Dharma (journal)

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Dharma cover Magh 1910.jpg

After his acquittal in 1909 Sri Aurobindo started a Bengali weekly called “Dharma”, and wrote most of the editorial comments and leading articles for it until his withdrawal to Chandernagore in February 1910.

(Sri Aurobindo in third person:) “In May, 1908, he was arrested in the Alipur Conspiracy Case as implicated in the doings of the revolutionary group led by his brother Barindra; but no evidence of any value could be established against him and in this case too he was acquitted. After a detention of one year as undertrial prisoner in the Alipur Jail, he came out in May, 1909, to find the party organisation broken, its leaders scattered by imprisonment, deportation or self-imposed exile and the party itself still existent but dumb and dispirited and incapable of any strenuous action. For almost a year he strove single-handed as the sole remaining leader of the Nationalists in India to revive the movement. He published at this time to aid his effort a weekly English paper, the Karmayogin, and a Bengali weekly, the Dharma. But at last he was compelled to recognise that the nation was not yet sufficiently trained to carry out his policy and programme.”[1]

(Sri Aurobindo in third person:) “Sri Aurobindo’s departure to Chandernagore was the result of a sudden decision taken on the strength of an adesh from above and was carried out rapidly and secretly without consultation with anybody or advice from any quarter. He went straight from the Dharma office to the Ghat — he did not visit the Math, nobody saw him off; a boat was hailed, he entered into it with two young men and proceeded straight to his destination. His residence at Chandernagore was kept quite secret; it was known only to Srijut Motilal Roy who arranged for his stay and to a few others. Sister Nivedita was confidentially informed the day after his departure and asked to conduct the Karmayogin in place of Sri Aurobindo to which she consented. In his passage from Chandernagore to Pondicherry Sri Aurobindo stopped only for two minutes outside College Square to take his trunk from his cousin and paid no visit except to the British Medical Officer to obtain a medical certificate for the voyage. He went straight to the steamship Dupleix and next morning was on his way to Pondicherry.”[2]

Excerpts from articles:
(Sri Aurobindo:) “When there is oppression and injustice we have the legal and moral right to protest firmly against it and to do away with it through the pressure of our national force and through all just means and just remedies. If any man, whether he is a government official or a countryman of ours, says or does a thing that is wrong or unjust or harmful, we have the right to protest and counter it by means of sarcasm and satire, never of course going against the gentleman's code of behaviour. But we have no right to cherish or create hatred or spite against any nation or individual.”[3]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “The Aryan knowledge, the Aryan education, the Aryan ideal is quite different from the knowledge, education, ideal of the materialistic, vitalistic Occident given to physical enjoyment. According to the Europeans, where there is no interest or search for happiness, there can be no work to be done. Without hatred, there can be neither conflict nor fighting. Either you have to work with a desire, or you have to sit down and become a desireless ascetic. Such is their notion. It is through the struggle for existence that the world has been built up, and is achieving progress, this is the keynote of their science.
         Since the days when the Aryans moved from the arctic land towards the south and conquered the land of the five rivers, they have had this eternal wisdom — winning thereby the eternal status in the world — that the whole universe is a world of delight and it is for the manifestation of love and truth and power that the omnipresent Divine has been playing the game by manifesting himself again in all that stands or moves, in man and animal, in the worm and the insect, in the saint and the sinner, in friend and foe, in God and the Titan. It is for the sake of the play that there is happiness, for the sake of the play there is pain, for the sake of the play there is sin, for the sake of the play there is virtue, for the sake of the play there is friendship, for the sake of the play there is enmity, for the sake of the play there is godhood, for the sake of the play there is titanhood. Friend and foe are equally partners in the game, they divide themselves in the two sides and create opposite sides. The Aryan protects the friendly, smites the unfriendly, but he has no attachment. He sees the Divine everywhere, in all beings, in all things, in all works and in all results.”[4]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “Is it true that physical force is the only support of strength, or does strength emanate from some deeper, profounder source? Every one is bound to admit that it is impossible to achieve any great undertaking only through physical prowess. Where two opposed but equally strong powers meet in conflict, the one with the greater ethical and mental strength, — one with superior unity, courage, enthusiasm, determination, self-sacrifice, the one who has knowledge, intelligence, cleverness, keen observation, a better developed ability to evolve new means is sure to win.”[5]

  1. Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, p.8
  2. Ibid., p.91
  3. Bengali Writings Translated into English, p.245, “National Resurgence”
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., p.248, “Our Hope”

See also