The psychological unity of India as the true basis of political unity
In India, however, the situation was very different; it was more a cultural and spiritual
unity than a political and economical unity. For in India, the spiritual and cultural unity
was made complete at a very early time and it became the very basis of life of all this
great surge of humanity between the Himalayas and the two seas. The peoples of ancient
India were not so much distinct nations sharply divided from each other by a separate
political and economic life; rather, they were sub-peoples of a great spiritual and cultural
nation itself firmly separated physically, from other countries by the seas and the
mountains and from other nations by its strong sense of difference, its peculiar common
religion and culture.
The whole basis of the Indian mind is its spiritual and inward turn; its propensity has
always been to seek the things of the spirit and the inner being first and foremost and to
look at all else as secondary, dependent, to be handled and determined in the light of the
higher knowledge; the outer world was seen as an expression, a preliminary field or aid to
the deeper spiritual aim. In other words, this approach led to a tendency to create
whatever it had to create first on the inner plane and afterwards in its other and outer
The early mind of India understood the essential character of this problem. The Vedic
Rishis and their successors made it their chief work to found a spiritual basis of Indian
life and to effect the spiritual and cultural unity of the many races and peoples of the
What were the methods adopted by the ancients to bring about this spiritual and cultural
Observing the religious and spiritual tendency of the Indian people, the ancient seers
adopted a combination of different psychological and practical methods to bring about
spiritual and cultural unity.
As a first step, they created sacred religious places and distributed them all over the
country; some of the places are in Haridwar, Prayag near Allahabad, Gaya, Nasik,
Dwarka, Puri, Kumbakonam and Rameswaram.
Another method they adopted was the repetition of the sacred text, which every Indian
had to use every time he went to bathe:
Gangecha Jamunechaiva Godavari Sarasvatee
Narmada Sindhu Kaveri jalesmin sannidhim kuru
And it means: May the Ganges, the Yamuna. the Godavari, the Sarasvatee, the Narmada,
the Sindhu and the Kaveri enter into this water.
These are the great rivers of the Indian sub-continent and it is along the course of the
great rivers that the sacred stream of Indian culture flowed all over the land.
In addition, there were the legends of the gods and the two great epics – the Ramayana
and the Mahabharata -, which were read and moved people in every part of India. These
legends were known by every Indian family and created a deep psychological bond
among the people.
A very important factor in the unification of the people of India was language. The
Sanskrit language was not only a strong unifying force; it was also a powerful educating
one. In the words of the eminent historian, Suniti Kumar Chatterjee: “Sanskrit looms
large behind all Indian languages, Aryan and non-Aryan. It is inseparable from Indian
history and culture. Sanskrit is India. The progressive Unification of the Indian peoples
into a single nation can correctly be described as the Sanskritisation of India”.
Finally, there was the universal reverence of the Vedas all over the country from the
extreme North to the tip of South India.
Thus from a very early period of Indian history, the Indian subcontinent had fully realised
a very deep, though complex kind of organic unity at the back of all the apparent
diversities and multiplicities of the land and the people.
All these created a feeling that India was not just a geographical entity or a collection of
people merely having the same religion and language. The Indian nation became a living
being with a distinct personality, a dynamic psychological entity.
It is this feeling that has been expressed by poets and writers throughout the ages. In
modern times, this was the whole meaning of Bandemataram and is beautifully expressed
in the following words of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
India – a living personality
“Mother India is not a piece of earth; she is a Power, a Godhead, for all nations have such
a Devi supporting their separate existence, and keeping it in being. Such beings are as
real and more permanently real than the men they influence, but they belong to a higher
plane, are part of the cosmic consciousness and being and act here on earth by shaping
the human consciousness on which they exercise their influence