Spirituality and patriotism

National feeling, international feeling and universal feeling. National feeling is good. National feeling helps us in our journey. If we did not have national feeling, we would remain fast asleep in our limited egos. Then comes international feeling. International feeling shows us that we belong to one community on this globe. Last comes universal feeling. This world is not God's entire creation. He has other worlds as well, and our world and those other worlds are all one. This is universal feeling. From national feeling we go to international feeling, and from international feeling to universal feeling — not the other way around. We are all spiritual people, which means we have a universal feeling. And if we have a universal feeling, this means that we also have love for our country.

After accepting the spiritual life, some people feel that if they sincerely love their country in the purest sense of the term, they will be ridiculed or called fanatics. But don't believe this. Patriotism is the supreme love and concern for a particular place, a particular soul and a particular body-consciousness of the world. To love one's country is of paramount importance. There are millions of souls and there are hundreds and hundreds of countries and nations on earth. How is it that your soul selected one country and not another? It is your bounden duty to do something for the country that your soul has selected.

From the spiritual point of view, patriotism is love of one's own country, love of one's source. Your parents are your source; in the same way, your country is also your source. As a soul, you were staying in the soul's region. Then you wanted to take human incarnation and you needed a country. The place that invoked your soul, the place that out of love, out of joy, out of kindness and concern agreed to accept you as its very own, that place deserves your heart's and soul's adoration while you are in the body. Patriotism is self-enlargement, self-expansion and, at the same time, self-giving to the source. This self-enlargement takes place in the divine way; it is not enlargement of ego. The self-giving and self-offering of patriotism come from the feeling that other countries can derive some light from your own country's awakening. Patriotism is self-giving and self-expansion based on your conscious oneness with all consciousness, your inseparable oneness with all. That is the meaning of patriotism in the spiritual sense.

Patriotism is undivine only if there is no real sincere feeling behind patriotism, if in the name of patriotism you just go and condemn or strike other nations and try to lord it over them. It is fanatic patriotism if you say that you and your country are by far the best, that there is no nation which is pure, divine and spiritual except yours. If you feel that only you and your nation exist, that others are all bad, undivine and impure, that only your country represents truth and God and that the rest of the countries are all bad — if you have that kind of patriotic feeling, then it is really undivine.

From patriotism, from the feeling of nationalism, we go to internationalism. To a child, his mother is his whole world. He discovers his whole world in his mother and father. For a few years his parents are his main concern and then his high school, his college and the town or city where he lives. Then he feels that the nation is his whole world. All the time his vision is increasing. When he widens his vision, he sees that the whole world belongs to him. Then he hears the word "spiritual," and he feels not only the necessity of progress inside his own house but also the necessity of world progress.

In this way, starting with nationalism, one eventually progresses to an international feeling. But if I don't love my nation, I am not going to love other nations. One can and must go from the one to the many. In our case, to love other nations is, let us say, obligatory because we have already started with an international feeling. We feel that it is our bounden duty to offer our service to the entire world. The length and breadth of the world is ours because we have realised that we have a Source which is all-pervading, which is all-where, and because we would like to be an emanation of this Source. To be all-where is to have an international feeling and, after that, the universal feeling of inseparable oneness. This is not only practicable, but in the course of time, inevitable.

Spiritual seekers are those who go to the highest and then, if they really care for their friends, neighbours, relatives and dear ones on earth, they come down and distribute the truth they got at the top of the tree. You know how to climb up the tree of spirituality and you find some delicious fruits at the top. But you see that there are others, your dear ones, who do not know how or who do not want to climb up the spiritual tree. So you bring down the fruits and share the fruits with them. If you share these fruits with them, then your spirituality and their patriotic feeling will go together. In this way spiritual seekers of the highest order offer light to those who love their country.

So you cannot separate your country from your spiritual life. As you have accepted the spiritual life, even so you have to accept your country. You have to accept it as your very own. In each country there are some nice people and some bad people, some divine people and some undivine people. For now, we will mix only with the divine people. We are seeking, but we ourselves are not strong enough spiritually. If we mix with those who are receptive to our light, then they will receive our light and become strong and our army will be enlarged with more members. Then we can approach the undivine ones, not with the hope of destroying them — far from it — but with the hope and determination to illumine them. But first we have to get the message from within. The Supreme will tell us when the hour has struck for us to try to illumine our brothers and sisters. When we get the inner command, we have to go and be of service with understanding, vision and illumination. But until the hour strikes, we have to remain with those who are receptive. We can't go now to everyone, so we shall gather only with people who are receptive.