Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. February 22, 1908
The Glory of God in Man
Whoever is still under the influence of intellectual pride, is shocked when people depreciate the reason as the supreme guide. He asks how is it possible for a man of culture to depreciate the reason and exalt some extraneous influence like that which people call God? But these doubters are under the influence of European materialism which tries to confine man to his material portion and deny him the possibility of a divine origin and a divine destiny. When Europe left Christianity to the monk and the ascetic and forgot the teachings of the Galilean, she exposed herself to a terrible fate which will yet overtake her. God in man is the whole revelation and the whole of religion. What Christianity taught dimly, Hinduism made plain to the intellect in Vedanta. When India remembers the teaching she received from Shankaracharya, Ramanuja and Madhva, when she realises what Sri Ramakrishna came to reveal, then she will rise. Her very life is Vedanta.
If anyone thinks that we are merely intellectual beings, he is not a Hindu. Hinduism leaves the glorification of intellectuality to those who have never seen God. She is commissioned by Him to speak only of his greatness and majesty and she has so spoken for thousands of years. When we first received a European education, we allowed ourselves to be misled by the light of science. Science is a light within a limited room, not the sun which illumines the world. The aparā vidyā is the sum of science but there is a higher vidyā, a mightier knowledge. When we are under the influence of the lower knowledge, we imagine that we are doing everything and try to reason out the situation we find ourselves in, as if our intellect were sovereign and omnipotent. But this is an attitude of delusion and māyā. Whoever has once felt the glory of God within him can never again believe that the intellect is supreme. There is a higher voice, there is a more unfailing oracle. It is in the heart where God resides. He works through the brain, but the brain is only one of His instruments. Whatever the brain may plan, the heart knows first and whoever can go beyond the brain to the heart, will hear the voice of the Eternal. This is what Srijut Aurobindo Ghose said in his Bombay speech. But our contemporary, the Indian Patriot, has lamented his downfall from the high pedestal of culture he once occupied. Our contemporary has forgotten the teachings of Vivekananda which were once so powerful in Madras. What does he think was the cause of the great awakening in Bengal?
When Lord Curzon thought to rend Bengal asunder, he deprived her of all her old pride and reliance upon her intellectual superiority. She had thought to set her wits against British power; and believed that the intellect of her sons would be a match for the clumsy brains of the English statesmen. Lord Curzon showed her that Power is too direct and invincible to be outwitted. The brains of Bengal did their best to cope with him and they failed. No course remained open to1 Bengal which her intellect could suggest. But when she was utterly reduced to despair, the time came for her own power to awake and set itself against that of the foreigner. She flung aside the devices of the Greek and took on herself the majesty of Roman strength and valour. When she declared the Boycott, she did so without calculation, without reckoning chances, without planning how the Boycott could succeed. She simply declared it. Was the intellect at work when she declared it? Was it her leaders who planned it as a means of bringing the British to their knees?
Everybody knows that it was not so. It was Kishoregunj, it was Magura, the obscure villages and towns of East Bengal which first declared the Boycott. What brain planned it, what voice first uttered it, history will never be able to discover. None planned it, but it was in the heart of the nation and God revealed it. If human brains had thought over the matter, Boycott would never have been declared. Srijut Bepin2 Chandra Pal is the most powerful brain at present at work in Bengal, but Srijut Bepin3 Chandra has himself often related that he was opposed to the Boycott in its inception, because his intellect refused to assent to the economic possibility of Boycott. So with all the men who were then the recognised brains and voices of Bengal. Only the nation had Boycott in their hearts and the heart of Bengal refused to be silenced by its brain. So Boycott was declared. Had the Indian Patriot been the mouthpiece of Bengal it would have asked for a plan of operations. But what plan of operations could have been given? So we see from this one great example what Srijut Aurobindo Ghose meant when he said that it was God's work and not man's. If the Indian Patriot can show us who planned the Boycott, or how it has been guided to success by human intellect, we will accept his view of things. Meanwhile, we shall take leave to approve of the view expressed by Srijut Aurobindo Ghose. God is behind this movement and He does not need anyone to tell Him how to bring it to success. He will see to that Himself. Whatever plans we may make, we shall find quite useless when the time for action comes. Revolutions are always full of surprises, and whoever thinks he can play chess with a revolution will soon find how terrible is the grasp of God and how insignificant the human reason before the whirlwind of His breath. That man only is likely to dominate the chances of a Revolution, who makes no plans but preserves his heart pure for the will of God to declare itself. The great rule of life is to have no schemes but one unalterable purpose. If the will is fixed on the purpose it sets itself to accomplish, then circumstances will suggest the right course; but the schemer finds himself always tripped up by the unexpected.
Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volumes 6-7.- Bande Mataram: Political Writings and Speeches. 1890–1908 .- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2002.- 1182 p.
1 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: remained to
2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin
3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin