I would say it began with this nation because this is the oldest nation on the planet.
It defies today’s concept of a nation. Modern nations are made based on language, religion, race, ethnicity, maybe ideology – essentially, it is the sameness of people that makes a nation.
But in this nation, which we have known as Bharatvarsh for thousands of years – we have never defined ourselves by sameness.
If you drive 50 kilometers, people look different, wear different clothes, eat differently, speak different languages – everything is different.
We are different people, but we are fine together. That is the nature of this country. That is what has to be encouraged.
When the Europeans came here, they did not understand how this could be one nation if there is nothing binding it. But for over thousands of years, within this subcontinent and also in the remaining part of the known world of those days, people referred to this as one nation, though at some points, we were over 200 political entities.
What is it that makes this nation?
This is something that the leadership and the people of this country must really look at. It is not language. It is not religion. It is not race.
Nationhood predates all religion. When there was no religion, this nation was. We called the land between Himalayas and the Indu Sarovar (Indian Ocean) Hindustan only as a geographical description – not to represent a particular religion.
This is not a religious identity – this is a geographical and cultural identity. What kept us together longer than any other nation on the planet is that essentially, we have always been a land of seekers – seekers of truth and liberation. In this seeking, we found oneness.
When we look for sameness, we try to become a land of believers.
This seeking is not something that we invented. It is the nature of human intelligence to want to know, realize, and liberate itself.
This nation was based on this foundation that we are seekers. As a seeker, you are not aligned to a particular thing on the outside but to the life process within you, and that never goes wrong.
No matter how badly you contaminate human beings with belief systems and brainwash them, once their survival is taken care of, they always want to know the nature of their existence and of everything around them.
Whether you call it science, spiritual process, inquiry, or quest, essentially, human intelligence wants to transcend its present limitations, wants to liberate itself from the fetters in which we exist right now.
We built our nation on this longing, this seeking. Our nationhood cannot be destroyed as long as we keep this seeking alive. If we do not try to transform ourselves towards sameness, we will always be one.
Why “Bharat” matters
Earlier, it was known as Bharat?
Yes. Bharat comes from bha – ra – ta. Bhava means sensation. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching are different types of sensations.
Your whole experience of life is sensory right now. Or in other words, sensations are the basis of your experience.
Bha means sensation, out of which emotion arises. Ra means raga or the tune. The tune is not yours – existence has already set it. Now you have to find the rhythm, which is the tala.
If you find the right rhythm, you are a fantastic human being.
If you miss the rhythm, you get crushed by the process of life.
We called this nation Bha-ra-ta, and one of the great kings of the past was Bharata.
People say the country is named after him, but actually, he was named after the country.
There are so many Bharats and Bharatis in this country – they are named after this nation.
King Bharata had nine sons, but when the time to hand over the empire came, he gave it to Bhumanyu, who was the son of the sage Bharadwaj.
This boy grew up in the forest. When he came to the court one day, the king looked at him and said, “This boy must become the king – not my sons.”
People were shocked because the emperor’s sons, nine of them, were waiting in a queue – probably fighting with each other over who would become the king.
People argued, “Who is he? He has grown up in the forest.” Bharata said, “I see an enormous intelligence in his eyes and a raging fire in his heart.
He is able-bodied and stable. He should be the king.” This was the first demonstration of democracy in this nation, thousands of years ago. I hope we follow this example today.
Kiran Bedi: I have a question. If we had continued to call India “Bharata,” would a woman have felt more secure than in India today? You know what is happening with women, particularly in the rural and weaker sections of society.
Sadhguru: It is not that the name will do everything, but the name has to inspire passion for the nation. Right now, they only have hormonal passions – there is no passion for the nation. That is why these things are happening to women.
A nation is important because you expand the scope of your passion, involvement, and concern beyond your own likes and dislikes. “Why can’t we think about the whole world?” As a spiritual being, I am not a nationalistic person. I would like to look at every human being and every creature on the planet in the same way – that is how I am. But A nation is the largest piece of humanity that you are able to be committed to right now. When you are committed to this nation and its wellbeing, if not to 7.2 billion people, at least you are committed to 1.2 billion people, which is a great step forward from being committed to your own personal wellbeing.
What makes Bharat a nation
Kiran Bedi: I think in the last ten days (refers to the recent change of government with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India), Hindi has returned much more. We might hear “bharatvasi” (one who lives in Bharat) and “bharatiya” (of or relating to Bharat) much more.
Sadhguru: You are leaving us out – we are from the South.
Kiran Bedi: You learn a little bit of Hindi then.
No, we won’t.
Because it is not the sameness that holds us together. We are different people, but we are fine together. That is the nature of this country. That is what has to be encouraged. Don’t try to teach everyone Hindi. Don’t try to teach everyone Tamil. I speak Tamil – you speak Hindi. You eat paratha – I eat idli. I think this is the best thing – you think that is the best thing. Still we have no issues. In the same family, five people can worship five different gods in the same room – no problem.
What is needed to build a successful nation?
A nation will be successful only when people’s aspirations are kept alive. They must see that their life is a possibility. If people lose their aspiration, it is a finished nation. It is important to nurture an aspiration and create the possibility within one’s lifespan. We also need to make people’s aspirations into the nation’s aspirations, and the nation’s aspirations into people’s aspirations.
For example, we have been trading with the rest of the world for over ten thousand years. In Syria and many parts of Arabia, there are stories of Indian traders. Aleppo City, which was one of the most beautiful cities, was at one time built on taxes paid by Indian traders. In Lebanon, there is a temple in Baalbek which is over 4,000 years old. Children in Lebanon schools study that Indian labor, elephants, sculptors and yogis constructed this. It is a massive temple. Some of the foundation stones weigh three hundred tons. Sculptures of lotus flowers are hanging from the ceiling. Obviously, there are no lotuses in Lebanon; it was sculptured by Indians. Every Lebanese child knows this. Has any Indian child heard about it?
Over a thousand years ago, Tamil kings went to Cambodia and built Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
If you see the work that has been done there, you will feel proud of being human.
The Angkor Wat is the largest religious building on the planet.
Does any Tamil child in Tamil Nadu up to twelfth standard read a line about it in his textbook?
When you don’t feel pride, how do you build a nation? If you are not proud of who you are, why the hell should you stay here?
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