Guiding Light: Atmanirbharta – Self-reliance

Swami Brahmavidananda Saraswati

Recently the Honorable Prime Minister of India spoke about a new concept in our national politics, ‘Atmanirbharta’. It is a concept that we are not familiar with, in the modern world. Some may not even subscribe to it. Atmanirbharta is loosely translated as self-reliance. That does sound strange in a world when we are talking about interdependence and personal relationships. How can globalisation continue in terms of trade and politics? Atmanirbharta becomes a quaint concept for many.

This value is a spiritual value. Every student of spirituality whether monk or a lay person is supposed to work towards self-reliance. Though it is true that every seeker is in touch with his guru or mentor for help to solve his personal issues, the ultimate aim is to be self reliant. It is only a self reliant person that can move into an interdependent relationship, Or else it will be a pseudo interdependence and really will be nothing but one of dependence. Just because you are independent does not mean you have to walk away from a friend or a relationship. In fact only a truly independent person can build an inter- dependent mutually growing relationship. What is true of a person is also true of a nation. If nations are not fully independent going to the level of self-reliance you cannot really engage in an interdependent or global relationship with other nations. One will be swallowed up by the stronger nations. This has been proved again and again from historical times whether it was the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the later Soviet Union or Germany under Hitler. The examples can go on and on.

It is important to take care of our psychological and spiritual growth to be self reliant and independent. Who can then build a strong relationship? Only self reliant nations can healthily relate to other nations. Or else globalisation will have no meaning. In the name of inter dependence or globalisation; it will be economic dominance and economic slavery. All countries especially developing countries should watch out for this as well as spiritual students.

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