Moving Towards South Asian Confederation

Sri Aurobindo's Ideograph

The importance of human speech and ceremonies

There are many of us who are inclined to speak with contempt of speeches and shows... A juster knowledge of human psychology has led us to modify our view...

Man is not by nature a silent animal nor in the mass is he capable of work without frequent interchange of speech. Talk is necessary to him, emotion is necessary to him, imagination is necessary to him; without these he cannot be induced to action. This constitutes the supreme importance of the right of free speech and free meeting; this also constitutes the justification of symbolical holidays and festivals. Speech and writing are necessary to the acceptance and spread of the idea without which there can be no incentive to action. Ceremonies help the imagination and encourage it to see in the concrete that which cannot be immediately realised. It was out of the gurge and welter of an infinite oratory, thousand-throated journalism, endless ceremonies, processions, national festivals that the appallingly strenuous action of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic age in France arose to reconstitute society and transform Europe.... Even in these few years the Ganapati and Sivaji festivals, instituted by the far-seeing human sympathy and democratic instinct of Mr. Tilak , have done much to reawaken and solidify the national feeling of Maharashtra....

Sri Aurobindo, Karmayogin 14.8.1909

Date of Update: 22-Dec-21