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Sri Aurobindo

Bande Mataram

Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908

Bande Mataram. March 12, 1908

A Great Message

The stupendous success of the reception to Srijut Bepin1 Chandra Pal, a success which outdid all previous occasions of the kind, was a convincing proof of the popular feeling and left no doubt in the minds of those who saw it that the nation is alive. We have always believed that God is at work in the hearts of the people to effect His mighty purpose. When Sj. Bepin2 Chandra spoke at College Square in answer to the welcome he received from the people of Calcutta, the same deep conviction breathed from his lips and expressed itself in words of an inspired fervour, “The man is nothing, the personality is nought, and it is a vain egoism to think that we are doing anything. There is One in whose hands we are instruments and puppets, One who directs all our motions.” This is the conviction that the Prophet of Nationalism has brought with him from his deep self-communing in the solitude of the cell to which the enemies of Nationalism had consigned him. They sent him there in the hope of silencing for a while the mighty and inspiring voice which had stirred the heart of India and created a revolution in sentiment and opinion. But they were mere instruments in the hand of One who is ordering all things so that Asia may move steadily to its resurgence. He it was who secluded Bepin3 Chandra for a while from the stir and movement of the outside world so that his heart might be forced in on itself and lie open to the new thought which the nation must now learn, so that Nationalism may enter on a new chapter of its history. No farther progress, no new development is possible until the divine nature of the movement is thoroughly understood by those who have been selected to lead it. The one thing which can bring it to nought and drag this nation back into servitude is selfishness, weakness and egoism in those who are entrusted severally with different departments of the work which has to be done so that Swaraj may be fulfilled. It has therefore been made an indispensable condition of the success of the movement that those who lead it shall learn this lesson that it is God's movement and not theirs, that, as Bepin4 Chandra declared in his speech at College Square, the men are nothing, there is One who directs and controls all their movements. In the stir and clamour of the political struggle, in the clash of factions with their petty meannesses and paltry rancours, with the voice of thousands shouting acclamations to him as the creator of the movement, even so powerful a mind as Bepin5 Chandra's would have been led away and another might have been added to the mighty minds and strong personalities whom egoism has stopped short in their work for India and through India for the world. Therefore he was removed for a while from the busy scene which was so largely filled with his great personality and far-sounding eloquence, removed by a means which man would never have dreamed of, by a chain of petty circumstances which seemed mere fortuity so that for six months his soul might be alone with itself and he might take stock of his personal strength and weakness and realise6 that his strength was not his own but God's, his eloquence was not his own but God's, his fruitful, strong and subtle brain was not his own, but God's. When we heard him on Tuesday avow the struggle in his soul and its deep consequence, we felt once more convinced of the divine workings. All great teachers have to go through this hour of lonely self-communion and deep mental travail in order that they may learn the nature of their commission and whence it proceeds. It is only after this hour has come to them that their mission really begins, and all that went before was merely a preparation for that hour; for they must feel the power within them before they can realise who gave them the power. Bepin7 Chandra went to prison, the leader of a section and the spokesman of a party; but if he lives in the revelation he has received in his sojourn in the desert, he will be in future something far greater, and become the prophet and inspirer of a nation consecrated to that mission by a power whose wisdom will lead him and whose strength will protect throughout the struggle that lies in front. Others, we hope, will realise8 the meaning of the words which fell from him in his first utterance after his return. There are many powerful spirits now in the ranks of Nationalism who have also their share of the work, some of whom are still under the influence of egoism and believe that by their own skill, courage and ability they will bring the movement to a success. Unless they learn the lesson which Bepin9 Chandra has learned, they will be in danger of misleading the people and themselves being withdrawn from the field as unfit instruments. To them as to all this country it was a great and necessary message that the foremost man among us has delivered as the word that God spoke to him in the silence of his prison.

 

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 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin

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2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin

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3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin

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

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5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin

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6 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: realize

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7 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin

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8 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: realize

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9 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin

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