The Soul of India

Item Code: NAD380
Author: Bipin Chandra Pal
Publisher: Rupa.Co
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 9788129116284
Pages: 246
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.0 inch X 5.0 inch
Weight 190 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
About The Book

Bipin Chandra Pas was a major figure in the Indian Nationalist Movement, a leader of the extremist wing of the congress party who advocated a more militant against British Imperialism cause. The soul of India, Published in 1911, was a part of this attempt. Pal reached into the past to create a comprehensive and constructive ideology which would be the basis for what he described as ‘ the new patriotism’, the newly- awakened India. For Pal, the soul of India was Sri Krishna- not as a sectarian ideal, but the means through which the past of India manifested itself in the present, and would animate its future too. Through a comparison of Indian and Western thought, a consideration of Indian history, and the condition of the country in his day, Pal crafted a unique synthesis which transcends the time in which it was written, and presents the ideals and principles of Indian civilization in its most reaslised sense.

About The Author

Bipin Chandra Pal (1858-1932) was in the forefront of public life in India for more than fifty years. A member of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, he worked with or started several journals- Paridarsak, Bengal Public opinion, Tribune, New India, Bande Matram and Hindu Review. He forced the 1857 session of the congress to set up an elected subjects committee to draft resolutions, and championed the cause of ill treated Assam tea workers. He toured England, Europe and the US, speaking on religion, temperance and Indian politics, plunged into the nationalist movement upon return in 1900 and was jailed in 1907. After some years of a self-imposed exile following this, he returned to India in 1912. He faded into the background after the rise of Gandi but continued to advocate a federal union of India and on India’s role in Asia until his death. Among his many books are Memories of My Life and Times, The New Spirit , Brahmo Samaj and the Battle of Swaraj, Swadeshi and Swaraj, Character Sketches and the Economic Menace to India. After his death, Sri Aurobindo eulogized Pal as one of the mightiest prophets of nationalism and one of its greatest orators.


'The Soul of India' is in the form of four letters written to a young English friend by Bipin Chandra Pal (1858-1932), one of the foremost leaders of the nationalist movement in India in the last two decades of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth century. These letters reveal his standpoint which was intensely nationalistic in spirit, betraying the deepest concern about many issues - religious, economic social, educational and political, and while discussing these; his profound veneration for the spiritual, moral and intellectual achievements of Indian civilisation is revealed. During the initial stages of the Independence movement in India, Bipin Chandra Pal's views and ideas were of considerable utility in arousing the people of India from the slumber of centuries.Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) rightly called him the mightiest prophet of nationalism, but this prophet, unfortunately, is almost a forgotten figure today.

It is heartening to note that Mr Mehra of Rupa and Co. has planned the reintroduction of the writings of Bipin Chandra Pal to the- present day readership which, I am sure will facilitate political scientists, modern historians and social thinkers to understand how in the existing conditions in India we could be benefitted by some of the seminal political ,social and educational thoughts of Pal presented by him with such precision and force. Pal, along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak(1856-1920) and Lala lajpat Rai (1865-1928), started the first popular upsurge, (much before Mahatma Gandhi entered the fray of Indian politics), against British colonial policy in the 1905 partition of Bengal which came to be known as the Swadeshi Movement. He was among the first to vigorously articulate the new philosophy of organised resistanc toBritish rule and through his English daily 'Bande Mataram founded in 1906, he induced the idea of free India in the minds of all his countrymen under British rule.

He managed to bring Sri Aurobindo Ghosh to assist him in writing editorials for 'Bande Mataram'. Sri Aurobind by his forceful editorials from behind the scene, and Pal by his powerful oratory, created a special position in the history of India's freedom movement. 'Bande Mataram' was the first public organ to declare passive resistance against foreign control and also to endorse 'Swaraj' i.e. complete independence. In his article on 'The Bedrock of Indian Nationalism', Pal wrote thus in 1908: The strength of the new movement in India lies in its supreme idealism. It is not a mere economic movement though it openly strives for the economic resurrection of the country. It is not a mere political movement though it has boldly declared itself for absolute political independence. It is an intensely spiritual movement having for its object not simply the development of economic life or the attainment of political freedom but really the emancipation in every sense of the term, of the Indian manhood and womanhood.

Bipin Chandra Pal 10 the 'Apologia' of the book, 'The Soul of India' presented Shri Krishna as the soul of India, who as the Principal and Personality in and through whom as in the past so also in the present and even in the future, the great Indian synthesis was, is being, and will be worked . Thus, by using these great religious figures not in the ordinary or literary sense but in a figurative way, Pal lent a new momentum and driving force to the awakened feeling of patriotism. The intermingling of religious passion with political idealism was possible because for Pal, dharma works for synthesis and is the soul of order and speaks of a federation of many cults and cultures. Hindu society is also, Pal explains, for the same reason, not a homogenous unit but rather a highly developed organic whole which seeks to realise its essential unity not by denying but openly accepting and harmonising in the totality of its life, the endless diversities of its component organisms. Like the Hindu religion, Pal further explains, Hindu society is also not a single unit but a federation of many units. The freedom and integrity of the parts inside the unity of the whole, is the very soul and essence of the federal idea. Pal always strove for this unity in diversity and used it as the ideology behind our struggle for freedom. It is to be borne in mind that a mere association of religious sentiment with a political movement does not necessarily suggest a conservative or reactionary trend just as the conduct of a political movement on a purely non- religious basis does not always imply a progressive and radical tendency. The introduction of religious idealism into the freedom movement by Pal was a part of a political strategy designed to intensify and popularise the movement by explaining the ingenuousness of the federalism of dharma He, thus, sharpened and popularised the movement by linking it with the historic traditions of the soil. Pal maintained that 'a mere political revolt might be easily crushed by superior physical force of diplomatic cunning. But an essentially spiritual movement ... cannot be killed without killing the entire people among whom it takes its birth.'

.In the first letter of his book 'The Soul if India' while describing the fundamental considerations for his writing these letters to his young English friend, he said that the general perception about India in the West was that it had aglorious past but that it did not have a present. The British rulers' primary objective was to make us 'civilised' and make our present worth living. This, according to Pal, was a totally erroneous perception and these four letters were written to rectify this false idea and give a true picture 'about the inner spirit of our complex life and culture'. Pal feels sorry that most of the English works on India could not seize the true course of historic evolution in India. These works are misleading but they don't show any dishonesty. The misunderstanding has arisen because of the fundamental difference between the mental temperament and spiritual character of Europeans and Indians though both are two great divisions of the same Indo-Aryan race. As members of the same race, there are also many fundamental affinities between them and thus both unity and difference were traced by Pal with deep insight and clarity of expression. These letters are Pal's interpretation of India, its people, its dharma, ethos, culture and philosophy of life. His comparative approach distinctlybrings out the difference of approach between Indian and European minds. An example given by Pal in the book under the Caption 'Law vs Right:

The word of Indian Evolution is Dharma; the word of European is Right. And these two words seem to my mind, to completely sum up the fundamental difference between India and Europe. Dharma is the law of renunciation, Right is the law of resistance, Dharma demands self-abnegation, Right self-assertion. Dharma develops collectivism: Right individualism. Dharma works for synthesis, Right lives and grows in antithesis. Dharma is the soul of order: Right the parent of revolution. To understand India we must seize the conception of Dharma. To understand Europe we must seize the principle of Right. How then, can the generalisations of European experience, gathered under the Law of Right, help one to interpret the character and culture of India trained in the ideal of Dharma?

In accordance with the Indian National Congress Resolution taken at the Calcutta session in 1906, Bipin Chandra Pal set out on a long tour of India which culminated in the city of Madras, where he gave five lectures with emotion and subtle logic, in 1907, to expound the philosophy, goal, programme and strategy of the national movement in considerable detail. Srinivasa Sastri recorded his impression of those lectures, 'Oratory had never dreamed of such triumphs in India, the power of the spoken word had never been demonstrated on such a scale'. The Rowlett Committee blamed his Madras speeches for the political upheaval in the South during the years that followed which resulted in various trials in 1908 but Pal could not be punished for sedition. It was found that simply expressing the will of an enslaved people to be free cannot be termed as seditious But, on Lord Minto's recommendation, he was deported to England during period 1908-1911.

During his three year sojourn in England he developed a new political thought which he called the empire-idea, and he became an advocate of a new type of internationalism-a Cooperative Partnership with Great Britain based on perfect equality of status for all. In this partnership, he emphasized India would have to be given 'the freest scope for self fulfillment'. This would be possible when Britain and Europe understood India. In the second letter, his effort was to undertake the work of interpreting India to the modern world. But he was very candid in admitting the fact that being the product of a hybrid education, Indians had become the victim of a kind of intellectual and spiritual atavism and that he was also no exception to this. So, instead of interpreting he tried to study and understand India. In the second letter Pal penned his impression about India, the meaning of its geographical name Bharatvarsha, the character of Indian Unity, the method of Aryan expansion in India, the method of race-fusion, the Hindu social economy, the concept of Asramas and the nation-idea in ancient India. While discussing the character of Indian Unity, Bipin Chandra Pal evinced a deep understanding of India's socio-political and cultural configuration. He explained:

The name Bharatavarsha is derived from Bharata who is described in the Vedas as 'Raja-Chakravarti' i.e. a great emperor actually meant to be a king: 'established at the centre of a circle of kings.' He was not an administrative head of any large and centralised government, but only the recognised and respected centre and symbol of a confederation of kings of different kingdoms and principalities. And, this being so, it was not possible to hold that the unity indicated by the name 'Bharatavarsha' was, in any way, either a political or administrative unity. Neither was it a religious or sacerdotal unity. In the presence of many races and cultures in India even in those early days, convincing evidence of which is supplied by all our old books, it is equally impossible that this unity should have been a mere racial unity. The unity of India was, thus, neither racial, nor religious, nor political nor administrative. It was a peculiar type of unity, which may perhaps be best described as cultural, which gave India a deep, though complex kind of organic unity at the back of all the apparent diversities and multiplicities of our land people. The old unity of India and the ancient national life and consciousness of her multitudinous peoples, were further considerably deepened and enlarged under Muslim rule.

It is interesting to note that after returning from England he tried to popularise the empire-idea, (though, without much success) and also to make the people conscious of the great dangers which political pan-Islamism presented to the future of India. The empire-idea alone, he thought could provide an effective remedy for this evil. How prophetic no doubt, he was but his panacea to remove one ill by another ill was not accepted by the majority of the India leaders during that time. He visited England for the third time as a member of a Congress and Home Rule League deputation led by Tilak. The economic exploitation of India by Britain and her self- governing colonies now appeared to him as the greatest menace which his country would have to face in the coming years.

The third letter of the book started with a pertinent question, whether cultural unity is the same as national unity because as time passed, we all realised the importance of national unity about which Pal had spoken during his life time. The fundamental difference, according to Pal' between European nationalism and Indian nationalism lie on the excessive emphasis of the one on territorial and of the other on cultural unity. This cultural unity in India was responsible in the development of a federal type of nationality ages ago. This, Pal said, is really the advanced type of social organisation towards which humanity is slowly moving. In fact, India furnishes a model of that Universal Federation, the Federation of the World, which is the dream of the seers and prophets of even modern Western humanity.

Though Pal stood against the orthodox Hindu set-up and raised his voice against the evils and ill practices of .Hinduism, he profusely used the names of Hindu Gods and Goddesses to create a religio-cultural nationalism to fight the colonial ruler. This was critically termed by many as Pal's religious frenzy. Let us not forget that in the initial stage of the nationalist movement, the name of Durga and Kali were used to show one's veneration to the Mother, who was no other than the Motherland herself This was a new conception of patriotism of which Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was the seer and prophet, and Sri Aurobindo, the high priest. But in the hands of Pal this concept of patriotism turned into an all embracing national concept. In his weekly, the 'New India', Pal maintained that New India could, 'no more ignore the ancient spiritual treasures of the Hindus, than the higher elements of Mohammedan culture'. This standpoint was intensely nationalistic in spirit, breathing the deepest veneration for the spiritual, moral and intellectual achievements ofIndian Civilisation. Nationalism, for Pal, was a 'divinely appointed power of the eternal, and must do its God-given work before it returns to the universal energy from whence it came.' The introduction of religion into politics did not detract the progressive and political character of the movement as one could easily notice Pal's firm belief in the equality of men and women, his encouragement of widow marriage and women's education, his fight against castism and untouchability and his interest in educational reforms. By lending his powerful support to the Age of Consent Bill (1891), he completely alienated the social conservatives and even ran the risk of assassination.

In fact, in the last third and the fourth letters to his young English friend, Pal was more keen to explain the affinities between Hinduism and Christianity, their philosophy and ways of thinking and hence the subject matter of these letters are religious and philosophical in nature. In his later life -he was greatly influenced by the Vedantic philosophyof Shankaracharya, and finally, under the influence of Bijay Krishna Goswami, he was drawn to the Vaishnava philosophy of Sri Chaitanya. His universalism was enriched by hisown experiences of higher Vaishnavic realisations as he hasmentioned in 'The Soul of India': 'In Vaishnavism the innatesense of the Spiritual and the Universal of the Indo-Aryan Race-Consciousness seems to have found its loftiest anddeepest expression'.

This book reveals the mind of one of the greatest andardent patriots of the first part of nineteenth century Indiawho had a 'never say die' attitude and lived by his principlesand was a man of indomitable courage and conviction.


Letter I
Fundamental Considerations
Personal and Prefatory1
English Works on India3
Interpretation of India by Orientalists4
Missionary Presentations5
Works by Anglo-Indian Officials7
Misleading not Dishonest8
An Interpretation of the Eucharist9
European Interpretation of our 'Nakedness'10
As the Blind Saw the Elephant12
As the Fishes Knew the Sea13
The Recorder and the Interpreter14
Another Hindu Story15
Differece Between the European and the Indian16
The Greek and the Hindu17
The Pursuit of the Universal20
The Peculiarity of the Greek Mind21
The European Temperament22
The Peculiarity of the Hindu Mind22
The Indian Temperament23
The Different Standards of Values24
The Spoilt Child of Modern Humanity26
Sister Nivedita28
An Old Hindu Canon of Art30
True Nirvana-What It Means31
Baba Arjoondas32
Another Holy Man35
An Actual Superman37
Pandit Bijay Krishna Goswami38
The True Indian Prototype42
Characteristics of the Indian Ideal45
Dharma-The Basis of Our Civilisation46
Letter II
The Name and The Thing
Personal and Prefatory50
The True Interpreter50
The Reformer and The Reactionary52
India as Seen by the Stranger57
India-A Mere Geographical Expression58
The Popular Anglo-Indian View61
India as Known to Her Own Children62
Meaning of Geographical Names63
The Meaning of Bharatavarsha64
The Character of Indian Unity66
Aryan Expansion in India70
The Nature of the Old Aryan Propaganda73
Varnasrama-Dharma or .the Caste-and-Order law75
The Ashrarna-Law82
Aryan Methods of Unification84
Hindu India87
Mahomedan India89
Letter III
India: The Mother
Cultural Unity and National Unity94
The Old Indian Type-Federal100
Characteristics of Western Patriotism101
The Hindu Ideal of Patriotism103
Mother and Motherland104
The Nature Gods of the Hindus105
Hindu Theory of Ultimate Reality108
Christian Trinity and Hindu Purusha-Prakriti110
Christ and Prakriti112
Prakriti as Maya, Radha and Shakti114
The Problem of Personality116
Prakriti and Logos117
The Being Behind Nationality118
The Primal Form of The Mother119
Shakti as Jagaddhatri120
Shakti as Kalee122
Shakti as Durga123
The Natibnalist Interpretation of Durga127
The History of the Durga Cult130
The New Patriotism132
Letter IV
Religious India
Budhism and Hinduism140
Hinduism-Not a Creed but a Culture142
Hindu Pantheism144
What is the "Thou"145
The Witness in Us147
The Key to The Hindu Religion149
The Scientific Character of Hinduism149
The Bhrigu-Varuna Episode150
Hinduism-A Culture. not a Creed156
The Universal Reference of the Bhrigu- Varuna Episode157
Physical Purity: Cleanliness161
Instructive and "Constructive"164
The Ethics of Psycho-Physics167
Moral Education173
The Education of the Will176
Mastery Over Nature180
Idolatry or Idea-latry186
Gods and Goddesses as Superior Spiritual Beings192
The Krishna-Cult197
The "Form" of Krishna203
Personality of the Absolute209
The Three Gunas211
Man Becomes Divine214
Two Aspects of Leela216
The Nine Rasas221
Vaishnavic Contribution to Hindu /Esthetics223
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories