Kiran Bedi: Why do we call our country Mataram, not Patram? Why is it “motherland,” not “fatherland,” or both?
Sadhguru: Because though essentially a nation is the people, the boundaries and the definition of a nation come from a land. We have always seen land or earth as a mother, because if we sow a seed, life grows. Almost everywhere in the world, except in certain very martial cultures, a nation has always been seen as a woman or a mother, because in a certain sense, a nation is defined by an aspect of geography.
Kiran Bedi: Is that the only reason? When did it begin?
Sadhguru: I would say it began with this nation because this is the oldest nation on the planet. It defies today’s concept of a nation. Modern nations are made based on language, religion, race, ethnicity, maybe ideology – essentially, it is the sameness of people that makes a nation. But in this nation, which we have known as Bharatvarsh for thousands of years – we have never defined ourselves by sameness. If you drive 50 kilometres, people look different, wear different clothes, eat differently, speak different languages – everything is different.
We are different people, but we are fine together. That is the nature of this country. That is what has to be encouraged.
When the Europeans came here, they did not understand how this could be one nation if there is nothing binding it. But for over thousands of years, within this subcontinent and also in the remaining part of the known world of those days, people referred to this as one nation, though at some points, we were over 200 political entities. What is it that makes this nation? This is something that the leadership and the people of this country must really look at. It is not language. It is not religion. It is not race. Nationhood predates all religion. When there was no religion, this nation was. We called the land between Himalayas and the Indu Sarovar (Indian Ocean) Hindustan only as a geographical description – not to represent a particular religion.
This is not a religious identity – this is a geographical and cultural identity. What kept us together longer than any other nation on the planet is that essentially, we have always been a land of seekers – seekers of truth and liberation. In this seeking, we found oneness. When we look for sameness, we try to become a land of believers. This seeking is not something that we invented. It is the nature of human intelligence to want to know, realize, and liberate itself.
This nation was based on this foundation that we are seekers. As a seeker, you are not aligned to a particular thing on the outside but to the life process within you, and that never goes wrong. No matter how badly you contaminate human beings with belief systems and brainwash them, once their survival is taken care of, they always want to know the nature of their existence and of everything around them. Whether you call it science, spiritual process, inquiry, or quest, essentially, human intelligence wants to transcend its present limitations, wants to liberate itself from the fetters in which we exist right now. We built our nation on this longing, this seeking. Our nationhood cannot be destroyed as long as we keep this seeking alive. If we do not try to transform ourselves towards sameness, we will always be one.
[The above is an extract from Bha-ra-ta, an e-book produced by the Isha Foundation compiled from various talks and discourses by Sadhguru on the subject. It is available for free download this Republic Day.]