Notes on Quotes: Nationalism and Patriotism
“Nationalism, like virtue, has its own reward.” – Mahatma Gandhi
To bring the emotion of unity to a particular group of people through division from the rest, may have a short term benefit as in Gandhi’s time, when the ideal was to break free from British colonialism. That ideal however, is antagonistic to the other ideal of Gandhi called “ahimsa” or “non-violence.”
Although “ahimsa” is a spiritual attitude of respect towards all life and all sentient beings which has been interpreted as “non-violence;” the application of that principle has been grossly misinterpreted when taken into a political context which is made of continuous, everlasting violent division among people. “Ahimsa” has been changed into a mere “concept,” where the “solution” to the “problem” of independence is to “apply” the “concept” of “non-violence” and use a “sacred word” to enhance the holiness of the “new practice.” How can you apply “ahimsa” when there is a mental division already in which we perceive another human being as an enemy? Nationalism just like patriotism serve for that purpose. India gained its independence but violence continued among Indians as religious fights took place. Gandhi was killed in that process. Was that the reward of nationalism?
“Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind.” – Albert Einstein
An accurate description. Nationalism is an infantile disease where children play at dividing their territories and creating national songs and colorful rags to differentiate from one another. That game has been taken even to the “Olympic games” where athletes become soldiers, competing with others to be the “best,” to “win the war.” How childish, indeed! What Nationalism is ‘proud of’ is at the same time, the seed for division and violence. Nationalism has invaded many times the Olympic games, causing damage to the spirit of sportsmanship and poisoned the sense of fellowship with other athletes.
Measles is common in children. Thus, someone with an “adult,” “grown up” consciousness will not be part of such a game.
“I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.” – Eugene Debs
Eugene Debs had a socialist insight. Although those ideals were only at the intellectual level, they were promoted in a political party and thus, considered “illegal” at that time, which caused him to experience jail time and hardship. To feel beyond the boundaries of nationalities, is a way of living. Fundamentally, a way of BEING which does not have the need to convince another to gain followers. It is through that attitude how an individual could live with others without preaching ideas, as his only presence is the inspiration for others to change.
Nationalism is a barrier for greater consciousness. Beyond nations, there is the Earth. Even further, there is the Universe, Life itself. No borders there, and that is the basis of identity for any conscious human being.
“I” am Life, because Life is who “I” am.
Oneness and God
Living life in joy means to take the training wheels of beliefs, off the bike. You can fall, you can hurt yourself… but with courage, you will know how to ride the bike.
Someone whose consciousness perceives “good” and “bad,” is not ready to perceive Oneness.
“Yes… I BELIEVE in Oneness, but you have done wrong and you will be punished.”
The game of “good” and “bad” requires to reject that which we perceive to be “bad.” The fight against evil.
“ Err… but if “I” don’t fight against evil, what should “I” do?
The “I” should do nothing. Anything the “I” does will only perpetuate that which the “I” wants to fight against.
This could be misinterpreted as Gandhi’s “ahimsa,” when some people whose consciousness is full of “I” are told to suck it up and do nothing in front of their perceived “enemy.”
“Yes… but it worked. The British left the Indians alone.”
Observe how your response keeps separating people, that reflects your consciousness: British = bad, Indians= good.
Indians kept fighting against each other. Violence between religions appeared. Gandhi himself was a victim of that violence.
A person whose consciousness is not able to see how “good” and “bad” are interrelated is truly stuck in the belief that God is “good” even though, that person may not believe in a God.
“How is that?”
They believe to be “God” themselves. What they do to be “right.”
Notice how the word “God” is interpreted in different ways and assigned to different entities or beings through the belief of different religious systems, but the bottom line is that this word, “God” represents “good” and thus there is the opposite, evil, bad.
“If God is neither “good” nor “bad,” then what is what he does?”
NOTHING but to allow for Life to be as it has to be.
A religion in Oneness full of BELIEVERS is a dishonest endeavor.
Oneness is change of consciousness not of beliefs.
“Yes… but I should start believing in something, so that belief could be a reality later on.”
That is another belief. Be honest with your current level of consciousness. It has something to teach you.
It is time to acknowledge that consciousness makes the change and not a belief system. Consciousness changes through the assimilation of Life experiences and not through the indoctrination of a belief system.
Whether someone believes in God or not, it does not matter at all.
What truly matters is how open a person’s consciousness is to accept and appreciate all.
The duality of “good and evil” can only create fear and fear is not a vehicle for changing consciousness but only behavior.
Someone who behaves like an “angel” is not truly an angel but a fake.
Could you envision God and the Devil (Maya) together in an effusive embrace of Love? 🙂
Observe how your belief is not allowing you to perceive beyond your comfort level.
“It is the belief in God “bad” then?”
For God’s sake, it is not “bad.” Believe in whatever you wish. But acknowledge that your belief has as much weight as someone else’s. That is all.
Your “spiritual experience” is as valid as someone else’s.
The bottom line is opening in consciousness.
Have the openness and courage to change when your consciousness is capable of perceiving something different in the horizon, get out of your rigid mind and accept what your heart is calling for. Be honest with yourself.
That is the beginning of inner knowledge where beliefs are no longer needed. The training wheels are left aside.
The “reality” of religious ideals
Everyone could realize that Life is change, but not everyone could feel that “I” am Life itself.
Therefore change is my inherent “law.”
The apparently inoffensive statement above, has deeper ramifications.
“Mahatmaji,” I said as I squatted beside him on the uncushioned mat, “please tell me your
definition of ahimsa.” (Non-violence)
“The avoidance of harm to any living creature in thought or deed.”
“Beautiful ideal! But the world will always ask: May one not kill a cobra to protect a child, or one’s
“I could not kill a cobra without violating two of my vows- fearlessness, and non-killing. I would
rather try inwardly to calm the snake by vibrations of love. I cannot possibly lower my standards
to suit my circumstances.” With his amazing candor, Gandhi added, “I must confess that I could
not carry on this conversation were I faced by a cobra!”
The above extract is from the “autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda.
The above sounds beautiful.. It sounds like a marvelous example to follow: We have a definition of “something to live by.” We have a value system such as “fearlessness” and “non-killing” and we have a “set of standards” to live by.
The “I” thrives under those circumstances. It becomes a “bigger I.” 🙂
That is the way we have been taught: To follow an ideal of a value system and to stick with it no matter what.
Then, we look at our “standards” and then we make the decision to either follow the standards (good) or to “lower” them (bad.)
Isn’t that the “normal” “spiritual” teaching?
Gandhi cannot lower “his” standards. No matter what the circumstances are.
The above is a typical “black or white” mentality.
When we live life by ideals, we tend to cheat ourselves.
How is that?
Fearlessness is not a “standard.” We are “fearless” or we are not.
This is not a question of following a standard.
To be fearless is not a question of not being afraid. Not being afraid, is repression when feeling afraid.
That would be a lie.
Fearlessness comes from non-rejection of what we are experiencing at the moment and to re-direct that energy into strength, power.
A cobra may kill a mouse to eat it. The intention is survival.
Is the Cobra “bad” because it is not practicing “ahimsa” with the rodent?
If there is a colony of roaches in our home, shall we practice “ahimsa” with them?
Everything goes back to the intention not an “ideal.”
“Vibrations of love” is not something to be “practiced” when needed, but it happens naturally when we are conscious of being that love.
It is not a solution to shoo away the Cobra, but merely a way of embracing an experience, that is our attitude, our perspective.
At the end of the road, we should know that there is no such a thing as dying, for everything recycles again; therefore, “killing” is an action with repercussions, but if non-killing is put as a value to pursue, all we are doing is increasing our ego “value” in the face of the reality of Life. As we breathe, we kill.
When pretending to be “good” is forgotten, then we could observe the reality of exactly who we are. Just like a Tiger may act in different ways according to the settings and circumstances, without a trace of cowardice. A human being does not allow himself to bend and to bow down to the circumstances in Life, but rather fights to keep “his” ideals as a wonderful thing…
When we live Life from the head and thinking, those ideals are important. We get prizes, medals and ovations. We could even be called “saints” or “great souls.”
When we live Life from the heart, all we can show at every moment is who we are. No make-up of values and ideals will be needed.
What we get is “nothing” but a good sleep. “Nothing” but enjoyment of Life. “Nothing” but the opportunity to “BE.”
Observe how Gandhi realized that one thing is to “talk beautifully” about ideals, values and what “we should do and what we shouldn’t” and another thing is to act right there, without rehearsals when the experience comes into our lives.
At that point, only what we ARE will show. Nothing else.
In Nature, lack of flexibility, openness or suppleness equals a short life span when facing another force of Nature.
The beauty of martial arts is to deflect a force without spending much energy.
When 2 forces collide, the stronger one will prevail.
That is why most value force, strength to overcome an issue. Nevertheless, the stronger force will be diminished as well.
In human terms, there will be damages in both sides.
“Non-violence” is resistance. Since it is resistance, it will receive damage.
That has been the teaching in history.
Gandhi and Luther King applied non-violence as a form of resistance. The result is that there is still people fighting for their “freedom” or a better way to live or not being discriminated against.
Gandhi and Luther King were both assassinated.
Cause and Effect.
Many people lost their lives through that “non-violent resistance.”
Gandhi was disappointed once the British left India for religious wars were taking place among “his people.”
In India, fights are not about the “color of the skin” but it is all about religion.
Paradoxically, India is known for its tolerance of faiths… 🙂
In the USA as well as many Western countries, the “color of the skin” has much importance even nowadays.
Even though the issues haven’t been resolved, those issues seem to be “better” that is, more “tolerable.”
Tolerance is not a virtue. It is self-deception.
Perhaps another “non-violent resistance” is needed?
It is not a matter of “doing” something. It is a matter of collective consciousness.
Some “maverick” individual has always influenced collective consciousness. It just takes time to “catch on.”
Humans are unwilling to learn from the lessons of Nature… or even history. Individuals who are concerned with the well-being of “their people” are unable to perceive the Oneness of all.
Courage is not just a display of our views into the world with the willingness to “fight for that,” to resist.
Courage is about-facing our own fears. To take a closer look to our own beliefs, to dismantle them and then to act when the time is right.
To wait for the right time, takes courage. 🙂
A “good idea” is only “good” at a particular time.
Change will happen for life is change.
In history everyone will defend their own group however we want to divide it:
A color or “non-color” person will speak up for their group. A religious head, will do the same to defend the interest of their dogma. A political brain will act in the same way hoping that the masses will pick “right” rather than “left” because they are “right” and the others “wrong.”
Those defenders will get “peace” prizes.
Those defenders will get kill when violence and death was experienced by followers.
When they are dead, they need to be remembered.
That is the history of resistance in a nutshell.
There is nothing extraordinary in defending your own group. Extraordinary is to live without the separation of groups, of limits… into Oneness… and that is natural.
Nevertheless, things change all by itself: A thunderstorm goes away by itself. The “great flood” lasted for 40 days.
When the collective consciousness moves to a different state, then all of a sudden, a “crazy idea” becomes a “great idea.”
A maverick… becomes the “new savior.” 🙂
Comment: Greeting s of Love and Peace. It is requested to provide at the earliest (if possible), some articles in Hindi related to Independence day for doing Baba’s service, at local level. Thank You
Thank you for your request.
Fortunately, there is an article which i wrote sometime ago which is here and which will be reproduced below and it is related to the Upcoming “Indian Independence” from British rule. All in the context of Karma.
I am sorry, but I do not know Hindi, but you could use the “translation feature” in this site to translate it into Hindi and feel free to modify it; however, if it is in a language other than English, it cannot be said that “I” wrote it; for in translation the meaning is lost unless, I do it myself. 🙂
I would like to add that this role typically do not write “articles upon request.” Inspiration drives me as well as some magical touchings from “up above,” i hope… 🙂
Let me go deeper into these concepts of karma by giving the example of Mohandas Gandhi’s life.
Had the opportunity to watch the film “Gandhi” (1982) on my trip back from Madhuban. I truly recommend this film, specially for “double foreigners.”
Taking for granted that this film gave a fair account on his life, I could say that from a gyani perspective, to be murdered is a sign of having done something to deserve that end in life.
Let us forget about the title: “Mahatma.” If you consider titles, degrees and all of that stuff, our learning will be biased. “Gandhi was a great man. Look what he has done. He gave India his independence from the Englishmen.”
“Independence” is a nice word which hides slaughter, when in politics. There are many of such men who have given “independence” to other countries. It was the war of the “white, christian European man” against everyone else. What was unique in Gandhi’s way, was his so called : “ahimsa.” or “total non-violence.”
When we understand karma and gyan, we can see that Gandhi employed violence. Resistance, although without fighting back, is violence. In gyan we learn this lesson all the time. If I resist something, that will build up until it will overcome me and I will indulge into it, or it will make me “die” through fear or through a physical disease. Understanding is usually the right method.
Gandhi’s approach was to resist the violence inflicted in them . That is a way of self violence. Not only that, but the goal of 100% “non physical violence” usually failed. There were many people murdered due to this resistance. Many lives lost in this “utopia” type of pursue.
At the end, the Englishmen left India. Victory? No. Muslims and Hindus started their own fight for supremacy within India. The goal of reaching non violence with violent individuals is just not possible.
If we overcome this, then we have the Indian caste system and the reason why many Hindus convert into Christianity (for Christianity every man is equal under the eyes of God.) In the western world division is made by the way you look. In India, by the “Dharma” that you profess.
Then, Gandhi fasted. More self violence, so others will stop their violence of fighting against each other. Gandhi put himself to the point of abusing his own body’s health.
From the spiritual perspective, there is nothing honorable and good that can happen out of violence. It is not possible ( We conquer the world through the power of yoga and not through violence.) However, from the Drama point of view, all of these sequences of violence were necessary. All of that bloodshed was needed, for changes happened through that suffering. The Drama is “benevolent,” the means are devoid of moral standards.
Most of those souls who were “fighters” for freedom, were assassinated.
Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, etc, etc…and lesser known individuals. That “freedom” is not real “freedom.” Politics is not the way to become spiritual, but in the tamopradhan world, politics is the way to “enlightenment.”
Perhaps some souls here who admired Gandhi will feel a bit upset by these comments. Gandi had lots of will power, lots of desires to help his “own” people and had a lot of inner wisdom… He just didn’t have spiritual knowledge, for if he would have had that, he wouldn’t attempt to pursue “fake freedom” instead of real freedom, which is, freedom from the vices. A violent man cannot be free.
The law of karma gives a return. It is not meant to praise some individuals according to people’s perceived greatness. The title “Mahatma” is not something giving by the Drama or Baba, it is given by violent human beings, who perceive violence only when “giving” but are unable to see violence on the “taking.” For a spiritual aware individual, to “give” is to “take.” Same thing different form.