Swami from Himalayan Foothills
Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha |
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa |
The topic of today is wonderful and can be elucidated well in the backdrop of our nation. It reminds me of a little joke. There was a young boy. Once he said to his mother – “Ma, when can I be old enough that I don’t have to ask you every time before I go out?” The mother said, “My son, even your father is not that old. So every time you go out, you have to ask me.”
The point I want to make is quite simple. We may gain a lot as an individual. We may be intelligent and so on. But our nation will always be greater than us. Swami Vivekananda was all by himself in Chicago in 1883. Looking at his attire, a lady remarked, “I suppose this man is not a gentleman.” And Vivekananda – the courageous person that he was - turned around and said to the woman, “Excuse me Ma’am. In your country a tailor makes a man a gentleman, but in my country character makes a man a gentleman.” Look at the history of our country. We have always held on to a rational character – a character of tolerance and acceptance. And what do we mean by spirituality? We cannot segregate spirituality from humanity and we cannot segregate spirituality from politics or from the nation. Unless we realise that we are responsible to uphold values of our nation, we can’t really grow as a nation. I am sorry to say in the last two centuries, no Indian company has made any noteworthy global impact. What does that tell you about our state of innovation and our state of technology.
There was a young couple who was married for ten years. On their tenth anniversary, the husband took a bouquet of white roses for his wife. And the wife said, “White roses! Who gives his wife white roses on the anniversary? They should have been red. That means you don’t love me.” The husband said, “Listen dear, after 10 years of marriage, I need peace more than I need love.”
After 70 years of independence, I don’t think we need divisions. The brilliant minds of our country get no opportunities in our country and travel abroad, where they create history. This is only because the system is not supporting us. How many times have we been fooled when we have voted for a person, thinking that person is going to make a difference?
As taxpayers we have the right to have access to a nation where there is a right to responsible expression, where there is right to freedom, where there is right to medicine. Everybody should have access to education and the medical system. My three simple principles are - pay your taxes because the taxes alone can build infrastructure, don’t waste natural resources – water, electricity and even food because somebody would have been benefited from that if we could have preserved it and thirdly, take responsibility of your own life.
We have excessive dependence on the government and on God. We think that they are supposed to fix all our problems. Then who is going to fix my problems? This is not a nation that we have inherited from our ancestors - this is a nation that we have borrowed for our future generations. We have a duty to give them a beautiful India.
There was a group of young men sitting next to their Guru. The Guru asked his disciples, “If there are two bulls and one is calm and the other is angry and they are fighting, which among the bulls would win.” One disciple said that the calm bull would win because the calm bull is more composed whereas another disciple stated that the angry bull would win. The Guru then said, ‘It is very simple. The bull whom you feed more is going to win.”
In our nation we have two very conflicting forces. On one hand, we have people who are trying to divide us for power, status and wealth. They are trying to divide us, distract us, and disengage us from the matters that matter for our country. If we are going to feed those calm bulls – if we are going to feed education, if we are going to feed transparency, if we are going to feed good governance then we are going to make a better nation. I believe that is spirituality.
That is what Swami Vivekananda had said beautifully, “In a country well-governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” And I think, as a nation we are somewhere in between.