On August 31, 2015, our nation celebrates 53 years of independence. As with all national festivals, and as citizens of this ‘Janma-bhoomi’, our birthplace, this occasion should be a time to reflect, to refine and rebuild the national character.
Independence or ‘swatantrataa’ is a concept of Hinduism that defines man’s true nature, the state which each of us should strive to achieve. As such, true independence should be the vision of all and we should begin by taking a solemn pledge to work for the uplift of our land. Hinduism provides the perfect recipe for nation-building that far transcends all infrastructural designs, that mends the cracks of the nation’s persona, bridges the gap between all disparities and leads to final liberation.
The pillars of Hinduism are a good place to start this reconstruction. Destitute are we as a nation when it comes to upholding duty, maintaining values and the rich traditions left by the ancestors of our multi-cultured nation. We need to dearly safeguard these ideals. As workers, can we not reach to work on time, do the job we are paid to do, work for the hours we have been assigned, treat our colleagues and clients lovingly and compassionately and take sick leave only when necessary? Can we not maintain the rules of our land and not break them, allowing the systems to work rather than succumbing to bribes? Maintaining truth is a simple but strong pillar of production.
Shri Raam expressed his love for his birthplace when he said, “Blessed is the land where Ganga flows.” The lesson is for all of us to take pride in the land where we live and maintain it. Hindus are environmentalists; we revere nature but how much do we apply this principle in caring for this earth, one of our five mothers? Despite the many strides being made at different levels to raise the bar of sanitation, the floods reveal the truth of our actions. Cleanliness, it is said, is next to Godliness.
Hand in hand with truth and cleanliness are the pillars of genuine compassion and charity, of which there is a dearth. This may be a possible reason for the spike in delinquency today, especially among our juveniles. The many acts of violence committed against the young, handicapped and vulnerable in our society speaks to an absence of service towards the greater welfare of humanity. Such paucity in the milk of human kindness can only lead to spiritual indigence. Freedom comes with ‘manushya seva’-service to man.
Most certainly our nation has made significant strides through its 53 years of independence; but have we been abiding by our watchwords of discipline, tolerance and production? No doubt, sincere practice of these words will lead to freedom! We need to end the blame game for all the woes in the land and look inwardly. We must get rid of the prejudice and close-mindedness that widens the gap with our neighbours. Maybe we can each start by putting God and country at the forefront of our lives.
Rise above the feelings of ‘what is in it for me’. Be like the rocks used to build the bridge to Lanka. Let all actions be like offerings of peace, unity and goodwill. Only then will our nation, like the Goverdhan Mountain be lifted to the heights of mental advancement by the hands of Bhagavan Krishna.