SAYINGS OF SISTER NIVEDITA
* Ramakrishna – Vivekananda – these two lives are the unity of India. All that is necessary is that India should keep them in her heart.
* I believe that India is one, indissoluble, indivisible.
National unity is built on the common home, the common interest and common love.
* I believe that the present of India is deep-rooted in her past, and that before her shines a glorious future.
* …Our whole past shall be made a part of the world’s life. That is what is called the realization of the national idea. But it must be realised everywhere, in the world idea. In order to attain a larger power of giving, we may break through any barrier of custom. But it is written inexorably in the very nature of things, that if we sacrifice custom merely for some mean and selfish motive, fine men and women everywhere will refuse to admit us to their fellowship.
* … Selfless Man is the Thunderbolt. Let us strive only for selflessness, and we become the weapon in the hands of the gods. Not for us to ask how. Not for us to plan methods. For us, it is only to lay ourselves down at the altar-foot.
* My object is to make you think and think…. It is for you to determine the aims and functions of education.
* I love the sorrow and the struggle and the divine self-sacrifice that may be ours.
* Each man and woman, that is to say, when perfectly educated, becomes an epitome of the history either of his or her own race, or of Humanity as a whole.
* The hero is one who fights, loves fighting and his supreme joy is to be beaten by one who is superior, after fighting his best…. Fight, fight, fight again, but not with meanness and not with rancour…. By no means be found sleeping when the cry comes for battle.
* The idea of safety and repose, usually associated with spirituality, is the most false of all the notions. You, young men, must always guard yourselves against that sham spirituality that dreads trouble and hankers after safety. The spiritual ideal that the Rishis set forth in their lives and in their work was never an ideal of ignoble ease of safety, obtained by a cowardly retreat from the battle-field of life.
* Can we not cultivate in our children and ourselves a vast compassion? This compassion will make us eager to know the sorrows of all men, the griefs of our land and the dangers to which in these modern days the religion is exposed; and this growing knowledge will produce strong workers, working for work’s sake, ready to die, if only they may serve their country and fellow-men.
* Throughout the world the women are the guardians of humanity’s ethical ideals.
* Yet again shall come the great re-establishment of Dharma, when the whole of this nation shall be united together, not in a common weakness, not in a common misfortune or grievance, but in a great, overflowing, complex, actual, ever-strong, ever-living consciousness of the common nationality, the common heritage, the common struggle, aye! the common destiny and the common hope.
* Education! Ay, that is the problem of India. How to give true education, national education; how to make you full men, true sons of Bharatvarsha, and not poor copies of Europe? Your education should be an education of the heart and the spirit, and of the spirit as much of the brain; it should be a living connection between yourselves and your past as well as the modern world!
* Have the Hindu women of the past been a source of shame to us that we should hasten to discard their old-time grace and sweetness, their gentleness and piety, their tolerance and childlike depth of love and pity, in favour of the first crude product of Western information and social aggressiveness?… An education of the brain that uprooted humility and took away tenderness, would be no true education at all.
The question that has to be solved for Indian women, therefore, is a form of education that might attain this end of developing the faculties of soul and mind in harmony with one another.
* And in this particular respect there is perhaps no other country in the world so fortunately placed as India. She is, above all others, the land of great women. Whenever we turn, whether to history or literature, we are met on every hand by those figures whose strength she mothered and recognised, while she their memory eternally held sacred.
… There can never be any sound education of the Indian woman which does not begin and end in exaltation of the national ideals of womanhood, as embodied in her own history and heroic literature.
* The whole task now is to give the word ‘nationality’ to India, in all its breadth and meaning. The rest will do itself. India must be obsessed by this great conception. …It means new views of history, of customs, and it means the assimilation of the whole Ramakrishna idea in religion, the syntheses of all religious ideas. It means a final understanding of the fact that the political process and economic disaster are only side issues – that the one essential fact is realisation of its own nationality by the Nation.
* Throw yourselves, children of India, into the worship of these (the ancient chronicles) and your whole past. Strive passionately for knowledge. Yours are the spades and mattocks of this excavation. For with you and not with the foreigner are the thought and language that will make it easy to unearth the old significance. India’s whole hope lies in a deeper research, a more rigid investigation of facts. With her, encouragement and not despair, is on the side of truth!
* Great literatures have to be created in each of the vernaculars. These literatures must voice the past, translate the present, forecast the future.
* No matter what may be the particular line of action adopted by a person, we must honour as a national hero, if only he shows his earnest devotion by real work, by actual sacrifice to the cause of the country.
* O Nationality, come thou to me as joy or sorrow, as honour or as shame! Make me thine own!