Extracts from Bhawani Mandir by Sri Aurobindo

BHAWANI IS SHAKTI.

In the present age, the Mother is manifested as the mother of

Strength. She is pure Shakti.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS GROWING FULL

OF THE MOTHER AS SHAKTI.

Let us raise our eyes and cast them upon the world around us.

Wherever we turn our gaze, huge masses of strength rise before

80 Writings and a Resolution 1890 – 1906

our vision, tremendous, swift and inexorable forces, gigantic

figures of energy, terrible sweeping columns of force. All is growing

large and strong. The Shakti of war, the Shakti of wealth,

the Shakti of Science are tenfold more mighty and colossal, a

hundredfold more fierce, rapid and busy in their activity, a thousandfold

more prolific in resources, weapons and instruments

than ever before in recorded history. Everywhere the Mother is

at work; from Her mighty and shaping hands enormous forms of

Rakshasas, Asuras, Devas are leaping forth into the arena of the

world. We have seen the slow but mighty rise of great empires

in the West, we have seen the swift, irresistible and impetuous

bounding into life of Japan. Some are Mleccha Shaktis clouded

in their strength, black or blood-crimson with tamas or rajas,

others are Arya Shaktis, bathed in a pure flame of renunciation

and utter self-sacrifice: but all are theMother in Her new phase,

remoulding, creating. She is pouring Her spirit into the old; She

is whirling into life the new.

WE IN INDIA FAIL IN ALL THINGS

FOR  WANT OF SHAKTI.

But in India the breath moves slowly, the afflatus is long in coming.

India, the ancient mother, is indeed striving to be reborn,

striving with agony and tears, but she strives in vain. What ails

her, she, who is after all so vast and might be so strong? There

is surely some enormous defect, something vital is wanting in

us; nor is it difficult to lay our finger on the spot. We have all

things else, but we are empty of strength, void of energy. We

have abandoned Shakti and are therefore abandoned by Shakti.

The Mother is not in our hearts, in our brains, in our arms.

The wish to be reborn we have in abundance, there is no deficiency

there. How many attempts have been made, how many

movements have been begun, in religion, in society, in politics!

But the same fate has overtaken or is preparing to overtake them

all. They flourish for a moment, then the impulse wanes, the fire

dies out, and if they endure, it is only as empty shells, forms

from which the Brahma has gone or in which it lies overpowered

Bhawani Mandir 81

with tamas and inert. Our beginnings are mighty, but they have

neither sequel nor fruit.

Now we are beginning in another direction; we have started

a great industrial movement which is to enrich and regenerate an

impoverished land. Untaught by experience, we do not perceive

that this movement must go the way of all the others, unless we

first seek the one essential thing, unless we acquire strength.

OUR KNOWLEDGE IS A DEAD THING

FOR WANT OF SHAKTI.

Is it knowledge that is wanting? We Indians born and bred in

a country where Jnana has been stored and accumulated since

the race began, bear about in us the inherited gains of many

thousands of years. Great giants of knowledge rise among us

even today to add to the store. Our capacity has not shrunk,

the edge of our intellect has not been dulled or blunted, its

receptivity and flexibility are as varied as of old. But it is a dead

knowledge, a burden under which we are bowed, a poison which

is corroding us rather than as it should be a staff to support our

feet, and a weapon in our hands; for this is the nature of all

great things that when they are not used or are ill used, they

turn upon the bearer and destroy him.

Our knowledge then, weighed down with a heavy load of

tamas, lies under the curse of impotence and inertia. We choose

to fancy indeed, now-a-days, that if we acquire Science, all will

be well. Let us first ask ourselves what we have done with the

knowledge we already possess, or what have those, who have

already acquired Science, been able to do for India. Imitative

and incapable of initiative, we have striven to copy the methods

of England, and we had not the strength: we would now copy

the methods of the Japanese, a still more energetic people; are

we likely to succeed any better? The mighty force of knowledge

which European Science bestows is a weapon for the hands of a

giant, it is the mace of Bheemsen: what can a weakling do with

it but crush himself in the attempt to wield it?

82 Writings and a Resolution 1890 – 1906

OUR BHAKTI CANNOT LIVE AND WORK

FOR WANT OF SHAKTI.

Is it love, enthusiasm, Bhakti that is wanting? These are ingrained

in the Indian nature, but in the absence of Shakti we

cannot concentrate, we cannot direct, we cannot even preserve

it. Bhakti is the leaping flame, Shakti is the fuel. If the fuel is

scanty how long can the fire endure?

When the strong nature, enlightened by knowledge, disciplined

and given a giant’s strength by Karma, lifts itself up in

love and adoration to God, that is the Bhakti which endures

and keeps the soul for ever united with the Divine. But the weak

nature is too feeble to bear the impetus of so mighty a thing as

perfect Bhakti; he is lifted up for a moment, then the flame soars

up to Heaven, leaving him behind exhausted and even weaker

than before. Every movement of any kind of which enthusiasm

and adoration are the life, must fail and soon burn itself out so

long as the human material from which it proceeds is frail and

light in substance.

INDIA THEREFORE NEEDS SHAKTI ALONE.

The deeper we look, the more we shall be convinced that the one

thing wanting, which we must strive to acquire before all others,

is strength—strength physical, strength mental, strength moral,

but above all strength spiritual which is the one inexhaustible

and imperishable source of all the others. If we have strength,

everything else will be added to us easily and naturally. In the

absence of strength we are like men in a dream who have hands

but cannot seize or strike, who have feet but cannot run.

INDIA, GROWN OLD AND DECREPIT IN WILL,

HAS TO BE REBORN.

Whenever we strive to do anything, after the first rush of enthusiasm

is spent, a paralysing helplessness seizes upon us. We

often see in the cases of old men full of years and experience

Bhawani Mandir 83

that the very excess of knowledge seems to have frozen their

powers of action and their powers of will. When a great feeling

or a great need overtakes them and it is necessary to carry out

its promptings in action, they hesitate, ponder, discuss, make

tentative efforts and abandon them or wait for the safest and

easiest way to suggest itself, instead of taking the most direct;

thus the time when it was possible and necessary to act passes

away. Our race has grown just such an old man with stores

of knowledge, with ability to feel and desire, but paralysed by

simple sluggishness, senile timidity, senile feebleness. If India is

to survive, she must be made young again. Rushing and billowing

streams of energy must be poured into her; her soul must

become, as it was in the old times, like the surges, vast, puissant,

calm or turbulent at will, an ocean of action or of force.

INDIA CAN BE REBORN.

Many of us utterly overcome by tamas, the dark and heavy demon

of inertia, are saying now-a-days that it is impossible; that

India is decayed, bloodless and lifeless, too weak ever to recover;

that our race is doomed to extinction. It is a foolish and idle saying.

No man or nation need be weak unless he chooses, no man

or nation need perish unless he deliberately chooses extinction.

WHAT IS A NATION? THE SHAKTI OF ITS MILLIONS.

For what is a nation? What is our mother-country? It is not a

piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of the mind.

It is a mighty Shakti, composed of the Shaktis of all the millions

of units that make up the nation, just as Bhawani Mahisha-

Mardini sprang into being from the Shaktis of all the millions of

gods assembled in one mass of force and welded into unity. The

Shakti we call India, Bhawani Bharati, is the living unity of the

Shaktis of three hundred millions of people; but she is inactive,

imprisoned in the magic circle of tamas, the self-indulgent inertia

and ignorance of her sons. To get rid of tamas we have but to

wake the Brahma within.

84 Writings and a Resolution 1890 – 1906

IT IS OUR OWN CHOICE WHETHER WE CREATE

A NATION OR PERISH.

What is it that so many thousands of holy men, Sadhus and

Sannyasis, have preached to us silently by their lives? What was

the message that radiated from the personality of Bhagawan

Ramkrishna Paramhansa? What was it that formed the kernel

of the eloquence with which the lion like heart of Vivekananda

sought to shake the world? It is this that in every one of these

three hundred millions of men from the Raja on his throne

to the coolie at his labour, from the Brahmin absorbed in his

sandhya to the Pariah walking shunned of men, GOD LIVETH.

We are all gods and creators, because the energy of God is

within us and all life is creation; not only the making of new

forms is creation, but preservation is creation, destruction itself

is creation. It rests with us what we shall create; for we are not,

unless we choose, puppets dominated by Fate andMaya: we are

facets and manifestations of Almighty Power.

INDIA MUST BE REBORN, BECAUSE HER REBIRTH

IS DEMANDED BY THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD.

India cannot perish, our race cannot become extinct, because

among all the divisions of mankind it is to India that is reserved

the highest and the most splendid destiny, the most essential to

the future of the human race. It is she who must send forth from

herself the future religion of the entire world, the Eternal religion

which is to harmonise all religion, science and philosophies and

make mankind one soul. In the sphere of morality, likewise, it is

her mission to purge barbarism (mlecchahood) out of humanity

and to aryanise the world. In order to do this, she must first

re-aryanise herself.

It was to initiate this great work, the greatest and most wonderful

work ever given to a race, that Bhagawan Ramkrishna

came and Vivekananda preached. If the work does not progress

as it once promised to do, it is because we have once again

allowed the terrible cloud of tamas to settle down on our souls

Bhawani Mandir 85

—fear, doubt, hesitation, sluggishness. We have taken, some of

us, the Bhakti which poured forth from the one and the Jnana

given us by the other, but from the lack of Shakti, from the lack

of Karma, we have not been able to make our Bhakti a living

thing. May we yet remember that it was Kali, who is Bhawani

mother of strength, whom Ramkrishna worshipped and with

whom he became one.

But the destiny of India will not wait on the falterings and

failings of individuals; the mother demands that men shall arise

to institute her worship and make it universal.

TO GET STRENGTH WE MUST ADORE

THE MOTHER OF STRENGTH.

Strength then and again strength and yet more strength is the

need of our race. But if it is strength we desire, how shall we gain

it if we do not adore the Mother of strength? She demands worship

not for Her own sake, but in order that She may help us and

give Herself to us. This is no fantastic idea, no superstition but

the ordinary law of the universe. The gods cannot, if they would,

give themselves unasked. Even the Eternal comes not unaware

upon man. Every devotee knows by experience that we must

turn to Him and desire and adore Him before the Divine Spirit

pours in its ineffable beauty and ecstasy upon the soul. What is

true of the Eternal, is true also of Her who goes forth from Him.

CWSA Vol 6 P75-85.

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