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Trying to Understand Gurudev’s Prayer

 

Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let the humanity awake!

 

This is one of the most earnest appeals to God made by a human being. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, warm with love for his fellow beings, urges God to let this humanity awake into a heaven of freedom.  Bertrand Russel’s said his longing for love; search for knowledge and an un-enduring pity for suffering mankind have made him hither and thither for promotion of free thought, exchange and integration of refined ideas about humanity. And he goes on to delineate the heaven of his dreams…

Where the mind is without fear and head is held high…

Mind is the fertile ground of thought, seminal bed of reason and cultural field to harvest fruits of knowledge. The body housing it can be subdued, wrenched, and subjected to every kind of torture but its spirit can never be overcome. Cognizance of the past, awareness of the present, and the ability to see through the future are the qualities of the mind. It gives courage to look squarely at adversity. It looks straight and upright. Such a mind sees its own development in the continual elevation of people and endeavours to bring about unrestrained thinking, liberty for action and freedom of expression, simultaneously being cautions seeing such liberty doesn’t lead to anarchy and chaos.

Where the knowledge is free…

We are heirs to vast amount of knowledge and rich culture—not of one place, one race, or generation but to the multitude of human experience that had preceded ours. It governs us, it shapes us, and we achieve it through our actions. By consequence, we owe to it an obligation of continuance. We have our bounden duty to the unborn generations to preserve this knowledge and augment it with our own to make their lives easier and their world lovelier. It is the right of the generations coming up to demand from us their share and what we have inherited. It should be made available free to them… as free as air, water and sunlight… pure and abundant without discrimination of sex, colour or race.

Where the world has not broken up into narrow domestic walls…

Unfortunately people have a tendency to fragment themselves in the name of every conceivable physical, ethnical division coupled with an unflinching flair for warring about the superiority of one culture, religion or race over the other.  Every culture and every civilization prospered so long as ‘adopting to time’ was its basic tenet, reciprocity and appreciation of others its philosophy and uninhibited integration its practice. But when the basic fabric was torn to pieces and isolated excellence got precedence over collective progress, the spring of oppression recoiled with vengeance and the bright sunshines have reduced to relics of yester years. Confrontation and compartmentalization prevent free exchange of fertile ideas. Gurudev, therefore, prays for a state where the world is one united entity…

Where words come out from depths of truth…

Speaking truth doesn’t really mean a matter of fact statement. Truth springs mercy when needed. It is a manifestation of God himself. The passion for speaking the truth does not envisage that one should turn hypocritical. It calls for understanding and genuine love and empathy for people. Truth is synonymous with love. It never betrays—it bestows. Gurudev prays for such a state where every one is bound to speak the truth and nothing but the truth.

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into dreary desert sands of dead habit…

Reason is a reliable guide and an unfailing friend in moments of crisis. It is the light that shows us the way when we grope in darkness and get exhausted wading through troubled waters. By its nature, reason is not a dogmatic precept but an ever changing and ever enriching stream. It expands common sense and widens its scope with every generation. But it has its pitfalls of arrogance and despair. And when it becomes excess, it hangs up its wits at the first encounter and even the lowliest obstacle. What we do, we must do with conscious awareness of the import of our actions. A dead habit collects myth around it. Reason should invariably conduct people to better environment than before. Its purpose is not to win over the submission of people, but to flow ever so serenely into the fertile minds of people, cultivating love, harmony and universal well being. Otherwise, it will dry up in the desert sands of dead habit…sans identity, sans existence, sans power…

Where mind is lead forward by thee into ever widening thought and action…

While reason gives a clue to get out of any critical situation, the real way out lies in enacting the solution. Most often, man is crippled by inaction, for known and unknown reasons, when the best of solutions lies readily at hand. Strange as it may seem, the springs of motivation dry up all of a sudden, like Arjuna throwing away his bow and arrows. Thought should instill courage to action and action should enthuse generation of healthy ideas. The gamut of action and thought should expand with success as well as failure… each success giving sufficient inspiration for further  action and each failure more resolve and determination to succeed.

When freedom without fear and without divisions of caste creed or colour is supported by free flow of knowledge, truth and reason then the mind is led forward into ever widening thought and action for the general good.

Being one such great noble soul, Gurudev appeals to God to bestow on mankind such a state of thought and action.

 

(By Late R.S. Krishna Moorthy & N.S. Murty)

Excerpt from the Pamphlet published by the Walkers Club of Hyderabad Central under the guidance of Sri PNSN Murty.

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