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10. India

In this chapter I wish to consider where India stands in the spiritual scheme of things. Sri Aurobindo dreamt of Freedom for India and it came on His birthday. That was the first of His five dreams. He desired Asia to be free also. During His lifetime, even His second dream came true. World Union was the third. India becoming Jagat Guru - World Guru - was His fourth dream. His final dream was the advent of the Supramental Being.

Today India is Free but she is broken into three parts - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh - and is poor. A recent report says that population which was described all along as a curse, is really an asset to India, as it will supply manpower which is shrinking all over the world. On the strength of her increasing work force, the report says, India will become the third largest economy in 2050 AD behind China and US. The report projects that by then India's present per capita income of 486 dollars will rise to $17,366. Even though it is only a projection of years hence, it is heartening to read that one day India will not be poor. This report mainly considers the advantage of the increasing population. For years we were hearing that population is a curse. Western nations had awakened to the inconvenience of a large family long ago and their populations have become stable. That population may have a positive side too is a recognition of a higher truth. Theoretically, population, like any other aspect of life, is neutral and the character it gets is given to it by Man, by his Choice.

The report I am referring to is like most of the recent reports on economic growth. Present decades are dominated by economic factors, as the first nine decades of the twentieth century were dominated by military strength. Trade, prosperity, wealth, and economics are the themes of this decade. Education does not enjoy that significance now. Culture is not a favoured theme for the present. Spirit on which I dwell will come later. So, I have taken up the theme of spiritual opulence for this book. By this, while I do not abandon my theme, I keep myself centred in what concerns the world. If the advantage of population alone can raise the country to that affluence - the affluence Italy enjoys today - we can encourage ourselves by other expectations. A nation's prosperity is determined by the following varying factors.

  • Its productive capacity depends upon:
  • how much our productive forces will attune themselves to the latest productive technologies;
  • how much our educational system will organise itself to be more effective;
  • what ORIGINAL approaches the system will adopt, and
  • how far it can draw upon its latent cultural strengths.

The USA had nothing to draw upon three centuries ago except the hard work the people could put in. We have a prosperous past that can be rekindled now.

  • What percentage of her population can turn to entrepreneurship.
  • How much her new methods can vitalize themselves by our own earlier cultural and spiritual gains.
  • How far our educational system can be reoriented to its original SPIRITUAL values.
  • Capacity to export.
  • How far other nations find our market attractive.
  • How far other nations desire to buy Indian goods because they are of Indian ORIGIN.
  • How much they wish to follow the Indian way of life and accept the Spirit as a worthy goal to seek.

The Green Revolution demonstrated two things: 1) The power of organisation can raise the volume of production four times in thirty years and 2) the value of scientific farming. Organisation combined with latest knowledge in half of the country has quadrupled production. That can be extended to 1) the whole of India 2) ten other crops 3) twenty other cash crops, which means in the next thirty years agricultural wealth can to rise four to ten times what it is now. Our educational system similarly can contribute its share in raising production in agriculture as well as other sectors. It cannot be less than another five times. Grameen Bank is one small original departure from the dull, dead, routine that activated life. No great revolution was undertaken in banking except nationalisation in 1969 and expanding into rural areas. Chit funds are generally frowned upon because of the duplicity played by the promoters. Their conception is primitive and elementary. Still one company has done well in the last thirty years.

  1. Its expansion is from thirty lakhs of rupees to Rs.3000 crores, about 9000 times.
  2. It's essential value lies in the ready useful value for the customer.
  3. It is so because it is indigenous.
  4. Banking, if cured of the present ills and tuned to indigenous needs by innovative methods, can grow in the next thirty years more than her growth in the past thirty years, from 4 thousand crores to 1200 thousand crores, a 300-fold expansion. It is safe to assume a 300-fold expansion, if efficiently used, will finance a 300-fold expansion of production or life in general. Bringing chit funds under the strict regulations of banking will be of great help.
  5. If an elementary system can expand thus, how much more other walks of life will expand when tuned to the growing social forces.


The urban population seeks sedentary salaried jobs.Traditionally, the farmer is an entrepreneur par excellence. Sixty percent of our people are in farming. In them that skill is ingrained. They have the innate talents. All that they need is to reorient it to the present need. There is one small institution of one man which has trained thousands of students and teachers in this skill over the past few years. This is an indication of our scope. Should this happen, the above-mentioned projection for 2050 has a chance of advancing itself. As detailed above, there are more than half a dozen factors this projection is not considering. Earlier I spoke of the brainpower of India that Business Week cited. A news item speaks of a Management Institute, refusing a Rs.10 crore assistance from the government because along with the assistance it brings in bureaucratic interference.

  • This is surely a symptom of national self-respect asserting against the mountain of governmental prestige.
  • Self-respect is the major ingredient of Spiritual awakening.


Our I.I.T.s recruit on the basis of talents. They are of world class quality. To create a few great institutions may be possible, but what about the thousands of colleges and schools that turn out half-literates? I constantly speak about the inability of India to produce original scientists and the USA's inability to create Saints. No country can produce products that are not in the soil. If some I.I.T.s can reach high standards, it means,

  • The possibility of all engineering institutions becoming I.I.T.s is there.
  • What is needed is the determination.

I see silver linings here and there. They are not results, accomplished results, but realities that can lead us to results. I have watched the labour of the Indian milieu for over fifty years with patriotic yearning. I have given thought to the process of development and as a result created a Theory of Social Development. I have applied it to business Management. Its practice has vindicated the truth of it. All of this I view from Sri Aurobindo's point of view, the view of His Theory of Creation. The Force that descended in 1956 is in action. The establishment of the world resists it powerfully, though it finally yields. As a result of thought, observation and experience, my opinion of the future can be stated as follows. I shall give it in the graded fashion in which it exists.

  1. Moving as India is moving, so many forces other than population - better and wider education, awakening national pride and awareness, organisational values necessarily emerging, money moving into its native creative role of self-multiplication, the service sector becoming creative of prosperity and employment, etc., - will make themselves felt and the projection of Goldman Sachs - that per capita income in 2050 will be $17,000 - will be advanced ten or fifteen years. This is so because the projection mainly bases itself on the advantages issuing from the rise of population, not the other factors.
  1. The minimum things that government and society can do are innumerable. I give some of them below. Our situation will be better if the following gets accomplished for whatever reason.
  • Extension of the organisational innovation of Green Revolution to all other parts of India, to all other sectors in the appropriately modified form;
  • Collecting the arrears of banks and administratively streamlining the banks, extending their services to every village;
  • Removing the hurdles for education becoming commercially viable so that LOCAL resources will move into the service of education;
  • Creating TRANSPARENCY, which will reduce corruption to a great extent.
  • Gearing education fully towards entrepreneur-ship. These are measures that can be done fully just by an administrative decisiveness. They will bring into the field of development the freshly released energies of the society. These measures are capable of bringing India to the level of the most developed nations by 2020 AD.

3. Business Week has noticed the role of brainpower in India and says that it is capable of making India a major economic partner of USA. Our brainpower is in potential, not fully developed. Similarly, I mentioned earlier we have vast organisational powers which are superior to others. They are invisible. I mentioned an industrialist "discovering the hidden 12 crores". Thought can be given to how India can meaningfully borrow technology and apply it locally with the right modification. It will be a vast reservoir of potentialities. This way we will not be creating anything new, but bringing to the surface whatever is well developed and using it intelligently. That way

  • The voice of India will be heard with respect in the world.
  • The world may wonder from where this energy is emerging. That may lead them to give thought to our spiritual background.
  • India may not only borrow technology, but may start exporting technology in some little measure.
  • Indians may win Nobel Prizes.
  • India will emerge as a leader of the developing nations.
  • The Theory of Social Evolution will be taken note of by the world and may receive a greater consideration.
  • Economically, India will have gone beyond all nations between 2020 and 2030.

  1. The elite of India or at least the youth should come to realise that
  • Man made Money; Money does not make Man.
  • Organisation has the power to produce, not work. Of all the organisations, that which is fashioned by spiritual energies is the best of organisations and it outdistances all the existing organisations, as the car overcame the horse.
  • Spirit is not for the forest; it is for our HOME.
  • Man must be utterly truthful and cannot afford to utter one falsehood.
  • Life can be reorganized on the basis of spiritual values of Truth, Honesty, Loyalty, Integrity, Purity, and Perfection.
  • There is no knowledge in Matter. It is all there in the Spirit.
  • Spirit lends itself to being organised in life as Power, Product, Results and Prosperity.

With that, the Spiritually awakened Individual will arise in a million households, life will be vibrant and anyone will be shy of considering affluence, as we are not proud of weighing 340 lbs now. Wealth will recede into the background as the foundation on which life rests. The major occupation of the Indian Mind will be with Spirit, Culture, Truth, its ways in life and educational attainments. No bright child will go to school or college beyond the primary levels to be introduced into the system. The world will seriously consider Spirit as a real power and for that purpose will turn to India. These pronouncements appear to be wild claims of thoughtless inexperience. On the contrary, each of these claims can be convincingly explained, rather rationally presented if the length they need is available. Many need the length of a book, others call for a chapter. Here I can only take some issue and explain it as an example.

We see the difference between a mercenary army and one inspired by patriotism. Patriotism is, after all, a vital nervous emotion, not a spiritual emotion. Suppose C.Subramaniam had tried to convince the Parliament or a committee of the efficacy of Green Revolution, it is doubtful whether we would have had a Revolution to speak of. Sri Aurobindo says for the Force to act on the government, we have to be the government; it cannot be done through another. The Vedas are preserved till today in their pristine purity without a syllable mispronounced. This is done by religious dedication. Such a thing could not have been achieved by the edict of any ruler. Vedas are thus preserved by those who took to their karma kanda. This is only rituals. The purity and effectivity will be far greater when it comes to following the Jnana Kanda. That too is Spirit in itself. What we speak of is the Spirit in work, divinising work, a phenomenon the world has not yet witnessed.

Reading about the conditions of USA in 1700 AD, it is hard to believe it is the same America we witness today. Our skepticism will vanish in the actual doing of it. We read today that workers at Maruti factory are paid an average salary of Rs.33,000 per month, a fact we could not have imagined at the inception of that company. K.R. Ganesh and K.V. Raghunatha Reddy entered Indira's Cabinet as Deputy and State Ministers and quit as such. Their erstwhile colleague, Mohan Kumaramangalam, entered as a Cabinet Minister. Rajiv entered the Cabinet as Prime Minister. Ganesh and Reddy were workers in the Communist party, whereas Kumaramangalam was their leader. Rajiv belongs to another unique category. Whether it is possible to enter Indian politics directly as Prime Minister is a valid question; still it is not valid for Rajiv. USA exercised physical prowess to build herself up. Beyond physicality lies vitality and mentality. India has spirituality to draw upon. Only that we need to know how to modify the ancient Spirit so it can be brought into modern life. Because of her spiritual past, India can enter the domain of Prosperity at its peak, if only her leaders know how to tune the one to the demands of the other. This can be illustrated by the success of Green Revolution as well as the defeat of Hitler by England single-handed.

The ‘Grow More Food' campaigns undertaken by the government till 1965 were a dismal failure. An attempt was made to grow crops in the empty spaces in the government buildings as a measure of maximum utilisation of cultivable space. Famines periodically visited India, the latest one being the Bengal famine of 1943. The direct simple explanation for it was that rice, which had been imported from Burma year after year, could not be imported that year because of war conditions. The population was steadily growing from '43 to '65. The Food Portfolio was held by the doyens of Indian politics - Rajendra Prasad, Rajaji, Jagjivan Ram, etc. It only proved to be a gravedigger of their political careers. When Sastri took over in 1964, he could not persuade anyone to take the Food Ministry. Sastri went to the house of C.Subramaniam and persuaded him to accept it. C.S. accepted the portfolio on condition that a floor prize for food grains would be assured and as a Food Minister he would have a free hand at innovative measures. Sastri promised both and promised to publicly support him in the Parliament. The efforts of Subramaniam became a success for the following reasons, all of which were ultimately reasons that were spiritually valid.

  • Subramaniam did not think of how the food problem could be solved or that somehow it had to be solved, but how it should be solved. That is a spiritual approach.
  • He decided that with respect to FOOD, a nation must grow its own food in the long run, not try to solve it by buying it or importing it from outside.
  • He relied on the efforts of agriculture scientists to increase food production. It means he resorted to KNOWLEDGE to solve a physical problem of production. Mind is the closest representative in the body of the Spirit. Seeking the help of technology was a spiritual method to improve agriculture.
  • He created a quasi-government body - Food Corporation of India - to handle the new challenging problem. Spirit grows in Freedom. In fact, Spirit demands total freedom for its growth. In the circumstances, he gave as much freedom to Food Corporation of India as possible by removing it from the bureaucratic apparatus of the Food Ministry, by making it a quasi-government body.
  • He could do all this because he was a farmer himself, who had the common sense of India which directly sprang from its native spirituality. What came to be known as Green Revolution had, by circumstances - providentially - all the ingredients of Spiritual values of India intelligently modified to the local needs.
  • He made his efforts function independently so that the results would be long lasting - put them on an ORGANISATIONAL basis, thus drawing upon the secret strength of Indian spiritual light. It is a matter of joy that the brainpower of the Indians is taken note of by the Americans. It is true. India's greater strength lies in her capacity for organisation. Organisation is the result of Spiritual light in vital work. In the West, organisation came out of experience, that is, it came from below. In India the productive organisation was informed by the descending Spiritual Light. That is the signal reason behind the growing validity of trying to grow more food. That was why it came to be known as the Green Revolution.

Spiritual knowledge gives a penetration into affairs human. It is not a claim of one's greatness. All great things are born out of the Spirit is a truism in spiritual wisdom. Had it not been the fact, Indian Freedom would not have led to the freedom of 45 other nations. Spirit is an entity by itself, a preeminent feature of human life, not a prerogative of India. The onslaught of darkness represented by Hitler nearly accomplished its total victory over the forces of freedom in the world. Tiny England presided over by blind politicians was certainly not in a position to meet the colossal opposition of Hitler, that too single-handedly. Indian political leadership was as myopic as the leadership of Britain, which was talking of Peace and Prosperity when existence was entirely threatened. Congress leadership, barring C. Rajagopalachariar, lost sight of the Spiritual destiny of India and played into the hands of Hitler even as Subhas Bose fondly hoped Japan would serve the cause of Freedom in India. It was at this perilous juncture that Sri Aurobindo risked unpopularity in His own country and chose to support Churchill, and as a token sent funds to the Governor's War Fund. He sent His Spiritual Force to Churchill to fight Hitler. No chronicle of war will explain the brave fight of English men and women against the hordes of Hitler. It was a Spiritual fight. From any point of view, Britain's defeat was around the corner. Only His spiritual support courageously finding military expression in Churchill saved the world from the catastrophe of German imperialistic aims.

It is noteworthy that Japan's progress in the East was checkmated the moment her troops were on the borders of India. India is a sacred soil. She could not be terrorized by the forces of darkness of the world. Churchill, as if he acknowledged this spiritual fact, wrote as follows in his book The Second World War:

"No great portion of the world population was so effectively protected from the horrors and perils of the  World War as were the people of Hindustan. They were carried through the struggle on the shoulders of our small Island." -Volume IV, page 181.

Churchill was unaware of the fact that that small Island was carried on the shoulders of Indian spiritual might. It was natural for a slave nation to adore the conquerors and ape their ways. For over a hundred years British culture was the ideal for us. Now we imitate the American way of life. True, it is inevitable for the gullible masses. The elite cannot afford to follow the credulous masses. The elite is supposed to think, discover the best means and lead the nation. In the event the elite fails, the leadership should come from the spiritually aware youth. I see concrete signs from the youth. I do have vast hopes in the cream of Indian people.

  • The future of India lies in her discovering the springs of Spirituality - not religion and its rituals which are long dead.
  • That golden future emerges in the youth of the nation as entrepreneurship.
  • The future is for self-employment, not salaried jobs.
  • The future of India's greatness lies in her expressing her Spirit in the national life, not in her imitating any other nation. We can borrow their advanced technology, but NOT their lifestyle. It appears that they have a superior practical organisation. It is true within limits. But however superior that organisation is, our borrowing it and working it here will not enable our greatest endowment of spirituality to emerge. In the Green Revolution the excellent organisation of the various corporations was subordinated to the spiritual idea of Self-sufficiency. That was the reason for its great success. In industrial technology, we subordinate ourselves to the organisation and look beyond the borders for inspiration. That will not serve the Indian purpose. It is also true that most of the modern management strategies coming from outside are innately spiritual. Pleasing the customer is a spiritual value of taking the other man's point of view. In education, we emphasize memory, whereas the West lays stress on understanding. There they are more spiritual than we are. But, moving further to Silent understanding, the West has no idea of what Silence is and will frown upon it. The path of Silence is the path that will produce the Genius. Here we must refuse to make thinking final. Dag Hammarskjold felt his room was filled with a strange power of Silence when he was the leader of UNESCO delegation in Paris. Soon he was offered the UN Secretary Generalship. Silence not only gives greater, higher knowledge but also accomplishes at a higher level.

Western children are taught to think, while our kids memorise. Thinking is far more powerful than memorisation. We must take to thinking, but that does not mean we must follow the US ways of thinking. As thinking is more powerful than memorisation, Silence is more powerful than thinking. Switching to thinking should NOT be because we imitate America, but because thinking is more valuable. The West does not know of Silence at all. They will scowl at the idea of Silent will and Silent thinking. Should a Westerner be given Silence, he would, like Mother's husband Richard, consider himself an idiot.

  • Thinking must be followed, not as an American value but as a mental value.
  • Should we be unfortunate enough to ape the West, we will miss the sacred Silence. Beyond Silence lie Vision, Intuition, and Knowledge.
  • India should not have the misfortune of imitating the West. In fact, no country can afford to blindly ape another country. A value can be borrowed, must be borrowed and modified to the indigenous conditions. That is intelligent imitation that honours the sacred value of individuality. Individuality must be preserved because it is Individuality that achieves.
  • Enriching the Individuality while preserving it is the right method.
  • Destroying the Individuality is a dangerous course.
  • Not only should we not blindly imitate America, but even America should not blindly imitate India.
  • Blind imitation destroys the Individuality.
  • It is harmful. In fact, it is not possible.
  • Each culture should contribute to others and to the central pool but endeavour to preserve the Individuality of all.
  • That Individuality exists as social individuality, psychological individuality and Spiritual Individuality.
  • We aim at building the Spiritual Individuality of the Indians.

book | by Dr. Radut