One has to engage oneself in a great deal of Sadhana (regular practice) to acquire individual character. It cannot be merely acquired by reading books. It cannot be imparted by the teachers or bought in the marketplace. Individual character can be cultivated by: Nitya Sadhana (daily practice), good company and good actions. In the present times, individual character is declining day by day in all spheres of society like the scientific field, legal profession, politics, etc. In today’s society, people endowed with muscle-power, scholarly attainments, privileged circumstances and communication-skills are accorded premium status and those who have individual character are underestimated and discounted. In the bygone times, people with individual character were regarded as Adarsha Vyakti (ideal persons). Only such people were called Gurus (mentors) and the lives of such great people were brought into prominence and disseminated to the entire world. These persons safeguarded the greatness and sacredness of the country. Such a character should be cultivated in a steadfast manner observing one’s own self every moment.
However, it must be noted that we would not be able to accomplish everything in life by merely having Vyakti Sheel (individual character). Individual character may be adequate to fulfil one’s own needs, but may not be adequate to shore up national aspirations. One may be able to sanctify and satisfy oneself at the individual level, but in order to be socially responsive and contribute to the progress of the society, it is imperative to have Jaati Sheel (national character) along with individual character.
|Sri Sathya Sai Definition of an Ideal Leader|
National character means Desha Bhakti (patriotism – love for one’s own nation). Individual character can be likened to the love for one’s mother. But national character encompasses the love for one’s motherland. In the great Indian epic Ramayana, Lord Rama said, ‘Janani Janmabhoomishcha Swargaadapi Gareeyasi’ (Mother and motherland are greater than heaver).
|Lord Rama - The Ideal Leader|
Individual character and national character are like positive and negative terminals, which when joined together generate power that helps a person to perform a variety of activities. There may be a number of persons in a nation who have national character. But national character cannot prevail in the absence of individual character. At the same time, without national character, individual character alone would be inadequate to ensure the advancement of the country. The principle duty of citizens is to ensure that their country progresses. The citizens should aspire and work for the progress of their country. Today, even though national character is developing in many dimensions, it is not long lasting. In India, during the freedom struggle, many great people sacrificed their lives to liberate India from alien rule. National character was the basis for this freedom struggle. However, of late, this sentiment has been gradually declining.
Centuries of foreign rule in India resulted in diverse value systems in this country. How did foreign rule establish itself so firmly in our country for such a long period of time? What was the reason for this pitiable situation? It was not as if values were absent in India at that time or there was shortage of talented, courageous and virtuous people. It was because people lacked national character that the invaders were could accomplish their mission quickly and with ease. That is why, it is important to have national character along with individual character. Patience is also very important.
|Nobel Men and Women of Bharat who were Ideal Leaders|
In India, many great people such as Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Bipin Chandra Pal, Nehru and many others participated in the freedom movement. Besides these, prominent leaders who led the freedom struggle, there were many more that played a key role at various levels in a quiet manner. They may not have come to limelight and may not be remembered by posterity, but they left their indelible foot prints on the canvas of Indian history and consciousness. However, at the top of their mind, people have the names of only those people who possessed both national as well as individual character. Those who lacked either national character or individual character are neither remembered nor respected.
All these leaders of various hues cannot be ignored, for they could be great ones in their own sphere of societal life. But to become an ideal person with respect and love for God, one should have individual character and true devotion in one’s heart. The well-being of the country also should be at the top of one’s mind. Body is a temple and God is the indweller of this temple. If one does not recognise the value of this body, one will not be successful and will not be of any use to the world, even though one may possess individual character. Every person who takes birth in this country ought to have compassion, patience and must hold on to the path of truth. Pleasures and uncertainties accompany human beings all the time, but people should regard both of them with equal mind and face them boldly.