Message of 15th August

 

August 15th is the birthday of free India. It marks for her the

end of an old era, the beginning of a new age. But it has a

significance not only for us, but for Asia and the whole world;

for it signifies the entry into the comity of nations of a new

power with untold potentialities which has a great part to play

in determining the political, social, cultural and spiritual future

of humanity. To me personally it must naturally be gratifying

that this date which was notable only for me because it was my

own birthday celebrated annually by those who have accepted

my gospel of life, should have acquired this vast significance.

As a mystic, I take this identification, not as a coincidence or

fortuitous accident, but as a sanction and seal of the Divine

Power which guides my steps on the work with which I began

life. Indeed almost all the world movements which I hoped to

see fulfilled in my lifetime, though at that time they looked like

impossible dreams, I can observe on this day either approaching

fruition or initiated and on the way to their achievement.

I have been asked for a message on this great occasion, but

I am perhaps hardly in a position to give one. All I can do is to

make a personal declaration of the aims and ideals conceived in

my childhood and youth and now watched in their beginning

of fulfilment, because they are relevant to the freedom of India,

since they are a part of what I believe to be India’s future work,

something in which she cannot but take a leading position. For

I have always held and said that India was arising, not to serve

her own material interests only, to achieve expansion, greatness,

power and prosperity,—though these too she must not neglect,

—and certainly not like others to acquire domination of other

peoples, but to live also for God and the world as a helper and

leader of the whole human race. Those aims and ideals were

in their natural order these: a revolution which would achieve

India’s freedom and her unity; the resurgence and liberation of

Asia and her return to the great role which she had played in

the progress of human civilisation; the rise of a new, a greater,

brighter and nobler life for mankind which for its entire realisation

would rest outwardly on an international unification of the

separate existence of the peoples, preserving and securing their

national life but drawing them together into an overriding and

consummating oneness; the gift by India of her spiritual knowledge

and her means for the spiritualisation of life to the whole

race; finally, a new step in the evolution which, by uplifting the

consciousness to a higher level, would begin the solution of the

many problems of existence which have perplexed and vexed

humanity, since men began to think and to dream of individual

perfection and a perfect society.

India is free but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured

and broken freedom. At one time it almost seemed as if she

might relapse into the chaos of separate States which preceded

the British conquest. Fortunately there has now developed a

strong possibility that this disastrous relapse will be avoided.

The wisely drastic policy of the Constituent Assembly makes it

possible that the problem of the depressed classes will be solved

without schism or fissure. But the old communal division into

Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of

a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped

that the Congress and the nation will not accept the settled

fact as for ever settled or as anything more than a temporary

expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even

crippled: civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a

new invasion and foreign conquest. The partition of the country

must go,—it is to be hoped by a slackening of tension, by a

progressive understanding of the need of peace and concord, by

the constant necessity of common and concerted action, even of

an instrument of union for that purpose. In this way unity may

come about under whatever form—the exact form may have a

pragmatic but not a fundamental importance. But by whatever

means, the division must and will go. For without it the destiny

of India might be seriously impaired and even frustrated. But

that must not be.

Asia has arisen and large parts of it have been liberated or

are at this moment being liberated; its other still subject parts

are moving through whatever struggles towards freedom. Only

a little has to be done and that will be done today or tomorrow.

There India has her part to play and has begun to play it with

an energy and ability which already indicate the measure of her

possibilities and the place she can take in the council of the

nations.

The unification of mankind is under way, though only in an

imperfect initiative, organised but struggling against tremendous

difficulties. But the momentum is there and, if the experience

of history can be taken as a guide, it must inevitably increase

until it conquers. Here too India has begun to play a prominent

part and, if she can develop that larger statesmanship which

is not limited by the present facts and immediate possibilities

but looks into the future and brings it nearer, her presence may

make all the difference between a slow and timid and a bold and

swift development. A catastrophe may intervene and interrupt

or destroy what is being done, but even then the final result is

sure. For in any case the unification is a necessity in the course

of Nature, an inevitable movement and its achievement can be

safely foretold. Its necessity for the nations also is clear, for

without it the freedom of the small peoples can never be safe

hereafter and even large and powerful nations cannot really be

secure. India, if she remains divided, will not herself be sure of

her safety. It is therefore to the interest of all that union should

take place. Only human imbecility and stupid selfishness could

prevent it. Against that, it has been said, even the gods strive in

vain; but it cannot stand for ever against the necessity of Nature

and the Divine Will. Nationalism will then have fulfilled itself; an

international spirit and outlook must grow up and international

forms and institutions; even itmay be such developments as dual

or multilateral citizenship and a voluntary fusion of culturesmay

appear in the process of the change and the spirit of nationalism

losing its militancy may find these things perfectly compatible

with the integrity of its own outlook. A new spirit of oneness

will take hold of the human race.

The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun.

India’s spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever

increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters

of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her

with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her

teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice.

The rest is still a personal hope and an idea and ideal which

has begun to take hold both in India and in theWest on forwardlooking

minds. The difficulties in the way are more formidable

than in any other field of endeavour, but difficulties were made

to be overcome and if the Supreme Will is there, they will be

overcome. Here too, if this evolution is to take place, since it

must come through a growth of the spirit and the inner consciousness,

the initiative can come from India and although the

scope must be universal, the central movement may be hers.

Such is the content which I put into this date of India’s

liberation; whether or how far or how soon this connection will

be fulfilled, depends upon this new and free India.

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