Stories For Youth in Search of A Higher Life - Law and Life

Law and Life

Law and Life

My very first encounter with Law was at once embarrassing, instructive and fruitful. I was seeking admission to the Bombay Law College and I had to pass through an interview. It was 12th June 1951, and the interview began at 10.30 a.m.

"Why have you chosen to study Law ?" This was the first question that Professor Chitle, the Principal of the College, threw at me.

Frankly speaking, I did not have a clear and convincing reply. Basically, I had only two alternatives: to become a teacher or to become a lawyer. It seemed to me that I had a pre-dominant inclination to become a teacher; but the profession of teaching gave no prospects of financial prosperity. On the other hand, it was difficult for me to confess even to myself that I was looking for monetary success. This confession, which was pressing upon my conscience, was hurting me. I was trained and nourished by my intensive studies in Sanskrit literature,- the subject of my preference and specialisation. How often I had condemned in debates in my College the idea of the modern commercial barbarism, which values nothing as much as success in competition for money! Man does not live by bread alone, I had argued. Man is a rational animal; nay, man is a moral and spiritual being, -I had affirmed again and again.

Law and Life

Law and Life

This was my constant theme, and I used to cite freely from the Veda, from the Upanishad, from the Gita. How then could I say that I wanted to study Law for securing better equipment for monetary success ?

"I have studied a good deal of Dharmashastras," I said and paused a little. "I want to understand how the present society, in contrast to our ancient society, is organised and controlled by institutions created by modern legal system."

I knew that I was rationalising to some extent, but I could not help it.

Professor Desai, a member of the Board of interview, smiled derisively. But the Chairman, Mr. Chitle, came to my help. He said : "This is an excellent motive."

Before he could proceed further, he was interrupted by a third member of the Board, Professor Bapat. He was pensive and seemed as though he was speaking from the height of some ethereal heaven. He said:" You would have been better equipped if you had graduated in Economics Hons. or Political Hons. Students of English Hons. or Philosophy Hons., too, do quite well in Law. I grant that you have done well in your Sanskrit Hons. Let me see. Yes, you have stood first class first in the University. But are you sure that you will do well in Law? Why don't you pursue your Sanskrit studies? Do your M.A., go in for Ph.D.; and you will become an excellent Professor!"

I seemed to have reached a breaking-point. I felt shaky. There was a special reason. But I gave

Law and Life

Law and Life

a somewhat diversionary reply." I have done philosophy, too, as a subsidiary subject."

"Not bad at all," said Professor Bapat. He continued. "Philosophy is a great discipline of logical thinking; and Law demands rigorous application of logic. But the question is as to where you will be more useful to yourself and to society. Given your background, I would suggest that you should go in for M.A. and continue your studies in Sanskrit."

I felt really cornered. I felt embarrassed, and I was obliged to make an explicit statement which was a sort of a confession.

"I am going to do my M.A. But I want to do at the same time LL.B also", I said.

"But that is precisely what we will not allow," said Professor Desai with a tone of rigidity.

The Chairman, however, was sympathetic. He asked me: "Mr. Bhatt, why don't you make a straight choice? We have a rule that those who are admitted to this College will not be allowed to study or take up any other course. Law is a vast and a difficult discipline. A good lawyer needs to have a very wide background and thorough grasp of a number of subjects. We do not want students to be divided in their attention. If you opt for Law, you must live in the realm of Law and in the realm of those subjects which are directly related to Law, namely, sociology, economics, politics, business administration, company affairs, etc. You will have to occupy yourself with the questions of Capital and Labour, of national and international economy, business organisation, institutions of property. Government and such

Law and Life

Law and Life

other subjects. And I would also expect you to be acquainted with international organisations and the basic themes of peace, unity, human rights. And have you taken interest in progressive movements, - movements of equality and war against exploitation? I do not know if you are aware of women's movements and youth movements. No, we want you to make a choice. If we admit you here, you will have to give me a written undertaking that you will do no other course. Are you ready to do so ?"

I was face to face with the conflict between Freedom and Law. "Must law always dip the wings of freedom?" I asked rather impulsively. "I am interested in both Sanskrit and Law; and I can see that both can help each other."

"You may be right," said the Chairman. Then he added with emphasis: "But we have to go strictly by our rules; law is law; and you will have to comply with it. Make a choice between M.A. and LL.B. You cannot do both at the same time. Of course, you can finish M.A. first and then come here for law. There will be no difficulty."

I did not reply.

The Chairman grew soft and looked at me with kind eyes. He said: "Look, Mr. Bhatt, you are a good student; you have good potentiality; I will admit you to this College. From your side you will agree to give up the idea of doing M.A. at the same time. Meet me tomorrow at 10 a.m. at my office."

The next candidate was called in and I had no alternative but to leave.

Law and Life

Law and Life

I was deeply disappointed, and my mind and heart were in a state of turmoil, even of revolt. But as I was climbing down the stairs of the College, I could see clearly that I was upset because I was upset. How often I had tried to teach my mind to remain quiet even in trying situations! I had to confess that I was feeling angry, and I could not appreciate the rush of anger. Just on the previous day, Vishuddha and I had discussed the psychology of anger, and Vishuddha had argued that all anger proceeds from desire, which is the enemy of our true inner Self. He had said that anger is the result of frustration of desire. I remembered the famous quotation that he had cited from the Bhagvad Gita: "When man dwells on objects in his mind, attachment to them arises. From attachment arises desire and from desire arises anger. From anger arises delusion; from delusion loss of memory, from loss of memory destruction of discrimination, and from destruction of discrimination the individual himself perishes."

I had agreed with Vishuddha, whom I had always admired for his equanimity. I had never seen him ruffled or angry. His purity of heart and mind was exemplary. He was only ten years older than I, and yet I had begun to look upon him as my friend, philosopher and guide. I had come to know him for the last two years, and during these years I always turned to him when I was in difficulty. I thought of him at that moment and decided to go straight to meet him. I knew that he would be at "Kaivalya Dham", where he caught Yoga to various categories of people. Kaivalya

Law and Life

Law and Life

Dham was not far from the Law College, and I took the auto-bus and reached Kaivalya Dham within fifteen minutes.

Vishuddha was somewhat surprised at my sudden visit, but he understood that I must be having a special problem. I explained to him in detail all the thoughts and feelings that were harassing me. After listening to me, he said:

"Mahesh, there are several threads in your being which have become intertwined with each other. Your desire for material prosperity is only one of these threads. But at a deeper level, there are questions which relate to your inner nature, your own perception of what you want to be and the process by which you can become what you want to be. To use the words of the Gita, these are the questions that can be answered by inquiring into Swabhava, Swadharma, Kartavyam Karma, and Niyatam Karma.1 These questions have their root not only in your heart and mind, not only in your ego, but in your free Spirit. And they have relationship with the source both of your free Spirit and the Universe. Each individual has a specific role and place in the world, each has a movement appropriate to the rhythm of his inner development, and each has to discover his true soul. In other words, the questions that harass you can be resolved only by Karma Yoga. And the most

1. Swabhava, process of nature emerging from the Self. Swadharma, law of development of inner nature. Kartavyam Karma, prescribed action, duty, action emerging from inmost will.
Niyatam Karma, action guided by law, action governed by demands of Karma Yoga.

Law and Life

Law and Life

effective method of Karma Yoga is the state of equality."

My mental agitation was getting quieter, and although what Vishuddha said was not entirely new, I felt as though a fresh breeze had begun to blow in my mind. Vishuddha asked me softly:

"Would you like to remain quiet for some time? I shall withdraw from here leaving you alone. You know the Raja Yogic practice. Look, here is what Gita describes that practice."

Vishuddha drew out from his book-shelf a copy of the Gita and gave it to me. He said, "Read the sixth chapter, and particularly verses 11-15."

Vishuddha left the room, and closed it from outside so that nobody could disturb me. I was now quieter and read those verses which were recommended by Vishuddha.

Then I began to turn the pages of the Gita and undertook the exercise of collecting in my note-book all the verses which pertain to the theme of equality of consciousness. "Samatvam Yoga Uchyate", equality is the name of Yoga, I noted. Why is Yoga identified with equality? I began to reflect on this question, and as I was jotting down verse after verse from the Gita, I began to perceive that equality is not only an attitude of the mind, but is also a state of knowledge. It seemed to me that it is in the state of equality that different aspects of truth can be perceived and appreciated in their fullness and in their complementarity. It is, I felt, when all aspects of the truth are seen squarely that the problem can find a true basis for solution. I went on copying all the important

Law and Life

Law and Life

verses which seemed to enlighten me and induce into me a state of equanimity.1

I did not know when exactly I fell in a deep state of intensity and how long I remained in that state. It was similar to a state of sleep, for I had become oblivious of surroundings; and yet I was intensely awake inwardly. As I came out of that state of trance, I could see clearly in my mind a short statement which had summarised with sharpness and remarkable brevity those questions that were harassing me. There was intense quietude, and I wrote down on a piece of paper that statement which seemed to have been imprinted on my mind. I wrote as follows :

"My basic question is: Is legal profession appropriate to my inner nature and law of my self-development? Is it appropriate to my swabhava and swadharma?

"Is my study of advanced Sanskrit appropriate to my inner nature and law of my self-development? Is it appropriate to my swabhava and swadharma ?"

"Is there a conflict between the two ?"

"If there is no conflict, why should not both be pursued simultaneously ?"

"If there is a conflict between the two, which one is preferable for me ?"

"There is an economic aspect also: If I do M.A., I will get fellowship and free stay in the hostel of my College where I will be doing M.A. If I do LL.B alone, I shall lose both these

1. I am appending in the appendix all the verses that I have jotted down at that hour of my intense search.

Law and Life

Law and Life

advantages. Moreover, Law College has no facility of hostel accommodation, nor does it award any fellowship for LL.B. students."

When I wrote down this statement, my mind became absolutely quiet. I experienced tranquillity. I did not know how long I remained in that state, but it was two o'clock in the afternoon when Vishuddha opened my room. He had brought a plate of fruits and a glass of milk.

He smiled and said, "You must be very hungry now." While he was placing the plate and the glass on my table, his eyes fell on what I had just written down on that piece of paper.

He said: "Can I see it?"

"Certainly. It is the result of my meditation, which has clarified my mind."

After reading it, Vishuddha said, "When the problem is clear, solution can never be far."

He smiled again and left the room, saying, "Remain here as long as you like; but I have to attend to a number of young people who have come to see me. We shall meet again tomorrow."

I remained in that room till very late and left for my hostel when the sun was just setting and sinking into the vast ocean, which I could see through the window of Vishuddha's room.

My agitation had really ceased, and when I went to sleep late at night, I had a feeling that my meeting with Principal Chitle the next day would turn out to be crucial for my life.

It was exactly 10 a.m. when I entered into the room of Principal Chitle. Before I could greet and take my seat, the Principal said: "Mr. Bhatt, I won't be able to give you more than two minutes.

Law and Life

Law and Life

I just want to know if you have brought the written undertaking that you will give all your time exclusively to the pursuit of your studies in this college. You can just hand over to me that undertaking and meet the Registrar who has been told to grant you admission and register your name. As you know, the College opens on 20th June, exactly after one week."

For a moment, I became immobile. It seemed to me that I was given no opportunity to explain. I had with me the note that I had written down the previous day after my meditation. I took it out and presented it to him. Then I added: "Sir, my basic question is psychological. I want to be convinced that I must pursue legal studies and nothing else. I care very much for a right decision based upon valid premises, which, in this case, relate to the ideals of Swabhava and Swadharma, - the ideals which I cherish deeply on account of my Sanskritic studies. I shall be very grateful for your help."

Principal Chitle heard me attentively and then read my note. He lifted his eyes and gave me a look of deep understanding. He said, "Your note explains to me a great deal. But I shall need to explain. And I do not have the needed time. What to do?"

"Please do find the time. Sir," I pleaded.

"I am somewhat unorthodox," he said with a soft smile. He thought for a while and asked me, "Can you come to my residence this evening at 9? I spend three hours in my library daily after the dinner, and if that is convenient to you, I could discuss with you at that time."

Law and Life

Law and Life

I was greatly comforted. I said, "I can come at any time. And 9 o'clock this evening suits me very well. In fact, I want to learn a great deal from you, and this will give me a great opportunity to do so. Thank you very much. Sir."

When I came out of the office of Mr. Chitle, I was in a state of inexpressible relief. I climbed down the stairs quickly to catch the auto-bus for Kaivalya Dham. I wanted to share my sense of relief with Vishuddha.

When I reached Kaivalya Dham, I was told that Vishuddha had gone out for some urgent work and would not return before 2 p.m. As I had nothing else to do, I decided to wait for Vishuddha in his room. I wanted to be quiet, and I thought that his room had all the atmosphere for quietude and deep reflection. But as I entered into Vishuddha's room, I found there a young man absorbed in reading a book, which he had evidently taken out of the shelf of Vishuddha's library. That young man looked at me sharply and said, "I am sure you have come to meet Vishuddha. He is not here now, but if you have patience as I have, you are welcome to wait for him."

I felt that he was, to some extent, provocative. But in reply, I smiled and said, "Sure, I can wait for him. Vishuddha has taught me the art of waiting. He has said that when you are required to wait, think that God has given you the time to think of Him. This is what I do, and if you do not mind, I shall sit here quietly. I promise you that I will not disturb you."

"You seem to be one of the disciples of Vishuddha. You know, I am not his disciple. I am in a lower category! I am his boyhood friend.

Law and Life

Law and Life

My name is Balwant, and if I mistake not, you must be Mahesh Bhatt!" He laughed mischievously.

I was really surprised and asked him: "How do you know my name?"

"Yes, I do. Vishuddha has spoken to me about you from time to time, and although I have never met you before, I could easily make an inference from the descriptions that have been given to me about you."

By this time I had taken my seat, and not intending to talk any further, I began to look at the ocean through the window.

But Balwant was irrepressible. He drew his chair near mine and said: "You are seeking admission to the Law College. Why do you want to join the company of those who sell their intellectual power for earning bread?" I was truly startled. "How do you mean?" I asked.

"I do not mean offence to you. Please forgive me for my bluntness. I am rather sarcastic, but, believe me, I have no malice. I am much improved during the last few days, and I would have been more blunt than I am today if I had to meet you, say, a month ago. During this one month, a real change has occurred in my outlook and even in my temperament. I had my first turning-point at the age of 15, and now I have the second turning-point at the age of 30. I think that I should introduce myself to you more properly."

I thought I had made a mistake in deciding to wait for Vishuddha. I had expected to remain quiet, but I had run into this talkative man. But somehow, I felt charmed by this young man, his

Law and Life

Law and Life

frankness, and his disarming smile. I showed my eagerness to listen to him. He started.

"I am a teacher, an ordinary teacher, in a secondary school. Actually, I wanted to be a teacher in the primary school because children in the primary school are as frank as I am, and I feel the warmth of their innocence, their curiosity, and their sense of wonder. But the authorities found that I was too qualified to be a teacher in a primary school. You know, my father wanted me to be a very educated man. He wanted me to be a lawyer."

"Why ?"

"Because he himself is a lawyer. Something like what we have in our outdated caste system. If your father is a Brahmin, you are a Brahmin; if your father is a goldsmith, you are a goldsmith. If your father is a potter, you are a potter. People do not take into account your inclination, your aspiration, your temperament, your innate faculties, your real means of fulfillment."

I was truly delighted to hear these words. Was he not echoing some of the ideas with which I was entangled at that critical moment of my life? Was he not talking about swabhava, swadharma? I became relaxed, and began to like this man. I got curious to know more about him. Balwant continued :

"So, I had to study Law, as you are now intending to do. I do not know your motive. But I studied Law only because after a lot of resistance, both active and passive, to my father's pressure, I had to yield. And I studied Law. Then my father wanted me to join him in his chamber. But

Law and Life

Law and Life

I asked him: "What if I join your chamber? I shall be just like you. People will call me very clever, I shall win many debates and shall earn as much as you do. May be, even much more. But so what?"

"That is very interesting," I said. "What did you do then? "

Balwant continued: "I said, 'Father, you know I respect you. But if you do not mind, let me tell you that you do not understand me. I am by nature a thinker. It is true that thinking is not considered a profession in the present society. Our society is job-oriented. It expects you to be captured in a slot. Society has created many slots in the form of jobs; and you have to be ready to be caught in one of the slots. And without your being imprisoned, this society gives you no wages, and, therefore, no sustenance. Father, please allow me, therefore, sometime for me to think. I need a long period to think over many problems that the society of today is facing.' I said that I wanted to study history, sociology, political science, economics, philosophy and literature. I also wanted to be acquainted with modern developments in science. I told him that my study of law, which I had undertaken under duress, had ultimately benefited me greatly because it gave me a concrete sense of our social institutions and even the philosophy of civilisation. I confessed that I was grateful to him for having pressed me to study law. But I begged him that I should be allowed to study M.A. and that if I did very well, I should even be allowed to go in for doctorate. I must tell you that my father is somewhat conventional, but very kind at heart. At times, he can even be

Law and Life

Law and Life

progressive and revolutionary. He relented and allowed me to join M.A. and I chose History as my special subject. I enjoyed this study. By the time I finished my M.A., I found that I was growing into, what may be called, a social reformer!"

He laughed. He asked me if I was not feeling bored with his monologue. I protested and said that I was enjoying every word that he was speaking and learning something very useful. He continued:

"Just as there is no profession of thinking in our society, even so there is no profession of social reform either. If you become a social reformer, as some must, you have to consent to the life of poverty and starvation. That's a pity, but that is how our society is structured. In any case, I had begun to feel that not only our own society, but the entire humanity was passing through a great period of transition. I am sure you have heard people talking of transitions, and in a sense, humanity has always been in a period of transition. But the sense that I had and have is that the present state of transition is something unfathomable, multi-dimensional and incalculable in its import. To tell you the truth, I had come to feel that humanity was getting increasingly dehumanized and that we had reached a climax of a conflict between fetters of bondage and freedom. I was, therefore, turning away sharply from institutions, from authorities, from establishments, in search of effective means of the flights of freedom of inner spirit of man. I know that you are a Dharma Shastri and you know a great deal about soul and spirit and I will not be

Law and Life

Law and Life

able to define as clearly as you can what freedom of spirit means. But I know my own experience. I have enjoyed freedom in my own way, and I feel as though there is in me something like a true individuality which pours out in creativity when I am truly free. Well, this is the kind of freedom which I would like everyone in society to experience and enjoy. I want to imagine a state of social existence where no institution crushes the freedom of the individual. Impelled by this aspiration, I began to study the story of Revolutions, and I wrote a thesis for my doctorate on the theme of "Modern Revolutions". I enjoyed thoroughly my research work, and the Ph.D. degree that was awarded to me was nothing as compared to the great joy I had in conducting my research. My faculties of thought and imagination were exercised to the extreme point of their limitations, and I gained some kind of clarity in regard to the maladies of the present state of humanity and even, to some extent, of, how these maladies can be cured."

I was feeling very interested and I thought that my own aspirations, although not as articulated as his, were not dissimilar. I felt happy to be drowned in his narration. I asked him: "What, in your view, are the maladies of the present day and how can they be cured?"

"No, I won't tell you all that. It is a very long story, and once I enter into it, I would not like to stop in the midway. I am opposed to half-way houses both in my talks and in my works. If you want to hear me on this subject, you must find at least five hours at a stretch, and I will talk to you; But, one very simple thing that I can

Law and Life

Law and Life

readily tell you is that we need to work on our children. They will build a new society, if they are rightly inspired and educated. And that is why when I finished my Ph.D., I wanted to join a primary school or even a Kindergarten as a teacher. My father opposed the idea, since he felt that I was going to waste my faculties, my time, my energy, everything, if I shut myself in a small corner of the world occupying myself with a few children in a small school. I told him that all depends upon how you look upon Space and Time. Everyone works in a small corner in the world, arid everyone has to concentrate on an extremely small area for producing any effective result. Even the President of America has to sit in a small corner in his White House Office, and he ,too, has to concentrate on a small desk and on a small piece of paper. Only people call it big. But the eyes fixed higher above in the sky may hardly cast even a cursory glance on it. I told my father, 'Every work is important, whether you call it big or small; the question is whether one has a fixed goal, measured the means, and determined to work single-pointedly on those means."

"Excellent," I cried out, "You have succinctly summarized the entire meaning of Karma Yoga. You are a Yogi."

"Nothing of the sort, Mahesh! But since you speak of Yoga, let me tell you that since I am a friend of Vishuddha right from the time when he was a boy, I have deeply enquired into the real meaning of Yoga and some of my questions which still remain unanswered are related to Yoga. I have just come back from Tiger Hills. I am sure you have heard of the Tiger Hills. Haven't you?"

Law and Life

Law and Life

"Yes, I have; that is where Vishuddha lived for many years with his teacher,' I said.

"That's right. I had gone to meet Gurudev, and it was an experience which has thrown me straight into the heart of Yoga. How much are you interested in Yoga ?"

"Well, to my mind, all life is Yoga, and I would like to devote every minute of my life to Yoga. Three years ago, I started my journey, - my journey of intellectual enquiry," I said. But I stopped narrating my story and said, "I shall tell you at length later what happened to me, how I conducted my enquiry and what conclusions I reached. I shall tell you how I came to be convinced intellectually of the existence of God and how I decided to devote my life to the task of realisation of God. I have since been studying various systems of Yoga, and I have been reading the Gita repeatedly, as I find such a wideness of spirit in the teaching of the Gita. And, surprisingly, for every question in my practical development of Yoga, I find an illuminating answer in it. Right now, I have come to this question:

"What is my specific work in the world? What is the truth of individuality? Is individual real or illusory? Is individual a mere cog in the machine of the world or is there something in the individual which can lift him up from the machinery of the world and embrace freely the whole world and yet work effectively precisely at the point at which he freely determines to work in accordance with his own inmost nature and inmost law of action?"

"Very interesting. Tell me a little more about your questions," said Balwant.

Law and Life

Law and Life

"But I want to hear you first. You were telling me about your Ph.D., your love for social reform, your diagnosis of world problems, your solutions, and your determination to work on children. All this is extremely interesting. Tell me all about your work and then about your meeting with Gurudev. Tell me all that."

"Yes, I shall tell you all that and much more. But the way in which you have formulated your questions is so refreshing. I really want to listen to you. Tell me more about your questions", Balwant insisted.

I felt greatly encouraged. I said, "You are perhaps aware of that famous sentence in the Gita:

"All is determined by Nature; of what avail is the effort to control ?"

"At the same time, the Gita says that the self is the enemy of the self and the self is the friend of the self. And it further says that by the self one should control the self. This means that there is a lower self and there is a higher self and that there is in the higher self a Will which can rise above Prakriti, Nature, and can control the lower self. I am in search of that Free Will, and I am in search of that kind of work which will be in harmony with that Free Will. I think that when the Gita speaks of Swabhava and Swadharma, it really means to refer to the movement of Free Will emerging from the inner self, from the higher self, Swabhava, and to the law of development of the nature of the inner self, Swadharma. Right now, I am knocking the doors of my own inner being to ask : "What is my true nature? What is my true work? And what is the right law of my work?"

Law and Life

Law and Life

"Excellent," cried out Balwant. I am delighted to hear this. I can now realise how both of us seem to be sailing in the same boat, and although you are much too younger to me, I can see how mature you are in your quest."

"Truly, I feel delighted to talk to you. But now, please continue with your story. I want to hear more and more about you," I said.

Balwant took up the thread of his story. He said," Our system of education is stupid in many ways. If you are a Ph.D., you can teach in the College or in the University, but you are debarred from teaching children in the Kindergarten or primary school. You cannot teach even in the secondary school! It was after my intensive effort that I could persuade the authorities of my present school to employ me to teach secondary students. While making a concession to me, they took pains to make it clear to me that they would pay me only what is payable to a graduate. They were comforted when I told them that my aim was teaching and not earning money beyond a very ordinary level. This is how I got settled in my present employment, and while my work with children is extremely rewarding, I am finding out how our entire system of education has rendered our schools into veritable prison houses. The very first thing that is denied in our schools is freedom. Everything is compulsory. Courses are compulsory, classes are compulsory, time-table is compulsory, lectures are compulsory,- everything is compulsory."

"Could you tell me, if you are able to succeed in realising your ultimate aim?" I asked.

Law and Life

Law and Life

He replied, "Fruits of teaching are intangible. You cannot measure your success or failure over a short period of time. It is only when these children will grow up into adults, when they will be required to fight the battle of life, that, if I have the chance to observe them, I might be able to judge whether the atmosphere that I am giving them had helped them to grow into that kind of manhood which is really required by our times. It is only then that I would be able to say whether I have succeeded in my ultimate aim or not. Perhaps, I will never be in a position to observe these children when they have grown up into adults. But how does that matter? One can only do one's best. Fruits are never in your hands. Isn't that the famous declaration of the Gita?"

I nodded and said softly, "To action alone hast thou the right, but not to its fruits."

Balwant continued:

"But teaching is not the only activity in which I am engaged. Now that I have come closer to you during this brief conversation, there is no harm in whispering into your ears the nature of my secret activities. We have formed a society of like-minded people. Most of them are young men and women. We are all convinced that the present world order is unjust and untenable and that there is a need of radical changes in every domain of life and at every level of our existence. We are convinced that none of the current ideologies has the radical vision of the goal that we need to put before the world. We believe that neither democracy nor socialism nor communism can meet the needs of justice, can liberate human spirit, can bring man to his fulfillment. What we call

Law and Life

Law and Life

democracy today, is not democratic democracy; it is only parliamentary democracy which easily degenerates into plutocracy. What we call socialism is a state machinery to control and even tyrannize;

what we call communism is nothing but bureaucratic comradeship. Rulers of society, whether in democratic society or in totalitarian set-up, are all -alike, they are perpetuators of status quo, and many of them are corrupt and wicked manipulators. Legislators are, to use the words of Kathopanishad, like the blind men led by the blind; our lawyers who should guide legislators and judges, —are they fulfilling their role? And the real captains of our society are those selfish rich men whose main purpose is to make more money; there are, of course, exceptions; and the rest of the members of the society are just carrying out their duties, - more or less indifferently, realising more and more as years pass by that they can hardly influence the organisation of social life. We feel that all government of man by man by power of compulsion is evil, a violation, a suppression or deformation of all natural principle of good which otherwise will grow and prevail for the perfection of the human race. We question the social principle itself and feel that it is liable to a sort of a fall of man from a natural to an unnatural, an artificial principle of living."

Balwant was speaking with passion, and I did not think it proper to interrupt him. He continued:

"Don't you see that everywhere the pressure of society on the individual is increasing? Don't you agree that pressure unduly curbs necessary elements of human perfection? All that I am saying

Law and Life

Law and Life

may be dismissed as advocacy of anarchism, evils of which are very well known. No, I do not speak of that kind of anarchism, which claims the right of man to "live his own life" in the egoistic or crudely vitalistic sense. We recognise that in the earlier stages of evolution, the principle of social compulsion was clearly inevitable, and until man has grown out of all the causes of this necessity, that principle of social compulsion will be found relevant. But the more the outer law is replaced by an inner law, the clearer will man draw to his true and natural perfection. And the perfect social State must be one in which governmental compulsion is abolished and man is able to live with his fellowmen by free agreement and cooperation."

He paused a little. Then he made a short statement:

"These are some of our basic ideas, and our work at present consists mainly of the study of the present situation and discussing among ourselves possible means of redressal of the evils of all social compulsion on the individual."

"What is the difference between your idea and communism?" I asked.

He replied: "There is no meeting ground between the two, except that communism also envisages a condition of society where State will wither away. But so long as socialistic state continues to exist, I do not see how that state could ever become the instrument of the withering away of the State. Besides, while communism advocates violent revolution, I, for one, am a pacifist."

Law and Life

Law and Life

"But by what means do you propose to arrive at a condition where governmental compulsion can be abolished?" I asked.

"We rely on two powers. Both these powers are psychological in character. The first is enlightenment of the human reason. If human reason can be rightly cultivated, then it will claim freedom for itself and will at the same time equally recognise this right in others also. There is also another power. This is what we see manifested in the natural human sympathy. If this power is given free play under the right conditions, it can be relied upon to ensure natural cooperation. Not to rely on the governmental fear and social compulsion is our highest ideal. You may call it anarchistic ideal, but it is quite different from the gross and violent anarchism. Ours is what may be called intellectual anarchism."

For a short while we both remained very quiet. I became aware that Balwant was a very serious man, a very purposive man, and a very determined man. I also felt a great attraction towards his ideas, although his formulations were rather rough and had an appearance of exaggeration. Some of his statements were sweeping and I felt uncomfortable about them. I felt the need to digest properly before I could pronounce any judgment. I needed some time and therefore suggested that we should have some refreshments.

Balwant readily agreed. He stood up immediately and said, "You shouldn't bother. There must be some fruits and milk in the kitchen. I know everything where Vishuddha keeps all these things, and I shall be able to bring some fruits for

Law and Life

Law and Life

our refreshments." Balwant left and came back in no time with a basket of fruits and a jug of milk.

"I cannot find sugar," he said. "But I don't think we shall bother about it."

"Actually, I was thinking of going to a restaurant where we could continue our conversation," I said.

"Look, it is already past 12, and Vishuddha may arrive before long. Let us, therefore, remain here and wait a little longer."

While we were eating, I felt curious to know why Balwant had gone to Tiger Hills and why he had said that that visit had marked a second turning-point in his life. I wanted to ask him about this, but felt very hesitant to do so. I could see, however, that he had already read my thoughts. Balwant himself started on that subject. He said, "Mahesh, have you ever been to Tiger Hills? Have you met Gurudev? How much do you know about him? Do you know why I had gone to meet him? "

"No. I have never been to Tiger Hills, nor do I know where exactly these hills are located except that they are very near Darjeeling. About Gurudev I know very little; some times Vishuddha has spoken to me about him with deepest reverence. He calls him by his personal name, Brahmadev, and he says that Brahmadev ji does not like to be called a Guru. Vishuddha has told me that Brahmadev ji treats him as a friend or as a brother and does not even appreciate if anybody touches his feet as a mark of respect."

"Yes, I find him an unusual man, quite different from usual godmen who are running

Law and Life

Law and Life

about in our country and who are even spreading about in different parts of the world. But he is so quiet and in his presence you feel as though you are held up on a high altitude on an unshakable rock of silence. His eyes are sharp, and when he looks at you, you feel as though you are being x-rayed. His knowledge is amazing. I had gone to ask him a very important question, which I had discussed with Vishuddha several times. It was when he could not satisfy me that he suggested that I should directly ask Brahmadev ji in a personal meeting. It was when I was planning to go to Tiger Hills that an important development took place in my immediate personal life; and consequently, I was not alone to go to Tiger Hills; there was somebody else also with me."

I found that Balwant's tone had now changed. He had now become very serious, and the earlier sarcasm and bluntness had receded. I was very eager to hear him and I looked at him with great earnestness. He finished his glass of milk and cleaned up the table and took away all the things to place them back in the kitchen. When he returned, he said, "Let me tell you, Mahesh, about my first turning-point. I was 15 years old at that time." He stopped for a while. Then he sat down on the chair and continued.

"I was a very shy boy; I was timid, too. The only person with whom I could speak freely was my mother. Father seemed to me as high as the Himalayas and very remote from me. He was very reserved and there were few occasions when we could talk to each other. I used to wonder whether he was aware of my existence! He hardly

Law and Life

Law and Life

asked me about my studies, about my thoughts, about my feelings. In his presence I used to feel a great pressure of compulsion, and I used to remain speechless whenever he was around. I think I was obedient to him in the sense that whenever he asked for anything, to bring a glass of water or to do any kind of service to him or to guests, I always obeyed him instantaneously. I would have thought that all fathers behave with their children in the same manner but for the fact that Vishuddha was living in my neighborhood, and he had a totally different kind of father. Vishuddha was a very charming boy, and his temperament was extremely sweet. His father loved him immensely and talked to him almost incessantly, whenever he found the time. He used to offer him chocolates and all kinds of gifts; he used to explain things; he used to sit with Vishuddha to tell him stories, to read books, to recount his experiences. And if I were around with Vishuddha, I too used to get the same treatment from him. I used to call him uncle and I was very fond of him. I always felt that he had an oceanic heart in which one could swim freely and joyously; therefore, whenever I had any questions in my mind, I used to run up to him and ask him. And he always answered me with great affection. I always used to wonder why my father was not like him.

"Years passed. And this particular event took place when I was 15 years old. My father had an elder brother. He is no more now. A daughter of his was getting married, and all of us, - my father and mother and myself, - were invited to attend the marriage. I was particularly keen to

Law and Life

Law and Life

attend this marriage because this sister who was to be married was very dear to me and even now she is very dear to me. She was older to me by 4 or 5 years; she lived in Allahabad and whenever she used to visit us during vacations, she used to bring all the gifts of her charming presence and wealth of beautiful presents consisting of books, pencils, drawing papers, colour boxes, etc. I loved her immensely, and I knew that I would do anything for her. About a fortnight before the marriage, 1 received a letter from her in which she had invited me to be present at the marriage, and towards the end, she had added a line saying that she would be very grateful if I could persuade my father to reach Allahabad as early as possible. She had mentioned that she had something very important to tell my father and she wanted his help.

"Unfortunately, because of the psychological remoteness of my father from me I could not show that letter to him. When only 5 or 6 days were left, I asked my father, "When shall we start for Allahabad?"

"Tomorrow", he replied.

"When shall we reach Allahabad?" I asked again.

"Don't worry about that," he said. He added, "We shall be in time for the marriage; I know how much you love your sister. Do not worry. We shall be on time." I could say nothing more.

"We reached Allahabad just when the bridegroom had already arrived with the entire party, and there was a great hustle and bustle in

Law and Life

Law and Life

the huge bungalow in which everything was arranged for the marriage ceremony. As soon as we arrived, I climbed up the staircase and tried to enter into the room of my sister. But her room was full of guests and a number of friends were decorating her. I stood at the door just to attract her attention. But her eyes were closed and her face was rather gloomy. Somehow, I felt guilty and I knew that I should have been courageous to show the contents of that letter to my father and to induce him to come to Allahabad much earlier. While I was blaming myself, my sister suddenly looked up and on seeing me she rushed up to me. All her friends were astonished but they had no time to stop her. When she came out, I held her hands and said, "Alka, I am so sorry I could not come earlier. But what is the matter? Can I do some thing for you?"

"Alka did not reply; she took me into another room where there was nobody. She said, 'It is too late. I am finished. 'I am in love with somebody else, and I can never be faithful to this man with whom I am to be married. I cannot even explain to you. I have no time. I had thought that uncle would be the only person who could help me. He is a great man; he is a great lawyer; and he loves me very much. I could have explained to him, and he would have helped me. I am sure about it. But now, what can I do? And what can uncle do at this late hour? Even if he wants to do something, circumstances would not permit him to do anything. It would be a great scandal. It would be a fiasco. It is impossible. My life is ruined.'

Law and Life

Law and Life

"She sat down on a sofa and began to cry;

and tears began to well up in my own eyes also. I knew that I was guilty, and within a flash I could see that I was guilty because I was timid; I knew that I was guilty because my father was grave and stern; I knew that I was guilty because there was a wall between me and my father. And, suddenly, something happened to my being. There was a real explosion in my psychology. Fearlessness seized me and an unimaginable courage overpowered me. I left my sister in that room and rushed straight to my father and holding his hands tightly, I said in a whisper but with an imperative command: "Father, you must stop this marriage. My sister shall not marry this man."

"My father stood aghast; but he felt pressure of my presence, and he came out of the crowd in order to talk to me without being heard by anybody. He asked me, ' What is the matter? What is this madness?'

"I said with a rapid rush: 'Father, Alka is in love with somebody else. I do not know with whom. She has not asked me to request you to stop this marriage. But I am asking you. You must stop this marriage. You are a lawyer,- upholder and defender of justice, and you shall not allow enactment of injustice in your presence.'

"My father acted swiftly. He rose very high in my esteem. He acted heroically. He first met Alka, consoled her and assured her that he would stop the marriage. He found out from Alka as to with whom she was in love.

"During her visits to Bombay, Alka used to meet the younger brother of a friend of my father, an eminent industrialist, who had risen from the

Law and Life

Law and Life

state of abject poverty to a high level of affluence. He used to visit our house from time to time; and his younger brother, Vijay Jadhav, used to take guidance from my father in regard to his studies. He was a bright young man, and I used to like him very much because of his pleasing manners and his intellectual gifts. He used to tell me a great deal about English literature, - about Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly and Tennyson. He himself was a poet and used to explain to me how to write poems. None in our family or in his family came to know of the developing relationship between him and Alka;

but it was evident that their love had reached a stage of high maturity, and they had promised each other that they would unite themselves in a wedlock. She had expected to explain all this to my uncle at a suitable moment; but that moment never arrived. In the meantime, soon after her last visit to Bombay, when she returned to Allahabad, her father fixed up her engagement and marriage in a quick succession without allowing much time to Alka to explain her position and her relationship with Vijay. Besides, her father was extremely conventional, and Alka knew that under no circumstances would he permit her marriage with Vijay. Apart from anything else, there was the question of caste-difference, and her father was chained obstinately to the caste system. Alka's only hope was her uncle, and that is why she had written to me that letter.

"My father planned out the escape of Alka. He asked my mother to take Alka away from the bungalow and asked me to arrange for a taxi. This I did readily, and within a short time, both my

Law and Life

Law and Life

mother and Alka were at the railway station. It was then that my father went up to the bridegroom, took him aside and explained to him the entire position. I do not know what he talked to him, but the bridegroom's reaction was entirely favourable. He even thanked him for his frankness and said that he was grateful that the marriage was stopped at the right moment, before it was too late. But a stiff opposition came from Alka's father and bridegroom's father. There was a tremendous tumult and uproar. Alka's father (my uncle) entered into a long argument with my father saying that he had no right to interfere with his personal affairs and that the father of the daughter alone had full authority to do whatever he liked in regard to his daughter. This was the first time when I heard a naked statement of man's property rights in human beings. This was the first time that I came to realise the pitiable condition of women where their inclinations and wishes mean nothing to their parents or to the society. Woman is a chattel,- this was the main burden of the argument of Alka's father. Similar arguments were also levelled by many other people who had, by now, surrounded my father; some uttered very harsh words, some even abused him. The elders of the caste felt threatened, and in return, they threatened my father that they would ex-communicate him. I admired when my father remained calm and merely smiled. He said that Alka had the right to determine her own marriage and that he would take full responsibility to ensure Alka's happiness throughout her life.

"Very quietly, both my father and I slipped away from the noise and clamour of the marriage

Law and Life

Law and Life

party to the railway station. When we reached the platform, we found that Vijay also had arrived and was waiting for us. Within half an hour, the train arrived, and we had no difficulty when we boarded the train and left for Bombay.

"This was my first turning-point. You might say this was my new birth. A new personality was born in me, and I discovered that my father was truly great and honourable. From that day onwards, we had entered into a new relationship. He was, of course, ex-communicated and was boycotted even by our kith and kin. But he suffered all this with rare stoicism. My father was thenceforth my friend and I could talk to him freely without barriers. I came to look upon him as a true lawyer, upholder and defender of justice, ready to intervene and suffer the consequences of doing what he thought was right and just."

I was moved to hear this story and wanted to know more about his father. So I asked him, "What is the name of your father?"

Balwant smiled. He said, "He is a very famous lawyer of Bombay; in fact, he is one of the leading lawyers of the Bombay High Court. I am sure you must have heard his name. And you are bound to meet him often at the Law College, since he devotes everyday one hour to teach Law at the Law College. He is Professor Bapat."

"Professor Bapat!" I cried out in astonishment. "Of course, I have already seen him. He was on the Interview Board, and I was greatly embarrassed by the questions that he threw at me."

"Do not mind his questions. In normal circumstances, he is conventional; in special circumstances,

Law and Life

Law and Life

he is progressive; in extraordinary circumstances, he is heroic. I can assure you that he would never come in the way of anybody's progress and he is extremely sympathetic to students Do you have any problems?"

I then explained to him my entire position and the problem that I was facing in regard to the admission to the Law College. I also told him that Principal Chitle had invited me to meet him that very evening at 9.

Balwant said at once: "Mahesh, do not worry. Your appointment with Principal Chitle signifies something very special. It is only under very special circumstances that he gives appointment at 9 p.m. Consider yourself to be very fortunate.

I am sure he will find a way for you."

I felt comforted, and as I was about to ask some further questions, particularly about his second turning-point, Vishuddha entered the room.

"At last, you have arrived!" said Balwant.

"I am sorry that I had to be away and got late. But 1 had left a word for both of you, and you will grant that I have come a little earlier than

2 p.m.," said Vishuddha apologetically.

"But believe me," said Balwant, "both Mahesh and I had excellent time, and as usual, I had a profitable opportunity to inflict a long lecture! You know how much I enjoy lecturing, and I am very glad that Mahesh is a very good listener."

Vishuddha smiled. He said, "What is your programme now?" And then he turned to me and asked me as to what had happened during my meeting with Principal Chitle in the morning.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Balwant interrupted before I could answer him. He said, "Vishuddha, there is no cause of worry. Principal Chitle has invited Mahesh to meet him in the evening at 9. This means an exceptional privilege, and we can only expect a favourable decision."

On my part, I gave a full account of my interview with Principal Chitle and told him that the crucial part was played by that note which I had written after my meditation in that very room on the previous day. Vishuddha smiled and said, "What is important for you is not admission, but some satisfying answer to your deeper questions. I do hope that Principal Chitle will remove your doubts and he will find a satisfying solution."

Balwant said, "Let us now no more be worried about this problem. I have a lot to talk to you about my visit to Tiger Hills."

I felt that Vishuddha and Balwant should be left alone; so I proposed that I should leave and go to my hostel. Balwant, however, protested and said that there was nothing so secret in what he was to report and that I could listen to the entire report. Vishuddha, too, pressed me not to leave. However, I asked Vishuddha about his lunch. Vishuddha said that he had already taken lunch at his friend's house and asked us whether he could offer us some fruit and milk.

Balwant said that we had already taken the liberty to plunder his kitchen and had finished our lunch.

Balwant then started his long narration.

Law and Life

Law and Life


The most interesting part of Balwant's narration was his dialogue with Brahmadev ji at the Tiger Hills. His main question was whether the secret society which he was forming should. undertake a programme of causing unrest in the country by violent and other means with a view to create a climate for a radical change. Many of his colleagues were feeling that no radical change could be brought about in the society if things were allowed to take shape in a leisurely fashion. According to them, the situation of India and that of the world was so deplorable that it could be remedied only by radical operations. Balwant himself was of the view that some radical steps were needed, but he was a pacifist. At the same time, he had no answer to an argument which was put forward by some of his colleagues who were suggesting that just as Sri Krishna had found no alternative to a violent war for the establishment of the rule of justice and Dharma, even so the present situation was so critical that there was no alternative to administering shock therapy to those institutions of society, including the Government, which were degenerating rapidly towards corruption and tyranny of the wicked. He had argued that the basic message of the Gita was that of peace and it would be a mis-interpretation of the Gita if it was used to justify employment of violent means. He, however, wanted a greater clarity on that question. His question was: Is violence justified, as it was in the context of the situation that led to the Mahabharata war? And if so, to what extent?

Law and Life

Law and Life

Balwant said that when he met Brahmadev ji, he experienced such an inexpressible peace that the idea of war had no standing-ground in it. He said, "Brahmadev ji looked like a solid mass of Himalayan peace. This peace was so compelling, it was so overwhelming that my own mind became a pillar of peace. For half an hour or even more I remained immobile in his compelling presence and when I came out of this experience, I had already an answer to the question that I wanted to put to him. In that state of peace there was no place for any manoeuvre or any plotting, let alone any design for a violent overthrow of any establishment or Government. In my first meeting with Brahmadev ji there was no talk and when I withdrew from him I could feel that he was decidedly opposed to violence of any kind.

"In spite of this experience, I wanted another opportunity to meet Brahmadev ji and to seek from him an answer to the following question. "Why did Sri Krishna ask Arjuna to fight with his arms and even to slay his grandsires, teachers and brethren, and that, too, when Arjuna had already thrown down his own weapon Gandiva, and had declared that he would not fight?" With this question I met him the next day. But once again I had the same experience of massive peace. On that day, however, before leaving him, I told him, 'You will please pardon me for my impudence. But I am a student of modern history and I have specialised in the theme of revolutions. I find that the present situation of humanity is ripe for a new revolution, a revolution that would break the fetters of law and liberate human spirit into freedom-not for individual salvation but for collective salvation.

Law and Life

Law and Life

And this kind of revolution will require, it seems, employment of numerous methods; and some of my colleagues believe that these methods should include a shock therapy to all establishments that oppose the freedom of human spirit and seek to tyrannise over people by corrupt and illegitimate means. I want to put this question to you, and I shall be very grateful if you could kindly favour me with your illuminating reply.'

"I had expected Brahmadev ji to tell me that he would not be interested in the question and that experience of peace would be enough to dispel any illusion that I might have with regard to the efficacy of violence. But, surprisingly, he agreed to answer my question, and he began the answer there and then itself.

"He said: 'Since you raised the question of the Gita, let us understand that the central interest of the philosophy and the Yoga of the Gita is its attempt to reconcile and even effect a kind of unity between the integral realisation of the Spirit and the outer actualities of man's life and action. Gita shows the way as to how to unite ineffable peace with utmost dynamic action. In arriving at this reconciliation, it is aware of several alternative possibilities. What are these possibilities?

'First is the solution proposed by spiritualised ethics which insists on Ahimsa, on non-injuring and non-killing, as the highest spiritual law and spiritual conduct. On the basis of this ethics it could be argued that violence is a sin and the battle, if it is to be fought out at all, must be fought on the spiritual plane only by soul-resistance. And if it does not succeed on the external plane, if injustice conquers, the spiritualised ethics

Law and Life

Law and Life

will argue that that would not matter since the individual would still have preserved his virtue and vindicated by his example the highest ideal.

'The second possibility would be to advocate an extreme inner spiritual direction which would be apt to take the ascetic turn and to point away from the life and its aims and standards of action towards some celestial or supra-cosmic state. Under this possibility one would pass beyond the struggle between social duty and an absolutist ethical ideal or spiritualised ethics. Renunciation of the world and its responsibilities would be the consequence of this alternative.

'A third possibility would be to demand from man of action,- a warrior and leader of men, - to fulfill his duty to resist the powers of wrong and injustice and to give battle and establish, even through a terrible physical struggle and giant slaughter, if necessary.

'A fourth possibility would be to regard abstention not only from violence but even from battle as the only way and the one right moral attitude. Resist not the evil - this would be the consequence of this alternative,- and the argument would be that evil would be transformed into good by the power of non-resistance and of drinking, like Shiva, the cup of poison contained in the attack of the evil.

'It is important to observe that the Gita rejects none of these possibilities in its place.

'And yet, it goes boldly beyond all these conflicting positions. It declares that none of these positions is justified if it is to be result of the

Law and Life

Law and Life

individual and egoistic decision. It justifies only that action which is inspired by the Divine Will.

'The Gita justifies all life to the spirit as a significant manifestation of Divinity and asserts the compatibility of a complete human action and complete spiritual life lived in union with the Infinite, consonant with the highest Self, expressive of the perfect Godhead.

'The central question is: "What is the Divine Will? We have to remember that Divine Will is not static; it is dynamic; it is ever-progressive. You have no right to take a leaf from the book and declare that such and such is the Divine Will because such and such was the answer that the Divine Will had given at such and such a time in human history. What Sri Krishna had declared to Arjuna was indeed an injunction to take up arms to fight for the sake of justice and Dharma; but what was the injunction he had given unto himself, - when he declared that he would use no arms in the battle? And what about his injunction that one should rise to the state of utter equality, of utter quietude, even nirvana, in order to perform Divine action?

'Are you and your colleagues inspired by the Divine Will when you are trying to fashion the design to employ violent means for achieving your ends? And what is your end? Is it a part of the Divine vision?

'The Gita is a guide to action, and you must, indeed, refer to its guidance; but you must understand the conditions that the Gita lays down.

'Of course, you may say that it is very difficult to know the Divine Will. But then you should

Law and Life

Law and Life

admit that it is quite unjustified to say that you will take up arms because it so directed in the Gita.

'My definitive answer is: "Discover the Divine Will in the present condition and work out that will to the best of your ability. That will be your best solution to the contemporary crisis.'

"I realised that a new dimension had been opened up in my vision. I had to admit that I was ignorant of the Divine Will. But then I had to put a further question to Brahmadev ji : 'It is believed that you live constantly in the Divine Consciousness and that you are able to communicate with the Divine. If so, can you tell me what is the Divine Will at present?' Brahmadev ji smiled. He looked sharply and said: 'No violence in any measure.'

"And as he uttered these words, I felt a tremendous release in my being; and once again, a massive peace descended on me which uplifted me from all turbulations of my mind. I felt I was reborn. This was my second turning point in my life.

"On the next day, however, when I met Brahmadev ji I had still one question in my mind and wanted to put it up to him for his answer. I said, ' I have a theoretical question in my mind, and I am seeking answer to that question. 'He said, 'What is that question?'

"I said, 'When Sri Krishna asked Arjuna to take up arms and to fight the battle, he had at least at that time, and in the case of Arjuna, no objection to the use of violence for the establishment of the rule of Dharma. This means

Law and Life

Law and Life

that Sri Krishna had in his consciousness some justification for the use of violent means. What was the basis of that justification?'

Brahmadev ji replied: 'In the process of evolution, there are various stages of progression. At the lower stages, creatures and people live and act in ignorance. The law of action in ignorance includes the play of strife, conflict and battle. At that level, one would find the justification of the famous maxim of Heraclitus who declared that war is the father of all things. History of mankind is largely a record of wars because it is largely a record of the history of creatures and people living in ignorance. At that stage, the ideal life of knowledge cannot be harmonised with the life of ignorance. The ideal of peace, the ideal of harmony, the ideal of spontaneous mutuality belongs to the life of knowledge and not to the life of ignorance. At that level, therefore, it would be impossible to avoid those means of action which are appropriate to the life of ignorance, and those means include violence also. You could, therefore, preach violence as a means of action at that stage, even though you can and should put forward non-violence and peace and harmony as ideals. At the time when the teaching of the Gita was uttered by Sri Krishna to Arjuna, mankind had not yet reached that high level of development where use of arms could be avoided. All over the world, violence was regarded as a legitimate means of action, even though legal systems in different countries laid down varying conditions and restrictions on the use of violence.

'It is remarkable that Indian civilisation had even in early stages tried to organise human society

Law and Life

Law and Life

in such a way that incidence of war could be minimised, and it had also laid down that war should be fought only for the protection of justice. It was further laid down that only one section of people was entitled to fight in the war so that use of violence could be limited only to one section of people. That is why we find in the Gita Sri Krishna speaking of the Dharma of the Kshatriya and of the creed of the Aryan fighter.

'And even when Sri Krishna asked Arjuna to take up arms, he insisted that he should fight without anger, without wrath and without any sense of revenge. If you read Mahabharata carefully, you will find that Sri Krishna made an extraordinary effort to avoid a war; it was only when no other alternative was available that he came to advocate war, and that, too, as a means available at that time for a progressive development of humanity towards the ideal of justice and truth.'

"I felt deeply satisfied and I wanted to fall at the feet of Brahmadev ji. But as you know, he does not appreciate anybody falling at his feet, and he prevented me from doing so."

Balwant seemed to have finished his report. And all of us remained quiet for a short time. Then Vishuddha looked up at Balwant, who smiled and said : "Let me now come to the second part of my report."

Vishuddha however, interrupted him and said, "It is already 3 o' clock, and at 5.30 we should be at the St. Xavier's College, both you and myself."

"Of course. And I should like to ask Mahesh also to join us." Balwant then turned to me and

Law and Life

Law and Life

asked me, "Do you know, Mahesh, there is a very important lecture at the St. Xavier's College this evening? The lecture will be delivered by the father of Vishuddha and will be presided over by my father."

I turned my eyes to each of them with astonishment! Did Vishuddha's father live in Bombay? And is he such a prominent man? These questions flashed through my mind in an instant.

Guessing my questions, Vishuddha smiled and said, "Mahesh, do not be surprised. My father, too, is a lawyer and, every year he delivers at least one public lecture on some important subject of wide public interest."

"But you never told me." I mildly protested.

"But you never asked me," replied Vishuddha.

"But tell me now about your father. What is his name? And why have you never introduced me to him?" I asked.

Balwant interrupted and said, "Mahesh, you should ask me this question. His father is none other than Professor Desai whom you met at the interview board. Like my father, he, too, devotes one hour daily to the Law College in an honorary capacity, just to be able to impart some of his knowledge and experience to students. Unlike my father, he is progressive in normal circumstances, he is radical in special circumstances, and he is revolutionary in extraordinary circumstances. My father needs always to be pushed ahead of his times, Vishuddha's father is always ahead of his times on his own. I am sure you will enjoy his lecture. Please do' come."

Law and Life

Law and Life

I was greatly inspired to attend the lecture, but I was not sure whether the time would permit it. I said, "If the lecture starts at 5.30, it may go on upto 7.30; and I have to reach Principal Chitle's residence at nine o'clock."

"There is no problem," said Balwant. "It will be my responsibility to ensure that you reach Professor Chitle's residence by the appointed hour. The lecture is at the St. Xavier's College at Dhobi Talao, and Principal Chitle's residence is in the premises of the Law College at Churchgate. There will be ample time to commute from Dhobi Talao to Churchgate. It would not take more than half an hour."

I was overwhelmed by the events of the last two days. And my heart was thrilled to come to know so many things within such a short time. There was no doubt that this was an exceptional moment in my life. While I was thus reflecting, Balwant awoke me by saying:

"If the programme is now settled, listen to me quickly what I have to say about Vijay who had accompanied me to the Tiger hills."

Vishuddha said, "It is settled and we may now proceed."

Balwant began. He said, "Why had Vijay decided to come with me to the Tiger Hills? It was an abrupt decision on his part. On the eve of my departure from Bombay, both Alka and Vijay "paid a visit to our house and during their conversation with my father and myself, Vijay declared that he would join me in my travel as he was very keen to meet Brahmadev ji. I was startled by his declaration and looked at Alka. Then Vijay

Law and Life

Law and Life

explained to my father, 'It has happened suddenly; I have been feeling uncomfortable during the last one year and I am looking for a new basis for my life. And just yesterday Alka made a remark, ' How long shall we be wasting our life?' I do not know what had prompted her to say these words, but that made a great meaning to me. I, however, asked Alka as to what we should be doing to live our life meaningfully. And she immediately said, 'Why don't you meet Brahmadev ji?' And no sooner did she speak these words than I decided to go at once to Brahmadevji. Just then, Alka reminded me that her brother, Balwant, was to proceed to Tiger Hills the very next day.'

"My father felt concerned on hearing all this, but he at once made arrangements for Vijay's travel with me.

"During the long travel from Bombay to Darjeeling, I noticed that Vijay had become deeply reflective and whenever he spoke to me, he seemed to indicate that a profound change had overtaken him. It was about this change that Vijay spoke to Brahmadevji. I was also present at that time. He explained to Brahmadev ji as follows:

'My wife, Alka, and I have reached a stage of inner crisis. Externally, we are both very happy. We have a lot of wealth and great prestige in society. And our work keeps us both occupied fully. And yet, Alka has been feeling that we are not doing our best. Alka feels that she should plunge herself into a new way of life that would bring her nearer to a higher and spiritual way of life. On my part, I understand her very well and would like to do everything for her that would lead her to the path of fulfillment. At the same

Law and Life

Law and Life

time, I have suddenly been feeling that I am sitting on a volcano which might erupt any time. I also feel suffocated whenever I look within. I feel as though I am chained, and feel a great yearning for freedom. I am harassed by dualities, and I do not know in which direction I should move. We speak of crime and punishment. But what is crime if not intention to commit a crime? And if intentions are to be counted, I feel that I am a criminal. I am a student of Shakespeare and his four tragedies have influenced me greatly: Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear. Macbeth was a noble man but degenerated through selfish ambition into an unfaithful murderer; Hamlet was also a noble man, but besieged by dualities, indecisions and doubts, he ruined his soul, happiness of Ophelia and drew the curtain of death over several others. Othello was a great lover but stung by jealousy, he smothered his most beloved wife and then ended his own life. And King Lear became a victim of betrayal and descended into the abyss of frenzy and self-destruction. I find that I am each one of them, and if I am still respected, it is only because of the false veils that I am wearing. Something has happened to me during the last fortnight, particularly, when Alka told me that we were wasting our lives. I feel as though a seal of my heart has been broken, and I have now no desire to lead that life once again. Is it possible to wash oneself clean and become utterly pure? Utterly faithful? Utterly truthful? I want to be that and beseech you to guide me.'

"The atmosphere in that cottage of Brahmadev ji was extremely quiet and serene, and when I heard Vijay, his words seemed to penetrate into

Law and Life

Law and Life

my own heart, and they tore me up thoroughly. I had some kind of vanity and pride that I was very frank and blunt and that I was opposed to all kinds of pretences. But now, as compared to Vijay, I suddenly found myself covered with dirty linens without even realizing how dirty they were! And as I began to look at myself, I too found within myself the same Macbeth, the same Hamlet, the same Othello and the same King Lear. I realised that there were standards nobler and profounder than those described in the books of Law in the light of which I stood guilty and unworthy of any kind of honour."

Balwant stopped for a moment, and the atmosphere was so serious that neither Vishuddha nor myself could make any comment.

Balwant continued." Brahmadev ji said in reply to Vijay that the inner soul is always pure and the discovery of inner purity is the first step. And he added that inner purity is not to be created, it already exists. The soul, he said, is not impure; it is inherently pure just as fire is inalienably pure. He said that that was the reason why the Veda spoke of the pure soul in terms of the symbolism of fire, Agni. It is true, he said, fire is in the beginning a spark and only by gradual growth it becomes multi-tongued fire. He elaborated : 'The meaning of life is gained through the process of spark growing into a fire. Impurities are in our mind, in our life, in our body; and these impurities can be burnt away by the spark action of the soul. Mind, life and body are evolutes of Prakriti, Nature. But the soul is superior to the mental, vital and physical nature, which is also characterised by three gunas, Sattwa, Rajas sand Tamas. But the

Law and Life

Law and Life

action of the soul is free from these three gunas and from the limitations of the mind, life and body. Therefore, if you discover your inner soul, if you form it and make it stronger in formation, you will become what the Gita calls, kritatma. You become the soul that is formed, and chiselled, and just as diamond, when chiselled, becomes bright, even so, the soul when chiselled become bright. And you begin to see and experience this formation within your inner psychological complex. At the early stages, this formation corresponds with what the Kathopanishad describes as angushtha matram, not bigger than the thumb. But as it grows further, it rises in strength and force and becomes capable of extinguishing all the impurities of the mind, life and body.'

"Brahmadev ji looked very kindly into the eyes of Vijay and continued to look at him for a long time. He then asked Vijay: 'What would you like to do?'

"And Vijay answered without even a moment of reflection, 'I wish to remain with you and learn the science and art of the discovery of my soul.'

"Brahmadev ji smiled. He said, 'You can stay here for some time; but as you know, life here is quite hard; and you will have to arrange everything yourself. I do not have any organisation or institution here; nor do I wish to build one. For I do not advocate escapism and withdrawal into inactivity. Problems of life must be solved in life by transforming life. I am only a friend and give friendly help from time to time to those who care for it.'

"Vijay said that he knew about it, but that he would be grateful if he were allowed to remain

Law and Life

Law and Life

for a short period somewhere in the vicinity of Brahmadev ji so that he could meet him from time to time.

"Brahmadev ji immediately accepted this. And then we both took leave of him."

Balwant had finished his account. I was filled with wonder and happiness to hear that beautiful account of Vijay, and for a moment I wondered as to why I too should not run away to Tiger Hills. But I realised immediately that I was still too unripe and I did not have that intensity which was so manifest in Vijay. I turned to Balwant and said, "Balwant, you are extremely fortunate to have witnessed this great dialogue between Vijay and Brahmadev ji, and this dialogue has clarified my own mind very greatly."

Balwant Smiled. But he suddenly looked at his watch and said, "It is already 4.15, and we should immediately start for the St. Xavier's College."

Within a few minutes, we were ready, and when we reached the St. Xavier's College, we saw Professor Desai and Professor Bapat alighting from their car. Vishuddha and Balwant stepped forward to receive them. When they came out of the car, I was introduced to them. Both Professor Desai and Professor Bapat then proceeded towards the Main Hall. A huge crowd was waiting in the Main Hall. In fact, the Hall was packed to its full capacity and a number of people were still waiting outside the Hall. Three of us were, however, fortunate to get our seats in the frontline.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Exactly at 5.30 p.m. Professor Bapat stood up to introduce Professor Desai and requested him to deliver his speech.


"The Task of the Contemporary Lawyer" was the theme of the speech, and I had never heard such a brilliant speech before. It is impossible to narrate what he spoke, and what I am giving below is a dim reflection of some of the prominent ideas that were expounded by him.

"Discovery of Law, whether in the field of Nature or in the field of human affairs, is always a mark of progress. It matters little whether we consider Law as a process of inevitable connections of cause and effect or as a process of uncontradicted regularities or probabilities. But the curious fact is that there are in this world similarities, uniformities, unities, and identities, and when we discover them we call them laws. In the field of Nature, laws do not need to be enforced; they are automatic and are found to be imperatively enforced by the very operation of forces of Nature. In human affairs, the situation is much more complex. There are laws of instincts and impulses. These are automatically enforced;

but they can also be restrained or controlled by laws of a higher degree of existence; for there are laws of desires, which are less automatically operative, but which are quite often irresistible. Both instincts and desires are so powerful that the Gita declares: "All creatures follow the forces of Nature. Of what avail is the effort to control?" What is true of instincts and desires is also true of ideas and thoughts. Not many of us can control

Law and Life

Law and Life

the rush of ideas and thoughts, and most of us find ourselves as if we are mounted uncontrollably on wheels of a machine from where we cannot escape. And yet, in the realm of ideas and thoughts, there is a power of discrimination, a power to stand behind the rush of forces of Nature, by means of which we can observe, we can control, we can master. And at a later stage, we can even discover or formulate those laws by which forces of Nature can be controlled and mastered. In the human realm, these laws assume a normative character. We then make a distinction between positive laws and normative laws. Positive laws are those laws which are automatically operative and which are spontaneously enforced by Nature. Normative laws are those laws which are perceived as standards which ought to be made operative and which need to be enforced.

These normative laws have their origin in the ideas that operate in religion, ethics, and several other fields of culture. Only a few of them which can be enforced through a machinery of compulsion and through legal machinery of reward and punishment, come within the province of what is called State Law.

"But State Law must always be viewed in the larger context of progressive culture of man where newer concepts of normative laws are discovered or fashioned. And to the extent to which the State Law subjects itself to the newer and higher concepts of normative laws, it rises into higher realms of culture.

"The society, in which makers and interpreters of law consider the present formulation of law to be rigid and inflexible, becomes stagnant and

Law and Life

Law and Life

moves rapidly towards decline and fall. But the society becomes progressive and dynamic where legislators, judges and lawyers are constantly engaged in improving the existing formulation of law, in making it more and more subtle and to infuse in them greater and greater elasticity to allow increasing individual freedom. Whether society remains stagnant or progressive will, therefore, depend upon the way in which the makers and interpreters of law dedicate themselves to their real task.

"Let us try to understand the situation in a greater detail. In India, we have a very important word "Shastra." Shastra does not mean a mass of customs unintelligibly followed by the customary routine mind. Shastra is the knowledge and teaching laid down by intuition, experience and wisdom, the science and art and ethic of life, the best standards available to the race. To elaborate the same idea, it may be said that Shastra is the recognised science and art of life which is the outcome of mankind's collective living, its culture, religion, science, its progressive discovery of the best rule of life. Evidently, the concept of Shastra is much vaster than the concept of the State Law, which is called Vidhi in Sanskrit. The fortunate part of Indian Culture is that it paid enormous attention, time and energy not only to the development of State Law but also to the development of the Shastra. And this Shastra grew into higher and higher levels of excellence, and there developed also a subtler science and art not only of collective life but also of individual life, culminating into what is called adhyatma shastra, of

Law and Life

Law and Life

which the Bhagvad Gita is regarded as one of its highest formulations.

"In the Gita, there are four important verses to which I should like to draw your attention. These are in the sixteenth and seventeenth chapters, an explicit reference to Shastra. In the first place, the Gita has made a distinction between action according to the licence of personal desire and action done according to Shastra. It says, "He who discards shastra and acts under the impulse of his desire attains neither the perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme goal."

"It further says, "Therefore, let the shastra be your authority for determining what should be done and what should not be done. Having known what is declared by the provision of shastra, you should perform the prescribed action."

"But the Gita goes farther and envisages a possibility of disregarding the Shastra and enunciates a possible motive force of deviating from shastra and describes in some detail varying qualities of this motive. This is how the Gita introduces the element of flexibility in the shastra. And it puts before humanity a ladder of ascendance by which individuals and collectivities can rise higher and higher beyond the borders conceived and determined by Shastra. In other words, the Gita recognises law beyond law and recognises

even freedom beyond law.

"The name that the Gita gives to the element which enables individuals and collectivities to obey shastras is Shraddha, a term which is highly misunderstood but which has a very complex connotation in the Gita. The Gita regards Shraddha as a necessary foundation for the acceptance of

Law and Life

Law and Life

Shastra. The question is, why do we accept law? We are aware of the answer given by Western thinkers like Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau through their varying formulations of the Social Contract Theory. It is the contract, they say, which is the basis of allegiance of man to law. But we can ask a deeper question. Even if we concede that an actual or fictional contract was at the root of man's allegiance to law, what was at the basis of the acceptance of the idea of the contract itself? The answer cannot be anything but the assent of the being, its conscious acceptance and will to believe, will to be, to survive and realise. It is to this assent, this acceptance, this will to believe, to be, to survive and realise that the Gita gives the name of faith, shraddha. Shraddha is not, as many assert, opposed to reason; at its deepest level, reason itself is rooted in the will to be and to realise, in Shraddha.

"Therefore, the most important thing that a society should look up to is its Shraddha, its irresistible aspiration, its fundamental and inevitable drive to be, to become and to realise. The first and foremost task of the law-maker and law-interpreter is to feel the pulse of the shraddha of the society, to examine the quality of shraddha and to work on that shraddha so that the shraddha that is spread in the society is of the highest kind.

"If this is not done, a time comes in the society when it ceases to be a living thing, and it degenerates or stiffens into a mass of customs and conventions. A time comes when it is found that the shastra is imperfect or is no longer useful for the progress that is demanded. A new truth, a more perfect law of living becomes imperative.

Law and Life

Law and Life

The Vedic Law becomes a convention and Buddha appears and propounds a new rule of the eightfold path of the goal of Nirvana, and it may be remarked that he propounds it not as a personal invention but as a true rule of Aryan living, constantly re-discovered by the Buddha, the enlightened mind, the awakened spirit. The Mosaic law of religious, ethical and social righteousness is convicted of narrowness and imperfection. The law of Christ comes to replace it and claims at once to abrogate and to fulfil. The human search does not stop there and there is a constant search for the higher law of perfection, the higher rule of right living.

"The Gita makes a distinction between three kinds of Shraddha that lies behind a possible deviation from Shastra. There is, says the Gita," sattviki shraddha, rajasi shraddha and tamasi Shraddha."1 The tamasi shraddha deviates from Shastra mechanically, unintelligently and meaninglessly. Rajasi shraddha often takes the form of a revolt of the egoistic nature seeking freedom from the yoke of something which it feels to be cramping its liberty of self-fulfilment and self-finding. Even this kind of revolt is often justified by some narrowness or imperfection of the shastra or by the degradation of the current rule of living into a merely restricting or lifeless function. But deviation from Shastra may be sattviki at its heart. This is the best condition under human limitations; for when sattviki shraddha deviates from Shastra it may turn to larger and greater ideal. This movement is usually

1. 17.1-2

Law and Life

Law and Life

an attempt to lay hold on some forgotten truth or to move on to a yet undiscovered or unlived truth of our being.

"But the Gita goes even farther and speaks not only of shraddha of three Gunas of Nature, but declares that our own true self, our inmost soul, is itself constituted of shraddha. In other words, it gives us a new definition of shraddha, of faith. It is the very force of our true substance which inevitably manifests in our outer action, in our becoming. It says:

"This Purusha, this individual self, is of the stuff of "Shraddha"; as is one's shraddha so verily he is."1

"The lesson we learn from this profound statement is that the best way of keeping society progressive is to educate the young in such a way that every individual is able to uncover his deepest self, not his egoistic individual, but spiritual individual, the very stuff of which is the inevitable drive towards the highest ideal that the individual and collectivity can aspire for.

"Let me summarise three important points which you can derive in regard to the task of leaders of law : The first is to draw out from the existing shastra the very best and put it forward as the ideal to which the present formulation of law must strive for. The second is to try to discern with the wise eyes of a scientist all the elements in the society that are brewing to induce deviation among people and to encourage all that can be inspired by sattviki shraddha. And the third task is to pay attention to the youth, - to their

1. 17.3

Law and Life

Law and Life

education, to their upbringing, so that their deepest nature, their deepest individuality is formed and fashioned and made capable to express itself as potently as possible.

"Having said this, - and what I have said may be regarded as the perennial task of the leaders of law, - I may now turn briefly to what may be regarded as the task of the contemporary leaders of law. Let me say, first, that the task of the lawyer is truly sacred, provided that the lawyer himself approaches his task with the required sacredness. Secondly, I should like to affirm that the contemporary crisis, of which we speak today, cannot be resolved satisfactorily without the highest cooperation of the law-makers and law-interpreters. In a sense, it may be said that the present crisis is the crisis of law. It is a crisis of law because, on the one hand, the law of desire is being given unprecedented freedom to operate in all domains of life, and yet, on the other hand, there is an imperative and urgent need to provide to mankind those ideals and those laws which, if accepted, can bring about an ideal harmony between the individual and collectivity. The crisis has arisen because the conflict between the lower law of desire and the higher law of self-control, self-knowledge and perfection is not being sought to be resolved by lawyers, judges and legislators. As a result, there is a cry in the soul of humanity, which is knocking at our gates more and more imperatively.

"What is the way?"

"Three great ideals have come up in the forefront of humanity, and leaders of law must take full advantage of them and utilise them for creating the alchemy that humanity needs today

Law and Life

Law and Life

at this critical hour. These ideals are: the ideal of human unity, the ideal of harmony of liberty, equality and fraternity, and the ideal of self-determination. We do not have much time to dilate upon this great theme. But let me say that if these ideals can be brought nearer to realisation by means of creating the needed flexibility in our system of Law, we can, lawyers, judges and legislators can, render signal service to humanity. And if we can create increasing awareness of the need to provide to every individual and every collectivity the highest possible freedom, and if this freedom can be properly expressed in our institutions, we shall have fulfilled what is expected of us.

"We can take advantage of three important events of our recent times.

"The coming into being of the United Nations Organisation is momentous even though it has certain basic deficiencies which need to be rectified as early as possible.

"The universal declaration of human rights adopted by the UNO on 10th December, 1948 is of highest significance at this important hour.

"Equally momentous is our own constitution of India which is a great document, even though I can foresee that some of its deficiencies will necessitate a series of amendments, and even a major re-drafting.

"But these are some of the bright lights on our way, and if we can use them as torches, and move forward, we shall be able to overcome and triumph."

Law and Life

Law and Life

The lecture was greatly applauded, and it was followed by a volley of questions. Of great interest was the question that was raised by Professor Bapat. His question sparked off a lively discussion on the importance of Constitutional Law, merits of the Indian Constitution and whether Indian Constitution could be regarded as a model piece of legislation. Professor Bapat upheld the greatness of the Indian Constitution and Professor Desai, while praising some of its salient features, pointed out that its main defect was that it was pre-dominantly unitarian rather than federal. He also pointed out that the Constitution should have made provision for multiple citizenship, considering that Indian ethos is fundamentally universal and provides an abiding basis for universal citizenship. He also maintained that deeper aspects of Indian culture such as those of dharma, as distinguished from "religion", should have been reflected more pre-dominantly and explicitly. Finally, he contended that while parliamentary democracy was inevitable in the present circumstances, there is a need to institute a serious inquiry into the ways and means of evolving a more democratic democracy. Towards the end of the argument, Professor Desai also pleaded for the formation of Human Rights Commission, and argued that it should be a statutory body under the Constitution.

The atmosphere of the debate was very lively and there was a good deal of sparkling wit and humour both from the audience and from the dais. The meeting ended at 8.00 p.m., and Vishuddha advised me to take a cab and go straight to the

Law and Life

Law and Life

residence of Professor Chitle so as to be punctual for the meeting with him.


My meeting with Principal Chitle began at 9.00 p.m.

At the very outset, Principal Chitle put me at ease by saying that I should explain to him my point of view without the strain and stress of time. He said that there are moments in the life of every student when he needs to be heard with patience, and it was for that purpose that he had made a custom to meet students from time to time individually or in groups at his personal library at nine in the evening. I felt deeply touched by Principal Chitle's concern for the psychological welfare of his students and by the kindness that he showed throughout our conversation.

explained to Principal Chitle that my difficulty was psychological and ethical in character, and that its roots lay in the confusions in my mind in regard to what is right and what is wrong, particularly in the light of the notions of karma, akarma and vikarma which have been mentioned in the Gita.

Principal Chitle said that one of the chief deficiencies in the contemporary Indian juristic thought was that it has not seriously attempted to correlate the ancient Indian jurisprudence with the modern jurisprudence. He frankly admitted that he himself was more at home in Roman Law and modern jurisprudence than in the ancient Indian wisdom.

Law and Life

Law and Life

He added, "Mr. Bhatt, one of the main reasons for encouraging you to talk to me this evening is that you have specialised in your B.A. in Sanskritic studies with special reference to Dharmashastra. And I believe that if you specialise in the M.A. in this subject at a more advanced level, and if you have a good grounding in modern system of law, you would turn out to be one of the few lawyers in our country who would be capable of correlating the old and the new. It is for this reason that I have not dismissed entirely your request for permission to do both law and M.A. at the same time. Of course, one could advise you to complete your M.A. first and then join the Law College, or vice versa. But I see that there is also a merit in pursuing simultaneously both the courses, considering your special interest in the Indian Dharmashastra. Although I do not believe that all that is old is gold, I do feel that our ancient Indian wisdom had arrived at certain insights, which if liberated from its old formulations and old methods of application, would have direct relevance to the needs of contemporary society."

These initial remarks of Principal Chitle emboldened me to expound my problem a little more elaborately. I told him: "Sir, the Gita speaks of four Varnas, and Sri Krishna explicitly states that four Varnas were created by the Divine and that the four-fold Varna corresponds to four-fold divisions of quality and action.1 The Gita speaks of "kartavyam karma" (obligatory action) and also of "niyatam kartavyam" (regulated action).2 Sri Krishna also appeals to Arjuna to consider his

1. 4.13
2. 3.8; 18.7; 18.23

Law and Life

Law and Life

swadharma as a Kshatriya for inducing him to be engaged in a righteous war.1 The Gita also lays down with a striking emphasis that one's own nature, rule and function should be observed and followed. It even goes to the extent of saying that swadharma, one's own law of action, even if defective, is better than the well-performed rule of another's nature. It says that death in one's own law of nature is better for a man than victory in an alien movement. It concludes that to follow the law of another's nature is dangerous to the soul.2 At a later stage, in the last chapter, the Gita explains in precise detail four distinct orders of the active nature, swabhava, and the work and proper function of each human being corresponding to his type of nature. The works of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra are divided according to the qualities, Gunas, born of their own inner nature, spiritual temperament, essential character. The Gita finally states that a man, who devotes himself to his own natural work in life, acquires spiritual perfection,— not indeed by the mere act itself, but if one does it with right knowledge and the right motive, if one can make it a worship of the spirit, and dedicate it sincerely to the Master of the universe from whom is all impulse to action. It also adds that one does not incur any sin when one acts in the true spirit of the work and in agreement with the law of one's own nature. Action, it says, should be rightly regulated action, regulated by swabhava, swabhava niyatam karma.3

1. 2.31
2. 35; 18.47
3. 18.43; 18.47

Law and Life

Law and Life

It also speaks of sahajam karma, the natural inborn or innate action.1

"Against this background, Sir, the fact that I am a Brahmin and that, therefore, I should be engaged in activities appropriate to the brahmin is pressing upon me with irresistible force. Rightly or wrongly, I cannot make up my mind whether a profession of a lawyer is a rightful profession for a brahmin. And this uncertainty has a disabling effect upon my thought and action. If you could kindly enlighten me, and if I could be convinced that a Brahmin should not become a lawyer, I shall withdraw my application for admission to the Law College. On the other hand, the proposition that I should be studying Sanskrit and Dharmashastra raises no problem because I am convinced that that is appropriate to my Brahminhood. But if it can be shown that the study of law and profession of law is consistent with Brahminhood, then I do not see why I should not enter into the Law College, and why I should not be doing both my Sanskrit studies and Legal studies simultaneously, considering that in all humility I believe that I can do justice to both the courses fully. Besides, I shall be having financial benefit if I continue my Sanskritic studies and accept the fellowship which has been offered to me by my College."

Professor Chitle made no reply. He seemed reflecting on what I had said. So I said with some hesitation, : "I do not know if I have explained my inner mind with some clarity."

"The name that the Gita gives to the element which enables individuals and collectivities to obey shastras is Shraddha, a term which is highly misunderstood but which has a very complex connotation in the Gita. The Gita regards Shraddha as a necessary foundation for the acceptance of

1. 18.38

Law and Life

Law and Life

Principal Chitle comforted me by saying that he was very pleased with my statement. Then he went on to say:

"Mahesh, I should like you to clarify to yourself that the teaching of the Gita has no bearing on the existing caste system. Caste system is a very different thing from the ancient social ideal of Chaturvarnya and in no way corresponds with its description in the Gita. Take, for instance, the description of the Vaishya. The Gita speaks of agriculture, cattle-keeping and trade of every kind to be the work of the Vaishya;1 but in the present caste system, the majority of those who are concerned in trade and in cattle-keeping, artisans, small craftsmen and others are classed as Shudras, when they are not put altogether outside the pale. The merchant class is alone, and that too not every where, ranked as Vaishya. Again, today, agriculture and Government service are professions of all classes from the brahmin down to the Shudras. Moreover, where is the place of Gunas in the present day caste system? What we find today is a rigid system of achara, with no reference to the conventional Gunas or individual nature.

"It is also significant that the Gita does not lay down any specific outer professions for the Brahmin and the Kshatriya. It describes the Brahmin and the Kshatriya merely in terms of their respective Gunas. It states that serenity, self-control, austerity, purity, forgiveness, uprightness, wisdom, knowledge, science and pursuit of reality are the activities of Brahmin which arise from his inner nature. Similarly, it states that bravery,

1. 18.44

Law and Life

Law and Life

vigour, fortitude, resourcefulness, non-escapism, generosity, and lordship are activities of the Kshatriya born from his inner nature.1

"The present caste system is a conventional system, where prominent or even exclusive importance is given to external criteria such as birth, outer manifestations of customs and conventions, dress, language and symbols. Chaturvarnya of the Gita refers to an intermediate stage of society where divisions of functions and activities of society were necessitated but they were effected by reference to inner states of consciousness and inner qualities as also by subtle manifestations of action. It was also recognised that by birth everyone is Shudra and that it is by cultivation of higher qualities that one can rise into superior classes of society. There is also a deeper view of Chaturvarnya, which recognises equality of all the varnas and where there is no rigidity with regard to divisions of activities. We can see in the case of Sri Krishna himself; we see how he manifested the qualities of all the four types. He is known like a Brahmin as the expounder of knowledge and as a Teacher; he manifested the great qualities of the Kshatriya as a ruler, an administrator and a diplomat; he also manifested the qualities of the Vaishya by excelling in virtues appropriate to prosperity, opulence, and mastery over relationship of exchange manifest so clearly in relationships of love of various kinds. As a charioteer, Sri Krishna manifested the highest qualities required in performing activities of physical labour.

1. 18.42 - 43

Law and Life

Law and Life

"In modern society a new pressure has been built up under which increasing number of individuals are required to develop four-fold personality. Dignity of labour, the quality of the Shudra, is extolled both in theory and practice; everybody is today expected to participate like a Kshatriya in the governance of society and state; and with explosion of knowledge, development of the capacity to learn throughout one's life has become a necessity; this means that everyone is required to become a perpetual Brahmin; finally, earning livelihood and amassing of wealth is expected of everyone. Whatever may be drawbacks of present system of society, there is no doubt that the gospel of equality and development of four-fold personality is becoming inescapable.

"It is in this wide context that you have to reconsider your premises and liberate yourself from the confusions that are likely to arise by trying to read mistakenly in the Gita the justification of the present rigid caste system which is still unfortunately operative in practical affairs of life in India."

Professor Chide stopped for a while. When I said nothing, he continued:

"Let us look at the situation in a different way. The ancient system of Chaturvarnya, of the four varnas, had a triple aspect; it had a social and economic aspect, it had a cultural aspect and it had a spiritual aspect.

"On the economic side, it recognised four functions of the social man in the community, - the religious and intellectual, the political, the economic and the servile functions. There were, thus, four kinds of works, (i) the work of religious

Law and Life

Law and Life

ministership, letters, learning and knowledge, (ii) the work of Government, politics, administration and war, (iii) the work of production, wealth making and exchange, (iv) the work of hired labour and service. And an endeavour was made to found and stabilise the whole arrangement of society on the operation of the four functions among four clearly marked classes. I must add that this system was not peculiar to India; with certain differences, it was a dominating feature of a stage of social evolution in other ancient or medieval societies also.

"It must also be remarked that the four functions are still inherent in the life of all normal communities, although the class divisions no longer exist. The present society may be called a purely productive and commercial society. We have, in Soviet Union, even a Shudra society of labour. But even in these societies, these four types of functions persist. There are thinkers moved to find the law and truth and guiding rules of existence; there are captains and leaders of industry, who would make all this productive activity an excuse for the satisfaction of their need of adventure and battle and leadership and dominance, and there are many typical purely productive and wealth-getting men; and finally, there are everywhere the average workers satisfied with a modicum of labour and the reward of their labour. But although these four functions exist, there is no rigidity limiting individuals only to one category of function or determining them by birth or by any other external symbolism. The fact is that wherever individualism begins to grow, wherever reason rises in revolt against convention,

Law and Life

Law and Life

the old system begins to be broken down, giving place to a more fluid order.

"I should, however, emphasise that in the older system of India, the economic division had attached to it a cultural idea which gave to each class its religious custom, its law of honour, ethical role, suitable education and training, type of character, family ideal and discipline. It is true that the facts of life did not always correspond to the ideal but there was a constant and strenuous endeavour to keep up, as much as possible, a real correspondence. The importance of this attempt and of the cultural ideal and atmosphere it created in the training of the social man was immeasurably high; but at the present day, it has little more than a historical, and evolutionary significance.

"The third element of Chaturvarnya was its spiritual aspect. In India a profound spiritual use and significance was attached to each of the four varnas of society. And if you study Gita properly you will find that it is by underlining this spiritual significance that we shall get at the real kernel of the teaching of the Gita. And it is in this aspect that you should think of your specific questions.

"I think your confusion will be cleared up if you try to understand what Gita really means when it lays down that apart from Dharma of the social order to which you belong, there is also Swadharma, the law of the development of your inner self. It should also be underlined that Gita lays down that all actions culminate in knowledge. Giving his own example, Sri Krishna says that he has no limitation of any action, and he wants the seeker to have the same wideness and freedom as belong to his own nature. He wants us to approach Him

Law and Life

Law and Life

through all manner of being, sarvabhavena, so that one becomes tuned to His infinite nature, madbhava."

I was under the spell of both the eloquence and the illuminating substance of Principal Chitle's words. I felt as though a veil of confusion had been lifted away from my mind, and yet, I was in need of a more concise and sharper statement. So I, asked him, "Could you just kindly tell me the upshot of all that you have said? I am feeling so enlightened, but I need to be more precise."

Dr. Chitle smiled. He said, "All that I have said can be stated in the form of a few propositions.

(1) All actions must be determined from within; (2) whatever action man does, if done according to the law of his being, the truth of his nature, can be turned Godwards and made an effective means of spiritual liberation and perfection; (3) although each of us has four tendencies in varying degrees each one of us has a predominant tendency in one direction, and so each one of us may allow growth of qualities and functions on the lines of one's pre-dominant tendency; but one need not necessarily feel bound exclusively to the law of that pre-dominant tendency. While following the lead of the pre-dominant tendency we should at the same time allow growth and development of all the four tendencies. This kind of flexible and comprehensive attitude is particularly required in our own times where social divisions are or ought to be broken down and where the situation is fluid. A new type of society is in the making, and that society will grow more rapidly on sound lines in proportion to which individuals of today develop as many characteristics and qualities and

Law and Life

Law and Life

capacities and skills as may be available within the present stock of natural abilities."

I felt greatly satisfied, but I was so overwhelmed that I could speak nothing by way of response.

Dr. Chitle summed up what he wanted to say: "Development of integral personality is the need of our time. You have to grow at once into an ideal Brahmin, ideal Kshatriya, ideal Vaishya and ideal Shudra. Do not think that because you are born a brahmin, you do not have the qualities of the Kshatriya in you, or that you should not develop the qualities of the Shudra in you. I may be a prince by birth and yet I may have the innate character and capacity also of a teacher and of a craftsman. In fact, all the four natures of brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra are divine in character. They are all born from the Divine. This is what the Veda speaks of in its famous Purusha sukta. It is from the Divine himself that all the four - brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra—have become manifest. All the four have become manifest, because all of them are inherent in the Divine."

This was a categorical and clear statement. But then I asked, "Sir, what is your advice?"

Principal Chitle smiled, but immediately became grave. He said, "Do not ask me to do what you should be doing. Examine your own nature. You must do according to your nature. Do not label yourself as a brahmin or a kshatriya or a vaishya or a shudra. What is important is what is your inner nature. Ask yourself: What are my present capacities? What are my potentialities?

Law and Life

Law and Life

How best should I develop all of them in such a way that I can grow into an integral personality?"

I remained quiet for a little while. I said, "Sir I have in my nature both the qualities of a teacher and the qualities of a lawyer or a judge."

"Then you should follow both." said Principal Chitle.

"But then, Sir, am I justified in asking your permission to do both M.A. and Law simultaneously?"

Principal Chitle burst out in a laughter. "You have brought me to my senses", he said.

Principal Chitle remained pensive for a few moments. Then he said, "No law should be inflexible. Laws should be so formulated that they regulate but also facilitate. If the law of our College restricts you unduly, there is a good case for us to modify it. Do not press me for an answer now. I shall have to think of all the implications. I shall also need the support of my colleagues, particularly, of Professor Desai and Professor Bapat. We have a few days more; meet me again on the 18th June, - two days before the commencement of the session."

At long last, I felt a sense of deep relief in my heart. I had no words to express my admiration of Principal Chitle and no words to express my gratitude for the illumination that he gave me and for his labour of nearly two hours during which he examined my confusions threadbare and delivered me into clear light.

It was exactly 11.00 p.m., and as Principal Chitle cast his glance on the clock. I said, "Sir, I have no words to express my gratefulness. I should

Law and Life

Law and Life

now be leaving; it is already 11 o'clock. But I should like to assure you of one thing. If you allow me to do both M.A. and Law simultaneously, I shall work very hard, and although results are in the hands of the Divine, I shall strive my best to prove that the concession that you made in my favour was quite justified."

Principal Chitle smiled. While I was leaving his room, he said," I am sure I will invite you again at this late hour. You deserve this privilege."


I was full of enthusiasm when I met Vishuddha the very next morning. It was a very brief meeting, since a number of people were waiting to meet him. But during the five minutes that I had with him, I told him how great was my meeting with Principal Chitle. In conclusion, I told him, "The talk was so satisfying that I do not mind now what fruit will it bear ultimately. The talk was a reward in itself."

Vishuddha smiled and said, "An effort rightly pursued culminates at the point where action by itself becomes intrinsically self-sufficient and utterly satisfying, irrespective of its consequences. This is one of the tests in the process of Karma Yoga. To an accomplished Karma Yogin, every action automatically bears this character. One can be sure that whenever an action attains this character, it produces the very best possible consequence."

I smiled and said, "Well, this meeting with Principal Chitle has given me this rare experience. And I would have liked to discuss a few things, but I do not wish to come between yourself and the people who are waiting for you."

Law and Life

Law and Life

Vishuddha said, "I am sorry I do not have any time now. But yesterday you complained to me that I had never spoken to you about my father. But the occasion never arose when I could speak to you about him. Now the occasion has presented itself. Last evening, after you left the St. Xavier's College, I had a short chat with my father. He said that since today happens to be a holiday, he wanted me to have lunch with him. He has also invited Prof. Bapat, Balwant, Alka as also a few lawyers who are working with Mr. Bapat and himself. -And he has invited you, too."

"Me!" I cried out in surprise.

"Yes", said Vishuddha with emphasis. "And this was not at my prompting. He remembered you on his own. Did I not introduce you to him when he arrived at the St. Xavier's College? I am sure your handsome and intelligent face must have made an impression on him. In any case, he told me on his own to bring you with me for the lunch."

"What a beautiful circumstance!" I was truly elated. Just on the previous day, I had an extraordinary meeting with Principal Chitle; and on the very next day I was to have the privilege to lunch with one of the most distinguished jurists of our country! While I was thus reflecting, Vishuddha said, "Will it be possible for you to come straight to my father's residence? I have to be away from Kaivalyadham after 11 o'clock, and I will reach my father's residence direct. Let me give you my father's address. You know where Strand Cinema is located. Just opposite to it, there is a tall building and that building is called "White House". My father's flat is on the sixth floor. I

Law and Life

Law and Life

am sure there will be no difficulty for you in locating this building."

I left Vishuddha and returned to my hostel. As I had a few hours on hand, I decided to go up to the Hanging Gardens where I could collect myself and organise various ideas which had poured into my mind on the previous day. I also thought that the lunch might provide an excellent opportunity for me to put a few questions to Prof. Desai apropos of his talk the previous day.


I arrived at the residence of Prof. Desai at 1.15 p.m. Vishuddha, Balwant and Prof. Bapat had already arrived. Four or five other persons whom I had not met earlier were also present. One of them was Mrs. Bapat and the other was Alka. The others were junior lawyers working with Professor Bapat and Professor Desai.

Contrary to my earlier impression of Prof. Bapat, I found that he was extremely cordial and affable. As they were talking about their personal affairs, I remained politely quiet. But by the time we were called to the dining table, Balwant had already raised a few interesting questions. He had expounded his theory of intellectual anarchism and asked Prof. Desai as to how long, in his opinion, the world civilisation would take to realise the goal of a harmonious state of anarchy, where the individual and the society could synchronise their steps of development without any need of an external agency like the State.

Prof. Desai said that even in the state of anarchy, some kind of a coordinating agency would be necessary. "Take, for instance," he said, "the

Law and Life

Law and Life

question of traffic. Don't you think there would be need for an agency to regulate traffic in order to avoid accidents?"

"Yes," said Balwant. "But that agency would not compel individuals, and it would not impose any law upon the members of society."

"In theory, you may be right," replied Professor Desai, "because you are assuming that every member would be so enlightened that he would not only submit automatically but would love to submit himself to the regulations which would be required for the smooth functioning of the collective life. But in practice, there are bound to be differences among individuals, and, therefore, in their level of enlightenment. What about children? Would they not be required to be compelled to follow traffic regulations?"

Balwant laughed. He said, "Uncle, what you are saying is so simple that it all goes without saying. There have to be some rules; but rules will be very simple. In any case, I do not think there will be any need of a complex machinery of law or of judiciary. What I am very keen about is to eliminate from the society professional lawyers; and even if they exist, they should perpetually remain briefless."

Prof. Desai laughed. He said, "Look, Balwant, as long as human beings exist on the earth, there will be normative thinking, and normative thinking is the real genesis of the species called lawyers. There have always been lawyers in society in the past; there are lawyers now; and there will be lawyers in the future, too. You cannot avoid them. Even in the state of anarchy, people will debate on the questions of the right

Law and Life

Law and Life

arrangement of the society, and even if the debates may not be acrimonious, there are bound to be differences of opinion. And while in certain situations differences of opinion do not matter, they do matter in regard to some other situations. So people will have to devise methods of arriving at some kind of agreement. And who will devise these methods? Who will formulate agreements? And who will interpret agreements? The clear answer is: "Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers."

We all laughed, and as we all rose up to move towards the dining table, I happened to be just next to Prof. Desai, who took my hands in his, and said, "What do you think of Balwant's anarchism? Would you like to live in anarchism or in a civilised society governed by law and order?"

I took the question very seriously and, as a consequence, I could make no reply. But as the lunch began, I turned to Prof. Desai and said, "I do not have words to express how very grateful I felt when I heard your lecture yesterday. I have read the Gita several times, but I had never suspected that its references to Shastra and Shraddha contained such a profound wisdom regarding law and jurisprudence. Since hearing you yesterday, there has been a real bombardment of my mind. I had never suspected that the Gita had a philosophy of revolution."

Prof. Bapat felt a shock at my use of word "revolution". He said, "Mahesh, Prof. Desai never spoke of "revolution" yesterday. Did he? I am sure Balwant has filled your mind with notions of revolutions, and when you were listening to

Law and Life

Law and Life

Prof. Desai, you were translating Prof. Desai's arguments in terms of Balwant's ideology."

Balwant said, "Let me say something."

Prof. Desai, however, intervened and said, "Balwant, you do not need to enter into an argument. I will answer both your father and Mahesh. If you read the Gita very carefully, you will find that there are two propositions. The first proposition advocates that one should abide by Shastra. But there is also; the second proposition which can be derived from the question that Arjuna raises at the commencement of the seventeenth chapter. He asks, "What is the disposition of those, O Krishna, who disregarding the directions of Shastra, perform their works in the spirit of sacrifice with faith?"1 What is inherent in this question is that there are people who disregard Shastra. It is true that the word "revolution" has not been used, but one would not object if one reads the hint of it in it.

"I spoke yesterday of deviation from Shastra, and I also gave examples such as those of Buddha deviating from the Vedic shastra and of Christ abrogating and fulfilling the Mosaic law. Surely, the idea of revolt is involved in it. Yes, Mahesh, I have read the Gita very often, and sometimes, under conditions of stress. My personal life has been a life of battle, and in this life I have often felt a sense of revolt. I had also raised in my own mind several times this question, namely, whether the Gita is a dosed book or whether it is an open gate through which new truths can be constantly discovered. It was after repeated studies of the Gita that its last injunction began

1. 17.1

Law and Life

Law and Life

to dawn on me with a powerful rush of floodlight. That last injunction is: Give up all dharmas and surrender to Me alone. I asked myself: 'What could be the meaning of giving up all Dharmas?' With this question, I read again and again the last six chapters. Then I found that in these chapters, Gita describes various kinds of Dharmas. It speaks of Dharma appropriate to the field of knowledge, knower, and knowledge itself; it describes the dharma of Sattvic guna. Rajsic guna and Tamsic guna; it describes the nature and dharma of the "ashvattha tree" as symbolic of the world, samsara; it describes the nature and dharma of the Deva and the Asura; it describes the nature of Dharma, of Shraddha; it distinguishes three components of Kartavyam Karma and speaks of the characteristics of sacrifices, austerities and gifts; it presents a concrete idea of different kinds of foods and tells us what is sattvic food, what is rajsic food and what is tamasic food; it distinguishes between three kinds of renunciations; it also analyses five component parts or causes of action, - it speaks of the seat of action (adhisthana); doer of action {karta); instruments of action (karana); various categories of effort (cheshta), and providence {daivam),- and it presents in detail three-fold nature of dharma of each of these five elements. I asked the question as to why the Gita had taken so much trouble to delineate the concept of dharma in such minute details. And I found that all this had a profound bearing on questions of ethics and on questions of law. And I had truly felt illuminated when I read its explicit reference to Shastra. And then I pondered over the question as to why Arjuna spoke of the

Law and Life

Law and Life

consequences of deviating from Shastra. Surely, Gita must be profoundly aware of how Shastra normally tends to bind individuals and imprison them into fixed grooves of life and nature. Surely, I said to myself, Gita must have considered the problem of those who feel the yoke of law to be intolerable at one stage or the other. And as I reflected more and more, I found that the entire drift of the argument of the last six chapters is to disclose to the seeker the means by which one can transcend the limitations of the three Gunas and of various dharmas and enter into the liberation of infinity. It is then that I realised the importance of the concept of Gunatita, the concept of one who has risen above the Gunas. In fact, the emphasis on the concept of Gunatita is underlined, when towards the end of fourteenth chapter, Arjuna specifically asks the question as to by what marks the one who has risen above the Gunas can be recognised.1 And Sri Krishna answers this question in some detail.2 It became clear that while the Gita accepts the bondage of Gunas and also the bondage of the law of the Gunas for the ordinary course of life, it encourages the breaking of the chains of the bondage of Gunas by gradual sublimation and perfection of Sattwa. It even describes divinity and divine nature and mentions that divinity and divine nature are above the Gunas. The goal of the Gita is, therefore, to ask individuals to rise above the bondage and to attain to the freedom of the Divine Nature. Sri Krishna even speaks of the concept of Sadharmya3 and tells

1. 14.21
2. 14.22 - 27
3. 14.2

Law and Life

Law and Life

us that the highest status of the individual is attained when the individual is united with the Divine not only in essence but even in nature and in attributes."

At this point, Alka intervened and said, "Uncle, I am afraid you have become oblivious of the fact that you are sitting on the dining table. Please do some justice to the dish that is in front of you."

Prof. Desai laughed and said, "I am sorry, but the subject is so important. I feel very happy that Mahesh has raised a very important issue."

Alka said, "But you should first finish your lunch. We have all finished it, and you are far behind."

Prof. Desai said, "Never mind. I never intended to eat so much. And I have already eaten enough. They can even remove my plate. In fact, if you have finished your food, let us have dessert."

Dessert was quickly served; and it seemed that Prof. Desai was keen to finish his argument. And as soon as we rose from the dining table, Prof. Desai turned to me and said, "This concept of sadharmya must be read with what Krishna speaks of svakarma, swadharma, paradharma, svabhava- niyatam-karma and sahajam karma.1 My feeling is that Gita distinguishes between a general law and a specific law. Ordinarily, it seems to prescribe that everybody should follow the general law or shastra; but on a more subtle level, Gita wants everyone to understand his own nature, to discover his own specific law of action and to act

1. 18.45-48

Law and Life

Law and Life

according to that law, even if it is in conflict with the general law or shastra, provided it is motivated by sattvic shraddha. And then Gita goes even farther and lays down that in order to attain unity with the Supreme Being and Supreme Nature (madbhava), one has to transcend all the laws,"

Balwant intervened to say, "This transcendence of all the laws is precisely the core of anarchism that I am speaking of. This is the reason why I seem to be inclined more and more to accept the path of Yoga expounded in the Gita."

"You should, however, make a distinction between your brand of anarchism, and the doctrine of transcendence of all laws that is contained in the Gita," said Prof. Desai forcefully. He continued, "Your anarchism, even intellectual anarchism, does not transcend the limitations of egoism. What Gita teaches is not only transcendence of all the laws, Dharmas, but it asks you to transcend the very root of desire and egoism. The difference between your anarchism and Gita's teaching is as much as a difference between a dog and an elephant."

Balwant felt very uncomfortable. He said, "Uncle, I am not able to answer you at this moment. But I shall make an in-depth study of the Gita. I hope to come up with an argument which will convince you that my position is not very far from that of the Gita. If not intellectual anarchism, there is certainly the basis in the Gita for what I can call spiritual anarchism."

Prof. Bapat, who was quiet for so long, warmed up a little and said, "In that case, you would have only vindicated Prof. Desai's suggestion. For the difference between your

Law and Life

Law and Life

present anarchism and spiritual anarchism is as great as between a dog and an elephant."

Balwant replied, "Let us see how far my research proceeds and we shall then make a judgment. You will agree that no lawyer or no judge should pre-judge the issue."

I was watching Alka. In fact, she appeared inwardly sad, but she was perhaps trying to put up a cheerful face. She noticed perhaps that I was watching her. So she turned to me and said, "Mahesh, do you know that my uncle is a good actor? And he has a remarkable mastery over the Shakespearean dramas?"

"Is that so ?", I asked.

"Uncle, why don't you give a recitation of one of the memorable passages from Shakespeare?" Alka pleaded.

Balwant also liked the idea very much and said, "Yes, uncle. We have not heard your recitation since a long time. Let us hear from you that famous speech of Antony."

Alka intervened, "No, uncle", she said, "I do not like that speech very much. It is too rhetorical and too ironical. There is not that sincerity which is to be found, for example, in that exhoration of Portia to Shylock. Besides, its message is noble, and I think that that passage is worthy to be learnt by every student of law, every lawyer and every judge. Uncle, why don't you recite to us Portia on Mercy? Do you remember how, once when I was in my teens, you had moved me to tears by reciting that passage? And since that time, I have read that passage again and again. I can never forget it."

Law and Life

Law and Life

"Well, Alka", said Prof. Desai, "In that case, let us hear your recitation of it. That will give us a great delight."

This suggestion was liked by everybody, and everybody pressed her not only to recite but even to act out that passage.

Alka, however, turned to one of the junior lawyers and said, "Malati, please help me. You have tremendous histrionic ability." Malati responded readily. She began:

"Portia: Is your name Shylock ? Shylock: Shylock is my name.

Portia: Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;

Yet in such rule that the Venetian law

Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.

You stand within his danger, do you not?

Antonio : Ay, so he says.

Portia : Do you confess the bond?

Antonio : I do.

Portia : Then the Jew must be merciful.

Shylock: On what compulsion, must I ? Tell me that.

Portia : The quality of mercy is not strain'd;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it become

The throned monarch better than his crown;

Law and Life

Law and Life

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this — That in the course of justice none of us

Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much

To mitigate the justice of thy plea,

Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice

Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there."

Her performance was excellent; everyone applauded her. Even Prof. Bapat said that he was thrilled. Prof. Bapat actually went one step farther and said, "Malati, why don't you enact the entire court scene of this play? I always recommend to students of law to study that court scene. There is so much to learn from it. This particular passage that you have just now recited has a great message for the entire realm of law. Law should always yield to mercy; mercy is an expression of divine grace, and divine grace is but another name of

Law and Life

Law and Life

freedom. I do not advocate anarchism, but I do believe that when human civilisation develops higher forms of culture, the conflict between law and freedom begins to be resolved. Law ceases to imprison freedom, and it becomes the child of freedom."

Vishuddha said, "Uncle, you should write a book on this subject. You should make suggestions as to how the present law can be upgraded by infusion into it of higher realms of thought and culture. I remember how the other day you spoke of the law of wages and the principle that that law should embody."

Balwant was surprised to hear this. He said, "Father, you never spoke to me about this. What is this new theory that you have developed?"

Prof. Bapat replied, "Oh! it is nothing! 'It was just a reference to a parable in the New Testament."

Vishuddha got up from his seat and said, "Balwant, don't ask uncle. I will just read out to you that parable. Since uncle spoke to me about this, I have read this parable again and again, and I feel that if that parable could be made a basis of our Labour Laws, we could really build up a salutary system of the relationship between management and labour."

Vishuddha brought out the New Testament from his father's library and coming back to his chair, he said, "I cannot give the performance of the kind that we had from Malati."

"Then why don't you ask Malati to read it out?" suggested Balwant.

"Yes, Malati," said Prof. Desai.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Vishuddha gave the book to Malati and pointed out where the passage occurs in the book. Malati read it aloud:

"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right." So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, "Why are you standing here idle all day?" They said to him, "Because no one has hired us." He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard." When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, "Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first." When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, "These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat." But he replied to one of them, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do

Law and Life

Law and Life

what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and first will be last."

As soon as Malati finished the reading, Balwant turned to his father and said, "Father, do you really mean that the system of wages in our country can be re-designed on the basis of the principle laid down in this parable?"

"Why not?" replied Prof. Bapat.

"You recall what Prof. Desai said yesterday in his speech. He said that one of the tasks of the law-makers and interpreters of law is to visualise higher truths of perfection and to strive to modify the present law in the image of those higher truths. If this exercise is done vigorously by all concerned, we could certainly arrive at a workable formulation."

"Father", said Balwant, "I am sure I am making impact upon you. Or else, how could one explain such a revolutionary thought in your mind?"

All laughed. But Prof. Desai remarked, "Balwant, why don't you think that your own so-called revolutionary ideas are a result of the impact that your father has been making upon you since you were a child!"

"Yes, uncle, you are quite right," said Alka, "Spirit of revolution is actually a hereditary transmission to Balwant from my uncle. It is because of his false egoism that Balwant thinks that he alone has the prerogative to think of revolutions and to initiate revolutions!"

"Thank you, my daughter," said Prof. Bapat. "What Balwant needs is humility; what he needs

Law and Life

Law and Life

is the perception that revolutions existed much before him and greater revolutions are being conceived even at this moment than what he can imagine. But now, before we disperse, who will comply with that request which I made?"

"Which request, uncle?" asked Alka.

"I just spoke to Malati about the court scene in the Merchant of Venice, where Portia deals with Shylock and inflicts a fatal blow on his greed," answered Prof. Bapat.

"But uncle, do you think she can enact the entire scene? If I get a copy of the drama... Is it possible, Malati ?"

Vishuddha immediately stood up and brought the collected works of Shakespeare from Prof. Desai's library and gave it to Malati.

Malati turned to Prof. Bapat and said: " The entire court scene is rather too long. Can you select just one passage?"

"All right," said Prof. Bapat. "I shall suggest one passage which illustrates the subtlety of the intelligence of Portia. You know, I always impress upon students of law that they should develop subtlety of intelligence and that their mind should become so sharp that they can easily grasp subtle points of law. And here is the passage. Give me the book."

Prof. Bapat turned the pages of the book and pointing to the concerned passage, he told Malati:

"Here it is!"

Malati took the book and recited the following passage:

"Portia : A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine.

Law and Life

Law and Life

The court awards it and the law doth give it.

Shylock : Most rightful judge!

Portia : And you must cut this flesh from off his breast.

The law allows it and the court awards it.

Shylock : Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare.

Portia : Tarry a little; there is something else.

This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood:

The words expressly are "a pound of flesh".

Take then thy bond/ take though thy pound of flesh;

But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed

One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods

Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate unto the state of Venice.

Gratiano :O upright judge! Mark, Jew. O learned judge!

Shylock : Is that the law ?

Portia : Thyself shalt see the act;

For, as thou urgest justice, be assur'd

Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desir'st.

Gratiano :O learned judge ! Mark, Jew. A learned judge !

Shylock : I take this offer then: pay the bond thrice, And let the Christian go.

Bassanio: Here is the money. Portia : Soft !

Law and Life

Law and Life

The Jew shall have all justice. Soft! No haste. He shall have nothing but the penalty.

Gratiano :O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!

Portia : Therefore, prepare thee to cut off the flesh.

Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more

But just a pound of flesh; if thou tak'st more

Or less than a just pound - be it but so much

As makes it light or heavy in the substance,

Or the division of the twentieth part

Of one poor scruple; nay, if the scale do turn

But in the estimation of a hair

Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.

Gratiano :A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew! Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.

Portia : Why doth the Jew pause? Take thy forfeiture.

Shylock : Give me my principal, and let me go.

Bassanio :I have it ready for thee; here it is.

Portia : He hath refus'd it in the open court;

He shall have merely justice, and his bond.

Gratiano :A Daniel still say I, a second Daniel!

I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.

Shylock : Shall I not have barely my principal?

Portia : Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture

To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Shylock : Why, then the devil give him good of it!

I'll stay no longer question. Portia : Tarry, Jew.

The law hath yet another hold on you.

It is enacted in the laws of Venice,

If it be prov'd against an alien

That by direct or indirect attempts

He seek the life of any citizen,

he party 'gainst the which he doth contrive

Shall seize one half his goods; the other half

Comes to the privy coffer of the state;

And the offender's life lies in the mercy of the Duke only, 'gainst all other voice.

In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;

For it appears by manifest proceeding

That indirectly, and directly too,

Thou hast contrived against the very life Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd

Down, therefore, and beg mercy of the Duke.

Gratiano :Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself;

And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state, Thou hast not left the value of a cord;

Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.

Duke : That thou shalt see the difference of our spirit,

I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it. For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;

The other half comes to the general state, Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Portia : Ay, for the state; not for Antonio.

Shylock : Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that.

You take my house when you do take the prop

That doth sustain my house; you take my life

hen you do take the means whereby I live.

Portia : What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

Gratiano: A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake!

Antonio : So please my lord the Duke and all the court

To quit the fine for one half of his goods;

I am content, so he will let me have the other half in use, to render it

Upon his death unto the gentleman That lately stole his daughter —

Two things provided more : that, for this favour,

He presently become a Christian;

The other, that he do record a gift,

Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd

Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.

Duke : He shall do this, or else I do recant

The pardon that I late pronounced here.

Portia : Art thou contented, Jew ? What dost thou say?

Shylock : I am content. Portia : Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Shylock : I pray you, give me leave to go from hence;

I am not well; send the deed after me And I will sign it.

Duke : Get thee gone, but do it.

This was an extraordinary rendering. Malati had acted the role not only of Portia exquisitely but also the roles of Shylock, Gratiano, Bassanio, Antonio and the Duke. It was simply wonderful! Prof. Bapat indicated that he had another engagement at 4 o'clock and that he should like to leave. As for me, although I had no engagements, I said out of politeness that I too should be leaving. But then everybody got up to leave. Vishuddha, however, told me that he wanted to remain with his father but that I could meet him the next morning at 9 o'clock. He said that he had no engagement the next day till late in the evening. I thanked him very much and took leave of Prof. Desai and everybody else.


The next morning I got ready early as I was keen to meet Vishuddha. I had many questions in my mind; some of these questions were personal in character, others were theoretical and practical. During the previous two days, I had come to know of Vishuddha's personal background and wanted to know the story of his development. I also wanted to find out what really was the thrust of his life. Although I was acquainted with him over the last two years, I came to realise that my knowledge about him was quite superficial. I had taken him to be a mere teacher of certain yogic practices. I had never suspected that he had deep

Law and Life

Law and Life

connection with the world of law. I had also known him as a pupil of Brahmadev, but I had never enquired into the depth, breadth and height of his knowledge. I wanted to ask Vishuddha about all these matters. I was also keen to know more about Balwant and his activities. There were some deeper questions also in my mind which had become crystallised during the last two days as a result of the speech of Prof. Desai and my personal acquaintance with Principal Chitle and Prof. Bapat.

As I was about to leave my hostel for Kaivalya Dham, there was a knock at my door. When I opened the door I was pleasantly surprised to find Vishuddha with his charming smile. As I asked him to come into the room, he said, "I can see that you are ready to go out."

"Yes, I was just about to go to Kaivalya Dham to meet you and to spend as much as time as you could spare. You had told me yesterday that you had no special engagement until late in the afternoon. So I thought that if unexpected visitors do not come in the way of your time, I could benefit from my talks with you."

"Well, if you want that I should not be assailed by unexpected visitors, we should escape to the seashore or to some garden. But let me first give you the good news."

I looked intently at Vishuddha and asked him, "What is it?"

Vishuddha said, "A final decision has been taken regarding your admission to the law college. You will be allowed to do both Law and M.A. simultaneously."

Law and Life

Law and Life

I felt a thrill and a great relief. Vishuddha explained to me how the decision had been arrived at. He said that Principal Chitle had invited Prof. Desai and Prof. Bapat at his residence on the previous evening to discuss my case. Prof. Chitle had argued that mine was a fit case for special consideration. After a short discussion, a decision was taken to amend the rules for admission and to permit M.A. students to prosecute law studies provided that the concerned candidates had secured first class in the qualifying examination and had shown ability to shoulder the burden of pursuing two courses at the same time.

In a flash of a second, I saw how within a few days circumstances had so shaped themselves that what had seemed impossible had become feasible so smoothly and easily.

"This is all due to you,' I said. "This can be described as a magic of contact with you."

"It is truly a magic of the aspiration," said Vishuddha. He looked at me sharply with his bewitching smile: Then he added, "There is a law of demand and supply in the world. Fundamentally, there is a profound science of events. Normally, events appear to be occurring almost by chance. In any case, we do not know how and why events occur. Human beings seem to enjoy or suffer helplessly under inexplicable torrents of events. There are, of course, two extreme theories. According to one, man is a puppet of events and destiny; according to another, man is; the maker of events and destiny. But according to the science of events, both these theories are partially true and partially erroneous. The central shaper of events is the power of

Law and Life

Law and Life

aspiration. The greater the awakening of man, and the greater the intensity of his aspiration, the greater is his power of shaping circumstances and events."

"I do not follow what you really imply," I said.

Vishuddha smiled and said, "I will explain to you. But let us first get out from your hostel. Let us go to the Hanging Garden. It will be almost empty by now, and we shall have uninterrupted time to talk and discuss."

I readily agreed. Within half an hour, we were in the Hanging Garden and we found ourselves strolling leisurely in its beautiful tracks.

Vishuddha explained to me from his personal life the law of aspiration and how he had made experiments with that law. This gave me an opportunity to know about his boyhood and how he came to develop his personality. Vishuddha gave me a long answer.

He said: "From my early boyhood, I had a natural inclination to observe myself and to experience varying states of my nature. There was inherent delight in my inner being and there was inexpressible sweetness in my temperament. My natural tendency "was to fall in love with nature, with birds, with animals and human beings. In my solitude in my garden I used to talk to plants and flowers, and I used to imagine that they too were talking to me. I had special love for jasmine and rose and used to spend hours in their company. Every night before going to sleep, I used to go to a special domain of my nature where the fibres of my thoughts and feelings

Law and Life

Law and Life

vibrated like strings of the violin and wrapped me in contemplation of harmonies of soft sounds. It was heavenly.

"At the age of twelve, I lost my mother. This was a great shock to me, but it was a catastrophe for my father. He had loved her so deeply that he could not imagine himself living without her. He began to ask questions about the survival of soul after death. In fact, he launched upon a quest for immortality. I was his intimate friend, and he shared with me his quest with great transparency and depth. I was, of course, unripe to understand his philosophical questions. But I gave him all my warmth of understanding and affection. During that period, my father went through a psychological upheaval, and while he continued his career of law, he took up a serious study of our ancient wisdom. He also began to practise meditation and I also practised it in my own way.

"Unfortunately, with the growth of philosophical ideation in my mind, I. began to lose my earlier intensity of sweetness and delight which were inherent in my nature. I began to feel uneasy. I did not really understand what was happening to me. But I could notice that there was growing in me a certain kind of disequilibrium. Within a short time, I began to feel disoriented. My spontaneity vanished, and I began to feel strain and burden of artificiality in my thinking, feeling and behaviour. I felt as though I had forgotten the art of life which was a natural gift implanted in my nature right from the beginning.

"By the time I entered my fifteenth year, I felt the need to undertake a voyage of the history

Law and Life

Law and Life

of human thought. I wanted to know of the greatest thinkers of human life, its problems and their solutions.

"One evening, I explained to my father this aspiration that was burning in my heart and asked him how I could go about it. I was, however, unable to express myself adequately, but I believe that what I told him made no impression on him. He just looked at me and made no comments. I had expected my father to take me up on his wings and to travel with me in my voyage of the history of human thought. Days passed, weeks passed, months passed, - nothing happened. In the story of my psychological development, the silence of my father created a shock that seemed to me so terrible that it caused a barrier in my relationship with him. I do not think that he noted anything unusual in my behaviour, but I closed myself in my shell and stopped talking to him about my deepest urges and needs.

"At seventeen, I finished my intermediate studies in my college and, thinking that it would please my father very much, if I took up the study of law, I joined the Law College. I could not, however, relate my legal studies with the inmost enquiry that was constantly knocking the doors of my mind. A further disequilibrium in my consciousness was created and 1 began to look for ways and means by which my lost equilibrium could be regained.

"One important question that occupied me at this stage was: What is the nature of human nature? What is mind? What are states of consciousness and how do they alternate?

Law and Life

Law and Life

"Since my boyhood I had noticed what I used to call "rhythms" of stages of development. These "rhythms" disappeared, and I began to feel as though I was living in a desert, psychologically.

"I wanted to regain my intensity of delight and sweetness, but it was evident that I had drifted away and it seemed to me that I was all alone in my journey and there was darkness all around me.

"My outer behaviour was, however, so normal that nobody, - not even my father - could suspect that I was desperately looking for an escape from my intolerable psychological condition.

"During my winter vacation, however, I went to Mount Girnar for an excursion. It was as I was walking on the high altitudes of this mountain that I happened to enter into an extremely beautiful forest. This forest is known as Bharatvan, and it was here that I happened to meet Brahmadev- ji. This meeting changed my life altogether.

"The story is long, but I shall be brief. I found in Brahmadevji a store of knowledge and wisdom that was amazingly rich and varied. I decided to stay in Bharatvan in a small cottage next to the cottage of Brahmadevji. I wanted to study all that he could teach and I could learn.

"When my father came to learn of my decision through my letter, he was greatly disturbed and rushed to Bharatvan to persuade me to return to Bombay. But his very first meeting with Brahmadev ji convinced him that I had made a correct decision. As a matter of fact, my father expressed his gratitude towards me for having discovered some one who represented a great synthesis of ancient and modern knowledge.

Law and Life

Law and Life

"My father became a disciple of Brahmadevji and during the subsequent years, he began to spend his summer vacations at Bharatvan so that he could study and practise his spiritual life under the direct supervision of Brahmadevji.

"During the next five years, I studied on my own the entire history of thought, eastern and western. I had, of course, the guidance of Brahmadevji, but his methods of teaching were quite unique. Externally, he was not very communicative; he guided me only through suggestions and encouraging smile. A major part of my studies was devoted to the Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita. I also studied Indian Law and jurisprudence, mainly under the guidance of my father who used to visit Bharatvan during summer vacations. I underwent a systematic practice of various systems of Yoga,- Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Tantra. Living in Bharatvan was an exceptional process of education."

I was greatly interested in Vishuddha's story but was curious to know what had happened to his state of disequilibrium which was the main cause of his psychological difficulties.

Vishuddha seemed to understand my question by inner telepathy. So he said :

"At an early stage, I put to Brahmadevji three questions: (1) What is the most comprehensive and synthetic thought? (2) What is the most comprehensive law in the world? (3) What is the nature of highest realisation?

"Brahmadevji's answers were cryptic.

Law and Life

Law and Life

"He had said, ' The most synthetic thought is what the Veda calls the seven - headed thought. The most comprehensive law is the law of sacrifice. The highest state of realisation is what the Gita calls the state of sadharmya, the state of oneness not only with the essence of the Divine but also with the nature of the Divine.' "

I found that none of these three answers were comprehensible to me. So I asked Vishuddha to explain me these answers.

Vishuddha said, "Let me first say that Brahmadevji made me understand the distinction between various states of consciousness. He told me the story of the quest of Bhrigu as described in the Taittiriya Upanishad. In this story, there is a description as to how Bhrigu discovered, first, that Matter was the ultimate reality; this was followed by his discovery that Life-Force was the ultimate reality. Next, he discovered that Mind was the ultimate reality; then he discovered that Vijnana was the ultimate reality. Later, he realised that Bliss was the ultimate reality. And Brahmadevji explained to me that even beyond bliss one could discover that Consciousness is the ultimate reality; and beyond Consciousness one could discover that the Pure Existence is the ultimate reality. These are seven steps of discoveries; each step constitutes one step of thought and all the steps of thought can be comprehended and embraced in a vast synthetic movement of thought which the Veda calls the seven-headed thought.

"Brahmadevji had explained that the seven-headed thought is innate in our consciousness, but we are not conscious of it. But whenever this

Law and Life

Law and Life

innate thought begins to vibrate, one begins to experience a true harmony in the inner being. It is this harmony which is the inexhaustible store of inherent delight and sweetness. He pointed out that many young children are unconsciously in contact with the seven-headed thought, as a result of which they experience automatic equilibrium and compactness of consciousness. But since the contact is unconscious, most of the children lose it at an early stage of development. In a few cases, however, this contact remains alive even for a longer period. This had actually happened in my case. But so long as this contact remains unconscious, there remains always a risk of a sudden collapse of the equilibrium. And once the disequilibrium takes place, man is obliged to trace the cycle of analytical thought through which Bhrigu went from one step of thought to the next higher step of thought. Even then the lost harmony is not regained in its full intensity and in full experience. It took me five years to complete the cycle of seven-headed thought; and even though I arrived at some kind of equilibrium, my satisfaction was far from perfect."

"What did you do then? " I asked.

"Here, again, there is a long story," said Vishuddha. "But briefly speaking, I was initiated in the study and practice of the law of sacrifice. And this is the domain of Yoga. It took me a considerable time to understand the concept of Yoga. Often Yoga is confused with religion or else with ethics. The Indian terms in this context helped me a great deal; for we have, in India, three different words for three different things. Yogic life is termed adhyatmik jivan; religious life is

Law and Life

Law and Life

termed dharmic jivan and the ethical life is termed "naitic jivan"."

I did not want to interrupt Vishuddha but fearing that he might mistakenly assume that I had understood this distinction, I asked him to explain it to me.

He said, "One can write a volume on this question. But let me make a brief remark. Ethical life is governed by ideas of good and right in terms of utility, duty or deliverances of conscience or categorical imperative. The criteria of judgment here fluctuate between various extremes of the social good and the individual good and of the harmony or compromise between the individual and the society. It opens up sometimes to injunctions of religions, but ethical thought subjects them to a rational scrutiny and, in doing so, it loses itself to varying uncertainties or infirmities of judgment. Ethical life remains bound by the conflict of standards of conduct. And it is led up to a higher search where it reaches out to a higher light. This is when ethical life becomes a spring- board for Yogic life.

"Religious life derives its rule of life from sets of doctrines or beliefs held to be indisputably true under the authority of revelation or scripture or actions of a religious founder or prophet or avtar. Religious life may allow theological discussions but it remains basically narrowed down to unquestioning acceptance of dogma and practice of rituals, ceremonies and prescribed acts. It also gets itself tied up with the church or priesthood and social structures supposed to have been sanctioned and sanctified by the religious beliefs and customs.

Law and Life

Law and Life

"The Yogic life may begin with ethical life or religious life or with both but such a starting—point is not indispensable. For it is fundamentally a quest of knowledge, possession and realisation of the spirit by methods of radical transformation of our psychological being and its cognitive, conative and affective capacities and potentialities. One discovers a source of knowledge which is ever progressive in its application to life and its problems. Yogic life is an explosion of consciousness which liberates itself from dogmas, rituals, ceremonies and authority of any establishment. Its concern is with the direct realisation of the higher objects of knowledge and its application to the problems of life and the world.

"But let me now come to the science of Yoga itself. Here, too, there are schools of specialisation and schools of synthesis. As you know, Yoga has come to mean to many people a system of physical exercises which belong to Hatha Yoga. It is not generally known that Hatha Yoga is only one of the several systems of Yoga and that in some of the most synthetic or integral systems of Yoga, most or all exercises of Hatha Yoga are optional or else they are dispensed with altogether.

"Yoga is sometimes identified exclusively with the system of Yoga expounded by Patanjali, - the system of Raja Yoga, which apart from discipline of purification of consciousness, (consisting of yama and niyama) and that of elementary pranayama and asanas taken from Hatha Yoga, proposes a method of arriving at concentration of consciousness (samadhi) by means of a gradual cessation of modifications of the stuff of consciousness (chitta vritti nirodhah).

Law and Life

Law and Life

"When I speak of Yoga, I mean the principle and system of synthesis in which the methods and goals of different systems of Yoga are synthesised on the basis of some common principle. One of the systems of synthesis of which you are aware is the synthesis of Yoga to be found in Gita. Brahmadevji taught me also the synthesis of Yoga of the Veda and the Upanishad. He is also practising a new Yoga of the synthesis which he considers to be indispensable for solving difficult problems of the contemporary crisis of humanity.

"The principle of synthesis in the Gita consists of integral application of the law of sacrifice."

Things were getting difficult, and many questions were rising in my mind at the same time; but I did not want to interrupt Vishuddha's flow of thought. So I simply asked one question: "What is the meaning of sacrifice? Is it the kindling of fire in the altar and offerings of fuels, clarified butter and other materials?"

"No", replied Vishuddha.

"The sacrifice that you described is the ritualistic sacrifice; and even the ritualistists believe that that sacrifice is symbolic in character. In the Veda, the original sacrifice is described as the sacrifice of the Purusha into the activities of Nature. In this original sacrifice, the Divine stands back from the manifestation of His power in the poise of witnessing and controlling Purusha and plunges Himself into manifestation or Nature by a sort of projecting consciousness. This projection is the original act of sacrifice of Purusha, and it introduces the process of constant vibration of the will of the Divine into the activities of Nature,

Law and Life

Law and Life

which impels also the return of the energies and activities of Nature towards the will and being of Purusha. The Divine Himself plunges into Nature and Nature offers herself to the Divine : this is the law of sacrifice which synthesises and coordinates all the processes of law in the world. It is fundamentally the law of self-giving or the law of mutual self-giving. It is to this law that Sri Krishna refers when he declares that the Lord created the Universe along with the law of the sacrifice.

"This matter is extremely important for those who want to practise law in individual life or collective life or in the life of the State. It is when I came to understand the law of sacrifice that the entire domain of legal studies came to assume a different aspect. I came to realise that all lawyers, all legislators, all judges are fundamentally seekers of the knowledge of the law of sacrifice consciously or unconsciously. All of them are engaged in determining what is right action and what is wrong action in the light of the universal law of sacrifice. All of them are engaged in promoting right action, and therefore, of the law of sacrifice.

"Karma Yoga is the real field of lawyers; for Karma Yoga is a path of action in which higher forms and higher motivations of action are discovered and practised. It is at the higher levels of Karma Yoga that the universal law of sacrifice is consciously discovered and practised.

"Sacrifice symbolically means kindling of fire; but this fire is not physical fire; it is the fire of aspiration; it is the fire that unites material life with the light of the spirit. In practical terms, the law of sacrifice prescribes that all activities should

Law and Life

Law and Life

be offered as the fuel of the sacrifice, as an offering to the Supreme Divine who is seated by means of His sacrifice in the heart of energies of Nature. It is not the tinders, it is not the clarified butter, which are the fuels of this sacrifice. It is works of knowledge, works of devotion, works of life-force, which are fuels of this sacrifice. That is why the Gita speaks of offering of all activities to the Divine as the fundamental principle of Karma Yoga. This Karma Yoga leads us to a synthesis of action, knowledge and devotion.

"Our human law, that which is dealt with by the lawyers in the courts of law, is only an outer reflection of integrating law of sacrifice. The task of the lawyers is to keep in the forefront of vision this integrating law of sacrifice and measure the present law of the State by finding out the degree to which it approximates to the universal integrating law of sacrifice. The lesser the distance between the two, the higher is the level of society and its culture; the greater the distance between the two, the lower is the state of society and its culture. And the ideal is reached when individuals in the society transcend the State law and practise the law of Karma Yoga and arrive at a point where there remains no outer law, but only one inner law, the law of sacrifice of the Supreme Divine into the activities of Nature and the law of sacrifice of activities of Nature offering themselves to the Supreme Divine.

"This and much more I learned from Brahmadevji about the law of sacrifice, which also contributed to the development of equilibrium in my consciousness. But let me now come quickly to the most important discovery that I made when

Law and Life

Law and Life

I was still living in Mount Girnar. As you know, after my first five years of stay with Brahmadevji, we both left Mount Girnar and migrated to Tiger Hills near Darjeeling. And it was before I went to Darjeeling that I made a detailed study of the Yoga of the Gita. It was through this study that I came to understand what Brahmadevji had told me earlier about the highest state of realisation as the state of sadharmya. Let me explain.

"It is well known that the Gita speaks of three gunas of nature, sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. Even human nature is a mixture of these three gunas. It is a mixture of the state of knowledge and happiness (sattwa), a state of restless activity, struggle and impulsion (rajas), and a state of inertia and ignorance or mechanical repetitive activity (tamas). These three gunas are centered in each individual in his specific complex of desires and egoism.

"But the Gita also speaks of a state which lies beyond this three-fold nature. It speaks of the state of nirvana, a state of utter silence and stillness. This state is also called the state of trigunatita, the state which is above the gunas or which is devoid of three gunas.

"But the Gita goes still farther. It declares that there is a higher nature, not only of quietude and stillness but also of dynamism which is divine in nature. This declaration is of fundamental importance, particularly in the context of Karma Yoga, in the context of synthesis of the Gita's Yoga and in the context of the determination of the higher goal of human life."

Vishuddha paused a little. He was perhaps wondering whether I was bored or tired. He asked

Law and Life

Law and Life

me, "Are you tired?" He added. "We can stop here and discuss this matter again later on."

"Not at all", I protested. "On the contrary, I am absorbing every word that you are uttering. I am feeling extremely enlightened. Please continue. I want to hear more and more."

He continued : "Well, then, let me refer to the middle six chapters of the Gita, chapters seven to twelve. In these chapters, Gita describes the fullness of the Divine Being and His Divine Nature. The Gita also gives us some broad hints as to whether we can discover the divine nature even in our ordinary lower nature. The Divine Nature operates immanently in the universe at large but it is discernible only partially in each of us at various levels of consciousness. It operates as the veiled source of sattvic, rajasic and tamsic movements of Nature. It operates there secretly and therefore not experienced by us in our ordinary process of life. At rare moments the veil between the higher nature and the lower nature becomes thin and the higher nature sometimes discloses itself and we feel elevated for a short moment into extraordinary sublimity of knowledge, power and delight. The higher nature is also the stuff of our true individuality (Jiva) of which our ego (ahamkara) is a distorted image in the lower nature. Our true individuality, - that which is figured in the Veda as the hamsa, or which is known in the Upanishad and the Gita as the jiva is one of the multiple centres of the consciousness of the Supreme Lord expressed through the higher nature. The Gita speaks of jiva as a portion of

Law and Life

Law and Life

the Supreme, as the amsha of the Purushottama. It is also described as the manifold centre of the higher nature, para prakritir jivabhuta. Like the higher nature, jiva also remains veiled and can be experienced only rarely, and that, too, obscurely in our obscure consciousness.

"But this jiva can be experienced luminously by Yoga as our deepest being; its presence is felt by us, first, as our aspiration to become and to realise; as we begin to live deeply, we come to feel this aspiration more and more intensely with a force of inevitability. At this stage, we do not yet know the real thrust of this aspiration, but we feel its drive to be something inescapable. Because it is still not luminous, this aspiration cannot be called the state of knowledge; nor is it a state of sattvic, rajsic or tamsic nature. It is the state which the Gita designates by the word, shraddha. Gita goes far enough to say that shraddha is the very stuff of the individual, that as is one's shraddha, so one is verily. This shraddha, which is in its origin higher than sattvic, rajsic and tamasic nature, acts normally in our ordinary life in the domain of sattva, rajas and tamas. Hence, it assumes a three-fold character of sattva, rajas and tamas.

It is by tracing shraddha to its origin that we are transported into the experience of jiva.

"Each jiva. is a specific mode of expression of the Supreme Being. And this specific mode is its svabhava, the becoming of the inmost self, the automatic expression of the role that the individual has to play in the movement of the world. It is this svabhava which is the root of the will of the individual; that becomes action or karma, which,

Law and Life

Law and Life

in turn, keeps the cycle of the world in motion, which the Gita calls kshara bhava.1

"The presence and action of the jiva in the process of becoming, in karma and kshara bhava, is a matter of great significance. Nothing in the svabhava or karma can be understood properly without the understanding of the jiva. And since the source of the jiva is the higher nature and Supreme Lord, mysteries of existence are those of higher nature and of the Supreme Lord.

"We saw above that our shraddha, properly traced to its source, will take us to the jiva. But this process is aided by the fact that the jiva stands, not only above but also secretly, through its delegates, behind lower levels of existence; and this standing of jiva is known as the status of purusha. The status of purusha is the state of being, which can stand behind and above the

1. At the commencement of the eighth chapter, Gita enumerates six universal principles : akshara, svabhava, karma, kshara bhava, purusha, adhiyajna. These six principles can be explained as follows: akshara is immutable brahman, spirit or self, atman; when we enter into akshara we get the experience of quietude and silence. Svabhava is the principle of self, adhyatma, operative as the original nature of the being, "own of way of becoming", as this proceeds out of the self, the akshara. Karma proceeds from that and is the creative movement, visarga, which brings all natural beings and all changing subjective and objective shapes of being into existence. The result of karma is all this mutable becoming, the changes of nature developed out of the original self-nature, kshara bhava out of svabhava. Purusha is the soul, the divine element in the becoming, adhidaivata, by whose presence the working of karma becomes a sacrifice, yajna, to the divine within. Adhiyajna is the secret divine who receives the sacrifice.

Law and Life

Law and Life

movement and which can control and master the movement. Even if it becomes subject to movement, it can so become by its will. Every jiva that is in the condition of bondage has come to that condition by its consent, and can come out of that condition by its consent and volition. At each level of our existence, we find its presence. This is more fully explained in the Taittiriya Upanishad. At the physical level we find it to be annamaya purusha, a physical being, possessing and sustaining our physical body and its movement. At a higher level of our vital and dynamic movements, we find it to be pranamaya purusha, a being of life-force, sustainer and supporter of our vital energies and activities. At the level of the mind, it is manomaya purusha, the being that sustains and supports the activities and energies of conception and ideation.

"All these three levels are immersed in sattva, rajas and tamas. Therefore, jiva as the purusha of these levels is predominantly or almost exclusively over-powered by these three gunas. To co-ordinate these three purushas, the jiva puts forward a more powerful formulation consisting of the stuff of higher nature. This formulation is quite small in the beginning; it is, therefore, described in the Kathopanishad as "not bigger than thumb." It is of the nature of a spark of purity and intuitive knowledge, which manifests in our outer nature of mind, life and body, as their inner self. The Kathopanishad also calls it antaratman. This is antaratman because it represents our inmost individual self, jiva, and it is seated in the mystic seat of our heart. This inner soul, which can be called the psychic being, or chaitya purusha, grows

Law and Life

Law and Life

gradually in its domination over mind, life, and body in proportion as it is able to project itself more and more in the mental, vital and physical energies and in proportion as these energies demand its greater presence and domination over them.

"It is the antaratman which ultimately becomes the guide and leader of the human journey. At higher levels, jiva is able to put forward the vijnanamaya purusha and even anandamaya purusha.

"But the development of the antaratman plays a crucial role in the discovery and development of the state of "sadharmya".

"Antaratman is to be distinguished from the ego. In the language of the Gita, antaratman is the self that is the friend of the self, and the ego is a self which is the enemy of the self. This the real basis why the Gita insists on the elimination of the ego and on the transference of our consciousness from the lower to the higher where antaratman can take the lead. In the Rig Veda, antaratman is symbolised as the inextinguishable mystic fire, Agni, which is the priest of the sacrifice, purohita, the one who leads by remaining in the forefront of the movement of the sacrifice. It is this fire which has a will inherently illumined by supreme inspirations of the Truth, agnir hota kavi kratuh satyash chitrashravastamah.

"The significance of the antaratman becomes acutely meaningful to us when we consider the question of free-will. In fact, the question of free-will is supremely important for the student of law, since the entire institution of law assumes that every human being should voluntarily adhere

Law and Life

Law and Life

to law and that if he or she deviates from law, he or she does it voluntarily as a result of which he or she renders himself or herself responsible for it and liable to punishment. Some philosophers have raised the question as to whether the notion of responsibility can ontologically be justified. Now, there is a vision of the universe in which every particular movement is dependent upon every other particular movement, and all the particular movements are determined by a vast universal movement. The Gita itself speaks of that vast universal movement which is called by the generic term prakriti. And it is not difficult to collect statements from the Gita to show that everything in the world is in its scheme deterministic, leaving no room for freedom. In the purely tamasic operations of prakriti, which are dominant in the material universe, every movement is initiated by another, and directed to a fixed end-point. The law of inertia, the law of fixed movements, the law of determinism of energy and force prevails everywhere. There is, however, the element of rajas also in prakriti where there appears to be the presence of alternative possibilities. The realm of rajas is manifest in our own life in vital drives, impulses and dynamic actions and we have a feeling of freedom when alternative possibilities are presented; the one that is actualised is, however, precipitated under the pressure of uncontrollable passions. These passions are so powerful that even when our mind begins to manifest its sattvic qualities, - qualities of knowledge and harmony, - and even when there is an effort to control the drives of the rajas, we find that in the ultimate analysis we seem to be over-ruled by the passion

Law and Life

Law and Life

of the rajas or by the secret determinations of the energies and inclinations of sattwa. The fetters of the tamas may be rough and hard, the fetters of rajas may be smooth and shining, and the fetters of sattwa may even be glittering, but all of them are really fetters that bind; they are the chains that deny our freedom.

This is the reason why the Gita says: prakritim yanti bhootani nigrahah kim karishyati, all creatures are driven by prakriti, of what avail is control? The picture that emerges in one aspect of the Gita is that of complete determinism of Nature.

"And yet, Gita is not deterministic. It constantly appeals to the necessity of self-restraint and self- mastery. It underlines the concept of free-will to such a degree that Sri Krishna after giving his illuminating message, leaves Arjuna completely free to act according to his will, yathechhasi tatha kuru. What is the ontological basis for this? That basis is the antaratman. Mechanism of nature is not all; determinism of prakriti is not all; behind the operations of prakriti, there is a secret operation of the higher prakriti, para prakriti and that of the antaratman. Even the subjugation that prakriti imposes upon the antaratman can be traced in the ultimate analysis to the will of the jiva of which the antaratman is a delegate. It is for this reason that the antaratman can, by free-will, lift itself up from the chains of prakriti and introduce in the web of world-action, forces and energies that vibrate with the antaratman's own nature constituted by para prakriti, which transcends the mechanism of the three gunas of the lower prakriti. Beyond the law of Nature is the freedom of the soul, and this freedom can assert itself.

Law and Life

Law and Life

And because it can, there is in our inner being the sense of responsibility. This sense of responsibility is at the root of normative ethics, of regulative law and of spiritual discipline."

Vishuddha had spoken all this in a downpour of speech with a force of enthusiasm and inspiration. I was amazed at his eloquence and the weight of the substance of what he had spoken. This was the first time when he spoke to me at such a length and with such force. I began to look at him with a sense of awe and reverence. I looked into his eyes and I found in them shining diamonds of fire. His very soul was manifest in them.

This was the first time when I felt that I had entered into the secret portals of the Gita. And I felt drawn to go still deeper and enter into the chambers of the mysterious teachings of the Gita. So I asked Vishuddha, "How does one experience the antaratman?"

Vishuddha did not reply, but he smiled. After sometime he asked : "How does one experience mind?"

I could not answer.

Vishuddha continued, "You experience your mind through its activities of ideation and reflection-its activities of thinking. Similarly, the antaratman can also be experienced, to begin with, by dwelling in the activities which are appropriate to the antaratman."

"And what are these activities?" I asked.

Vishuddha replied : "Just recall the question that you had raised a few days ago. You wanted to know what was your swadharma and what was

Law and Life

Law and Life

your swakarma. You had a long discussion with Prof. Chitle on this question. Inevitably, the discussion led you to a deeper reflection on the Indian social organisation originating from the four-fold order of the society, chaturvarnyam. This four-fold order of the society rests upon the four-fold quality of the antaratman, the quality of Knowledge, the quality of Strength, the quality of Mutuality and Harmony and the quality of Skill in Works. The more you dwell and live in these four qualities, the more you experience your antaratman. Normally, these four qualities get mixed up with sattwa, rajas and tamas, - qualities of the lower prakriti; but if you can purify these four qualities from those three qualities, you begin to enter into the centre of your being, and you begin to experience your selfhood by self-possession and self-mastery. In the realm of the three gunas of the lower prakriti, our ego-sense tries to co-ordinate and arrive at some kind of self-control; but that self-control is strenuous and brittle, because ego-sense does not have the substance and reality of the inexhaustible fire which unites spontaneously those golden qualities of Knowledge, Strength, Harmony and Skill.

"You must have seen at once that these four qualities correspond to those which are associated, respectively, with the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Fundamentally, the antaratman is at once the brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra, but embedded as it is in the lower prakriti, it manifests only one of these four qualities pre-dominantly, and that, too, gradually. The predominant quality that is gradually growing within us is what we call swabhava, the

Law and Life

Law and Life

quality that manifests the becoming of our true self. And the rhythm of the manifestation of that quality is what is called the law of that becoming; and this law is called swadharma.

"Normally, each one has only one line of development marking the growth of one of these four qualities, and therefore, it is wise to discover that line of development and to remain fixed in the law of that line of development. But more you begin to live in your swabhava and swadharma, the more you begin to experience pressure and presence of other qualities as well. And we find that the swabhava running on the line of Knowledge needs increasingly the development of Strength, Harmony and Skill. A perfect brahminhood demands a rich blossoming and support of the qualities of kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. And if you lead this argument to its extreme, you arrive at the concept of four-fold personality which antaratman is capable of putting forward at the heights of its growth and manifestation. Your own predominant swabhava and swadharma ceases to be one-sided, and, like a fully blossomed lotus, you arrive at perfections of the brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra. The limits of initial swadharma are broken and you begin to race on a chariot not of one wheel but increasingly and ultimately of all the four wheels. Indeed, one begins to come nearer to the nature and law of the Divine Himself, and the ideal that the Gita puts forward is that of transcendence of all dharmas so that you become one with the boundless and infinite dharma of the Divine. And that is verily the state of sadharmya, the state of oneness with the nature and the law

Law and Life

Law and Life

of the Divine. It is the antaratman and its four-fold quality resulting in four-fold personality that takes us to the inexpressible freedom of the Jiva, of the divine Nature and the Divine Being, para prakriti and Purushottama."

Vishuddha stopped here and remained silent for quite some time. My mind was greatly satisfied and although I had still a few questions, I did not disturb by putting questions the immense tranquillity that seemed to have descended upon us. In that transparent atmosphere, the garden looked bright and heavenly, and I felt the joy of intimate oneness with plants and flowers that were swinging their heads in the mild breeze that was blowing all around.

It was nearly 1 o'clock when we awoke from that quietude. We looked at each other, and without speaking a word we left the garden and began to descend towards the ocean. While we were climbing down, I asked Vishuddha, "How does one feel when one experiences the antaratman?"

Vishuddha answered, "Indescribable sweetness. Do you know how the Kathopanishad describes the jiva?"

I said, "No."

Vishuddha said, "Kathopanishad describes it as madhwadah, eater of honey. The tongue of the mystic fire tastes that sweetness, but by what language can words describe it?"

I remained quiet.

As he was leaving me at my hostel, Vishuddha said, "Yoga is so called because by its process the soul unites itself with the Supreme Lord and in

Law and Life

Law and Life

that union fountains of joy spring out and the entire being and the world become alive and vibrant with freshness. Life becomes immortal."

The remainder of that whole day was suffused with inner delight and my mind sat quietly and my heart throbbed with joy that was mingled with sweetness and compassion.


Next morning as I was glancing through the columns of the newspapers, my eyes fell upon a heading in a column : "Fifty seven arrested." I felt curious and began to read the details of this column. A story was narrated here of a group of young people whose houses were raided, and how on the basis of the evidence collected, fifty seven young men and women were arrested. Towards the end was a line that plunged a dagger in my heart. It read "The leader of the group is one Mr. Balwant Bapat and he, too, has been arrested." Within a minute I was on my way to Kaivalya Dham and was able to catch a running bus which halted at Kaivalya Dham in less than ten minutes. A number of students were doing their exercises of Hatha Yoga, and everything was as usual orderly and quiet. Vishuddha was in his room, and when I approached him, he looked at me with utter quietude.

"You must be knowing about Balwant's arrest," I blurted out without restraint.

"Yes," said Vishuddha.

"What is the matter? When did you come to know about it? What is to be done?" I asked.

Law and Life

Law and Life

Vishuddha smiled. He said, "First, sit down and be quiet"

As I took my seat, Vishuddha continued : "Nothing is to be done at this stage. We have all tried to get Balwant released on bail. But Balwant himself does not want to get released. He wants all his companions to get released. But the charges are so serious that none can be released."

"What is the charge?" I asked impatiently.

"Sedition. Conspiracy to topple the Government by violent means, "said Vishuddha.

I understood.

Vishuddha said, "Balwant is a pacifist leader of an activist group, some members of which have been harbouring ideas and plots of creating disturbances in the country and to spread the fire of bloody revolution."

I understood, again.

"Do you recall Balwant's talk with Brahmadevji? He himself is a pacifist but also an anarchist. Pacifism and anarchism can go together very well, - but in the kingdom of God, when it is established here on the earth. In the unregenerate world of today, however, anarchism can easily turn into chaos and violence and disorder. My father, Balwant's father and I met him in the jail. In fact, we were all with him when he was arrested and taken into custody. We tried our best, but Balwant was adamant. It seemed as though he wanted to be left alone in the solitude of the police custody."

"Why don't you tell me the whole story?" I asked.

Law and Life

Law and Life

"There is nothing much of a story. We do not yet know what evidence the police have collected. There is nothing specific against Balwant, but there is a proof that he is the undisputed leader of the entire group. There is undisputed proof that a few members of this group had conspired to blow up bridges and railway tracks, and much else, besides. I do not think Balwant knew the magnitude of this conspiracy. But he certainly knew the philosophy of violence which some of the members of his group have been secretly advocating. I think he understands very well the spirit of these young people, their impatience and anger; I think he understands also that the country needs a great change. He had dialogues with his colleagues. His talks with Brahmadevji had given him sufficient force of argument by which he had hoped to convert the unruly members of his secret society. But he has been swept away by the tide of time. As a leader of the group, he bears responsibility. Both his father and my father will be able to secure his acquittal. But he told me, 'Vishuddha, I want to stay with my friends. I know that I am not guilty and it is unjust for the police to arrest me. But what is justice and what is injustice? A profound muslim vizier while giving a parting advice to his son had said, "Even when injustice seems to prevail, be sure that Allah has acted and will act towards you justly and mercifully." And when he looked at my eyes, he seemed to convey to me that he had understood the uncompromising justice that lies behind all appearances of the world. He said, 'I am passing through a great turning-point in my life; since I met Brahmadevji, I have been

Law and Life

Law and Life

craving for solitude and and unlimited time to reflect and contemplate. God has given me what I was asking for, I pressed his hands with my hands and poured all my heart when I told him, 'You do your best; we shall do our best. Behind injustice is the Divine justice of the present moment; but behind that divine justice there awaits a greater justice which is mingled with grace that shapes the future. Do not resist, but give all yourself in His hands." And he looked at me with eyes that emitted the same justice and grace of which I had spoken without knowing what it was. His eyes gave me the touch of the grace in which all justice is swallowed."

I remained quiet for sometime. But I felt I must meet Balwant and talk to him. I asked Vishuddha, "Can't we go and meet him?"

Vishuddha said : "Why not? But first be quiet. Agitation is not action, and it can never help. Go to your hostel back and remain plunged in the Divine. When it is arranged, I shall let you know and we shall go to meet him'."

I said nothing and returned to my hostel. The very next day, Vishuddha and I met Balwant. I found that Balwant was transfigured. He was no more the Balwant that I had known earlier. He was peaceful and cheerful. When I told him that we wanted him to be released, he said, "Since yesterday, I have been thinking deeply of two great personalities - Socrates and Jesus. Both were victims of the laws and judicial systems of their times; both would have been able to avoid condemnation; but both voluntarily allowed the chariot of time to pass over them. And both knew God and His will, which is always right and which

Law and Life

Law and Life

is more revolutionary than any revolutionary can conceive of. I am learning my lessons at their feet. And I seem to feel the whisper of the Gita into my inner ears :

"Abandon all laws and take refuge in Me alone.

I shall deliver thee from all sin; do not grieve."

I could say nothing. But I, too, resolved to sit at the feet of Socrates and Jesus and to hear the message of the Gita.

On the 20th June, my Law College opened and, as arranged earlier, I was granted admission under new rules. Law had yielded to the requirements of freedom. I plunged myself into the study of law with the determination to serve always those ends that freedom constantly reveals in its upward flights to summits.

P.S. Readers will, of course, like to know what ultimately happened to Balwant and I should like to assure them that, although it took several years, the lame leg of justice ultimately reached its destination and delivered Balwant out of the four walls of the prison. But the story of the trial, and the impact it had on me and on my understanding of the contemporary crisis is extremely interesting. Let us, however, reserve it for our next meeting.

Law and Life

Back to Content