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NATIONALISM

NATIONALISM
SIR

RABINDRANATH TAGORE
NATIONALISM IN THE WEST
NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
NATIONALISM IN INDIA
THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY

SAN FRANCISCO

THE BOOK CLUB OF CALIFORNIA


MDCCCCXVII

J~G 3 II
?

/3
COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY THE ATLANTIC
COPYRIGHT, 1916

AND

1917, BY

MONTHLY COMPANY

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and Electrotypcd


Published August,

J. 8.

NorfoooD
Berwick A Smith Oo.
CuBhlng Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

TO
C. F.

ANDREWS

845596

PREFACE
"
of

Nationalism

in the

West

delivered

lectures

"

is

one of a
the

throughout

United

"National-

States during the winter of 1916-17.

ism in Japan"

series

based upon two lectures de-

is

Japan before the Imperial University


and the Keio Gijuku University in June and July,

livered in

1916.

"Nationalism

United States late

upon the

on the

The poem

"The Sunset
last

day

is

own

completeness

Nationalism.
book,

in 1916,

state of his

world-wide

India," written in the

in

to

the poet's reflection

country, and gives


the

discussion

of

at the conclusion of the

of the Century,"

of the last century.

was written

CONTENTS
PAGE

NATIONALISM

IN

THE WEST

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

NATIONALISM

IN INDIA

THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY

63
,

115
155

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


MAN'S

is

history

the difficulties

it

being shaped according

encounters.

tc

These have offered

us problems and claimed their solutions from us,

the

penalty

non-fulfilment

of

death

being

or

degradation.

These

difficulties

have been different

peoples of the earth, and in the

overcoming them

lies

The Scythians
had

history

in different

manner

of our

our distinction.

of the earlier period of Asiatic

to struggle with the scarcity of their

The

natural resources.

easiest solution that they

could think of was to organize their whole population,

men, women, and children, into bands of

And

robbers.

who were
work

they

chiefly

were

irresistible

engaged

in

the

to

those

constructive

of social cooperation.

But fortunately
his truest path.

plex as

it is, if it

for

man

If his

the easiest path

is

not

nature were not as com-

were as simple as that of a pack


13

NATIONALISM

14
of
of

hungry wolves, then, by this time, those hordes


marauders would have overrun the whole earth.

But man, when confronted with


acknowledge that he

to

is

difficulties,

man, that he has

has
his

responsibilities to the higher faculties of his nature,

by ignoring -which he may achieve success that


is immediate, perhaps, but that will become a
For what are obstacles to

death trap to him.


the

lower

higher

To

life

creatures
of

are

opportunities

the

man.

India has been given her problem from the

beginning of history

it

is

the race problem.

Races ethnologically different have come


country
still

to

in close contact.

in this

This fact has been and

continues to be the most important one in

our history.

It

is

our mission to face

our humanity in dealing with

we

truth.

Until

fits will

be denied

fulfil

and prove

it

it

in

the fullest

our mission

all

other bene-

us.

There are other peoples

in the

world

who have

obstacles in their physical surroundings to over-

come, or the menace of their powerful neighbours.

They have organized

their

power

till

they are not

only reasonably free from the tyranny of Nature

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

15

and human neighbours, but have a surplus of it


But
left in their hands to employ against others.
in India,

our

difficulties

being internal, our history

has been the history of continual social adjust-

ment and not that

of organized

power

for defence

and aggression.
Neither the colourless vagueness of cosmopolitanism, nor the fierce self-idolatry of nation-worship

is

the goal of

human

history.

And

India has

been trying to accomplish her task through

social

regulation of differences, on the one hand, and

the spiritual recognition of unity, on the other.

She has made grave errors

in setting

up the boun-

dary walls too rigidly between races,

in perpetuat-

ing the results of inferiority in her classifications

often she has crippled her children's minds and

narrowed their
social

forms

lives in

order to

fit

them

into her

but for centuries new experiments

have been made and adjustments carried out.

Her mission has been

like

that of a hostess to

provide proper accommodation to her numerous


guests whose habits and requirements are different

from one another.

It

is

giving rise to infinite

complexities whose solution depends not merely

NATIONALISM

16

tion of the unity of


tion

sympathy and true


man. Towards this

tactfulness but

upon

realizarealiza-

have worked from the early time of the

Upanishads up to the present moment, a series of


great spiritual teachers, whose one object has been
to set at

naught

all

differences of

man by

the over-

flow of our consciousness of God.

In fact, our

history has not been of the rise and

fall -of

doms, of

fights for political

supremacy.

king-

In our

country records of these days have been despised

For they

and forgotten.

no way represent

in

the true history of our people.

that of our social

life

Our

history

and attainment of

is

spiritual

ideals.

But we

feel

that our task

is

not yet done.

world-flood has swept over our country,

new

The
ele-

ments have been introduced, and wider adjustments are waiting to be made.

We

feel this all

the more, because the teaching

and example of the West have entirely run counter


to what we think was given to India to accomplish.

In the

commerce and
bales of

West

the national machinery of

politics turns

out neatly compressed

humanity which have

their use

and high

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

17

market value; but they are bound in iron hoops,


labelled and separated off with scientific care and
Obviously

precision.

human

vellous

but

God made man

modern product has such mar-

this

square-cut

savouring of gigantic

finish,

manufacture, that the Creator


to recognize

it

made

own

in his

But
say

is

am

is

who

tried

divine image.

What

anticipating.
it

in

was about to

whatever

spirit

you

like,

to live peacefully and think deeply,

the India devoid of


nations,

all politics,

the India of no

whose one ambition has been to know

world as of soul, to

of her

and a creature

India, of about fifty centuries at least,

here

this

will find it difficult

as a thing of spirit

take

this,

be

to

life in

the

meek

live here

every

moment

spirit of adoration, in the

glad consciousness of an eternal and personal relationship with

This

it.

humanity, childlike

dom

of the old,

is

in its

the remote portion of

manner, with the wis-

upon which burst the Nation

of

the West.

Through

all

the fights and intrigues and decep-

tions of her earlier history India


aloof.

Because

her

homes,

had remained

her

fields,

her

NATIONALISM

18
of

temples

her

worship,

where

her

together in

the

devotion

and

schools,

'

and

teachers

of

atmosphere
learning,

simple

students

and

simplicity

her village

and

laws

lived

self-government with
administration

peaceful

like clouds,

now

now black with

They passed over

her head

tinged with purple gorgeousness,

the threat of thunder.

they brought devastations


they were

all

But her thrones

these truly belonged to her.

were not her concern.

its

in

like catastrophes of

their

Often

wake, but

nature whose traces

are soon forgotten.

But
mere

this
drift

time

it

was

different.

over her surface of

It
life,

was not a
drift

of

cavalry and foot soldiers, richly caparisoned elephants, white tents and canopies, strings of patient

camels bearing the loads of royalty, bands of ket-

tledrums and

flutes,

marble domes of mosques,

palaces and tombs, like the bubbles of the foaming wine of extravagance

stories

of

treachery

and loyal devotion, of changes of fortune, of dramatic surprises of fate. This time it was the
Nation of the West driving
chinery deep

down

into the

its

soil.

tentacles of

ma-

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


Therefore,
as witnesses

say to you,
to

it is

we who

are called

evidence as to what the

give

We

Nation has been to humanity.

the hordes of Moghals and Pathans

had known
who invaded
human races,

India, but

we had known them

with their

own

dislikes,

we had never known them

We

19

religions

as

and customs,

and

likes

as a nation.

loved and hated them as occasions arose

we

fought for them and against them, talked with

them

in a

language which was theirs as well as

our own, and guided the destiny of the Empire in

which we had our active share.

we had

this

to deal, not with kings, not with

but with a nation,

races,

But

we,

who

time

human

are no nation

ourselves.

Now
I

let

us from our

the question,

nation,

What
in

own

this

is

Nation

a whole population

is

Society as such has no

It

is

an end

It

is

a natural

in

itself.

It

is

man as a social
regulation of human rela-

spontaneous self-expression of

being.

and

that aspect which

assumes when organized for

mechanical purpose.

ulterior purpose.

the sense of the political

economic union of a people,

experience answer

NATIONALISM

20

men can

tionships, so that

with one another.

cooperation
political side,

It

develop ideals of

but

this

is

of power, not of

days

it

had

its

in

also

only for a special purpose.

for self-preservation.

is

has

It

life

human

It

merely the side

is

And

ideals.

in the early

separate place in society, restricted

But when with the help

to the professionals.

of

and the perfecting of organization this


power begins to grow and brings in harvests of
science

wealth, then
rapidity.
societies

it

crosses

For then

its

it

boundaries with amazing

goads

all

its

neighbouring

with greed of material prosperity, and

consequent mutual jealousy, and by the fear of


each other's growth into powerfulness.

comes when

it

The time

can stop no longer, for the com-

petition grows keener, organization grows vaster,

and

selfishness attains

the greed and fear of man,

more space

Trading upon
occupies more and

supremacy.

in society,

it

and at

last

becomes

its

ruling force.
It

is

habit
society

just possible that

consciousness
are

that

breaking up,

you have
the

lost

living

through

bonds

of

and giving place to

merely mechanical organization.

But you

see

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

21

owing to this that


war has been declared between man and woman,
signs of

it

It

everywhere.

is

because the natural thread

them together

holds

in

snapping which

is

harmony

because

man

is

driven to professionalism, producing wealth for


himself and others, continually turning the wheel
of

for his

power

universal

own

sake or for the sake of the

officialdom,

leaving

woman alone to
own battle un-

wither and to die or to fight her

And

aided.

thus

intruded

has

natural

psychology of
relation

there

where

cooperation

competition.

men and women about

is

The very
their

mutual

changing and becoming the psychology

is

of the primitive fighting elements rather than of

humanity seeking

completeness through the

its

union based upon mutual self-surrender.

For the

elements which have lost their living bond of


reality

have

They,

like

lost the

in continual conflict

with each

they burst the very arrangement which

other

till

holds

them

chists,

their existence.

gaseous particles, forced into a too

narrow space, come

Then

meaning of

in bondage.

look at those

who

who

call

themselves anar-

resent the imposition of power, in

any

NATIONALISM

22

The only

form whatever, upon the individual.


reason for this
abstract

it

is

is

that power has become too

made

a scientific product

in the

laboratory of the Nation, through the

political

dissolution of the personal humanity.

And what

is

the meaning of these strikes in the

economic world, which

like the prickly

shrubs in

a barren soil shoot

up with renewed vigour each

time they are cut

down

What, but that the

wealth-producing mechanism

is

incessantly grow-

ing into vast stature, out of proportion to

other needs of society,

man

and the

more and more crushed under

is

This state of things inevitably gives


feuds
ness

full

among

reality of
its

weight.

rise to eternal

the elements freed from the whole-

and wholesomeness of human

interminable

all

economic war

is

ideals,

and

waged between

For greed of wealth and power


can never have a limit, and compromise of selfcapital

and labour.

interest can never attain the final spirit of reconciliation.

They must go on breeding

suspicion to the end

jealousy and

the end which only comes

through some sudden catastrophe or a spiritual


rebirth.

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


When

organization of politics and com-

this

merce, whose other


all

23

name

is

the Nation, becomes

powerful at the cost of the harmony of the

higher social

When

manity.

then

life,

it

a father

his obligations to his

an

is

evil

day

for hu-

becomes a gambler and

family take the secondary

place in his mind, then he

is

no longer a man, but

Then

an automaton led by the power of greed.

he can do things which, in his normal state of

mind, he would be ashamed to do.

same thing with

society.

When

It

is

the

allows itself

it

to be turned into a perfect organization of power,

then there are few crimes which

Because success

perpetrate.

justification of a

is

it

is

unable to

the object and

machine, while goodness only

When

the end and purpose of man.

this engine

of organization begins to attain a vast size,

those

who

are mechanics are

made

the machine, then the personal


to a

man

is

and

into parts of
is

eliminated

phantom, everything becomes a revolution

by the human parts of the


machine, requiring no twinge of pity or moral

of policy carried out

responsibility.

through

this

It

is

not

unusual

that

apparatus the moral nature of

even

man

NATIONALISM

24

tries to assert itself,

but the whole

series of ropes

and pulleys creak and cry, the forces of the human


heart become entangled among the forces of the

human automaton, and

only with difficulty can

the moral purpose transmit

itself

into

some

tor-

tured shape of result.

This abstract being, the Nation,

We

have seen

in

is

ruling India.

our country some brand of tinned

food advertised as entirely

made and packed

out being touched by hand.

This description

applies to the governing of India, which


little

touched by the

with-

human hand

as

is

as possible.

The governors need not know our language, need


not come into personal touch with us except as
officials

they can aid or hinder our aspirations

from a disdainful distance, they can lead us on a


certain path of policy and then pull us back again
with the manipulation of

newspapers of England,

don

street

accidents

in

are

office

red tape;

the

whose columns Lonrecorded

with

some

decency of pathos, need but take the scantiest


notice of calamities happening in India over areas
of land sometimes larger than the British Isles.

But we, who

are governed,

are

not a mere

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


abstraction.

with living

We, on our

side,

individuals

are

What comes

sensibilities.

the shape of a mere bloodless policy


into the very core of our

life,

may

25

to us in

may

pierce

threaten the

whole future of our people with a perpetual help-

and yet may never touch


the chord of humanity on the other side, or touch
Such
it in the most inadequately feeble manner.
lessness of emasculation,

wholesale and universal acts of fearful responsi-

man

bility

can never perform, with such a degree

where he

of systematic unawareness,

vidual
sible

human

where the

being.

man

is

directions of space,

an

indi-

These only become posrepresented by an octopus

of abstractions, sending out


all

is

and

its

wriggling arms in

fixing its

innumerable

suckers even into the far-away future.

In this

reign of the nation, the governed are pursued

by

and these are the suspicions of a tresuspicions


mendous mass of organized brain and muscle.
;

Punishments are meted out, leaving a


miseries across a large bleeding tract of the

heart

trail

of

human

but these punishments are dealt by a mere

abstract force, in which a whole population of a


distant country has lost

its

human

personality.

NATIONALISM

26

have not come here, however, to discuss the

question as
affects

the

my own

affects

it

future of

all

country, but as
It

humanity.

it

not

is

about the British Government, but the government by the Nation


the Nation which is the
organized self-interest of a whole people, where
it is

the least

human and

only intimate experience of the Nation


British Nation,

and

Our

the least spiritual.

as far as the

is

with the

government by

the Nation goes there are reasons to believe that


it is

Then again we have

one of the best.

sider that the

West

is

to con-

We

necessary to the East.

complementary to each other because of our


different outlooks upon life which have given us
are

different

aspects

of

truth.

Therefore

if

it

be

West has come upon


storm it is all the same

true that the spirit of the

our

fields in the guise of a

scattering living seeds that are immortal.

when
our

we

in India

life

shall

what
be

is

we

shall

And

be able to assimilate in

permanent

in

in the position to

Western

civilization

bring about a recon-

two great worlds. Then will


come to an end the one-sided dominance which
ciliation

is

of these

galling.

What

is

more, we have to recognize

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

27

that the history of India does not belong to one


race

particular

the

contributed

process

races

of

of

is

which various

to

ation

but

of

the

cre-

world

Dravidians and the Aryans,

the ancient Greeks and the Persians, the

Mohame-

dans of the West and those of central Asia.


last

now has come

the turn of the English to be-

true to this history and bring to

come

At

it

the tribute

and we neither have the right nor the


power to exclude this people from the building of

of their

the

life,

destiny of

about

the

history of

India.

Therefore what

Nation has more

Man

to

say

do with

the

than specially with that of India.

This history has come to a stage when the moral

more and more giving


way, almost without knowing it, to make room
for the political and the commercial man, the
man, the complete man,

man

is

of the limited purpose.

wonderful progress

in science,

This, aided

by the

is

assuming gigantic
proportion and power, causing the upset of man's
moral balance, obscuring his human side under

the shadow of soul-less organization.


grip

we have

the sake of

felt at

the root of our

life,

Its

and

iron
for

humanity we must stand up and give

NATIONALISM

28

warning to

all,

that this nationalism

epidemic of

evil

that

is

a cruel

is

human

sweeping over the

world of the present age, eating into

its

moral

vitality.
I

have a deep love and a great respect

British race as

human

It has given rise to a great

doers of great deeds.

know

produced

thinkers of great thoughts,

great-hearted men,

literature.

It has

beings.

for the

that these people love justice

and freedom, and hate

lies.

They

are clean in

their minds, frank in their manners, true in their

friendships; in their behaviour they are honest

and

The

reliable.

personal experience which

have had of their literary men has roused

my

admiration not merely for their power of thought


or expression but for their chivalrous humanity.

We have

felt

the sun

but as for the Nation,

mist of a

the greatness of this people as

stifling

it is

we

feel

for us a thick

nature covering the sun

itself.

government by the Nation is neither


British nor anything else
it is an applied science
This

and therefore more or


wherever

it is

whose pressure

used.
is

less similar in its principles

It

is

like a hydraulic press,

impersonal and on that account

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


The amount

completely effective.

may vary

of

its

29

power

Some may even

in different engines.

be driven by hand, thus leaving a margin of


comfortable
spirit

and

in

looseness

method

in

their

but

tension,

in

their differences are small.

Our government might have been Dutch, or


French, or Portuguese, and

its

essential features

would have remained much the same


now.
tion

as they are

Only perhaps, in some cases, the organizamight not have been so densely perfect, and,

therefore,

some shreds

human might

of the

still

have been clinging to the wreck, allowing us to


deal with something which resembles our own
throbbing heart.

we had

Before the Nation came to rule over us

other governments which were foreign, and these,


like

all

governments, had some element of the

machine

in

them.

But the

difference

between

them and the government by the Nation is like


the difference between the hand loom and the
power loom.

In the products of the hand loom

the magic of man's living ringers finds


sion,

and

its

hum

expres-

harmonizes with the music of

But the power loom is


and accurate and monotonous

life.

its

relentlessly lifeless
in its production.

NATIONALISM

30

We

must admit that during the personal government of the former days there have been instances

of

They caused

sufferings

and unrest from which we

not only a boon, but


is

The

it is

protection of law

teaching us the discipline which

nuity of progress.
there

men

is

neces-

and conti-

We are realizing through it that

a universal standard of justice to

is

is

a valuable lesson to us.

sary for the stability of civilization

all

extortion.

injustice

are glad to be rescued.

It

and

tyranny,

irrespective of their caste

which

and colour have

their equal claim.

This reign of law


in India

our present Government

in

has established order in this vast land

inhabited by peoples different in their races and

customs.
ples to

It has

come

cultivate a

But
ship

the

made

in closer

this desire for a

work

possible for these peo-

touch with one another and

communion

among

it

of aspiration.

common bond

of comrade-

the different races of India has been

of the spirit of the West, not that of the

Nation of the West.

Wherever

in

Asia the people

have received the true lesson of the West


spite of the

Western Nation.

it is in

Only because Japan

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


had been able to

resist the

dominance of

this

31

West-

ern Nation could she acquire the benefit of the

Western Civilization

in fullest

measure.

Though

China has been poisoned at the very spring of her


moral and physical life by this Nation, her struggle
to receive the best lessons of the
successful

if

West may yet be

not hindered by the Nation.

It

was

only the other day that Persia woke up from


her age-long sleep at the

call of

instantly trampled into stillness

The same phenomenon prevails

the

West

to be

by the Nation.

in this

country also,
where the people are hospitable but the nation has

proved

itself to

be otherwise, making an Eastern

guest feel humiliated to stand before you as a

member

the humanity of his

of

own mother-

land.

In India

tween the
West.

we

are suffering from this conflict be-

spirit of the

The

West and the Nation

benefit of the

Western

of the

civilization

is

doled out to us in a miserly measure by the

Nation trying to regulate the degree of nutrition


as

near the zero point of vitality as possible.

The

portion of education allotted to us

raggedly insufficient that

it

is

so

ought to outrage the

NATIONALISM

32

We

sense of decency of a Western humanity.

have seen

in these countries

how

the people are

encouraged and trained and given every facility


to fit themselves for the great movements of

commerce and industry spreading over the world,


while in India the only assistance
to be jeered at

by

we

get

is

merely

the Nation for lagging behind.

While depriving us of our opportunities- and


ducing our education to a

minimum

required for

conducting a foreign government,


pacifies its conscience

by

calling

re-

this

us

Nation

names, by

sedulously giving currency to the arrogant cyni-

cism that the East

is

and never the twain


lieve

east and the

shall meet.

our schoolmaster

in

his

If

West

is

west

we must

be-

taunt that after

nearly two centuries of his tutelage, India not

only remains unfit for self-government but unable


to display originality in her intellectual attain-

ments, must

we

ascribe

it

to something in the

nature of Western culture and our inherent incapacity to receive


liness of the

it

or to the judicious niggard-

Nation that has taken upon

itself

the white man's burden of civilizing the East

That Japanese people have some

qualities

which

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


we

lack

we may admit, but

33

that our intellect

is

unproductive compared to theirs we

naturally

cannot accept even from them

whom

it is

danger-

ous for us to contradict.

The
quest

truth
is

is

that the spirit of conflict and con-

at the origin

Western nationalism
It has

operation.
of

power but not

and

basis

its

in the centre of the


is

not social co-

evolved a perfect organization


idealism.

spiritual

the pack of predatory creatures that


its

With

victims.

see its hunting

heart

it

themselves

for

like

cannot bear to

grounds converted into cultivated

the

extension

their reserve forests.

Nation acts

is

must have

In fact, these nations are fighting

fields.

and

all its

It

like a

dam

of

their

among
victims

Therefore the Western

to check the free flow of

the Western civilization into the country of the

No-Nation.

Because

this civilization

zation of power, therefore

it

naturally unwilling to open


to those

whom

it

is

its

is

the

civili-

exclusive,

it

is

sources of power

has selected for

its

purposes of

exploitation.

But

all

manity,

the same moral law

and

the

exclusive

is

the law of hu-

civilization

which

NATIONALISM

34

upon others who

thrives

own death

carries its

tations.

The

sciously

drains

The

are barred from

sentence in

slavery that
its

own

every

And

moment upon

freedom dry.

weighs down

it

its

force of gravitation

the power that creates

its

self-sustaining

it.

destruction.

checks from

its

triumphantly
death.

Its

it

by the Nation

life

one day become the most

burdens ready to drag


of

of

the greater part of the world which- is being

denuded of
will

love

its

moral limi-

gives rise to uncon-

it

helplessness with which

world of victims exerts

its

benefit

its

terrible of all its

down

bottom

into the

Whenever Power removes


path to make

rides

into

its

career easy,

its

ultimate

crash

all
it

of

moral brake becomes slacker every

day without its knowing it, and its slippery path


of ease becomes its path of doom.

Of
which

all

things

in

Western

civilization,

those

Western Nation has given us in a


most generous measure are law and order. While
this

the small feeding bottle of our education


dry, and sanitation sucks

its

is

nearly

own thumb

in de-

spair, the military organization,


offices,

the

police,

the

the

Criminal

magisterial

Investigation

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

35

Department, the secret spy system, attain to an


abnormal girth in their waists, occupying every
inch of our country.

But
Is

not for giving people's

tunities

is

true value

chick and

venience

it

in

lies
its

the security

Its

it

affords to the
in the con-

person at the breakfast

offers to the

administration

is

unproductive,

not creative, not being a living thing.

power, having
soil to

become

toil it

comes to

formidable
its

uses,

in

but

it

When

fertile.

offer us its

murmur under our

its

It

weight

is

and

does not help the


after its

enormous

boon of peace we can

breath that "peace

good but not more so than

own

greater oppor-

nourishment and not

steam-roller,

but

the perfection of an egg-shell whose

Mere

table.

life

freedom of development

the

for

perfection

to maintain order.

is

not this order merely a negative good

is

it

it is

This

life

which

is

is

God's

great boon.''

On

the other hand, our former governments

were wofully lacking


of the

in

many

modern government.

of the advantages

But because those

were not the governments by the Nation, their


texture

was loosely woven,

leaving

big

gaps

NATIONALISM

36

through which our own

life

am

its

imposed

designs.

sent

its

threads and

quite sure in those

days we had things that were extremely distasteto

ful

But we know that when we walk

us.

barefooted upon a ground strewn with gravel,


gradually our feet come to adjust themselves to
the caprices of the inhospitable earth
the

tiniest

ment

particle

of

inside our shoes

forgive

intrusion.

its

a gravel

And

lodg-

forget

and

it is

tight,

it

regu-

our steps with a closed up system, within

which our

make

its

if

these shoes are the

government by the Nation,


lates

finds

we can never

while

feet

have only the

own adjustments.

their

slightest liberty to

Therefore,

when

you produce your statistics to compare the number of gravels which our feet had to encounter
in

former days with the paucity

in the present

regime, they hardly touch the real points.

It

is

not the numerousness of the outside obstacles

but the comparative powerlessness of the individual to cope with them. This narrowness of

freedom
cause of

is

an

its

evil

which

is

more

radical not be-

quantity but because of

And we cannot but acknowledge

its

this

nature.

paradox,

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


that while the spirit of the
its

37

West marches under

banner of freedom, the Nation of the West


iron chains of organization

its

forges

which are

the most relentless and unbreakable that have

ever been manufactured in the whole history of

man.

When

the humanity of India was not under

the

government of the Organization, the elasticity of change was great enough to encourage

men
their

of

of

power and

destinies

the

spirit to feel

own

in their

unexpected

was

that they had

hands.

never

The hope

absent,

and a

both on the part of


the governor and the governed, had its effect in
freer play of imagination,

the making of history.

We

were not confronted

with a future which was a dead white wall of


granite blocks eternally guarding against the ex-

pression and extension of our

hopelessness
these

of

which

powers, the

the

reason

in

that

powers are becoming atrophied at their

very roots by the

For every
no-nation
tion,

lies

own

scientific process of paralysis.

single individual in the


is

country of the

completely in the grip of a whole na-

whose

tireless vigilance,

being the vigi-

NATIONALISM

38

lance of a machine, has not the

overlook or to discriminate.
ing of
all

its

to

least press-

button the monster organization becomes

whose ugly

eyes,

human power

At the

stare of inquisitiveness cannot

be avoided by a single person amongst the im-

mense multitude of the

by the

ruled.

At the

least turn

fraction of an inch, the grip

of

its

is

tightened to the point of sufTocatioa around

screw,

woman and child of a vast


whom no escape is imaginable

every man,

popula-

tion, for

in their

own

country, or even in any country outside

their

own.

It

is

the continual and stupendous dead press-

unhuman upon

human
under which the modern world is groaning. Not
merely the subject races, but you who live under
ure of

this

the living

the delusion that you are free, are every day


sacrificing

your freedom and humanity to

this

fetich of nationalism, living in the dense poison-

ous atmosphere of world-wide suspicion and greed

and panic.
I have seen

in

Japan the voluntary submission

of the whole people

to the

trimming of their
minds and clipping of their freedom by their

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

39

government, which through various educational


agencies regulates their thoughts, manufactures

becomes suspiciously watchful when


they show signs of inclining toward the spiritual,
leading them through a narrow path not toward
their feelings,

what

what

is

plete

welding of them into one uniform mass

true but

according to

its

own

this all-pervading

is

necessary for the com-

recipe.

The people accept

mental slavery with cheerfulness

and pride because of their nervous desire to turn


themselves into a machine of power, called the
Nation,

and emulate other machines

their

in

collective worldliness.

When

questioned as to the wisdom of

course

its

the newly converted fanatic of nationalism answers

that "so long as nations are rampant in this

world we have not the option freely to develop


our higher humanity.
faculty that

suming
the

it

we

is

must

utilize

possess to resist the evil

every

by

ourselves in the fullest degree.

only brotherhood

world

We

possible

in

the

bond

of love

For

modern

the brotherhood of hooliganism."

recognition of the fraternal

as-

The

between

Japan and Russia, which has lately been

cele-

NATIONALISM

40

brated with an immense display of rejoicing in

Japan, was not owing to any sudden recrudescence


of the spirit of Christianity or of

Buddhism,
was a bond established according to the
modern faith in a surer relationship of mutual
but

it

menace

of bloodshedding.

Yes, one cannot but

acknowledge that these facts are the facts of the


world of the Nation, and the only moral, of it is
that

all

the peoples of the earth should strain

moral and intellectual resources

their physical,

utmost to defeat one another

to the
ling

match

of powerfulness.

Sparta paid

all

in the wrest-

In the ancient days

her attention to becoming powerful

and she did become so by crippling her humanity, and she died of the amputation.

But

it is

no consolation to us to know that the

weakening of humanity from which the present


age

is

races,

suffering

and that

is

its

not limited to the subject


ravages are even more radical

because insidious and voluntary in peoples

who

are hypnotized into believing that they are free.

This bartering of your higher aspirations of


for

profit

choice,

and

and power has been your own


I

life

free

leave you there, at the wreckage of

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


your

contemplating your protuberant pros-

soul,

perity.

41

But

you never be

will

called to

answer

for organizing the instincts of self-aggrandizement

of whole peoples into perfection,

good
been

calling

it

ask you what disaster has there ever

and

in the history of

man,

in its

like this terrible disaster of the

darkest period,

Nation

fixing its

fangs deep into the naked flesh of the world,

taking permanent precautions against


relaxation

its

natural

You, the people

of the West,

who have manu-

factured this abnormality, can you imagine the


desolating despair of this haunted world of suffering

man

possessed

the organizing

by the ghastly abstraction

man

the position of the

of

Can you put yourself into


peoples, who seem to have

been doomed to an eternal damnation of their

own humanity, who not only must


tinual curtailment of their
raise

their

voices

in

suffer

manhood, but even

paeans of

praise

benignity of a mechanical apparatus in

minable parody of providence

Have you not

con-

for

the

its inter-

seen, since the

commencement

of the existence of the Nation, that the dread of

NATIONALISM

42
it

has been the one goblin-dread with which the

whole

world

there

is

has

been

trembling? Wherever
dark corner, there is the suspicion of

and people live in a perpetual distrust of its back where it has no eyes.
Every sound of footstep, every rustle of moveits

secret malevolence

ment
all

in the

around.

that

neighbourhood, sends a

And

this terror

is

base in man's nature.

is

thrill of terror

the parejit of

all

makes one

al-

It

most openly unashamed of inhumanity. Clever


lies
become matters of self-congratulation.
Solemn pledges become a
their very solemnity.

laughable for

farce,

The Nation, with

paraphernalia of power and prosperity,

all

its

its

flags

and pious hymns, its blasphemous prayers in the


churches, and the literary mock thunders of its
patriotic bragging, cannot hide the fact that the

Nation
all

its

is

the greatest evil for the Nation, that

precautions are against

birth of

its

fellow in the world

it,

is

always followed

mind by the dread of a new


wish is to trade on the feebleness
in its

the world, like

some

and any new

peril.

Its

one

of the rest of

insects that are bred in the

paralyzed flesh of victims kept just enough alive

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


to

make them toothsome and

fore

ready to send

it is

poisonous fluid into the

its

nations, are harmless.

For

had and

richest

has

its

There-

nutritious.

vitals of the other living peoples,

still

43

this

who, not being


the Nation has
in

pasture

Asia.

Great China, rich with her ancient wisdom and

and

social ethics, her discipline of industry

self-

a whale

awakening the lust of


the heart of the Nation.
She is already
like

is

control,
spoil in

carrying in her quivering flesh harpoons sent by


the unerring aim of the Nation, the creature of

and

science

shake
ideals,
drill

off

selfishness.

Her

pitiful

her traditions of humanity, her social

and spend her

herself into

at every step

exhausted resources to

last

modern

efficiency,

by the Nation.

financial ropes

round

It

offer

public

is

thwarted

is

tightening

her, trying to

on the shore and cut her into


go and

attempt to

drag her up

pieces,

thanksgiving

its

and then

to

God

for

supporting the one existing evil and shattering


the possibility of a

new

one.

And

for all this

the Nation has been claiming the gratitude of


history,

and

ordering

its

all

band

eternity

for

its

exploitation

of praise to be struck

up from

NATIONALISM

44

end to end of the world, declaring


salt

of the earth, the flower of humanity, the

blessing of

naked
I

to be the

itself

God

hurled with

skulls of the

all his

upon the

force

world of no nations.

know what your

You

advice will be.

say,

form yourselves into a nation, and

this

encroachment of the Nation.

the true advice

that of a

should this be a necessity


you,

you had

if

more true
greed,

and

in

said,

to a

life

resist
is

man ?

this

Why

could well believe

Be more good, more

relation to

your

make your

man

But

will

man,
wholesome in

just,

control your
its

simplicity

your consciousness of the divine in hu-

let

manity be more perfect in its expression. But


must you say that it is not the soul, but the
machine, which
selves,

is

of the

utmost value to our-

and that man's salvation depends upon

his disciplining himself into a perfection of the

dead rhythm of wheels and counterwheels

that

machine must be pitted against machine, and


nation against nation, in an endless bull-fight of
politics

You

say,

agreement,

these
for

machines

their

will

come

into an

mutual protection, based

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


But

a conspiracy of fear.

upon

45

will this federa-

you with a soul, a


which has her conscience and her God ?

tion of steam-boilers supply


soul

What

is

you

Whatever safety they now enjoy, those

happen to that larger part of the


world, where fear will have no hand in restraining
?

to

countries of no nation, from the unbridled license

and hammer and turn-screw,


the mutual jealousy of the powers.

of forge

results

from

But when,
numerous
being
separate machines,
become
riveted
into
one
they
organized greinstead

of

gariousness of gluttony, commercial and political,

what remotest chance


those others,

remain for

of hope will

who have

lived

and

have

suffered,

loved and worshipped, have thought deeply and

worked with meekness, but whose only crime has


been that they have not organized ?
But, you say,

must go

"That does not matter, the

to the wall

they shall

and

die,

unfit

this

is

science."

No,
they

for the sake of

shall live,

bold of

world

is

me

and

your own salvation,

this

is

truth.

to say so, but

It

is

extremely

assert that

a moral world, not because

I say,

we

man's
blindly

NATIONALISM

46
agree to believe

it,

but because

it

so in truth

is

which would be dangerous for us to ignore. And


this moral nature of man cannot be divided into
convenient

compartments

You cannot

secure

for

it

for

its

preservation.

your home consump-

tion with protective tariff walls, while in foreign

parts
its

making

it

enormously accommodating

in

free trade of license.

Has not

come home

this truth already

now, when

war has driven

cruel

this

its

to

you

claws

Europe ? when her hoard of


bursting into smoke and her humanity
shattered into bits on her battlefields ? You

into the vitals of

wealth
is

is

ask in amazement what has she done to deserve


this

The answer

systematically

that the

is,

petrifying

her

West has been

moral

nature

in

order to lay a solid foundation for her gigantic


abstractions of efficiency.

starving the

life

She has

of the personal

all

man

along been

into that of

the professional.

In your mediaeval age in Europe, the simple and


the natural man, with
desires,

was engaged

onciliation in the

all his

in

violent passions

and

trying to find out a rec-

conflict

between the

flesh

and

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


the

47

All through the turbulent career of

spirit.

her vigorous youth the temporal and the spiritual


forces

both acted strongly upon her nature, and

were moulding

in

owes

Europe

personality.

that

to

humanity

the discipline of the

moral

completeness of

into

it

period

man

her

all

in

of
his

greatness

discipline,

human

integ-

rity.

Then came

We

all

life is

know

the

age of intellect, of science.

that intellect

one with

is

impersonal.

our heart, but our mind

us, also

can be detached from the personal


only can

Our

it

move

freely

intellect

is

in its

man and

then

world of thoughts.

an ascetic who wears no clothes,

takes no food, knows no sleep, has no


feels

Our

wishes,

no love or hatred or pity for human limita-

tions,

who only

vicissitudes of
things, because

the thing

reasons,
It

life.

it

itself.

unmoved through

the

burrows to the roots of

has no personal concern with

The grammarian walks

straight

through
poetry and goes to the root of words
without obstruction. Because he is not seeking
all

reality,

but law.

When

able to teach people

how

he finds the law, he


to master words.

is

This

NATIONALISM

48
is

the power which

a power,

some particular need

usefulness,

the

is

Reality

component parts

of

man.

harmony which

gives

of a

You break

the whole.

some

fulfils

special

to

the

thing the equilibrium of


it,

and have

in

your hands

the nomadic atoms fighting against one another,


therefore unmeaning.

Those who covet power

try to get mastery of these aboriginal- fighting

and

elements

them

force

some narrow channels

through

into

some violent

particular needs of

man.

This satisfaction of man's needs


thing.

It

world.

It confers

gives

some

service for

him freedom

in

is

the

great

material

on him the benefit of a greater

He

range of time and space.

shorter time and occupies

can do things

in a

larger space

with

more thoroughness of advantage.


can easily outstrip those

who

slower time and of space

less fully

Therefore he

live in a

world of a

occupied.

This progress of power attains more and more


rapidity of pace.

And,

detached part of man,


plete

humanity.

because

it

for the reason that


it

it is

soon outruns the com-

The moral man remains

behind,

has to deal with the whole reality, not

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


merely with the law of things, which

is

49

impersonal

and therefore abstract.


Thus,
far

man

with his mental and material power


his

outgrowing

moral strength,

is

like

an ex-

aggerated giraffe whose head has suddenly shot


up miles away from the rest of him, making normal

communication
head, with

its

difficult to establish.

This greedy

huge dental organization, has been

munching all the topmost foliage of the world,


but the nourishment is too late in reaching his
digestive organs,

and

want

Of

of blood.

his heart

this

is

suffering

present disharmony in

man's nature the West seems to have been


fully unconscious.

success

has

The enormity

diverted

self-congratulation on
its

logic goes

all

its

from

its

of

its

material

attention

bulk.

bliss-

toward

The optimism

on basing the calculations

of

of
its

good fortune upon the indefinite prolongation of


its

railway lines toward eternity.

enough to think that

all

It

is

superficial

to-morrows are merely

to-days with the repeated additions of twentyfour hours.


is

opening

It

has no fear of the chasm, which

wider

every

day,

between

man's

ever-growing storehouses and the emptiness of

NATIONALISM

50

hungry humanity. Logic does not know


that, under the lowest bed of endless strata of
his

and

wealth

hatched

to

comforts,

earthquakes
balance

the

restore

of

are

being

the

moral

world, and one day the gaping gulf of spiritual

vacuity will draw into

bottom the

its

store of

things that have their eternal love for the dust.

Man

in his fulness

to

Therefore,

is

not powerful, but perfect.

turn him into mere power, you

have to curtail

his

When we

are fully

another's

throats;

soul

as

much

as

human, we cannot

possible.

fly at

our instincts of social

one
life,

our traditions of moral ideals stand in the way.

you want me to take to butchering human


beings, you must break up that wholeness of
my humanity through some discipline which
If

makes

thoughts numb,

my

movements automatic, and then from the

dis-

my

will

dead,

my

solution of the complex personal

man

will

come

out that abstraction, that destructive force, which


has no relation to

human

truth,

and therefore

Take away

can be easily brutal or mechanical.

man from
ness

of

his natural surroundings,

his

communal

life,

with

from the
all

its

ful-

living

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


and love and

associations of beauty
ligations,

so

many

and you

will

51

social

ob-

be able to turn him into

fragments of a machine for the produc-

tion of wealth

into a log

and

on
it

Turn

a gigantic scale.
will

burn

but

for you,

never bear living flowers and

a tree
it

will

fruit.

This process of dehumanizing has been going

on

in

commerce and

politics.

And out

of the

long birth-throes of mechanical energy has been

born this fully developed apparatus of magnificent

power and surprising appetite, which has been


christened in the West as the Nation. As I have
hinted before, because of
it

its

quality of abstraction

has, with the greatest ease,

the complete moral man.


science of a ghost

automaton,

it

is

gone far ahead of

And having

the con-

and the callous perfection of an


causing disasters of which the

volcanic dissipations of the youthful

moon would

be ashamed to be brought into comparison.


a result, the suspicion of

man

for

man

As

stings all

the limbs of this civilization like the hairs of the


nettle.

Each country

is

casting

its

net of es-

pionage into the slimy bottom of the others,


fishing for their secrets, the treacherous secrets

NATIONALISM

52

brewing

what

is

oozy depths of diplomacy. And


their secret service but the nation's

in the

underground trade in kidnapping, murder and


treachery and all the ugly crimes bred in the
depth of rottenness

own

its

faith,

Because each nation has

history of thieving and

therefore

there

and broken

lies

can only flourish

inter-

national suspicion and jealousy, and international

moral shame becomes anaemic

The

ludicrousness.

to

degree of

nation's bagpipe of righteous

indignation has so often changed

its

tune accord-

ing to the variation of time and to the altered

groupings of the alliances of diplomacy, that

it

can be enjoyed with amusement as the variety

performance of the
I
I

am just

political

coming from

music

hall.

my visit to Japan,

exhorted this young nation to take

its

where
stand

upon the higher ideals of humanity and never


to follow the West in its acceptance of the organized selfishness of Nationalism as

its religion,

never to gloat upon the feebleness of

neighbours,

never to be unscrupulous in

weak, where

it

its

its

behaviour to the

can be gloriously mean with im-

punity, while turning

its

right cheek of brighter

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


humanity

for the kiss of

have the power to deal

53

who

admiration to those
it

a blow.

Some

of the

my utterances for their poetical

newspapers praised

was the

qualities while adding with a leer that

it

poetry of a defeated people.

they were

felt

Japan had been taught in a modern school


the lesson how to become powerful. The schoolright.

ing

is

done and she must enjoy the

The West

lessons.

fruits of

in the voice of her

her

thundering

cannon had said at the door of Japan, Let there


be a nation
and there was a Nation. And now
that

it

come

has

into existence,

why do you

not

your heart of hearts a pure feeling of


gladness and say that it is good ? Why is it
feel

in

that

saw

in

an English paper an expression of

bitterness at Japan's boasting of her superiority

of civilization

the thing that the British, along

with other nations,


ages without blushing
selfishness

must keep

has
?

been carrying on for

Because the idealism of


itself

tinual dose of self-laudation.

drunk with a con-

But the same

which seem so natural and innocuous


life

make

it

pleasantness

in its

vices

own

surprised and angry at their un-

when

seen in other nations.

There-

NATIONALISM

54

when you see the Japanese nation, created


your own image, launched in its career of

fore
in

national boastfulness you shake your head and


it is

say

Has

not good.

causes that raise the

it

cry

not been one of the

on

these shores for

preparedness to meet one more power of

with a greater power of injury

evil

Japan protests

that she has her bushido, that she can -never be

treacherous to America to

its

for

faith in

You

she owes her

But you find it difficult to believe


the wisdom of the Nation is not in

gratitude.
her,

whom

humanity but

say to yourself that

in its

complete distrust.

it is

not with Japan of

the bushido, the Japan of the moral ideals, that

you have

to deal

it is

the popular selfishness,

with the abstraction of


it

is

with the Nation

and Nation can only trust Nation where


interests

coalesce,

or

In fact your instinct

at

least

tells

do not

their

conflict.

you that the advent

of another people into the arena of nationality

makes another addition


dicts all that
its

is

highest in

Man

success that unscrupulousness

prosperity,

which contra-

to the evil

and goodness

is

and proves by
is

good

the

way

for the

to

weak

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


and God

55

the only remaining consolation of the

is

defeated.

Yes, this

is

the logic of the Nation.

And

it

never heed the voice of truth and goodness.

will

It will
tion,

go on

linking steel unto steel,

machine

trampling under

moral corrup-

in its ring-dance of

its

and machine unto


tread

and the

flowers of simple faith

all

the sweet

living ideals of

man.

But we delude ourselves


in

humanity

the

modern days

The

front than ever before.

delusion

is

into

because

man

is

is

more

to the
self-

served with the neces-

are being alleviated with

the chief part of this

is

reason of this

saries of life in greater profusion


ills

thinking that

and

more

his physical

But

efficacy.

done, not by moral sacrifice,

but by intellectual power.

In quantity

it is

great,

springs from the surface and spreads over


the surface.
Knowledge and efficiency are power-

but

it

ful

in

their

outward

effect,

servants of man, not the


service

is

but they are the

man

himself.

like the service in a hotel,

elaborate, but the host

is

venient than hospitable.

absent;

Their

where

it is

it is

more con-

NATIONALISM

56
Therefore

we must not

forget that the scientific

organizations vastly spreading in


are

all

directions

strengthening our power, but not our hu-

With the growth

power the cult of


the self-worship of the Nation grows in ascenand the individual willingly allows the
dency
manity.

of

nation to take donkey rides upon his back

and

there happens the

anomaly which must have

disastrous

that the individual worships

with

effects,

sacrifices a

all

inferior to himself.

god which is morally much


This could never have been

the god had been as real as the in-

if

possible

its

dividual.

Let

me

give an illustration of this in point.

In some parts of India

it

has been enjoined as

an act of great piety for a widow to go without


food and water on a particular day every fortnight.

This often leads to cruelty, unmeaning

and inhuman.

And

yet

cruel to such a degree.

men

are not

But

this piety

by nature
being a

mere unreal abstraction completely deadens the


moral sense of the individual, just as the

who would

not hurt

man

an animal unnecessarily,

would cause horrible suffering to

a large

number

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


when he drugs

of innocent creatures

with

of

idea

abstract

the

57

his feelings

Because

"sport."

these ideas are the creations of our intellect, be-

cause they are logical classifications, therefore they

can so easily hide

And

in their mist the personal

the idea of the Nation


anaesthetics

powerful

Under the

influence of

its

one of the most

is

man

that

has

invented.

fumes the whole people

can carry out

its

most virulent

self-seeking without being

least

aware of

systematic programme of the

moral perversion,

its

feeling dangerously resentful

But can

this

man.

if

in

fact

pointed out.

it is

go on indefinitely

the

in

continually

producing barrenness of moral insensibility upon


a large tract of our living nature
its

nemesis

forever

Has

this

Can

giant

it

escape

power

of

mechanical organization no limit in this world


against which

it

may

completely because of
velocity

Do you

shatter itself
its

terrible

all

the more

strength and

believe that evil can be per-

manently kept in check by competition with


evil, and that conference of prudence can keep
the devil chained in its makeshift cage of mutual
agreement

NATIONALISM

58

This European war of Nations

Man,

retribution.
his

very

life

is

the war of

the person, must protest for

against the heaping up of things

where there should be the heart, and systems


and policies where there should flow living human

The time

relationship.

has come when, for the

sake of the whole outraged world, Europe should


fully

know

in

her

own

person the terrible ab-

surdity of the thing called the Nation.

The Nation has


Men,

humanity.

came out
numbers

thriven long upon mutilated


the fairest creations of God,

of the National
as

manufactory in huge
war-making and money-making pup-

pets, ludicrously vain of their pitiful perfection

of

mechanism.

more

Human

into a marionette

society grew

more and

show of politicians,

soldiers,

manufacturers and bureaucrats, pulled by wire

arrangements of wonderful

But the apotheosis


its

efficiency.

of selfishness can never

make

interminable breed of hatred and greed, fear

and hypocrisy, suspicion and tyranny, an end


in themselves.
These monsters grow into huge
shapes but never into harmony.
tion

may grow on

And

this

Na-

to an unimaginable corpulence,

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST

59

not of a living body, but of steel and steam and


office buildings,

longer

its

till

deformity can contain no

its

ugly voluminousness,

till

it

begins

and gape, breathe gas and fire in gasps,


death-rattles sound in cannon roars.
In

to crack

and

its

this

war, the death-throes of the Nation have

commenced.
mad,
ing
It

is

it

its

all

Suddenly,

its

mechanism going

has begun the dance of the furies, shatter-

own

limbs, scattering

them

into the dust.

the fifth act of the tragedy of the unreal.

Those who have any

faith in

Man

cannot but

fervently hope that the tyranny of the Nation


will

not be restored to

claws, to

its

all

its

former teeth and

far-reaching iron arms and

its

im-

mense inner cavity, all stomach and no heart;


that man will have his new birth, in the freedom
of his individuality, from the enveloping vagueness of abstraction.

The

veil

has been raised, and in this frightful

war the West has stood


creation, to

face to face with her

which she had offered her

must know what


She had never

it

truly

let

soul.

own
She

is.

herself suspect

what slow

decay and decomposition were secretly going on

NATIONALISM

60

her moral nature, which often broke out in

in

doctrines of scepticism, but

still

oftener and in

more dangerously subtle manner showed

still

and

her unconsciousness of the mutilation

in

itself

had been

insult that she

part of the

world.

Now

upon

inflicting

a vast

must know the

she

truth nearer home.

And
those

then there will come from her

who

break themselves

will

own

free

children

from the

slavery of this illusion, this perversion of brother-

hood founded upon

own themselves

as

its

iron

life

claws,

into compartments, which, with

scratches

out the heart of the


it

is

has done.

of no nations of the world, whose heads

have been bowed to the dust,


dust

will

know

that this

more sacred than the bricks which build

the pride of power.

For

this

dust

and of beauty and worship.


God that we were made to wait in
life,

will

which turns souls into com-

world and knows not what

And we

who

those

God's children and as no bond-

slaves of machinery,

modities and

self-seeking,

is

We

fertile of

shall

silence

thank

through

the night of despair, had to bear the insult of the

proud and the strong man's burden, yet

all

through

NATIONALISM IN THE WEST


it,

though our hearts quaked with doubt and

6l

fear,

never could we blindly believe in the salvation

which machinery offered to man, but we held


fast to our trust in God and the truth of the

human

soul.

And we can

still

cherish the hope,

when power becomes ashamed to occupy


throne and is ready to make way for love,

that,
its

when the morning comes

for cleansing the blood-

stained steps of the Nation along the highroad


of humanity,

our

own

worship
purity,

we

shall

be called upon to bring

vessel of sacred water


to

the water of

sweeten the history of

and with

its

sprinkling

make

man

into

the trampled

dust of the centuries blessed with fruitfulness.

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
I

THE

worst form of bondage

dejection which keeps


loss of faith

in

men

the bondage of

is

hopelessly chained in

We

themselves.

have been

re-

peatedly told, with some justification, that Asia


lives in the past,

which displays

it

all

its

immortalize the dead.


it

could never

face

was

move

is

like a rich

mausoleum

magnificence in trying to
It

was

in the

said of Asia that

path of progress,

so inevitably turned backwards.

its

We

accepted this accusation, and came to believe


In India,

know,

a large section of

community, grown

is

sources of self-deception to turn


boasting.

shame,

it

When

our educated

tired of feeling the humilia-

tion of this charge against us,

of

it.

But boasting

is

it

still

like

into a matter

only

does not truly believe in


things stood

all its re-

trying

masked

itself.

this,

and we

Asia hypnotized ourselves into the belief that

in
it

could never by any possibility be otherwise, Japan


65

NATIONALISM

66

rose from her dreams,

and

in giant strides left

centuries of inaction behind, overtaking the present

time

in

foremost

its

broken the

spell
it

ages, taking

This

achievement.

has

under which we lay in torpor for


to be the normal condition of

certain races living in certain geographical limits.

We

forgot that

Asia

in

founded, philosophy, science,


flourished,

had

and

the great religions of the world

all

Therefore

their cradles.

that there

is

kingdoms were
arts and literatures

great

it

cannot be

anything inherent in the

said,

soil

and

climate of Asia that produces mental inactivity

and atrophies the faculties which impel men to go


forward.
For centuries we did hold torches of
civilization in the
in darkness,

sluggish

Then

and that could never be the

mind
fell

East when the West slumbered

or narrowness of vision.

the darkness of night upon

The

lands of the East.

feeding upon

upon

its

itself.

all

the

current of time seemed

to stop at once, and Asia ceased to take


food, feeding

sign of

own
The

past,

which

stillness

any new
is

really

seemed

like

death, and the great voice was silenced which


sent forth messages of eternal truth that have

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
saved man's

ocean of

like the

ever cleansing

But

has

life

when

it

living

upon

less, its

from pollution

life

its

impurities.

its

loses its

sleep, its periods of inactivity,

movements, takes no new food,

Then

past storage.

muscles relaxed, and

to be jeered at for
life,

for generations,

that keeps the earth sweet,

air

its

67

its

it

it

grows help-

easily lends itself

In the rhythm of

stupor.

pauses there must be for the renewal of

Life in

its

definitely,

stage,

ever spending

is

itself, burning
This extravagance cannot go on inbut is always followed by a passive

activity

all its fuel.

life.

when

all

is

expenditure

stopped and

all

adventures abandoned in favour of rest and slow


recuperation.

The tendency
to form habits

of

mind

and move

the trouble of thinking


Ideals
It

once

formed

becomes afraid to

endeavors.

It tries

is

in

economical,

it

loves

grooves which save

anew

make

at each of

the

it

its steps.

mind

lazy.

risk its acquisitions in fresh

completely to enjoy security

by shutting up its belongings behind fortifications


of habits.
But this is really shutting oneself up
from the

fullest

enjoyment of one's own posses-

NATIONALISM

68
It

sions.

is

The

miserliness.

living ideals

must

not lose their touch with the growing and chang-

Their

life.

ing

freedom

real

is

not within the

boundaries of security, but in the highroad of adventures

full of

the risk of

new

experiences.

One morning the whole world looked up in surprise, when Japan broke through her walls of old
habits in a night and

was done
it

building

like a

up

of

It

an incredibly short time, that

in such

seemed

came out triumphant.

change of dress and not


a

new

structure.

like

the

She showed

the confident strength of maturity and the freshness

and

infinite potentiality of

same moment.
was

The

fear

new

life

at the

was entertained that

mere freak of history,

a child's

game

it

of

Time, the blowing up of a soap bubble, perfect in


its rondure and colouring, hollow in its heart and
without substance.

But Japan has proved con-

clusively that this sudden revealment of her


is

power

not a short-lived wonder, a chance product

of time

and

tide,

thrown up from the depth of

obscurity to be swept

away the next moment

into

the sea of oblivion.

The

truth

is

that Japan

is

old

and new at the

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
same time.

69

She has her legacy of ancient culture

from the East,

the culture that enjoins

man

to

look for his true wealth and power in his inner


soul, the culture that gives self-possession in the

face of loss

and danger,

self-sacrifice

without count-

ing the cost or hoping for gain, defiance of death,

acceptance of countless social obligations that

owe

men

to

as social beings.

In a word modern

Japan has come out of the immemorial East


a

lotus blossoming in easy grace,

firm hold

its

keeping

from which

And

it

we

all

like

the while

upon the profound depth

has sprung.

Japan, the child of the Ancient East, has

also fearlessly claimed all the gifts of the

modern

She has shown her bold

spirit in

age for herself.

breaking through the confinements of habits, useless

accumulations of the lazy mind, seeking safety

and

in its thrift

come

in

its

locks and keys.

Thus

she has

contact with the living time and has

accepted with eagerness and aptitude the respon-

modern

sibilities of

This
Asia.

civilization.

which has given heart to the rest of


have seen that the life and the strength

it is

We

are there in us, only the dead crust has to be

NATIONALISM

70

We

removed.

dead
of

is

life

have seen that taking shelter in the


death itself, and only taking all the risk

to the fullest extent

become what she


cannot imitate
for long, nay,

a source of

nature,

by imitating the West.

is

life,

we cannot simulate

what

more, a

is

For

weakness.

it is

living.

cannot believe that Japan has

for myself,

I,

is

always

it

our way.

in

We

strength

mere imitation

is

hampers- our true


It

is

like dress-

ing our skeleton with another man's skin, giving


rise

to eternal feuds between the skin

and the

bones at every movement.

The

real
it

nature,

truth

is

is

that science

mere knowledge and

is

not man's

training.

By

knowing the laws of the material

universe you
do not change your deeper humanity. You can
borrow knowledge from others, but you cannot

borrow temperament.

But

at the imitative stage of our schooling

we

cannot distinguish between the essential and the


non-essential,

between what

what

It

is

not.

primitive

mind

accidents

of

is

something

in the

is

transferable and

like the faith of the

magical properties of the

outward forms which accompany

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
some

real

We

truth.

71

are afraid of leaving out

something valuable and efficacious by not swallow-

husk with the

ing the

But while our

kernel.

greed delights in wholesale appropriation,

it

is

the function of our vital nature to assimilate,

which

the only true appropriation for a living

is

organism.
itself

ing

by

to

its

its

Where

there

choice of acceptance and refusal accordconstitutional

organism does not allow


it

food,

sure to assert

is life it is

changes

its

only thus can

it

accumulation,

or

The

necessity.
itself

food into

its

to

living

grow into

own body.

its

And

grow strong and not by mere

by

giving

up

its

personal

identity.

Japan has imported her food from the West,


but not her vital nature. Japan cannot altogether
lose

and merge

nalia

herself in the scientific parapher-

she has acquired from the

West and be

turned into a mere borrowed machine.


her

own

soul

requirements.

which must assert

That

she

is

She has

over

all

her

capable of doing

so,

itself

and that the process of assimilation is going on,


have been amply proved by the signs of vigorous
health that she exhibits.

And

earnestly hope

NATIONALISM

72
that Japan

may

soul in the

mere pride

For that pride

never lose her faith

of the fop

who

dress than

on

his

ties

and

is

more

head

The whole world


Eastern nation

humiliation, ultimately

and weakness.

sets

store

It

on

is

the pride

new head-

his

itself.

waits to see what this great

going to do with the opportunishe has accepted from

responsibilities

the hands of the

own

of her foreign acquisition.

itself is a

leading to poverty

in her

modern

time.

If it

be a mere

reproduction of the West, then the great expectation she has raised will remain unfulfilled.

For

there are grave questions that the Western civilization

has

the

before

presented

not completely answered.

The

world

conflict

but

between

the individual and the state, labour and capital,


the

man and

the

woman

the conflict between the

greed of material gain and the spiritual

man, the organized

selfishness of nations

higher ideals of humanity;


all

life

of

and the

the conflict between

the ugly complexities inseparable from giant

organizations

of

commerce and

natural instincts of

man

beauty and fulness of

and

the

crying for simplicity

and

leisure,

state

all

these have to

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

73

be brought to a harmony in a manner not yet

dreamt

We

of.

have seen

choking

this great

stream of civilization

from debris carried by

itself

able channels.

We

its

innumer-

have seen that with

all

its

vaunted love of humanity it has proved itself the


greatest menace to Man, far worse than the
sudden outbursts of nomadic barbarism from

which men suffered

We

have seen that,

freedom,

it

in the early ages of history.


in spite of its

boasted love of

has produced worse forms of slavery

than ever were current

in

earlier

societies,

slavery whose chains are unbreakable,

either be-

cause they are unseen, or because they assume


the names and appearance of freedom.
seen,

under the

losing faith in

We

have

spell of its gigantic sordidness,


all

the heroic ideals of

life

man

which

have made him great.


Therefore you cannot with a light heart accept
the

modern

civilization

with

all

its

tendencies,

structures, and dream that they are


You must apply your Eastern mind,

methods and
inevitable.

your

spiritual strength,

your recognition of

your love of simplicity,

social obligation, in order to

NATIONALISM

74
cut out a

new path

for this great

progress, shrieking out

You must minimize

and freedom that

life

loud discords as

its

immense

the
it

unwieldy car of
it

sacrifice of

claims in

runs.

man's

every move-

its

For generations you have felt and thought


and worked, have enjoyed and worshipped in your
ment.

own

manner; and

special

like old clothes.

row

of

It

your bones,

is

in

this

cannot be cast

your blood,

in the texture of

the tissue of your hrains

and

it

mar-

in the

your

off

flesh, in

must modify

everything you lay your hands upon, without

Once

your knowing, even against your wishes.

you did solve the problems of man to your own


satisfaction, you had your philosophy of life and
evolved your

own

art of living.

All this

you must

apply to the present situation and out of


arise a

new

creation and not a mere repetition, a

creation which the soul of your people will


for itself

will

it

and proudly

offer to the

tribute to the welfare of

man.

Of

own

world as
all

its

countries

Japan you have the freedom


to use the materials you have gathered from the
in

Asia,

here

in

West according

to your genius

Therefore your responsibility

and your need.

is all

the greater, for

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
in

your voice Asia

shall

75

answer the questions that

Europe has submitted to the conference

of

Man.

In your land the experiments will be carried on

by which the East will change the aspects of the


modern civilization, infusing life in it where it is
a machine, substituting

pediency,

not

caring

human heart for cold exso much for power and

success as for harmonious

and

living growth, for

truth and beauty.


I

cannot but bring to your mind those days

when

the whole of Eastern Asia from

Japan was united with India

to

in the closest tie of

friendship, the only natural tie

There was a

between nations.

Burma

which can
living

exist

communi-

cation of hearts, a nervous system evolved through

which messages ran between us about the deepest

We

needs of humanity.

did not stand in fear of

each other, we had not to arm ourselves to keep


each other

in

check

our relation was not that of

and spoliation of each


ideas and ideals were exchanged,

self-interest, of exploration

other's pockets

gifts of the highest love were offered

and taken

no difference of languages and customs hindered


us

in

approaching each other heart to heart;

NATIONALISM

76

no pride of race or insolent consciousness of superiority, physical or mental, marred our relation
;

our arts and literatures put forth new leaves and


flowers

under the influence of

sunlight of

this

and races belonging to different


lands and languages and histories acknowledged
united hearts

the highest unity of

May we

love.

man and

the deepest bond of

not also remember that. in those

days of peace and goodwill, of


those supreme ends of
for itself the

balm

life,

of immortality

take on a

its

old

uniting for

your nature

your people to be born again


able to survive

men

in

laid

by

which has helped


a new age, to be

outworn structures and

new young body,

to

come out unscathed

from the shock of the most wonderful revolution


that the world has ever seen

The

political

civilization

which

has

sprung

up from the soil of Europe and is overrunning


the whole world, like some prolific weed, is based

upon

exclusiveness.

It

is

always

watchful

to

keep at bay the aliens or to exterminate them.


It

is

carnivorous and cannibalistic in

cies, it

and

feeds

tries

upon the resources

its

tenden-

of other peoples

to swallow their whole future.

It

is

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

77

always afraid of other races achieving eminence,

naming it as a peril, and tries to thwart all symptoms of greatness outside its own boundaries,

down

forcing

be

men who

races of
fixed

eternally

came

this political civilization

weaker, to

weakness.

their

in

are

to

Before

power and

its

hungry jaws wide enough to gulp


down great continents of the earth, we had wars,
pillages, changes of monarchy and consequent
its

opened

miseries,

but never such a sight of fearful and

hopeless

voracity,

such

wholesale

feeding

of

nation upon nation, such huge machines for turning great portions of the earth into mincemeat,

never such terrible jealousies with

and claws ready

teeth

not human.

centrates

all

its

It

is

forces

millionaire acquiring
soul.

its

it

con-

like a

the cost of his

weaves

its

meshes

enshrines gigantic idols

temples, taking great pride in the

ceremonials

patriotism.

it

at

scien-

is

upon one purpose,

money

of lies without shame,

costly

open each

powerful because

It betrays its trust, it

of greed in

tearing

their ugly

This political civilization

other's vitals.
tific,

for

all

And

it

of

its

worship,

calling

this

can be safely prophesied that

NATIONALISM

78
this

cannot go on, for there

world which has

its

is

moral law

in this

application both to individuals

and to organized bodies of men. You cannot go


on violating these laws in the name of your nation,

yet enjoy their advantage as individuals.

This public sapping of the ethical ideals slowly


reacts upon each member of society, gradually

where

breeding weakness,

it

causing that cynical distrust of


in

human

senility.

political

nature, which

triotism, has not

this

symptom

mind

in

and

things sacred

all

the true

is

You must keep


civilization,

not seen,

is

that

of

this

creed of national pa-

been given a long

trial.

The

lamp of ancient Greece is extinct in the land where


it was first
lighted, the power of Rome lies dead
and buried under the ruins of

But the

civilization,

whose

the spiritual ideal of man,


in

China and

feeble

in

India.

basis
is

vast empire.

its
is

still

society

a living thing

Though

may

it

look

and small, judged by the standard of the

mechanical power of modern days, yet


seeds

and

it

still

contains

grow, and spread

its

life

and

will

like small

sprout and

beneficent branches,

ducing flowers and fruits when

its

pro-

time comes, and

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
showers of grace descend upon

But

ruins of sky-scrapers of

it

from heaven.

power and broken

machinery of greed, even God's rain


to raise

up again

went against

life

for

79

is

powerless

they were not of

as a whole,

the rebellion that shattered

they are

itself

life,

but

relics of

to pieces against

the eternal.

But the charge is brought against us that


the ideals we cherish in the East are static, that
they have not the impetus

in

them

to move, to

open out new vistas of knowledge and power,


that the systems of philosophy which are the
mainstays of the time-worn civilizations of the

outward proofs, remaining stolidly


their subjective certainty.
This proves

East despise
satisfied in

that

all

when our knowledge

is

vague,

we

are apt

to accuse of vagueness our object of knowledge

To

appears as

all

itself.

Western observer our


metaphysics, as to a deaf

playing appears to be

and no music.

He

civilization

man

mere movements of

piano

fingers

cannot think that we have

found some deep basis of reality upon which we


have built our institutions.
Unfortunately

all

proofs of reality are in reali-

NATIONALISM

8o
zation.

The

of

reality

scene

the

before

you

depends only upon the fact that you can see,

and

it is difficult

for us to

that our civilization

is

prove to an unbeliever

not a nebulous system of

abstract speculations, that

thing which

is

has achieved some-

it

a truth that can

a positive truth,

give man's heart

its

and sustenance.

shelter

has evolved an inner sense,

a sense of vision,

the vision of the infinite reality in

But he

says,

ress,

there

him,

"How

"You do

do you

know

judge progress according to


train

makes

tion,

it

is

its

ress
its

is

in

prog-

ask

you."

You have

it?
its

things.

aim.

to

railway

progress towards the terminus sta-

movement.

has no definite

all finite

make any

not

no movement

is

It

movement

But

a full-grown tree

of that kind, its prog-

the inward progress of

life.

It lives,

aspiration towards light tingling in

and creeping in its silent sap."


We also have lived for centuries, we
and we have our aspiration
no end to its realization,

its

with

leaves

still live,

for a reality that has

reality that goes

beyond death, giving it a meaning, that rises


above all evils of life, bringing its peace and purity,

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
its

cheerful renunciation of

this

inner

life

is

The product

self.

It

product.

living

81

will

of

be

needed when the youth returns home weary and


dust-laden,

wealth

when

the soldier

wounded, when the

squandered away and pride

is

when man's heart


of facts

is

cries for truth in the

and harmony

dencies.

Its

value

materials, but in

is

its

humbled,

immensity

in the contradiction of ten-

not in

is

multiplication of

its

spiritual fulfilment.

There are things that cannot wait. You have


to rush and run and march, if you must fight or
take the best place in the market.

strain

when you chase


always on their wings. But

your nerves and are on the


opportunities that are

You

alert,

there are ideals which do not play hide and seek

with

our

life;

they

slowly

to flower, from flower to fruit;


finite

grow

from

seed

they require

in-

space and heaven's light to mature and

the fruits that they produce can survive years


of insult
in

and

neglect.

The East with

her ideals,

whose bosom are stored the ages of sunlight

and

silence of stars,

can patiently wait

till

the

West, hurrying after the expedient, loses breath


and stops. Europe, while busily speeding to her

NATIONALISM

82

engagements, disdainfully casts her glance from


her carriage

window

harvest in the

field,

to the reaper reaping his

and

in

her intoxication of

speed cannot but think him as slow and ever

But the speed comes

receding backwards.

end, the engagement loses

its

to

meaning and

its

the hungry heart clamours for food,

till

at last

she comes to the lowly reaper reaping his har-

For

vest in the sun.

or the buying and

if

the office cannot wait,

selling,

or the

craving for

excitement, love waits and beauty and the


of suffering

and the

fruits of patient

reverent meekness of simple faith.

wait the East

till

must not

wisdom

devotion and

And

thus shall

her time comes.

acknowledge where
Europe is great, for great she is without doubt.
We cannot help loving her with all our heart,
I

hesitate

to

and paying her the best homage of our admirathe Europe who, in her literature and art,
tion,
is

pouring an inexhaustible cascade of beauty and

truth fertilizing

all

countries and

Europe who, with a mind which


untiring power,

is

all
is

time

the

titanic in its

sweeping the height and the

depth of the universe, winning her homage of

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
knowledge
infinitely

from
small,

the

all

and

great

infinitely

applying

83

the

the

resources

of

her great intellect and heart in healing the sick

and alleviating those miseries of man which up


till now we were contented to accept in a spirit
of hopeless resignation

more

ing the earth yield

of nature into

man's

must have

strength.
all

fruit

who

mak-

is

than seemed pos-

coaxing and compelling the great forces

sible,

ness

the Europe

throw

have

Such true great-

motive power

its

For only the

limitations,
its

service.

spirit of

faith in its

search-light

in

spiritual

man

can defy

ultimate success,

beyond the immediate and

the apparent, gladly suffer

which cannot be achieved

martyrdom

for ends

in its lifetime

and ac-

cept failure without acknowledging defeat.

In the

heart of Europe runs the purest stream of

human

love, of love of justice, of spirit of self-sacrifice

for higher ideals.


ries

Christian culture of centu-

has sunk deep in her

we have
up

The

life's

seen noble minds

for the rights of

man

core.

who have

their

own

ever stood

irrespective of colour

who have braved calumny and

creed

In Europe

insult

and

from

people in fighting for humanity's cause

NATIONALISM

84

and

raising their voices against the

mad

orgies of

militarism, against the rage for brutal retaliation

or rapacity that sometimes takes possession of a

whole people

who

are always ready to

aration for wrongs done in the past

by

make

rep-

their

own

nations and vainly attempt to stem the tide of

cowardly injustice that flows unchecked because


the resistance

weak and innocuous on the part

is

There are these knight-errants


modern Europe who have not lost their faith

of the injured.

of
in

the disinterested love of freedom, in the ideals

which own no geographical boundaries or national


These are there to prove that the
self-seeking.
fountainhead of the water of everlasting

life

has

not run dry in Europe, and from thence she

will

have her rebirth time after time.

where Europe

is

Only

there,

too consciously busy in building

up her power, defying her deeper nature and

mocking

it,

she

is

heaping up her iniquities to the

sky crying for God's vengeance and spreading


the infection of ugliness, physical and moral, over
the face of the earth with her heartless

commerce

heedlessly outraging man's sense of the beautiful

and the good.

Europe

is

supremely good

in her

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
beneficence where her face

is

turned to

85

all

human-

and Europe is supremely evil in her malefic


aspect where her face is turned only upon her
ity;

own

interest, using all her

power of greatness for


ends which are against the infinite and the eternal
in

Man.
Eastern Asia has been pursuing

own

its

evolving

but

political

civilization,

social,

cally efficient,

own

its

but spiritual and based upon

the

of

thought out

not

not predatory and mechani-

the varied and deeper relations of humanity.


solutions

path,

which was

life

all

The

problems of peoples were

and carried out behind

in seclusion

the security of aloofness, where

all

the dynastic

them.

and foreign invasions hardly touched


But now we are overtaken by the outside

world,

our seclusion

changes

we must not
gret

when

Now

is

lost

Yet

forever.

this

regret, as a plant should never re-

the obscurity of

the time has

its

seed-time

is

broken.

come when we must make

the world problem our

own problem

we must

bring the spirit of our civilization into

with the history of

must

not,

in

all

foolish

nations of
pride,

still

harmony
the earth; we
keep ourselves

NATIONALISM

86

fast within the shell of the seed

of the earth which protected


ideals;

for these, the shell

meant

to be broken, so that

all its

and the crust

and nourished our

and the
life

may

vigour and beauty, bringing

were

crust,

spring up in
offerings to

its

the world in open light.

In this task of breaking the barrier and facing the world

Japan has come out the -first

East.

She has infused hope

Asia.

This hope provides the hidden

is

needed for

feels

all

in the

works of creation.

that she must prove her

must not

living work, she

lie

life

in the

heart of
fire

all

which

now

Asia

by producing

passively dormant,

or feebly imitate the West, in the infatuation of

For

fear or flattery.

this land of the rising

to

this

we

offer

our thanks to

sun and solemnly ask her

remember that she has the mission of the

East to
fuller

fulfil.

She must infuse the sap of a


into

humanity

civilization.

She

the heart of the

must

never

allow

modern

it

to

get

choked with the noxious undergrowth, but lead

up towards light and freedom, towards the


pure air and broad space, where it can receive,
it

in the

dawn

of

its

day and the darkness

of

its

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

Let the greatness of

night, heaven's inspiration.

her ideals

become

to

visible

snow-crowned Fuji

rising

all

from

maiden

in

its

its

men

like

her

from the heart of the

country into the region of the


distinct

87

infinite,

supremely

surroundings, beautiful like a

magnificent sweep of curve, yet

firm and strong and serenely majestic.

II

have travelled

met with men

of

in
all

countries and have

many

but never

classes,

travels did I feel the presence of the

man's power loomed

signs of

large,

saw vast organizations which showed


in

all

their

features.

my

human

so

In other great coun-

distinctly as in this land.


tries,

in

There,

display

and

efficiency

and ex-

travagance, in dress, in furniture, in costly enter-

tainments, are startling.

back into a corner,


feast;

they are apt to

like

They seem
a

to

push you

poor intruder at a

make you

envious, or take

your breath away with amazement. There, you


do not feel man as supreme
you are hurled
;

against a stupendousness of things that alienates.

But

in

Japan,

it is

not the display of power, or

NATIONALISM

88
wealth, that
see

is

You

the predominating element.

everywhere emblems

of love

and admiration,

and not mostly of ambition and greed. You see


a people, whose heart has come out and scattered
itself

in profusion

everyday

in

life,

in

its

commonest

social

its

utensils of
in

institutions,

manners, which are carefully perfect, and

its

in its

dealings with things which are not only deft, but


graceful in every

What
is

movement.

has impressed

me most

in this

country

the conviction that you have realized nature's

secrets,

not by methods of analytical knowledge,

You have known

but by sympathy.
of lines,

and music of

colours, the

her language

symmetry

in

her irregularities, and the cadence in her freedom


of

movements

immense crowds

how
in

you have seen how she leads her


of things yet avoids all frictions

the very conflicts in her creations break out

dance and music

how

her exuberance has the

aspect of the fulness of self-abandonment, and not


a

mere dissipation of display.

You have

covered that nature reserves her power


of beauty;

and

mother, nourishes

it

all

is

this

in

beauty which,

dis-

forms
like a

the giant forces at her breast,

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
keeping them in active vigour,

You have known

89

yet in

repose.

that energies of nature save

themselves from wearing out by the rhythm of

and that she with the tenderness

a perfect grace,

of her curved lines takes

world's muscles.

have

away
felt

fatigue from the

that you have been

able to assimilate these secrets into your

the truth which

in the

lies

beauty of

has passed into your souls.

life,

all

and

things

mere knowledge

of things can be had in a short enough time,

but their

of training

and

from outside
her your

can only be acquired by centuries

spirit

is

own

Dominating nature

self-control.

much

simpler thing than making

in love's delight,

Your

of true genius.

race has

which

is

shown that

work

genius,

not by acquirements, but by creations;

not by

display of things, but

its

and

of

This creative power there

inner being.
nations,

by manifestation

it

is

is

own

in all

ever active in getting hold of

men's natures and giving them a form according


to

its

But

ideals.

have achieved
the minds of

and nerves.

its

here,

success,

in

Japan,

it

seems to

and deeply sunk into

men, and permeated their muscles


Your instincts have become true,

all

NATIONALISM

9o

your senses keen, and your hands have acquired


natural

The

skill.

genius of Europe has given

her people the power of organization, which has

made

specially

merce and

The

manifest in politics and com-

coordinating scientific knowledge.

genius of Japan has given you the vision of

beauty

your

in

itself

in

nature and the power of realizing

in

life.

All particular civilization

of particular
to

it

have

human

is

the interpretation

Europe seems

experience.

emphatically the conflict of things in

felt

the universe, which can only be brought under

by conquest. Therefore she is ever ready


fight, and the best portion of her attention is

control
for

But Japan has


her world, the touch of some presence,

occupied in organizing forces.


felt,

in

which has evoked


adoration.

in her soul a feeling of reverent

She does not boast of her mastery of

nature, but to her she brings, with infinite care

and joy, her

offerings of love.

with the world

is

Her

relationship

the deeper relationship of heart.

This spiritual bond of love she has established


with the

hills

of her country, with the sea and

the streams, with the forests in

all

their flowery

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
moods and varied physiognomy
has taken into her heart

all

91

of branches

she

the rustling whispers

and sighing of the woodjands and sobbing of the


waves the sun and the moon she has studied in
;

all

the modulations of their lights and shades,

and she

is

glad to close her shops to greet the

seasons in her orchards and gardens and cornfields.

This opening of the heart to the soul of

the world

is

not confined to a section of your

privileged classes,
exotic culture,

and women of
your

soul, in

but
all

It

is

belongs to

it

all

meeting a personality

embodied

a civilization of

Your duty towards your


assumed the character of

your men

This experience of

conditions.

of the world, has been


tion.

not the forced product of

it is

in

your

human
state

filial

in the heart
civiliza-

relationship.

has

naturally

duty, your nation

becoming one family with your Emperor as its


Your national unity has not been evolved
head.
from

the

comradeship

of

arms

for

defensive

and offensive purpose, or from partnership


raiding adventures, dividing

among each member

the danger and spoils of robbery.

outcome

in

It

is

not an

of the necessity of organization for

some

NATIONALISM

92
ulterior purpose,

but

it

an extension of the

is

family and the obligations of the heart in a wide


field of space and time.
The ideal of "maitri"

bottom of your culture,


men and "maitri" with Nature.

is

at the

expression of

this

love

And

the true

the language of

in

is

"maitri" with

beauty, which is so abundantly universal in


land.
This is the reason why a stranger,
instead

myself,

of

this
like

envy or humiliation

feeling

before these manifestations of beauty, these creations of love, feels a readiness to participate in

and glory of such revealment of the

the joy

human
And

heart.
this

has

made me

the more

all

appre-

hensive of the change, which threatens Japanese


civilization, as

own

something

like a

menace

to one's

For the huge heterogeneity of the


modern age, whose only common bond is usefulness, is nowhere so pitifully exposed against the
person.

dignity and hidden power of reticent beauty, as


in

Japan.

But the danger

lies

ugliness storms the


its

mass, by

its

in

this,

mind and

aggressive

that organized

carries the

persistence,

day by

by

its

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

mockery directed against the deeper

of

power

sentiments

makes

it

senses,

93

of

heart.

harsh

Its

obtrusiveness

forcibly visible to us,

overcoming our

and we bring to

altar

its

sacrifices,

does a savage to the fetich which appears

as

powerful because of

rivalry to things that are

its

Therefore

hideousness.

its

modest and pro-

found and have the subtle delicacy of

life is

to be

dreaded.
I

am

country

who

They

your

sympathy with your


whose object is to gain, and not

are loud in their boast that they

While

have modernized Japan.

them

in

not in

are

inherited ideals
to grow.

men

quite sure that there are

agree

with

so far as to say, that the spirit of the race

should harmonize with the spirit of the time,

must warn them that modernizing


affectation of

poesy

is

is

those

too

poetizing.

literal.

who have

is

It

mere

is

nothing but mimicry,

louder than the original, and

One must bear


the true

modernize, just as those

not braggarts.

modernism, just as affectation of

only affectation
it

is

modern

who

Modernism

is

in

mind, that

spirit

need not

are truly brave are

not in the dress of

NATIONALISM

94

Europeans; or in the hideous structures,


where their children are interned when they take
the

their lessons

or in the square houses with flat

straight wall-surfaces, pierced with parallel lines

windows, where these people are caged

of

their lifetime

certainly

modernism

These

modern,

True modernism

European.
not

not

are

of

slavery

not in their

on them loads of incon-

ladies' bonnets, carrying

gruities.

is

in

It

taste.

is
is

but

merely

freedom of mind,
independence

of

thought and action, not tutelage under European


It is science, but not its wrong apschoolmasters.
plication in

teachers

who

reduce

invoking

its

aid for

Life based

mere imitation of our science

life,

of

sport;

impossible purposes.

it

it

science

has

all

is

the

characteris-

feigns seriousness, but

is

not

go a-hunting, the less pity


have the better; for your one object is

to chase the

game and

kill

it,

to feel that

are the greater animal, that your


struction
of

attractive to

When you

profound.

you

all

upon mere

some men, because


tics

into a superstition absurdly

it

is

science

thorough and
is

that

method

scientific.

superficial

life.

And
It

you

of de-

the

life

pursues

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

95

and thoroughness, and takes no


account of the higher nature of man. But those
success with

skill

whose minds are crude enough

to

their

plan

upon the supposition, that man


hunter and his paradise the paradise

lives

is

of sports-

be rudely awakened in the midst of

will

men,

their trophies of skeletons


I

merely

do not

and

moment

for a

skulls.

suggest, that

Japan

should be unmindful of acquiring modern weapons of self-protection.

But

this

should never be

allowed to go beyond her instinct of self-preserva-

She must know that the

tion.

real

power

is

not

weapons themselves, but in the man who


and when he, in his eagerwields those weapons
in the

ness

for

power, multiplies his weapons at the

cost of his

own

soul,

then

it is

he

who

is

in

even

greater danger than his enemies.

Things that are living are so easily hurt


fore they require protection.

In nature,

tects itself within its coverings,

with

life's

own

harmony with
comes they

The

living

material.

life's

there-

life

pro-

which are built

Therefore they are in

growth, or else when the time

easily give

man

way and

are forgotten.

has his true protection in his

96

NATIONALISM

spiritual ideals,

which have their

vital connection

and grow with his growth.


fortunately, all his armour is not living,
with his

it is

But, un-

life

made

fore, while making use of

to protect

himself from

weak enough

to

some

and mechanical.

of steel, inert

it,

man

its

There-

has to be careful

tyranny.

grow smaller to

of

fit

If

he

is

himself to his

becomes a process of gradual


suicide by shrinkage of the soul.
And Japan must
covering, then

it

have a firm faith

in the

moral law of existence to

be able to assert to herself that the Western


nations are following that path of suicide, where

they are smothering their humanity under the

immense weight

of organizations in order to keep

themselves in power and hold others in subjection.

What

is

dangerous for Japan

not the imita-

is,

tion of the outer features of the West, but the

acceptance of the motive force of the Western


nationalism as her own.

Her

social ideals are al-

ready showing signs of defeat at the hands of politics.

can see her motto, taken from science,

"Survival of the Fittest," writ large at the entrance of her present-day history

whose meaning

is,

"Help

yourself,

the motto

and never heed

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
what

costs to others";

it

man who
men

others

that

But those who can

see.

see,

know

when you

strike

the blow comes back to yourself.

The

are so closely knit, that

moral law, which

man,

the motto of the blind

only believes in what he can touch, be-

cause he cannot
that

97

is

is

the greatest discovery of

the discovery of this wonderful truth,

man becomes

all

himself in others.

the truer, the more he realizes

This truth has not only a

subjective value, but

partment of our

life.

is

manifested in every de-

And

nations,

lously cultivate moral blindness

as

who

sedu-

the cult of

patriotism, will end their existence in a sudden

and violent death.

In past ages

we had

foreign

invasions, but they never touched the soul of the

They were merely the outcome of


ambitions. The people themselves,

people deeply.
individual

being free from the responsibilities of the baser

and more heinous


all

side of those adventures,

the advantage of the heroic and the

disciplines

derived from them.

had

human

This developed

their unflinching loyalty, their single-minded devo-

tion to the obligations of honour, their

power of

complete self-surrender and fearless acceptance of

NATIONALISM

98

death and danger.


seats

were

Therefore the

in the hearts of the people,

would not

undergo any serious change owing to the


the

whose

ideals,

policies

But now,

or

generals.
kings
adopted by
where the spirit of the Western nationalism prevails, the whole people is being taught from boy-

hood to

foster hatreds

and ambitions by

by the manufacture

of means,

all

kinds

of half-truths

and

untruths in history, by persistent misrepresentation of other races

and the culture of unfavourable

sentiments towards them, by setting up memorials


of events, very often false,

which

for the sake of

humanity should be speedily forgotten, thus continually brewing evil menace towards neighbours
and nations other than their own.

This

is

poison-

ing the very fountainhead of humanity.

It

is

discrediting the ideals, which were born of the

who were our

lives

of men,

It

holding up gigantic

is

universal

We

religion

for

all

can take anything

science,

but not

greatest and best.

selfishness as the

nations of the

else

this elixir of

world.

from the hands of


moral death.

think for a moment, that the hurts you

upon other

one

Never
inflict

races will not infect you, and the en-

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
sow around your homes

mities you

of protection to

you

will

99
be a wall

for all time to come.

To

imbue the minds of a whole people with an abnormal vanity of its own superiority, to teach it to
take pride in

its

moral callousness and ill-begotten

wealth, to perpetuate humiliation of defeated nations

by exhibiting trophies won from war, and

us-

ing these in schools in order to breed in children's

minds contempt for others, is imitating the West


where she has a festering sore, whose swelling is a
swelling of disease eating into

Our food

its vitality.

which are necessary

crops,

for

our

sustenance, are products of centuries of selection

and

care.

But the vegetation, which we have

not to transform into our

lives,

does not require

the patient thoughts of generations.

but

It

is

easy to get rid of weeds

cess of neglect, to ruin

your food crops and

them

it is

easy,

not

by prolet

revert to their primitive state of wildness.

Likewise the culture, which has so kindly adapted


itself to your soil,
so intimate with life, so

in past

and weeding
needs anxious work and

not only needed

human,

ages,

watching.

but

What

still
is

tilling

merely modern

as science

NATIONALISM

100

and methods of organization


can be transplanted but what is vitally human has fibres so
;

delicate,

that

am

and roots so numerous and

when moved from

dies

it

Therefore

its soil.

afraid of the rude pressure of the political ideals

West upon your own.

of the

tion, the state

men

of

far reaching,

ments,

an abstraction and relationship

is

Because

utilitarian.
it is

In political civiliza-

it

has no root in senti-

so dangerously easy to handle.

Half

a century has been enough for you to master this

machine

and there are men among you, whose

fondness for

exceeds their love for the living

it

which were born with the birth of your

ideals,

nation and nursed in your centuries.


child

who,

It

is

like a

excitement of his play, imagines

in the

he likes his playthings better than his mother.

Where man
Your

is

at his greatest, he

is

unconscious.

whose mainspring is the bond


of human relationship, has been nourished in the
civilization,

depth of a healthy

But

self-analysis.
all

conscious

it

aggressiveness.
notice.

And

is

beyond reach of prying


mere political relationship is

life

an eruptive inflammation of

It has forcibly burst

the time has come,

upon your
when you have

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

IOI

to be roused into full consciousness of the truth

by which you live, so that you may not be taken


unawares. The past has been God's gift to you

about the present, you must make your own


choice.

So the questions you have to put to yourselves

"Have we

are these,

read the world -wrong,

and based our relation to

human

nature

Is

it

upon an ignorance of

the instinct of the Wefct" right,

where she builds her national welfare behind the


barricade of a universal distrust of

You must have


fear,

it

is

thrives,

her

detected a strong accent of

whenever the West has discussed the

bility of the rise of

of

humanity?"

own

this,

an

is

evil

world trembles.
of

power

can be

The

so long as

reason

Europe

it is

held on

ambition of the present


to have the exclusive

is

All her

diplomacy are directed upon

spirit lead

The

safe, while the rest of the

vital

possession of the devil.

But these

race.

that the power, by whose help she

side she

civilization

an Eastern

possi-

armaments and

this

one object.

costly rituals for invocation of the evil

through a path of prosperity to the

brink of cataclysm.

The

furies of terror,

which

NATIONALISM

102

West has

upon God's world, come


back to threaten herself and goad her into preparations of more and more frightfulness
this
the

let loose

gives her no rest and makes her forget

all else

but

the perils that she causes to others and incurs


herself.

she

the worship of this devil of politics

sacrifices

feeds
it,

To

upon

so 1'ong

other

countries

dead

as

victims.

She

and grows fat upon


as the carcasses remain fresh,
but
their

they are sure to rot at


their revenge,

flesh

last,

and the dead

by spreading pollution

far

will

take

and wide

and poisoning the vitality of the feeder. Japan


had all her wealth of humanity, her harmony of
heroism and beauty, her depth of self-control and
richness

of

self-expression

yet

the

Western

no respect for her, till she proved that


the bloodhounds of Satan are not only bred in
nations

felt

the kennels of Europe, but can also be domes-

Japan and fed with man's miseries.


They admit Japan's equality with themselves,
ticated in

only when they

know

that Japan also possesses

the key to open the floodgate of hell-fire upon the

whenever she chooses, and can dance,


own measure, the devil dance of pillage,

fair earth,

in their

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
murder

and

ravishment

innocent

of

women,
know that,

We

while the world goes to ruin.


in

103

the early stage of man's moral immaturity,

he only

feels

reverence for the god whose malev-

But

olence he dreads.

is

this the

of

ideal

which we can look up to with pride

man
After

centuries of civilization nations fearing each other

prowling wild beasts of the night-time

like the

shutting their doors of hospitality;

combining

only for purpose of aggression or defence


in

their holes

their trade secrets,

secrets of their

armaments

hiding

state secrets,

making peace

offer-

ings to the barking dogs of each other with the

meat which does not belong

to

them

holding

down

fallen races struggling to stand

feet

with their right hands dispensing religion

to weaker peoples, while robbing


is

left,

envious

there

in

anything

upon

them with

this

to

their

make

Are we to bend our knees to the

their

us

spirit

of this

nationalism, which

over

the world seeds of fear, greed, suspicion,

all

unashamed
lies

of

its

lies

of

its

is

sowing broadcast

diplomacy, and unctuous

profession of peace and good-will and

universal brotherhood of

Man

Can we have

NATIONALISM

104

no doubt

our minds, when we rush to the

in

Western market to buy

this foreign

exchange for our own inheritance

how

difficult it

man who

is

drunkenness

know

to

is

am

denies

furiously

West

herself

aware

and the

one's self;

intoxicated

yet the

product in

is

his

anxiously

thinking of her problems and trying experiments.

But she
to give

is

up

like a glutton,

his

clings to the

intemperance

has not. the heart

by medicine.

up her

political

baser passions of

man

and fondly

in eating,

hope that he can cure

of indigestion
to give

who

his

Europe

nightmares

is

not ready

inhumanity, with
attendant upon

believes only in modification of systems,


in

all

it;

the

she

and not

change of heart.

We

are

willing

to

buy

their

machine-made

systems, not with our hearts, but with our brains.

We

shall try

them and build sheds

not enshrine them

in

for

them, but

our homes, or temples.

There are races who worship the animals they


we can buy meat from them, when we are
kill
;

hungry, but not the worship which goes with the


killing.

We

must not

vitiate our children's

with the superstition, that business

is

minds

business,

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
war

is

war, politics

is

We

politics.

105

must know

that man's business has to be

more than mere

business, and so have to be


You had your own industry

war and

in

pulously honest and true

was, you can see by

its

by

products,

it

his

their grace

Japan

politics.

how

and strength,

scru-

their

conscientiousness in details, where they can hardly

But the

be observed.

tidal

wave

of falsehood has

swept over your land from that part of the world,

where business
in

it

felt

is

business,

and honesty

merely as the best policy.

shame, when you

see

is

followed

Have you never

the trade advertise-

ments, not only plastering the whole town with

and exaggerations, but invading the green


fields, where the peasants do their honest labour,
lies

and the
of the

hill-tops,

morning

which greet the


It

is

first

pure light

so easy to dull our sense

of honour and delicacy of mind with constant

abrasion, while falsehoods stalk abroad with proud


steps in the

name

of trade, politics and patriotism,

that any protest against their perpetual intrusion


into our lives

is

considered to be sentimentalism,

unworthy of true manliness.


And it has come to pass that the children

NATIONALISM

io6

who would keep their word at


death, who would disdain to cheat

of those heroes

the point of

men

who even

for vulgar profit,

in

their fight

would much rather court defeat than be

dis-

honourable, have become energetic in dealing with


falsehoods and do not feel humiliated by gaining

And

advantage from them.

by the charm

of the

this

has been effected

word 'modern.'

diluted utility be modern, beauty


if

mean

are no

if

un-

of all ages

human ideals
And we must know for

be modern, the

selfishness

new

is

But

inventions.

however modern may be the prowhich cripples man for the sake of

certain, that

ficiency

methods and machines,

it

will

never live to be

old.

But while trying

to free our

minds from the

arrogant claims of Europe and to help ourselves

out of the quicksands of our infatuation, we


go to the other extreme

The

a wholesale suspicion of the West.

reaction

just as unreal as the first

of disillusionment

is

shock of

We

illusion.

may

and blind ourselves with

must

try to

come

to that

normal state of mind, by which we can clearly


discern our

own danger and avoid

it,

without

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

107

being unjust towards the source of that danger.

There

always the natural temptation

is

in us of

own

wishing to pay back Europe in her

coin,

contempt and evil for


evil.
But that again would be to imitate Europe
in one of her worst features which comes out in
and return contempt

for

whom

her behaviour to people

she describes as

And

yellow or red, brown or black.


point on which

we

edge our guilt and


if

great,

by

in the

own

not greater,

It

caste.

is

to

when we

really because

insulted

humanity

for it

glories

of

colour or

are afraid of our

we

try to substitute

another weakness which makes

the

know

we

men

allows itself to be overcome

sight of power, that

by the

that our sin has been as

particular creed,

own weakness, which

is

East have to acknowl-

treating with utter disdain and cruelty

who belonged

to

this

the

West.

the Europe which

is

itself

When we

blind
truly

great and good,

we

can effectively save ourselves from the Europe

which

is

mean and

grasping.

It

judgment when one


human miseries,
and pessimism

unfair in one's

of building theories while the

is

easy to be

is

faced with

is

the result

mind

is

suffering.

NATIONALISM

108

To

despair of

humanity is only
truth which brings

lose faith

in

when

defeat

its

is

greatest,

to

and

we

if

possible,
it

strength,

calls

out new

from the depth of its destruction.


We must
admit that there is a living soul in the West which

life

is

struggling unobserved against the hugeness of

the organizations under which men,


children are being crushed, and

women and

whose mechani-

cal necessities are ignoring laws that are spiritual

and human,

the soul whose sensibilities refuse

to be dulled completely

by dangerous habits

heedlessness in dealings with races for


lacks natural sympathy.

have
her

risen to the

strength

brute,

heart

it

could never

eminence she has reached,

suffering

machine.

from the

her hands upon the world,

The

divine

if

her

in

injuries inflicted

and from

of her higher nature flows the secret


will

whom

were merely the strength of the

or of the
is

The West

of

bring healing to those injuries.

by

this pain

balm which

Time

after

time she has fought against herself and has un-

done the chains, which with her own hands she


had fastened round helpless limbs; and though
she forced poison

down

the throat of a great na-

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

109

tion at the point of sword for gain of

money, she
herself woke up to withdraw from it, to wash
This shows hidden springs
her hands clean again.
of

humanity

in spots

which look dead and barren.

that the deeper truth in her nature,

It proves

which can survive such a career of cruel cowardliness,

not greed, but reverence for unselfish

is

It

ideals.

would be altogether unjust, both to us

and to Europe, to say that she has fascinated the


modern Eastern mind by the mere exhibition of

Through the smoke

her power.

of cannons

and

dust of markets the light of her moral nature has

shone bright, and she has brought to us the ideal


of ethical freedom,

whose foundation

lies

deeper

than social conventions and whose province of


activity

is

world-wide.

The East

has instinctively

felt,

even through

her aversion, that she has a great deal to learn

from Europe, not merely about the materials of


power, but about its inner source, which is of

mind and

of the moral nature of

man.

Europe

has been teaching us the higher obligations of


public good above those of the family and the
clan,

and the sacredness of law, which makes

no

NATIONALISM

society independent of individual caprice, secures


for

it

of

continuity

justice to

all

men

and

progress,

of all positions in

guarantees

Above

life.

Europe has held high before our


minds the banner of liberty, through centuries of
all

things

martyrdom and achievement,

liberty of

con-

thought and action, liberty

science, liberty of

And

the ideals of art and literature.

in

because

Europe has won our deep respect, she has become so dangerous for us where she is turbulently

weak and

when

it

is

There

is

one safety

we may
Europe

along with

served

for us

count, and that


herself, as

her temptations

ments

dangerous

false,

our

call

we can claim

that

ally, in

our resistance to

and to her violent encroach-

own standard

by which we can measure her

her before her

to shame,

food.

upon which we hope

is,

and gauge her degrees of


can

poison

our best

for she has ever carried her

of perfection,

like

own

failure,

falls

by which we

tribunal and put her

the shame which

is

the sign of the

true pride of nobleness.

But our

fear

is,

that the poison

powerful than the food, and what

is

may

be more

strength in her

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN
to-day
trary

not be the sign of health, but the con-

may

for

may

it

be temporarily caused by the

upsetting of the balance of

Our

life.

it

is

sure to lose

its

it

is

that

assumes

and though at

dimensions which are colossal,


last

fear

when

has a fateful fascination,

evil

in

centre of gravity

by

abnormal disproportion, the mischief which

its

creates before

it

its

fall

may

be beyond repara-

tion.

Therefore
faith

and

ask you to have the strength of

clarity of

mind

to

the lumbering structure of


eted

by the

know

for certain, that

modern

progress, riv-

iron bolts of efficiency,

which runs

upon the wheels of ambition, cannot hold together


for long.

Collisions are certain to occur

has to travel upon organized


to choose
off

the

located.
a

its

its

rails,

own

day

lines, it is

course freely

and once

come, when

it

it

too heavy

endless train of vehicles


will

for

it

is

is

dis-

will fall in

heap of ruin and cause serious obstruction to

the traffic of the world.


this

even now

Do we

not see signs of

Does not the voice come to

us,

through the din of war, the shrieks of hatred, the


waitings of despair, through the churning

up

of

NATIONALISM

112
the unspeakable

which has been accumulat-

filth

ing for ages in the

bottom of

this nationalism,

the voice which cries to our soul, that the tower

which goes by the name


of patriotism, which has raised its banner of treason against heaven, must totter and fall with a
of national selfishness,

crash,

kissing

weighed down by
the

brothers,

sends up

dust,

when
its

its

the

own

its

bulk,

extinguished

light

of

flag

My

conflagration

crackle of laughter to the stars, keep


stars

For when

of destruction.
itself

light

red

your faith upon those

sumes

its

and

dies

and not upon the

fire

this conflagration con-

down, leaving

its

memorial

in ashes, the eternal light will again shine in the

the East which has been the birth-place

East,
of the

morning sun of man's

knows

if

history.

And who

that day has not already dawned, and

the sun not risen, in the Easternmost horizon of

Asia

And

offer,

as did

my

ancestor

rishis,

salutation to that sunrise of the East, which

my
is

destined

once again to illumine the whole

world.
I

know my

voice

above the uproar of

is

too feeble to raise

this bustling time,

and

itself
it is

NATIONALISM IN JAPAN

113

easy for any street urchin to fling against


of

epithet

stick

will

It

'unpractical.'

me

the

to

my

never to be washed away, effectively

coat-tail,

me from

excluding

the consideration of
I

spectable persons.

know what

a risk

re-

all

one runs

from the vigorously athletic crowds to be styled


an idealist in these days, when thrones have

and prophets have become an


anachronism, when the sound that drowns all
lost their dignity

voices

the

is

when, one

noise

day,

Yokohama town,
modern

of

the

standing
bristling
I

miscellanies,
sea,

among your

pine-clad

on

the

with

outskirts

its

of

display of

its

watched the sunset

and saw

your southern

Yet

market-place.

in

peace and majesty

hills,

with

the

great

Fujiyama growing faint against the golden horizon, like a god overcome with his own radiance,
- the music of
eternity welled up through the
evening silence, and

felt

earth and the lyrics of the

that the sky and the

dawn and

are with the poets and idealists,

and not with the

marketmen robustly contemptuous


ments,
divinity,

the dayfall

of

all

senti-

that, after the forgetfulness of his

man

will

own

remember again that heaven

is

NATIONALISM
always

in

touch with his world, which can never

be abandoned for good to the hounding wolves


of the

modern

howling to the

era,
skies.

scenting

human

blood and

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
OUR
is

in

problem in India is not political. It


This is a condition not only prevailing
social.
I do not beIndia, but among all nations.

in the

to

an exclusive

in

lieve

we

real

interest.

political

West have dominated Western


India are trying to imitate you.

in

remember that

in

Politics

ideals,

We

and
have

Europe, where peoples had

from the beginning, and where


natural resources were insufficient for the in-

their racial unity

habitants, the civilization has naturally taken the

character of political and commercial aggressive-

For on the one hand they had no internal


complications, and on the other they had to deal
ness.

with neighbours

To have
and

who were

strong and rapacious.

perfect combination

watchful

others

was taken

lems.

In

former

attitude

of

among themselves
animosity against

as the solution of their prob-

days
117

they

organized

and

NATIONALISM

Ii8

the present age

in

plundered,

same

the

spirit

and they organize and exploit the

continues

whole world.

But from the

earliest

India has had her

her

own problem

the race problem.

it is

be conscious of
realize

beginnings of history,

its

Each nation must

mission and we, in India, must

we cut

that

constantly before

a poor figure when"

we

are

we have not

trying to be political, simply because

yet been finally able to accomplish what was


set before us

by our providence.

This problem of race unity which we have


been trying to solve for so many years has likewise to be faced by you here in America.

country ask

people in this

me what

is

as to the caste distinctions in India.


this question

a superior

is

asked me,

And

it is

Many

happening

But when

usually done with

tempted to put the


same question to our American critics with a
air.

slight modification,

the

Red Indian and

feel

"What have you done

with

For you have


not got over your attitude of caste toward them.
You have used violent methods to keep aloof
from other

races,

the

Negro?"

but until you have solved the

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

119

question here in America, you have no right to

question India.

In spite of our great difficulty, however, India


has done something.

She has tried to make an

adjustment of

to

races,

acknowledge the

between them where these

differences

yet seek for some basis of unity.

exist,

real

and

This basis has

come through our saints, like Nanak, Kabir,


Chaitnaya and others, preaching one God to all
races of India.

we

shall

have helped to solve the world problem as

well.

What

now.

In finding the solution of our problem

India has been, the whole world

The whole world


scientific

facility.

when you
not

is

also

political.

becoming one country through

And

must
If

will

the

moment

is

find a basis of unity

arriving

which

is

India can offer to the world her

be a contribution to humanity.

solution,

it

There

only one history

is

is

the history of man.

All national histories are merely chapters in the


larger one.

And we

are content in India to suffer

for such a great cause.

Each individual has


his brute instinct leads

his

him

self-love.

Therefore

to fight with others

NATIONALISM

120

But man

in the sole pursuit of his self-interest.

has also his higher instincts of sympathy and

mutual help. The people who are lacking in


this higher moral power and who therefore cannot

combine

in

with one another must

fellowship

perish or live in a state of degradation.

Only

those peoples have survived and achieved civilization

who have

spirit of

this

cooperation strong

So we find that from the beginning of


history men had to choose between fighting with
in

them.

one

another

their

own

and

interest or the

In our early history


limits

of each country

communication

were

comparatively small

men

between

combining,

common
when

and

the

geographical

problem was

this

dimension.

to develop

all.

also the facilities of

small,
in

serving

interest of

It

was

suffi-

their

sense of unity

within their area of segregation.

In those days

cient for

combined among themselves and fought


But it was this moral spirit of
against others.
they

combination which was the true basis of their


greatness, and this fostered their art, science and

fact

At that

most important
that man had to take count of was the fact

religion.

early time the

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
of the

members

coming

in close

who

made

all

this fact

their

mark

through

their higher

in history.

fact of the present age

the different races of

together.

Those

contact with one another.

The most important


that

men

of one particular race of

truly grasped

nature

121

men have come

is

close

And

alternatives.

again we are confronted with two


The problem is whether the differ-

ent groups of peoples shall go on fighting with one

another or find out some true basis of reconcilia-

and mutual help whether it will be


minable competition or cooperation.
tion

have no hesitation

in

inter-

saying that those

who

are gifted with the moral

power of love and vision


of spiritual unity, who have the least feeling of
enmity against aliens, and the sympathetic insight to place themselves in the position of others
will

be the

fittest to

in the age that

is

take their permanent place

lying before us, and those

who

are constantly developing their instinct of fight

and intolerance of
this

is

aliens will

be eliminated.

the problem before us, and

our humanity by solving


our higher nature.

The

it

we have

For

to prove

through the help of

gigantic

organizations

NATIONALISM

122

and warding

for hurting others


for

making money by

On

not help us.

off their

blows,

dragging others back, will

the contrary,

by

their crushing

weight, their enormous cost and their deadening


effect

upon the

living

impede our freedom

humanity they

will seriously

in the larger life of a higher

civilization.

During the evolution of the Nation -the moral


culture of brotherhood was limited by geographical boundaries, because at that time those boun-

Now

they have become imagi-

lines of tradition

divested of the qualities

daries were true.

nary

So the time has come when

of real obstacles.

man's moral nature must deal with


fact

with

all

seriousness

or

perish.

this

great

The

first

impulse of this change of circumstance has been


the churning up of man's baser passions of greed

and cruel hatred.

If this persists indefinitely

armaments go on exaggerating themselves


imaginable absurdities, and machines and
houses envelop this

smoke and

all his

power

to unstore-

earth with their dirt and

ugliness, then

gration of suicide.
exert

fair

and

it

will

Therefore
of love

and

end

man

in a conflawill

have to

clarity of vision to

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
make another

123

great moral adjustment which will

comprehend the whole world

men and

of

The

merely the fractional groups of nationality.


call

not

has come to every individual in the present

age to prepare himself and his surroundings for


this

dawn

of a

new

era

when man

human

his soul in the spiritual unity of all


If it

given at

is

all

to the

West

shall discover

beings.

to struggle out

of these tangles of the lower slopes to the spiritual

summit
that
this

of humanity,

it is

then

cannot but think

the special mission of America to

hope of God and man.

of expectation, desiring

You

fulfil

are the country

something

else

than what

Europe has her subtle habits of mind and her


conventions.
But America, as yet, has come to
is.

no conclusions.

realize

how much America

is

untrammelled by the traditions of the past, and


I

can appreciate that experimentalism

America's youth.
is

The foundation

in the future, rather

one
will

than

is

a sign of

of her glory

in the past

and

if

power of clairvoyance, one


be able to love the America that is to be.
is

gifted with the

America

is

destined to justify Western

zation to the East.

Europe has

lost

civili-

faith

in

NATIONALISM

124

humanity, and has become distrustful and


America, on the other hand,

You know,

blase.

as a people, that there

a thing as a better

and

merely passive but

They

of stinging nettles.

such

and that knowl-

aggressively

mere walls but are

are not like

is

There are habits that are

edge drives you on.


not

a best

sickly.

not pessimistic or

is

arrogant.

like

hedges

Europe has been cultivating

these hedges of habits for long years

till

they
have grown round her dense and strong and high.

The

pride of her traditions has sent

into her heart.


is

unreasonable.

do not wish to contend that

But

blindness at the end.


lants

roots deep

its

its first effect is

it

pride in every form breeds

Like

all

stimu-

artificial

a heightening of conscious-

ness and then with the increasing dose

it

muddles

and brings an exultation that is misleading.


Europe has gradually grown hardened in her
it

pride of

all

her outer and inner habits.

only cannot forget that she

is

She not

Western, but she

takes every opportunity to hurl this fact against


others to humiliate them.

This

is

why

she

is

growing incapable of imparting to the East what


is best in herself, and of accepting in a right spirit

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
the

wisdom that the East has

125

stored

cen-

for

turies.

In America national habits and traditions have

not had

time

to

You have

round your hearts.


complained of

their

spread

roots

clutching

constantly

felt

and

disadvantages when you com-

its

pared your nomadic restlessness with the settled


traditions

of

Europe

show her picture

when
pet

new

Europe which can

of greatness to the best advan-

tage because she can

But

of the Past.

the

fix it

against the background

in this present

era of civilization

call to all

is

age of transition,

sending

its

trum-

peoples of the world across an un-

limited future, this very freedom of detachment


will

enable you to accept

its

invitation

and to

achieve the goal for which Europe began her

journey but lost herself midway.

For she was

tempted out of her path by her pride of power and


greed of possession.

Not merely your freedom from


in the individuals

history from
in

all

habits of

mind

but also the freedom of your

unclean entanglements

fits

you

your career of holding the banner of civiliza-

tion

of

the

future.

All

the

great

nations

of

NATIONALISM

126

Europe have

their victims in other parts of the

This not only deadens their moral sympathy but also their intellectual sympathy, which
world.

is

the

so necessary for

understanding of

which are different from one's own.

men can

races

English-

never truly understand India because

their

minds are not disinterested with regard to

that

country.

Germany

you compare England with

If

or France you will find she has produced

the smallest

number

of scholars

who have

studied

Indian literature and philosophy with any amount


of

sympathetic

insight

or

thoroughness.

attitude of apathy and contempt

the relationship

is

national selfishness

natural where

abnormal and founded upon


and pride. But your history

has been disinterested and that

been able to help Japan


civilization

is

This

and that

is

why you have

is

in her lessons in

why China

you with her best confidence

Western

can look upon

in this her darkest

In fact you are carrying

period of danger.

all

the responsibility of a great future because you


are untrammelled
past.

by the grasping

Therefore of

America has to be

all

miserliness of a

countries

of

the

earth

fully conscious of this future,

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

127

her vision must not be obscured and her faith in

humanity must be strong with the strength

of

youth.

parallelism

one body various

and

my

races.

country, we have been seeking

out something

prove their

mere

between America

the parallelism of welding together into

India

In

exists

common

real unity.

political or

to

all

No

races,

to find

which

will

nation looking for a

commercial basis of unity

Men

find such a solution sufficient.

and power will discover the


realize it, and preach it.

will

of thought

spiritual unity, will

India has never had a real sense of nationalism.^

Even though from childhood

that the idolatry of Nation

almost better than

reverence for

is

God and humanity,

outgrown that teaching, and


that

my

had been taught

countrymen

it is

believe

my

have

conviction

will gain truly their India

by fighting against that education which teaches


them that a country is greater than the ideals of
humanity.

The educated Indian

at present

is

trying to

absorb some lessons from history contrary to the

NATIONALISM

128

lessons of our ancestors.

The

attempting to take unto

itself a

not the outcome of

its

own

example, thinks she

is

East, in fact,
history which

living.

is
is

Japan, for

getting powerful through

adopting Western methods, but, after she has

exhausted

weapons
will

her

inheritance,

only

the

borrowed
She

of civilization will remain to her.

not have developed herself from within.

Europe has her

past.

Europe's strength there-

We, in India, must make


up our minds that we cannot borrow other
people's history, and that if we stifle our own,
fore lies in her history.

we

are committing suicide.

When you borrow

things that do not belong to your


serve to crush your

And

therefore

life,

they only

life.

believe that

it

does India no

good to compete with Western civilization in its


own field. But we shall be more than compensated

if,

in spite of the insults

follow our

own

heaped upon

us,

we

destiny.

There are lessons which impart information or


train our minds for intellectual pursuits. These

and can be acquired and used with


advantage. But there are others which affect
are simple

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

129

our deeper nature and change our direction of

we accept them and pay their value


by selling our own inheritance, we must pause and
think deeply. In man's history there come ages
Before

life.

of fireworks which dazzle us

movement.

by

their

They laugh not only

force

at our

modest

household lamps but also at the eternal

But
in

and

stars.

us not for that provocation be precipitate

let

our

desire

to

dismiss

Let us

our lamps.

patiently bear our present insult and realize that

these fireworks have splendour but not perma-

because

nence,

which
their

of

the

extreme

explosiveness

the cause of their power, and also of

is

exhaustion.

They

are

spending

fatal

quantity of energy and substance compared to

and production.
Anyhow our ideals have been evolved through
our own history and even if we wished we could
their gain

only

make poor

fireworks of them, because their

materials are different from yours, as

moral purpose.
ing our
will

If

we

is

also their

cherish the desire of pay-

buying a political nationality it


be as absurd as if Switzerland had staked her
all

for

existence in her ambition to build

up

navy

NATIONALISM

130

powerful enough to compete with that of Eng-

The mistake

land.

that

we make

that man's channel of greatness

is

is

in thinking

only one

one which has made

itself

the time being by

depth of insolence.

We

must know

its

painfully evident for

for certain that there

before us and that future

is

the

is

a future

waiting for those

who

are rich in moral ideals and not in mere things.

And

the privilege of

it is

man

to

work

for fruits

that are beyond his immediate reach,


adjust his

life

and to

not in slavish conformity to the

examples of some present success or even to

own prudent

past, limited in its aspiration,

to an infinite future bearing in

its

his

but

heart the ideals

of our highest expectations.

We

must, however,

that the

West has come

must show the East


the

West that

make

know

it

to India.

is

Yet, some one

to the West, and convince

the East has her contribution to

in the history of civilization.

beggar of the West.

West may think


Western

providential

she

civilization

our independence.

India

is

no

And yet even though the


is, I am not for thrusting off

and becoming segregated in


Let us have a deep associa-

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
tion.

If

131

Providence wants England to be the

channel of that communication, of that deeper

and
I

think the

willing to accept

have great faith

humility.

am

association,

West

in

with

it

human

all

nature,

will find its true mission.

speak bitterly of Western civilization when

am

conscious that
its

thwarting

own

it

is

betraying

purpose.

herself a curse to the world

power

for her

selfish needs,

by using her

but by teaching

the ignorant and helping the weak,


herself

and

The West must not

make

own

trust

its

by saving

from the worst danger that the strong

liable to incur

by making the

is

feeble to acquire

power enough to resist her intrusion. And also


she must not make her materialism to be the
final thing,

service

in

but must
freeing the

realize that she

spiritual

tyranny of matter.
"I am not against one nation
against the general idea of

the Nation
It

is

ganized

all

is

doing a

being from the

in particular,

nations.

but

What

is

the aspect of a whole people as an or-

power.

This

organization

incessantly

keeps up the insistence of the population on be-

NATIONALISM

132

coming strong and

But

efficient.

and

effort after strength

this strenuous

energy from his higher nature where he


sacrificing

and

man's

efficiency drains

For

creative.

is

self-

man's

thereby

power of sacrifice is diverted from his ultimate


object, which is moral, to the maintenance of

Yet

this

organization, which

this

he

tion

and therefore becomes supremely dangerous

feels all

his conscience
bility to this

intellect

sonality.

freedom

the urging of

feels relieved of

when he can

transfer his responsi-

machine which

and not of

By

in

the satisfaction of moral exalta-

He

to humanity.

mechanical.

is

his

is

the creation of his

complete

this device the people

slavery

perpetuates

in

moral

per-

which loves
large

por-

tion of the world with the comfortable feeling of

pride of

having done

its

duty

men who

are

naturally just can be cruelly unjust both in their


act and their thought, accompanied

by

a feeling

that they are helping the world in receiving


deserts

men who

on robbing others of
aggrandizement,

all

are

honest

their

can

human

the while

its

blindly go

rights for self-

abusing the de-

prived for not deserving better treatment.

We

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
have seen

in

our everyday

life

133

even small organiza-

tions of business

and profession produce callous-

ness of feeling in

men who

are not naturally bad,

and we can well imagine what a moral havoc


in a world where whole peoples
it is causing
are

furiously organizing

themselves for gaining

wealth and power.

Nationalism
[ular thing

a great menace.

is

which

for years has

of India's troubles.

It

is

the partic-

been at the bottom

And inasmuch

we have

as

been ruled and dominated by a nation that


strictly political in its attitude,

we have

is

tried to

develop within ourselves, despite our inheritance

from the past, a

belief in

our eventual political

jestiny.

There are
ent

ideals.

different parties in India, with differ-

Some

independence.

are

struggling

for

political

Others think that the time has

not arrived for that, and yet believe that India


should have the rights that the English colonies
have.

They wish

to gain

autonomy

as

far as

possible.

In the beginning of our history of political


agitation

in

India there was not that conflict

NATIONALISM

134

between parties which there is to-day. In that


time there was a party known as the Indian Congress;

it

had no

real

They had

programme.

few grievances for redress by the authorities.

They wanted

larger representation in the Council

House, and more freedom

They wanted

ernment.

they had no constructive

in the

Municipal govof

scraps

things,

lacking in enthusiasm for their methods.

my

was

It

was

Therefore

ideal.

but

what India most needed was

conviction that

work coming from within herself.


work we must take all risks and go on

constructive

In this

doing our duties which by right are ours, though in


the teeth of persecution; winning moral victory
at every step,

by our

must show those who

failure,

and

suffering.

are over us that

We

we have the

strength of moral power in ourselves, the power

Where we have nothing

to suffer for truth.

show, we only have to beg.


chievous

if

the gifts

us right now, and

we wish

It

for

have told

to

would be miswere granted to

my

countrymen,

time and time again, to combine for the work of


creating opportunities to give vent to our spirit of
self-sacrifice,

and not

for the

purpose of begging.

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
The

lost

however,

party,

people soon came to realize

135

power because the


how futile was the

The party split,


Extremists, who advocated

by them.

half policy adopted

and there arrived the

independence of action, and discarded the begging

method

method,

the easiest

mind from

his responsibility

Their

were

ideals

based

of relieving one's

towards

on Western

They had no sympathy with the


of

India.

They

special

not recognize

did

his country.

history.

problems

the

patent

fact that there were causes in our social organiza-

which made the Indian incapable of coping


with the alien. What would we do if, for any
tion

reason,

England was driven away

We

The same

simply be victims for other nations.


social
in

The

weaknesses would prevail.

India, have to think of

is

this

should

thing we,
to

remove

those social customs and ideals which have gen-

erated

want

dependence

of

on

self-respect

those

above

and a complete
us,

state

of

which has been brought about entirely by


the domination in India of the caste system, and
affairs

the blind

and lazy habit of relying upon the

authority

of

anachronisms

traditions
in the

that

are

present age.

incongruous

NATIONALISM

136

draw your attention to the diffiIndia has had to encounter and her struggle

Once again
culties

overcome them.. Her problem was the prob-

to

lem of the world


in

India

in miniature.

area and too diverse in

its

too vast

is

races.

its

It

is

countries packed in one geographical re-

many

It

ceptacle.

what Europe

just the opposite of

is

namely one country made into many.


Thus Europe in its culture and growth has had
truly

is,

the advantage of the strength of the

tiously one, has

ness

of

unity.
rolls
is

naturally

being

its

all

true unity
its

and the feebleness of


is

like

round globe,

burden easily

its
it

but diversity

many-cornered thing which has to be dragged

and pushed with


credit of

own

many, yet adventi-

along suffered from the loose-

diversity

on, carrying

as

India, on the

well as the strength of the one.

contrary,

many,

all

force.

Be

it

said

to the

India that this diversity was not her

creation

she has had to accept

from the beginning of her history.

it

as a fact

In America

and Australia, Europe has simplified her problem

by almost exterminating the


Even in the present age this

original population.
spirit of

extermina-

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
tion

making

is

itself

by inhospitably

manifest,

shutting out aliens, through those

were aliens

in the lands

they

137

who

themselves

now occupy.

India tolerated difference of races from the

and that

spirit of toleration

has acted

all

But
first,

through

her history.

Her

caste system

is

the outcome of this spirit

of toleration.. For India has

all

along been try-

ing experiments in evolving a social unity within

which

the different peoples could be held to-

all

gether, yet fully enjoying the freedom of main-

taining their

own

differences.

The

tie

has been

as loose as possible, yet as close as the circum-

stances

This

permitted.

has

produced some-

thing like a United States of a social federation,

whose common name


India had

felt

is

Hinduism.

that diversity of races there must

be and should be, whatever

and you

may

be

its

drawback,

can never coerce nature into your

limits of convenience

dearly for

it.

without paying one day very

In this India was right

failed to realize

narrow

was that

in

human

but what she


beings differ-

ences are not like the physical barriers of


tains, fixed forever

they are fluid with

mounlife's

NATIONALISM

138

changing their courses and their

flow, they are

shapes and volume.

Therefore

her caste regulations India recog-

in

nized differences, but not the mutability which

the law of
set

to

is

In trying to avoid collisions she

life.

up boundaries of immovable walls, thus giving


her numerous races the negative benefit of

peace and order but not the positive opportunity


of

nature where
it

where

it

movement.

and

expansion

it

uses that diversity for

life in all

insulted

where

it

Life departed

place she

is

accepted

produces diversity, but ignored

of infinite permutations

treated

She

world-game
and combinations. She

truth where
it

is

from her

its

it is

manifold, but

ever moving.
social

worshipping with

Therefore

system and
all

in its

ceremony the

magnificent cage of countless compartments that


she has manufactured.

The same
ward

off

thing happened where she tried to

the collisions of trade interests.

She

associated different trades and professions with


different
for

castes.

It

had the

effect

of

allaying

good the interminable jealousy and hatred of

competition

the competition which breeds cru-

elty

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

139

and makes the atmosphere thick with

lies

and deception.

In this also India laid

all

her

emphasis upon the law of heredity, ignoring the


law of mutation,

and thus gradually reduced

and genius into skill.


However, what Western observers

arts into crafts

cern

is

fail

to dis-

all

serious-

that in her caste system India in

ness accepted her responsibility to solve the race

problem in such a manner as to avoid all friction,


and yet to afford each race freedom within its
boundaries.

Let

not achieved a

you must

us

full

admit

this

in

measure of success.

also concede, that the

India

But

has
this

West, being more

favorably situated as to homogeneity of races,

has never given her attention to this problem,

and whenever confronted with

it

she has tried to

And

make

it

this

the source of her anti-Asiatic agitations for

is

easy by ignoring

it

altogether.

depriving the aliens of their right to earn their

honest living on these shores.


colonies

In most of your

you only admit them on condition of

their accepting the menial position of hewers of

wood and drawers


your doors

of water.

against the

aliens

Either you shut


or

reduce them

NATIONALISM

140

And

into slavery.

this

Whatever may be

of race-conflict.

problem

your solution of the

is

merits you will have to admit that

it

its

does not

spring from the higher impulses of civilization,


but from the lower passions of greed and hatred.

You

human nature
and India
knew human nature when

say this

is

she

thought

also

she

strongly barricaded her race distinctions by the


fixed

barriers

of

social

we

But

gradations.

have found out to our cost that human nature


not what
is

in

our

its

it

infinite

blindness

appearance
that

what

seems, but

we have

possibilities.

insult

sheds

it

Not only

in

which

And when we
for

its

in

ragged

The degradation

God.
in

our pride or

own humanity

the punishment which

we do not detect

disguise to disclose to us

insulted our

interest degrades our

in truth

humanity

its

which we cast upon others

is

it is

is

is

it till it is

most

and

self-

this

because

terrible

too late.

your relation with

but also

aliens

with the different sections of your

own

society

you have not brought harmony of reconciliation.


The spirit of conflict and competition is allowed
the

full

freedom of

its

reckless career.

And

be-

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
cause

its

genesis

is

141

the greed of wealth and power

can never come to any other end but a vio-

it

death.

lent

In

the

India

production of com-

modities was brought under the law of social

adjustments.
for

was cooperation having

Its basis

object the perfect satisfaction of social

its

But

needs.

in the

West

it is

guided by the im-

pulse of competition whose end

wealth
like

for

individuals.

But the individual

the geometrical line;

breadth.

It has

ening process of

it

is

length without

is

not got the depth to be able to

hold anything permanently.


or gain can never

the gain of

is

come

Therefore

to finality.

growth

it

In

its

its

length-

can cross other

and cause entanglements, but

will

missing the ideal of completeness in

greed

lines

ever go on
thinness

its

of isolation.

In
limit.

all

our physical appetites we recognize a

We know

that to exceed that limit

exceed the limit of health.

But has

this

is

to

lust

and power no bounds beyond which


death's dominion ? In these national carni-

for wealth
is

vals of materialism are not the

Western peoples

spending most of their vital energy

in

merely

NATIONALISM

142

producing things and neglecting the creation of


ideals

And

can a civilization ignore the law of

moral health and go on


inflation

in its endless process of

by gorging upon material things

Man

in his social ideals naturally tries to regulate his

appetites, subordinating

them

But

pose of his nature.

to the higher pur-

economic world

in the

our appetites follow no other restrictions but


those of supply and
fostered,

tificially

tunities

for

grossness.
restrictions

demand which can be


individuals

affording

indulgence

in

ar-

oppor-

an endless feast of

In India our social instincts imposed

our

upon

went to the extreme

of repression,

West, the

the

spirit

of

maybe

appetites,

but

in

it

the

economic organization

having no moral purpose goads the people into


the perpetual pursuit of wealth

no wholesome limit

The

but has

this

ideals that strive to take

form

in

social

have two objects. One is to regulate


our passions and appetites for harmonious deinstitutions

velopment of man, and the other


in

cultivating disinterested

creatures.

Therefore society

is

love for
is

to help
his

him

fellow-

the expression of

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

143

man which

moral and spiritual aspirations of


belong to his higher nature.

Our food

is

creative,

builds our

it

Our

not so wine, which stimulates.


create the

human

diverted from

to greed of

that state of intoxication

abnormality where our

we

but

social ideals

when our mind

world, but

them

body

power then

live in a

strength

is

in

world of

not health

is

and our liberty is not freedom. Therefore political freedom does not give us freedom when our

mind

not

is

An

free.

automobile does not create

freedom of movement, because

When

chine.

myself

am

free

automobile for the purpose of

We

must never

those people

it is

my

mere ma-

can use the

freedom.

forget in the present

who have

day that

got their political freedom

are not necessarily free, they are merely powerful.

The

passions which are unbridled in

them

are creating huge organizations of slavery in the


disguise of freedom.

gain of

money

Those who have made the

their highest

selling their life

end are unconsciously

and soul to

rich persons or to

the combinations that represent money.

who

are

enamoured

of their political

Those

power and

NATIONALISM

144

gloat over their extension of dominion over foreign


races gradually surrender their

the

to

humanity

other

holding

own freedom and

in

peoples

for

necessary

organizations

In

slavery.

the

so-

called free countries the majority of the people

are not free, they are driven


a goal

which

is

by the minority

known

not even

to

This

to them.

becomes possible only because people- do not


acknowledge moral and spiritual freedom as
their object.

passions

They

and they

create huge eddies with their


feel

dizzily

with

inebriated

the mere velocity of their whirling

movement,
But the doom which

taking that to be freedom.

waiting to overtake them

is

for

man's truth

cipation

The

is

is

is

as certain as death

moral truth and

in the spiritual

eman-

life.

general opinion of the majority of the

present day nationalists in India

come

his

is

that

we have

to a final completeness in our social

spiritual ideals, the task of the constructive

of

society

litical

work

having been done several thousand

years before
are free to

and

we were born, and that now we

employ

direction.

all

We

our activities

in

the po-

never dream of blaming

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

145

our social inadequacy as the origin of our present


helplessness, for

we have accepted

as the creed

of our nationalism that this social

been perfected for

who had

cestors

eternity,
infinite

for

all

and

all

has

system

time to come by our an-

the superhuman vision of

future

for

provision

for

power

supernatural

all

making

Therefore

ages.

our miseries and shortcomings we hold

responsible

the

upon us from

historical

This

outside.

we think that our one

surprises

task

is

burst

that

the reason

why

to build a political

is

miracle of freedom upon the quicksand of social


slavery.

In fact

course of our

we want

own

to

historical

dam up

the true

stream and only

borrow power from the sources of other peoples'


history.

Those

of us in India

who have come under

delusion that mere political

freedom

make

will

us free have accepted their lessons from the


as the gospel truth

manity.

we

We

and

lost their faith

the

West

in

hu-

must remember whatever weakness

cherish in our society will

of danger in politics.

become the source

The same

inertia

which

leads us to our idolatry of dead forms in social

NATIONALISM

146
institutions

create

will

our

in

houses with immovable walls.

sympathy which makes

of

it

politics

priso

The narrowness
possible for us to

impose upon a considerable portion of humanity


the galling yoke of inferiority will assert
in

itself

our politics in creating tyranny of injustice.

When

our nationalists talk about

forget that the basis of nationalism

The very people who


are

ideals,
is

they

wanting\

are upholding these ideals

themselves the most conservative in their

social

practice.

Nationalists

say,

for

example,

look at Switzerland, where, in spite of race differences, the peoples

have

solidified into a nation.

Yet, remember that in Switzerland the races can


mingle, they can intermarry, because they are
of the

same blood.

birthrights
tionality

we

In India there

And when we

talk of

who

no common

Western Na-

forget that the nations there do not

have that physical repulsion, one


that we have between different

we an

is

for the other,


castes.

Have

instance in the whole world where a people

are not allowed to mingle their blood shed

their blood for

one another except by coercion

or for mercenary purposes

And can we

ever

NATIONALISM IN INDIA

147

hope that these moral barriers against our race


not stand in the

will

amalgamation
political unity

much

tyrannical, so

man

If a

me

tells

The

social

make

the

make men cowards.

them because he would


excuse him for having

of untruth, in order to live at

life

all.

mind which impels us

habit of

differ

from us even

thing as their choice of food


political organization

is

and

to

a burden to

of our fellow-beings

them where they


our

still

he has heterodox ideas, but

be socially ostracized,
life

are

restrictions

so as to

that he cannot follow

to live a

give full recognition to

that our social

fact

of our

Then again we must


this

way

such a

in

sure to persist in
result in creating

engines of coercion to crush every rational difference which


will

in

is

life.

only add to the inevitable

our political

dom

the sign of

life.

Is the

so valuable that

sacrifice for its sake

The intemperance
mediately show

its

vigour of our youth.

lies

And tyranny
and hypocrisy

mere name of

we should be

free-

willing to

our moral freedom

of our habits does not imeffects

But

when we
it

are

in

the

gradually consumes

NATIONALISM

148
that vigour, and

when

the period of decline sets

then we have to settle accounts and pay

in

our debts, which leads us to insolvency.

West you

are

still

its

In the

able to carry your head high

though your humanity

from

is

suffering every

moment

dipsomania of organizing power.

also in the

heyday

off

of her

India

youth could carry

in

her vital organs the dead weight of her social


organizations stiffened to rigid perfection, but

it

has been fatal to her, and has produced a gradual

And

paralysis of her living nature.

reason

the educated

why

this

community

the

taking

very

immobility

of

They

our social

and

structures as the sign of their perfection,

because the healthy feeling of pain

is

the

of India

has become insensible of her social needs.


are

is

dead

in

the

limbs of our social organism they delude themselves into thinking that

it

Therefore they think that

needs no ministration.
all

their energies need

their only scope in the political field.

man whose

legs

useless, trying to

have

still

grown

their ultimate

about him

is

It

is

like

have become shrivelled and

delude himself that these limbs

because

salvation,

they

and

all

have
that

the shortness of his sticks.

attained
is

wrong

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
So much for the

social

and the

Now we

eration of India.

149

political regen-

come

to her indus-

am

very often asked whether there

in India

any

industrial regeneration since the

advent of

the

tries,
is

and

Government.

British

be remembered

that

British rule in India

at

the

It

must

beginning of the

our industries were suppressed

and since then we have not met with any real


help or encouragement to enable us to make a
stand against the monster commercial organiza-

The

tions of the world.

that

nations have decreed

we must remain purely an

agricultural

people, even forgetting the use of arms for

time to come.
so

many

Thus India

is

all

being turned into

predigested morsels of food ready to be

swallowed at any

moment by any

nation which

has even the most rudimentary set of teeth in


its

head.
India, therefore has very

industrial

originality.

lieve in the

day.
that

creation.

outlet for her

personally do not be-

unwieldy organizations of the present

The very
they

little

are

The

fact that they are ugly


in

discordance

vast

with

the

shows
whole

powers of nature do not

NATIONALISM

150

reveal their truth in hideousness, but in beauty.

Beauty

upon

the signature which the Creator stamps

is

his

works when he

with them.

satisfied

is

All our products that insolently ignore the laws


of perfection
of

and are unashamed


bear

ungainliness

God's

the

So

displeasure.

and

twin

her

and

brother

it

is

one object

to produce

is

human

beings.

It

is

Beauty

require

leisure,

But the greed

its

capaciousness.

and consume.

has neither pity for beautiful


living

of

"

untrue.

Truth

no time or limit to

weight

your commerce

as

self-control for their growth.

of gain has
Its

perpetual

far

lacks the dignity of grace

in their display

It

nor for

nature,
ruthlessly

ready

without a moment's hesitation to crush beauty

and
It

out of them, moulding them into money.

life

this

is

ugly

brought upon
earlier

scientific

has

vision

in those times

instinct

won

of

commerce which

the censure of contempt in our

days when

unclouded

Men

it

vulgarity

men had
of

leisure to

perfection

in

have an

humanity.

were rightly ashamed of the

mere money-making. But in this


age money, by its very abnormal bulk,

of

its

throne.

And when from

its

eminence

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
of piled-up things

151

insults the higher instincts

it

man, banishing beauty and noble sentiments


from its surroundings, we submit. For we in
of

our meanness have accepted bribes from

its

and our imagination has grovelled

the dust

before

its

But

immensity of

flesh.

unwieldiness

its

in

hands

itself

and

endless

its

The

true signs of failure.

complexities are

its

swimmer who

an expert does not exhibit

is

his

muscular force by violent movements, but exhibits

some power which

is

and which

invisible

and reposefulness.
The true distinction of man from animals is in
shows

itself

in

perfect grace

power and worth which are inner and invisible.


But the present-day commercial civilization of
his

man
but

is

not only taking too

killing

violent,

its

carrying

its

time and space.


noise

is

It

is

loud.
it

in

his

is

are

It

is

tram-

humanity upon which

strenuously turning out

minimum,
amplest room for

space

movements

own damnation because

the cost of happiness.


to his

Its

discordantly

pling into distortion the


stands.

much time and

Man

is

money

it

at

reducing himself

order to be able to
organizations.

He

make
is

de-

NATIONALISM

152
riding his

human

sentiments into shame because

they are apt to stand in the


In

our

of his machines.

mythology we have the legend that

man who

the

way

performs penances for attaining

immortality has to meet with temptations sent

by Indra, the Lord of the immortals. If he is


lured by them he is lost.
The West has been
striving for centuries after

its

goal of immortality.

Indra has sent her the temptation to try her.


It

is

the gorgeous temptation of wealth.

has accepted

has lost

its

and her

it

path

civilization of

in the wilderness of

This commercialism with


decorations

Because

is

it is

a terrible
setting

that of perfection.
seeking exult in

its

menace

up the

She

humanity

machinery.

barbarity of ugly
to

all

ideal of

humanity.

power over

making the cult of selfnaked shamelessness. Our

It

its

is

nerves are more delicate than our muscles. Things


that are the most precious in us are helpless as

babes when we take away from them the careful


protection which they claim from us for their

very preciousness.

Therefore when the callous

rudeness of power runs


of

humanity

it

scares

amuck

away by

in the
its

broad-way

grossness the

NATIONALISM IN INDIA
ideals

dom

which we have cherished with the martyr-

of centuries.

The temptation which


more

is still

come

it

in

is

fatal for the strong

And

so for the weak.

our Indian

life

simple in

its

basis of social cooperation

of economic exploitation and

do

it

it

Let our

its

thinkers of

nations

human

It

soul.

its

firm stand

inner

upon

How

conflict.

is

oriental

be

life

and not upon that

by the economic dragons


all

be sent

to

drainage of our life-blood

in the teeth of the

in the

do not wel-

outer aspect and rich in

Let our civilization take

gain.

even though

lord of the Immortals.

by the

its

153

is

the task set before the

who have

faith

a sign of laziness

and

impotency to accept conditions imposed upon us


by others who have other ideals than ours. We
should actively try to adapt the world powers to
its

own

the above you

will

guide our history to

From

an economist.
there

is

there

is

am

a law of

infatuation of
for him.

And

man
yet

perfect end.

know

that

am

not

willing to acknowledge that

demand and supply and an


for

more things than

I will persist in

are good

believing that

such a thing as the harmony of complete-

NATIONALISM

154

ness in humanity, where poverty does not take

where defeat

may

victory, death to immortality,

and

away

his riches,

pensation of Eternal Justice those


last

may

lead

him

in the

who

to

com-

are the

yet have their insult transmuted into

a golden triumph.

THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY

THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY


(Written in the Bengali on the last day of last
century)

THE

last

sun of the century sets amidst the blood-

red clouds of the

West and the whirlwind

of

hatred.

The naked

passion of self-love of Nations, in

its

drunken delirium of greed, is dancing to the


clash of steel and the howling verses of
vengeance.

The hungry
violence

of the Nation shall burst in a

self

of

fury

from

its

own

shameless

feeding.

For

And

it

has

made

licking

it,

the world

crunching

its
it,

big morsels,
It swells

and swells

food,

and swallowing

it

in

NATIONALISM

158
Till in the

midst of

its

unholy feast descends the

sudden shaft of heaven piercing

its

heart of

grossness.

The crimson glow of light on the horizon is not the


light of thy dawn of peace, my Motherland.
It

is

the glimmer of the funeral pyre burning to


ashes the vast flesh,

the self-love of the

dead under

Nation,

its

own

excess.

waits behind the patient dark of the

Thy morning
East,

Meek and

Keep watch,

silent.

India.

Bring your offerings of worship for that sacred


sunrise.

Let the

first

hymn

voice, and

of

its

welcome sound

in

your

own

great

sing,

"Come, Peace, thou daughter

of God's

suffering.

Come

with thy treasure of contentment, the sword

of fortitude,

And meekness crowning thy

forehead."

THE SUNSET OF THE CENTURY


Be not ashamed,

my

159

brothers, to stand before the

proud and the powerful

With your white robe

of simpleness.

Let your crown be of humility, your freedom the

freedom of the

soul.

Build God's throne daily upon the ample bareness of your poverty

And know
is

that

what

is

huge

not everlasting.

is

not great and pride

FOR THE BOOK CLUB OF CALIFORNIA

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