Early Political Writings. 1890 — May 1908
Bande Mataram. March 27, 1908
The great opportunity of Srijut Bepin1 Chandra Pal's return has been utilised for a demonstration such as Calcutta has not yet witnessed, but the occasion will not be perfect unless the public complete their homage to the soul of Nationalism by coming in their thousands to hear him at the Federation Hall Ground on Saturday when the congratulations of the country will be given to him on his return to the great work he has yet to accomplish. He has returned with a double strength, a position of impregnable security in the hearts of his countrymen and a new conception of his work which is precisely what is needed for its fulfilment. On Saturday we expect to hear his first deliberate utterance after his imprisonment. As a leader of the Nationalist Party, he has spoken before, but he will speak now as a voice of prophecy, a thinker whose thoughts do not proceed from himself but are guided from within.
Tomorrow the life of Nationalism will resume its mighty current. Since Bepin2 Chandra went to prison, it has been half deprived of its old impetuous flow, wandering amid shoals and quicksands, distracted by cross-currents, uncertain whither its course was bound. The constant inspiration of his thoughts was wanting, the impetus of his presence ceased to move the springs of Nationalist endeavour. Tomorrow he resumes his place at the post of honour, the standard-bearer of the cause, the great voice of its heart, the beacon-light of its enthusiasm. We were in a semi-darkness while that light was absent, uncertain and bewildered as to our course while that voice was silent and the standard was held by weaker hands, the post of honour filled by untried champions.
When the Federation Hall Ground is filled and overflowing tomorrow, we shall realise how great was the loss of his presence, how weak we were in the absence of the man with a mission; for each of the men who stand before the country today has a work set for him to do and which he alone can do aright. It is the mission of Bepin3 Chandra to lead the thought of the movement, to inspire it with his utterances, to keep the fire of its enthusiasm burning, while others carry out the detail work, education, propaganda, Swadeshi, arbitration, self-defence or whatever other things may be given to their hands to do. From Bengal the ideas of the new age must proceed, from Bengal must come the life of the movement, its high sense of principle, its fearless courage, its greatness, its broadness of view and keenness of vision. From Bengal the stream must flow, which will cleanse India of her impurities. If the work is to be well done, each man must recognise4 his proper work and do it. The clash of conflicting egoisms, the desire to monopolise, the pride of success must disappear from our midst, and be replaced by our intense self-effacement, an enthusiasm of sacrifice, an exalted conception of the high Power at work and the constant sense that we are only His instruments. It is for this reason that we have recently laid stress on this great truth; no advance can be made, no mighty success obtained unless we are able to perceive the divinity of the movement, realise the necessity of subordinating ourselves, overcome the tendency to break into cliques and cabals and apportion to each his allotted portion in the one united work. If anyone tries to outstep his sphere and appropriate the work of others, there will be confusion, disturbance of harmony and temporary failure. The only way to avoid it is for all to realise that the work is not theirs, that their right is only to a portion, that no man is indispensable and only so long as he acts within his own province and on the lines laid down for him by his capacities, his inspiration and his circumstances, is he even useful. This harmony is necessary for the rapid progress of the movement. If each man knows his place and keeps to it, the harmony is possible. All the discords, the quarrels, the failures which have marred our work have been due to the desire of leadership, the obstinacy of prepossessions, the arrogance of egoism which wishes to claim the ownership of God's work.
Bepin5 Chandra's place has been marked out for him by his powers of oratory, his knowledge of politics, his enthusiasm and unconquerable vitality of hope and confidence, his unequalled power to excite and inspire. The awakening of Madras is the sign-manual of the Almighty upon his mission. He has only to be true to himself and the cause to complete that stupendous beginning and send the same stream of life beating through the atrophied veins of all India, till one unanimous voice, one tremendous impulse works from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin, from Assam to Bombay and the whole country, molten into a burning mass of enthusiasm, is finally fused in one and ready to be hardened into steel of perfect temper, beaten into shape and fined to perfect sharpness by the workmanship divine, so that it may be a weapon in the hands of the Most High to slay ignorance and barbarism throughout the world.
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: Bipin
2 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin
3 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin
4 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: recognize
5 2002 ed. CWSA, vol.6-7: Bipin