Skip to Content

519. Spur of Idealism

There is nothing greater than idealism in human life, especially in youth. Not many are idealistic, even in youth. Employment for men, marriage for women are the ideals that possess youth. If someone is idealistic during his education, it will be because of what he read or an elder whom he adores. It is a noble sentiment, though short-lived. As soon as he enters the job, he witnesses how life is organised around the necessities of life. While in the college, his own life necessities are taken care of by his parents. Mother said that She started a place where men and women could gather without having to exert themselves for an income. One is idealistic while he does not have to earn his livelihood.  Employment is for livelihood. It gives you food and shelter.

When you have to earn them yourself, you become part of the social existence that can support an income. That organisation is not idealistic and will not permit idealism in one of its members. One's idealism can survive his employment if he is not employed under another person. Self-employment can give a certain freedom, which is unavailable under salaried employment. He should be of better stuff. Next comes the wedding through which one enters the domain of marriage. Man is not the centre of marriage, but woman is. He needs her for his psychological fulfilment. He is fulfilled in her, while she is fulfilled in her children. He has very little scope of preserving his idealism after the wedding. Friends of idealists used to say after their employment and marriage, "You used to have some fire in you. Now it is extinct."

Idealism that survives both these landmarks is an idealism that is born in the Spirit. In the measure one is rooted in the Spirit, the Spirit offers him a job that does not interfere with his idealism. The same Spirit gives him a wife who lets him follow his ideal. Kasturibai did not allow Gandhiji that luxury, but always raised a contention with him. Great idealists hold on to their idealism in spite of obstacles. Greater idealists accept the Brahman behind these very obstacles.  Sri Aurobindo's yoga requires the sadhak to understand the opposition from his wife, when he has one, as the form in which God comes to him. Our tradition dispensed with that inconvenience and walked into the forest as a brahmachari. My ideal that I place before the reader is a minor, domestic, realistic version of this great ideal. Your prosperity is in the measure of your understanding the OBSTACLES as opportunities.

story | by Dr. Radut