Category Archives: Hindutva



(Delivered at the Victoria Hall, Madras, 1897)

As the other day we could not proceed, owing to the crowd, I shall take this opportunity of thanking the people of Madras for the uniform kindness that I have received at their hands. I do not know how better to express my gratitude for the beautiful words that have been expressed in the addresses than by praying to the Lord to make me worthy of the kind and generous expressions and by working all my life for the cause of our religion and to serve our motherland; and may the Lord make me worthy of them.

With all my faults, I think I have a little bit of boldness. I had a message from India to the West, and boldly I gave it to the American and the English peoples. I want, before going into the subject of the day, to speak a few bold words to you all. There have been certain circumstances growing around me, tending to thwart me, oppose my progress, and crush me out of existence if they could. Thank God they have failed, as such attempts will always fail. But there has been, for the last three years, a certain amount of misunderstanding, and so long as I was in foreign lands, I held my peace and did not even speak one word; but now, standing upon the soil of my motherland, I want to give a few words of explanation. Not that I care what the result will be of these words — not that I care what feeling I shall evoke from you by these words. I care very little, for I am the same Sannyâsin that entered your city about four years ago with this staff and Kamandalu; the same broad world is before me. Without further preface let me begin.

First of all, I have to say a few words about the Theosophical Society. It goes without saying that a certain amount of good work has been done to India by the Society; as such every Hindu is grateful to it, and especially to Mrs. Besant; for though I know very little of her, yet what little I know has impressed me with the idea that she is a sincere well-wisher of this motherland of ours, and that she is doing the best in her power to raise our country. For that, the eternal gratitude of every trueborn Indian is hers, and all blessings be on her and hers for ever. But that is one thing — and joining the Society of the Theosophists is another. Regard and estimation and love are one thing, and swallowing everything any one has to say, without reasoning, without criticising, without analysing, is quite another. There is a report going round that the Theosophists helped the little achievements of mine in America and England. I have to tell you plainly that every word of it is wrong, every word of it is untrue. We hear so much tall talk in this world, of liberal ideas and sympathy with differences of opinion. That is very good, but as a fact, we find that one sympathises with another only so long as the other believes in everything he has to say, but as soon as he dares to differ, that sympathy is gone, that love vanishes. There are others, again, who have their own axes to grind, and if anything arises in a country which prevents the grinding of them, their hearts burn, any amount of hatred comes out, and they do not know what to do. What harm does it do to the Christian missionary that the Hindus are trying to cleanse their own houses? What injury will it do to the Brâhmo Samâj and other reform bodies that the Hindus are trying their best to reform themselves? Why should they stand in opposition? Why should they be the greatest enemies of these movements? Why? — I ask. It seems to me that their hatred and jealousy are so bitter that no why or how can be asked there.

Four years ago, when I, a poor, unknown, friendless Sannyasin was going to America, going beyond the waters to America without any introductions or friends there, I called on the leader of the Theosophical Society. Naturally I thought he, being an American and a lover of India, perhaps would give me a letter of introduction to somebody there. He asked me, “Will you join my Society?” “No,” I replied, “how can I? For I do not believe in most of your doctrines.” “Then, I am sorry, I cannot do anything for you,” he answered. That was not paving the way for me. I reached America, as you know, through the help of a few friends of Madras. Most of them are present here. Only one is absent, Mr. Justice Subramania Iyer, to whom my deepest gratitude is due. He has the insight of a genius and is one of the staunchest friends I have in this life, a true friend indeed, a true child of India. I arrived in America several months before the Parliament of Religions began. The money I had with me was little, and it was soon spent. Winter approached, and I had only thin summer clothes. I did not know what to do in that cold, dreary climate, for if I went to beg in the streets, the result would have been that I would have been sent to jail. There I was with the last few dollars in my pocket. I sent a wire to my friends in Madras. This came to be known to the Theosophists, and one of them wrote, “Now the devil is going to die; God bless us all.” Was that paving the way for me? I would not have mentioned this now; but, as my countrymen wanted to know, it must come out. For three years I have not opened my lips about these things; silence has been my motto; but today the thing has come out. That was not all. I saw some Theosophists in the Parliament of Religions, and I wanted to talk and mix with them. I remember the looks of scorn which were on their faces, as much as to say, “What business has the worm to be here in the midst of the gods?” After I had got name and fame at the Parliament of Religions, then came tremendous work for me; but at every turn the Theosophists tried to cry me down. Theosophists were advised not to come and hear my lectures, for thereby they would lose all sympathy of the Society, because the laws of the esoteric section declare that any man who joins that esoteric section should receive instruction from Kuthumi and Moria, of course through their visible representatives — Mr. Judge and Mrs. Besant — so that, to join the esoteric section means to surrender one’s independence. Certainly I could not do any such thing, nor could I call any man a Hindu who did any such thing. I had a great respect for Mr. Judge. He was a worthy man, open, fair, simple, and he was the best representative the Theosophists ever had. I have no right to criticise the dispute between him and Mrs. Besant when each claims that his or her Mahâtmâ is right. And the strange part of it is that the same Mahatma is claimed by both. Lord knows the truth: He is the Judge, and no one has the right to pass judgement when the balance is equal. Thus they prepared the way for me all over America!

They joined the other opposition — the Christian missionaries. There is not one black lie imaginable that these latter did not invent against me. They blackened my character from city to city, poor and friendless though I was in a foreign country. They tried to oust me from every house and to make every man who became my friend my enemy. They tried to starve me out; and I am sorry to say that one of my own countrymen took part against me in this. He is the leader of a reform party in India. This gentleman is declaring every day, “Christ has come to India.” Is this the way Christ is to come to India? Is this the way to reform India? And this gentleman I knew from my childhood; he was one of my best friends; when I saw him — I had not met for a long time one of my countrymen — I was so glad, and this was the treatment I received from him. The day the Parliament cheered me, the day I became popular in Chicago, from that day his tone changed; and in an underhand way, he tried to do everything he could to injure me. Is that the way that Christ will come to India? Is that the lesson that he had learnt after sitting twenty years at the feet of Christ? Our great reformers declare that Christianity and Christian power are going to uplift the Indian people. Is that the way to do it? Surely, if that gentleman is an illustration, it does not look very hopeful.

One word more: I read in the organ of the social reformers that I am called a Shudra and am challenged as to what right a Shudra has to become a Sannyasin. To which I reply: I trace my descent to one at whose feet every Brahmin lays flowers when he utters the words — यमाय धर्मराजाय चित्रगुप्ताय वै नमः — and whose descendants are the purest of Kshatriyas. If you believe in your mythology or your Paurânika scriptures, let these so-called reformers know that my caste, apart from other services in the past, ruled half of India for centuries. If my caste is left out of consideration, what will there be left of the present-day civilisation of India? In Bengal alone, my blood has furnished them with their greatest philosopher, the greatest poet, the greatest historian, the greatest archaeologist, the greatest religious preacher; my blood has furnished India with the greatest of her modern scientists. These detractors ought to have known a little of our own history, and to have studied our three castes, and learnt that the Brahmin, the Kshatriya, and the Vaishya have equal right to be Sannyasins: the Traivarnikas have equal right to the Vedas. This is only by the way. I just refer to this, but I am not at all hurt if they call me a Shudra. It will be a little reparation for the tyranny of my ancestors over the poor. If I am a Pariah, I will be all the more glad, for I am the disciple of a man, who — the Brahmin of Brahmins — wanted to cleanse the house of a Pariah. Of course the Pariah would not allow him; how could he let this Brahmin Sannyasin come and cleanse his house! And this man woke up in the dead of night, entered surreptitiously the house of this Pariah, cleansed his latrine, and with his long hair wiped the place, and that he did day after day in order that he might make himself the servant of all. I bear the feet of that man on my head; he is my hero; that hero’s life I will try to imitate. By being the servant of all, a Hindu seeks to uplift himself. That is how the Hindus should uplift the masses, and not by looking for any foreign influence. Twenty years of occidental civilisation brings to my mind the illustration of the man who wants to starve his own friend in a foreign land, simply because this friend is popular, simply because he thinks that this man stands in the way of his making money. And the other is the illustration of what genuine, orthodox Hinduism itself will do at home. Let any one of our reformers bring out that life, ready to serve even a Pariah, and then I will sit at his feet and learn, and not before that. One ounce of practice is worth twenty thousand tons of big talk.

Now I come to the reform societies in Madras. They have been very kind to me. They have given me very kind words, and they have pointed out, and I heartily agree with them, that there is a difference between the reformers of Bengal and those of Madras. Many of you will remember what I have very often told you, that Madras is in a very beautiful state just now. It has not got into the play of action and reaction as Bengal has done. Here there is steady and slow progress all through; here is growth, and not reaction. In many cases, end to a certain extent, there is a revival in Bengal; but in Madras it is not a revival, it is a growth, a natural growth. As such, I entirely agree with what the reformers point out as the difference between the two peoples; but there is one difference which they do not understand. Some of these societies, I am afraid, try to intimidate me to join them. That is a strange thing for them to attempt. A man who has met starvation face to face for fourteen years of his life, who has not known where he will get a meal the next day and where to sleep, cannot be intimidated so easily. A man, almost without clothes, who dared to live where the thermometer registered thirty degrees below zero, without knowing where the next meal was to come from, cannot be so easily intimidated in India. This is the first thing I will tell them — I have a little will of my own. I have my little experience too; and I have a message for the world which I will deliver without fear and without care for the future. To the reformers I will point out that I am a greater reformer than any one of them. They want to reform only little bits. I want root-and-branch reform. Where we differ is in the method. Theirs is the method of destruction, mine is that of construction. I do not believe in reform; I believe in growth. I do not dare to put myself in the position of God and dictate to our society, “This way thou shouldst move and not that.” I simply want to be like the squirrel in the building of Râma’s bridge, who was quite content to put on the bridge his little quota of sand-dust. That is my position. This wonderful national machine has worked through ages, this wonderful river of national life is flowing before us. Who knows, and who dares to say whether it is good and how it shall move? Thousands of circumstances are crowding round it, giving it a special impulse, making it dull at one time and quicker at another. Who dares command its motion? Ours is only to work, as the Gita says, without looking for results. Feed the national life with the fuel it wants, but the growth is its own; none can dictate its growth to it. Evils are plentiful in our society, but so are there evils in every other society. Here the earth is soaked sometimes with widows’ tears; there in the West, the air is rent with the sighs of the unmarried. Here poverty is the great bane of life; there the life-weariness of luxury is the great bane that is upon the race. Here men want to commit suicide because they have nothing to eat; there they commit suicide because they have so much to eat. Evil is everywhere; it is like chronic rheumatism. Drive it from the foot, it goes to the head; drive it from there, it goes somewhere else. It is a question of chasing it from place to place; that is all. Ay, children, to try to remedy evil is not the true way. Our philosophy teaches that evil and good are eternally conjoined, the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. If you have one, you must have the other; a wave in the ocean must be at the cost of a hollow elsewhere. Nay, all life is evil. No breath can be breathed without killing some one else; not a morsel of food can be eaten without depriving some one of it. This is the law; this is philosophy. Therefore the only thing we can do is to understand that all this work against evil is more subjective than objective. The work against evil is more educational than actual, however big we may talk. This, first of all, is the idea of work against evil; and it ought to make us calmer, it ought to take fanaticism out of our blood. The history of the world teaches us that wherever there have been fanatical reforms, the only result has been that they have defeated their own ends. No greater upheaval for the establishment of right and liberty can be imagined than the war for the abolition of slavery in America. You all know about it. And what has been its results? The slaves are a hundred times worse off today than they were before the abolition. Before the abolition, these poor negroes were the property of somebody, and, as properties, they had to be looked after, so that they might not deteriorate. Today they are the property of nobody. Their lives are of no value; they are burnt alive on mere presences. They are shot down without any law for their murderers; for they are niggers, they are not human beings, they are not even animals; and that is the effect of such violent taking away of evil by law or by fanaticism. Such is the testimony of history against every fanatical movement, even for doing good. I have seen that. My own experience has taught me that. Therefore I cannot join any one of these condemning societies. Why condemn? There are evils in every society; everybody knows it. Every child of today knows it; he can stand upon a platform and give us a harangue on the awful evils in Hindu Society. Every uneducated foreigner who comes here globe-trotting takes a vanishing railway view of India and lectures most learnedly on the awful evils in India. We admit that there are evils. Everybody can show what evil is, but he is the friend of mankind who finds a way out of the difficulty. Like the drowning boy and the philosopher — when the philosopher was lecturing him, the boy cried, “Take me out of the water first” — so our people cry: “We have had lectures enough, societies enough, papers enough; where is the man who will lend us a hand to drag us out? Where is the man who really loves us? Where is the man who has sympathy for us?” Ay, that man is wanted. That is where I differ entirely from these reform movements. For a hundred years they have been here. What good has been done except the creation of a most vituperative, a most condemnatory literature? Would to God it was not here! They have criticised, condemned, abused the orthodox, until the orthodox have caught their tone and paid them back in their own coin; and the result is the creation of a literature in every vernacular which is the shame of the race, the shame of the country. Is this reform? Is this leading the nation to glory? Whose fault is this?

There is, then, another great consideration. Here in India, we have always been governed by kings; kings have made all our laws. Now the kings are gone, and there is no one left to make a move. The government dare not; it has to fashion its ways according to the growth of public opinion. It takes time, quite a long time, to make a healthy, strong, public opinion which will solve its own problems; and in the interim we shall have to wait. The whole problem of social reform, therefore, resolves itself into this: where are those who want reform? Make them first. Where are the people? The tyranny of a minority is the worst tyranny that the world ever sees. A few men who think that certain things are evil will not make a nation move. Why does not the nation move? First educate the nation, create your legislative body, and then the law will be forthcoming. First create the power, the sanction from which the law will spring. The kings are gone; where is the new sanction, the new power of the people? Bring it up. Therefore, even for social reform, the first duty is to educate the people, and you will have to wait till that time comes. Most of the reforms that have been agitated for during the past century have been ornamental. Every one of these reforms only touches the first two castes, and no other. The question of widow marriage would not touch seventy per cent of the Indian women, and all such questions only reach the higher castes of Indian people who are educated, mark you, at the expense of the masses. Every effort has been spent in cleaning their own houses. But that is no reformation. You must go down to the basis of the thing, to the very root of the matter. That is what I call radical reform. Put the fire there and let it burn upwards and make an Indian nation. And the solution of the problem is not so easy, as it is a big and a vast one. Be not in a hurry, this problem has been known several hundred years.

Today it is the fashion to talk of Buddhism and Buddhistic agnosticism, especially in the South. Little do they dream that this degradation which is with us today has been left by Buddhism. This is the legacy which Buddhism has left to us. You read in books written by men who had never studied the rise and fall of Buddhism that the spread of Buddhism was owing to the wonderful ethics and the wonderful personality of Gautama Buddha. I have every respect and veneration for Lord Buddha, but mark my words, the spread of Buddhism was less owing to the doctrines and the personality of the great preacher, than to the temples that were built, the idols that were erected, and the gorgeous ceremonials that were put before the nation. Thus Buddhism progressed. The little fire-places in the houses in which the people poured their libations were not strong enough to hold their own against these gorgeous temples and ceremonies; but later on the whole thing degenerated. It became a mass of corruption of which I cannot speak before this audience; but those who want to know about it may see a little of it in those big temples, full of sculptures, in Southern India; and this is all the inheritance we have from the Buddhists.

Then arose the great reformer Shankarâchârya and his followers, and during these hundreds of years, since his time to the present day, there has been the slow bringing back of the Indian masses to the pristine purity of the Vedantic religion. These reformers knew full well the evils which existed, yet they did not condemn. They did not say, “All that you have is wrong, and you must throw it away.” It can never be so. Today I read that my friend Dr. Barrows says that in three hundred years Christianity overthrew the Roman and Greek religious influences. That is not the word of a man who has seen Europe, and Greece, and Rome. The influence of Roman and Greek religion is all there, even in Protestant countries, only with changed names — old gods rechristened in a new fashion. They change their names; the goddesses become Marys and the gods become saints, and the ceremonials become new; even the old title of Pontifex Maximus is there. So, sudden changes cannot be and Shankaracharya knew it. So did Râmânuja. The only way left to them was slowly to bring up to the highest ideal the existing religion. If they had sought to apply the other method, they would have been hypocrites, for the very fundamental doctrine of their religion is evolution, the soul going towards the highest goal, through all these various stages and phases, which are, therefore necessary and helpful. And who dares condemn them?

It has become a trite saying that idolatry is wrong, and every man swallows it at the present time without questioning. I once thought so, and to pay the penalty of that I had to learn my lesson sitting at the feet of a man who realised everything through idols; I allude to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. If such Ramakrishna Paramahamsas are produced by idol-worship, what will you have — the reformer’s creed or any number of idols? I want an answer. Take a thousand idols more if you can produce Ramakrishna Paramahamsas through idol worship, and may God speed you! Produce such noble natures by any means you can. Yet idolatry is condemned! Why? Nobody knows. Because some hundreds of years ago some man of Jewish blood happened to condemn it? That is, he happened to condemn everybody else’s idols except his own. If God is represented in any beautiful form or any symbolic form, said the Jew, it is awfully bad; it is sin. But if He is represented in the form of a chest, with two angels sitting on each side, and a cloud hanging over it, it is the holy of holies. If God comes in the form of a dove, it is holy. But if He comes in the form of a cow, it is heathen superstition; condemn it! That is how the world goes. That is why the poet says, “What fools we mortals be!” How difficult it is to look through each other’s eyes, and that is the bane of humanity. That is the basis of hatred and jealousy, of quarrel and of fight. Boys, moustached babies, who never went out of Madras, standing up and wanting to dictate laws to three hundred millions of people with thousands of traditions at their back! Are you not ashamed? Stand back from such blasphemy and learn first your lessons! Irreverent boys, simply because you can scrawl a few lines upon paper and get some fool to publish them for you, you think you are the educators of the world, you think you are the public opinion of India! Is it so? This I have to tell to the social reformers of Madras that I have the greatest respect and love for them. I love them for their great hearts and their love for their country, for the poor, for the oppressed. But what I would tell them with a brother’s love is that their method is not right; It has been tried a hundred years and failed. Let us try some new method.

Did India ever stand in want of reformers? Do you read the history of India? Who was Ramanuja? Who was Shankara? Who was Nânak? Who was Chaitanya? Who was Kabir? Who was Dâdu? Who were all these great preachers, one following the other, a galaxy of stars of the first magnitude? Did not Ramanuja feel for the lower classes? Did he not try all his life to admit even the Pariah to his community? Did he not try to admit even Mohammedans to his own fold? Did not Nanak confer with Hindus and Mohammedans, and try to bring about a new state of things? They all tried, and their work is still going on. The difference is this. They had not the fanfaronade of the reformers of today; they had no curses on their lips as modern reformers have; their lips pronounced only blessings. They never condemned. They said to the people that the race must always grow. They looked back and they said, “O Hindus, what you have done is good, but, my brothers, let us do better.” They did not say, “You have been wicked, now let us be good.” They said, “You have been good, but let us now be better.” That makes a whole world of difference. We must grow according to our nature. Vain is it to attempt the lines of action that foreign societies have engrafted upon us; it is impossible. Glory unto God, that it is impossible, that we cannot be twisted and tortured into the shape oil other nations. I do not condemn the institutions of other races; they are good for them, but not for us. What is meat for them may be poison for us. This is the first lesson to learn. With other sciences, other institutions, and other traditions behind them, they have got their present system. We, with our traditions, with thousands of years of Karma behind us, naturally can only follow our own bent, run in our own grooves; and that we shall have to do.

What is my plan then? My plan is to follow the ideas of the great ancient Masters. I have studied their work, and it has been given unto me to discover the line of action they took. They were the great originators of society. They were the great givers of strength, and of purity, and of life. They did most marvellous work. We have to do most marvellous work also. Circumstances have become a little different, and in consequence the lines of action have to be changed a little, and that is all. I see that each nation, like each individual, has one theme in this life, which is its centre, the principal note round which every other note comes to form the harmony. In one nation political power is its vitality, as in England, artistic life in another, and so on. In India, religious life forms the centre, the keynote of the whole music of national life; and if any nation attempts to throw off its national vitality — the direction which has become its own through the transmission of centuries — that nation dies if it succeeds in the attempt. And, therefore, if you succeed in the attempt to throw off your religion and take up either politics, or society, or any other things as your centre, as the vitality of your national life, the result will be that you will become extinct. To prevent this you must make all and everything work through that vitality of your religion. Let all your nerves vibrate through the backbone of your religion. I have seen that I cannot preach even religion to Americans without showing them its practical effect on social life. I could not preach religion in England without showing the wonderful political changes the Vedanta would bring. So, in India, social reform has to be preached by showing how much more spiritual a life the new system will bring; and politics has to be preached by showing how much it will improve the one thing that the nation wants — its spirituality. Every man has to make his own choice; so has every nation. We made our choice ages ago, and we must abide by it. And, after all, it is not such a bad choice. Is it such a bad choice in this world to think not of matter but of spirit, not of man but of God? That intense faith in another world, that intense hatred for this world, that intense power of renunciation, that intense faith in God, that intense faith in the immortal soul, is in you. I challenge anyone to give it up. You cannot. You may try to impose upon me by becoming materialists, by talking materialism for a few months, but I know what you are; if I take you by the hand, back you come as good theists as ever were born. How can you change your nature?

So every improvement in India requires first of all an upheaval in religion. Before flooding India with socialistic or political ideas, first deluge the land with spiritual ideas. The first work that demands our attention is that the most wonderful truths confined in our Upanishads, in our scriptures, in our Purânas must be brought out from the books, brought out from the monasteries, brought out from the forests, brought out from the possession of selected bodies of people, and scattered broadcast all over the land, so that these truths may run like fire all over the country from north to south and east to west, from the Himalayas to Comorin, from Sindh to the Brahmaputra. Everyone must know of them, because it is said, “This has first to be heard, then thought upon, and then meditated upon.” Let the people hear first, and whoever helps in making the people hear about the great truths in their own scriptures cannot make for himself a better Karma today. Says our Vyasa, “In the Kali Yuga there is one Karma left. Sacrifices and tremendous Tapasyâs are of no avail now. Of Karma one remains, and that is the Karma of giving.” And of these gifts, the gift of spirituality and spiritual knowledge is the highest; the next gift is the gift of secular knowledge; the next is the gift of life; and the fourth is the gift of food. Look at this wonderfully charitable race; look at the amount of gifts that are made in this poor, poor country; look at the hospitality where a man can travel from the north to the south, having the best in the land, being treated always by everyone as if he were a friend, and where no beggar starves so long as there is a piece of bread anywhere!

In this land of charity, let us take up the energy of the first charity, the diffusion of spiritual knowledge. And that diffusion should not be confined within the bounds of India; it must go out all over the world. This has been the custom. Those that tell you that Indian thought never went outside of India, those that tell you that I am the first Sannyasin who went to foreign lands to preach, do not know the history of their own race. Again and again this phenomenon has happened. Whenever the world has required it, this perennial flood of spirituality has overflowed and deluged the world. Gifts of political knowledge can be made with the blast of trumpets and the march of cohorts. Gifts of secular knowledge and social knowledge can be made with fire and sword. But spiritual knowledge can only be given in silence like the dew that falls unseen and unheard, yet bringing into bloom masses of roses. This has been the gift of India to the world again and again. Whenever there has been a great conquering race, bringing the nations of the world together, making roads and transit possible, immediately India arose and gave her quota of spiritual power to the sum total of the progress of the world. This happened ages before Buddha was born, and remnants of it are still left in China, in Asia Minor, and in the heart of the Malayan Archipelago. This was the case when the great Greek conqueror united the four corners of the then known world; then rushed out Indian spirituality, and the boasted civilisation of the West is but the remnant of that deluge. Now the same opportunity has again come; the power of England has linked the nations of the world together as was never done before. English roads and channels of communication rush from one end of the world to the other. Owing to English genius, the world today has been linked in such a fashion as has never before been done. Today trade centres have been formed such as have never been before in the history of mankind. And immediately, consciously or unconsciously, India rises up and pours forth her gifts of spirituality; and they will rush through these roads till they have reached the very ends of the world. That I went to America was not my doing or your doing; but the God of India who is guiding her destiny sent me, and will send hundreds of such to all the nations of the world. No power on earth can resist it. This also has to be done. You must go out to preach your religion, preach it to every nation under the sun, preach it to every people. This is the first thing to do. And after preaching spiritual knowledge, along with it will come that secular knowledge and every other knowledge that you want; but if you attempt to get the secular knowledge without religion, I tell you plainly, vain is your attempt in India, it will never have a hold on the people. Even the great Buddhistic movement was a failure, partially on account of that.

Therefore, my friends, my plan is to start institutions in India, to train our young men as preachers of the truths of our scriptures in India and outside India. Men, men, these are wanted: everything else will be ready, but strong, vigorous, believing young men, sincere to the backbone, are wanted. A hundred such and the world becomes revolutionized. The will is stronger than anything else. Everything must go down before the will, for that comes from God and God Himself; a pure and a strong will is omnipotent. Do you not believe in it? Preach, preach unto the world the great truths of your religion; the world waits for them. For centuries people have been taught theories of degradation. They have been told that they are nothing. The masses have been told all over the world that they are not human beings. They have been so frightened for centuries, till they have nearly become animals. Never were they allowed to hear of the Atman. Let them hear of the Atman — that even the lowest of the low have the Atman within, which never dies and never is born — of Him whom the sword cannot pierce, nor the fire burn, nor the air dry — immortal, without beginning or end, the all-pure, omnipotent, and omnipresent Atman! Let them have faith in themselves, for what makes the difference between the Englishman and you? Let them talk their religion and duty and so forth. I have found the difference. The difference is here, that the Englishman believes in himself and you do not. He believes in his being an Englishman, and he can do anything. That brings out the God within him, and he can do anything he likes. You have been told and taught that you can do nothing, and nonentities you are becoming every day. What we want is strength, so believe in yourselves. We have become weak, and that is why occultism and mysticism come to us — these creepy things; there may be great truths in them, but they have nearly destroyed us. Make your nerves strong. What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel. We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men. It is a man-making religion that we want. It is man-making theories that we want. It is man-making education all round that we want. And here is the test of truth — anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison; there is no life in it, it cannot be true. Truth is strengthening. Truth is purity, truth is all-knowledge; truth must be strengthening, must be enlightening, must be invigorating. These mysticisms, in spite of some grains of truth in them, are generally weakening. Believe me, I have a lifelong experience of it, and the one conclusion that I draw is that it is weakening. I have travelled all over India, searched almost every cave here, and lived in the Himalayas. I know people who lived there all their lives. I love my nation, I cannot see you degraded, weakened any more than you are now. Therefore I am bound for your sake and for truth’s sake to cry, “Hold!” and to raise my voice against this degradation of my race. Give up these weakening mysticisms and be strong. Go back to your Upanishads — the shining, the strengthening, the bright philosophy — and part from all these mysterious things, all these weakening things. Take up this philosophy; the greatest truths are the simplest things in the world, simple as your own existence. The truths of the Upanishads are before you. Take them up, live up to them, and the salvation of India will be at hand.

One word more and I have finished. They talk of patriotism. I believe in patriotism, and I also have my own ideal of patriotism. Three things are necessary for great achievements. First, feel from the heart. What is in the intellect or reason? It goes a few steps and there it stops. But through the heart comes inspiration. Love opens the most impossible gates; love is the gate to all the secrets of the universe. Feel, therefore, my would-be reformers, my would-be patriots! Do you feel? Do you feel that millions and millions of the descendants of gods and of sages have become next-door neighbours to brutes? Do you feel that millions are starving today, and millions have been starving for ages? Do you feel that ignorance has come over the land as a dark cloud? Does it make you restless? Does it make you sleepless? Has it gone into your blood, coursing through your veins, becoming consonant with your heartbeats? Has it made you almost mad? Are you seized with that one idea of the misery of ruin, and have you forgotten all about your name, your fame, your wives, your children, your property, even your own bodies? Have you done that? That is the first step to become a patriot, the very first step. I did not go to America, as most of you know, for the Parliament of Religions, but this demon of a feeling was in me and within my soul. I travelled twelve years all over India, finding no way to work for my countrymen, and that is why I went to America. Most of you know that, who knew me then. Who cared about this Parliament of Religions? Here was my own flesh and blood sinking every day, and who cared for them? This was my first step.

You may feel, then; but instead of spending your energies in frothy talk, have you found any way out, any practical solution, some help instead of condemnation, some sweet words to soothe their miseries, to bring them out of this living death?

Yet that is not all. Have you got the will to surmount mountain-high obstructions? If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right? If your wives and children are against you, if all your money goes, your name dies, your wealth vanishes, would you still stick to it? Would you still pursue it and go on steadily towards your own goal? As the great King Bhartrihari says, “Let the sages blame or let them praise; let the goddess of fortune come or let her go wherever she likes; let death come today, or let it come in hundreds of years; he indeed is the steady man who does not move one inch from the way of truth.” Have you got that steadfastness? If you have these three things, each one of you will work miracles. You need not write in the newspapers, you need not go about lecturing; your very face will shine. If you live in a cave, your thoughts will permeate even through the rock walls, will go vibrating all over the world for hundreds of years, maybe, until they will fasten on to some brain and work out there. Such is the power of thought, of sincerity, and of purity of purpose.

I am afraid I am delaying you, but one word more. This national ship, my countrymen, my friends, my children — this national ship has been ferrying millions and millions of souls across the waters of life. For scores of shining centuries it has been plying across this water, and through its agency, millions of souls have been taken to the other shore, to blessedness. But today, perhaps through your own fault, this boat has become a little damaged, has sprung a leak; and would you therefore curse it? Is it fit that you stand up and pronounce malediction upon it, one that has done more work than any other thing in the world? If there are holes in this national ship, this society of ours, we are its children. Let us go and stop the holes. Let us gladly do it with our hearts’ blood; and if we cannot, then let us die. We will make a plug of our brains and put them into the ship, but condemn it never. Say not one harsh word against this society. I love it for its past greatness. I love you all because you are the children of gods, and because you are the children of the glorious forefathers. How then can I curse you! Never. All blessings be upon you! I have come to you, my children, to tell you all my plans. If you hear them I am ready to work with you. But if you will not listen to them, and even kick me out of India, I will come back and tell you that we are all sinking! I am come now to sit in your midst, and if we are to sink, let us all sink together, but never let curses rise to our lips.


Raghupati Raghav Rajaram – The Original Lyrics

The original lyrics of Raghupati Raghava Rajaaram are attributed to Sri Lakshamanacharya ; This Ram Dhun was later edited and popularised by Sri M.K.Gandhi; This was widely attributed to his attempts to bring about reconciliation but it is anybody’s guess how many Muslims would have actually sung this. Compare this with the confusion that it brought about in the minds of Hindus.

Raghupati Raghav

पूजनीय श्री गुरुजी के अमृतवचन

हमारी तेजस्विनी मातृभूमि!

यह है हमारी पवित्र भूमि भारत! देवताओं ने जिसकी महत्ता के गीत गाये है

गायन्ती देवा: किल गीतकानि धन्यास्तु ये भारत भूमि भागे ।

स्वर्गापवर्गास्पद हेतु भूते   भवन्ति भूय: पुरुषा     सुरत्वात् ।

(देवगण इस प्रकार गीत गाते हैं कि हम देवताओं से भी वे लोग धन्य हैं, जो स्वर्ग और अपवर्ग के लिये साधनभूत भारतभूमि में उत्पन्न हुए हैं ।)  – यह भूमि जिसे महायोगी अरविन्द ने विश्व की दिव्यजननी के रूप में जीवन्त आविष्कीकरण कर प्रत्यक्ष किया – जगन्माता! आदिशक्ति! महामाया! महादुर्गा! और जिसने मूर्त रूप साकार होकर उसके दर्शन-पूजन का हमें अवसर प्रदान किया है ।

– यह भूमि, जिसकी स्तुति हमारे दार्शनिक कवि रवीन्द्रनाथ ठाकुर ने – ‘देवि भुवन मनमोहिनी’….. नील सिन्धु जल धौत चरण तल’ कह कर की है।  – यह भूमि, जिसका वंदन स्वतंत्रता के उद्‌घोषक कवि बंकिमचन्द्र ने अपने अमर गीत ‘वन्दे मातरम्’ में किया है । जिसने सहस्त्रों युवा हृदयों को स्फूर्त कर स्वतंत्रता के हेतु आनंदपूर्वक फांसी के तख्ते पर चढ़ने की प्रेरणा दी – त्वं हि दुर्गा दश प्रहरण धारिणी ।

– यह भूमि, जिसकी पूजा हमारे सभी सन्त-महात्माओं ने मातृभूमि, धर्मभूमि, कर्मभूमि एवं पुण्य भूमि के रूप में की है, और यही वास्तव में देव- भूमि और मोक्ष भूमि है ।

– यह भूमि, जो अनंतक्ताल से हमारी प्यारी पावन भारत माता है, जिसका नाम मात्र हमारे हृदयों, को शुरू, सात्विक भक्ति की लहरों से आपूर्ण कर देता है ।

अहो, यही तो हमारी सबकी मां है – हमारी तेजस्विनी मातृभूमि!

वास्तव में ‘भारत’ नाम ही निर्देश करता है कि यह हमारी मां है । हमारी सांस्कृतिक परम्पराओं के अनुसार किसी महिला को पुकारने की सम्मान पूर्ण रीति यह है कि उसे उसके पुत्र के नाम से पुकारा जाय । किसी महिला को अमुक की पत्नी अथवा अमुक की ‘मिसेज’ कहकर पुकारना पाश्चात्य रीति है । हम कहा करते हैं – “वह रामू की मां है।” यही बात हमारी मातृभूमि भारत के नाम के विषय में भी लागू होती है । भरत हमारे ज्येष्ठ भ्राता हैं – जिनका जन्म बहुत काल पूर्ण हुआ था । वह उदार,  श्रेष्ठ गुण सम्पन्न और विजयिष्णु राजा थे एवं हिन्दू पुरुषार्थ के भासमान आदर्श थे । जब किसी स्त्री के एक से अधिक पुत्र होते हैं, तब हम उसे उसकी ज्येष्ठ संतान के नाम से अथवा सबसे अधिक ख्याति प्राप्त संतान के नाम से पुकारते हैं । भरत ख्याति प्राप्त थे और यह भूमि उनकी माता कही गई है  – भारत अर्थात् सभी हिन्दुओं की माता ।

हमारे सभी महत्व के धार्मिक संस्कार भूमि-पूजन से आरंभ होते हैं।  यह एक प्रथा है कि प्रात: काल में जैसे ही हिन्दू निद्रा को त्यागता है, सर्व प्रथम वह पृथ्वी माता से इस बात के लिये क्षमा याचना करता है कि दिन भर वह उसे अपने पैरों से स्पर्श करने के लिये विवश हैं ।

समुद्र  वसने       देवि    पर्वतस्तन मण्डले ।

विष्णु पत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्श क्षमस्व मे । ।

(देवि! समुद्र तुम्हारा परिधान है, पर्वत स्तन मण्डल हैं, जिनका वात्सल्य नदियों में प्रवाहित हो रहा है । हे विष्णु पत्नि, मैं तुम्हे प्रणाम करता हूं । मेरे पैरों के स्पर्श होने की धृष्ठता के लिये क्षमा करना ।)

वास्तव में यह (मातृभूमि) सदैव हमारे राष्ट्र-जीवन की मध्यवर्ती कल्पना रही है । उसने अपनी मिट्टी, हवा, जल तथा अन्यान्य विविध पदार्थों से, जो सुख और पोषण के लिये है, मां जैसा हमारा पोषण किया है । उत्तर में अलंध्य हिमालय के रूप में उसने पिता के समान हमें संरक्षित किया है । और, देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों में फैली अरावली, विन्ध्य, सह्याद्रि आदि गिरिश्रंखलाओं ने भूतकाल में स्वतंत्रता के शूर सेनानियों को रहने के लिये जगह और बचने के लिये व्यवस्था दी है । तथा धर्मभूमि, कर्मभूमि एवं मोक्ष- भूमि के रूप में उसने हमारे आध्यात्मिक गुरू का स्थान लिया है ।

इस प्रकार हमारी मातृभूमि ने एक रूप में ही माता-पिता एवं गुरू तीनों का कर्तव्य हमारे प्रति पूर्ण किया है ।

How My Views on Sangh and Swayamsevaks Changed Overnight

Zafar Irshad, a Lucknow-based journalist narrates that how his views on Sangh and Swayamsevaks changed overnight

As a journalist, I’ve covered many events of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). However, I never knew about their ideology and activities much. After the visit of the former President Pranab Mukherjee, as we witness a media storm now, I find it surprising that people do not know about the social works and selfless service of the Sangh at all. I didn’t know about that as well. But, I am a witness to the same and the story must be told.

In those days, I was with a newspaper agency and was posted in Kanpur as their principal correspondent. On July 10, 2011, my phone rang and my editor informed me that a serious train accident has taken place at Malwa near Fatehpur. I called my sources, got confirmed and left for the ground to report the mishap.

What I Saw, Changed my Views Forever

When I reached the spot, I was taken aback by the horror of that accident. I was trying to calm me down before I start reporting, and then I saw something. Men dressed in white shirts and khaki shorts were volunteering in taking the corpses out of the train and then covering the dead bodies by a white sheet- the kafan. It took me a while to figure out that who these men were? I went ahead and inquired. They didn’t reply and continued with their work.

After a while, the same men started serving tea and biscuits to the passengers and the families of those who were killed and injured. The same was also offered to me. While busy in my reporting, I took a sip. Now, I was fixed! I so wanted to find out about these men who were endlessly serving without doing much talking.

I chased one of the volunteers. I asked him about his identity. With a very calm face, he turned towards me and said, “If you need more tea, please come near that peepal tree.” I didn’t need more tea. I needed to find out about these selfless volunteers. I went near the tree to find a kurta-pyjama clad old man who was giving directions to men and women under the tree. I asked him about the volunteers. He smiled, didn’t reply and got busy with his work.

I left without my answers and started reporting again. At dusk, the same old man appeared from somewhere and he handed a plastic bag to me. I asked him about its contents. He calmly replied, “It has some four chapattis and vegetables. You are reporting for a long time. Eat your food first.” This time I became adamant. I replied that until he doesn’t share his identity with me, I won’t eat the food. I introduced myself as Zafar Irshad. The man said they were Swayamsevaks of the Sangh (RSS). I was taken aback. I had never realised that those who are affiliated with Sangh can have such humanely faces as well. It was new for me!

I requested the elderly person to tell me more about their work so that their social service can become a part of my news story. He sternly said no. When I insisted he told me about their arrangements but on the condition that I won’t ever tell people about it. He informed me that women who were making tea and who cooked food are from their families only. And the kafan which was taken here for the dead bodies was contributed by a Swayamsevak who owns a cloth shop. He reminded me of the promise again that I must not report it, and he left.

After almost seven years, I remember that incident which showed the human and loving face of the Swayamsevaks, not as a report but as another human being. Yes! Selfless service is what the Swayamsevaks do.

Courtesy: Organiser

Telugu Translation

– జాఫర్ ఇర్షాద్

నేను జర్నలిస్ట్ గా అనేక ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ కార్యక్రమాలకు వెళ్ళాను, రిపోర్ట్ తయారు చేశాను. కానీ నాకు ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ అంటే ఏమిటో ఏమాత్రం తెలియదు. ఇటీవల మాజీ రాష్ట్రపతి ప్రణబ్ ముఖర్జీ ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ కార్యక్రమానికి హాజరుకావడంపై వచ్చిన విమర్శలు, వాదోపవాదాలు చూసి నాకు ఆశ్చర్యం కలిగింది. ఈ విమర్శలు చేసినవారెవరు ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ చేసిన, చేస్తున్న సేవా కార్యక్రమాలను ఎప్పుడు చూసినవారుకాదు, తెలుసుకున్నవారుకాదు. కానీ ఒక జర్నలిస్ట్ గా నేను వారి సేవాకార్యక్రమాలను దగ్గరగా చూశాను. అందుకే ఇప్పుడు వాటి గురించి కొద్దిగా చెప్పాలనుకుంటున్నాను. ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ ముస్లిములకు వ్యతిరేకమా, హిందువులకు అనుకూలమా అంటే నేను చెప్పలేనుకానీ అది మానవత్వానికి విరుద్ధంకాదని మాత్రం చెప్పగలను. నా 24 ఏళ్ల జర్నలిస్ట్ జీవితంలో అనేక సందర్భాల్లో ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ కార్యకర్తలు ఎలాంటి పేరు, గుర్తింపు కోరుకోకుండా ప్రజలకు సహాయపడ్డం చూశాను కానీ ఏ మత ఘర్షణలో, దొమ్మిలో పాల్గొన్నట్లు చూడలేదు. అలాగే ఇతర జర్నలిస్ట్ లు లేదా నాయకులు కూడా మత ఘర్షణల్లో వారి పాత్ర ఉందని చెప్పగలరని నేను అనుకోవడం లేదు. అయితే ఇక్కడ ఒక విషయం స్పష్టం చేయాలనుకుంటున్నాను. నాకు ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ తో గాని, బిజెపితోగాని ఎలాంటి సంబంధం లేదు.

అది 2011 జులై 10. నేను కాన్పూర్ లో ఒక న్యూస్ ఏజెన్సీ తరఫున పనిచేస్తున్నాను. ఆదివారం కావడంతో కాస్త విశ్రాంతిగా ఉన్నాను. హఠాత్తుగా మా ఎడిటర్ నుంచి ఫోన్ వచ్చింది. ఫతేపూర్ దగ్గర మాల్వాలో రైలు ప్రమాదం జరిగిందని, వెంటనే వివరాలు సేకరించమని చెప్పారు. నేను వెంటనే రైల్వే అధికారులకు ఫోన్ చేసి విషయం అడిగాను. వాళ్ళు రైలుప్రమాదం జరిగిందని, అదికూడా పెద్ద ప్రమాదమేనని చెప్పారు. నేను వెంటనే ప్రమాద స్థలానికి బయలుదేరాను. గంట ప్రయాణం తరువాత ఘటన స్థలానికి చేరాను. మాల్వాకు 10-12 కి.మీ. దూరంలో ప్రమాదం జరిగింది. ప్రమాద స్థలానికి చుట్టుపక్కల ఎక్కడా జనవాసాలు లేవు. అక్కడికి చేరాలంటే దాదాపు 4కి.మీ లు పొలాల్లో నడిచి వెళ్ళాలి.

అక్కడికి చేరుకోగానే నేను పని ప్రారంభించాను. ప్రమాదం గురించి డిల్లీలోని మా ఎడిటర్ కు, న్యూస్ డెస్క్ కు సమాచారం అందించడం మొదలుపెట్టాను. పూర్తిగా దెబ్బతిన్న బోగీల నుంచి శవాలను బయటకు తీస్తున్నారు. గాయపడినవారిని ఆసుపత్రికి తరలిస్తున్నారు. దగ్గరవారిని కోల్పోయిన వారి ఏడ్పులు, గాయాల మూలంగా బాధితులు పెడుతున్న  పెడబొబ్బలు ఆ ప్రదేశాన్ని భయానకంగా మార్చాయి. శవాలను దగ్గర ఉన్న పొలాల్లోకి చేర్చారు. బాగా ఛిద్రమైన వాటితోపాటు ఇతర శవాలపై కొందరు తెల్లబట్ట కప్పుతూ కనిపించారు. వాళ్ళంతా ఖాకీ నిక్కర్లు వేసుకుని ఉన్నారు.

తమవారిని కోల్పోయి బాధలో ఉన్నవారు కూర్చున్న చోటికి వెళ్ళాను. వారిని ఆకలి, దప్పిక కూడా బాధిస్తోంది. అప్పుడే కొద్దిమంది అక్కడికి వచ్చి బాధితులకు టి, బిస్కట్ లు ఇవ్వడం చూశాను. నాతోపాటు మరో 24మంది జర్నలిస్ట్ లు అక్కడ ఉన్నారు. ఒక వ్యక్తి నాకు కప్పు టీ, రెండు బిస్కట్ లు తెచ్చి ఇచ్చాడు. ఆ నిర్మానుష్యమైన ప్రదేశంలో నాలుగు గంటలుగా పనిచేస్తున్న మాకు ఆ టీ అమృతప్రాయంగా అనిపించింది. అప్పుడే నాకు ఒక సందేహం వచ్చింది. ఇంత నిర్మానుష్య ప్రదేశంలో టీ, బిస్కట్ లు ఉచితంగా ఇస్తున్న వీళ్ళు ఎవరు? వీళ్ళు ప్రభుత్వోద్యోగులా? వెంటనే వాళ్ళలో ఒకరిని అడిగాను -`భాయిసాబ్ మీరు ఎందుకు ఇవి పంచుతున్నారు? ఎవరి తరఫున పనిచేస్తున్నారు?’ అందుకు ఆ వ్యక్తి `మీకు మరికొంత టీ కావాలంటే ఆ చెట్టు దగ్గరకి రండి’ అన్నాడు. నా సందేహం తీర్చుకునేందుకు నేను అతను చెప్పినట్లే చెట్టు దగ్గరకి వెళ్ళాను. అక్కడకి వెళితే నాకు ఒక ఆశ్చర్యకరమైన దృశ్యం కనిపించింది. కొద్దిమంది మహిళలు అక్కడ కూర్చుని కూరగాయలు తరుగుతున్నారు. రొట్టెలకు పిండి తయారుచేస్తున్నారు. ఆ పక్కనే కట్టెల పొయ్యి మండుతోంది. దానిపై టీ మరుగుతోంది. అక్కడే కొన్ని వందల బిస్కట్ ప్యాకెట్ లు ఉన్నాయి.  మరోపక్క కొందరు బాధితులకు అందించడం కోసం మంచినీటిని కవర్ లలో నింపుతున్నారు.

కుర్తా, పైజమా వేసుకున్న ఒక వ్యక్తి పని త్వరగా చేయాలంటూ అందరికీ సూచనలు ఇస్తూ కనిపించాడు. నేను అతని దగ్గరకు వెళ్ళి `మీ పేరేమిటి’ అని అడిగాను. అతను నవ్వాడుగానీ సమాధానం చెప్పలేదు. నన్ను నేను పరిచయం చేసుకుని ఏ సంస్థ తరఫున పనిచేస్తున్నారని అడిగాను. బాధితులకు అందిస్తున్న సేవ గురించి నేను రాస్తానని చెప్పాను. ఎప్పుడైతే నేను జర్నలిస్ట్ నని చెప్పానో వెంటనే అతను అక్కడ నుంచి వెళిపోయి బాధితులకు టీ అందించడంలో నిమగ్నమయ్యాడు. టీ అందిస్తూ అతను ఎవరిని నీ మతం ఏది? నీ కులం ఏది అని అడగలేదు. నేను కూడా చనిపోయినవారు ఎంతమంది, గాయపడినవారు ఎంతమంది అని తెలుసుకుని, సహాయ కార్యక్రమాల గురించి మా ఆఫీస్ కు సమాచారం అందించడంలో పడిపోయాను.

అది అర్ధరాత్రి సమయం. శవాలను బోగీల నుండి తీసే పని కొనసాగుతోంది. అప్పుడే మధ్యాహ్నం నేను కలిసిన వ్యక్తి నా దగ్గరకు వచ్చాడు. నాకు ఒక ప్లాస్టిక్ కవర్ ఇచ్చాడు. `ఇందులో నాలుగు రొట్టెలు, కొద్దిగా కూర ఉన్నాయి. మీరు మధ్యాహ్నం నుంచి పని చేస్తూ అలిసిపోయి ఉంటారు. ఆకలిగా ఉండిఉంటుంది. తినండి’’అన్నాడు. నాకు నిజంగానే బాగా ఆకలిగా ఉంది. అయినా మీ పేరు, మీరు ఏ సంస్థ తరఫున పనిచేస్తున్నారో చెపితేనే ప్యాకెట్ తీసుకుంటానని షరతు పెట్టాను. అప్పుడు అతను తాము రాష్ట్రీయ స్వయంసేవక్ సంఘ్ కార్యకర్తలమని చెప్పాడు. రైలు ప్రమాద బాధితులకు సహాయం అందించడానికి వచ్చామని చెప్పాడు. వెంటనే నా జర్నలిస్ట్ బుర్రకు ఇది చాలా మంచి స్టోరీ అవుతుందనిపించింది. అతని పేరు చెప్పమని పదేపదే అడిగాను. అయినా అతను తన పేరు మాత్రం చెప్పలేదు. పైగా ఇది ఎక్కడ ప్రచురించనని నేను అంతకుముందే చేసిన వాగ్దానాన్ని గుర్తుచేశాడు. అప్పుడు రోజంతా అక్కడే ఉండి, అందరికీ టీ, టిఫిన్ తయారుచేసిన మహిళల గురించి అడిగాను. వాళ్ళంతా తమ కార్యకర్తల కుటుంబాల నుంచి వచ్చినవారు అని చెప్పాడు. శవాలపై కప్పిన తెల్ల బట్ట గురించి అడిగితే అది బట్టల దుకాణం ఉన్న స్వయంసేవకులు స్వచ్ఛందంగా ఇచ్చిన బట్ట అని చెప్పాడు. రొట్టెల పిండి, నూనె కిరాణా దుకాణం ఉన్న వాళ్ళు ఉచితంగా ఇచ్చారని చెప్పాడు. ఆర్ ఎస్ ఎస్ హిందూ సంస్థ కదా, మీరు ఇతరులకు కూడా సహాయం అందిస్తున్నారేమిటని అడిగాను. అందుకు అతను `భాయిసాబ్, ఇక్కడ బాధితులందరికి మేము సహాయం అందిస్తున్నాము. సహాయం అందించడంలో కులం, మతం చూడకూడదని మా సంస్థ భావిస్తుంది’ అని సమాధానమిచ్చాడు. శవాలపై బట్ట కప్పుతున్నప్పుడు కూడా చనిపోయినవారి మతం ఏమిటో, కులం ఏమిటో తమకు తెలియదని, అది పట్టించుకోమని చెప్పాడతను. ఈ మాటలు చెప్పి ఆ నిజాయతీపరుడైన `భగవంతుని సేవకుడు’ తన పేరు చెప్పకుండానే అక్కడ నుంచి వెళ్లిపోయాడు. నేను ప్రమాద స్థలంలో 36 గంటలపాటు ఉన్నాను. అంతసేపూ వాళ్ళు బాధితులకు, జర్నలిస్ట్ లకు, డ్యూటీలో ఉన్న ప్రభుత్వాధికారులకు కావలసినవి అందిస్తూ కనిపించారు. ఆ మర్నాడు ప్రమాద వార్తను పత్రికలన్నింటిలో చూసిన నాకు బాధితులకు నిస్వార్ధంగా సేవ చేసిన ఆ కార్యకర్తల పేర్లు గానీ, ప్రస్తావన గానీ ఎక్కడ కనిపించలేదు.

(రచయిత లక్నోలో పిటిఐ వార్త సంస్థ సినియర్ కరెస్పాండంట్ గా పని చేసారు)

  • Translated by Sri Keshav Nath Khandavalli

संघ कार्य सर्व सर्वस्पर्शी

प्रणवदा संघ मुख्यालय में

आजकल भारत के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति डॉ. प्रणव मुखर्जी जी की मीडिया और सोशल मीडिया में चर्चा हैं. वे चर्चा मेंलिए हैं क्योंकि वे राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के निमत्रण पर 7 जून को संघ मुख्यालय नागपुर जा रहे हैं. वहां वे संघ के तृतीय वर्ष के समापन समारोह के मुख्य अतिथि होंगे और स्वयंसेवकों को संबोधित करेंगे. इस समारोह में संघ के सरसंघचालक डॉ. मोहनराव भागवत मुख्य वक्ता होंगे. नागपुर में हर वर्ष 25 दिन का तृतीय वर्ष का वर्ग होता है जिसमें देश भर से कार्यकर्ता संघ कार्य का प्रशिक्षण लेने के लिए आते हैं. इस वर्ष भी यह वर्ग 14 मई को आरम्भ हुआ था और 7 जून को इसका समापन होगा. इसमें देश के सभी प्रान्तों से 709 स्वयंसेवक प्रशिक्षण ले रहे हैं.
जो लोग संघ को जानते और समझते हैं उनके लिए न तो यह आश्चर्यजनक घटना है और न ही नई बात है. उनके लिए यह सामान्य बात है. क्योंकि संघ अपने कार्यक्रमों में समाज सेवा में सक्रिय और प्रमुख लोगों को अतिथि के रूप में बुलाता रहा है. इस बार संघ ने डॉ. प्रणव मुखर्जी जी को निमंत्रण दिया और यह उनकी महानता है कि उन्होंने उसे स्वीकार किया.
1934 में तो पूज्य महात्मा गांधी जी स्वयं वर्धा में संघ के शिविर में आये थे. अगले दिन संघ संस्थापक डॉ. हेडगेवार उनसे भेंट करने उनकी कुटिया में गए थे और उनकी संघ पर विस्तृत चर्चा हुई थी. इसका उल्लेख गांधी जी ने 16 सितम्बर 1947 की सुबह दिल्ली में संघ के स्वयंसेवकों को संबोधित करते हुए किया है. उसमें उन्होंने संघ के अनुसाशन, सादगी और समरसता की प्रशंसा की थी. गांधी जी कहते हैं, ”बरसों पहले मैं वर्धा में राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ के एक शिविर में गया था। उस समय इसके संस्थापक श्री हेडगेवार जीवित थे। स्व. श्री जमनालाल बजाज मुझे शिविर में ले गये थे और वहां मैं उन लोगों का कड़ा अनुशासन, सादगी और छुआछूत की पूर्ण समाप्ति देखकर अत्यन्त प्रभावित हुआ था.’’ आगे वे कहते हैं, ”संघ एक सुसंगठित, अनुशासित संस्था है।” यह उल्लेख ‘सम्पूर्ण गांधी वांग्मय’ खण्ड 89, पृष्ठ सं. 215-217 में है.
संघ 1930 के दशक से ही समाज जीवन में सक्रिय लोगों को अपने कार्यक्रमों में बुलाता रहा है और ऐसे लोग समय-समय पर संघ के कार्यक्रमों में आये भी हैं. भारत के पूर्व उपराष्ट्रपति डॉ. जाकिर हुसैन, बाबु जयप्रकाश नारायण भी संघ के आमंत्रण पर आये हैं और उन्होंने संघ की प्रशंसा की है. जनरल करियप्पा 1959 में मंगलोर की संघ शाखा के कार्यक्रम में आये थे। वहां उन्होंने कहा “संघ कार्य मुझे अपने ह्रदय से प्रिय कार्यों में से है। अगर कोई मुस्लिम इस्लाम की प्रशंसा कर सकता है, तो संघ के हिंदुत्व का अभिमान रखने में गलत क्या है? प्रिय युवा मित्रो, आप किसी भी गलत प्रचार से हतोत्साहित न होते हुए कार्य करो। डॉ. हेडगेवार ने आप के सामने एक स्वार्थरहित कार्य का पवित्र आदर्श रखा है। उसी पर आगे बढ़ो। भारत को आज आप जैसे सेवाभावी कार्यकर्ताओं की ही आवश्यकता है”।
1962 में भारत पर चीन के आक्रमण के समय संघ के स्वयंसेवकों की सेवा से प्रभावित होकर ही 1963 की गणतंत्र दिवस की परेड में प्रधानमंत्री पं. जवाहरलाल नेहरू जी ने संघ को आमंत्रित किया था और 3 हजार स्वयंसेवकों ने पूर्ण गणवेश में भाग लिया था. संघ की ‘राष्ट्र प्रथम’ भावना के कारण ही 1965 के भारत-पाकिस्तान युद्ध के समय तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री श्री लालबहादुर शास्त्री जी ने संघ के सरसंघचालक ‘श्री गुरूजी’ को सर्वदलीय बैठक में आमंत्रित किया था और वे गए भी थे.
1963 में स्वामी विवेकानंद जन्मशती के अवसर पर कन्याकुमारी में ‘विवेकानंद शिला स्मारक’ निर्माण के समय भी संघ को सभी राजनैतिक दलों और समाज के सभी वर्गों का सहयोग मिला था. स्मारक निर्माण के समर्थन में विभिन्न राजनैतिक दलों के 300 सांसदों के हस्ताक्षर श्री एकनाथ रानडे जी ने प्राप्त किये थे.
1977 में आँध्रप्रदेश में आये चक्रवात के समय स्वयंसेवकों के सेवा कार्य देखकर वहां के सर्वोदयी नेता श्री प्रभाकर राव ने तो संघ को नया नाम ही दे दिया. उनके अनुसार, “R.S.S. means Ready for Selfless Sarvice.”
संघ भेदभावमुक्त, समतायुक्त समाज के निर्माण के लिए गत 92 वर्षों से कार्य कर रहा है. ऐसे समाज निर्माण में संघ को सफलता भी मिल रही है. इस विचार और कार्य से जो लोग सहमत हैं वे संघ के कार्यक्रमों में आते भी हैं और सहयोग भी करते हैं.
– नरेंद्र कुमार
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