Now this is something interesting to me. Recently, I heard a quotation – which sounded cool, had a ‘resonancy’ to it, but felt as if it had something almost ‘missing’.
The aphorism ran thus:
“Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws,
And asks no omen but his country’s cause.”
I turned it over in my mind, and noted that it ran … on the surface congruent with, but in a deepa sense right up against how we run our Indo-European cosmological view on morality.
If you’ve been following my ON BHAIRAVA AND BALANCE series that’s been running this week, you’ll have spotted exactly what I mean, and what’s missing inherent in the maxim.
Anyway, I went off and googled the quote, and it turned out to be – perhaps unsurprisingly – from the Iliad of Homer.
And, sure enough, it was missing something:
The line immediately preceding this is:
“While I the dictates of high heaven obey”
And the preceding portions of the exchange, between Hector and a lesser-known figure by the name of Polydamas, are actually the meditation upon an Omen which has seemingly been heaven-sent, and which is rather strongly suggesting that the sword-conduct being implicitly referred to in the words of Hector not take place. Which, I think many would agree, turned out to be the vindicated perspective in that particular conflict.
So therefore – the plain and direct meaning of the contextless quote … is not upheld. Rather, the context it has come from not only states the opposite to be true, but in fact demonstrates exactly thus in action.
Although having said that, the correct way to ‘square the circle’ upon this one – is to note that actually, the maxim is true … from a certain point of view.
I have made the case in a previous article that the Sanskrit maxim “जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी” [“Mother & Motherland Are Superior Even To Heaven”] also is not quite meant in the straightforward sense that many would take it. But rather, speaks to the strong coterminity of Mother [direct, and therefore filial piety], Mother [divine, and therefore rather literal piety], Motherland [country, but also people – ‘nation’ we would say], MotherLand [i.e. Mother Earth … and therefore, again, literal Piety] , with all of these and the allegiance to same being Rta – rather than one’s own personal soteriological aspirations toward ‘Heaven’.
What I am getting at, then, is that the Cause of Country , at the macroscopic level, is not simply to be taken as the cause of some squabbling group of humans.
But rather, as that of the DevaRajya – the Empire of Eternity.
And that is quote a different, far greater and grander and more nobly righteous , ‘expansive’ [in a multi-lingual resonant sense around ‘Irmin’, ‘Arya’, “Shri’, etc.] Nation indeed.
What was missing in that Iliad quote, was the recognition that there is a superior and higher law to even ordinary patriotism. Divine Law.
What I have sought to reaffirm with the re-contextualization of this quote, and my own interpolation both upon and around it, is that the Country’s Cause should be that of the Divine.
“Mother and Motherland”, therefore, is Shakta Theology and Patriotism [‘Matriotism’ ? ] all the way up and down. And not least because of the excellent point so well made by both the sage Sayana and myself, that Devi at that level is Rta Herself.
AdiParaShakti is the ‘Without Cause’ that is Country’s Cause, for Whom the brave man’s sword he draws