The Quest for the Royal Road: Emotional Unity of the Nation

Published: 12.02.2016

India is one country from the point of view of the Constitution. As a result, the constitutional unity of the nation is automatically established. But no unity is free from diversity. India is a vast country and in accordance to it, there are immense diversities-several states, several languages, several communities, several religious sects and several classes. Diversities are necessary for beauty and unity is necessary for firmness. The gate to progress opens when there is harmony between the two.

A Point of View to Study the Problem

I believe in the non-absolutist philosophy of Bhagwan Mahavira, and therefore, I think about everything from the relative point of view. A tree has one group of roots and innumerable branches. The beauty of the tree is enhanced by its branches and offshoots. But would it be possible without unity in the form of the roots? No, never. Only the harmony between unity and diversity can cause all those things to grow.

I cannot say how useful a hand would be without five fingers. I cannot also say how useful the five fingers would be without a hand behind it. Because both are co-ordinated, success pursues them. Man knows that there cannot be progress without hormonising unity and diversity. Still, when selfishness and ego become dominant, man gives lesser importance to the question of unity.

Basic Question and Abandonment

When the desire to bake one's own bread becomes powerful in a nation and when the national leaders provoke discontent among the people in order to attain their selfish ends, national unity becomes a problem that plagues the nation. Those people who persistently suppress the ideas, behaviour, likes, sanskaras, beliefs and programmes of others for their own ideas, behaviour, likes, sanskaras, beliefs and programmes, are the most dangerous, from the point of view of national unity. I have given the formula of abandonment to the nation in order to protect ourselves from that danger. The experiment of abandonment is unavoidable to bring about a socialist order. Without discarding the ego, the feeling of equality cannot be born in the mind of man. Without discarding selfish motive, man cannot prevent himself from harming the interests of others. Nor can he engage himself in thinking about the interests of others.

Factors Affecting National Unity

Economic Inequality-Economic and social inequalities are a great obstruction in bringing about national unity. Ego and selfish motives are at the root of it all. That is why, I give immense importance to discarding the ego and selfish interests in the interest or emotional unity.

Racial Distinctions-Racial distinctions also constitute a very big obstacle for national unity. It flatters one's ego, when he regards others as inferior to himself and man feels satisfied with himself. Racial distinctions cannot be eliminated without discarding the ego.

Communal Enemity-Man is not the enemy of man from birth. How can the two branches of the same tree be mutually opposed? Still, it is said that religious sects have been established to build friendship among men. There is no enmity among men from the beginning. Then why was it necessary to establish friendship among them? I would like to reiterate my -conviction that as a matter of course there is no animosity between man and man. The feeling of enmity is aroused by the people with vested interests. Religious sects began the task of eradicating that feeling, but in course of time, they were surrounded again by the people having vested interests and started supporting the belief that man is the enemy of man. From this way of thinking, it seems to me that the root of communal problem also cannot be found except in the ego and selfish interests. Therefore, it is very necessary to discard the ego and selfish motives.

Linguistic Problem-Even language, which is the medium to convey our ideas to others has been made an issue against national unity. It is not unnatural to have fascination for one's own language. And there is no doubt that the mother - tongue can become a powerful medium for the development of one's ideas. But we should also not forget the fact that other people have ^he same fascination for their mother- tongues as we have for our own. For that reason, how can one's involvement with linguistic perseverance be justified?

Our earlier religious teachers had laid down the best criterion for unity. "Do not do to others which is unfavourable to you."[1] Our love for language should go only to the extent that it does not come in conflict with other people's love for their own language. Each State loves its own language. For mutual contact, there is also the need for a language which would help people to build contact with others while keeping intact love for their own language. That is called the national language. How far as it proper to promote the love for the language of one's own region to such an extent that it leads to conflict between the regional language and the national language? It is necessary to give a serious thought to it from the point of view of national unity.

Permanent and Periodic Obstacles to National Unity

I regard the language problem a temporary problem. That problem is very often taken to the point of incitement, when it becomes some kind of a challenge for national unity. Nonetheless, this is not a permanent phenomenon. That fascination for language too has its own limit. It cannot hold people's attention for a long time.

Economic and social inequalities and communal animosity are permanent threats hindering our national unity. The basis of national unity cannot to be strengthened unless these threats are put to an end. Is it possible to construct an edifice of unity on the foundation of diverse selfish ends? Can the chariot of unity be driven on the uneven road characterised by considerations of inferiority and superiority? That is never possible. The permanent problem of diversities has been created by man on the basis of his ego and vested interests. They are related to man's basic traits—the ego and the selfish interest. That is why his fascination for them is of permanent nature. Those knots cannot be unravelled without uplifting or spiritual consciousness.

Spirituality or Religion?

I do not wish to make distinction between spirituality and religion. But in the present age, religion has become almost synonymous with rites and rituals. Therefore, in the context of the present problem. I give preference to spirituality instead. Spirituality is man's inner purity which is the result of discarding the ego and the selfish motive and hence, is free from tradition. From this point of view, I regard anuvrat as very strong basis for emotional unity of the nation.

Any citizen can be true to his nation only when he is inspired by ethical values, honesty and genuineness. Anuvrat is an endeavour to inspire those very feelings.

Can anyone ever nurture national unity without having faith in honesty? In my opinion, he cannot do it. Those who are thinking in terms of national unity, should reach not only up to the periphery or the surface of the problem but go to its very roots. The intoxication of opium can give a temporary relief, but it is not a permanent cure of the disease.

Need for Thinking Afresh

There are two ways of controlling the ego and the selfish interest—law and the awakening of spiritual consciousness. Both under a democratic system or a socialist order, attempts are made to regulate the ego and the selfish interest. Within their limits, they also meet success. That success depends on devotion on one's nation or patriotism. The trouble with India is that its citizens have not yet developed love for the nation to the desired extent. There has been no decline in thinking at the individual level. Love for the country is very important for the development of national unity. I consider spiritual awakening even more important. There should be concerted efforts both on the religious and the social fronts for that purpose.

Several thinkers have thought about the problem of national unity. I have no intention of minimising the importance of their thinking. I merely wish to make an humble suggestion for fresh thinking on the problem and wish to further state that in an attempt towards national unity, alongwith spiritual context, abandonment of the ego and the selfish motive should be also added. That would strengthen both the socialist order as well as national unity.

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Sources

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anuvrat
  2. Bhagwan Mahavira
  3. Consciousness
  4. Mahavira
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