can we say that this was what the manmeant, still less that this form was the very body of thatspirit.
  47. 47. DAYANANDAThe example of Mahadev Govind Ranade presentsitself to my mind as the very type of this peculiar actionso necessary to a period of large and complex formation.If a foreigner were to ask us what this Mahratta econo-mist, reformer, patriot precisely did that we give him sohigh a place in our memory, we should find it a littledifficult to answer. We should have to point to thoseactivities of a mass of men in which his soul and thoughtwere present as a formless former of things, to the greatfigures of present-day Indian life who received the breathof his spirit. And in the end we should have to replyby a counter question, "What would Maharashtra oftoday have been without Mahadev Govind Ranade andwhat would India of today be without Maharashtra?"But even with those who were less amorphous anddiffusive in their pressure on men and things, even withworkers of a more distinct energy and action, I arrivefundamentally at the same impression. Vivekanandawas a soul of puissance if ever there was one, a verylion among men, but the definite work he has left behindis quite incommensurate with our impression of hiscreative might and energy. We perceive his influencestill working gigantically, we know not well how, weknow not well where, in something that is not yet formed,something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that hasentered the soul of India and we say, "Behold, Viveka-nanda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the41
  48. 48. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAsouls of her children." So it is with all. Not only arethe men greater than their definite works, but theirinfluence is so wide and formless that it has little rela-tion to any formal work that they have left behindthem.Very different was the manner of working of Daya-nanda. Here was one who did not infuse himself in-formally into the indeterminate soul ofthings, but stampedhis figure indelibly as in bronze on men and things.Here was one whose formal works are the very childrenof his spiritual body, children fair and robust and fullof vitality, the image of their creator. Here was onewho knew definitely and clearly the work he was sentto do, chose his materials, determined his conditionswith a sovereign clairvoyance of the spirit and executedhis conception with the puissant mastery of the bornworker. As I regard the figure of this formidable artisanin Gods workshop, images crowd on me which are all ofbattle and work and conquest and triumphant labour.Here, I say to myself, was a very soldier of Light, awarrior in Gods world, a sculptor of men and instituions,a bold and rugged victor of the difficulties which matterpresents to spirit. And the whole sums itself up to mein a powerful impression of spiritual practicality. Thecombination of these two words, usually so divorcedfrom each other in our conceptions, seems to me thevery definition of Dayananda.42
  49. 49. DAYANANDAEven if we leave out of account the actual nature ofthe work he did, the mere fact that he did it in this spiritand to this effect would give him a unique place amongour great founders. He brings back an old Aryan elementinto the national character. This element gives us thesecond of the differentiae I observe and it is the secretof the first. We others live in a stream of influences;we allow them to pour through us and mould us; thereis something shaped and out of it a modicum of workresults, the rest is spilt out again in a stream of influence.We are indeterminate in our lines, we accommodateourselves to circumstance and environment. Even whenwe would fain be militant and intransigent, we are reallyfluid and opportunist. Dayananda seized on all thatentered into him, held it in himself, masterfully shapedit there into the form that he saw to be right and threwit out again into the forms that he saw to be right. Thatwhich strikes us in him as militant and aggressive, wasa part of his strength of self-definition.He was not only plastic to the great hand of Nature,but asserted his own right and power to use Life andNature as plastic material. We can imagine his soulcrying still to us with our insufficient spring of manhoodand action, "Be not content, O Indian, only to be in-finitely and grow vaguely, but see what God intendsthee to be, determine in the light of His inspiration towhat thou shalt grow. Seeing, hew that out of thyself,43
  50. 50. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAhew that out of Life. Be a thinker, but be also a doer;be a soul, but be also a man; be a servant of God, butbe also a master of Nature !" For this was what hehimself was; a man with God in his soul, vision in hiseyes and power in his hands to hew out of life an imageaccording to his vision. Hew is the right word. Granitehimself, he smote out a shape of things with great blowsas in granite.In Dayanandas life we see always the puissant jetof this spiritual practicality. A spontaneous power anddecisiveness is stamped everywhere on his work. Andto begin with, what a master-glance of practical intuitionwas this to go back trenchantly to the very root of Indianlife and culture, to derive from the flower of its firstbirth the seed for a radical new birth! And what an actof grandiose intellectual courage to lay hold upon thisscripture defaced by ignorant comment and oblivionof its spirit, degraded by misunderstanding to the levelof an ancient document of barbarism, and to perceivein it its real worth as a scripture which conceals in itselfthe deep and energetic spirit of the forefathers who madethis country and nation, a scripture of divine knowledge,divine worship, divine action. I know not whetherDayanandas powerful and original commentary willbe widely accepted as the definite word on the Veda. Ithink myself some delicate work is still called for to bringout other aspects of this profound and astonishing Reve-44
  51. 51. DAYANANDAlation. But this matters little. The essential is that heseized justly on the Veda as Indias Rock of Ages andhad the daring conception to build on what his pene-trating glance perceived in it a whole education of youth,,a whole manhood and a whole nationhood. RammohanRoy, that other great soul and puissant worker who laidhis hand on Bengal and shook her to what mightyissues out of her long, indolent sleep by her rivers andrice-fields Rammohan Roy stopped short at the Upani-shands. Dayananda looked beyond and perceived thatour true original seed was the Veda. He had the nationalinstinct and he was able to make it luminous, anintuition in place of an instinct. Therefore the worksthat derive from him, however they depart from receivedtraditions, must needs be profoundly national.To be national is not to stand still. Rather, to seizeon a vital thing out of the past and throw it into thestream of modern life, is really the most powerful meansof renovation and new-creation. Dayanandas work bringsback such a principle and spirit of the past to vivify amodern mould. And observe that in the work as in thelife it is the past caught in the first jet of its virgin vigour,pure from its sources, near to its root principle andtherefore to something eternal and always renewable.And in the work as in the man we find that facultyof spontaneous definite labour and vigorous formationwhich proceeds from an inner principle of perfect clear-45
  52. 52. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAness, truth and sincerity. To be clear in ones own mind,entirely true and plain with ones self and with others,wholly honest with the conditions and materials of oneslabour, is a rare gift in our crooked, complex and falteringhumanity. It is the spirit of the Aryan worker and asure secret of vigorous success. For always Nature re-cognises a clear, honest and recognisable knock at herdoors and gives the result with an answering scrupulosityand diligence. And it is good that the spirit of the Mastershould leave its trace in his followers, that somewherein India there should be a body of whom it can be saidthat when a work is seen to be necessary and right, themen will be forthcoming, the means forthcoming andthat work will surely be done.Truth seems a simple thing and is yet most difficult.Truth was the master-word of the Vedic teaching, truthin the soul, truth in vision, truth in the intention, truthin the act. Practical truth, drjava^ an inner candour anda strong sincerity, clearness and open honour in theword and deed, was the temperament of the old Aryanmorals. It is the secret of a pure unspoilt energy, thesign that a man has not travelled far from Nature. It isthe bardexter of the son of Heaven, Divasputra. Thiswas the stamp that Dayananda left behind him and itshould be the mark and effigy of himself by which theparentageof his work can be recognised. May his spiritact in India pure, unspoilt, unmodified and help to give46
  53. 53. DAYANANDAus back that of which our life stands especially in need,pure energy, high clearness, the penetrating eye, themasterful hand, the noble and dominant sincerity.Vedic Magaaine, 191547
  54. 54. IIDAYANANDA AND THE VEDADAYANANDA accepted the Veda as his rock of firm founda-tion, he took it for his guiding view of life, his rule ofinner existence and his inspiration for external work,but he regarded it as even more, the word of eternalTruth on which mans knowledge of God and his relationswith the Divine Being and with his fellows can be rightlyand securely founded. This everlasting rock of theVeda, many assert, has no existence, there is nothingthere but the commonest mud and sand; it is only ahymnal of primitive barbarians, only a rude worshipof personified natural phenomena, or even less than that,a liturgy of ceremonial sacrifice, half religion, half magic,by which superstitious animal men of yore hoped to getthemselves gold and food and cattle, slaughter pitilesslytheir enemies, protect themselves from disease, calamityand demoniac influences and enjoy the coarse pleasuresof a material Paradise. To that we must add a thirdview, the orthodox, or at least that which arises fromSayanas commentary; this view admits, practically,48
  55. 55. DAYANANDAthe ignobler interpretation of the substance of Veda andyet or is it therefore? exalts this primitive farragoas a holy Scripture and a Book of Sacred Works.Now this matter is no mere scholastic question, buthas a living importance, not only for a just estimate ofDayanandas work but for our consciousness of our pastand for the determination of the influences that shallmould our future. A nation grows into what it shall beby the force of that which it was in the past and is inthe present, and in this growth there come periods ofconscious and subconscious stock-taking when the na-tional soul selects, modifies, rejects, keeps out of all thatit had or is acquiring whatever it needs as substanceand capital for its growth and action in the future: insuch a period of stock-taking we are still and Dayanandawas one of its great and formative spirits. But among allthe materials of our past the Veda is the most venerableand has been directly and indirectly the most potent.Even when its sense was no longer understood, evenwhen its traditions were lost behind Pauranic forms, itwas still held in honour, though without knowledge, asauthoritative revelation and inspired Book of Knowledge,the source of all sanctions and standard of all truth.But there has always been this double and incompatibletradition about the Veda that it is a book of ritual andmythology and that it is a book of divine knowledge.The Brahmanas seized on the one tradition, the Upani-49
  56. 56. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAshads on the otheif Later, the learned took the hymnsfor a book essentially of ritual and works, they wentelsewhere for pure knowledge; but the instinct of therace bowed down before it with an obstinate inarticulatememory of a loftier tradition. And when in our agethe Veda was brought out of its obscure security behindthe purdah of a reverential neglect, the same phenomenonreappears. While Western scholarship extending thehints of Sayana seemed to have classed it for ever as aritual liturgy to Nature-Gods, the genius of the racelooking through the eyes of Dayananda pierced behindthe error of many centuries and received again theintuition of a timeless revelation and a divine truthgiven to humanity.-fin any case, we have to make onechoice or another. We can no longer securely enshrinethe Veda wrapped up in the folds of an ignorant reverenceor guarded by a pious self-deceit. Either the Veda iswhat Sayana says it is, and then we have to leave it behindfor ever as the document of a mythology and ritual whichhave no longer any living truth or force for thinkingminds, or it is what the European scholars say it is, andthen we have to put it away among the relics of the pastas an antique record of semi-barbarous worship; or elseit is indeed Veda, a book of divine knowledge, and thenit becomes of supreme importance to us to know and tohear its message.It is objected to the sense Dayananda gave to the
  57. 57. DAYANANDAVeda that it is no true sense but an arbitrary fabricationof imaginative learning and ingenuity, to his methodthat it is fantastic and unacceptable to the critical reason,to his teaching of a revealed Scripture that the veryidea is a rejected superstition impossible for any en-lightened mind to admit or to announce sincerely. Iwill not now examine the solidity of Dayanandas inter-pretation of Vedic texts, nor anticipate the verdict ofthe future on his commentary, nor discuss his theory ofrevelation. I shall only state the broad principles under-lying his thought about the Veda as they present them-selves to me. For in the action and thought of a greatsoul or a great personality the vital thing to my mind isnot the form he gave to it, but in his action the helpfulpower he put forth and in his thought the helpful truthhe has added or, it may be, restored to the yet all tooscanty stock of our human acquisition and divinepotentiality.To start with the negation of his work by his critics,in whose mouth does it lie to accuse Dayanandas dealingswith the Veda of a fantastic or arbitrary ingenuity? Notin the mouth of those who accept Sayanas traditionalinterpretation^ For if ever there was a monument ofarbitrarily erudite ingenuity, of great learning divorced,as great learning too often is, from sound judgment andsure taste and a faithful, critical and comparative obser-vation, from direct seeing and often even from plainest
  58. 58. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAcommonsense or of a constant fitting of the text into theProcrustean bed of preconceived theory, it is surely thiscommentary, otherwise so imposing, so useful as firstcrude material, so erudite and laborious, left to us by theAcharya Sayana. Nor does the reproach lie in the mouthof those who take as final the recent labours of Europeanscholarship. For if ever there was a toil of interpretationin which the loosest rein has been given to an ingeniousspeculation, in which doubtful indications have beensnatched at as certain proofs, in which the boldest con-clusions have been insisted upon with the scantiestjustification, the most enormous difficulties ignored andpreconceived prejudice maintained in face of the clearand often admitted suggestions of the text, it issurelythis labour, so eminently respectable otherwisefor its industry, good will and power of research,performed through a long century by European Vedicscholarship.What is the main positive issue in this matter? Aninterpretation of Veda must stand or fall by its centralconception of the Vedic religion and the amount of sup-port given to it by the intrinsic evidence of the Vedaitself. Here Dayanandas view is quite clear, its founda-tion inexpugnable. The Vedic hymns are chanted to theOne Deity under many names, names which are usedand even designed to express His qualities and powers.Was this conception of Dayanandas an arbitrary conceit
  59. 59. DAYANANDAfetched out of his own too ingenious imagination? Notat all; it is the explicit statement of the Veda itself: "Oneexistent, sages" not the ignorant, mind you, but theseers, the men of knowledge, "speak of in many ways,as Indra, as Yama, as Matariswan, as Agni". The VedicRishis ought surely to have known something abouttheir own religion, more, let us hope, than Roth or MaxMuller, and this is what they knew.*}We are aware how modern scholars twist away fromthe evidence. This hymn, they say, was a late production,this loftier idea which it expresses with so clear a forcerose up somehow in the later Aryan mind or was borrowedby those ignorant fire-worshippers, sun-worshippers,sky-worshippers from their cultured and philosophicDravidian enemies. But throughout the Veda we haveconfirmatory hymns and expressions: Agni or Indra oranother is expressly hymned as one with all the othergods. Agni contains all other divine powers within him-self, the Maruts are described as all the gods, one deityis addressed by the names of others as well as his own,or, most commonly, he is given as Lord and King ofthe universe attributes only appropriate to the SupremeDeity. Ah, but that cannot mean, ought not to mean,must not mean, the worship of One; let us invent a newword, call it henotheism and suppose that the Rishisdid not really believe Indra or Agni to be the SupremeDeity but treated any god or every god as such for the53
  60. 60. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAnonce, perhaps that he might feel the more flattered andlend a more gracious ear for so hyperbolic a compliment!But why should not the foundation of Vedic thought benatural monotheism rather than this new-fangled mon-strosity of henotheism? Well., because primitive bar-barians could not possibly have risen to such high con-ceptions and., if you allow them to have so risen, youimperil our theory of the evolutionary stages of thehuman development and you destroy our whole ideaabout the sense of the Vedic hymns and their place inthe history of mankind. Truth must hide herself, com-monsense disappear from the field so that a theory mayflourish! I ask, in this point, and it is the fundamentalpoint, who deals most straightforwardly with the text,Dayananda or the Western scholars?But if this fundamental point of Dayanandas is granted,if the character given by the Vedic Rishis themselves totheir gods is admitted, we are bound, whenever thehymns speak of Agni or another, to see behind thatname present always to the thought of the Rishi theone Supreme Deity or else one of His powers with itsattendant qualities or workings. Immediately the wholecharacter of the Veda is fixed in the sense Dayanandagave to it; the merely ritual, mythological, polytheisticinterpretation of Sayana collapses, the merely meteoro-logical and naturalistic European interpretation collapses.We have instead a real Scripture, one of the worlds54
  61. 61. DAYANANDAsacred books and the divine word of a lofty and noblereligion.All the rest of Dayanandas theory arises logically outof this fundamental conception. If the names of thegodheads express qualities of the one Godhead and itis these which the Rishis adored and towards which theydirected their aspiration, then there must inevitably bein the Veda a large part of psychology of the DivineNature, psychology of the relations of man with Godand a constant indication of the law governing mansGodward conduct. Dayananda asserts the presence ofsuch an ethical element, he finds in the Veda the law oflife given by God to the human being. And if the Vedicgodheads express the powers of a supreme Deity who isCreator, Ruler and Father of the universe, then theremust inevitably be in the Veda a large part of cosmology,the law of creation and of cosmos. Dayananda assertsthe presence of such a cosmic element, he finds in theVeda the secrets of creation and law of Nature by whichthe Omniscient governs the world.Neither Western scholarship nor ritualistic learninghas succeeded in eliminating the psychological andethical value of the hymns, but they have both tended indifferent degrees to minimise it. Western scholarsminimise because they feel uneasy whenever ideas thatare not primitive seem to insist on their presence in theseprimeval utterances; they do not hesitate openly to55
  62. 62. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAabandon in certain passages interpretations which theyadopt in others and which are admittedly necessitatedby their own philological and critical reasoning because,if admitted always, they would often involve deep andsubtle psychological conceptions which cannot haveoccurred to primitive minds! Sayana minimises becausehis theory of Vedic discipline was not ethical righteous-ness with a moral and spiritual result but mechanicalperformance of ritual with a material reward. But, inspite of these efforts of suppression, the lofty ideas of theVedas still reveal themselves in strange contrast to itsalleged burden of fantastic naturalism or dull ritualism.The Vedic godheads are constantly hymned as Mastersof Wisdom, Power, Purity, purifiers, healers of griefand evil, destroyers of sin and falsehood, warriors for thetruth; constantly the Rishis pray to them for healing andpurification, to be made seers of knowledge, possessorsof the truth, to be upheld in the divine law, to be assistedand armed with strength, manhood and energy. Daya-nanda has brought this idea of the divine right and truthinto the Veda; the Veda is as much and more a book ofdivine Law as Hebrew Bible or Zoroastrian Avesta.The cosmic element is not less conspicuous in theVeda; the Rishis speak always of the worlds, the firmlaws that govern them, the divine workings in the cosmos.But Dayananda goes farther; he affirms that the truthsof modern physical science are discoverable in the hymns.
  63. 63. DAYANANDAHere we have the sole point of fundamental principleabout which there can be any justifiable misgivings. Iconfess my incompetence to advance any settled opinionin the matter. But this much needs to be said that hisidea is increasingly supported by the recent trend ofour knowledge about the ancient world. The ancientcivilisations did possess secrets of science some of whichmodern knowledge has recovered, extended and mademore rich and precise but others are even now not re-covered. There is then nothing fantastic in Dayanandasidea that Veda contains truth of science as well as truthof religion. I will even add my own conviction thatVeda contains other truths of a science the modernworld does not at all possess, and in that case Dayanandahas rather understated than overstated the depth andrange of the Vedic wisdom.Objection has also been made to the philological andetymological method by which he arrived at his results,especially in his dealings with the names of the godheads.But this objection, I feel certain, is an error due to ourintroduction of modern ideas about language into ourstudy of this ancient tongue. We moderns use words ascounters without any memory or appreciation of theiroriginal sense; when we speak we think of the objectspoken of, not at all of the expressive word which is tous a dead and brute thing, mere coin of verbal currencywith no value of its own. In early language the word57
  64. 64. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAwas on the contrary a living thing with essential powersof signification; its root meanings were rememberedbecause they were still in use, its wealth of force wasvividly present to the mind of the speaker. We say"wolf" and think only of the animal, any other soundwould have served our purpose as well, given the con-vention of its usage; the ancients said "tearer" and hadthat significance present to them. We say "agni" andthink of fire, the word is of no other use to us; to theancients "agni" means other things besides and onlybecause of one or more of its root meanings was appliedto the physical object fire. Our words are carefullylimited to one or two senses, theirs were capable of a greatnumber and it was quite easy for them, if they so chose,to use a word like Agni, Varuna or Vayu as a sound-index of a great number of connected and complex ideas,a key-word. It cannot be doubted that the Vedic Rishisdid take advantage of this greater potentiality of theirlanguage, note their dealings with such words as gauand chandra. The Nirukta bears evidence to this capacityand in the Brahmanas and Upanishads we find thememory of this free and symbolic use of words stillsubsisting.Certainly, Dayananda had not the advantage that acomparative study of languages gives to the Europeanscholar. There are defects in the ancient Nirukta whichthe new learning, though itself sadly defective, still helps
  65. 65. DAYANANDAus to fill in and in future we shall have to use both sourcesof light for the elucidation of Veda. Still this only affectsmatters of detail and does not touch the fundamentalprinciples of Dayanandas interpretation. Interpretationin detail is a work of intelligence and scholarship and inmatters of intelligent opinion and scholarship men seemlikely to differ to the end of the chapter, but in all thebasic principles,, in those great and fundamental decisionswhere the eye of intuition has to aid the workings ofthe intellect, Dayananda stands justified by the substanceof Veda itself, by logic and reason and by our growingknowledge of the past of mankind. The Veda does hymnthe one Deity of many names and powers; it does celebratethe divine Law and mans aspiration to fulfil it; it doespurport to give us the law of the cosmos.On the question of revelation I have left myself nospace to write. Suffice it to say that here too Dayanandawas perfectly logical and it is quite grotesque to chargehim with insincerity because he held to and proclaimedthe doctrine. There are always three fundamental entitieswhich we have to admit and whose relations we have toknow if we would understand existence at all, God,Nature and the Soul. If, as Dayananda held on strongenough grounds, the Veda reveals to us God, revealsto us the law of Nature, reveals to us the relations of thesoul to God and Nature, what is it but a revelation ofdivine Truth? And if, as Dayananda held, it reveals59
  66. 66. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAthem to us with a perfect truth, flawlessly, he might wellhold it for an infallible Scripture. The rest is a questionof the method of revelation, of the divine dealingswith our race, of mans psychology and possibilities.Modern thought, affirming Nature and Law but denyingGod, denied also the possibility of revelation; but soalso has it denied many things which a more modernthought is very busy reaffirming. We cannot demand ofa great mind that it shall make itself a slave to vulgarlyreceived opinion or the transient dogmas of the hour;the very essence of its greatness is this, that it looksbeyond, that it sees deeper.In the matter of Vedic interpretation I am convincedthat whatever may be the final complete interpretation,Dayananda will be honoured as the first discoverer ofthe right clues. Amidst the chaos and obscurity of oldignorance and age-long misunderstanding his was theeye of direct vision that pierced to the truth and fastenedon that which was essential. He has found the keys ofthe doors that time had closed and rent asunder the sealsof the imprisoned fountains.Vedic Magazine, 1916
  67. 67. THE MEN THAT PASSROMESH CHANDRA DUTT is dead. After a long life ofthe most manifold and untiring energy, famous, honoured,advanced in years, with a name known in England aswell as in India, the man always successful, alwaysfavoured of Fortune, always striving to deserve her byskill and diligence, type of a race that passes, of a genera-tion that to younger minds is fast losing the appearanceof reality and possibility, has passed away at the heightand summit of his career before his great capacitiescould justify themselves to the full in his new station,but also before the defects of his type could be thoroughlysubjected to the severe ordeal of the times that havecome upon us. The landmarks of the past fall one byone and none rise in their place. The few great survivorshere and there become more and more dignified monu-ments of the last century and less and less creators ofthe living present. New ideals, new problems, new men,almost a new race wholly different in mind, character,temperament, feeling, rise swiftly and wait tillthey canopen the gates of the future and occupy the field of action.The official, the liberal Congress politician, the well-read litterateur, the Oriental scholar, the journalist61
  68. 68. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAproficient in English and fluent of Western ideas, theprofessional man successful and sleek, these were theforemost men of the old generation,, those who were inthe eyes of all sreshtha, the best, in whose footsteps,therefore, all strove to follow and on whose pattern allformed themselves. An active, self-confident, voicefulgeneration making up by these qualities for the lack ofheight, depth and breadth in their culture and atoning forthe unoriginal imitativeness to which they were doomedby the fidelity in detail and framework of the imitation!In all but one of these lines of activity Romesh Dutt hadachieved a high distinction among the men of his owngeneration, and we doubt whether another man couldbe pointed out among them so many-sided, so full ofstrength and hope and energy, so confident, so uniformlysuccessful. Nature was liberal to him of her gifts, Fortuneof her favours. A splendid physique, robust and massive,equipped him to bear the strain of an unceasing activity:a nature buoyant, sanguine, strong, as healthy as hisframe, armed him against the shocks of life and com-manded success by insisting upon it; an egoism naturalto such a robust vitality seized on all things as its pro-vender and enabled its possessor thoroughly to enjoythe good things of life which it successfully demanded;a great tact and savoir faire steered him clear of un-necessary friction and avoidable difficulties; an unrivalledquickness of grasp, absorption and assimilation, more62
  69. 69. THE MEN THAT PASSfacile than subtle or deep, helped him to make hisown all that he heard or read; a rapid though not ingeniousbrain showed him how to use his material with the besteffect and most practical utility; and a facile pen andspeech which never paused for a thought or a word, couldalways be trusted to clothe what he wished to conveyin a form respectable and effective and so well put as toconceal the absence of native literary faculty and intellec-tual distinction. These were Natures presents to himat his birth. Fortune placed him in a wealthy, well-readand well-known family, gave him the best advantages ofeducation the times could afford, sent him to Englandand opened the doors of the Civil Service, thepinnacle of the young Indians aspiration in his days,and crowned him with the highest prizes that that highestof careers could yield to a man of his hue and blood.It is characteristic of his career that he should have diedas Prime Minister of the Indian State which has beenmost successful in reproducing and improving uponthe Anglo-Indian model of administration.There were limits, as we have hinted, to the liberalityof Nature. Of all the great Bengalis of his time RomeshDutt was perhaps the least original. His administrativefaculties were of the second order, not of the first; thoughhe stood for a time foremost among the most active ofCongress politicians and controversialists, he was neithera Ranade nor a Surendranath, had neither the gift of
  70. 70. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAthe organiser and political thinker nor the gift of theorator; he had literary talent of an imitative kind butno literary genius; he wrote well on scholastic subjectsand translated pleasantly and effectively, but was nogreat Sanskrit scholar: he cannot rank with Ranade oreven with Gokhale as an economist., and yet his are themost politically effective contributions to economicliterature in India that recent years have produced. Itmust be admitted that his activity and dexterity of workwere far in excess of his literary ability or scholasticconscientiousness. It is doubtful, therefore, whether anyof his voluminous works in many kinds will be remem-bered, with the possible though not very certain exceptionof his Bengali historical novels in which he touched hiscreative highwater mark. His translation of the Rigvedaby its ease and crispness blinds the uninitiated readerto the fact that it may be a very pretty translation butit is not the Veda. His history of ancient Indian civilisa-tion is a masterly compilation, void of original research,which is rapidly growing antiquated. In fact, the oneart he possessed in the highest degree and in whichalone it can be said that he did not only well but best,was the art of the journalist and pamphleteer. Originalityand deep thought are not required of a journalist, nordelicacy, nor subtlety; his success would be limitedrather than assisted by such qualities. To seize victo-riously on the available materials, catch in them what64
  71. 71. THE MEN THAT PASSwill be interesting and effective and put it brightly andclearly, this is the dharma of the journalist, and, if weadd the power of making the most of a case and enforcinga given view with irresistible energy, dexterity andapparent unanswerableness, we shall have added allthat is necessary to turn the journalist into the pamphle-teer. No man of our time has had these gifts to the sameextent as Romesh Dutt. The best things he ever didwere, in our view, his letters to Lord Curzon and hisEconomic History. The former fixed public opinion inIndia irretrievably and nobody cared even to considerLord Curzons answer. "That settles it" was the generalfeeling every ordinary reader contracted for good afterreading this brilliant and telling indictment. Withoutthe Economic History and its damning story of Englandscommercial and fiscal dealings with India we doubtwhether the public mind would have been ready for theBoycott. In this one instance it may be said of him thathe not only wrote history but created it. But all hisworks, with the exception of the historical novels, wererather pieces of successful journalism than literature.Still, even where it was most defective, his work wasalways useful to the world. For instance, his Ramayanaand Mahabharata, though they are poor and common-place poetry and do unpardonable violence to the spiritof the original, yet familiarised the average reader inEngland with the stories of the epics and thus made the
  72. 72. BANKIM TILAK DAYANANDAway easy for future interpreters of the East to the West.In brief., this may be said in unstinted praise of RomeshDutt, that he was a gigantic worker and did an immenseamount of pioneer spadework by which the future willbenefit.We have dwelt on this interesting and vigorous perso-nality as one of the most typical of the men that pass,much more typical than greater or more original contem-poraries. The work they did is over and the qualitieswith which they were equipped for that work will nolonger sufficiently serve our purpose. An education atonce more subtle and more massive, a greater originality,force and range of intellectual activity, an insatiablethirst for knowledge, the glut of a giant for work andaction, mighty qualities of soul, a superhuman courage,self-abnegation and power to embrace and practisealmost impossible ideals, these are the virtues and giftsIndia demands from the greatest among her sons in thefuture so that they may be sufficient to her work andher destinies. But such gifts as Romesh Dutt possessedare not to be despised. Especially did his untiringcapacity for work and his joyous vitality and indestructiblebuoyancy make him a towering reproach to the indolent,listless, sneering and anaemic generation that intervenedbetween him and the recent renascence.Karmayogin 4th December^ 190966

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