Indian Independence: A Journey

Sri Sathya Sai delivering the Divine Discourse in the quadrangle
of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus on August 15, 1985

The world is the manifestation and expansion of the 5 fundamental elements. Its innate nature is duality, the entity and the result, the cause and its effect. This duality is evident in the alternating experiences of joy and grief, praise and blame, victory and defeat, profit and loss. These are the consequences of the right and wrong we indulge in. It is not wrong, if you slip into wrong; repeating the wrong is the thing to be condemned. One must learn lessons from one’s mistake, repent and resolve not to commit it again. 

Mir Jaffar and his son
The history of India holds forth before us the folly of repeating the wrong already done. The French, the Portuguese, the Mughals and the Afghans have all warned Indians against this characteristic. Duplex has recorded that he was able to establish French rule in the then Karnataka region with the help of the Nizam. Mir Jaffar helped Clive to conquer Bengal. 

Raghunath Peshwa
Raghunath Rao Peshwa helped the foreigners to conquer Maharashtra. Foreign rule was established in India with the help of Indians themselves! Inhabitants of an island, 11,000 miles away, were able to conquer India, 16 times its size having 8 times its population, and rule over it for 190 years, because of one basic defect – disunity caused by mutual suspicion, selfishness and jealousy. Union is strength; disunion brings disaster.

India under British Rule (circa 1909)

The Story of Mahatma Gandhi and 
his Philosophy of Satyagraha

Young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in South Africa
When Gandhi was 24 years old, he proceeded to South Africa at the invitation of an Indian Business House to conduct a Court case. There, he witnessed the humiliation being heaped upon Indian settlers by the whites. Differences can exist between man and man in health, education, wealth and temperament. But, fundamentally, all human beings are equal and should be treated as such. But racial animosity was the accepted policy of the white rulers in South Africa.

Jan Christian Smuts,
Prime Minister of South Africa
Gandhi stayed on among the oppressed Indians and native blacks and devised the strategy of Satyagraha (passive resistance or civil disobedience) to end the exploitation. When the movement showed signs of quick success, General Smuts invited Gandhi for discussion. Gandhi explained to him that he had to resort to non-violent Satyagraha since the inhuman policy of insulting and injuring humans having black skins had to be resisted and exterminated. General Smuts retorted by pointing out to Gandhi how millions of Indians, human beings like the rest, were kept out of villages and condemned as untouchables. The General's word acted as a bullet shot right at the heart of Gandhi. Gandhi felt that he had no right to correct another while he was himself infected with the same evil. He decided to return to India and practise the strategy of Satyagraha for the removal of untouchability and other social evils, and to free his Motherland from exploitation by foreigners. 

Mahatma Gandhi on the Dandi March Satyagraha (March 1930)

Satyagraha was the path of Truth and Love; of the means being as pure as the ends. Verily, he who accepts criticism gladly, and thanks the critic for his remarks, is the one really human. Since Gandhi was willing to learn and had the humility to acknowledge criticism, he could mould the people of his land and be hailed as the ‘Father of the Nation’. He looked upon the country as one. He planted the seed of unity of all faiths and all communities, which under his guidance grew quickly into a big tree. He built a great movement on the basis of Atmabalam (Soul force) that strengthened unity and self-confidence. Selfishness that had possessed the nation as an evil genius and mined its progress in material, moral, political and spiritual fields, was suppressed while the movement was on. The people suffered much but suffering are the prelude to success. There is no rose without thorns! Without giving, no one can gain. How can anything great be achieved without overcoming internal and external obstacles?

When will we be truly Independent?

At the hour when India was granted political freedom - midnight of August 14, 1947

The independence we celebrate today was finally achieved and proclaimed at midnight on August 14/15, 1947. What exactly does the word 'independence' (Swatantra) mean? It means, we are not dependent on anyone, any longer. We are dependent on ourselves alone. The Indian word for independence is Swatantra. It means ‘our Tantra’. The word Tantra means ‘the Heart’ (Hrudaya). Hrudaya is the Heart. The Yantra (the machine, the apparatus) is the body. The Mantra (saving formula) is the breath and the Tantra (the heart, the source of life) is the Atma. So, Swatantra means independence from everything except the Atma. The resident of the heart is the only Guru. There is no dependence on the others. He is the only Master, the only God. This is the stage of Swarajya, sole monarch of oneself. The word Swaraj, commonly used for an independent state, connotes only absence of worldly dependence. Independence can be enjoyed by man only if he gets rid of bondage to the senses which drag him into tantalising ventures. The attainment of Yoga, involving sense-control, expansion of love and cleansing the consciousness, so God’s glory may be reflected therein, is the goal. 

You are the Leaders of the Future!

My Dear Students! 

You have to be leaders of this country in a few years time. So I insist on the development of the sense of unity, a bond of brotherhood, and an awareness of dignity. One should strive for unity of minds, unity of hearts, not the temporary association of the moneyed people or persons in positions of power. Unity must result in unity of thought, word and deed. Love for one’s motherland is good. But it should not lead to hatred towards the motherland of others. Your prayer has to be, “May the entire world be happy and peaceful” (Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu). For, only when the world has peace and prosperity, can India be peaceful and happy. It is only when India is peaceful and happy, that Andhra Pradesh will be peaceful and happy. It is only when Andhra Pradesh has peace and happiness that Anantapur District can have peace and happiness. It is only when Anantapur District has peace and happiness, can Puttaparthi be peaceful and happy. It is only when Puttaparthi has peace and happiness, can you have peace and happiness! Your peace and happiness are linked with the world’s peace and happiness. Any act of hatred or violence committed by you will pollute the atmosphere of the world. Adore any living being; the adoration reaches God, for He is in every being. Insult any living being; the insult too reaches God. (Sarva Jeeva Namaskaram, Keshavam Pratigachhati; Sarva Jeeva Tiraskaram Keshavam Pratigachhati) So, expand love towards all, everywhere.

The Indian Tricolour hoisted on a State Legislative Assembly
The flag is the symbol of victor, of the joy of Independence. Each nation has a flag for itself. Pay attention to another flag to symbolise another laudable victory over one’s lower instincts, impulses, passions, emotions and desires, the flag that has to be unfurled on every human heart. When you achieve that victory, you will become the true inheritors of the Bharatiya Culture.


  1. I was fortunate to be there that day when this discourse was delivered.It brings back divine memories.

  2. Very inspiring and powerful message- thank you Swami.
    Venu from NZ


Back to Top