The Magnificent Journey : Marching on Vivekananda’s Path
The secret of success of RSS lies in the organisational principles evolved over a period of time to cure the ailments of Bhartiya society
“RSS is an evolution of life
mission of the Hindu Nation”
— Shri Dadarao Parmarth
This is definition by Shri Dadarao Parmarth who was tasked with expanding the base of Sangh in the southern region of Bharat in early 1940’s. His persona had been evolved through the assimilation of values of the Sangh while working closely associated with Dr Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS. On being asked what the Sangh is, he combined all cardinal principles of RSS together in his spontaneous answer in English. The very idea of the Nation, her ambitions, her history etc is rendered well through this profoundly poetic Mantra. It encompasses the divine bond between the RSS and the Nation. It also divulges the fact that the Sangh is not a mere organisation of conventional sense but a vital organ of this Nation. RSS is a natural evolution happened to the life of Hindu Rashtra.
The Sangh- An Organic Evolution
What is the life-mission of a nation? Our ancient sages have explicitly articulated in our sacred texts: ‘Kranvanto Viswamaryam’ (To make the world incredible), ‘Sarvepi Sukhinah Santu’ and thus go on. Their words were pertaining to the ultimate goal of Hindu Rashtra. Somehow, the voyage to accomplish this mission had been thwarted. To overturn this hindrance, an efficient and robust organ has been created by the nation out of itself. This bio-evolution is christened as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The RSS is, therefore, a natural way of evolution of the nation-body. We can make out this fact if we dissect the words of Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, pronounced on a Vijayadasami Day ninety years ago. His words bear perennial strength and significance that is as holier as any holy Vedic Mantras. “Today the Sangh begins”, he simply said. He did not say: Today, I, Dr Keshawabaliram Hegewar, am going to start the Sangh. Likewise, he did not say: We are going to start the Sangh, either. Conveniently, we can say that a group of youths led by Dr Hedgewar have founded the Sangh. But Doctor Ji’s words scarcely carried a stain of reflection of a ‘doer’. According to Srimad Bhagavad Gita, an action will be considered as Karma Yoga only when the doer is free from all the conceptions of the ‘doership’. The manifestation of this wisdom is evident in the very idea of the foundation of Sangh.
A Unique Organisation
Despite the fact that prime objective of the Sangh is welfare and well-being of the entire humankind sans all margins and boundaries, the Sangh or Doctor Ji had never proclaimed that. On the contrary, the pledge, which was taken during the formation of the Sangh at Mohitewada in Nagpur, was to attain Parama Vaibhav (the pinnacle of glory) of this nation by organising the society of this nation. For the sake of that, a humble and unpretentious plan had been conceived– an endeavour to congregate every day. Now this humble initiative has turned out to be a magnificent organisation.
Here it becomes pertinent to go for a comparison to discern the divinity of the strength of the Sangh even though a comprehensive comparison is impossible as the Sangh has no parallels to put side by side. However, considering the outstanding circumstances of some states like Kerala, a comparison becomes significant. The origin of Communist Party in Bharat dates back to the beginning of 1920’s, in the same time-period when the Sangh came into existence. The aims of Communist Parties are well known. Their declarations reverberated in the horizons: ‘We are born to create a history. Our objective is not confined to frontiers of our country. We will unite all countries in the world’. They ridiculed and derided others and went so far as to boast that the Communism was the only rational and progressive ideology.
Meanwhile, the Sangh, with both feet fixed on ground, decided to bring the youth and children in the vicinity together to work for the nation to rekindle the spirit of nationhood. Accordingly, they made up their mind to achieve intellect and energy. They never called for the unity of all countries; nor took the challenge to turn the world upside down. On the contrary, the swayamsevaks deliberated that we must change ourselves before changing others. They reaffirmed themselves that if we bring about change in our lives and our mindsets, the society will change. They had well-known figures like MN Roy and Rajni Palme Dutt at the helm. Here we had, a common man, a patriot, Dr Hedgewar. Backed by the USSR and aided in Pounds and Rubles, Communist Party amassed abundant wealth as their capital. Here, all capital we had, Dr Hedgewar a man who born to a poorest of the poor family and his strong willpower and confidence.
The Sangh, without making any grand claims, now a great organisation capable of solving dilemmas of the globe, still continues to engage itself in the national rebuilding. Meanwhile, those who came up with tall claims are now thrown to the dustbin of history. RSS now appears as a wonder for international social scientists and observers who are in the quest of finding the reason behind the astounding growth of the RSS. The Saffron Swastika by Koenraad Elst and The Brotherhood in Saffron by Walter K Anderson and Shridhar Damle are a few examples.
The Success Formula of RSS
What is the success formula of the Sangh? To know that, it is essential to understand the milieu, the means to achieve the objective and the gradual evolution of the Sangh. Doctor Ji had initiated the discussions with his contemporaries about the Sangh after having a thorough analysis of the nuances of the then condition of the nation. He comprehensively examined the impasses the nation were facing and diagnosed the diseases which affected the nation body. Finally, he provided a new medicine, its formula and a production apparatus.
What were the reasons of the ailment— (1) Lack of idea of nation (2) Lack of patriotism (3) Lack of sense of self (4) Lack of sense of the relationship between self and society (5) Lack of sense of responsibility to find the solution to the problems faced by the society and (6) Lack of a conscious effort to see the society as a whole.
Over time, Bharat had succumbed to these ills that eventually led to subjugation of invaders. Contrary to the popular perception, the paralysis was not caused by the invasions. So Doctor Ji came to a conclusion that the imperative is to root out this basic feebleness. The creation of a well-organised, civilised, robust, impeccable and egalitarian society is the foremost prerequisite. Through which, the nation will achieve its param vaibhav (the pinnacle glory)’. To materialise this vision, a large number of optimistic and patriotic individuals or swayamsevaks are required. They should lead a devoted ideal life. The panacea for the ailment of our nation is those dedicated lives—swayamsevaks. The sakha programme is a process of manufacturing that medicine. The individuals who undergo this process will be transformed into the real Swayamsevaks who can refute the challenges faced by the nation. The mission of Sangh is two-fold:
(1) Making of Swayamsevaks through Sakhas. (2) Organising the society through Swayamsevaks.
To successfully accomplish this transformation of the society, sawayamsevaks gain qualities and excellence from the Sakhas. First in line is a perspective. Let us call it Satya Drishti (True Vision). Bharat is one; every dust particle in Bharat is holy for me; I am nothing but an organ of this Hindu Rashtra; there is a marvellous and unique relationship between me and the society. Because of this perspective, a swayamsevak surmounts the very question of identity—‘Who am I?”.
Secondly, the quality of empathy (Sahanubhuti). When we develop a feeling that Samaj is one and mine, the pain and pleasure of each and every individual of the society become ours. As Swami Vivekananda in spoke in his famous lecture delivered at Lahore, “Then and then alone you are a Hindu when the distress of anyone bearing that name comes to your heart and makes you feel as if your own son were in distress.” Swayamsevaks, through persistent Sakha education, will become the real Hindus as Swami Vivekananda envisioned.
Thirdly, we should realise that it is our responsibility to find out the solution to problems faced by our society. Then, the will to take the responsibility of any task, howsoever difficult it is, will develop. With that deliberation, swayamsevaks indulge in sewa activities in different fields without any external impetus. The fourth is behaviour, in accordance with the aforesaid matters. Considering them as a whole, to surge ahead, an all-encompassing and all-embracing discourse is an imperative. Hence, the Sangh continues to be a strong organisation—the iron framework of the society.
Fifth, a swayamsevak should identify engage great people around him. In our society, but outside the Sangh, many individuals and organisations are indulged in various nationally oriented programmes. The Sangh and swayamsevaks never believe that they are the only group who are pursuing a nationalistic objective. Naturally, the swayamsevaks earn the quality of coordinating those people who are rendering extraordinary service and lineup them at the forefront of the national renaissance movement. Such a coordinated movement, from regional-level to national-level, is evident these days. The world has witnessed that during the celebrations of Swami Vivekananda’s 150 years Birth Anniversary and International Yoga Day.
Then comes the sixth, morality. ‘Susheelam Jagadyena Namram Bhaved’— the swayamsevaks are those who pray for an ideal character which would command the respect of the whole world. As far as RSS is concerned, this is the most significant quality without which no work will take anyone to anywhere. The Sangh never subscribes to the view of the West— end justifies means. The Sangh is very assertive in the principle that our means must be as pure as the ends we seek. It reiterates that purity, morality and ethics are the qualities not only to be observed in private life, but in public life also.
The seventh principle is organising the entire society. Doctor Ji underscored that “Ours is not an organisation in society, it is the organisation of the society.” The Sangh believes in the idea of amalgamation of society and the organisation. This great wisdom guides every swayamsevak. The organisation is the power which originates from sakhas, the nucleus, and grows so far as to subsume the entire society and pervades all over the nation. Swami Vivekananda verbalises his great mission in a letter to his disciple Alasinga Perumal: “Push on with organisation, nothing else is necessary, but the love – sincerity – Patience are important. Love is life, selfishness is death.”
Swamiji too ardently desired for such an organisation which permeates all over the nation— he explains: “The grand plan is to start a colony in Central India, where you can follow your own ideas independently, and then a little leaven will leaven all. In the meanwhile form a Central Association and go on branching off all over India. Start only on religious grounds now, and do not preach any violent social reform at present; only do not countenance foolish superstitions. Try to revive society on the old grounds of universal salvation and equality as laid down by the old Masters, such as Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, and Chaitanya.”
‘Then a little leaven will leaven for all’- this hypothesis proposed by Swamiji can be called, in another way, Ripple Effect. The works undertaken by the Sangh also move in the same direction. According to Ripple Effect theory, the ripples formed on the surface expand across the water towards the shores and an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally. Herein, the initial ripple originates in RSS Sakhas. Individually, a Swayamsevak who is educated in Sakha aspires for bringing about changes around his vicinity. The initial ripples being formed out of such efforts trigger radical changes in the familial, professional and social lives. The second wave takes shape by enriching the village lives through service oriented activities. The 90 years of RSS bear testimony to this great phenomenon. The Seva Vibhag of RSS now steer around 1,65,000 numbers of various seva activities. It spreads across various fields, stretching from slums in the urban areas to the communities of our Vanavasi brethren. Afterwards, this wave touches the society and takes a different course and form. The Sangh principles plunge into the society through its five major segments such as rural development, Goseva, Samajik Samrasata, Parivar Prabodhan (awakening of family) and Dharm Prabodhan. Thus each segment of the society is being awakened into a renaissance by the deliberated work of Swayamsevaks.
Quality of Progressiveness
As Swamiji enunciated, along with fortifying a realm where you can exercise your ideas, various centralised organisations inspired by the Sangh are also being built up. Explicitly, this expansion is a progressive unfoldment in its true sense. Each Vividha Kshetra is a fruition of an organic evolution which occurs as a result of the
convolution of time, circumstances and necessity. Today, thirty-five organisations, ranging from education to employment, culture to science, economy to polity, have been functioning. With this robust ideological foundation, the Sangh continues to seek new horizons of progress even after the completion of its 90 years. The Sangh is surging ahead with enormous zeal and vigour. Certainly, the RSS is nearing towards the ultimate fruition of its life mission of Hindu Rashtra that has been evolved by the will of the nation.
The writer is RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sah-Prachar Pramukh