greatest crime that can be laid at the doors of one generation
by another is that of blunting the imagination of the
latter, because where there is no imagination and where
there is no vision of a higer and nobler life, the people
(New India, Februrary 18)
Truer words were never written.
For the imagination – not that of the idler and the dreamy
parasite, but the vigorous and positive imagination of
the worker, “ the vision of higher and nobler life” –
this imagination is the mother of a Nation’s hope. This
imagination makes a Nation’s seers, its poets and its
builders of all types.
This imagination is the way to immortality, the latter
that man climbs to arrive at divinity.
And, assuredly, “the last generation (in India) had come
perilously near that stage” of losing this imagination
and the people had all but perished. A few exceptional
souls there have been, however, who, in a spirit of true
religion, preserved this fire from total extinction. Did
not Rama Tirtha and Vivekananda belong to the last generation?
Did not Tata and Tagore? And our great social and political
Whatever may have been the merits of the Bhashya writers,
the sacred annotators of orthodoxy – and I am not scholar
enough to measure their values with accuracy-there is
not doubt that the generations of Brahmanas who defied
thos annotations, led the way inevitably towards “ that
stage ” which New India so deeply deplores. They blunted
the nation’s imagination, and, with their ‘Vaidya-Natha
Codes’, and their super –annotations, very nearly cost
us our life.
The temples are “ in ruins” and the “sacred tanks” are
filled up with “heaps of dust and slime, rags of obnoxious
clothing and all kinds of wretched weeds”, and, naturally,
the hamlets have become “dirty and repulsive” – because
men who called themselves intellectual, who called themselves
Brahmanas-the Truth-seers, and Vairagis-the Selfless ones-these
men began to quarrel about texts and neglect souls, to
deify phrases and despise humanity. Even our “Modern Education”
is far from perfect in helping to kindle this sacred “imagination”.
For even today, among the products of our Universities,
how few are great scientist or great teachers great builders,
The breath of life is, however, blowing over the land.
The Gods are once again turning to us with kindly eyes
and smiling faces. And here and there we have a Bose and
a Tagore, amidst, alas! A formidable horde of philistines,
Pharisees and other futilities. But we are thankful to
the Gods. For signs have we seen that the Ruskinian ‘half-a-dozen
men “are coming, who, “with one day’s work, could cleanse
the hamlets and drag the tanks “ and “purify the temples”.
Brothers and sisters, imagine yourselves to be wise and
great. That means, convince yourselves and, of course,
convince others. Brothers and sisters, imagine the Mother
as a Queen of great beauty and unfading youth, leading
humanity on the paths of peace and immortality.
Imagine yourselves as noble and godly. And act on this