Tirhut and Dinapur, aud its culminating episode is a crushing victory won by the rebels over the united British and Mussulman forces, a success which was not, however, followed- up, owing to the advice of a mysterious "physician" who, speaking as a divinely inspired prophet, advises Satyananda, the leader of "the children of the Mother," to abandon further resistance, since a temporary submission to British rule is a necessity ; for Hinduism has become too speculative and unpractical, and the mission of the English in India is to teach Hindus how to reconcile theory and speculation with the facts of science. The general moral of the Ananda Math, then, is that British rule and British education are to be accepted as the only alternative to Mussulman oppression, a moral which Bankim Chandra developed also in his Dharmatattwa, an elaborate religious treatise in which he explained his views as to the changes necessary in the moral and religious condition of his follow-countrymen before they could hope to compete on equal terms with the British and Mahommedans. But though the Ananda Math is in form an apology for the loyal acceptance of British rule, it is none the less inspired by the ideal of the restoration, sooner or later, of a Hindu kingdom in India. This is especially evident in the occasional versen in the book, of which the Bande Mataram is the most famous.
As to the exact significance of this poem a considerable controversy has raged. Bande Mataram is the Sanskrit for “Hail to thee, Mother !” or more literally “I reverence thee, Mother !"”, and according to Dr. G. A. Grierson (Tlie Times, Sept. 12, 1906) it can have no other possible meaning than an invocation of one of the “mother” goddesses of Hinduism, in his opinion Kali “the goddess of death and destruction.” Sir Henry Cotter, on the other hand (ib. Sept. 13. 1906), sees in it merely an invocation of the “mother-land” Bengal, and quotes in support of this view the free translation of the poem by, the late W. H. Lee, a proof which, it may be at once said, is far from convincing. But though, as Dr. Grierson points out, the idea of a “mother-land” is wholly alien to Hindu ideas, it is quite possible that Bankim Chandra may have assimilated it with his European culture, and the true explanation is probably that given by Mr. J. D. Anderson in The Times of September 24, 1906. He points out that in the
11th ehapter of the 1st book of the Ananda Math the Sannyasi rebels are represented as having erected, in addition to the image of Kali, “the mother who Has Been,” a white marble statue of “the Mother that Shall Be,” which “is apparently a representation of the mother-land. The Bande Mataram hymn is apparently addressed to both idols.”