A lot of controversies surround the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, composed by Rabindranath Tagore in the year 1911. Some question the word ‘Sind’, as Sindh falls in Pakistan since the independence of India and Pakistan. While some ask the identity of the ‘Adhinayaka’ and the ‘Bharata-bhagya-vidhata’, and point out that it is none but King George the fifth who is referred to with the aforesaid words by the poet.
All opinions and controversies apart, I too have a question; who is this Adhinayaka and Bharata-bhagya-vidhata?
The first as well as the agreed-upon answer anyone would give is that it is God. Okay, so my question is who is the Mother of the Adhinayaka and the Bharata-bhagya-vidhata who holds India in the 4th stanza of the ‘The Morning Song of India’, the translation of Jana Gana Mana by none other than Rabindranath Tagore himself?
“When the long dreary night was dense with gloom
and the country lay still in a stupor,
thy Mother’s arms held her”
If I go by the God-hypothesis, then what kind of a God is this God? Does a God have a mother? Rabindranath Tagore, was born in India, and was well-versed in the Indian philosophical and spiritual traditions where God is considered unborn, an uncaused cause. Following are the words of Tagore, which give an idea of what kind of a God did he believe in:
“But whatever may be the name and nature of his religious creed, man’s ideal of human perfection has been based upon a bond of unity running through individuals culminating in a supreme Being who represents the eternal in human personality.” Page 145, The Religion of Man, Rabindranath Tagore, 1949 (lectures of 1930).
He thinks that irrespective of the name and nature of one’s religious creed, God is a supreme Being who represents the ‘eternal’ in human personality. Note that anything eternal is unborn because all that is born is bound in time-space mesh and is bound to die as well. On this he says in page 42 of the same book:
“What is purely physical has its limits like the shell of an egg; the liberation is there in the atmosphere of the infinite, which is indefinable, invisible. Religion can have no meaning in the enclosure of mere physical or material interest; it is in the surplus we carry around our personality, the surplus which is like the atmosphere of the earth, bringing to her a constant circulation of light and life and delightfulness.”
He has made it clear that which is kind of obvious. A well-educated and sophisticated person would be the last one to believe in a God who is born, from another being, a God who is physical, a God falling within the limits of time and space.
Now out of the two hypotheses about the identity of the ‘Adhinayaka’ and ‘Bharata-bhagya-vidhata, the God hypothesis can be withdrawn. Now it doesn’t necessarily mean that the second hypothesis is correct. So I leave it open-ended.
In the meantime take a look at Rabindranath Tagore’s own handwritten english translation of Jana Gana Mana titled ‘The Morning Song of India’.