Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Current Events 7: Thirst to Understand

A new post in the series: Satyam Shivam Sundaram
A series featuring inspiring words from various sources, words that speak of timeless truths, words that remind me of the deeper and hidden truth behind surface events and phenomena, words that shine light when all seems dark, words that are just what I need - for this moment and for all times to come. 

Crossostephium artemisioides, common name: Chinese lavender
Spiritual significance: Thirst to Understand; Very useful for transformation

Indians reading this blog surely know what day is today. The day Delhi elected its new Chief Minister and a new assembly. For me, this day just became another opportunity to grow as a learner.

I have no interest in going into the nitty-gritty of all the politics of the election campaigning, the role of the media, its biases and fairnesses, the failures or successes of one or the other political party's campaign strategies, etc. I leave that to those interested in the day-to-day political drama.

I am also certainly not interested in analyzing the results of the election, the what, why and how of these. I leave that to those interested in the outer phenomenon of short-term gains or losses, short-term could be anywhere from 50 days to 5 years.

While I continue to remain interested in how and why there abound so many gross misunderstandings and wrong understandings among large sections of so-called educated urban Indians about terms like 'communalism', 'secularism', 'progress', 'development', etc., for the moment I am letting that pass.

As a student of Sri Aurobindo, I remain interested in the larger principles. The wider picture. The deeper truths behind the outer picture. It doesn't mean that I don't have any preferences, but to whatever extent possible I try to constantly weigh my preference in the growing light of those larger principles, that wider picture and those deeper truths.

Am I always able to do so? No. I am merely a learner struggling to keep my preference away. But something tells me that I must constantly try despite my struggles and failures, for that is the only way to deepen my own understanding of the larger truths that are constantly being, or are yet to be worked out through all the ebbs or flows of time, through all the wins and losses in political elections, in the life of my country. This is the only way I will not stay limited to a cursory view of the outer phenomena, outer facts that are here today and gone tomorrow.

India lives in millenniums, as the wise have said. And there is also the wonderful cyclical theory of evolution in the form of chaturyugas that India has given to the world, which can help explain a lot about the recent current events. But that's also a discussion for some other time.

Today, I seek inspiration elsewhere.

The seeking began with a thought that came to me this morning as I browsed the internet for election results. As I read a few articles, I realised that I had actually quite a lot to say. But immediately the next thought came -- does it matter what I think? Mine is and will remain yet another opinion, which doesn't really mean anything in the cacophony of opinions and analyses out there. What really matters is the truth. Or truths. Or truths that help me move away from my mental preference or opinion and walk slowly toward the real reality.

I wrote this update on my Facebook page:

"Another day when I am happy I am no longer a dilliwali...but I am equally happy for all those who prefer dharna politics in national capital :) Go Delhi Go...wherever it needs to go in order to come back saner and wiser, less interested in freebies and more interested in some real long-term work. The best part is that Delhi isn't India. Nor is one party, any party, the real cure for all that ails India. India will win only when Indians learn what is India to begin with."

Today, I seek inspiration in a search for some answers to these questions:

What is India? What are the larger principles that I am interested in contemplating upon today? The deeper truths that I believe will help India win her true victory?

Here is where my search led me to:


Each nation is a Shakti or power of the evolving spirit in humanity and lives by the principle which it embodies. India is the Bharata Shakti, the living energy of a great spiritual conception, and fidelity to it is the very principle of her existence. For by its virtue alone she has been one of the immortal nations; this alone has been the secret of her amazing persistence and perpetual force of survival and revival. (Sri Aurobindo, Complete Works, Vol. 20, p. 57)


There are always two classes of political mind: one is preoccupied with details for their own sake, revels in the petty points of the moment and puts away into the background the great principles and the great necessities, the other sees rather these first and always and details only in relation to them. The one type moves in a routine circle which may or may not have an issue; it cannot see the forest for the trees and it is only by an accident that it stumbles, if at all, on the way out. The other type takes a mountain-top view of the goal and all the directions and keeps that in its mental compass through all the deflections, retardations and tortuosities which the character of the intervening country may compel it to accept; but these it abridges as much as possible. The former class arrogate the name of statesman in their own day; it is to the latter that posterity concedes it and sees in them the true leaders of great movements. (Sri Aurobindo, Complete Works, Vol. 1, p. 651)


Wherever thou seest a great end, be sure of a great beginning. Where a monstrous and painful destruction appals thy mind, console it with the certainty of a large and great creation. God is there not only in the still small voice, but in the fire and in the whirlwind.

The greater the destruction, the freer the chances of creation; but the destruction is often long, slow and oppressive, the creation tardy in its coming or interrupted in its triumph. The night returns again and again and the day lingers or seems even to have been a false dawning. Despair not therefore but watch and work. Those who hope violently, despair swiftly: neither hope nor fear, but be sure of God's purpose and thy will to accomplish.

Wherefore God hammers so fiercely at his world, tramples and kneads it like dough, casts it so often into the blood-bath and the red hell-heat of the furnace? Because humanity in the mass is still a hard, crude and vile ore which will not otherwise be smelted and shaped; as is his material, so is his method. Let it help to transmute itself into nobler and purer metal, his ways with it will be gentler and sweeter, much loftier and fairer its uses. (CWSA, Vol. 13, p. 209)


Be very careful to follow my instructions in avoiding the old kind of politics. Spirituality is India’s only politics, the fulfilment of the Sanatana Dharma its only Swaraj. I have no doubt we shall have to go through our Parliamentary period in order to get rid of the notion of Western democracy by seeing in practice how helpless it is to make nations blessed. India is passing really through the first stages of a sort of national Yoga. It was mastered in the inception by the inrush of divine force which came in 1905 and aroused it from its state of complete tamasic ajñanam [ignorance]. But, as happens also with individuals, all that was evil, all the wrong samskaras and wrong emotions and mental and moral habits rose with it and misused the divine force….It is only when this foolishness is done with that truth will have a chance, the sattwic mind in India emerge and a really strong spiritual movement begin as a prelude to India’s regeneration. No doubt, there will be plenty of trouble and error still to face, but we shall have a chance of putting our feet on the right path. In all I believe God to be guiding us, giving the necessary experiences, preparing the necessary conditions. (Extract from a letter of Sri Aurobindo to Parthasarathi Aiyangar, 13 July 1911)


I write, not for the orthodox, nor for those who have discovered a new orthodoxy, Samaj or Panth, nor for the unbeliever. I write for those who acknowledge reason but do not identify reason with Western Materialism; who are sceptics but not unbelievers; who, admitting the claims of modern thought, still believe in India, her mission, her gospel, her immortal life and her eternal rebirth. (Sri Aurobindo, Collected Works, Vol. 12, p. 63)


To see more posts in the series, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, click here.

To read more posts in the series, Current Events, click here.

Linking this with ABC Wednesday, E: E, Elections

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