Reaffirmation -- Résumé

Writing about the Glory of ancient Bharat, both as a dominant world and a unique contribution to the spiritual culture of the world has been an extraordinary experience. The writer is conscious of a pang of regret as the end of the looms in sight. It is, as it were, an awakening from a dream, a wonderful dream in which the writer got involved with the wisdom, beauty and inspiration of higher values, in the contemplation of Truth and Beauty as a way of life found in ancient Bharat. The transition to the modern ways of life with its tensions and frustrations is hardly pleasant.

What the writer is trying to establish in her thesis is that it is in the domain of the Spiritual that Bharat has scored over all other countries and cultures of the world. India’s exalted physics, the daring discoveries of philosophical concepts, like the Doctrine of ‘Karma’ and Reincarnation, the concept of ‘Purusha’, ‘Prakriti’, the recognition of the ‘Avatar’, the detailed working out of the spiritual paths whereby the ‘sadhak’ can attain unity with the Divine, the establishment of ‘shrutis’ and ‘shastras’ which prevailed in the ‘Vedas’, the significance of the Creator and his manifestations, and, above all, the assertion of Man’s destiny of attaining his potential Divinity through effort and grace -- to all these and many other sublime expressions of Truth, enlightened men and women of the world owe a deep debt of gratitude to Bharat’s ancient rituals and legends and the endearing stories of her epics showing a deep spiritual insight are also facets of great inspiration. It is in this arena of Knowledge that ancient Bharat excels and provided a cradle of wisdom and intuition to seekers of the world.

It is man’s privilege to have been endowed with capacity to experiment with Truth. When a man uses this innate ability, he brings about a higher life is the essential characteristic of the Indo-Aryan culture, and later became the central ideal of Bharat’s spiritual faith. The success of religion in India is due to its spiritual basis rather than its ethical doctrines. The importance of moral rectitude in the building up of the spiritual life is undisputed, and, indeed, ethical principles form the common denominator of all religious faith. But, morality alone does not lead to enlightenment, nor does it bring about a complete integration of man’s personality, whereas spirituality aims at an all-inclusive integration of man’s total being; moreover, spirituality is a radical change into a higher level of consciousness where man becomes the perfect medium of both beauty and bliss through his perfection. This creative idea has been the making of Bharat and is the cause of its survival.

It is the ‘moha’ or a false sense of attachment to fleeting values that acts as a check on an outlook of expanded vision. But when a hunger to grow in spiritual grace manifests itself in the human heart, God appears in the form of a ‘Guru’, sometimes within the human heart itself, but more often in the form of another personality, to awaken and illumine the ‘sadhak’. India, this holy motherland of ours has ever given birth to a galaxy of such Incarnations or Sages. These sages appear amongst us, not only in fulfillment of Shri Krishna’s promise that when the need for such advent is urgent the saviour must appear, but in all ages and at all times. For, is there indeed a moment when the need is not urgent? In the ‘Kali Yuga’ there is a perpetual upheaval of vice and suffering; nevertheless, it is a blessed era in that the misery it throws up acts like a challenge and brings forth a corresponding release of great spiritual power in ‘satwik’ persons. Thus, very often when the darkness within us becomes sufficiently dark, as it were, the thin streak of light that is abiding somewhere in the deep recesses of our being manifests its weak flicker, and if in that moment of awareness we mercifully come in contact with the ‘Guru’. this tiny glow becomes a gradually widening oasis of Light.

Our anchor is in the Lord, very often in the embodied incarnations who ‘serve’ as ‘Gurus’. Surrender to such perfect Masters can bring about self-fulfillment. Out of infinite compassion the Divine assumes a human form. This, of course, is no ordinary birth into ignorance as we understand it, but the descent of the illuminated light with all the semblance of finiteness. But though the Divine does so limit itself voluntarily, it does not at the same time get entangled in the inevitable functioning of ‘karmis’ laws which constrict the ordinary human birth.

The assumption of limitation by the Divine ‘Avatar’ renders Him approachable, and consequently proves to be our source of guidance and security in all things. There is no limit to His power to save. But the turning to that vibrant compassion is the ‘sadhak’s’ obligation, for, the Divine respects the right of each individual soul to work out its own salvation.

If a culture is to live, it has to assert itself again and again destroying the ignorant prejudices of man. Though Hinduism is true for all times, though it is a perennial philosophy, in reinstating it a great upheaval of spiritual truth has to be created. This can only be done by the great saints and ‘Avatars’. Despite the chaos prevailing today, one need not be pessimistic, though we are bound to admit that in surveying the existing conditions of life today, one is oppressed with an overwhelming impression of the forces of evil triumphing over good, a widespread immorality and corruption all over the world, which seems to be at war with itself! There are some bitter lessons which humanity must learn before it can emerge into the Light. Moreover, there are unmistakable glimpses of sanity showing through the tensions of human life. The dynamic values of Truth, Beauty and Love keep asserting themselves like smoldering flames. They cannot be extinguished because they are sustained by the Grace of the Great Ones.

All the wonderful discoveries as well as the progress made in all branches of science have come to stay. If the user of all these progressive discoveries is still a pigmy morally and spiritually and misuses these blessings, then the solution lies not in rejecting scientific progress, but in raising this pigmy to the stature of a spiritual giant. This can be done by turning to the immoral lessons of our ancient scriptures, and the recourse to this source is brought about by the imperceptible yet powerful directions of Bharat’s Master Yogis.

Therefore, the birth of a ‘Satpurush’ is the greatest good that can befall humanity. God as the Impersonal Creator eludes our imagination. As it has been aptly said --- “Our loftiest human notions about the Creator cannot but fix delusive limits to this Immensity.” But when a human temple enshrines divinity in the form of the ‘Guru’, we begin to understand through this familiar medium the purpose of life and the greatness of our own ultimate destiny. Liberation lies in the direct knowledge of the Supreme Reality, but it has to be clothed in raiments which are cognisable to our earth-bound vision....and a ‘Satpurush’ is born.

The ‘sadhana’ of Love brings about a deep and lasting satisfaction. True Love is self-consuming in its constant effort to achieve perfect devotion for the Beloved. Most of us do not really want to love; our eternal and abnormal greed is to be loved. But, contact with the spiritual ‘Guru’ reverses our outlook, because the ‘Guru quietly purifies our responses to life. With the subjugation of selfish desires, receiving no longer seems to be important; giving, on the contrary, brings a new thrill of fulfillment to the ‘sadhak’. In the words of the immortal bard Shakespeare “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds”. The core of the human progress lies in an inner transformation of Man as an individual and also in a perfect order of collective spiritual living as a pattern of a progressive social order. According to the old Masters of Bharat, spiritual discipline requires the aspirant to give himself up completely to God, while at the same time dwelling in loving brotherhood with his fellowmen.

Strangely enough, nowadays, a belief is current in this country of ours, especially amongst its arrogant and westernized youth, that looking back to the past is detrimental to the health and vitality of a race. India is thought to be backward because of this tendency to extol the glories of her ancient civilization and the many inspired eras of thought and culture that this country enjoyed in the past. Indulging in the habit of reminiscing and dreaming about one’s ancient past, however great it may have been, is considered by the cynics to be a waste of time. Moving forward is urged is urged as an alternative policy, though we are not enlightened as to how this is to be done! According to the peculiar psychology of these preachers of extreme modernism, the tendency to look back is somehow felt to be a stumbling block, as if knowing the Wisdom of past sages can, forsooth, prevent us from being wise in the present or the future. On the contrary, is it not more rational and sensible to believe that what is today recognized by the Enlightened to be profound and beautiful would necessarily act as a compelling influence which can raise us to a deeper understanding and wisdom?

Indeed with our broad-minded acceptance of all ‘Avatars’, we feel that if the Christian countries of Europe had ‘looked back’ for inspiration and guidance to their own Prophet of Love, Jesus Christ, the world today would not have been victimized by immoral wars and bloodshed, again and again.

In India, certainly, the moral and cultural sterility that we suffer from today would not have been so appalling if India had not so completely forgotten her past. Each country and civilization thrive on their own native pattern of life and culture. In imbibing the wisdom of the past lies India’s virility, and it is essentially a past from which a satisfactory future can be molded. We must affirm again and again that bearing upon its sacred soil, the recurring birth of holy Ones, Mother India is sanctified. Ramakrishna Paramhansa declared that at each birth of such an ‘Avatar’, the eternal religion of Bharat shines anew like the “eclipsed moon freed from ‘Rahu’”.

The writer feels that the Main Charisma of Hinduism is in the tenets already presented in the body of this chapter.

We repeat that the beauty and excellence that lie in our ancient wisdom and way of life are eternally valid. To seek guidance and inspiration from such timeless achievements in Time is the only approach now left to Bharat’s posterity.

Even discerning scholars of the West feel with mounting conviction that India will lead the world in this task of spiritualizing life at all levels. Seekers too in all parts of the world are turning to our motherland for solace and the greater understanding of Truth. It has been generally accepted that “India, as the pioneer of this new adventure, is revealing today the secret ‘mantra’ that she has preserved through the ages, the ‘mantra’ that will liberate Man into the truth, the bliss and the freedom of a higher existence.” Shri Aurobindo, one of the greatest of our seers and thinkers, feels that India has the key to this wisdom. We quote Shri Aurobindo’s words --”India can, if she wills, give a new and decisive turn to the problems over which all mankind is labouring and stumbling, for the clue to their solution is there in her ancient knowledge. Whether she will rise or not to the height of her opportunity in the renaissance which is coming upon her is the question of her destiny”.

In conclusion, the writer would like to confess that writing about the Glory of Ancient Bharat has been both a privilege and a ‘tapasya’! The writer also submits that through dedicated efforts and the ‘Guru’s’ Grace, she hopes, she has been able to establish the sublimity of Bharat’s ancient and immortal scriptures, which has no parallel in the spiritual history of the world.

Modern life has changed many things. It has changed even the mode of living of the modern ‘Guru’, many of whom live today in luxury. When we compare this to the utter simplicity of Shri Sai Baba’s life, we cannot but be overcome with emotion. Though he could have lived like a prince, Shri Sai Baba chose to adopt the life of a poor mendicant. It is this quality of his unique and concrete compassion that endears our beloved Master not only to the poor and the lowly, but also to all else who have the sensitivity to understand Shri Sai Baba’s noble gesture.