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these very pictures should, on the contrary, justify us in viewing Religion as a bright star, an undying rose without a thorn.*
-N. B. DIVATIA.
THE PLACE OF RELIGION IN THE
LIFE OF A STUDENT.
A boy's life at School and College is so mapped out into necessary tasks and necessary play, that the question sometimes arises iu his mind: "What time is there in my life for Religion; had I not better leave it alone until I am older?"
Let us ask what is meant by the word Religion. Reli gion is the expression of the seeking of God by man, of the One Self by the apparently separated self. This is its essence. This expression has three divisions; one intellectual, doctrines, dealing with God and man and their relations; one emotional, worship, which has many divers forms and rites and ceremonies; one practical, living the life of love. Looking at religion under these three heads, it will be easier te see its place in the student's life, than if we take it more vaguely and generally.
Doctrines of Religion: the broad outlines of these resemble each other in all religions, and a boy should be taught them according to the faith of his parents. There is no knowledge more necessary for a boy than the knowledge of the fundamental doctrines of his religion. This knowledge should therefore be imparted to him in a simple elementary form in School, and in fuller detail in College. No controversial points should be raised,
From an address delivered in the Ahmedâbâd Prarthana
no philosophical disquisitions should be imposed; clear definite statement of the main doctrines is all that is needed. Half an hour a day throughout School life would be time sufficient to equip the lad with this knowledge, and to enable him to answer intelligently any questions addressed to him about his religion.
Worship every boy should worship, recognising with gratitude the Source of life and strength and joy, The Hindu boy should daily perform his Sandhyâ, after bathing, according to the custom of his caste and family; and if he does this, with concentrated attention and devotional feeling, he has fulfilled the duty of worship suitable to his state. He may also, if he likes, read and think over a Shloka of the Bhagavad-Gîtâ. The duty of meditation belongs to later life, and he will gain such training of the mind in steadiness as is fitted for his youth by the careful and attentive performance of his Sandhyâ.
The Life of Love: this is the religious duty which the boy must discharge all day long, and it is this which makes a life a truly religious life, whatever may be its occupations. Let us see how a boy should lead the life of love in School and College, the Dharma of the Student.
He must show his love to his parents and his teachers by diligent study and by prompt obedience. Youth is the time for study, and a youth wasted in idleness cannot later be made good. A man's usefulness to others depends largely on his education; the ignorant man cannot be a good and wise husband, father, or citizen. A diligent industrious boy is showing a religious spirit by his diligence and industry; if he practises these qualities from love, and from a sense of duty, he is performing the Dharma of his state. And he must be obedient,
with the obedience of love, which is as complete out of sight as under the eyes of authority, which is prompt, cheerful and ungrudging, not slothful, carping and unwilling.
He must show his love to those around him by helping them in every way he can; if he is clever, he should help the dull boys with their lessons; if he is strong, he should protect the little lads, and never tyrannise over them. He should be brave, gentle, truthful, courteous; these qualities are all fruits of the fair tree. of love. He must be chaste and must always be clean in his own speech and actions; and he must strongly protest against any coarseness of speech or actions in his fellow-students, and should especially be careful to protect the younger boys from bad talk and bad ways.
A boy who lives in this way during his School and College life will, when he goes out into the wider world of men, practise there the virtues that in his School and College days he learned as part of his Religion. For there is no division between true Religion and noble living; a religion that does not express itself in nobility of living is an empty shell; a noble life without religion is shorn of its fairest grace.*
FOUR BLIND MEN AND AN ELEPHANT.
Four blind men went to see an elephant. One touched the leg of the elephant, and said, "The elephant is like a pillar." The second touched the trunk, and said, "The elephant is like a thick stick or club." The third touched the belly, and said, "The elephant is like
a big jar." The fourth touched the
ears, and said,
• From The Central Hindu College Magazine, February 1903.
"The elephant is like a winnnowing-basket." Thus they began to dispute among themselves as to the figure of the elephant. A passer-by seeing them thus quarrelling, said, "What is it that you are disputing about?" They told him everything, and asked him to arbitrate. That man said, "None of you has seen the elephant. The elephant is not like the pillar, its legs are like pillars. It is not like a big water-vessel, its belly is like a water-vessel. It is not like a winnowing basket, its ears are like winnowing baskets. It is not like a thick stick or club, but its proboscis is like that. The elephant is the combination of all these." In the same manner those quarrel who haveseen one aspect only of the Deity.
"SAYINGS OF RAMAKRISHNA. ”*
No religion is perfect that is not founded on truth;
Knowledge is a burden without politeness; what
Worship of God without love for him is superficial;
A man who has no spiritual knowledge cannot be called a preceptor, how can he preach others; Penance is impossible without restraining the passions;
External washing goes for nothing without internal purity.
He is not an ascetic who has no virtue; renunciation of the world is only nominal so long as there is desire for worldly things;
*By Max Müller.
A man cannot be said to have experience if his mind is still a prey to doubts; for discoveries cannot be made properly without experience.
He who seeks not true God is an ignorant man,
Chhotum says with a conviction that the above is the sum and substance of all scriptures.
A Gujaráti poet.