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-The Mother

   India is not the earth, rivers and mountains of this land, neither is it a collective name for the inhabitants of this country .India is a living being, as much living as, say, Shiva.
   India is a goddess. If she likes, she can manifest in human form.
   Even as the individual has a psychic being which is his true self, governing more or less openly his destiny, each nation too has its psychic being which is its true self, moulding its destiny from behind the veil: it is the soul of the country, the national genius, the spirit of the people, the centre of national aspiration, the fountain-head of all that is beautiful, noble, great and generous in the life of a country .True patriots feel its presence as a tangible reality. It is this which in India has been made almost into a divine being and all who love truly their country call it "Mother India" (Bharat Mata), and it is to her that they daily address a prayer for the welfare of their country. It is she who symbo
lises and incarnates the true ideal of the country, its.cJ. true mission in the world.
    The thinking and spiritually minded elite in India even identifies her with one of the aspects of the universal Mother, as the following Hymn to Durga illustrates:

    "Mother Durga! Rider on the lion, giver of all
    strength, ...we, born from thy parts of Power, we the youth of India, are seated here in thy temple. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thy- self manifest in this land of India.
    Mother Durga! Giver of force and love and knowl- edge, terrible art thou in thy own self of might, Mother beautiful and fierce. In the battle of life, in India's battle, we are warriors commissioned by thee; Mother, give to our heart and mind a titan's energy, to our soul and intelligence a god's charac- ter and knowledge.
    Mother Durga! India, world's noblest race, lay whelmed in darkness. Mother, thou risest on the eastern horizon, the dawn comes with the glow of
 thy divine limbs scattering the darkness. Spread thy light, Mother, destroy the darkness.
   Mother Durga! We are thy children, through thy grace, by thy influence may we become fit for the great work, for the great Ideal. Mother, destroy our smallness, our selfishness, our fear.
   Mother Durga! Thou art Kali ...sword in hand, thou slayest the Asura. Goddess, do thou slay with thy pitiless cry the enemies who dwell within us, may none remain alive there, not one. May we become pure and spotless, this is our prayer, O Mother, make thyself manifest.
   Mother Durga! India lies low in selfishness and fearfulness and littleness. Make us great, make our efforts great, our hearts vast, make us true to our resolve. May we no longer desire the small, void of energy, given to laziness, stricken with fear .
   Mother Durga ! Extend wide the power of Yoga. We are thy Aryan children, develop in us again the
lost teaching, character, strength of intelligence, faith and devotion, force of austerity, power of chastity and true knowledge, bestow all that upon the world. To help mankind, appear, O Mother of the world, dispel all ills.
Mother Durga! Slay the enemy within, then root out all obstacles abroad. May the noble heroic mighty Indian race, supreme in love and unity, truth and strength, arts and letters, force and knowl- edge, ever dwell in its holy woodlands, its fertile fields, under its sky-scraping hills, along the banks of its pure-streaming rivers. This is our prayer at the feet of the Mother. Make thyself manifest.
Mother Durga! Enter our bodies in the Yogic strength. We shall become thy instruments, thy sword slaying &11 evil, thy lamp dispelling all ignor- ance. Fulfil this yearning of thy young children, O Mother. Be the master and drive thy instrument, wield thy sword and slay the evil, hold up the lamp and spread the light of knowledge. Make thyself manifest."