Ambitions, Politics & Tagore

Posted By Author on March 15, 2011


I had hot water bath.  Came out in the Sun.  Baba was already out.  After a while he called me.  There were saplings of watermelon vines.  Baba took out one at a time with soil around roots and planted elsewhere.  Then he told Lala and me to do the same.  We watered them after retransfer.  Poor Budhiballabhji got exhausted.  He left.  Then Baba told us to dig out pits for plantation of brinjal i.e. eggplants, and fill the ditches by fresh soil from a long distance.  I was also exhausted. I then left for bath. Took lunch and rest.

Baba called us in the evening.  Chinu was in my lap and she wetted my clothes.  I had to go for a bath and change of clothes.

At 7.30 P.M. Baba called us all and gave the following note:

“The reason why the members of the Ashram even after giving whatever mundane they had for the cause of the Ashram had to disassociate themselves from the Ashram is that they wanted me without any mental bent for the ideal I cherish for their development and with some worldly ambition to be satisfied through myself which I thoroughly detest.  Be all of you on your guard.  None can pull on with me without to the best of his abilities moving progressively towards ideal that is before you all and be on your guard in relation to the ideal.  If you have the demarcation between a small thing and a big thing then you do not know what you are aiming at.  Then be sure your external acceptance of an ideal is merely an ambition under a cloak.  You can never get nearer to the ideal without mastering this debasing, degenerating ambition.  A man who has the ambition of doing this or that, or becoming this or that can never do the real work and can never pull on with me in closest association.  A slave to ambition will always move in a vicious circle and can never become a real master in his own inner house and really from the viewpoint of highest ideal there is little difference between the so called biggest statesmen and the smallest cobbler.  Slaves both are, the former in his big way, the latter in his small way.

Note it clearly there is very wide gulf between aspiration and ambition.  The life pulse of ambition is one way or the other feeling dominantly for one’s ego dormant or manifest.  The life force pulsating in aspiration is feeling for the ideal and for the work associated with it without any touch of attachment strewn in it.  If there is the slightest hankering for name and fame, it is not aspiration but ambition. Real work, of course, may sometimes bring you name and fame but the slightest egoistic satisfaction when you get them it is a clear indication that still you are a slave to name and fame.  The feeling of satisfaction for the work done in right way and egoistic satisfaction are at poles apart.”

We had a discussion on this.  I told him that he already gave this sermon earlier.  Then discussion went on missionary zeal, Baba then explained all this in Hindi to others.

Then he had a bout of anger and nostalgia.  He related as usual past mistakes of followers.  He said, “I do not feel like going to the Ashram back. A band of scoundrels is there in the Ashram.  If I go they will get beating.  Whatever body I have recouped in one year will be destroyed there.” Etc Baba then dictated a telegram of fifty-two words telling Nitya Sen in Ashram to go to Assam and get two thousand rupees from Bakul Das and send half amount by T.M.O. here and keep the rest for their expenditure. (Long telegram is a typical style of Subhash Bose.) Then out of would be coming half-amount, rupees four hundred would go to Saxena’s house.  Rupees hundred and twenty five and hundred to Lala and Gobind’s house respectively would be sent.  Later he went inside.

Ramanidada and I discussed the monetary situation.  He gave twenty-five rupees to Budhiballabhji to bring Baba’s cigarettes and he had balance of forty-five rupees.  On our side we had balance of forty rupees.  Baba spends lavishly on purchases and when there was money crunch he would be angry and restless.  Again fresh borrowing, sale of things, hooking new fishes and that was the routine.  We had fine dinner and gossiped in hut.  An altercation ensued between Lala and Saxena on bringing milk from Chunni without taking bath and I was amused to think of Baba’s aspiration of joint family system of members.  Budhiballabhji also felt sorry and so said to me.  I slept at 12 in the night.


I got up late.  Had cold-water bath.  Worked in the garden.  Hardly could I finish my breakfast then Baba called me.  He asked to find out as to what mistake was committed while watering his inner garden day before yesterday.  We were taken in for a ride and told that if we could do small work perfectly then alone we would be good administrators in future. He gave a discourse on it.  Then he opened the topic of President’s election.

Shankaracharya of Puri made statement that there should not be a Muslim President.  According to Baba he was an idiot.  On this I remarked that the policy of secularism adopted by the Congress party was apparent, shallow and hollow.  They are secular outwardly but most non-secular inwardly.  They brought Hindu Code Bill but had no guts to bring uniform law in the country.  The Muslims were allowed to have four wives and oral divorce. They do not accept family planning.  Percentage of their population was increasing and in future they would carve out another Pakistan from the remnant vestiges of present India.  The opposition had neither strength nor hope of reunification of India.  Then with such stand if Shankaracharya criticized, what was wrong in it?  Baba said, “It is correct. It will have to be stopped.  Suresh, have you followed?”  I said,  “Yes one nation one law.”  We then came out.

I did cooking and all of us took lunch at 1.30 P.M. Baba then called all of us for work in the garden.  He told me to go to Kund to fetch cigarettes for him.  After rest of half an hour I went to Kund.  The weather was stormy.  The moment I reached I got the parcel.  I purchased cigarettes for colleagues and chatted with Sohan Singh. By then, bus for Okhimath came. I boarded it. The conductor did not accept money.  He dropped me at the turning of Tal Chunni.  The driver got down to see me.  He introduced a lecturer in chemistry from Kanpur who came as an external examiner at Vidyapith.  I lifted his luggage to render help.  Half way two students arrived and took things from me.  The lecturer and his wife with hand in hand (probably newly married) were following us.  They thought me to be an ordinary rustic villager.  Prof. Chamoli came and took a bag from my hand and introduced me to the couple.  They were surprised to find me a Ph.D. holder and were ashamed of allowing me to carry their luggage.  Chamoli asked for their visit to the camp and I said I would try to confirm the appointment.

I arrived in the camp.  Baba was there.  I gave cigarette carton to Dada. Baba was all smiles for it as his stock was almost at the bottom.  I worked in the garden.  After some time Principal Shridhar, Dhasmana and that young couple arrived.  Baba gave them audience.  A lean and thin dark complexioned professor of Kanpur was Shaktilal Shrivastav, lecturer in Marwari College of Kanpur.  His name and appearance were a paradox.  I already apprised him how to behave before Baba.  In spite of that he began talking loudly with lot of gestures of hands.  Baba admonished him thoroughly and yet nervously he was shaking his thigh.  All of us were amused and laughing at his fidgeting.  He kept talking continuously and told that his research work was to replace sodium salts in cells and that too refillable.  I did not participate the discussion as I found him prima facie an idiot.  They were all served tea and left.  We resumed work.  Baba called me back for a chat.  We talked about Shaktilal’s behaviour. Baba then gave the following dictation.

8 P.M.  “Impulsiveness expresses itself in various ways.  When impulsiveness is intricately and inseparably associated with motor actions it is then the worst type.  A man uncontrollably exhibiting this sort of impulsiveness gets expression.  Take the case of young man whom you met today.  A small child if you just check him from moving the arms, will just start moving his legs.  If a young man behaves the same way, it means his mental age is less than even a child.  But this is only one factor.  In coming to final conclusion other factors also will have to be found out and thoroughly weighed before summing up.  The more the impulses are in your control, the more advanced you are mentally.”

Discussion followed.  Baba said, “Unmannerliness is closely associated with impulses.  Unsophisticated man is ignorant and not impulsive.”  He then explained meaning of ‘vulgar’.  After that discussion followed on classic literature of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Carlyle, Chaucer, Milton, Homer, Goethe, Thomas Hardy, Stevenson, Shelly, Francis Bacon, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Goldsmith, etc.  Then modern literature of Somerset Maugham, Wodehouse, Maupassant and Shaw was discussed.   I apprised him as to how Maugham visited Arvind Ashram for one day to criticize him but was mesmerized by his thoughts and stayed for a week. He was so much influenced that later he wrote On Human Bondage and Razor’s Edge novels depicting Indian philosophy. Baba asked me whether I had those books. I answered in affirmative and he told me to get those books in my next visit. He then told me to call all once more.  We assembled and with a brief chat in good mood he left.  Our food was cooked at 11 P.M., dinner at 11.30 P.M. and to bed at twelve in the night.


All got up at 6 A.M. and started garden work.  I remained in bed.  Ramanidada came to see me.  I lied that my stomach was aching.  He offered to apply mud therapy.  I was afraid.  I told him I would try cold-water bath and left for the river.  After return started work and told Ramanidada that I was feeling all right.  I was alone called by Baba and then he gave addenda to yesterday’s note on Shaktilal as below:

“Modesty is alright, feeling for the people in difficulty and rendering possible help and service to them is alright but if a man does not know how to behave, you must have been the outspoken to make him learn how he should behave.”

On this I related to Baba that the fellow was laughing when I was carrying his suitcase and Baba remonstrated as to why did I not admonish him then and there?

Baba then dictated and explained apt and interesting Bengali verses by Rabindranath Tagore i.e. Thakurda, and very poignantly elucidated human behaviour as below:

The original couplet of Tagore in Bengali is rendered in English as follows.

Keroshin shka kahe matir prdeepe |

Bhai bole dako jadi debo gala tipe ||

Henokale akashete uthilen chanda |

Keroshin shika kahe esho mor dada ||

Meaning in brief:

A kerosine flame says to an earthen lamp, if you call me brother I shall strangle you, in the mean time the Moon rose in sky with brighter light than kerosene lamp.  The faint and weak wick said to earthen lamp, ‘oh my dear big brother come here.’

Another couplet by Thakurda on ego was related as follows:

It is English rendering of Bengali.

Mrunal dighire kahe ucche tuli shir |

Lekhe rakho ek futa dilen Shishir ||


The lotus says to water that my head is above you and keep it written that I have given you a drop of water of dew.

In the noon I read newspaper.  Prabhakar’s letter dated first May was received on fourth May. It was a shocking performance of the postal department.  All was well at my home.  He was to leave for Pune.  When related to Baba he told me to inform him to drop it, as at any moment he would be called here.  In the evening Baba went inside early.  After working in the kitchen slept early.

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