“Blunting the Imagination”
[C. Sugbramania Bharati]
“The 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 perish”
(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 reformers?

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, great creators!

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 imagination.

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New India
23.02.1915


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