India and Indian Polity - Vitality of India

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

Let me begin with a prayer that arose long ago from the profoundest depths of the Indian soul and which gives us the formula of the secret of the vitality that one can witness in the history of Indian Culture:

सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै ।
ओउम शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ।।

"Together, may He protect us; together may He possess us; together may we make unto us strength and virility. May our quest be full to us of light and power. May we never envy".
(Taittiriya Upanishad)

As this prayer reveals, our vitality proceeds from the protection that we seek from the source of our being for our togetherness; it proceeds from our aspiration for the joy of being possessed by our source in our mutual fellowship; it proceeds from our cooperative effort to increase strength and vitality; it proceeds from our quest for knowledge, wisdom, and consciousness-force; it proceeds from the constant vigilance to be free from envy and hatred. And our constant hymn is that of Peace and Peace again and Peace still again.


At the outset, we may underline the enigma of the unique continuity of our culture and ask as to how we can explain that enigma. There must be a source of that continuity. That source must have been tapped in some mighty moments of our quest, and the waters of the energy must have flowed down mightily like the holy Ganga and must have fertilized the soil of our life so vigorously that our culture has constantly been able to draw upon the waters of that fertility that can replenish us in perpetuity.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

A study of Indian history, free from prejudices and narrow frameworks of interpretation, will take us straight to the Veda and the Upanishads that speak to us of the heroic search and attainment by the Rishis of Oneness and unity of existence,- not in mere flights of imagination or philosophical speculations, - but in repeated and verifiable and abiding realizations of knowledge by identity. From then onwards, we find the sense of the Infinite and lofty spirituality pervading the entire atmosphere of the Indian culture, never failing in infusing the needed source of creativity in the later periods of our history. Even when moments and epochs of our history seemed to be threatened and affected by exhaustion, decline or plunge into obscurity and darkness, It was the ancient reservoir of spiritual force that kept our lamp of life burning and imparting to the people the call of awakening and power of rejuvenation. In one word, in “spirituality”, we can sum up the secret source of continuity of our culture over thousands of years, and also of its vitality.


The vitality of Indian culture is not the restless fever of turbulent ambition, but the creative outpouring of a quest for the highest and a joy that delights in creative expression in hundred directions and dimensions. In what field has India not dared to venture and attain pinnacles of acquisition, possession and mastery? Ancient India was not only in the first rank of achievement in the field of mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, surgery, and all the branches of physical knowledge which were practised in ancient times, but she was also, along with the Greeks, the teacher of the Arabs from whom Europe recovered the lost habit of scientific enquiry and got the basis from which the modern science started. Again, in many directions India had the priority of discoveries, such as- just to cite two examples from many—the decimal notations in mathematics and in the perception that the earth is a moving body,

चला पृथ्वी स्थिरा भाति ।
(chaļa prithvi sthira bhati)

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

The earth moves and only appears to be still, said the Indian astronomer many centuries before Galileo. A remarkable feature of the Indian mind was the close attention to the things of life, a disposition to observe minutely its salient facts to systematise to found in each department a science, shastra, well-founded scheme and rule. The life of Indian mind and its vigorous vitality is to be seen not only in its ceaseless quest of spiritual truths and robust philosophical reasonings but also in its aesthetic profoundity and creative output stretching over centuries and over millennia. Inexhaustible vital energy seeking to create massively and minutely is manifest in various forms of Indian art and architecture. In temples and palaces and elsewhere, we find endless expression of Oneness of the infinity, infinite multiplicity which fills Oneness, and the wealth of ornament, detail, circumstance, the infinite variety and repetition of the worlds- not only our world but all the planes,-suggests the infinite multiplicity in the unity of Oneness.

And, again, the Indian ancient and medieval political, administrative, military and economic organisation strikes us as an outstanding achievement.

Along with loftiest spirituality, robust intellectuality and inexhaustible vital pulsation, India developed and perfected a subtle and complex concept of dharma,- as distinguished from religion,-concept of the law of development of life in its self-exceeding normative pursuits. All this speaks not only of vigorous vitality but also of vitality informed of the scrupulous wisdom of equilibrium and mastery. Speaking of the vitality of India, Sri Aurobindo states, and I quote:

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

“India has not only had the long roll of her great saints, sages, thinkers, religious founders, poets, creators, scientists, scholars, legists; she has had her great rulers, administrators, soldiers, conquerors, heroes, men with the strong active will, the mind that plans and the seeing force that builds... The Rishi in ancient India the outstanding figure with the hero just behind, while in later times, the most striking feature is the long uninterrupted chain from Buddha and Mahavira to Ramanuja, Chaitanya. Nanak, Ramdas and Tukaram and beyond them to Ramakrishna and Vivekananda and Dayananda. But there have been also the remarkable achievements of statesmen and rulers, from the first dawn of ascertainable history which comes in with the striking figures of Chandragupta, Chanakya, Ashoka, the Gupta emperors and goes down through the multitude of famous Hindu and Mahomedan figures of the middle age to quite modern times. In ancient India there the life of republics, oligarchies, democracies, small kingdoms of which no detail of history now survives, afterwards the long effort at empire-building, the colonisation of Ceylon and the Archipelago, the vivid struggles that attended the rise and decline of the Pathan and Moghul dynasties, the Hindu struggle for survival in the south, the wonderful record of Rajput heroism and the great upheaval of national life in Maharashtra penetrating to the lowest strata of society, the remarkable episode of the Sikh Khalsa...It was not men of straw or lifeless and willless dummies or thin-blooded dreamers who thus acted, planned, conquered, built great systems of administration, founded kingdoms and empires, figured as great patrons of poetry and art and architecture or, later, resisted heroically imperial power and fought for the freedom of clan or people... The modern Indian only a repetition of a phenomenon which has constantly repeated itself throughout a millennium of Indian history." [1]

[1] Sri Aurobindo: The Foundations of Indian Culture, Collected works, Centenary Edition, Vol. 14, p. 186-8

Vitality of India

Vitality of India


There are, indeed, critics who, even while conceding the greatness of Indian culture, are inclined to dispute the magnitude of the vitality of the culture. Their arguments center around the fact that India failed to achieve unity throughout its long history and it was only a foreign power that could affect that unity at a time when the weakness of Indian vitality had become quite evident. It has also been argued that in spite of the vitality of the Indian mind that accounted for multi-sided achievements in spirituality, religion, philosophy, ethics, science, technology and arts and crafts, India could not sustain the force of the vitality, particularly after the twelfth century, and that the preoccupation of India with too much of religion led ultimately to the eclipse of Indian culture as witnessed at the rise of the British rule. Finally, it has also been argued that despite the talk of the Indian Renaissance, the vitality of Indian culture seems to have faded into the background with the impact of the external influence. Indian leadership, it is argued, political or otherwise, has shown sterile imitativeness during the last fifty years, as a result of which the feebleness of Indian culture stands out strikingly, and this may prove ruinous with the increasing march of globalization. There are in these criticisms certain truths but also certain elements of misunderstanding and misreading of Indian history coupled with disabling confusions. We can comment on them here only briefly.


Let us first deal with the question of Indian unity and underline the distinction between the concept of unity and that of uniformity. Indeed, India has never achieved uniformity, since it never endeavoured to pursue the vain idea of unification, as the Romans did, through the process of uniformity—and thus to waste its vital force in an endeavour that inevitably leads to stagnation, fall, decay and death.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

India admitted and nursed diversity even while underlining the theme of oneness, not numerical oneness but spiritual oneness. The famous Vedic pronouncement, ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti acknowledges very clearly the idea of Oneness that is consistent with diversity. Uniformity demands mechanical adherence to state-power; unity demands, on the other hand, a more difficult practice of voluntary togetherness. And if there has been one central message of India, it is, as the Veda prescribed right at the beginning of civilization, Samgachchhadhvam, our
Samwadadhvam, move together, conduct mutuality through dialogue and agreement. Not imposition from above but assimilation and synthesis from within this has been the method of India. And quite successfully, considering how India dealt with the forces of foreign invasion and with varieties of currents of thought and conflicting creeds and religions. Even in the field of knowledge, India has sought the application of the highest principle of synthesis. And who can deny that the search and achievement of unity demands greater vitality than the search and achievement of uniformity?

We may admit that the political unity of India was secured only under the yoke of the British yoke. But what about cultural unity? And could the British have secured political unity without the unshakeable foundation of the cultural unity that was long established by the Indian genius? We may discern in the quest of Angirasa, Yajnavalkya and Gargi and Maitreyi the birth of the unifying soul of the Indian nation, – the soul of mutuality and unity, the soul of creative force of multi-sided thought, discovery, invention, and art and craft, and the soul that is Mother India described so vividly by Bankim Chandra, mother smiling benignly and fruitfully and flowing rapidly with waters of life and vitality and strength, abalá keno? That soul achieved marvellous union of diverse peoples stretched over as large an area as a continent or a sub-continent.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

And even political unity was not absent in the varied periods of Indian History. The idea of Chakravarty was a great political concept hammered out by the ancient Indian polity in order to hold together conflicting centrifugal and centripetal forces. The Maurya Empire and subsequent empires right up to the Moghul Empire were all efficient and prosperous and covered vast areas of India, if not all the parts of the vast country.

Finally, we may have to appreciate the fact that right from early days, India had the intuition of the fact that freedom is the highest value, not only spiritually and morally but even politically, and that political freedom of the individual and the group flourishes most when the units of social life are small. This is the reason why Indian polity encouraged and respected varieties of republics and kingdoms of smaller dimensions at the risk of allowing preponderance of centrifugal forces. In fact, it may be said that the vitality of India has been strengthened throughout the long march of Indian history by the recognition of centrifugal forces and by the constant nourishment of centripetal forces through forms of culture rather than through the yoke of politics or state-power.


Let us now examine the argument regarding the ebb of Indian vitality, which is alleged to have been witnessed from the 12th century onwards. It is true, let us admit, that like every history of culture, India too had periods of tide and ebb. But we should reckon the proportions of ages of history. India's history had begun much earlier than that of very many nations of the world. In fact, India had lived vigorously for at least three millennia uninterruptedly before the ebb set in the development of Indian culture around the 12th century. But the remarkable fact is that for nearly eight centuries thereafter India continued to struggle with great force, and even when in the 18th century India plunged into obscurity and confusion, Indian culture survived, and within one century it recovered so much of strength so as to usher in a promising period of the Indian renaissance.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

We have also to note that the 12th century of Indian history marked the birth or growth of all the modern Indian languages, and all these languages since then have been developing with vigour and strength. The literature produced in these languages is not only massive but also bears a stamp of the renewal of vitality of the people of the different regions of the country.

Again, during this period, even though the Muslim conquest was effected rapidly enough in the North, the South long preserved its freedom. Even after the extinction of the kingdom of Vijayanagar, there was not a long distance of time when the Mahrattas arose and struggled for freedom.

It is also remarkable that, during the same period, consistent with the Indian spirit of assimilation and synthesis, a great effort was made in India to bring about some kind of harmony between two civilisations-one ancient and indigenous, the other medieval and brought in from outside. There was a remarkable attempt to synthesise Hinduism and Islam. Akbar attempted it from the side of Islam; Nanak attempted it from the Hindu side. We have also to note that the Mughal empire was both great and magnificent, and immense political genius and talent was employed in its creation and maintenance. This empire stood high in military and political strength, economic opulence and the brilliance of art and culture.

One of the criteria of the vitality of the country could be the measure of productivity and wealth. From this point of view, the country had reached a peak in the time of Shahjahan comparable to the peak attained under Chandragupta Maurya. Will Durant states: "Shahjahan's treasury was so full that he kept two underground store rooms, each of some 150,000 cubic feet capacity were filled with silver and gold."[1] Even Clive who came much later stated that India was “a country of inexhaustible riches”.[2]

[1] Will Durant: Our Oriental Heritage, p. 481.

[2] Lajpat Rai, England's Debt, 25.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

Thus it can be seen that even in the declining period of India's culture, India's vitality showed clear signs of creativity, heroism, economic richness and power to struggle and to survive and to maintain continuity against adverse odds.

We may also note that before the night and temporary end of strength in the 19th century, two remarkable creations embodied the last effort of the political Indian mind to found the foundation of new life under the old conditions. The first was the Maratha revival inspired by Ramdas' conception of dharma and cast into shape by Shivaji. The second was Sikh Khalsa, which was an astonishingly original and noble creation and its face was turned not to the past but to the future. But the conditions were not then in existence that could have made possible a successful endeavour.

We must admit that during the time when in the 18th century, the country was proceeding towards the night, the majority of Indians had fallen into inertia, but it cannot be said that the reason for this was that India had become too religious. We must make a distinction between religion and spirituality. True spirituality rejects no new light, no added means or materials of our human self-development and Indians of that time had become too inert to admit new light or fresh means of intellectual or spiritual progress. It was increasing loss of true spirituality that can explain that period of the collapse of Indian culture. India deviated into excessive externalism of ceremony rule, routine, mechanical worship, and the public life became most irreligious, egoistic, self-seeking, materialistic. On the other hand, world-shunning asceticism too drew away the best minds who were lost to the society. But the root of the matter was the dwindling of the spirituality, the decline of intellectuality and freedom, the waning of great ideals, the loss of gush of life. All this was a sign of disabling exhaustion of a great and pulsating life-force of a great nation. But as the later history proved, it was only an intermediate period during which the ever-burning light of the Indian spirituality breathed a new force. And when India awoke, there began to develop a high spiritual sense that gave us back the old amplitude of Indian spirituality and inspired us to develop a wider scope, so that every aspect of life was placed on the anvil of spiritual Tapasya. We entered into a promising age of Indian renaissance.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India


We may now examine the theme of Indian vitality light of the Indian Renaissance, which commenced in right earnest in the later part of the 19th century. And the first remark that we may make is that the real force that broke the night of the 19th century was spiritual. At first, the pioneering leaders found the spiritual light of the ancient Vedanta and they gave birth to Brahmo Samaj; but beyond the Vedanta lies the light and power of the Veda, and Swami Dayananda opened the gates for the new India to breathe once again the vitality of the ancient Vedic Rishis, and this gave birth to Arya Samaj. And overtopping these two great movements, Mother India summarized the entire history of Indian spirituality in the life and sadhana of Sri Ramakrishna, who took the kingdom of heaven by storm, and seizing one yogic method after another with an incredible rapidity returned again and again to the realization and possession of the Spiritual Reality by the power of love, by the extension of inborn spirituality into various experience and by the spontaneous play of intuitive knowledge. He gave a synthesis not only of the essential spiritual truths contained behind varieties of religions that were born and developed in India but also of religions like Christianity and Islam that were born and developed elsewhere. But this was not all. India's spiritual recovery was not meant only for India, and Mother India wanted the fruits of that recovery to spread in the world for the upliftment of the entire human race. And this is the work that began when the mighty young monk, Vivekananda, prepared and commissioned by Sri Ramakrishna, delivered the message of the Vedanta to the West. The youthful hermit and robust yogi, the very glance of Shiva, radiated a new vitality and strength and force all electrified by spirituality that is not content to live in world-shunning hill-top, but which bursts out on the dynamism of life in order to lift it up to higher summits. The Indian Renaissance went further on this line of development, and Sri Aurobindo presided the flowing of Indian spirituality into a vast integrality that synthesized the East and the West, and the past and the present in order to open the doors of a great and glorious future both for India and the world. We have been led from the dawns of the past towards the noons of the future.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

It is also remarkable that the spiritual force that burst upon India provided the motivating power to the idea and development of Indian freedom struggle. Every great leader of this struggle ‒ whether Bal, Pal and Lal or Sri Aurobindo, whether Ranade Gokhle or Gandhi ‒ was inspired by the reawakened light from the Veda or the Upanishad or the Gita. The moral and spiritual atmosphere of the struggle uplifted increasing masses of people and filled them with new vitality, new inspiration for sacrifice, and new vibration of youthfulness. The attainment of freedom was a splendid boon of the reawakened vitality of India.

The third great achievement of the reawakened vitality of India has been in the fields of poetry, literature, art and science. A new kind of literature, with a distinct spirit and form began to develop under the influence of creative leaders like Bankim and Tagore; Jagdish Chandra Bose, inspired by Vedanta, proved to the scientific world the unity of matter and life and mind; Dr. C.V. Raman's scientific work was recognized at the international level and was honored, like Tagore's work, by the award of the Nobel Prize. Groups of young scientists with their programmes of research has come to be counted to be important in the international field of science; and in the field of art the Bengal school recovered the eternal motive of Indian art and its forms began to manifest the intuitive suggestions of the infinite in the finite.

Again, in the field of education, India entered into a great endeavour of radical experimentation, and it took at least five great and novel forms, first, under the inspiration of Dayanand Saraswati, in recovery of the ancient spirit of the gurukul system, second, under the inspiration of Swami Vivekananda, in building new schools for man-making education, third, under the inspiration of Rabindra Nath Tagore, in creating the harmony of spirit and nature and freedom to grow from narrow boundaries into the vastness of universality: fourth, under the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi in seeking the unity of hand, heart and head relevant to the grass-root needs of masses of Indian people, and fifth, under the influence of Sri Aurobindo, in creating a vast programme of integral education for human unity and integral perfection.

In several other fields, ‒ particularly in the field of social reforms, a good deal of work was accomplished during the freedom struggle, and old forms began to crumble under the pressure of the environment created for the emergence of the women power and for the empowerment of weaker sections of the society. There emerged an increasing sense of the necessity of renovation of social ideas and expressive forms awaking to the deeper yet unexpressed implications of the perennial spirit of Indian culture.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India


One of the promises of the Indian Renaissance was that India, ‒ Free India,  ‒ will play its legitimate role in the neighboring countries and in the world at large, that it will foster unity of South Asia, unity of Asia as a whole and the unity of the world. Efforts in the direction of the fulfillment of this promise have been considerable, and India has shown able statesmanship in contributing to the development of the Commonwealth, in initiating and nurturing the Non-Aligned Movement and in creating and fostering SAARC. India's contributions to United Nations Organization and its international agencies have also been substantial. In particular, India has stood high in holding up the ideal of peace and brotherhood and in the development of UNESCO's programme of education of international understanding and culture of peace. India's recent world Conference on Dialogue of Civilizations is one of the recent proofs of India's ability to get a Declaration approved unanimously.

There are many other achievements, the list of which cannot be presented here, but there is still something much more that could have been done or which, in any case, should be done, if India is to manifest its supreme vitality not only for the sake of India's own rejuvenation but also for meeting the expectations of the world from India on account of her long record of achievements in the field of Science right up to Medieval Age and in the field of Spirituality throughout the entire history. What India needs to do now is to come forward to lead the way for the right synthesis of Science and Spirituality.

The propitious fact is that at a global level, in the field of science, momentous developments have occurred during the recent decades. An important result of these developments is the emergence of the theme of Consciousness, ‒ the theme that is at the heart of the Indian vitality. Contemporary findings in this field confirm the perennial theme of Indian wisdom, the theme of the unity of Matter and Mind and the presence of Consciousness as one unifying and underlying reality of the universe. Nothing can be more remarkable and suggestive than the extent to which modern Science confirms, in the domain of Matter, the conception and even the very formulae of language which were arrived at, by a very different method, in the Vedanta; for instance, that Vedantic expression of the Swetaswatara Upanishad which describes things in the cosmos, as one seed arranged by the universal Energy in multitudinous forms.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

No more can the mechanist or dualistic conception of the universe hold the scientific field with obligatory force. The advances such as those by Heisenberg, Louise de Broglie, Erwin Schrodinger, David Bohm, Freedman, J.S. Bell, and others have brought to light such a new aspect of reality that the Cartesian and Newtonian concept of the universe can no more be sustained. The latest developments in quantum mechanics, particularly those derived from Bell's theorem, have obliged the scientists to enquire not only in the mystery of Consciousness but even into the primacy of the unity of Consciousness. Roger Penrose, for instance, in his book “Shadows of the Mind” states:

“The perception and scope of physical laws, as presently appreciated, is extraordinary... Nevertheless, within the possibilities that these laws allow us, we must try to find an opening for a hidden non-computational action that the functioning of our brains must somehow be taking advantage of.... There are reasons for believing that it must be of a particularly subtle and elusive kind. Suffice it to say that we require something essentially different from the pictures that we have been presented with in our physical theories so far, either classical or quantum."

David Bohm, the celebrated Physicist, has also come to accept the inadequacies of the mechanist notions. He points out, and I quote:

“The quantum theory presents, however, a much more serious challenge to the mechanistic order, going far beyond that provided by the theory of relativity... If all actions are in the form of discrete quanta, the interactions between different entities (e.g. electrons) constitute a single structure of indivisible links, so that the entire universe has to be thought of as unbroken whole. In this whole each element that abstract in thought shows basic properties (wave or particles, etc.) that depend on its overall environment in a way that is much more reminiscent of how the organs constituting living beings are related, than it is of how parts of a machine interact”.[1]

[1] David Bohm, "Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness, pp. 7, 214.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

Bohm has gone far deeper in his analysis of the relationship between Matter and Consciousness, and starting from the Cartesian view of that relationship, he has departed from that view and has concluded that Matter and Consciousness are manifestations of an “implicate order",[1] which enfolds all that “which is”. This is strikingly similar to Vedantic notions whereby the seeker prepares himself physically, mentally and spiritually to have a grasp (or realization) of the implicate order, Tat, which is the common ground of both ‒ Matter and Consciousness.

It has now become clear that the methods that Science employs for its investigations are not adequate for the kind of wholeness that is involved in the implicate order. It is evident that Science is poised for a Great Shift, and if at this stage the Indian methodology of its ancient science of Yoga is brought forward, it will provide invaluable aid for effecting the needed great shift. It is also possible that a new form of Science might emerge, ‒ science that integrates the study of Matter and Consciousness or Spirit. It might also integrate the study of all the universal domains of existence.

This possibility and the practical consequence that might emerge are bound to have important implications for the advancement of the world in the directions that are connected with humanistic goals. And it is in this direction that one can turn to measure the vitality of India. Historians like Basham, Toynbee and Will Durant who have scanned civilizations in their expanding horizons unanimous that the world will gradually turn to India and Indian wisdom, sooner rather than later. Will Durant states, are and I quote:

"It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all, our numerals and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future.... Perhaps, India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit and unifying, pacifying love for all living things”.[2]

In my view, that moment has arrived, and with the acceleration of the necessity to synthesise Science and Spirituality, India will have to manifest greater vitality than it has done so far, so that it can meet the expectations that this moment embodies.

[1] David Bohm, "Wholeness and Implicate Order", pp. 174-5.

[2] Will Durant, A Story of Civilization, Volume I, p. 633.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India


Fifty years of independence have given us ample proof of the vivid vitality of our country. In every important field, progress has been registered. It is, however, true that much more could have been attained, much greater awakening could have been secured, greater prosperity could have been generated and distributed for the upliftment of all instead of that of selected sections of our society.

We have, however, to realize that right at the moment we attained freedom, our unity was fractured, and the partition has kept us continuously crippled. Our population has grown manifold, and we are now one billion plus, sixth of the world's population. Wars inflicted by Pakistan on our country and the invasion of China in 1962 afflicted upon us not only major shocks but obliged us to spend huge portions of our scare finances on security and defence. The cult of violence and terrorism, which is today a worldwide phenomenon, has also spread in India, and it has greatly disturbed our internal peace. There are many other similar factors that we can enumerate, but the fact that we have been able to meet the challenges is itself a proof of our vitality, although we should have liked to give a better kind of proof.

It has, however, been argued that the world has during the last few decades rapidly become global, but we have not been able to keep pace with the spread of globalization. It has also been pointed out that India has shown great weakness in reacting to the external influences, which have increasingly poured over our country. It has been contended that India has not shown the capacity to deal with its problems with any kind of originality and that we have betrayed some kind of sterile imitiativeness. We must admit that there is both truth and force in this criticism. It is true that we are getting engulfed by the march of globalisation, and we do not have any original approach to deal with this phenomenon, except to point out the evil of hegemony that it carries in its march and the disastrous consequence it is likely to inflict on our culture. It is also true that we have accepted democracy, and we are quite gratified that our democracy has been vibrant and that we have multiplied democratic institutions in various walks of life. But, impartially speaking, it is true that we have imitated largely the Westminster model as also to some extent the U.S.A. model in developing the forms of our democracy

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

We have accepted socialism, and we are gratified that we have endeavoured to implement the ideal of equality in various ways; but is it not true that we have remained we largely confined to the foreign models of five-year plans, and governmental control? We have accepted the ideal of development, and we feel happy that we are gradually able to satisfy the standards of development prescribed by the World Bank and similar institutions. But must acknowledge that we ought to have evolved our own criteria of development, and we should have combated forces of consumerism, that we should have advocated sustainable consumption instead of the misconceived idea of sustainable development. We have, indeed spoken of secularism and we feel that it is a matter of proud achievement. But is it not true that we have imported into our polity the western conflict between religion and state in the name of secularism? Is it not true that we have not adequately developed and fostered our own original concept of secularism, which has to be fundamentally spiritual in character? We should have encouraged the unity of religions by combating their exculisivism. Is it not true that in the name of secularism, we have encouraged the loss of dharma, which is a unique concept developed by our Indian culture through the ages which obliges politics to be guided by high principles of ethics and considerations of Lok Samgraha?

There are, indeed, those who believe that India will be greatly profited, if the external influences succeed; for they feel that India will then truly be renewed, and will become modernized, and it will be able to sit with pride in the company of the developed countries. But, those who understand the depth of the truth of India cannot feel reconciled with this attitude. For these so-called progressive and developed countries of the world are themselves experiencing the strangulating effects of uncontrollable mechanization, depersonalization and dehumanization and are looking for the liberating wisdom and knowledge which India possesses in its depth, even though in its outer life, it has still not recovered its inner strength and vitality to the extent that is needed.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

The country needs a new polity, a polity of cooperation, unity and integrity; our country needs a new economy, an economy centered upon sustainable consumption, economy of prosperity that is shared by all, prosperity marked by sarvodaya. India has to demonstrate its power of originality in creating new forms of economy, and we can do this if we can recover our deeper self and learn the art of meeting the external influences and employ the processes which are indigenous to our country, namely the processes of selective reception, harmonizing assimilation and uplifting synthesis. In the profound sense developed by India through the ages, the sense of universal brotherhood, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, there is no great distinction between the external and internal; we stand for the idea of the synthesis of the east and the west. In both the East and the West, there is a common aspiration for the individual and collective perfection, and India can receive from the West and give in return all that is valuable in the respective civilizations and which can promote the individual and collective perfection and their ideal synthesis.

Let me add last word. India has manifested inexhaustible vitality through the ages; during the last few centuries, there was exhaustion and even a temporary sleep. India has awakened with renewed energy and vitality. This vitality is not yet in its full bloom, and we need to find ways and means by which India blossoms in its full glory. But the most important instrument for this is education, which India has largely neglected and allowed its development to grow manifold in the image that the British had imprinted upon us during our period of subjection. We have to recover the truths of our national system of education, we have to develop education that is humanistic, education that is integral and which nourishes the physical, the vital force and the metal powers of the students under the guidance of the Spirit.

Vitality of India

Vitality of India

We have to find ways and means by which the treasures of spiritual knowledge are brought to the door-steps of the students of our country; we have to Irrigate our pursuits of science, technology, philosophy and critical knowledge with the streams of wisdom that are available to us in our heritage, so that while we look forward and work for the future, we ensure that our foundations are well-grounded in all that was noble and great in our past.

Finally, our curriculum has to be recast in such a way that the Indian heritage to which our children have a natural right is transmitted to them in the right perspective, and our curriculum should also provide for a new synthesis relevant to our times, synthesis of the East and the West, synthesis that can sustain and uplift not only India but the whole world.

Our vitality consists in the fact that we can envisage today more and more clearly not only our goal but also the lines of development and that we have the force and energy to build new roads with courage and voluntary optimism. Let us recall, in this connection, the potent words of Sri Aurobindo:

“India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word; she lives and has still something to do for herself and the human peoples. And that which must seek now to awake is not an anglicised oriental people, docile pupil of the West and doomed to repeat the cycle of the occident's success and failure, but still the ancient immemorable Shakti recovering her deepest self, liſting her head higher towards the supreme source of light and strength and turning to discover the complete meaning and a vaster form of her Dharma."[1]

[1] Sri Aurobindo, The Foundations of Indian Culture, Indian Polity-4, pp. 380-81.

Vitality of India

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