Today Indians across the globe are celebrating the 68th Republic Day. Though India became an Independent nation on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state on January 26, 1950. On this day, the Constitution of India came into effect completing the country’s transition towards becoming an Independent Republic. While celebrations are on, can we step back for a moment and ask ourselves a pertinent question: “Are we truly an independent nation?”
Let me take you back to the early days India’s struggle for freedom. Those days the freedom movement was going on in full swing. Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Dash was the President of Indian National Congress at that time. On one occasion, CR Dash was on a visit to Pabna to spend a few days with Sree Sree Thakur Anukuchandra in his ashram. After spending a few days in the ashram and having several rounds of discussions with Sree Sree Thakur Anukulchandra which spanned across politics, administration, education, nationalism etc., CR Dash finally wanted to return home. The next day, he went to Anukulchandra and asked for his permission to return home. Thakur Anukulchandra in an affectionate tone told, “Dashda, why don’t you stay back for a few more days? It feels so good to have you in my company. “ Deshbandhu replied, “Thakur, I don’t want to go back leaving behind your divine company. But what shall I do? The freedom movement is in progress. I am not finding a single man who can shoulder the responsibility of freedom movement for a day in my absence. I will have to go back, Thakur.” Anukulchandra’s face turned grim. He looked at CR Dash and said, “ Dashda, today you don’t have a single person who can shoulder the responsibility of the freedom movement for a day in your absence. Then who would carry the freedom that you are going to bring tomorrow with your untiring efforts?” “That is true, Thakur. But I don’t know what the solution is. Is there a way out?” signed CR Dash? Thakur replied,” Create good human beings. The humankind has become rotten today with degradation of values, Man has become self-centered, greedy and eccentric. Such people cannot shoulder the responsibility of freedom. Create good human beings who would be trustworthy, reliable, honest and compassionate. And you would realize the true meaning of Freedom.” “How can we create good human beings” CR Dash said with a question mark on his face. Sree Sree Thakur replied, “You need a saintly personality behind you. The way Lord Ramkrishna was behind Swami Vivekananad, Lord Krishna was behind Arjun, Ramdas was behind Sibaji the great, Lord Ram was behind Hanuman, Chanakya was behind Chandragupta, similarly every human being needs a Living Ideal in his/her life. Be attached to this living Ideal, Guide, or Guru.”
His aforesaid conversation with Thakur Anukulchandra had a profound influence on CR Dash. This was on the 14th May 1924. CR Dash, bowed down at the feet of Sree Sree Thakur and said, “Thakur, you be the Living Guide in my life. Please accept me.” On this day, he took the holy initiation and accepted Sree Sree Thakur as his Living Ideal.
Lets take a pause and reflect on this conversation. What is the need for following a Living Ideal or Guru? Sree Sree Thakur himself has clarified this. According to him, if we love the Living Ideal and follow Him out of that love, ignoring our lower passions and weaknesses, we become transformed and we evolve. A man attached to the Living Ideal, becomes a loving, caring, wise, graceful and strong human being. His passions and complexes become servants of the Lord. He always serves the well-being of others and moves and acts according to the principles of Dharma. If instead we only follow our own whims, ignoring Him, then we receive accordingly. Because of our own short-sightedness, we try to use God for our own petty interests, rather than allow ourselves to be used by God for His interest. Thakur Anukulchandra’s ideology precisely explains why even after seven decades since we got indepence, we are not truly independent. Our daughters cannot walk in our streets safely today. Our children are not safe even in their schools.
CR Dash after returning from the Pabna Satsang Ashram in a letter to Mahtma Gandhi wrote, “I was beset with innumerable difficulties which, in-spite of the knowledge and experience I had, I could not solve. But, I got a very strong feeling from Sree Sree Thakur Anukulchandra after accepting Him as my Guru. I have learnt from my Guru , the value of Truth in all our dealings. I want you to live with Him for a few days at least. Your need is not the same as mine. But, He has given me strength, I did not possess before. I see things clearly which I saw dimly before.” Mahatma Gandhi did visit the Satsang Ashram later in Pabna later and had a very insightful conversation with Sree Sree Thakur Anukulchandra.
Sree Sree Thakur Anukulchandra’s immortal saying reverberates in mind: “Selfishness is not self-dependence or independence, rather, its opposite.The more you serve people, the more you become the master of all they have.” Deshbandhu CR Dash found his Living Ideal that day. Have you found yours yet?