Sri “Aurobindo on India as the Mother

The Mother and the Nation
We have lost the faculty of religious fervour in Bengal and are
trying now to recover it through the passion for the country by
self-sacrifice, by labour for our fellow-countrymen, by absorption
in the idea of the country. When a nation is on the verge of
losing the source of its vitality, it tries to recover it by the first
means which the environment offers, whether it be favourable
to it or not. Bengal has always lived by its emotions; the brain
of India, as it has been called, is also the heart of India. The
loss of emotional power, of belief, of expansiveness of feeling
would dry up the sources from which she derives her strength.
The country of Nyaya is also the country of Chaitanya, who
himself was born in the height of the intellectual development
of Bengal as its fine flower and most perfect expression.
The land of Chaitanya is also the chosen home of the Mother
and in Bengal she has set her everlasting seat. Immeasurable ages
will pass, revolutions shake the land, religions come and go, but
so long as the Ganges flows through the plains of the delta,
so long shall the Mother sit enthroned in Bengal as sovereign
and saviour. New forms she will take, new aspects of power
or beauty, but the soul of her Motherhood will live unchanged
and call to her sons to adore her. In the new age she has taken
to herself a new form, she has come to us with a fresh face
of beauty the full sweetness of which we have not yet grasped.
When Bankim discovered the mantra Bande Mataram and the
song wrote itself out through his pen, he felt that he had been
divinely inspired, but the people heard his song and felt nothing.
“Wait” said the prophet, “wait for thirty years and all India will
know the value of the song I have written.” The thirty years
have passed and Bengal has heard; her ears have suddenly been
opened to a voice to which she had been deaf and her heart
filled with a light to which she had been blind. The Mother of
The Mother and the Nation 1115
the hymn is no new goddess, but the same whom we have always
worshipped; only she has put off the world-form in which she
was familiar to us, she has assumed a human shape of less terrible
aspect, less fierce and devastating power to attract her children
back to her bosom.
What is a nation?We have studied in the schools of theWest
and learned to ape the thoughts and language of theWest forgetting
our own deeper ideas and truer speech, and to the West the
nation is the country, so much land containing so many millions
of men who speak one speech and live one political life owing
allegiance to a single governing power of its own choosing.
When the European wishes to feel a living emotion for his country,
he personifies the land he lives in, tries to feel that a heart
beats in the brute earth and worships a vague abstraction of his
own intellect. The Indian idea of nationality ought to be truer
and deeper. The philosophy of our forefathers looked through
the gross body of things and discovered a subtle body within,
looked through that and found yet another more deeply hidden,
and within the third body discovered the Source of life and form,
seated for ever, unchanging and imperishable.What is true of the
individual object, is true also of the general and universal. What
is true of theman, is true also of the nation. The country, the land
is only the outward body of the nation, its annamaya kosh, or
gross physical body; the mass of people, the life of millions who
occupy and vivify the body of the nation with their presence, is
the pranamaya kosh, the life-body of the nation. These two are
the gross body, the physical manifestation of theMother.Within
the gross body is a subtler body, the thoughts, the literature,
the philosophy, the mental and emotional activities, the sum
of hopes, pleasures, aspirations, fulfilments, the civilisation and
culture, which make up the sukshma sharir of the nation. This
is as much a part of the Mother’s life as the outward existence
which is visible to the physical eyes. This subtle life of the nation
again springs from a deeper existence in the causal body of the
nation, the peculiar temperament which it has developed out of
its ages of experience and which makes it distinct from others.
These three are the bodies of the Mother, but within them all is
1116 Writings from Manuscripts 1907-1908
the Source of her life, immortal and unchanging, of which every
nation is merely one manifestation, the universal Narayan, One
in the Many of whom we are all the children.
When, therefore,we speak of a nation, we mean the separate
life of the millions who people the country, but we mean also
a separate culture and civilisation, a peculiar national temperament
which has become too deeply rooted to be altered and in all
these we discover a manifestation of God in national life which
is living, sacred and adorable. It is this which we speak of as the
Mother. The millions are born and die; we who are here today,
will not be here tomorrow, but the Mother has been living for
thousands of years and will live for yet more thousands when
we have passed away.

CWSA Vol 7 P1115-1116

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