(Translated from Bengali by Sumita Bhattacharya and Sibesh Bhattacharya, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla)
Nowadays we put too much value on work. Near at hand or afar, during daytime or after sunset, work must go on. What more to do? What more to achieve? How to drive ourselves to death? Where can we immolate ourselves? These are what we are agitatedly seeking all the time. In the West dying in harness is considered a great honour. Fruitful or fruitless, or even wholly unnecessary, it matters not, but we must keep on rushing and pushing in whatever way till the very last breath. When the intoxicating spin of this merry-go-round of work seizes a people, no peace is left in the world. The woolly goats that had all along been leading a carefree life in the difficult Himalayan ranges begin dying shot by hunters. The good-natured seals and penguins had all along been enjoying the ease of keeping alive without fear in the snowy desert away from human habitat. Now, that spotlessly white mass of snow suddenly turns red splashed in the blood of these innocent creatures. Out of the blue the mercantile canons begin showering opium canon-balls down the throat of the ancient and artistic China and in Africa the darkness sheltered so long by its forest fastness gives up life in anguished cry crushed by the thunderbolt of civilization.
Here in this Asrama, when we sit still, the realization comes clearly to the mind that the real end of life is 'to be' and not 'to do'. In the world of nature, there is no end to activities, but the nature keeps activities in the background and expresses herself through being. When we look at nature, she looks ever-fresh and without a trace of fatigue; she looks as if she is attending a party and has dressed herself up for the occasion and has just taken her seat at ease on the wide blue sky. Where does this cosmic homemaker have her kitchen? Where does she have her husking mill? Where in her pantry she has stacked on shelf after shelf her wonderful looking storage jars? The ladle and tong in her right hand looks as though these were her ornaments and the works she does appear as though these were only sports. Her steps look like dancing steps, her efforts effortless ease. The nature always manifests herself by keeping her rotating wheels hidden below and by placing stability over movement. She does not let the breathless rush of work to make herself indistinct and the heap of ever accumulating work to bury her.
This leisure surrounding the work, this ability to keep the motion enveloped in a steadfast calm these are the secrets of the perpetual freshness of nature. And not just the freshness, these are also her strength.
From her copper-in-furnace sky, from her dry grey fields, from her spacious mid day wearing the glowing web of matted hair, from her pitched dark silent night, Bharatavarsha has received an expansive sense of peace and a supreme tranquility in her soul. Bharatavarsha is not a slave of work.
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