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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram1

Sj. Aurobindo said that he was exceedingly pleased to know that the song had become so popular in all parts of India and that it was being so repeatedly sung. He said that he would make this national anthem the subject of his speech. The song, he said, was not only a national anthem to be looked on as2 the European nations look upon their own, but one replete with mighty power, being a sacred mantra, revealed to us by the author of Ananda Math, who might be called an inspired Rishi. He described the manner in which the mantra had been revealed to Bankim Chandra, probably by a Sannyasi under whose teaching he was. He said that the mantra was not an invention, but a revivification of the old mantra which had become3 extinct, so to speak, by the treachery of one Navakishan4. The mantra of Bankim Chandra was not appreciated in his own day, and he predicted that there would come a time when the whole of India would resound with the singing of the song, and the word of the prophet was miraculously fulfilled. The meaning of the song was not understood then because there was no patriotism except such as consisted in making India the shadow of England and other countries which dazzled the sight of the sons of this our Motherland with their glory and opulence. The so-called patriots of that time might have been the well-wishers of India but not men who5 loved her. One who loved his mother never looked to her defects, never disregarded her as an ignorant, superstitious, degraded and decrepit woman. The speaker then unfolded the meaning of the song. As with the individual, so with the nation, there were three bodies or koṣas, the sthūla, sūkṣma and kāraṇa śarīras. In this way the speaker went on clearing up the hidden meaning of the song. The manner in which he treated of love and devotion was exceedingly touching and the audience sat before him like dumb statues, not knowing where they were or whether they were listening to a prophet revealing to them the higher mysteries of life. He then concluded with a most pathetic appeal to true patriotism and exhorted the audience to love the Motherland and sacrifice everything to bring about her salvation.


Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 18901908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.

1 This is third-person report of a speech delivered by Sri Aurobindo in the Grand Square of the National School, Amraoti, Berar, on Wednesday the 29th January, 1908. The meeting commenced with the singing of Bande Mataram. The text was published as a news item in the Bande Mataram on 5 February 1908.


2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: anthem as


3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: which became


4 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Navakisan


5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: not certainly ones who