Excerpted from The Practice of Art and Literature
14 February 1957
The human race is moving at an irresistible speed. Today humanity wants to forget those whose works have centred around various kinds of fissiparous tendencies. Human beings want to channelize the full range of their vision towards the bright future – a future which will transcend all individual or group interests, all territorial limits of countries and states, and transform the individual fates of many people into one destiny. Human beings no longer want to rely on so-called providential favour. Individual heroism is about to lose its vibrant spirit. Nowadays people have learned that if the thrill of victory is due to anyone, it certainly belongs to humanity.
About seven hundred years ago the Asian poet Chandidasa, from an obscure corner of Bengal, sang about the same great possibility:
[O human beings, my brothers and sisters,
Humanity is the highest truth,
There is nothing beyond it.]
Today not even the Pacific Ocean between Asia and America is difficult to cross. The people of Asia and America are touching each other’s minds and have learned to accept each other sympathetically as their own. Europe, Africa, Australia, Mercury, Jupiter, the stars, the comets, the constellations – none of them are alien to the others, none are distant from the others. Gradually everyone has begun to realize the vibration of the one integral mind.
It is my firm conviction that the future of humanity is not dark. Every human being will reach that inextinguishable flame that is forever alight beyond the veil of the darkness of the present – and reach it they must. Those who carry the message of that effulgent light will be forever revered by all humanity. I see in the sáhityikas and artists of today the potentiality to become such memorable and venerable people, and that is why I hold them in great regard. The American poet Carl Sandburg has said:
There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men.
There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women.
There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is All Children.
In exactly the same strain, in perhaps sweeter language, the same idea has been expressed by the Asian poet Satyendranath:
Jagat juŕiyá ek játi áche
Se játir nám mánuśa játi;
Ek prthiviir stanye pálita
Eki ravi-shashii moder sáthii.
[There is only one race in the world,
And that is the human race,
Nourished with the milk of the same Mother Earth,
Dwelling within the same compass of the sun and the moon.
The same heat and cold, hunger and thirst,
We all equally feel.
Together we raise tender green plants and make them strong.
We all struggle to preserve our lives.
We seek friends and comrades and build happy homes,
We all drown in water, we all thrive on land.
Black and white are merely external hues –
Internally the blood of all is red.
By penetrating below the surface,
The true inner nature is instantly revealed.
The Brahman and the outcaste, the great and the small,
Are all artificial distinctions that ultimately crumble to dust.
When love awakens in sleeping souls,
Then true human beings will emerge.
There is no difference between one colour, one race, and another
For the entire universe is pervaded by one Infinite Consciousness.]
Human beings of today, in chorus with Chandidasa, Sandburg and Satyendranath, will move together shoulder to shoulder towards an exalted human oneness, towards the highest fulfilment of their individual lives.