Sri Chinmoy, you are a man of peace. Was it difficult at any stage for you to identify with my father because, after all, he was not strictly a man of peace. He was a man of military action.1Sri Chinmoy: Not at all, sister! Shall I tell you why? Your father changed his policy. He had every right to do so. Peace may be expressed in two ways: it can be static or it can be dynamic. It is like the ocean. On the very bottom, the ocean is calm and quiet, whereas on the surface it can be very tumultuous and rough. When your father started his political career, he gave up everything. Sacrifice became his very name. He wanted to see power inside the peace of the heart. He felt that when Indians were truly united, their power would come to the fore and the British would be compelled to leave the country in a peaceful manner.
But gradually he came to realise that each of the many different groups comprising India had its own way of expressing itself. Each one had its own leader, its own belief. One group followed Mahatma Gandhi, another group followed your father, a third group followed someone else, and so on. Although Netaji tried his utmost to bring about unity among all the groups, specially in the political sphere, he was forced to realise that this way would not be feasible. Then he decided that if peace could not be achieved through inner unity, it had to be achieved through military action. The British were using their military might to suppress the Indians. Netaji believed that if he attacked them on their own level, it would force the Indians to unite, and the British would not be able to withstand the power of the whole country.
Let me give you a simple analogy. Let us say that a thorn has entered my heel. I may try to use medicine to bring the thorn out. But there is another way. I can use a second thorn to take out the thorn that is inside my heel. Then what will become of the second thorn, the one that was of help to me? I will simply throw it away, along with the first one.
Your father was misunderstood because he went to Germany to seek help from Hitler and various other European leaders. Some of his countrymen said to him, "What are you doing? Germany is worse than Great Britain!" But Netaji's reply was, "I know they are worse, but I am ready to take help from anybody. My immediate enemy is Great Britain. Great Britain has enslaved my Motherland. I have to get rid of my immediate enemy. Then, if I am successful, in the future I can get rid of the one that I have taken help from. If I can use this thorn to remove the one that is already inside my foot, then one day definitely I will be able to get rid of the second thorn."
In the beginning, it was beyond his imagination that he would adopt this way of freeing his country. But when he saw that all other procedures had failed, he knew that there was no other way. It was the last resort. This is the thing that people do not understand.
In the Bhagavad Gita, which is our most sacred book, our Bible, Lord Krishna tried in every way to avert the Battle of Kurukshetra. He begged the Kauravas to settle their differences with the Pandavas without entering into the battlefield. He did not succeed. When Lord Krishna saw that all other means had failed, only then did he ask the Pandavas, the virtuous ones, to fight against the Kauravas, who were hostile forces incarnate. The Pandavas entered into the Battle of Kurukshetra as a last resort. For the establishment of Truth, they had to take up their weapons. The Pandavas were righteous, but there was no other way to bring about peace than to fight. It was for the victory of Truth that Lord Krishna asked them to fight.
Your father knew that India's freedom was his birthright. When he saw that the other way, the way of peaceful settlement, was not making any progress, he decided he had to try a new way. In his thinking, he was far ahead of all the other patriots of his day. Needless to say, I am totally convinced that your father did absolutely the right thing. He was the harbinger, the pathfinder. His vision was much vaster and deeper than that of the other Indian national leaders of the time. In everything he went ahead, and it was only later that others followed him.
Both Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji played their distinctive roles in bringing about India's independence. Your cousin Dr. Sisir Bose, Netaji's beloved nephew, has most aptly summed it up when he said, "The Father of the Indian nation is Mahatma Gandhi; the Father of the Indian revolution is Subhas Bose."
IMI 218. Question by Professor Anita B. Pfaff — Daughter of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose↩