Part I: Discourses

America in her depths

"Of what use to me are the things that cannot make me immortal?"

Thus, in her longing for Immortality, Maitreyi, the great woman of the Upanishads, rejects the riches of the world. By Immortality she does not mean the continuity of her human existence, but a life to be lived forever in her soul.

India's history is aglow with stories of kings and potentates who enjoyed power and opulence without being in the least attached to them. Rajarshi Janaka was not an isolated example. Prince Siddhartha, afterwards the Buddha, and Emperor Asoka, are other such outstanding figures in India's history.

Of all the nations in the world today, America is the one which, in the modern context, stands forth uniquely as the one most fit for the ideal of Janaka, Siddhartha and Asoka. By the flow of her wealth America has restored shattered Europe, not once but twice. Impoverished India has been helped towards her goal of achieving minimum conditions of life for her vast millions through large-scale and repeated American aid. Many other countries, large and small, have shared in America's munificence. Not only her generosity but also her ever-progressive mind and dynamic spirit have been an asset to the whole international community.

A little over a century after achieving her independence, America accepted into her wide-open heart a wandering young Sannyasi's message. The fact that Swami Vivekananda's message on the pervasive oneness and unity of all creation was appreciated and understood at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893 showed, nearly a century ago, the character of America's evolving progressive spirit.

This very spirit, being the essence of her national Self, is bound to transcend its present limits and soar to the heights of spiritual oneness. In the works of her advanced thinkers there are already indications of her mental growth towards the summit of her evolution, a summit which will manifest the successful spiritual transformation of her life and thought. She may well be the first to respond to the call of God, to the unique task of self-transmutation into the consciousness of the Soul. If in a post-war world she has been a great helper, what role will be hers in the world of tomorrow, when God's Voice will be heard speaking through all human lips?

Every nation has its soul. The soul of a nation consists of its aspirations, aptitudes and capacities placed at the service of the Supreme. Judging by her history, America holds the brightest promise of placing at the service of the Divine her aspirations, aptitudes and capacities, as she has often, in times of need, placed them at the service of humanity.

Now that a spiritual awakening is upon the world, it is only a question of years — and certainly not centuries — before its golden glint falls on the face of every nation. The Divinity now hidden beneath the surface will shine forth, to a greater or lesser degree, upon each one.

Until now the world has seen largely the surfaces of American life, and it has formed its opinion accordingly. Not that her depths have not occasionally come to view, but such occasions have been few in relation to the vastness and variety of her population. Needless to say, there are great indications of a greater future; and as the Hour of God dawns and advances towards its fulness, the splendour of America's soul will show more and more on the surface, even for crude eyes to see.

It is not only for political and economic purposes that the divine logic of events has brought India and America close together. What is visible in these external aspects of life will be seen in an incalculable measure on deeper levels in days to come. America is perhaps not conscious that in taking a major part in the economic rehabilitation of India she has been building up the base of a divine new world. And if America is doing so much for the base, she cannot but do much more for the superstructure. Then prosperous America will be doubly prosperous, spiritual prosperity being added to her material wealth, with both nourishing and serving the highest cause of a Divine New Creation.