A nation is a unit of people’s prestige. The dignity of a nation is the dignity of its people and its disgrace, people’s disgrace. He whose heart is filled with a sense of respect for his nation escapes many evils.
Patriotism must not be inspired by hatred for another nation. It has its own value. The love built upon the foundation of hatred turns into bitterness. It renders the whole concept unrealistic. A man given to rigid belief does not see the reality of what is happening. He sees only that which is his ultimate aim.
A man takes a pledge: “I shall refrain from indulging myself in any such act as is likely to lower the prestige of my nation”. He soon realizes that the reputation of a nation is lowered if its people are dishonest. So he gives up dishonesty. He becomes a man of honest dealings. He is also conscious of the fact that the image of a nation is impaired if its people are corrupt. Hence he becomes a man of character. His personality begins to develop in the right direction on the basis of a single vow. He whose heart is filled with a sense of patriotism considers the act that tend to sap the strength of his people as the acts that destroy the strength of his nation. This sense of realization will deter him from resorting to food-adulteration. It will be impossible for him to deceive his fellow beings. He whose heart is full of patriotism wi volunteer to make any sacrifice for the sake of his nation. The self-interest of a man whose love is governed by small considerations becomes very narrow. The interests of a man whose love transcends all bounds, acquires the power of renunciation.
There is an incident that dates back to the days when emperor Shrenik Bimbisar ruled over Magadh Magadh had already earned a great name, The affluence of its capital Rajgrih attracted a large number of people from far and wide. Hundreds of foreign merchants flocked to see the capital every year. Once there came four Nepalese merchants. Each of them had four blankets.
They spread out their wares before the people of Rajgrih. The very sight of these blankets fascinated the people. They even felt inclined to buy them but as soon as they heard of the cost, they hesitated to spend such a large sum of money. They were not ordinary blankets. They were known as’ ratna kambal,’ extremely soft, smooth and full of fragrance. They remained warm during the winter and cool during the summer. They could be cleaned only in fire and each of them cost one hundred twenty-five thousand gold coins. The merchants also sought audience with the emperor. He too liked the blankets very much but he dropped the idea to buy them after he had heard the price. The merchants who had high hopes when they set out from Nepal were disillusioned. They were certain of a quick sale for their merchandise. On their arrival here, they found things quite contrary to their expectations. Not even a single blanket could be disposed of. In sheer disappointment, they decided to return to Nepal. While on their way back, they passed by the left side of the royal highway. They were highly exasperated at what they had seen in Rajgrih and talked loudly among themselves disparagingly about the capital as they walked along. Bhadra, who was sitting in the balcony of her mansion, overheard what they were talking. She was displeased at their remarks about her country. She did not want to hear any thing being said against Rajgrih. Patriotism was rooted deep in her heart. She asked her servant to send for them. At first they were reluctant to meet her but ultimately they decided to try her as well.
“I have inferred from what you were talking about,” said Bhadra, “that you are returning home with a wrong impression about Magadh. What has happened with you?”
“Nothing,” replied the merchants, “our hopes were shattered to pieces. This gave rise to our displeasure and we ventilated it as we talked.” The merchants did not hope for any thing. They thought that if the emperor and the other renowned millionaires had expressed their inability to buy their merchandise, how could a woman be expected to do so? So having explained the reasons of their disappointment briefly, they were almost ready to leave when Bhadra called herchief cashier and ordered him to buy the blankets. Though she did not need them, she felt that no merchant who came to Rajgrih should return disappointed. The merchants were astonished. They thought that the woman had not heard the price of their blankets well. So they reminded her again that each blanket would cost her one hundred twenty-five thousand gold coins. In reply Bhadra only beckoned to them to sit for a while. After some time the cashier returned with two million gold coins. “Do not give a wrong impression about Rajgrih to any one” said Bhadra as she purchased all the blankets. The merchants felt as if they were moving about in a wonder-land. Now they realised that they had certainly made a mistake. If only a woman was so bold and enterprising, there was no doubt that the men of that city were far superior. Now they so enamoured of Rajgrih that they talked of its glory wherever they went.
1. Explain the vows you think are conducive to the enhancement of national prestige.
2. Why is the renunciation of self-interest necessary for patriotism?
3. How did Bhadra save the prestige of her nation?