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    4: The Problem of Self

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    Chapter 5
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    At one pole of my being I am one with stocks and stones. There I
    have to acknowledge the rule of universal law. That is where the
    foundation of my existence lies, deep down below. Its strength
    lies in its being held firm in the clasp of comprehensive world,
    and in the fullness of its community with all things.

    But at the other pole of my being I am separate from all. There
    I have broken through the cordon of equality and stand alone as
    an individual. I am absolutely unique, I am I, I am
    incomparable. The whole weight of the universe cannot crush out
    this individuality of mine. I maintain it in spite of the
    tremendous gravitation of all things. It is small in appearance
    but great in reality. For it holds its own against the forces
    that would rob it of its distinction and make it one with the
    dust.

    This is the superstructure of the self which rises from the
    indeterminate depth and darkness of its foundation into the open,
    proud of its isolation, proud of having given shape to a single
    individual idea of the architect's which has no duplicate in the
    whole universe. If this individuality be demolished, then though
    no material be lost, not an atom destroyed, the creative joy
    which was crystallised therein is gone. We are absolutely
    bankrupt if we are deprived of this specialty, this
    individuality, which is the only thing we can call our own; and
    which, if lost, is also a loss to the whole world. It is most
    valuable because it is not universal. And therefore only through
    it can we gain the universe more truly than if we were lying
    within its breast unconscious of our distinctiveness. The
    universal is ever seeking its consummation in the unique. And
    the desire we have to keep our uniqueness intact is really the
    desire of the universe acting in us. It is our joy of the
    infinite in us that gives us our joy in ourselves.

    That this separateness of self is considered by man as his most
    precious possession is proved by the sufferings he undergoes and
    the sins he commits for its sake. But the consciousness of
    separation has come from the eating of the fruit of knowledge.
    It has led man to shame and crime and death; yet it is dearer to
    him than any paradise where the self lies, securely slumbering in
    perfect innocence in the womb of mother nature.

    It is a constant striving and suffering for us to maintain the
    separateness of this self of ours. And in fact it is this
    suffering which measures its value. One side of the value is
    sacrifice, which represents how much the cost has been. The
    other side of it is the attainment, which represents how much has
    been gained. If the self meant nothing to us but pain and
    sacrifice, it could have no value for us, and on no account would
    we willingly undergo such sacrifice. In such case there could be
    no doubt at all that the highest object of humanity would be the
    annihilation of self.

    But if there is a corresponding gain, if it does not end in a
    void but in a fullness, then it is clear that its negative
    qualities, its very sufferings and sacrifices, make it all the
    more precious. That it is so has been proved by those who have
    realised the positive significance of self, and have accepted its
    responsibilities with eagerness and undergone sacrifices without
    flinching.

    With the foregoing introduction it will be easy for me to answer
    the question once asked by one of my audience as to whether the
    annihilation of self has not been held by India as the supreme
    goal of humanity?

    In the first place we must keep in mind the fact that man is
    never literal in the expression of his ideas, except in matters
    most trivial. Very often man's words are not a language at all,
    but merely a vocal gesture of the dumb. They may indicate, but
    do not express his thoughts. The more vital his thoughts the
    more have his words to be explained by the context of his life.
    Those who seek to know his meaning by the aid of the dictionary
    only technically reach the house, for they are stopped by the
    outside wall and find no entrance to the hall. This is the
    reason why the teachings of our greatest prophets give rise to
    endless disputations when we try to understand them by following
    their words and not be realising them in our own lives. The men
    who are cursed with the gift of the literal mind are the
    unfortunate ones who are always busy with their nets and neglect
    the fishing.

    It is not only in Buddhism and the Indian religions, but in
    Christianity too, that the ideal of selflessness is preached with
    all fervour. In the last the symbol of death has been used for
    expressing the idea of man's deliverance from the life which is
    not true. This is the same as Nirvnana, the symbol of the
    extinction of the lamp.

    In the typical thought of India it is held that the true
    deliverance of man is the deliverance from _avidya_, from
    ignorance. It is not in destroying anything that is positive and
    real, for that cannot be possible, but that which is negative,
    which obstructs our vision of truth. When this obstruction,
    which is ignorance, is removed, then only is the eyelid drawn up
    which is no loss to the eye.

    It is our ignorance which makes us think that our self, as self,
    is real, that it has its complete meaning in itself. When we
    take that wrong view of self then we try to live in such a manner
    as to make self the ultimate object of our life. Then we are
    doomed to disappointment like the man who tries to reach his
    destination by firmly clutching the dust of the road. Our self
    has no means of holding us, for its own nature is to pass on; and
    by clinging to this thread of self which is passing through the
    loom of life we cannot make it serve the purpose of the cloth
    into which it is being woven. When a man, with elaborate care,
    arranges for an enjoyment of the self, he lights a fire but has
    no dough to make his bread with; the fire flares up and consumes
    itself to extinction, like an unnatural beast that eats its own
    progeny and dies.

    In an unknown language the words are tyrannically prominent.
    They stop us but say nothing. To be rescued from this fetter of
    words we must rid ourselves of the _avidya_, our ignorance, and
    then our mind will find its freedom in the inner idea. But it
    would be foolish to say that our ignorance of the language can
    be dispelled only by the destruction of the words. No, when the
    perfect knowledge comes, every word remains in its place, only
    they do not bind us to themselves, but let us pass through them
    and lead us to the idea which is emancipation.

    Thus it is only _avidya_ which makes the self our fetter by
    making us think that it is an end in itself, and by preventing
    our seeing that it contains the idea that transcends its limits.
    That is why the wise man comes and says, "Set yourselves free
    from the _avidya_; know your true soul and be saved from the
    grasp of the self which imprisons you."

    We gain our freedom when we attain our truest nature. The man
    who is an artist finds his artistic freedom when he finds his
    ideal of art. Then is he freed from laborious attempts at
    imitation, from the goadings of popular approbation. It is the
    function of religion not to destroy our nature but to fulfil it.

    The Sanskrit word _dharma_ which is usually translated into
    English as religion has a deeper meaning in our language.
    _Dharma_ is the innermost nature, the essence, the implicit
    truth, of all things. _Dharma_ is the ultimate purpose that
    is working in our self. When any wrong is done we say that
    _dharma_ is violated, meaning that the lie has been given to
    our true nature.

    But this _dharma_, which is the truth in us, is not apparent,
    because it is inherent. So much so, that it has been held that
    sinfulness is the nature of man, and only by the special grace
    of God can a particular person be saved. This is like saying
    that the nature of the seed is to remain enfolded within its
    shell, and it is only by some special miracle that it can be
    grown into a tree. But do we not know that the _appearance_ of
    the seed contradicts its true nature? When you submit it to
    chemical analysis you may find in it carbon and proteid and a
    good many other things, but not the idea of a branching tree.
    Only when the tree begins to take shape do you come to see its
    _dharma_, and then you can affirm without doubt that the seed
    which has been wasted and allowed to rot in the ground has been
    thwarted in its _dharma_, in the fulfilment of its true nature.
    In the history of humanity we have known the living seed in us
    to sprout. We have seen the great purpose in us taking shape
    in the lives of our greatest men, and have felt certain that
    though there are numerous individual lives that seem ineffectual,
    still it is not their _dharma_ to remain barren; but it is for
    them to burst their cover and transform themselves into a
    vigorous spiritual shoot, growing up into the air and light, and
    branching out in all directions.

    The freedom of the seed is in the attainment of its
    _dharma_, its nature and destiny of becoming a tree; it is the
    non-accomplishment which is its prison. The sacrifice by which
    a thing attains its fulfilment is not a sacrifice which ends in
    death; it is the casting-off of bonds which wins freedom.

    When we know the highest ideal of freedom which a man has, we
    know his _dharma_, the essence of his nature, the real meaning of
    his self. At first sight it seems that man counts that as
    freedom by which he gets unbounded opportunities of self
    gratification and self-aggrandisement. But surely this is not
    borne out by history. Our revelatory men have always been those
    who have lived the life of self-sacrifice. The higher nature in
    man always seeks for something which transcends itself and yet is
    its deepest truth; which claims all its sacrifice, yet makes this
    sacrifice its own recompense. This is man's _dharma_, man's
    religion, and man's self is the vessel which is to carry this
    sacrifice to the altar.

    We can look at our self in its two different aspects. The self
    which displays itself, and the self which transcends itself and
    thereby reveals its own meaning. To display itself it tries to
    be big, to stand upon the pedestal of its accumulations, and to
    retain everything to itself. To reveal itself it gives up
    everything it has; thus becoming perfect like a flower that has
    blossomed out from the bud, pouring from its chalice of beauty
    all its sweetness.

    The lamp contains its oil, which it holds securely in its close
    grasp and guards from the least loss. Thus is it separate from
    all other objects around it and is miserly. But when lighted it
    finds its meaning at once; its relation with all things far and
    near is established, and it freely sacrifices its fund of oil to
    feed the flame.

    Such a lamp is our self. So long as it hoards its possessions it
    keeps itself dark, its conduct contradicts its true purpose.
    When it finds illumination it forgets itself in a moment, holds
    the light high, and serves it with everything it has; for therein
    is its revelation. This revelation is the freedom which Buddha
    preached. He asked the lamp to give up its oil. But purposeless
    giving up is a still darker poverty which he never could have
    meant. The lamp must give up its oil to the light and thus set
    free the purpose it has in its hoarding. This is emancipation.
    The path Buddha pointed out was not merely the practice of self-
    abnegation, but the widening of love. And therein lies the true
    meaning of Buddha's preaching.

    When we find that the state of _Nirvana_ preached by Buddha is
    through love, then we know for certain that _Nirvana_ is the
    highest culmination of love. For love is an end unto itself.
    Everything else raises the question "Why?" in our mind, and we
    require a reason for it. But when we say, "I love," then there
    is no room for the "why"; it is the final answer in itself.

    Doubtless, even selfishness impels one to give away. But the
    selfish man does it on compulsion. That is like plucking fruit
    when it is unripe; you have to tear it from the tree and bruise
    the branch. But when a man loves, giving becomes a matter of joy
    to him, like the tree's surrender of the ripe fruit. All our
    belongings assume a weight by the ceaseless gravitation of our
    selfish desires; we cannot easily cast them away from us. They
    seem to belong to our very nature, to stick to us as a second
    skin, and we bleed as we detach them. But when we are possessed
    by love, its force acts in the opposite direction. The things
    that closely adhered to us lose their adhesion and weight, and we
    find that they are not of us. Far from being a loss to give them
    away, we find in that the fulfilment of our being.

    Thus we find in perfect love the freedom of our self. That only
    which is done for love is done freely, however much pain it may
    cause. Therefore working for love is freedom in action. This is
    the meaning of the teaching of disinterested work in the _Gita_.

    The _Gita_ says action we must have, for only in action do we
    manifest our nature. But this manifestation is not perfect so
    long as our action is not free. In fact, our nature is obscured
    by work done by the compulsion of want or fear. The mother
    reveals herself in the service of her children, so our true
    freedom is not the freedom _from_ action but freedom _in_ action,
    which can only be attained in the work of love.

    God's manifestation is in his work of creation and it is said in
    the Upanishad, _Knowledge, power, and action are of his nature_
    [Footnote: "Svabhaviki jnana bala kriyacha."]; they are not
    imposed upon him from outside. Therefore his work is his
    freedom, and in his creation he realises himself. The same thing
    is said elsewhere in other words: _From joy does spring all this
    creation, by joy is it maintained, towards joy does it progress,
    and into joy does it enter_. [Footnote: Anandadhyeva khalvimani
    bhutani jayante, anandena jatani jivanti,
    anandamprayantyabhisamvicanti.] It means that God's creation has
    not its source in any necessity; it comes from his fullness of
    joy; it is his love that creates, therefore in creation is his
    own revealment.

    The artist who has a joy in the fullness of his artistic idea
    objectifies it and thus gains it more fully by holding it afar.
    It is joy which detaches ourselves from us, and then gives it
    form in creations of love in order to make it more perfectly our
    own. Hence there must be this separation, not a separation of
    repulsion but a separation of love. Repulsion has only the one
    element, the element of severance. But love has two, the element
    of severance, which is only an appearance, and the element of
    union which is the ultimate truth. Just as when the father
    tosses his child up from his arms it has the appearance of
    rejection but its truth is quite the reverse.

    So we must know that the meaning of our self is not to be found
    in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless
    realisation of _yoga_, of union; not on the side of the canvas
    where it is blank, but on the side where the picture is being
    painted.

    This is the reason why the separateness of our self has been
    described by our philosophers as _maya_, as an illusion, because
    it has no intrinsic reality of its own. It looks perilous; it
    raises its isolation to a giddy height and casts a black shadow
    upon the fair face of existence; from the outside it has an
    aspect of a sudden disruption, rebellious and destructive; it is
    proud, domineering and wayward; it is ready to rob the world of
    all its wealth to gratify its craving of a moment; to pluck with
    a reckless, cruel hand all the plumes from the divine bird of
    beauty to deck its ugliness for a day; indeed man's legend has it
    that it bears the black mark of disobedience stamped on its
    forehead for ever; but still all this _maya_, envelopment of
    _avidya_; it is the mist, it is not the sun; it is the black
    smoke that presages the fire of love.

    Imagine some savage who, in his ignorance, thinks that it is the
    paper of the banknote that has the magic, by virtue of which the
    possessor of it gets all he wants. He piles up the papers, hides
    them, handles them in all sorts of absurd ways, and then at last,
    wearied by his efforts, comes to the sad conclusion that they are
    absolutely worthless, only fit to be thrown into the fire. But
    the wise man knows that the paper of the banknote is all _maya_,
    and until it is given up to the bank it is futile. It is only
    _avidya_, our ignorance, that makes us believe that the
    separateness of our self like the paper of the banknote is
    precious in itself, and by acting on this belief our self is
    rendered valueless. It is only when the _avidya_ is removed that
    this very self comes to us with a wealth which is priceless. For
    _He manifests Himself in forms which His joy assumes_. [Footnote:
    Anandarupamamritam yadvibhati.] These forms are separate from
    Him, and the value that these forms have is only what his joy has
    imparted to them. When we transfer back these forms into that
    original joy, which is love, then we cash them in the bank and we
    find their truth.

    When pure necessity drives man to his work it takes an accidental
    and contingent character, it becomes a mere makeshift
    arrangement; it is deserted and left in ruins when necessity
    changes its course. But when his work is the outcome of joy, the
    forms that it takes have the elements of immortality. The
    immortal in man imparts to it its own quality of permanence.

    Our self, as a form of God's joy, is deathless. For his joy is
    _amritham_, eternal. This it is in us which makes us sceptical of
    death, even when the fact of death cannot be doubted. In
    reconcilement of this contradiction in us we come to the truth that
    in the dualism of death and life there is a harmony. We know that
    the life of a soul, which is finite in its expression and infinite
    in its principle, must go through the portals of death in its
    journey to realise the infinite. It is death which is monistic, it
    has no life in it. But life is dualistic; it has an appearance as
    well as truth; and death is that appearance, that _maya_, which is
    an inseparable companion to life. Our self to live must go through
    a continual change and growth of form, which may be termed a
    continual death and a continual life going on at the same time. It
    is really courting death when we refuse to accept death; when we
    wish to give the form of the self some fixed changelessness; when
    the self feels no impulse which urges it to grow out of itself;
    when it treats its limits as final and acts accordingly. Then comes
    our teacher's call to die to this death; not a call to annihilation
    but to eternal life. It is the extinction of the lamp in the
    morning light; not the abolition of the sun. It is really asking us
    consciously to give effect to the innermost wish that we have in the
    depths of our nature.

    We have a dual set of desires in our being, which it should be
    our endeavour to bring into a harmony. In the region of our
    physical nature we have one set of which we are conscious always.
    We wish to enjoy our food and drink, we hanker after bodily
    pleasure and comfort. These desires are self-centered; they are
    solely concerned with their respective impulses. The wishes of
    our palate often run counter to what our stomach can allow.

    But we have another set, which is the desire of our physical
    system as a whole, of which we are usually unconscious. It is
    the wish for health. This is always doing its work, mending and
    repairing, making new adjustments in cases of accident, and
    skilfully restoring the balance wherever disturbed. It has no
    concern with the fulfilment of our immediate bodily desires, but
    it goes beyond the present time. It is the principle of our
    physical wholeness, it links our life with its past and its
    future and maintains the unity of its parts. He who is wise
    knows it, and makes his other physical wishes harmonise with it.

    We have a greater body which is the social body. Society is an
    organism, of which we as parts have our individual wishes. We
    want our own pleasure and license. We want to pay less and gain
    more than anybody else. This causes scramblings and fights. But
    there is that other wish in us which does its work in the depths
    of the social being. It is the wish for the welfare of the
    society. It transcends the limits of the present and the
    personal. It is on the side of the infinite.

    He who is wise tries to harmonise the wishes that seek for self-
    gratification with the wish for the social good, and only thus
    can he realise his higher self.

    In its finite aspect the self is conscious of its separateness,
    and there it is ruthless in its attempt to have more distinction
    than all others. But in its infinite aspect its wish is to gain
    that harmony which leads to its perfection and not its mere
    aggrandisement.

    The emancipation of our physical nature is in attaining health,
    of our social being in attaining goodness, and of our self in
    attaining love. This last is what Buddha describes as
    extinction--the extinction of selfishness--which is the function
    of love, and which does not lead to darkness but to illumination.
    This is the attainment of _bodhi_, or the true awakening; it is
    the revealing in us of the infinite joy by the light of love.

    The passage of our self is through its selfhood, which is
    independent, to its attainment of soul, which is harmonious.
    This harmony can never be reached through compulsion. So our
    will, in the history of its growth, must come through
    independence and rebellion to the ultimate completion. We must
    have the possibility of the negative form of freedom, which is
    licence, before we can attain the positive freedom, which is
    love.

    This negative freedom, the freedom of self-will, can turn its
    back upon its highest realisation, but it cannot cut itself away
    from it altogether, for then it will lose its own meaning. Our
    self-will has freedom up to a certain extent; it can know what it
    is to break away from the path, but it cannot continue in that
    direction indefinitely. For we are finite on our negative side.
    We must come to an end in our evil doing, in our career of
    discord. For evil is not infinite, and discord cannot be an end
    in itself. Our will has freedom in order that it may find out
    that its true course is towards goodness and love. For goodness
    and love are infinite, and only in the infinite is the perfect
    realisation of freedom possible. So our will can be free not
    towards the limitations of our self, not where it is _maya_ and
    negation, but towards the unlimited, where is truth and love.
    Our freedom cannot go against its own principle of freedom and
    yet be free; it cannot commit suicide and yet live. We cannot
    say that we should have infinite freedom to fetter ourselves, for
    the fettering ends the freedom.

    So in the freedom of our will, we have the same dualism of
    appearance and truth--our self-will is only the appearance of
    freedom and love is the truth. When we try to make this
    appearance independent of truth, then our attempt brings misery
    and proves its own futility in the end. Everything has this
    dualism of _maya_ and _satyam_, appearance and truth. Words are
    _maya_ where they are merely sounds and finite, they are _satyam_
    where they are ideas and infinite. Our self is _maya_ where it
    is merely individual and finite, where it considers its
    separateness as absolute; it is _satyam_ where it recognises its
    essence in the universal and infinite, in the supreme self, in
    _paramatman_. This is what Christ means when he says, "Before
    Abraham was I am." This is the eternal _I am_ that speaks
    through the _I am_ that is in me. The individual _I am_ attains
    its perfect end when it realises its freedom of harmony in the
    infinite _I am_. Then is it _mukti_, its deliverance from the
    thraldom of _maya_, of appearance, which springs from _avidya_,
    from ignorance; its emancipation in _cantam civam advaitam_, in
    the perfect repose in truth, in the perfect activity in goodness,
    and in the perfect union in love.

    Not only in our self but also in nature is there this
    separateness from God, which has been described as _maya_ by our
    philosophers, because the separateness does not exist by itself,
    it does not limit God's infinity from outside. It is his own
    will that has imposed limits to itself, just as the chess-player
    restricts his will with regard to the moving of the chessmen.
    The player willingly enters into definite relations with each
    particular piece and realises the joy of his power by these very
    restrictions. It is not that he cannot move the chessmen just as
    he pleases, but if he does so then there can be no play. If God
    assumes his role of omnipotence, then his creation is at an end
    and his power loses all its meaning. For power to be a power must
    act within limits. God's water must be water, his earth can never
    be other than earth. The law that has made them water and earth
    is his own law by which he has separated the play from the player,
    for therein the joy of the player consists.

    As by the limits of law nature is separated from God, so it is
    the limits of its egoism which separates the self from him. He
    has willingly set limits to his will, and has given us mastery
    over the little world of our own. It is like a father's settling
    upon his son some allowance within the limit of which he is free
    to do what he likes. Though it remains a portion of the father's
    own property, yet he frees it from the operation of his own will.
    The reason of it is that the will, which is love's will and
    therefore free, can have its joy only in a union with another
    free will. The tyrant who must have slaves looks upon them as
    instruments of his purpose. It is the consciousness of his own
    necessity which makes him crush the will out of them, to make his
    self-interest absolutely secure. This self-interest cannot brook
    the least freedom in others, because it is not itself free. The
    tyrant is really dependent on his slaves, and therefore he tries
    to make them completely useful by making them subservient to his
    own will. But a lover must have two wills for the realisation of
    his love, because the consummation of love is in harmony, the
    harmony between freedom and freedom. So God's love from which
    our self has taken form has made it separate from God; and it is
    God's love which again establishes a reconciliation and unites
    God with our self through the separation. That is why our self
    has to go through endless renewals. For in its career of
    separateness it cannot go on for ever. Separateness is the
    finitude where it finds its barriers to come back again and again
    to its infinite source. Our self has ceaselessly to cast off its
    age, repeatedly shed its limits in oblivion and death, in order
    to realise its immortal youth. Its personality must merge in the
    universal time after time, in fact pass through it every moment,
    ever to refresh its individual life. It must follow the eternal
    rhythm and touch the fundamental unity at every step, and thus
    maintain its separation balanced in beauty and strength.

    The play of life and death we see everywhere--this transmutation
    of the old into the new. The day comes to us every morning,
    naked and white, fresh as a flower. But we know it is old. It
    is age itself. It is that very ancient day which took up the
    newborn earth in its arms, covered it with its white mantle of
    light, and sent it forth on its pilgrimage among the stars.

    Yet its feet are untired and its eyes undimmed. It carries the
    golden amulet of ageless eternity, at whose touch all wrinkles
    vanish from the forehead of creation. In the very core of the
    world's heart stands immortal youth. Death and decay cast over
    its face momentary shadows and pass on; they leave no marks of
    their steps--and truth remains fresh and young.

    This old, old day of our earth is born again and again every
    morning. It comes back to the original refrain of its music. If
    its march were the march of an infinite straight line, if it had
    not the awful pause of its plunge in the abysmal darkness and its
    repeated rebirth in the life of the endless beginning, then it
    would gradually soil and bury truth with its dust and spread
    ceaseless aching over the earth under its heavy tread. Then
    every moment would leave its load of weariness behind, and
    decrepitude would reign supreme on its throne of eternal dirt.

    But every morning the day is reborn among the newly-blossomed
    flowers with the same message retold and the same assurance
    renewed that death eternally dies, that the waves of turmoil are
    on the surface, and that the sea of tranquillity is fathomless.
    The curtain of night is drawn aside and truth emerges without a
    speck of dust on its garment, without a furrow of age on its
    lineaments.

    We see that he who is before everything else is the same to-day.
    Every note of the song of creation comes fresh from his voice.
    The universe is not a mere echo, reverberating from sky to sky,
    like a homeless wanderer--the echo of an old song sung once for
    all in the dim beginning of things and then left orphaned. Every
    moment it comes from the heart of the master, it is breathed in
    his breath.

    And that is the reason why it overspreads the sky like a thought
    taking shape in a poem, and never has to break into pieces with
    the burden of its own accumulating weight. Hence the surprise of
    endless variations, the advent of the unaccountable, the
    ceaseless procession of individuals, each of whom is without a
    parallel in creation. As at the first so to the last, the
    beginning never ends--the world is ever old and ever new.

    It is for our self to know that it must be born anew every moment
    of its life. It must break through all illusions that encase it
    in their crust to make it appear old, burdening it with death.

    For life is immortal youthfulness, and it hates age that tries to
    clog its movements--age that belongs not to life in truth, but
    follows it as the shadow follows the lamp.

    Our life, like a river, strikes its banks not to find itself
    closed in by them, but to realise anew every moment that it has
    its unending opening towards the sea. It is a poem that strikes
    its metre at every step not to be silenced by its rigid
    regulations, but to give expression every moment to the inner
    freedom of its harmony.

    The boundary walls of our individuality thrust us back within our
    limits, on the one hand, and thus lead us, on the other, to the
    unlimited. Only when we try to make these limits infinite are we
    launched into an impossible contradiction and court miserable
    failure.

    This is the cause which leads to the great revolutions in human
    history. Whenever the part, spurning the whole, tries to run a
    separate course of its own, the great pull of the all gives it a
    violent wrench, stops it suddenly, and brings it to the dust.
    Whenever the individual tries to dam the ever-flowing current of
    the world-force and imprison it within the area of his particular
    use, it brings on disaster. However powerful a king may be, he
    cannot raise his standard or rebellion against the infinite
    source of strength, which is unity, and yet remain powerful.

    It has been said, _By unrighteousness men prosper, gain what they
    desire, and triumph over their enemies, but at the end they are
    cut off at the root and suffer extinction._ [Footnote:
    Adharmenaidhate tavat tato bahdrani pacyati tatah sapatnan jayati
    samulastu vinacyati.] Our roots must go deep down into the
    universal if we would attain the greatness of personality.

    It is the end of our self to seek that union. It must bend its
    head low in love and meekness and take its stand where great and
    small all meet. It has to gain by its loss and rise by its
    surrender. His games would be a horror to the child if he could
    not come back to his mother, and our pride of personality will be
    a curse to us if we cannot give it up in love. We must know that
    it is only the revelation of the Infinite which is endlessly new
    and eternally beautiful in us, and which gives the only meaning
    to our self.
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