My dear Pranav,
Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a great statesman and parliamentarian was a
prominent leader in the early part of the twentieth century. He was
contemporary of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Their approaches to the
betterment of India were poles apart. Gokhale was a "gradualist", and
he wanted the constitutional way to be used for the improvement of
life in India. Tilak wanted Swaraj. Once India were free she can
take care of herself.
Mahatma Gandhi came under the spell of Gokhale who wanted to
"spiritualise" politics. Gandhi followed him, interested not only in
achieving Swaraj but was careful about the means. He was careful not
only about ends but also the means. He insisted on Truth and
non-violence and Satyagraha as the method of achieving independence.
All political actions of Gandhi were consistent with his emphasis on
using the right means to achieve the right ends.
Vinoba took this idea of "spiritualising" politics a step further. He said,
"Politics assumed the semblance of spiritualisation before political
power was gained. As soon as political power came within grasp, this
"people tell me that treading the path of Gandhiji I should take up the
task of spiritualising politics. I tell them that I want to end
politics itself. I have no desire to turn a stone into Shiva and
then worship it. Put the stone into your pocket, I say, and worship
the God that dwells in you. There was a time for spiritualization
of stone. That time is now gone. It will not do now to worship
the stone with sandal paste and ignore the starving millions before us....
...While reflecting on the spiritualization of politics it occurs to me that in the process
politics does not remain intact, it is destroyed. Its place is taken
by Lokaniti (people's power). With freedom has come the rule of the
people. Politics cannot survive its spiritualization. Just as when you
try to ignite wood it burns up. You cannot apply fire to wood and
at the same time make it retain its character as wood. It is not
possible to retain both the processes of combustion and wood. Only
in burning up will wood give light and warmth. When business in
conducted by reference to majority and minority, we cannot spiritualize
politics and at the same time keep it in tact. It is now
appropriate to say, "that politics is outdated. The days of politics
are over." (1)
As a student of Mathematics and a very consistent logician, Vinoba formulated the following proposition:
Science + Politics = Destruction or Annihiliation
Science + Spirituality = Sarvodaya (2)
More in my next letter.