A Forgotten Monk

Recalling Vidyasagar's Philosophy

Harasankar Adhikary

Om Isavasyamidam sarcasm yalkinca jogatyam jagal;
Tena tyaktena bhunjilha ma grdhay kasya sviddhanam (Isha Upanisad-1)

In 'The Religion of Man', Rabindranath Tagore translated above:

"Thou most know whatever moves in this moving world are enveloped by God. And therefore find thy enjoyment in renunciation, never coveting what belongs to others. In this we are enjoined to realize that all facts that move and change have their significance in their relation to one everlasting truth. For then we can be rid of the greed of acquisition, gladly dedicating everything we have to that Supreme Truth. The change in our mind is immense in its generosity of expression when an utter sense of vanity and vacancy is relived at the consciousness of a pervading unity".

And it was the philosophy of Pandit lswar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great social and education reformer, academic and philanthropist of 19th century. After two centuries, his philosophy of life is absolutely relevant very much in this age of conflict and selfishness.

Honesty, sacrifices, and service to distress and suffering was the philosophy of Vidyasagar and he had reached to this philosophy through truth, kindness and empathy to his fellowmen.

In his 'Vidyasagarcharit' (1909), R N Tagore wrote that Vidyasagar was a real man of the great men and he was more than everything of a man regardless of all so-called identities. His contribution for Bengali language might be a milestone in the history of Bengali literature. His intellect was beyond of his education and knowledge. He was rarely a modem man in arts, science and philosophy. He was an Indian in his daily sphere and a European in his style. But he never imitated to the foreigners. He had his own persona of his bravery, honesty, boldness, welfare of others, iron determined and self-dependence. His simplicity and sacrifices were the prime qualities of his character. Tagore also explained that his growing up pattern was deeply influenced by his parents and family. Especially his mother, Bhagwati Devi directed his life differently for the cause of suffering people of his nation.

His excellence was exceptionally extended for poor hungry and illiterate as well as ill-health people of the nation. His whole life was devoted for expansion of education and services of hungry and ill-health and ill-literate. He was very much empathised about the suffering of women in the society. He struggled against male domination and gender discrimination in the male dominated patriarchal society. He successfully transformed the orthodox society through women's education and socio-legal reformation of widow remarriage and prohibition of child marriage and so forth.

This iron determined personality was devoted himself for the society. His social responsibilities towards the development and progress of the society are till exception in every prosperous nation.

Unfortunately, in this changing scenario of society his idealness is left far behind. Nowadays, educated people have forgotten their responsibilities towards their society. They are busy for their name, fame and wealth making. Selfishness, greed, and fulfilment of self-interest have been the principal detrimental factor of their status. Their involvement in rampant corruption is the result of their selfishness.

In this year (2019) the 200lh Birth Anniversary of Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar would be observed with various programme. But will it be only a so-called celebration?

Back to Home Page

Vol. 52, No. 27, Jan 5 - 11, 2020