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रवींद्र का दलित विमर्श-एक मनुष्यता ही मनुष्य का धर्म, मनुष्यता ही इतिहास भूगोल

रवींद्र का दलित विमर्श-एक

मनुष्यता  ही मनुष्य  का  धर्म, मनुष्यता ही इतिहास भूगोल


पलाश विश्वास

(सत्ता की राजनीति हमारे इतिहास,जीवन दर्शन,संस्कृति,मातृभाषा,लोक,जनपद और जीवन यापन पर हावी है।जिन शाश्वत मूल्यों पर आधारित है भारत की सभ्यता,उन्हें सिरे से बदलने की कोशिश हो रही है।ब्रिटिश हुकूमत के साम्राज्यवाद के खिलाफ भारतीय जनता के एकताबद्ध महासंग्राम ने इस देश को एकसूत्र में बांधा है।इससे पहले भारत अलग अलग राष्ट्रीयताओं के खंडित भूगोल का समूह मात्र था।स्वतंत्रता,संप्रभुता और लोकतंत्र की दिशा में भारतीय स्वतंत्रता संग्राम की विरासत हमारी नींव है।भारतीय रेलवे नेटवर्क,इंडियन स्टैंडर्ड टाइम,भारतीय सिनेमा,भारतीय रंगकर्म,भारतीय संविधान के साथ साथ भारत की संत फकीर बाउल गुरु परंपरा में विविधता,बहुलता के मध्य एकता और सहिष्णुता के भारत का निर्माण हुआ जिसका इतिहास पिर बौद्धमय है।हड़प्पा मोहनजोदोड़ो की सिंधुसभ्यता,वैदिकी सभ्यता और बौद्धमय भारत के इतिहास और विकास के मध्य भारतीय जीवन दर्शन का लोकतंत्र है।रवींद्र साहित्य की भावभूमि यही है,जो दरअसल आधुनिक भारत की परिकल्पना है,जिसका अंतिम लक्ष्य समानता और न्याय है।असहिष्णुता,घृणा,हिंसा की मुक्तबाजारी कारपोरेट नरसंहार संस्कृति में जब भारतीय सभ्यता,इतिहास,विरासत और लोकतंत्र,स्वतंत्रता और संप्रभुता के साथ राष्ट्रीय एकता और अखंडता के लिए गंभीर चुनौतियां हैं,तब रवींद्र के व्यक्तित्व और कृतित्व को मिटाने के लिए विभाजनकारी धर्मोन्मादी अंध राष्ट्रवाद की सुनामी चली है।

मैंने अस्पृश्यता,असमानता और अन्याय के खिलाफ मनुष्यता और भारतीयता के रवींद्र दर्शन पर एक पुस्तक 2002-2003 के दौरान लिखी थी,जो प्रकाशित नहीं हो सकी।इस बीच मैंने अपनी तमाम प्रकाशित अप्रकाशित रचनाओं और संदर्भ पुस्तकों को पैक अप की तैयारी में कबाड़ीवाले को दे दिया है क्योंकि बहुत जल्दी किराये का यह दड़बा छोड़ना है।संजोग से रवींद्र का दलित विमर्श की पांडिलिपि की कुछ टुकड़े बचे हुए मिल गये हैं,जो अधूरे हैं।नये संदर्भों और सवालों के परिप्रेक्ष्य में मैं कोशिश कर रहा हूं कि वह विमर्श कमसकम मेरे ब्लागों के जरिये आपको शेयर करुं।उम्मीद है कि आप इस विमर्श में सहभागी बनेंगे।यह उपक्रम अमेरिका से सावधान की तरह इंटरएक्टिव हो,मेरी कोशिश यही रहेगी।मेरे पास फिलहाल कोई काम नहीं है तो मैंने वक्त बिताने का यह बहाना खोज लिया है,ऐसा समझकर विद्वतजन मेरे दुस्साहस का अन्यथा नहीं लेंगे,उम्मीद है।)


आर्यावर्त का भूगोल भारत का भूगोल नहीं है।भारत के भूगोल को बदलने में गुरखा और डोगरा शासकों की जैसी भूमिका रही है,जैसे तमिलराजाओं का दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया तक साम्राज्य विस्तार रहा है,जैसे कनिष्क और समद्र गुप्त के समय भारत का भूगोल रहा है या सम्राट अशोक या चंद्रगुप्त के समय भारत का भूगोल रहा है या पठानों की सल्तनत और मुगलिया हिंदुस्तान का भूगोल रहा है,वैसा कोई भूगोल उसीतरह भारत का नक्शा नहीं है जैसे सिंधु सभ्यता में रेशम पथ के समूचे भूखंड,भूमध्य सागर, मध्यएशिया और डेनमार्क नार्वे तक विस्तृत भारत के इतिहास का भूगोल बारत का नक्शा नहीं है।आर्यावर्त में तो समूचा गायपट्टी भी नहीं है।विंध्य और अरावली के उत्तर तक आर्यावर्त सीमाबद्ध रहा है,जिसमें बंगाल,ओड़ीशा समेत पूर्वोत्तर भारत कभी नहीं रहा है।वैदिकी सभ्यता का भूगोल यही रहा है।जबकि बौद्धमय भारत का भूगोल लगभग समूचा भारत और तिब्बत चीन से लेकर दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया तक विस्तृत रहा है और इसीतरह तमिल अनार्य राजाओं का साम्राज्य लगभग समूचे दक्षिण पूर्व एशिया है,जो कंबोडिया और वियतनाम तक विस्तृत है।

जाहिर है कि भारतीय इतिहास सिर्फ वैदिकी और आर्य सभ्यता का इतिहास नहीं है।यह सिर्फ रामायण महाभारत का भूगोल भी नहीं है और न वेदों,उपनिषदों,पुराणों,स्मृतियों तक सीमाबद्ध है भारत,जैसा कि अब इतिहास बदलने वाले लोग साबित करने का उपक्रम चला रहे हैं।इस इतिहास का एक बड़ा हिस्सा प्राचीन भारत की सिंधु सभ्यता है तो बौद्धमय भारत के बिना यह इतिहास भूगोल अधूरा है।

वेद, उपनिषद, पुराण और स्मृतियां बेशक भरतीय इतिहास और संस्कृति के महत्वपूर्ण अध्याय हैं,लेकिन वह अनार्य, द्रविड़, तमिल, शक, हुण, कुषाण, खस, गुरखा, डोगरी, अहमिया,बंग,उत्कल सभ्यताओं की विविधताओं के बिना अधूरा है।

रवींद्रनाथ विविधता और बहुलता,सहिष्णुता,मनुष्यता,सभ्यता,संस्कृति और विश्वबंधुत्व के शायद सबसे बड़े प्रवक्ता रहे हैं और वैसे ही वे भारतीयता के सबसे बड़े भविष्यद्रष्टा भी थे।जिस धर्मोन्मादी राष्ट्रवाद और अस्मिता राजनीति के तहत उन्हें अस्पृश्य बहिस्कृत करने का कार्यक्रम है,वह कोई नया उपक्रम भी नहीं है।

बंगाल के नवजागरण के समय से यथास्थिति की जन्मजात मनुस्मृति स्थाई बंदोबस्त प्रगति के खिलाफ लगातार सक्रिय है,उन्होंने रवींद्र नाथ को शुरु से अस्पृश्य बना रखा है।

पश्चिम ने रवींद्रनाथ को नोबेल पुरस्कार देने के तुरंत बाद उन्हें भारतीय सभ्यता की संत परंपरा में शामिल किया हुआ है।गीतांजलि के लिए उन्हें मिले नोबेल पुरस्कार के बाद यूरोप के तमाम अखबारों में एक भारतीय संत रवींद्रनाथ की चर्चा होती रही है,जिनका धर्म मनुष्यता है।

रवींद्रनाथ के व्यक्तित्व और कृतित्व को समझने के लिए मनुष्यता के इस धर्म को समझना बेहद जरुरी है,जिसकी जड़ें मनुस्मृति विरोधी निराकार एकेश्वरवादी ब्रहमसमाज आंदोलन और बंगाल में सतीप्रथा,बाल विवाह,बहुविवाह जैसी कुरीतियों का अंत करने वाले पितृसत्ता के विरुद्ध स्त्री मुक्ति आंदोलन के साथ साथ जल जंगल जमीन के हकहकूक के लिए भारत के आदिवासियों,बहुजनों,किसानों के जनविद्रोहों और भारत की एकताबद्ध साम्राज्यवाद विरोधी स्त्रतंत्रता संग्राम और साधु, संत,फकीर,बाउल की सामंतवाद विरोधी मनुष्यता के दर्शन और बौद्धमयभारत में हैं।

1930 में आक्सफोर्ड विश्वविद्यालय में मनुष्य के धर्म शीर्षक से हिबर्ट लेक्चर में विश्वकवि गुरुदेव रवींद्रनाथ ने विशवबंधुत्व के इस मनुष्यता के धर्म पर विस्तार से अपना वक्तव्य रखा है,जिसे बाद में उन्होंने पुस्तकाकर में प्रकशाति किया है।भारतीय इतिहास,साहित्य और संस्कृति के छात्रों के लिए यह एक अनिवार्य पाठ है।

विकीपीडिया के मुताबिकः

The Religion of Man (Manusher Dhormo) (1931) is a compilation of lectures by Rabindranath Tagore, edited by him and drawn largely from his Hibbert Lectures given at Oxford University in May 1930.[1] A Brahmo playwright and poet of global renown, Tagore deals with largely universal themes of God, divine experience, illumination, and spirituality. A brief conversation between him and Albert Einstein, "Note on the Nature of Reality", is included as an appendix.


बांग्ला में इस पुस्तक की भूमिका में रवींद्रनाथ ने भारतीय धर्म क्रम के आध्यात्मिक शाश्वत मूल्यों की ही चर्चा की हैः

মানুষের ধর্ম

ভূমিকা

মানুষের একটা দিক আছে যেখানে বিষয়বুদ্ধি নিয়ে সে আপন সিদ্ধি খোঁজে। সেইখানে আপন ব্যক্তিগত জীবনযাত্রানির্বাহে তার জ্ঞান, তার কর্ম, তার রচনাশক্তি একান্ত ব্যাপৃত। সেখানে সে জীবরূপে বাঁচতে চায়।

কিন্তু মানুষের আর-একটা দিক আছে যা এই ব্যক্তিগত বৈষয়িকতার বাইরে। সেখানে জীবনযাত্রার আদর্শে যাকে বলি ক্ষতি তাই লাভ, যাকে বলি মৃত্যু সেই অমরতা। সেখানে বর্তমান কালের জন্যে বস্তু সংগ্রহ করার চেয়ে অনিশ্চিত কালের উদ্দেশে আত্মত্যাগ করার মূল্য বেশি। সেখানে জ্ঞান উপস্থিত-প্রয়োজনের সীমা পেরিয়ে যায়, কর্ম স্বার্থের প্রবর্তনাকে অস্বীকার করে। সেখানে আপন স্বতন্ত্র জীবনের চেয়ে যে বড়ো জীবন সেই জীবনে মানুষ বাঁচতে চায়।

স্বার্থ আমাদের যে-সব প্রয়াসের দিকে ঠেলে নিয়ে যায় তার মূল প্রেরণা দেখি জীবপ্রকৃতিতে; যা আমাদের ত্যাগের দিকে, তপস্যার দিকে নিয়ে যায় তাকেই বলি মনুষ্যত্ব, মানুষের ধর্ম।

কোন্‌ মানুষের ধর্ম। এতে কার পাই পরিচয়। এ তো সাধারণ মানুষের ধর্ম নয়, তা হলে এর জন্যে সাধনা করতে হত না।

আমাদের অন্তরে এমন কে আছেন যিনি মানব অথচ যিনি ব্যক্তিগত মানবকে অতিক্রম করে 'সদা জনানাং হৃদয়ে সন্নিবিষ্টঃ'। তিনি সর্বজনীন সর্বকালীন মানব। তাঁরই আকর্ষণে মানুষের চিন্তায় ভাবে কর্মে সর্বজনীনতার আবির্ভাব। মহাত্মারা সহজে তাঁকে অনুভব করেন সকল মানুষের মধ্যে, তাঁর প্রেমে সহজে জীবন উৎসর্গ করেন। সেই মানুষের উপলব্ধিতেই মানুষ আপন জীবসীমা অতিক্রম করে মানবসীমায় উত্তীর্ণ হয়। সেই মানুষের উপলব্ধি সর্বত্র সমান নয় ও অনেক স্থলে বিকৃত বলেই সব মানুষ আজও মানুষ হয় নি। কিন্তু তাঁর আকর্ষণ নিয়ত মানুষের অন্তর থেকে কাজ করছে বলেই আত্মপ্রকাশের প্রত্যাশায় ও প্রয়াসে মানুষ কোথাও সীমাকে স্বীকার করছে না। সেই মানবকেই মানুষ নানা নামে পূজা করেছে, তাঁকেই বলেছে 'এষ দেবো বিশ্বকর্মা মহাত্মা'। সকল মানবের ঐক্যের মধ্যে নিজের বিচ্ছিন্নতাকে পেরিয়ে তাঁকে পাবে আশা করে তাঁর উদ্দেশে প্রার্থনা জানিয়েছে-

স দেবঃ

স নো বুদ্ধ্যা শুভয়া সংযুনক্তু।

সেই মানব, সেই দেবতা, য একঃ, যিনি এক, তাঁর কথাই আমার এই বক্তৃতাগুলিতে আলোচনা করেছি।

শান্তিনিকেতন                                                                     রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর

১৮ মাঘ, ১৩৩৯

रवींद्रे के व्यक्तित्व कृतित्व पर किसी विमर्श से पहले यह भाषण पूरा पढ़ लेंः

THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930
THE RELIGION OF MAN



RABINDRANATH TAGORJS

THE RELIGION



BEING

THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930



NEW YORK

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1931



COPYRIGHT, 1931,
BY THE MACM1LLAN COMPANY.

All rights reserved no part of this book
may be reproduced in any form without
permission in writing from the publisher.

Set up and elcctrotypcd Published February, 193



8T W BY MAWtf WKmiRltS WKOTVWtfl
MIHTBri IK TI1K UNITXD MATft tif A V1RU'A



TO

DOROTHY ELMHIRST



PREFACE

THE chapters included in this book, which com-
prises the Hibbert Lectures delivered in Oxford,
at Manchester College, during the month of May
1930, contain also the gleanings of my thoughts on
the same subject from the harvest of many lectures
and addresses delivered in different countries of
the world over a considerable period of my life.

The fact that one theme runs through all only
proves to me that the Religion of Man has been
growing within my mind as a religious experience
and not merely as a philosophical subject In fact,
a very large portion of my writings, beginning
from the earlier products of my immature youth
down to the present time, carry an almost con-
tinuous trace of the history of this growth. To-day
I am made conscious of the fact that the works
that I have started and the words that I have
uttered are deeply linked by a unity of inspiration
whose proper definition has often remained un-
revealed to me.

In the present volume I offer the evidence of
my own personal life brought into a definite focus.
To some of my readers this will supply matter of
psychological interest; but for others I hope it
will carry with It its own ideal value important for
such a subject as religion.

7



PREFACE

My sincere thanks are due to the Hibbert Trus-
tees, and especially to Dr. W. H. Drummond,
with whom I have been in constant correspond-
ence, for allowing me to postpone the delivery of
these Hibbert Lectures from the year 1928, when
I was too ill to proceed to Europe, until the sum-
mer of 1930. I have also to thank the Trustees for
their very kind permission given to me to present
the substance of the lectures in this book in an
enlarged form by dividing the whole subject into
chapters instead of keeping strictly to the lecture
form in which they were delivered in Oxford*
May I add that the great kindness of my hostess*
Mrs. Drummond, in Oxford, will always remain
in my memory along with these lectures as inti-
mately associated with them?

In the Appendix I have gathered together from
my own writings certain parallel passages which
bring the reader to the heart of my main theme.
Furthermore, two extracts, which contain histori-
cal material of great value, are from the pen of my
esteemed colleague and friend, Professor KshitI
Mohan Sen, To him I would express my gratitude
for the help he has given me in bringing before me
the religious ideas of medieval India which* touch
the subject of my lectures.

RABINDMNATH TAGORE

September 1930
8



CONTENTS

PAGE

PREFACE 7

CHAPTER

I. MAN'S UNIVERSE n

II. THE CREATIVE SPIRIT * 3

III. THE SURPLUS IN MAN 49

IV, SPIRITUAL UNION 63
V. THE PROPHET 7 z

VI. THE VISION 88

VII. THE MAN OF MY HEART 107

VIII. THE MUSIC MAKER 117

IX. THE ARTIST 127

X. MAN'S NATURE 141

XL THE MEETING 154

XII. THE TEACHER 163

XIII. SPIRITUAL FREEDOM 179

XIV. THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 189
XV. CONCLUSION 202

APPENDIX

I. THE BAtJL SINGERS OF BENGAL 207

II- NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY aa*

IIL DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM 226

IV. NIGHT AND MORNING 333

INDEX 43



The eternal Dream

is borne on the wings of ageless Light
that rends the veil of the vague

and goes across Time
weaving ceaseless patterns of Being.

The mystery remains dumb,

the meaning of this pilgrimage,

the endless adventure of existence
whose rush along the sky

flames up into innumerable rings of paths,
till at last knowledge gleams out from the dusk
in the infinity of human spirit,

and in that dim lighted dawn

she speechlessly gazes through the break in the mist
at the vision of Life and of Love

rising from the tumult of profound pain and joy,

Santiniketan
September 16, 1939

(Composed for the Opening Day Celebrations of the Indian College,
Montpelier, France.)



THE RELIGION OF MAN.

CHAPTER I
MAN'S UNIVERSE

LIGHT, as the radiant energy of creation, started
the ring-dance of atoms in a diminutive sky, and
also the dance of the stars in the vast, lonely theatre
of time and space* The planets came out of their
bath of fire and basked in the sun for ages. They
were the thrones of the gigantic Inert, dumb and
desolate, which knew not the meaning of its own
blind destiny and majestically frowned upon a
future when its monarchy would be menaced.

Then came a time when life was brought into
the arena in the tiniest little monocycle of a cell.
With its gift of growth and power of adaptation
it faced the ponderous enormity of things, and
contradicted the unmeaningness of their bulk. It
was made conscious not of the volume but of the
value of existence, which it ever tried to enhance
and maintain in many-branched paths of creation,
overcoming the obstructive inertia of Nature by
obeying Nature's law*

But the miracle of creation did not stop here in
this isolated speck of life launched on a lonely
voyage to the Unknown. A multitude of cells were
bound together into a larger unit, not through

IX



THE RELIGION OF MAN

aggregation, but through a marvellous quality of
complex inter-relationship maintaining a perfect
co-ordination of functions. This is the creative
principle of unity, the divine mystery of existence,
that baffles all analysis. The larger co-operative
units could adequately pay for a greater freedom
of self-expression, and they began to form and
develop in their bodies new organs of power, ne\v
instruments of efficiency. This was the march of
evolution ever unfolding the potentialities of life,

But this evolution which continues on the physi-
cal plane has its limited range. All exaggeration
in that direction becomes a burden that breaks the
natural rhythm of life, and those creatures that
encouraged their ambitious flesh to grow in dimen-
sions have nearly all perished of their cumbrous
absurdity.

Before the chapter ended Man appeared and
turned the course of this evolution from an indefi-
nite march of physical aggrandisement to a free-
dom of a more subtle perfection. This has made
possible his progress to become unlimited, and has
enabled him to realize the boundless in his power,

The fire is lighted, the hammers are working,
and for laborious days and nights amidst dirt and
discordance the musical instrument is being made,
We may accept this as a detached fact and follow
its evolution* But when the music is revealed, we
know that the whole thing is a part of the manifes*

12



MAN'S UNIVERSE

tation of music in spite of its contradictory charac-
ter. The process of evolution, which after ages has
reached man, must be realized in its unity with
him; though in him it assumes a new value and
proceeds to a different path. It is a continuous
process that finds its meaning in Man ; and we must
acknowledge that the evolution which Science
talks of is that of Man's universe. The leather
binding and title-page are parts of the book itself ;
and this world that we perceive through our senses
and mind and life's experience is profoundly one
with ourselves.

The divine principle of unity has ever been that
of an inner inter-relationship. This is revealed in
some of its earliest stages in the evolution of multi-
cellular life on this planet. The most perfect in-
ward expression has been attained by man in his
Wn body. But what is most important of all is the
( f act that man has also attained its realization in a
,more subtle body outside his physical system. He
'misses himself when isolated; he finds his own
larger and truer self in his wide human relation-
Ship, His multicellular body is born and it dies;
his multi-personal humanity is immortal In this
ideal of unity he realizes the eternal in his life and
the boundless in his love. The unity becomes not a
mere subjective idea, but an energizing truth.
Whatever name may be given to it, and whatever
form it symbolizes, the consciousness of this unity

13



THE RELIGION OF MAN

is spiritual, and our effort to be true to it is our
religion. It ever waits to be revealed in our history
in a more and more perfect illumination.

We have our eyes, which relate to us the vision
of the physical universe. We have also an inner
faculty of our own which helps us to find our rela-
tionship with the supreme self of man, the universe
of personality. This faculty is our luminous imagi-
nation, which in its higher stage is special to man.
It offers us that vision of wholeness which for the
biological necessity of physical survival is super-
fluous; its purpose is to arouse in us the sense of
perfection which is our true sense of immortality.
For perfection dwells ideally in Man the Eternal,
inspiring love for this ideal in the individual, urg-
ing him more and more to realize it

The development of intelligence and physical
power is equally necessary in animals and men for
their purposes of living; but what is unique in man
is the development of his consciousness which
gradually deepens and widens the realization of
his immortal being, the perfect, the eternal. It
inspires those creations of his that reveal the divin-
ity in him which is his humanity in the varied
manifestations of truth, goodness and beauty, in
the freedom of activity which is not for his use but
for his ultimate expression* The individual man
must exist for Man the great, and must express him
in disinterested works, in science and philosophy,

14



MAN' S UNIVERSE

in literature and arts, in service and worship. This
is his religion, which is working in the heart of all
his religions in various names and forms. He
knows and uses this world where it is endless and
thus attains greatness, but he realizes his own
truth where it is perfect and thus finds his ful-
filment,

The idea of the humanity of our God, or the
divinity of Man the Eternal, is the main subject of
this book. This thought of God has not grown in
my mind through any process of philosophical rea-
soning* On the contrary, it has followed the cur-
rent of my temperament from early days until it
suddenly flashed into my consciousness with a
direct vision. The experience which I have de-
scribed in one of the chapters which follow con-
vinced me that on the surface of our being we have
the ever-changing phases of the individual self,
but in the depth there dwells the Eternal Spirit of
human unity beyond our direct knowledge. It very
often contradicts the trivialities of our daily life,
and upsets the arrangements made for securing our
personal exclusiveness behind the walls of indi-
vidual habits and superficial conventions. It in-
spires in us works that are the expressions of a
Universal Spirit; it invokes unexpectedly in the
midst of a self-centred life a supreme sacrifice. At
its call, we hasten to dedicate our lives to the cause

15



THE RELIGION OF MAN

of truth and beauty, to unrewarded service of
others, in spite of our lack of faith in the positive
reality of the ideal values.

During the discussion of my own religious
experience I have expressed my belief that the
first stage of my realization was through my feel-
ing of intimacy with Nature not that Nature
which has its channel of information for our mind
and physical relationship with our living body,
but that which satisfies our personality with mani-
festations that make our life rich and stimulate our
imagination in their harmony of forms, colours,
sounds and movements. It is not that world which
vanishes into abstract symbols behind its own testi-
mony to Science, but that which lavishly displays
its wealth of reality to our personal self having its
own perpetual reaction upon our human nature.

I have mentioned in connection with my per-
sonal experience some songs which I had often
heard from wandering village singers, belonging
to a popular sect of Bengal, called Baiiis,' who
have no images, temples, scriptures, or ceremo-
nials, who declare in their songs the divinity of
Man, and express for him an intense feeling of
love. Coming from men who are unsophisticated,
living a simple life in obscurity, it gives us a clue
to the inner meaning of all religions. For it sug*
gests that these religions are never about a God of

* Se Appendix I,
16



MAN'S UNIVERSE

cosmic force, but rather about the God of human
personality.

At the same time it must be admitted that even
the impersonal aspect of truth dealt with by
Science belongs to the human Universe. But men
of Science tell us that truth, unlike beauty and
goodness, is independent of our consciousness.
They explain to us how the belief that truth is
independent of the human mind is a mystical
belief, natural to man but at the same time inex-
plicable. But may not the explanation be this, that
ideal truth does not depend upon the individual
mind of man, but on the universal mind which
comprehends the individual? For to say that truth,
as we see it, exists apart from humanity is really to
contradict Science itself; because Science can only
organize into rational concepts those facts which
man can know and understand, and logic is a
machinery of thinking created by the mechanic
man.

The table that I am using with all its varied
meanings appears as a table for man through his
special organ of senses and his special organ of
thoughts* When scientifically analysed the same
table offers an enormously different appearance to
him from that given by his senses. The evidence
of his physical senses and that of his logic and his
scientific instruments are both related to his own
power of comprehension; both are true and true



THE RELIGION OF MAN

for him. He makes use of the table with full confi-
dence for his physical purposes, and with equal
confidence makes intellectual use of it for his scien-
tific knowledge. But the knowledge is his who is a
man. If a particular man as an individual did not
exist, the table would exist all the same, but still
as a thing that is related to the human mind. The
contradiction that there is between the table of
our sense perception and the table of our scientific
knowledge has its compon centre of reconciliation
in human personality.

The same thing holds true in the realm of idea.
In the scientific idea of the world there is no gap
in the universal law of causality. Whatever hap-
pens could never have happened otherwise. This
is a generalization which has been made possible
by a quality of logic which is possessed by the
human mind. But this very mind of Man has its
immediate consciousness of will within him which
is aware of its freedom and ever struggles for it
Every day in most of our behaviour we acknowl-
edge its truth; in fact, our conduct finds its best
value in its relation to its truth. Thus this has its
analogy in our daily behaviour with regard to a
table. For whatever may be the conclusion that
Science has unquestionably proved about the table,
we are amply rewarded when we deal with it as a
solid fact and never as a crowd of fluid elements
that represent a certain kind of energy. We can

18



MAN'S UNIVERSE

also utilize this phenomenon of the measurement
The space represented by a needle when magnified
by the microscope may cause us no anxiety as to
the number of angels who could be accommo-
dated on its point or camels which could walk
through its eye. In a cinema-picture our vision of
time and space can be expanded or condensed
merely according to the different technique of the
instrument. A seed carries packed in a minute
receptacle a future which is enormous in its con-
tents both in time and space. The truth, which is
Man, has not emerged out of nothing at a certain
point of time, even though seemingly it might
have been manifested then. But the manifestation
of Man has no end in itself not even now.
Neither did it have its beginning in- any particular
time we ascribe to it The truth of Man is in the
heart of eternity, the fact of it being evolved
through endless ages. If Man's manifestation has
round it a background of millions of light-years,
still it is his own background. He includes in him-
self the time, however long, that carries the process
of his becoming, and he is related for the very
truth of his existence to all things that surround
him.

Relationship is the fundamental truth of this
world of appearance. Take, for instance, a piece
of coal When we pursue the fact of it to its ulti-
mate composition, substance which seemingly is



THE RELIGION OF MAN

the most stable element in it vanishes in centres of
revolving forces. These are the units, called the
elements of carbon, which can further be analysed
into a certain number of protons and electrons.
Yet these electrical facts are what they are, not in
their detachment, but in their inter-relationship,
and though possibly some day they themselves may
be further analysed, nevertheless the pervasive
truth of inter-relation which is manifested in them
will remain.

We do not know how these elements, as carbon,
compose a piece of coal ; all that we can say is that
they build up that appearance through a unity of
inter-relationship, which unites them not merely
in an individual piece of coal, but in a comrade-
ship of creative co-ordination with the entire
physical universe.

Creation has been made possible through the
continual self-surrender of the unit to the universe.
And the spiritual universe of Man is also ever
claiming self-renunciation from the individual
units. This spiritual process is not so easy as the
physical one in the physical world, for the intelli-
gence and will of the units have to be tempered
to those of the universal spirit

It is said in a verse of the Upanishad that this
world which is all movement is pervaded by one
supreme unity, and therefore true enjoyment can
never be had through the satisfaction of greed, but

20



MAN'S UNIVERSE

only through the surrender of our individual self
to the Universal Self.

There are thinkers who advocate the doctrine
of the plurality of worlds, which can only mean
that there are worlds that are absolutely unrelated
to each other. Even if this were true it could never
be proved. For our universe is the sum total of
what Man feels, knows, imagines, reasons to be,
and of whatever is knowable to him now or in
another time. It affects him differently in its dif-
ferent aspects, in its beauty, its inevitable sequence
of happenings, its potentiality; and the world
proves itself to him only in its varied effects upon
his senses, imagination and reasoning mind.

I do not imply that the final nature of the world
depends upon the comprehension of the individual
person* Its reality is associated with the universal
human rnind which comprehends all time and all
possibilities of realization. And this is why for the
accurate knowledge of things we depend upon
Science that represents the rational mind of the
universal Man, and not upon that of the individual
who dwells in a limited range of space and time
and the immediate needs of life. And this is why
there is such a thing as progress in our civiliza-
tion; for progress means that there is an ideal per-
fection which the individual seeks to reach by
extending his limits in knowledge, power, love,
enjoyment, thus approaching the universal. The

21



THE RELIGION OF MAN

most distant star, whose faint message touches the
threshold of the most powerful telescopic vision,
has its sympathy with the understanding mind of
man, and therefore we can never cease to believe
that we shall probe further and further into the
mystery of their nature. As we know the truth of
the stars we know the great comprehensive mind
of man.

We must realize not only the reasoning mind,
but also the creative imagination, the love and wis-
dom that belong to the Supreme Person, whose
Spirit is over us all, love for whom comprehends
love for all creatures and exceeds in depth and
strength all other loves, leading to difficult en-
deavours and martyrdoms that have no other gain
than the fulfilment of this love itself.

The Isha of our Upanishad, the Super Soul,
which permeates all moving things, is the God of
this human universe whose mind we share in all
our true knowledge, love and service, and whom
to reveal in ourselves through renunciation of self
is the highest end of life.



CHAPTER II
THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

ONCE, during the improvisation of a story by a
young child, I was coaxed to take my part as the
hero. The child imagined that I had been shut in
a dark room locked from the outside. She asked
me, "What will you do for your freedom?" and I
answered, "Shout for help". But, however desir-
able that might be if it succeeded immediately, it
would be unfortunate for the story. And thus she
in her imagination had to clear the neighbourhood
of all kinds of help that my cries might reach. I
was compelled to think of some violent means of
kicking through this passive resistance ; but for the
sake of the story the door had to be made of steel.
I found a key, but it would not fit, and the child
was delighted at the development of the story
jumping over obstructions.

Life's story of evolution, the main subject of
which is the opening of the doors of the dark dun-
geon, seems to develop in the same manner. Diffi-
culties were created, and at each offer of an answer
the story had to discover further obstacles in order
to carry on the adventure. For to come to an abso-
lutely satisfactory conclusion is to come to the end
of all things, and in that case the great child would

33



THE RELIGION OF MAN

have nothing else to do but to shut her curtain and
go to sleep.

The Spirit of Life began her chapter by intro-
ducing a simple living cell against the tremen-
dously powerful challenge of the vast Inert. The
triumph was thrillingly great which still refuses to
yield its secret She did not stop there, but defi-
antly courted difficulties, and in the technique of
her art exploited an element which still baffles our
logic.

This is the harmony of self-adjusting inter-rela-
tionship impossible to analyse. She brought close
together numerous cell units and, by grouping
them into a self-sustaining sphere of co-operation,
elaborated a larger unit It was not a mere agglom-
eration. The grouping had its caste system in the
division of functions and yet an intimate unity of
kinship. The creative life summoned a larger
army of cells under her command and imparted
into them, let us say, a communal spirit that fought
with all its might whenever its integrity was
menaced.

This was the tree which has its inner harmony
and inner movement of life in its beauty, its
strength, its sublime dignity of endurance, its pil-
grimage to the Unknown through the tiniest gates
of reincarnation. It was a sufficiently marvellous
achievement to be a fit termination to the creative
venture. But the creative genius cannot stop

24



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

exhausted ; more windows have to be opened ; and
she went out of her accustomed way and brought
another factor into her work, that of locomotion.
Risks of living were enhanced, offering opportuni-
ties to the daring resourcefulness of the Spirit of
Life. For she seems to revel in occasions for a fight
against the giant Matter, which has rigidly pro-
hibitory immigration laws against all new-comers
from Life's shore. So the fish was furnished with
appliances for moving in an element which offered
its density for an obstacle. The air offered an even
more difficult obstacle in its lightness; but the
challenge was accepted, and the bird was gifted
with a marvellous pair of wings that negotiated
with the subtle laws of the air and found in it a
better ally than the reliable soil of the stable earth.
The Arctic snow set up its frigid sentinel; the
tropical desert uttered in its scorching breath a
gigantic "No" against all life's children. But those
peremptory prohibitions were defied, and the
frontiers, though guarded by a death penalty, were
triumphantly crossed.

This process of conquest could be described as
progress for the kingdom of life. It journeyed on
through one success to another by dealing with the
laws of Nature through the help of the invention
of new instruments. This field of life's onward
march is a field of ruthless competition. Because
the material world is the world of quantity, where

25



THE RELIGION OF MAN

resources are limited and victory waits for those
who have superior facility in their weapons, there-
fore success in the path of progress for one group
most often runs parallel to defeat in another.

It appears that such scramble and fight for
opportunities of living among numerous small
combatants suggested at last an imperialism of big
bulky flesh a huge system of muscles and bones,
thick and heavy coats of armour and enormous
tails. The idea of such indecorous massiveness
must have seemed natural to life's providence; for
the victory in the world of quantity might reason-
ably appear to depend upon the bigness of dimen-
sion. But such gigantic paraphernalia of defence
and attack resulted in an utter defeat, the records
of which every day are being dug up from the des-
ert sands and ancient mud flats. These represent
the fragments that strew the forgotten paths of a
great retreat in the battle of existence. For the
heavy weight which these creatures carried was
mainly composed of bones, hides, shells, teeth and
claws that were non-living, and therefore imposed
its whole huge pressure upon life that needed free-
dom and growth for the perfect expression of its
own vital nature. The resources for living which
the earth offered for her children were recklessly
spent by these megalomaniac monsters of an im-
moderate appetite for the sake of maintaining a
cumbersome system of dead burdens that thwarted

26



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

them in their true progress. Such a losing game
has now become obsolete. To the few stragglers
of that party, like the rhinoceros or the hippopota-
mus, has been allotted a very small space on this
earth, absurdly inadequate to their formidable
strength and magnitude of proportions, making
them look forlornly pathetic in the sublimity of
their incongruousness. These and their extinct
forerunners have been the biggest failures in life's
experiments. And then, on some obscure dusk of
dawn, the experiment entered upon a completely
new phase of a disarmament proposal, when little
Man made his appearance in the arena, bringing
with him expectations and suggestions that are
unfathomably great.

We must know that the evolution process of the
world has made its progress towards the revelation
of its truth that is to say some inner value which
is not in the extension in space and duration in
time. When life came out it did not bring with it
any new materials into existence. Its elements are
the same which are the materials for the rocks and
minerals. Only it evolved a value in them which
cannot be measured and analysed. The same thing
is true with regard to mind and the consciousness
of self ; they are revelations of a great meaning, the
self-expression of a truth. In man this truth has
made its positive appearance, and is struggling to
make its manifestation more and more clear. That

27



THE RELIGION OF MAN

which is eternal is realizing itself in history
through the obstructions of limits.

The physiological process in the progress of
Life's evolution seems to have reached its finality
in man. We cannot think of any noticeable addi-
tion or modification in our vital instruments which
we are likely to allow to persist. If any individual
is born, by chance, with an extra pair of eyes or
ears, or some unexpected limbs like stowaways
without passports, we are sure to do our best to
eliminate them from our bodily organization. Any
new chance of a too obviously physical variation is
certain to meet with a determined disapproval
from man, the most powerful veto being expected
from his aesthetic nature, which peremptorily re-
fuses to calculate advantage when its majesty is
offended by any sudden license of form. We all
know that the back of our body has a wide surface
practically unguarded. From the strategic point of
view this oversight is unfortunate, causing us
annoyances and indignities, if nothing worse,
through unwelcome intrusions. And this could
reasonably justify in our minds regret for retrench-
ment in the matter of an original tail, whose
memorial we are still made to carry in secret But
the least attempt at the rectification of the policy
of economy in this direction is indignantly re-
sented. I strongly believe that the idea of ghosts
had its best chance with our timid imagination in

28



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

our sensitive back a field of dark ignorance; and
yet it is too late for me to hint that one of our eyes
could profitably have been spared for our burden-
carrier back, so unjustly neglected and haunted by
undefined fears.

Thus, while all innovation is stubbornly op-
posed, there is every sign of a comparative care-
lessness about the physiological efficiency of the
human body. Some of our organs are losing their
original vigour. The civilized life, within walled
enclosures, has naturally caused in man a weaken-
ing of his power of sight and hearing along with
subtle sense of the distant. Because of our habit of
taking cooked food we give less employment to
our teeth and a great deal more to the dentist.
Spoilt and pampered by clothes, our skin shows
lethargy in its function of adjustment to the atmos-
pheric temperature and in its power of quick
recovery from hurts.

The adventurous Life appears to have paused
at a crossing in her road before Man came. It
seems as if she became aware of wastefulness in
carrying on her experiments and adding to her
inventions purely on the physical plane. It was
proved in Life's case that four is not always twice
as much as two. In living things it is necessary to
keep to the limit of the perfect unit within which
the inter-relationship must not be inordinately
strained* The ambition that seeks power in the

29



THE RELIGION OF MAN

augmentation of dimension is doomed; for that
perfection which is in the inner quality of harmony
becomes choked when quantity overwhelms it in
a fury of extravagance. The combination of an
exaggerated nose and arm that an elephant carries
hanging down its front has its advantage. This
may induce us to imagine that it would double the
advantage for the animal if its tail also could grow
into an additional trunk. But the progress which
greedily allows Life's field to be crowded with an
excessive production of instruments becomes a
progress towards death. For Life has its own nat-
ural rhythm which a multiplication table has not;
and proud progress that rides roughshod over
Life's cadence kills it at the end with encum-
brances that are unrhythmic. As I have already
mentioned, such disasters did happen in the history
of evolution.

The moral of that tragic chapter is that if the
tail does not have the decency to know where to
stop, the drag of this dependency becomes fatal to
the body's empire.

Moreover, evolutionary progress on the physical
plane inevitably tends to train up its subjects into
specialists. The camel is a specialist of the desert
and is awkward in the swamp. The hippopotamus
which specializes in the mudlands of the Nile is
helpless in the neighbouring desert Such one-
sided emphasis breeds professionalism in Life's

30



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

domain, confining special efficiencies in narrow
compartments. The expert training in the aerial
sphere is left to the bird ; that in the marine is par-
ticularly monopolized by the fish. The ostrich is
an expert in its own region and would look utterly
foolish in an eagle's neighbourhood. They have to
remain permanently content with advantages that
desperately cling to their limits. Such mutilation
of the complete ideal of life for the sake of
some exclusive privilege of power is inevitable;
for that form of progress deals with materials
that are physical and therefore necessarily lim-
ited.

To rescue her own career from such a multiply-
ing burden of the dead and such constriction of
specialization seems to have been the object of the
Spirit of Life at one particular stage. For it does
not take long to find out that an indefinite pursuit
of quantity creates for Life, which is essentially
qualitative, complexities that lead to a vicious cir-
cle. These primeval animals that produced an
enormous volume of flesh had to build a gigantic
system of bones to carry the burden. This required
in its turn a long and substantial array of tails to
give it balance. Thus their bodies, being com-
pelled to occupy a vast area, exposed a very large
surface which had to be protected by a strong,
heavy and capacious armour. A progress which
represented a congress of dead materials required



THE RELIGION OP MAN

a parallel organization of teeth and claws, or horns
and hooves, which also were dead.

In its own manner one mechanical burden links
itself to other burdens of machines, and Life grows
to be a carrier of the dead, a mere platform for
machinery, until it is crushed to death by its inter-
minable paradoxes. We are told that the greater
part of a tree is dead matter; the big stem, except
for a thin covering, is lifeless. The tree uses it as a
prop in its ambition for a high position and the life-
less timber is the slave that carries on its back the
magnitude of the tree. But such a dependence upon
a dead dependant has been achieved by the tree at
the cost of its real freedom. It had to seek the
stable alliance of the earth for the sharing of its
burden, which it did by the help of secret under-
ground entanglements making itself permanently
stationary.

But the form of life that seeks the great privilege
of movement must minimize its load of the dead
and must realize that life's progress should be a
perfect progress of the inner life itself and not of
materials and machinery; the non-living must not
continue outgrowing the living, the armour dead-
ening the skin, the armament laming the arms.

At last, when the Spirit of Life found her form
in Man, the effort she had begun completed its
cycle, and the truth of her mission glimmered into
suggestions which dimly pointed to some direction

32



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

of meaning across her own frontier. Before the
end of this cycle was reached, all the suggestions
had been external. They were concerned with
technique, with life's apparatus, with the efficiency
of the organs. This might have exaggerated itself
into an endless boredom of physical progress. It
can be conceded that the eyes of the bee possessing
numerous facets may have some uncommon advan-
tage which we cannot even imagine, or the glow-
worm that carries an arrangement for producing
light in its person may baffle our capacity and com-
prehension. Very likely there are creatures having
certain organs that give them sensibilities which
we cannot have the power to guess.

All such enhanced sensory powers merely add
to the mileage in life's journey on the same road
lengthening an indefinite distance. They never
take us over the border of physical existence.

The same thing may be said not only about life's
efficiency, but also life's ornaments. The colouring
and decorative patterns on the bodies of some of
the deep sea creatures make us silent with amaze-
ment The butterfly's wings, the beetle's back, the
peacock's plumes, the shells of the crustaceans, the
exuberant outbreak of decoration in plant life,
have reached a standard of perfection that seems
to be final. And yet if it continues in the same
physical direction, then, however much variety of
surprising excellence it may produce, it leaves out

33



THE RELIGION OF MAN

some great element of unuttered meaning. These
ornaments are like ornaments lavished upon a cap-
tive girl, luxuriously complete within a narrow
limit, speaking of a homesickness for a far away
horizon of emancipation, for an inner depth that
is beyond the ken of the senses. The freedom in
the physical realm is like the circumscribed free-
dom in a cage. It produces a proficiency which is
mechanical and a beauty which is of the surface.
To whatever degree of improvement bodily
strength and skill may be developed they keep life
tied to a persistence of habit It is closed, like a
mould, useful though it may be for the sake of
safety and precisely standardized productions. For
centuries the bee repeats its hive, the weaver-bird
its nest, the spider its web; and instincts strongly
attach themselves to some invariable tendencies of
muscles and nerves never being allowed the privi-
lege of making blunders. The physical functions,
in order to be strictly reliable, behave like some
model schoolboy, obedient, regular, properly re-
peating lessons by rote without mischief or mistake
in his conduct, but also without spirit and initia-
tive. It is the flawless perfection of rigid limits, a
cousin possibly a distant cousin of the inani-
mate.

Instead of allowing a full paradise of perfection
to continue its tame and timid rule of faultless
regularity the Spirit of Life boldly declared for

34



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

a further freedom and decided to eat of the fruit
of the Tree of Knowledge. This time her struggle
was not against the Inert, but against the limitation
of her own overburdened agents. She fought
against the tutelage of her prudent old prime min-
ister, the faithful instinct She adopted a novel
method of experiment, promulgated new laws, and
tried her hand at moulding Man through a his-
tory which was immensely different from that
which went before. She took a bold step in throw-
ing open her gates to a dangerously explosive fac-
tor which she had cautiously introduced into her
council the element of Mind. I should not say
that it was ever absent, but only that at a certain
stage some curtain was removed and its play was
made evident, even like the dark heat which in its
glowing intensity reveals itself in a contradiction
of radiancy.

Essentially qualitative, like life itself, the Mind
does not occupy space. For that very reason it has
jio bounds in its mastery of space. Also, like Life,
Mind has its meaning in freedom, which it missed
in its earliest dealings with Life's children. In the
animal, though the mind is allowed to come out of
the immediate limits of livelihood, its range is
restricted, like the freedom of a child that might
run out of its room but not out of the house; or,
rather, like the foreign ships to which only a cer-
tain port was opened in Japan in the beginning of

33



THE RELIGION OF MAN

her contact with the West in fear of the danger
that might befall if the strangers had their uncon-
trolled opportunity of communication. Mind also
is a foreign element for Life; its laws are different,
its weapons powerful, its moods and manners most
alien.

Like Eve of the Semitic mythology, the Spirit
of Life risked the happiness of her placid seclusion
to win her freedom. She listened to the whisper
of a tempter who promised her the right to a new
region of mystery, and was urged into a permanent
alliance with the stranger. Up to this point the
interest of life was the sole interest in her own
kingdom, but another most powerfully parallel
interest was created with the advent of this adven-
turer Mind from an unknown shore. Their inter-
ests clash, and complications of a serious nature
arise. I have already referred to some vital organs
of Man that are suffering from neglect. The only
reason has been the diversion created by the Mind
interrupting the sole attention which Life's func-
tions claimed in the halcyon days of her undisputed
monarchy. It is no secret that Mind has the habit
of asserting its own will for its expression against
life's will to live and enforcing sacrifices from hen
When lately some adventurers accepted the dan-
gerous enterprise to climb Mount Everest, it was
solely through the instigation of the arch-rebel
Mind. In this case Mind denied its treaty of co-

36



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

operation with its partner and ignored Life's
claim to help in her living. The immemorial
privileges of the ancient sovereignty of Life are
too often flouted by the irreverent Mind; in fact,-
all through the course of this alliance there are
constant cases of interference with each other's
functions, often with unpleasant and even fatal
results. But in spite of this, or very often because
of this antagonism, the new current of Man's evo-
lution is bringing a wealth to his harbour infinitely
beyond the dream of the creatures of monstrous
flesh.

The manner in which Man appeared in Life's
kingdom was in itself a protest and a challenge,
the challenge of Jack to the Giant. He carried in
his body the declaration of mistrust against the
crowding of burdensome implements of physical
progress. His Mind spoke to the naked man,
"Fear not" ; and he stood alone facing the menace
of a heavy brigade of formidable muscles. His
own puny muscles cried out in despair, and he had
to invent for himself in a novel manner and in a
new spirit of evolution. This at once gave him his
promotion from the passive destiny of the animal
to the aristocracy of Man* He began to create his
further body, his outer organs the workers which
served him and yet did not directly claim a share
of his life. Some of the earliest in his list were
bows and arrows. Had this change been under-

37



THE RELIGION OF MAN

taken by the physical process of evolution, modify-
ing his arms in a slow and gradual manner, it
might have resulted in burdensome and ungainly
apparatus. Possibly, however, I am unfair, and
the dexterity and grace which Life's technical in-
stinct possesses might have changed his arm into
a shooting medium in a perfect manner and with
a beautiful form. In that case our lyrical literature
to-day would have sung in praise of its fascination,
not only for a consummate skill in hunting victims,
but also for a similar mischief in a metaphorical
sense. But even in the service of lyrics it would
show some limitation. For instance, the arms that
would specialize in shooting would be awkward in
wielding a pen or stringing a lute. But the great
advantage in the latest method of human evolution
lies in the fact that Man's additional new limbs,
like bows and arrows, have become detached. They
never tie his arms to any exclusive advantage of
efficiency.

The elephant's trunk, the tiger's paws, the claws
of the mole, have combined their best expressions
in' the human arms, which are much weaker in
their original capacity than those limbs I have
mentioned. It would have been a hugely cumber-
some practical joke if the combination of animal
limbs had had a simultaneous location In the hu-
man organism through some overzeal in biological
inventiveness.

38



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

The first great economy resulting from the new
programme was the relief of the physical burden,
which means the maximum efficiency with the
minimum pressure of taxation upon the vital re-
sources of the body. Another mission of benefit
was this, that it absolved the Spirit of Life in
Man's case from the necessity of specialization for
the sake of limited success. This has encouraged
Man to dream of the possibility of combining in
his single person the fish, the bird and the fleet-
footed animal that walks on land. Man desired in
his completeness to be the one great representative
of multiform life, not through wearisome subjec-
tion to the haphazard gropings of natural selection,
but by the purposeful selection of opportunities
with the help of his reasoning mind. It enables
the schoolboy who is given a pen-knife on his
birthday to have the advantage over the tiger in
the fact that it does not take him- a million years
to obtain its possession, nor another million years
for its removal, when the instrument proves un-
necessary or dangerous. The human mind has
compressed ages into a few years for the acquisi-
tion of steel-made claws. The only cause of anxiety
is that the instrument and the temperament which
uses it may not keep pace in perfect harmony. In
the tiger, the claws and the temperament which
only a tiger should possess have had a synchronous
development, and in no single tiger is any malad-



THE RELIGION OF MAN

justment possible between its nails and its tigerli-
ness. But the human boy, who grows a claw in the
form of a pen-knife, may not at the same time
develop the proper temperament necessary for its
use which only a man ought to have. The new
organs that to-day are being added as a supple-
ment to Man's original vital stock are too quick
and too numerous for his inner nature to develop
its own simultaneous concordance with them, and
thus we see everywhere innumerable schoolboys in
human society playing pranks with their own and
other people's lives and welfare by means of newly
acquired pen-knives which have not had time to
become humanized.

One thing, I am sure, must have been noticed
that the original plot of the drama is changed, and
the mother Spirit of Life has retired into the back-
ground, giving full prominence, in the third act,
to the Spirit of Man though the dowager queen,
from her inner apartment, still renders necessary
help. It is the consciousness in Man of his own
creative personality which has ushered in this new
regime in Life's kingdom. And from now onwards
Man's attempts are directed fully to capture the
government and make his own Code of Legislation
prevail without a break. We have seen in India
those who are called mystics, impatient of the con-
tinued regency of mother Nature in their own

40



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

body, winning for their will by a concentration of
inner forces the vital regions with which our mas-
terful minds have no direct path of communi-
cation.

But the most important fact that has come into
prominence along with the change of direction
in our evolution, is the possession of a Spirit which
has its enormous capital with a surplus far in
excess of the requirements of the biological animal
in Man. Some overflowing influence led us over
the strict boundaries of living, and offered to us an
open space where Man's thoughts and dreams
could have their holidays. Holidays are for gods
who have their joy in creation. In Life's primitive
paradise, where the mission was merely to live,
any luck which came to the creatures entered in
from outside by the donations of chance; they
lived on perpetual charity, by turns petted and
kicked on the back by physical Providence. Beg-
gars never can have harmony among themselves;
they are envious of one another, mutually suspi-
cious, like dogs living upon their master's favour,
showing their teeth, growling, barking, trying to
tear one another. This is what Science describes
as the struggle for existence. This beggars' para-
dise lacked peace ; I am sure the suitors for special
favour from fate lived in constant preparedness,
inventing and multiplying armaments.

41



THE RELIGION OF MAN

But above the din of the clamour and scramble
rises the voice of the Angel of Surplus, of leisure,
of detachment from the compelling claim of
physical need, saying to men, "Rejoice". From his
original serfdom as a creature Man takes his right
seat as a creator. Whereas, before, his incessant
appeal has been to get, now at last the call comes
to him to give. His God, whose help he was in
the habit of asking, now stands Himself at his door
and asks for his offerings. As an animal, he is still
dependent upon Nature; as a Man, he is a sover-
eign who builds his world and rules it

And there, at this point, comes his religion,
whereby he realizes himself in the perspective of
the infinite. There is a remarkable verse in the
Atharva Veda which says: "Righteousness, truth,
great endeavours, empire, religion, enterprise,
heroism and prosperity, the past and the future,
dwell in the surpassing strength of the sur-
plus."

What is purely physical has its limits like the
shell of an egg ; the liberation is there in the atmos-
phere of the infinite, which is indefinable, invisible.
Religion can have no meaning in the enclosure of
mere physical or material interest; it is in the sur-
plus we carry around our personality the surplus
which is like the atmosphere of the earth, bringing
to her a constant circulation of light and life and
delightfulness*

42



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

I have said in a poem of mine that when the
child is detached from its mother's womb it finds
its mother in a real relationship whose truth is in
freedom. Man in his detachment has realized him-
self in a wider and deeper relationship with the
universe. In his moral life he has the sense of his
obligation and his freedom at the same time, and
this is goodness. In his spiritual life his sense of
the union and the will which is free has its cul-
mination in love. The freedom of opportunity he
wins for himself in Nature's region by uniting his
power with Nature's forces. The freedom of social
relationship he attains through owning responsi-
bility to his community, thus gaining its collective
power for his own welfare. In the freedom of con-
sciousness he realizes the sense of his unity with
his larger being, finding fulfilment in the dedicated
life of an ever-progressive truth and ever-active
love.

The first detachment achieved by Man is physi-
cal. It represents his freedom from the aecessity
of developing the power of his senses and limbs
in the limited area of his own physiology, having
for itself an unbounded background with an im-
mense result in consequence. Nature's original
intention was that Man should have the allowance
of his sight-power ample enough for his surround-
ings and a little over. But to have to develop an
astronomical telescope on our skull would cause

43



THE RELIGION OF MAN

a worse crisis of bankruptcy than it did to the
Mammoth whose densely foolish body indulged in
an extravagance of tusks. A snail carries its house
on its back and therefore the material, the shape
and the weight have to be strictly limited to the
capacity of the body. But fortunately Man's house
need not grow on the foundation of his bones and
occupy his flesh. Owing to this detachment, his
ambition knows no check to its daring in the di-
mension and strength of his dwellings. Since his
shelter does not depend upon his body, it survives
him. This fact greatly affects the man who builds
a house, generating in his mind a sense of the eter-
nal in his creative work. And this background of
the boundless surplus of time encourages architec-
ture, which seeks a universal value overcoming the
miserliness of the present need.

I have already mentioned a stage which Life
reached when the units of single cells formed them-
selves into larger units, each consisting of a multi-
tude. It was not merely an aggregation, but had
a mysterious unity of inter-relationship, complex
in character, with differences within of forms and
function. We can never know concretely what this
relation means, There are gaps between the units,
but they do not stop the binding force that per-
meates the whole. There is a future for the whole
which is in its growth, but in order to bring this

44



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

about each unit works and dies to make room for
the next worker. While the unit has the right to
claim the glory of the whole, yet individually it
cannot share the entire wealth that occupies a his-
tory yet to be completed.

Of all creatures Man has reached that multicel-
lular character in a perfect manner, not only in his
body but in his personality. For centuries his evo-
lution has been the evolution of a consciousness
that tries to be liberated from the bonds of indi-
vidual separateness and to comprehend in its rela-
tionship a wholeness which may be named Man.
This relationship, which has been dimly instinc-
tive, is ever struggling to be fully aware of itself.
Physical evolution sought for efficiency in a per-
fect communication with the physical world; the
evolution of Man's consciousness sought for truth
in a perfect harmony with the world of personality.

There are those who will say that the idea of
humanity is an abstraction, subjective in character*
It must be confessed that the concrete objective-
ness of this living truth cannot be proved to its
own units. They can never see its entireness from
outside; for they are one with it The individual
cells of our body have their separate lives; but they
never have the opportunity of observing the body
as a whole with its past, present and future. If
these cells have the power of reasoning (which

45



THE RELIGION OF MAN

they may have for aught we know) they have the
right to argue that the idea of the body has no
objective foundation in fact, and though there is
a mysterious sense of attraction and mutual influ-
ence running through them, these are nothing posi-
tively real ; the sole reality which is provable is in
the isolation of these cells made by gaps that can
never be crossed or bridged.

We know something about a system of explosive
atoms whirling separately in a space which is im-
mense compared to their own dimension. Yet we
do not know why they should appear to us a solid
piece of radiant mineral. And if there is an
onlooker who at one glance can have the view of
the immense time and space occupied by innumer-
able human individuals engaged in evolving a
common history, the positive truth of their solidar-
ity will be concretely evident to him and not the
negative fact of their separateness.

The reality of a piece of iron is not provable
if we take the evidence of the atom ; the only proof
is that I see it as a bit of iron, and that it has cer-
tain reactions upon my consciousness. Any being
from, say, Orion, who has the sight to see the atoms
and not the iron, has the right to say that we human
beings suffer from an age-long epidemic of hallu-
cination. We need not quarrel with him but go
on using the iron as it appears to us. Seers there
have been who have said "Vedahametam", "I see",

46



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

and lived a life according to that vision. f And
though our own sight may be blind we have ever
bowed our head to them in reverence.

However, whatever name our logic may give to
the truth of human unity, the fact can never be
ignored that we have our greatest delight when
we realize ourselves in others, and this is the defi-
nition of love. This love gives us the testimony of
the great whole, which is the complete and final
truth of man. It offers us the immense field where
we can have our release from the sole monarchy
of hunger, of the growling voice, snarling teeth and
tearing claws, from the dominance of the limited
material means, the source of cruel envy and
ignoble deception, where the largest wealth of the
human soul has been produced through sympathy
and co-operation ; through disinterested pursuit of
knowledge that recognizes no limit and is unafraid
of all time-honoured tabus; through a strenuous
cultivation of intelligence for service that knows
no distinction of colour and clime. The Spirit of
Love, dwelling in the boundless realm of the sur-
plus, emancipates our consciousness from the illu-
sory bond of the separateness of self; it is ever
trying to spread its illumination in the human
world. This is the spirit of civilization, which in
all its best endeavour invokes our supreme Being
for the only bond of unity that leads us to truth,
namely, that of righteousness:

47



THE RELIGION OF MAN

Ya efco varno bahudha saktiyogat
varnan anekan nihitartho dadhati
vichaitti chante viavamadau sa devah
sa no budhya subhaya samyunaktu.

"He who is one, above all colours, and who with his manifold
power supplies the inherent needs of men of all colours, who
is in the beginning and in the end of the world, is divine, and
may he unite us in a relationship of good will."



CHAPTER III
THE SURPLUS IN MAN

THERE are certain verses from the Atharva Veda
in which the poet discusses his idea of Man, indi-
cating some transcendental meaning that can be
translated as follows :

"Who was it that imparted form to man, gave him majesty,
movement, manifestation and character, inspired him with wis-
dom, music and dancing? When his body was raised upwards
he found also the oblique sides and all other directions in him
he who is the Person, the citadel of the infinite being."

Tasmad vai vidvan purushamidan brahmeti manyate.
"And therefore the wise man knoweth this person as Brahma."
Sanatanam enam ahur utadya syat punarnavah.

"Ancient they call him, and yet he is renewed even now
to-day."

In the very beginning of his career Man asserted
in his bodily structure his first proclamation of
freedom against the established rule of Nature.
At a certain bend in the path of evolution he
refused to remain a four-footed creature, and the
position which he made his body to assume carried
with it a permanent gesture of insubordination.
For there could be no question that it was Nature's

49



THE RELIGION OF MAN

own plan to provide all land-walking mammals
with two pairs of legs, evenly distributed along
their lengthy trunk heavily weighted with a head
at the end. This was the amicable compromise
made with the earth when threatened by its con-
servative downward force, which extorts taxes for
all movements. The fact that man gave up such an
obviously sensible arrangement proves his inborn
mania for repeated reforms of constitution, for
pelting amendments at every resolution proposed
by Providence.

If we found a four-legged table stalking about
upright upon two of its stumps, the remaining two
foolishly dangling by its sides, we should be afraid
that it was either a nightmare or some supernormal
caprice of that piece of furniture, indulging in a
practical joke upon the carpenter's idea of fitness.
The like absurd behaviour of Man's anatomy
encourages us to guess that he was born under the
influence of some comet of contradiction that
forces its eccentric path against orbits regulated by
Nature. And it is significant that Man should per-
sist in his foolhardiness, in spite of the penalty he
pays for opposing the orthodox rule of animal
locomotion. He reduces by half the help of an easy
balance of his muscles. He is ready to pass his
infancy tottering through perilous experiments in
making progress upon insufficient support, and
followed all through his life by liability to sudden
50



THE SURPLUS IN MAN

downfalls resulting in tragic or ludicrous conse-
quences from which law-abiding quadrupeds are
free. This was his great venture, the relinquish-
ment of a secure position of his limbs, which he
could comfortably have retained in return for
humbly salaaming the all-powerful dust at every
step.

This capacity to stand erect has given our body
its freedom of posture, making it easy for us to
turn on all sides and realize ourselves at the centre
of things. Physically, it symbolizes the fact that
while animals have for their progress the prolonga-
tion of a narrow line Man has the enlargement of
a circle. As a centre he finds his meaning in a wide
perspective, and realizes himself in the magnitude
of his circumference.

As one freedom leads to another, Man's eyesight
also found a wider scope. I do not mean any
enhancement of its physical power, which in many
predatory animals has a better power of adjust-
ment to light But from the higher vantage of our
physical watch-tower we have gained our view,
which is not merely information about the location
of things but their inter-relation and their unity*

But the best means of the expression of his physi-
cal freedom gained by Man in his vertical position
is through the emancipation of his hands. In our
bodily organization these have attained the high-
est dignity for their skill) their grace, their useful

Si



THE RELIGION OF MAN

activities, as well as for those that are above all
uses. They are the most detached of all our limbs.
Once they had their menial vocation as our car-
riers, but raised from their position as shudras,
they at once attained responsible status as our
helpers. When instead of keeping them under-
neath us we offered them their place at our side,
they revealed capacities that helped us to cross the
boundaries of animal nature.

This freedom of view and freedom of action
have been accompanied by an analogous mental
freedom in Man through his imagination, which
is the most distinctly human of all our faculties. It
is there to help a creature who has been left unfin-
ished by his designer, undraped, undecorated,
unarmoured and without weapons, and, what is
worse, ridden by a Mind whose energies for the
most part are not tamed and tempered into some
difficult ideal of completeness upon a background
which is bare. Like all artists he has the freedom
to make mistakes, to launch into desperate adven-
tures contradicting and torturing his psychology
or physiological normality. This freedom is a
divine gift lent to the mortals who are untutored
and undisciplined ; and therefore the path of their
creative progress is strewn with debris of devasta-
tion, and stages of their perfection haunted by
apparitions of startling deformities. But, all the
same, the very training of creation ever makes

5*



THE SURPLUS IN MAN

clear an aim which cannot be in any isolated freak
of an individual mind or in that which is only
limited to the strictly necessary.

Just as our eyesight enables us to include the
individual fact of ourselves in the surrounding
view, our imagination makes us intensely conscious
of a life we must live which transcends the indi-
vidual life and contradicts the biological meaning
of the instinct of self-preservation. It works at
the surplus, and extending beyond the reservation
plots of our daily life builds there the guest cham-
bers of priceless value to offer hospitality to the
world-spirit of Man. We have such an honoured
right to be the host when our spirit is a free spirit
not chained to the animal self. For free spirit is
godly and alone can claim kinship with God.

Every true freedom that we may attain in any
direction broadens our path of self-realization,
which is in superseding the self. The unimagina-
tive repetition of life within a safe restriction im-
posed by Nature may be good for the animal, but
never for Man, who has the responsibility to out-
live his life in order to live in truth.

And freedom in its process of creation gives rise
to perpetual suggestions of something further than
its obvious purpose. For freedom is for expressing
the infinite; it imposes limits in its works, not to
keep them in permanence but to break them over
and over again, and to reveal the endless in unend-

53



THE RELIGION OF MAN

Ing surprises. This implies a history of constant
regeneration, a series of fresh beginnings and con-
tinual challenges to the old in order to reach a more
and more perfect harmony with some fundamental
ideal of truth.

Our civilization, in the constant struggle for
a great Further, runs through abrupt chapters of
spasmodic divergences. It nearly always begins
its new ventures with a cataclysm ; for its changes
are not mere seasonal changes of ideas gliding
through varied periods of flowers and fruit They
are surprises lying in ambuscade provoking revo-
lutionary adjustments. They are changes in the
dynasty of living ideals the ideals that are active
in consolidating their dominion with strongholds
of physical and mental habits, of symbols, cere-
monials and adornments* But however violent
may be the revolutions happening in whatever
time or country, they never completely detach
themselves from a common centre. They find their
places in a history which is one.

The civilizations evolved in India or China,
Persia or Judaea, Greece or Rome, are like several
mountain peaks having different altitude, tempera-
ture, flora and fauna, and yet belonging to the
same chain of hills. There are no absolute barriers
of communication between them; their foundation
is the same and they affect the meteorology of an
atmosphere which is common to us all. This is at

54



THE SURPLUS IN MAN

the root of the meaning of the great teacher who
said he would not seek his own salvation if all
men were not saved ; for we all belong to a divine
unity, from which our great-souled men have
their direct inspiration; they feel it immediately
in their own personality, and they proclaim in their
life, "I am one with the Supreme, with the Death-
less, with the Perfect".

Man, in his mission to create himself, tries to
develop in his mind an image of his truth accord-
ing to an idea which he believes to be universal,
and is sure that any expression given to it will per-
sist through all time. This is a mentality abso-
lutely superfluous for biological existence. It rep-
resents his struggle for a life which is not limited
to his body. For our physical life has its thread of
unity in the memory of the past, whereas this ideal
life dwells in the prospective memory of the
future* In the records of past civilizations, un-
earthed from the closed records of dust, we find
pathetic efforts to make their memories uninter-
rupted through the ages, like the effort of a child
who sets adrift on a paper boat his dream of reach-
ing the distant unknown. But why is this desire?
Only because we feel instinctively that in our ideal
life we must touch all men and all times through
the manifestation of a truth which is eternal and
universal. And in order to give expression to it
materials are gathered that are excellent and a

55



THE RELIGION O MAN

manner of execution that has a permanent value*
For we mortals must offer homage to the Man of
the everlasting life. In order to do so, we are ex-
pected to pay a great deal more than we need for
mere living, and in the attempt we often exhaust
our very means of livelihood, and even life itself.

The ideal picture which a savage imagines of
himself requires glaring paints and gorgeous finer-
ies, a rowdiness in ornaments and even grotesque
deformities of over-wrought extravagance* He
tries to sublimate his individual self into a mani-
festation which he believes to have the majesty of
the ideal Man. He is not satisfied with what he is
in his natural limitations ; he irresistibly feels some-
thing beyond the evident fact of himself which
only could give him worth. It is the principle of
power, which, according to his present mental
stage, is the meaning of the universal reality
whereto he belongs, and it is his pious duty to give
expression to it even at the cost of his happiness.
In fact, through it he becomes one with his God,
for him his God is nothing greater than power.
The savage takes immense trouble, and often suf-
fers tortures, in order to offer in himself a repre-
sentation of power in conspicuous colours and dis-
torted shapes, in acts of relentless cruelty and in-
temperate bravado of self-indulgence. Such an
appearance of rude grandiosity evokes a loyal rev-
erence in the members of his community and a

56



THE SURPLUS IN MAN

fear which gives them an aesthetic satisfaction
because it illuminates for them the picture of a
character which, as far as they know, belongs to
ideal humanity. They wish to see in him not an
individual, but the Man in whom they all are rep*
resented. Therefore, in spite of their sufferings,
they enjoy being overwhelmed by his exaggerations
and dominated by a will fearfully evident owing
to its magnificent caprice in inflicting injuries.
They symbolize their idea of unlimited wilfulness
in their gods by ascribing to them physical and
moral enormities in their anatomical idiosyncracy
and virulent vindictiveness crying for the blood of
victims, in personal preferences indiscriminate in
the choice of recipients and methods of rewards
and punishments. In fact, these gods could never
be blamed for the least wavering in their conduct
owing to any scrupulousness accompanied by the
emotion of pity so often derided as sentimentalism
by virile intellects of the present day.

However crude all this may be, it proves that
Man has a feeling that he is truly represented in
something which exceeds himself. He is aware
that he is not imperfect, but incomplete. He knows
that in himself some meaning has yet to be real-
ized. We do not feel the wonder of it, because it
seems so natural to us that barbarism in Man is
not absolute, that its limits are like the limits of
the horizon. The call is deep in his mind the

57



THE RELIGION OF MAN

call of his own inner truth, which is beyond his
direct knowledge and analytical logic. And indi-
viduals are born who have no doubt of the truth
of this transcendental Man. As our consciousness
more and more comprehends it, new valuations are
developed in us, new depths and delicacies of de-
light, a sober dignity of expression through elimi-
nation of tawdriness, of frenzied emotions, of all
violence in shape, colour, words, or behaviour, of
the dark mentality of Ku-Klux-Klanism.

Each age reveals its personality as dreamer in
its great expressions that carry it across surging
centuries to the continental plateau of permanent
human history. These expressions may not be con-
sciously religious, but indirectly they belong to
Man's religion. For they are the outcome of the
consciousness of the greater Man in the individual
men of the race. This consciousness finds its man-
ifestation in science, philosophy and the arts, in
social ethics, in all things that carry their ultimate
value in themselves. These are truly spiritual and
they should all be consciously co-ordinated in one
great religion of Man, representing his ceaseless
endeavour to reach the perfect in great thoughts
and deeds and dreams, in immortal symbols of art,
revealing his aspiration for rising in dignity of
being.

I had the occasion to visit the ruins of ancient
Rome, the relics of human yearning towards the
58



THE SURPLUS IN MAN

immense, the sight of which teases our mind out
of thought. Does it not prove that in the vision
of a great Roman Empire the creative imagination
of the people rejoiced in the revelation of its trans-
cendental humanity? It was the idea of an Empire
which was not merely for opening an outlet to the
pent-up pressure of over-population, or widening
its field of commercial profit, but which existed as
a concrete representation of the majesty of Roman
personality, the soul of the people dreaming of a
world-wide creation of its own for a fit habitation
of the Ideal Man. It was Rome's titanic endeavour
to answer the eternal question as to what Man
truly was, as Man. And any answer given in earn-
est falls within the realm of religion, whatever
may be its character ; and this answer, in its truth,
belongs not only to any particular people but to
us all. It may be that Rome did not give the most
perfect answer possible when she fought for her
place as a world-builder of human history, but she
revealed the marvellous vigour of the indomitable
human spirit which could say, "Bhumaiva suk-
hamf "Greatness is happiness itself". Her Em-
pire has been sundered and shattered, but her faith
in the sublimity of man still persists in one of the
vast strata of human geology. And this faith was
the true spirit of her religion, which had been dim
in the tradition of her formal theology, merely
supplying her with an emotional pastime and not



THE RELIGION OF MAN

with spiritual inspiration. In fact this theology
fell far below her personality, and for that reason
it went against her religion, whose mission was to
reveal her humanity on the background of the
eternal. Let us seek the religion of this and other
people not in their gods but in Man, who dreamed
of his own infinity and majestically worked for all
time, defying danger and death.

Since the dim nebula of consciousness in Life's
world became intensified into a centre of self in
Man, his history began to unfold its rapid chap-
ters ; for it is the history of his strenuous answers
in various forms to the question rising from this
conscious self of his, "What am I?" Man is not
happy or contented as the animals are ; for his hap-
piness and his peace depend upon the truth of his
answer. The animal attains his success in a physi-
cal sufficiency that satisfies his nature. When a
crocodile finds no obstruction in behaving like an
orthodox crocodile he grins and grows and has no
cause to complain. It is truism to say that Man
also must behave like a man in order to find his
truth. But he is sorely puzzled and asks in be-
wilderment: "What is it to be like a man? What
am I?" It is not left to the tiger to discover what
is his own nature as a tiger, nor, for the matter of
that, to choose a special colour for his coat accord-
ing to his taste.

But Man has taken centuries to discuss the ques-
60



THE SURPLUS IN MAN

tion of his own true nature and has not yet come
to a conclusion. He has been building up elab-
orate religions to convince himself, against his nat-
ural inclinations, of the paradox that he is not what
he is but something greater. What is significant
about these efforts is the fact that in order to know
himself truly Man in his religion cultivates the
vision of a Being who exceeds him in truth and
with whom also he has his kinship. These religions
differ in details and often in their moral signifi-
cance, but they have a common tendency. In them
men seek their own supreme value, which they call
divine, in some personality anthropomorphic in
character. The Mind, which is abnormally scien-
tific, scoffs at this ; but it should know that religion
is not essentially cosmic or even abstract; it finds
itself when it touches the Brahma in man; other-
wise it has no justification to exist.

It must be admitted that such a human element
introduces into our religion a mentality that often
has its danger in aberrations that are intellectually
blind, morally reprehensible and aesthetically
repellent But these are wrong answers; they dis-
tort the truth of man and, like all mistakes in
sociology, in economics or politics, they have to
be fought against and overcome. Their truth has
to be judged by the standard of human perfection
and not by some arbitrary injunction that refuses
to be confirmed by the tribunal of the human con-

6*



THE RELIGION OF MAN

science. And great religions are the outcome of
great revolutions in this direction causing funda-
mental changes of our attitude. These religions
invariably made their appearance as a protest
against the earlier creeds which had been unhu-
man, where ritualistic observances had become
more important and outer compulsions more im-
perious. These creeds were, as I have said before,
cults of power; they had their value for us, not
helping us to become perfect through truth, but to
grow formidable through possessions and magic
control of the deity.

But possibly I am doing injustice to our ances-
tors. It is more likely that they worshipped power
not merely because of its utility, but because they,
in their way, recognized it as truth with which
their own power had its communication and in
which it found its fulfilment They must have nat-
urally felt that this power was the power of will
behind nature, and not some impersonal insanity
that unaccountably always stumbled upon correct
results. For it would have been the greatest depth
of imbecility on their part had they brought their
homage to an abstraction, mindless, heartless and
purposeless; in fact, infinitely below them in its
manifestation.



CHAPTER IV
SPIRITUAL UNION

WHEN Man's preoccupation with the means of
livelihood became less insistent he had the leisure
to come to the mystery of his own self, and could
not help feeling that the truth of his personality
had both its relationship and its perfection in an
endless world of humanity. His religion, which in
the beginning had its cosmic background of power,
came to a higher stage when it found its back-
ground in the human truth of personality. It must
not be thought that in this channel it was narrow-
ing the range of our consciousness of the infinite.
The negative idea of the infinite is merely an
indefinite enlargement of the limits of things; in
fact, a perpetual postponement of infinitude. I am
told that mathematics has come to the conclusion
that our world belongs to a space which is limited.
It does not make us feel disconsolate. We do not
miss very much and need not have a low opinion
of space even if a straight line cannot remain
straight and has an eternal tendency to come back
to the point from which it started. In the Hindu
Scripture the universe is described as an egg; that

63



THB RELIGION OF MAN

is to say, for the human mind it has its circular
shell of limitation. The Hindu Scripture goes still
further and says that time also is not continuous
and our world repeatedly comes to an end to begin
its cycle once again. In other words, in the region
of time and space infinity consists of ever-revolving
finitude.

But the positive aspect of the infinite is in
advaitam, in an absolute unity, in which compre-
hension of the multitude is not as in an outer re-
ceptacle but as in an inner perfection that per-
meates and exceeds its contents, like the beauty in
a lotus which is ineffably more than all the con-
stituents of the flower. It is not the magnitude of
extension but an intense quality of harmony which
evokes in us the positive sense of the infinite in our
joy, in our love. For advaitam is anandam; the
infinite One is infinite Love. For those among
whom the spiritual sense is dull, the desire for
realization is reduced to physical possession, an
actual grasping in space. This longing for magni-
tude becomes not an aspiration towards the great,
but a mania for the big. But true spiritual realiza-
tion is not through augmentation of possession in
dimension or number. The truth that is infinite
dwells in the ideal of unity which we find in the
deeper relatedness. This truth of realization is not
in space, it can only be realized in one's own inner
spirit

64



SPIRITUAL UNION

Ekadhaivanudrashtavyam etat aprameyam dhruvam.
(This infinite and eternal has to be known as One.)

Para akasat aja atma "this birthless spirit is
beyond space". For it is Purushahj it is the
"Person".

The special mental attitude which India has in
her religion is made clear by the word Yoga, whose
meaning is to effect union. Union has its signifi-
cance not in the realm of to have, but in that of
to be. To gain truth is to admit its separateness,
but to be true is to become one with truth. Some
religions, which deal with our relationship with
God, assure us of reward if that relationship be
kept true. This reward has an objective value. It
gives us some reason outside ourselves for pursuing
the prescribed path. We have such religions also
in India. But those that have attained a greater
height aspire for their fulfilment in union with
Narayana, the supreme Reality of Man, which is
divine.

Our union with this spirit is not to be attained
through the mind. For our mind belongs to the
department of economy in the human organism.
It carefully husbands our consciousness for its own
range of reason, within which to permit our rela-
tionship with the phenomenal world* But it is the
object of Yoga to help us to transcend the limits
built up by Mind. On the occasions when these
are overcome, our inner self is filled with joy,

65



THE RELIGION OF MAN

which indicates that through such freedom we
come into touch with the Reality that is an end in
itself and therefore is bliss.

Once man had his vision of the infinite in the
universal Light, and he offered his worship to the
sun. He also offered his service to the fire with
oblations. Then he felt the infinite in Life, which
is Time in its creative aspect, and he said, "Yat
*kincha yadidam sarvam prana ejati nihsritam/* "all
that there is comes out of life and vibrates in it".
He was sure of it, being conscious of Life's mystery
immediately in himself as the principle of purpose,
as the organized will, the source of all his activi-
ties. His interpretation of the ultimate character
of truth relied upon the suggestion that Life had
brought to him, and not the non-living which is
dumb. And then he came deeper into his being
and said "Raso vai sah" 9 "the infinite is love itself ",
the eternal spirit of joy. His religion, which is
in his realization of the infinite, began its journey
from the impersonal dyaus, "the sky", wherein
light had its manifestation; then came to Life,
which represented the force of self-creation in
time, and ended in purushak, the "Person", in
whom dwells timeless love. It said, "Tarn vedyam
purusham ve-dah", "Know him the Person who is
to be realized", "Yatha ma vo mrityug parivya~
thah" "So that death may not cause you sorrow".
For this Person is deathless in whom the individual

66



S PIRITUAL UNION

person has his immortal truth. Of him it is said :
"Esha devo uisvakarma mahatma sada jananam
hridaye sannivishatah". "This is the divine being,
the world-worker, who is the Great Soul ever
dwelling inherent in the hearts of all people."

Ya etad vidur amritas te bhavanti. "Those who
realize him, transcend the limits of mortality"
not in duration of time, but in perfection of truth.

Our union with a Being whose activity is world-
wide and who dwells in the heart of humanity
cannot be a passive one. In order to be united with
Him we have to divest our work of selfishness and
become visvakarma, "the world-worker", we must
work for all. When I use the words "for all", I
do not mean for a countless number of individuals.
All work that is good, however small in extent, is
universal in character. Such work makes for a
realization of Fisvakarma, "the World-Worker"
who works for all. In order to be one with this
Mahatma, "the Great Soul", one must cultivate
the greatness of soul which identifies itself with
the soul of all peoples and not merely with that of
one's own. This helps us to understand what
Buddha has described as Brahmavihara, "living in
the infinite". He says:

"Do not deceive each other, do not despise any-
body anywhere, never in anger wish anyone to suf-
fer through your body, words or thoughts. Like a
mother maintaining her only son with her own

67



THE RELIGION OF MAN

life, keep thy immeasurable loving thought for all
creatures.

"Above thee, below thee, on all sides of thee,
keep on all the world thy sympathy and immeas-
urable loving thought which is without obstruc-
tion, without any wish to injure, without enmity.

"To be dwelling in such contemplation while
standing, walking, sitting or lying down, until
sleep overcomes thee, is called living in Brahma".

This proves that Buddha's idea of the infinite
was not the idea of a spirit of an unbounded cos-
mic activity, but the infinite whose meaning is in
the positive ideal of goodness and love, which
cannot be otherwise than human. By being chari-
table, good and loving, you do not realize the
infinite, in the stars or rocks, but the infinite re-
vealed in Man. Buddha's teaching speaks of Nir-
vana as the highest end. To understand its real
character we have to know the path of its attain-
ment, which is not merely through the negation of
evil thoughts and deeds but through the elimination
of all limits to love. It must mean the sublimation
of self in a truth which is love itself, which unites
in its bosom all those to whom we must offer our
sympathy and service.

When somebody asked Buddha about the orig-
inal cause of existence he sternly said that such
questioning was futile and irrelevant Did he not
mean that it went beyond the human sphere as

68



SPIRITUAL UNION

our goal that though such a question might
legitimately be asked in the region of cosmic phi-
losophy or science, it had nothing to do with man's
dharma, man's inner nature, in which love finds
its utter fulfilment, in which all his sacrifice ends
in an eternal gain, in which the putting out of the
lamplight is no loss because there is the all-pervad-
ing light of the sun. And did those who listened
to the great teacher merely hear his words and
understand his doctrines? No, they directly felt
in him what he was preaching, in the living lan-
guage of his own person, the ultimate truth of
Man.

It is significant that all great religions have their
historic origin in persons who represented in their
life a truth which was not cosmic and unmoral,
but human and good. They rescued religion from
the magic stronghold of demon force and brought
it into the inner heart of humanity, into a fulfil-
ment not confined to some exclusive good fortune
of the individual but to the welfare of all men.
This was not for the spiritual ecstasy of lonely
souls, but for the spiritual emancipation of all
races. They came as the messengers of Man to
men of all countries and spoke of the salvation that
could only be reached by the perfecting of our
relationship with Man the Eternal, Man the
Divine. Whatever might be their doctrines of
God, or some dogmas that they borrowed from

69



THE RELIGION OF MAN

their own time and tradition, their life and teach-
ing had the deeper implication of a Being who is
the infinite in Man, the Father, the Friend, the
Lover, whose service must be realized through
serving all mankind. For the God in Man de-
pends upon men's service and men's love for his
own love's fulfilment

The question was once asked in the shade of
the ancient forest of India :

Kasmai devaya havisha vidhema?
"Who is the God to whom we must bring our oblation?"

That question is still ours, and to answer it we
must know in the depth of our love and the
maturity of our wisdom what man is know him
not only in sympathy but in science, in the joy of
creation and in the pain of heroism ; tena tyaktena
bhunjitha, "enjoy him through sacrifice" the sac-
rifice that comes of love ; ma gridhah, "covet not" ;
for greed diverts your mind to that illusion in you
which is your separate self and diverts it from
truth in which you represent the parama purushah f
"the supreme Person".

Our greed diverts our consciousness to materials
away from that supreme value of truth which is
the quality of the universal being. The gulf thus
created by the receding stream of the soul we try
to replenish with a continuous stream of wealth,
which may have the power to fill but not the power

70



SPIRITUAL UNION

to unite and recreate. Therefore the gap is danger-
ously concealed under the glittering quicksand oi
things, which by their own weight cause a sudden
subsidence while we are in the depths of sleep.

The real tragedy, however, does not lie in the
risk of our material security but in the obscuration
of Man himself in the human world. In the crea-
tive activities of his soul Man realizes his sur-
roundings as his larger self, instinct with his own
life and love. But in his ambition he deforms and
defiles it with the callous handling of his voracity.
His world of utility assuming a gigantic propor-
tion, reacts upon his inner nature and hynotically
suggests to him a scheme of the universe which is
an abstract system. In such a world there can be
no question of mukti, the freedom in truth, because
it is a solidly solitary fact, a cage with no sky
beyond it. In all appearance our world is a closed
world of hard facts ; it is like a seed with its tough
cover. But within this enclosure is working our
silent cry of life for mukti, even when its possibil-
ity is darkly silent When some huge overgrown
temptation tramples into stillness this living aspi-
ration then does civilization die like a seed thai
has lost its urging for germination. And this mukh
is in the truth that dwells in the ideal man.



CHAPTER V
THE PROPHET

IN my introduction I have stated that the universe
to which we are related through our sense percep-
tion, reason or imagination, is necessarily Man's
universe- Our physical self gains strength and
success through its correct relationship in knowl-
edge and practice with its physical aspect. The
mysteries of all its phenomena are generalized by
man as laws which have their harmony with his
rational mind. In the primitive period of our his-
tory Man's physical dealings with the external
world were most important for the maintenance
of his life, the life which he has in common with
other creatures, and therefore the first expression
of his religion was physical it came from his
sense of wonder and awe at the manifestations of
power in Nature and his attempt to win it for him-
self and his tribe by magical incantations and rites.
In other words his religion tried to gain a perfect
communion with the mysterious magic of Nature's
forces through his own power of magic. Then came
the time when he had the freedom of leisure to
divert his mind to his inner nature and the mystery
72



THE PROPHET

of his own personality gained for him its highest
importance. And instinctively his personal self
sought its fulfilment in the truth of a higher per-
sonality. In the history of religion our realization
of its nature has gone through many changes even
like our realization of the nature of the material
world. Our method of worship has followed the
course of such changes, but its evolution has been
from the external and magical towards the moral
and spiritual significance.

The first profound record of the change of direc-
tion in Man's religion we find in the message of
the great prophet in Persia, Zarathustra, and as
usual it was accompanied by a revolution. In a
later period the same thing happened in India,
and it is evident that the history of this religious
struggle lies embedded in the epic Mahabharata
associated with the name of Krishna and the teach-
ings of Bhagavadgita.

The most important of all outstanding facts of
Iranian history is the religious reform brought
about by Zarathustra. There can be hardly any
question that he was the first man we know who
gave a definitely moral character and direction to
religion and at the same time preached the doctrine
of monotheism which offered an eternal founda-
tion of reality to goodness as an ideal of perfection.
All religions of the primitive type try to keep men
bound with regulations of external observances.

73



THE RELIGION OF MAN

Zarathustra was the greatest of all the pioneer
prophets who showed the path of freedom to man,
the freedom of moral choice, the freedom from the
blind obedience to unmeaning injunctions, the
freedom from the multiplicity of shrines which
draw our worship away from the single-minded
chastity of devotion.

To most of us it sounds like a truism to-day
when we are told that the moral goodness of a
deed comes from the goodness of intention. But
it is a truth which once came to Man like a revela-
tion of light in the darkness and it has not yet
reached all the obscure corners of humanity. We
still see around us men who fearfully follow, hop-
ing thereby to gain merit, the path of blind formal-
ism, which has no living moral source in the mind.
This will make us understand the greatness of
Zarathustra. Though surrounded by believers in
magical rites, he proclaimed in those dark days of
unreason that religion has its truth in its moral
significance, not in external practices of imagin-
ary value; that its value is in upholding man in
his life of good thoughts, good words and good
deeds.

"The prophet' *, says Dr. Geiger, "qualifies his
religion as 'unheard of words' (Yasna 31. i) or as
a "mystery" (Y. 48. 3.) because he himself regards
it as a religion quite distinct from the belief of the
people hitherto. The revelation he announces is

74



THE PROPHET

to him no longer a matter of sentiment, no longer
a merely undefined presentiment and conception
of the Godhead, but a matter of intellect, of spirit-
ual perception and knowledge. This is of great
importance, for there are probably not many re-
ligions of so high antiquity in which this funda-
mental doctrine, that religion is a knowledge or
learning, a science of what is true, is so precisely
declared as in the tenets of the Gathas. It is the
unbelieving that are unknowing; on the contrary,
the believing are learned because they have pene-
trated into this knowledge."

It may be incidentally mentioned here, as show-
ing the parallel to this in the development of In-
dian religious thought, that all through the Upan-
ishad spiritual truth is termed with a repeated
emphasis, vidya, knowledge, . which has for its
opposite avidya, acceptance of error born of un-
reason.

The outer expression of truth reaches its white
light of simplicity through its inner realization.
True simplicity is the physiognomy of perfection.
In the primitive stages of spiritual growth, when
man is dimly aware of the mystery of the infinite
in his life and the world, when he does not fully
know the inward character of his relationship with
this truth, his first feeling is either of dread, or of
greed of gain. This drives him into wild exag-
geration in worship, frenzied convulsions of cere-

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THE RELIGION OF MAN

monialism. But in Zarathustra's teachings, which
are best reflected in his Gathas, we have hardly
any mention of the ritualism of worship. Con-
duct and its moral motives have there received
almost the sole attention.

The orthodox Persian form of worship in an-
cient Iran included animal sacrifices and offering
of haema to the daevas. That all these should be
discountenanced by Zarathustra not only shows
his courage, but the strength of his realization of
the Supreme Being as spirit. We are told that it
has been mentioned by Plutarch that "Zarathustra
taught the Persians to sacrifice to Ahura Mazda,
Vows and thanksgivings' ". The distance between
faith in the efficiency of the bloodstained magi-
cal rites, and cultivation of the moral and spiritual
ideals as the true form of worship is immense. It
is amazing to see how Zarathustra was the first
among men who crossed this distance with a cer-
tainty of realization which imparted such a fer-
vour of faith to his life and his words. The truth
which filled his mind was not a thing which he
borrowed from books or received from teachers;
he did not come to it by following a prescribed
path of tradition, but it came to him as an illu-
mination of his entire life, almost like a commu-
nication of his universal self to his personal self,
and he proclaimed this utmost immediacy of his
knowledge when he said:

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THE PROPHET

When I conceived of Thee, O Mazda, as the very First and
the Last, as the most Adorable One, as the Father of the Good
Thought, as the Creator of Truth and Right, as the Lord Judge
of our actions in life, then I made a place for Thee in my very
eyes. Yasna 31,8 (Translation D. J. Irani).

It was the direct stirring of his soul which made
him say:

Thus do I announce the Greatest of all ! I weave my songs of
praise for him through Truth, helpful and beneficent of all that
live. Let Ahura Mazda listen to them with his Holy Spirit,
for the Good Mind instructed me to adore Him; by his wis-
dom let Him teach me about what is best. Yasna 45.6 (Trans-
lation D. J, Irani).

The truth which is not reached through the ana-
lytical process of reasoning and does not depend for
proof on some corroboration of outward facts or
the prevalent faith and practice of the people
the truth which comes like an inspiration out of
context with its surroundings brings with it an
assurance that it has been sent from an inner source
of divine wisdom, that the individual who has
realized it is specially inspired and therefore has
his responsibility as a direct medium of communi-
cation of Divine Truth.

As long as man deals with his God as the dis-
penser of benefits only to those of His worshippers
who know the secret of propitiating Him, he tries
to keep Him for his own self or for the tribe to
which he belongs* But directly the moral nature,

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THE RELIGION OF MAN

that is to say, the humanity of God is apprehended,
man realizes his divine self in his religion, his God
is no longer an outsider to be propitiated for a
special concession. The consciousness of God
transcends the limitations of race and gathers to-
gether all human beings within one spiritual circle
of union. Zarathustra was the first prophet who
emancipated religion from the exclusive narrow-
ness of the tribal God, the God of a chosen people,
and offered it the universal Man, This is a great
fact in the history of religion. The Master said,
when the enlightenment came to him :

Verily I believed Thee, O Ahura Mazda, to be the Supreme
Benevolent Providence, when Sraosha came to me with the
Good Mind, when first I received and became wise with your
words. And though the task be difficult, though woe may come
to me, I shall proclaim to all mankind Thy message, which
Thou declarest to be the best. Yasna 43 (Translation D. J.
Irani).

He prays to Mazda :

This I ask Thee, tell me truly, O Ahura, the religion that
is best for all mankind, the religion, which based on truth,
should prosper in all that is ours, the religion which establishes
our actions in order and justice by the Divine songs of Perfect
Piety, which has for its intelligent desire of desires, the desire
for Thee, O Mazda* Yasna 44.10 (Translation D, J. Irani).

With the undoubted assurance and hope of one
who has got a direct vision of Truth he speaks to
the world ;
78



THE PROPHET

Hearken unto me, Ye who come from near and from far!
Listen for I shall speak forth now; ponder well over all things,
weigh my words with care and clear thought. Never shall the
false teacher destroy this world for a second time, for his tongue
stands mute, his creed exposed. Yasna 45.1 (Translation D.
J. Irani),

I think it can be said without doubt that such a
high conception of religion, uttered in such a
clear note of affirmation with a sure note of con-
viction that it is a truth of the ultimate ideal of
perfection which must be revealed to all humanity,
even at the cost of martyrdom, is unique in the
history of any religion belonging to such a remote
dawn of civilization.

There was a time when, along with other Aryan
peoples, the Persian also worshipped the elemental
gods of Nature, whose favour was not to be won
by any moral duty performed or service of love.
That in fact was the crude beginning of the scien-
tific spirit trying to unlock the hidden sources of
power in nature. But through it all there must
have been some current of deeper desire, which
constantly contradicted the cult of power and in-
dicated worlds of inner good, infinitely more
precious than material gain. Its voice was not
strong at first nor was it heeded by the majority
of the people ; but its influences, like the life within
the seed, were silently working.

Then comes the great prophet; and in his life
and mind the hidden fire of truth suddenly bursts

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THE RELIGION OF MAN

out into flame. The best in the people works for
long obscure ages in hints and whispers till it finds
its voice which can never again be silenced. For
that voice becomes the voice of Man, no longer
confined to a particular time or people. It works
across intervals of silence and oblivion, depression
and defeat, and comes out again with its conquer-
ing call. It is a call to the fighter, the fighter
against untruth, against all that lures away man's
spirit from its high mission of freedom into the
meshes of materialism.

Zarathustra's voice is still a living voice, not
alone a matter of academic interest for historical
scholars who deal with the facts of the past; nor
merely the guide of a small community of men in
the daily details of their life. Rather, of all teach-
ers Zarathustra was the first who addressed his
words to all humanity, regardless of distance of
space or time. He was not like a cave-dweller who,
by some chance of friction, had lighted a lamp
and, fearing lest it could not be shared with all,
secured it with a miser's care for his own domestic
use. But he was the watcher in the night, who
stood on the lonely peak facing the East and broke
out singing the paeans of light to the sleeping world
when the sun came out on the brim of the horizon.
The Sun of Truth is for all, he declared its light
is to unite the far and the near. Such a message

So



THE PROPHET

always arouses the antagonism of those whose
habits have become nocturnal, whose vested in-
terest is in the darkness. And there was a bitter
fight in the lifetime of the prophet between his
followers and the others who were addicted to the
ceremonies that had tradition on their side, and
not truth.

We are told that "Zarathustra was descended
from a kingly family", and also that the first con-
verts to his doctrine were of the ruling caste. But
the priesthood, "the Kavis and the Karapans, often
succeeded in bringing the rulers over to their side".
So we find that, in this fight, the princes of the
land divided themselves into two opposite parties
as we find in India in the Kurukshetra War.

It has been a matter of supreme satisfaction to
me to realize that the purification of faith which
was the mission of the great teachers in both com-
munities, in Persia and in India, followed a similar
line. We have already seen how Zarathustra spir-
itualized the meaning of sacrifice, which in former
days consisted in external ritualism entailing
bloodshed. The same thing we find in the Gita,
in which the meaning of the word Yajna has been
translated into a higher significance than it had
in its crude form.