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Manners – Hidden Power

Manners – Hidden Power


Our topic here is neither manners nor power. Our real topic is society. Sri Aurobindo says that the perfection of an individual can save the world. In His own experience, He did it, saving humanity from another lease of imperialism of 500 years. He said it about Japan. He saw in the subtle plane those forces organised as dark figures invulnerable in their own plane. Emerging into the gross physical plane of life, they are vulnerable.Hence the two World Wars.He could win the wars, but could not prevent the Bengal famine. He was able to win Freedom in the physical plane, but could not stop Partition or the loss of life from Jinnah’s Direct Action on August 16, 1946.


Manners are the beginning, they are the thin veneer of human existence. To know how powerful even manners are will convince us the truth about the perfection of the Individual. Good manners make NGOs more powerful than collectors. There was a deputy tahsildar in Villupuram who was known to be popular because of his sweet manners. The district collector was not able to move a paper in the Secretariat for long. This deputy tahsildar heard of the obstacle and offered help. The Collector acted promptly and the issue was resolved. In our own company we have an officer, who can call the Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax on the phone and have a knotty problem settled. We, none of us, can go to that officer and have a talk on that issue. A barmaid’s manners gained her power over the emperor Peter the Great.


It is true there is a reservoir of power in the society. It is equally true that it can fully be used by a lone unknown individual. What is needed is the instrument that makes it possible, as a siphon on the banks of a lake. It is a subtle sense that leads the individual to discover the intermediate instrument. The managing Agents of industrial producers are sometimes known to earn as much as the mill owners. Public speaking, music, and acting often act as such instruments. Dilip Kumar Roy’s father was a famous stage actor. He became the friend of Nehru, a no mean achievement. M.S. Subbulakshmi’s music secured her ten days of Nehru’s hospitality, something of equal value to the Bharatratna she received.


The market is a vast deep, rich repository of social power that is Money. Steve Jobs had access to it through technology, though he was not interested in profit as his first goal. Lincoln’s rise to the White House was not by any endowment of his that was social, but his attitude to life – an attitude of self-giving. An acute comprehension of the complex military realities raised Napoleon at the age of 29 to the Generalship. Fluent speaking in Parliament catches the ear of the Prime Minister and one ends up in the Cabinet. Singing can instantaneously make a man popular and award him great attention of people to whom no one has any access. C. Subramaniam was a born farmer. He never practiced it. All his life he was a lawyer and politician. His knowledge of agriculture was by his inheritance from the previous generation. It was as thin as Manners in a man’s life. Though it was ‘manners’, that knowledge in him was of substance, real, real in its core and essence. The entire national field of agriculture responded with live resonance to his call that India should produce her own food. It touched the farmer in his own essential existence of economic security. The field readily replied. The results immediately issued at the end of the first season. Manners in their reality of essence are magnetic


We see the entire power of a nation tends to concentrate in the hands of one politician, through a political process. It does not end there. Such a powerful individual is at the mercy of an officer or judge he had appointed earlier. Power of the whole tending to concentrate in one hand is a well known process for him to go up. In one sense it is the history of civilization. Manners give one the outer shallow power of the population. As we rise in the scale of behaviour, character, personality, Individuality, the greater and wider power of the society is available in fuller measure to the Individual of social knowledge.


A wise Man on the borders of India refused to go to the conquering general Alexander the Great. It was Alexander who went to him. Power is inside. The inner power is greater than the outer power. Manners are extensive in their influence. They can accomplish more than they appears to be constituted to achieve. But, they are only Manners, a power of the surface.  The real power of the Society lies in its substance where its character takes form. Russia may invite communism, but even communism must stop with administration. The wider life of a nation has a depth of human existence known as substance. It is dense and weighty. No economics or politics can penetrate that layer of tough power. It is a layer that was formed as the foundation of social existence when society decided to take an organised shape.


story | by Dr. Radut