The puṇya of overthrowing Napoleon was divided between England, Germany and Russia. He had to be overthrown, because, though he prepared the future and destroyed the past, he misused the present. To save the present from his violent hands was the work of his enemies, and this merit gave to these three countries a great immediate development and the possession of the nineteenth century. England and Germany went farthest because they acted most wholeheartedly and as nations, not as Governments. In Russia it was the Government that acted, but with the help of the people. On the other hand, the countries sympathetic to Napoleon, Italy, Ireland, Poland or those which acted weakly or falsely, such as Spain and Austria, have declined, suffered, struggled and , even when partially successful, could not attain their fulfilment. But the puṇya is now exhausted. The future with which the victorious nations made a temporary compromise, the future which Napoleon served and prepared its early movement demands possession, and those who can reorganise themselves most swiftly and perfectly under its pressure, will inherit the twentieth century; those who deny it, will perish. The first offer is made to the nations in present possession; it is withheld for a time from the others. That is the reason why Socialism is most insistent now in England, Germany and Russia; but in all these countries it is faced by and obstinate and unprincipled opposition. The early decades of the twentieth century will select the chosen nations of the future.
There remains the question of Nationalism and Empire; it is put to all these nations, but chiefly to England. It is put to her in Ireland, in Egypt, in India. She has the best opportunity of harmonising the conflicting claims of Nationalism and Empire. In fighting against Nationalism she is fighting against her own chance of a future, and her temporary victory over Indian Nationalism is the one thing her guardian spirits have most to fear. For the recoil will be as tremendous as the recoil that overthrew Napoleon. The delusion that the despotic possession of India is indispensable to her retention of Empire, may be her undoing. It is indispensable to her, if she meditates, like Napoleon, the conquest of Asia and of the world. It is not necessary to her imperial self–fulfilment: for even without India she would possess an Empire greater than the Roman. Her true position in India is that of a trustee and temporary guardian; her only wise and righteous policy the devolution of her trust upon her ward with a view to alliance, not ownership. The opportunity of which Napoleon dreamed, a great Indian Empire, has been conceded to her and not to Napoleon. But that opportunity is a two–edged weapon which, if misused, is likely to turn upon and slay the wielder.” (S.A.B.C.E, Vol.17, page 382 to 387)
Question: Which book is it from?
It is a small article Sri Aurobindo wrote called “Historical Impressions”. I think it is in Volume 16 or 17, one of these two volumes. He has written there like this, also, analysis of Robespierre, Danton, Mirabeau, the all French Revolution; it is a wonderful exposition of the French Revolution, very briefly.
This is the way Vibhutis have to be seen and perceived.