Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Gandhi too oxymorons ? – S Gurumurthy

published on July 31, 2013

I am nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I’m a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu,” The moment Narendra Modi said this in his interview to Reuters last week, the secular hounds set upon him.

Take Swami Vivekananda first. The Swami’s nationalist exhortations deified the nation, seeded the freedom movement. The British Police repeatedly found Swami’s literature in the hands of the freedom fighters and revolutionaries, even mulled action against the Ramakrishna Math. Vivekananda inspired the passivists as well as the revolutionaries. The tallest leaders acclaimed him. Mahatma Gandhi: ‘reading Vivekananda had made me love the country ‘hundred fold.’ Subhash Bose: he ‘was the spiritual father of modern nationalist movement’. Rajaji: but for him ‘we would have lost our religion, not have gained our freedom; we owed everything to him’. Rabindranath Tagore: ‘if you want to know India, study Vivekananda.’ Finally, the ultra-secular Jawaharlal Nehru: ‘he was one of the great founders of national movement, who inspired the freedom fighters.’ Even mystics like Maharishi Aurobindo and Subramanya Bharati were inspired by him. And what did Swami Vivekananda stand for. “A nation in India,” declared Vivekananda, “must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune.”

Swamy Vivekananda repeatedly declared India as Hindu nation. Comparing the three living nations – English, French and Hindu – he said ‘the Hindu nation is still living’ because of its religion. He condemned the Hindus saying most of the real evils for which the foreign races abuse the Hindu nation are only owing to us and pointed to jealousy as the reason why the Hindu nation with all its wonderful intelligence have gone to pieces.

Move on. Maharishi Aurobindo, revolutionary, freedom fighter and mystic-philosopher, asserted Nationalism is no longer “a creed, a religion, a faith…. This Hindu nation was born with the Sanatan Dharma, with it it moves and with it it grows. When the Sanatan Dharma declines, then the nation declines, and if the Sanatan Dharma were capable of perishing, with the Sanatan Dharma it would perish. The Sanatan Dharma, that is nationalism.” Is Aurobindo oxymoron? Move further. ‘If we lay stress on common heritage forgetting all our differences that exist among the different sects…we shall ere long be able to consolidate different sects into a mighty Hindu nation. That ought to be the ambition of every Hindu.’

“Though the majority of the Mussulmans of India and the Hindus belong to the same ‘stock’, the religious environment has made them different…….being heir to fresh traditions he exhibits the virility of a comparatively new system of life…….1,300 years of imperialistic expansion has made the Mussulmans fighters as a body. They are therefore aggressive. Bullying is the natural excrescence of aggressive spirit. The Hindu is an age-old civilisation. He is essentially non-violent.” Who’s this? Mahatma Gandhi.

In Hind Swaraj, which is his fundamental ideological text, he pointed out how Hinduism is the core of Indian nationalism. Gandhi said: ‘those farseeing ancestors of ours who established Setubandha (Rameshwaram) in the South, Jagannath in the East and Hardwar in the North as places of pilgrimage were no fools. They knew that the worship of God could have been performed just as well at home and yet they argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with an idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world. But they saw that India was one undivided land.’

When asked about the advent of Muslims on the unity of India, Gandhi replied: ‘foreigners merge in it. A country is one nation only when such a condition obtains in it. That country must have a faculty for assimilation, India has ever been such a country.’ Is Gandhi oxymoron?

Read full article by S Gurumurthy at

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