Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ignited Valour!

Freedom fighter Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British on March 23, 1931. Here, Gandhi pays tribute to the patriotism of the young martyr while disagreeing with his revolutionary methods. Excerpted from Gandhi's article in Young India, March 29, 1931:

"Bhagat Singh and his two associates have been hanged. The Congress made many attempts to save their lives and the Government entertained many hopes of it, but all has been in a vain.

Bhagat Singh did not wish to live. He refused to apologize, or even file an appeal. Bhagat Singh was not a devotee of non-violence, but he did not subscribe to the religion of violence. He took to violence due to helplessness and to defend his homeland. In his last letter, Bhagat Singh wrote --

" I have been arrested while waging a war. For me there can be no gallows. Put me into the mouth of a cannon and blow me off."

These heroes had conquered the fear of death. Let us bow to them a thousand times for their heroism.

But we should not imitate their act. In our land of millions of destitute and crippled people, if we take to the practice of seeking justice through murder, there will be a terrifying situation. Our poor people will become victims of our atrocities. By making a dharma of violence, we shall be reaping the fruit of our own actions.

Hence, though we praise the courage of these brave men, we should never countenance their activities. Our dharma is to swallow our anger, abide by the discipline of non-violence and carry out our duty."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Passages from the book, "The Life of Swami Vivekananda"

This is what Swami Vivekananda quoted to his brother disciples before leaving on a wandering journey as a monk...

"Go forward without a path!
Fearing nothing, caring for nothing,
Wander alone, like a rhinoceros!
Even as the lion, not trembling at noises,
Even as the wind, not caught in the net,
Even as the lotus leaf, unstained by the water,
Do thou wander alone, like a rhinoceros!"

~Dhammapada, The Buddhist Scriptures
A worth reading passage from the book:

"Be like the snake of Shri Ramakrishna's parable. At first the terror of the village, the snake met a sadhu who spoke to him of his evil ways. The snake repented and the sadhu gave him a certain Mantra to meditate upon and advised him to practise non-violence. The snake retired to a solitary nook and did as he was told. It so happened that the sannyasi, in his wanderings, passed through this same village some time later. What was his surprise when he saw the snake half-dead, as the result of violent beatings and maltreatment! He asked the snake how he had come to such a pass. He was met with the reply that by following the religious life he [the snake] had become harmless, and that those who had formerly feared him now pelted him with stones and beat him mercilessly. Then the Guru said, "My child, I asked you not to harm anyone, but I did not forbid you to hiss." So, the snake did as he was bid, and ever afterwards, though he injured none, none dared injure him."