Aśirvācana (Blessings)

Asat-SangaAsat Saṅga (Materialistic Association)
Sripata-DenudaŚrīpāṭa Denuḍa

Aśirvācana (Blessings) was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī Vol. 2, issue 5 in 1885. In this article, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura laments the fact that there is animosity between the Indians and the British, and writes about the common factors they both share. He compares the two communities to an elder brother and a younger brother, and hopes that they can cultivate mutual respect for each other.

Aśirvācana
(Blessings)

by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

I am a destitute Vaiṣṇava. I do not require lofty talks about worldly affairs. There is no need for me to waste time on news about the war between England and Russia, the demarcation of the borders of Afghanistan, or the qualifications and disqualifications of the governor saheb. My only task is to achieve the spiritual well-being of the people of Bhārata, especially the people of Bengal. There are some things that need to be considered in order to accomplish that work. Therefore, today I am engaged in this blessed task.

I don’t have much concern regarding temporary newspapers. However, I read almost all the newspapers in order to see how much the minds of Indians are prepared day by day for bhakti towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa. After reading some articles on the conflict between the English and the Bengalis in all those newspapers, my heart ached. I couldn’t keep quiet anymore and I started to say these few words. To the honourable English who are adorned with many virtues, and the brothers born in our country, I say this:

“Brothers! Forsake all disputes. There is no happiness in disharmony. If you give up conflict, then Śānti Devī will bestow happiness upon you. Happiness is undeniable to all. Find happiness under the shelter of Śānti Devī. Primarily all human beings are brothers. God the Supreme Father is not pleased with your conflict. All of you have a physical body. We are constantly tormented by various deficiencies, ailments and accidents related to the body. If we maintain a mood of brotherhood with each other, grief can be eradicated. With each others help, alleviation of scarcity and joint work will provide for many. In such a situation, if there are disputes with each other, there is no hope of ending this suffering. Happiness will totally abandon this mortal world. Therefore, O brothers! Give up violence, envy, lies and false ego and show love for each other.

 “Secondly, the mutual friendship between the English and the Bengalis is natural. The English gentlemen are Āryans and the people of Bhārata are also Āryan offspring – therefore, the English gentlemen and the Indians are brothers. Where did their natural brotherly affection go? Why should the British lose that natural inclination just because they have become our rulers? The Indians are the elder brother, the English are the younger. When the younger brother takes up a worldly mentality while working, the elder brother is old and thus becomes weak and accepts the subordination of the younger brother with special affection. Where is the fault in that? When we were young also, we dominated all other races. Now we are disabled due to old age, so we will carry on our life’s journey under the younger brother. Can there be anything happier than this? Blessing the younger brother, we will constantly relish that supremely blissful nectar from the feet of Hari – is there any other good fortune than this? The younger brother will protect us from all kinds of troubles. We no longer have to accept the futile suffering of the battlefield. We will sit at home and do hari-nāma. The younger brother, while doing some difficult worldly work, may sometimes become annoyed and angry, but it should be the nature of the elder brother to tolerate, and with sweet words and sweet actions towards the younger brother, we should be devoted to his pleasure. If the younger brother lacks money for all these difficult tasks, I will help with as much money as possible. just like polite householders, we will treat the younger brother with the same kind of affection as the older brother. We should not be antagonistic in any way. O brothers of our country! My advice is that we should behave like this.

“On the other hand, I urge the English gentleman to behave with the kind of affection and devotion that a younger brother shows an elder brother. Brothers! I am always thinking of your welfare. I am pained to see the difficulties of your rule. We will do our best to alleviate your suffering and help you with money. In this state of our old age, Bhagavān has entrusted you with the task of protecting and maintaining us. Complete that task with zero arrogance and generosity. By such deeds you will be saved from all dangers. Complete that task without false ego and with natural generosity. By such acts you will be saved from all dangers. By your strong nature, you will soon defeat the Russians who are yearning to expand their empire.

“If the elder and the younger brother perform their work with such affection, there will be no more enmity. When enmity is over, both will be happy. There is no necessity to use harsh words. By using harsh words, one cannot express one’s manhood or patriotism without inciting animosity.

“Today I will not say more. I pray to the almighty Bhagavān to remove agitation from the hearts of my brothers and countrymen, and callousness from the hearts of the foreign rulers.

“Finally, I pray that by the mercy of Bhagavān, the rule of our younger English brothers will remain in this land of Bhārata for a little longer, and that without apprehension, and with a bliss-filled mind, I may always hear the jīvas chanting harināma.”

(‘Aśirvācana’ – Blessings – was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī Vol. 2, issue 5 in 1885, and translated into English by Swami B.V. Giri)
Asat-SangaAsat Saṅga (Materialistic Association)
Sripata-DenudaŚrīpāṭa Denuḍa

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