Three Questions to Gandhiji

gandhi rattai

Compiled by london swaminathan
Post No. 856 Date 21st February 2014

Dr S Radhakrishnan, Philosopher and Ex President of India, sent three questions to a group of people in the 1930s. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) sent the following reply:

M.K. Gandhi
I have been asked by Sri S .Radhakrishnan to answer the following three questions:

(1) What is your religion?

(2) How are you led to it?

(3) What is its bearing on social life?

1.My religion is Hinduism which, for me, is Religion of humanity and includes the best of all the religions known to me.

2.I take it that the present tense in the second question is purposely used instead of the past. I am being led to my religion through Truth and Non Violence i.e. love in the broadest sense. I often describe my religion as Religion of Truth. Of late instead of saying God is Truth I have been saying Truth is God, in order more fully to define my religion. I used, at one time, to know by heart the thousand names of God which a booklet in Hinduism gives in verse form and which perhaps tens of thousands recite every morning. But nowadays nothing so completely describes my God as Truth. Denial of God we have known. Denial of Truth we have not known. The most ignorant among mankind have some truth in them. We are all sparks of Truth. The sum total of these sparks is indescribable, as-yet-unknown- Truth, which is God. I am being daily led nearer to It by constant prayer.

gandhi train

3.The bearing of this religion on social life is, or has to be, seen in one’s daily social contact. To be true to such religion one has to lose oneself in continuous and continuing service of all life. Realisation of Truth is impossible without complete merging of oneself in, and identification with, this limitless ocean of life. Hence, for me, there is no escape from social service, there is no happiness on earth, beyond or apart from it. Social service here must be taken to include every department of life in this scheme there is nothing low, nothing high. For , all is one, though we seem to be many.
Source: Contemporary Indian Philosophy, Edited by Radhakrishnan and J H Muirhead, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, Museum Street, London, 1936

( The Thousand Names of God mentioned by Gandhiji is Vishnu Sahasranamam: )

Gandhiji on Hinduism


2nd October is Gandhiji’s Birth Day (Gandhi Jayanthi). I have compiled his quotations on Hinduism and religion. Given below are his interesting quotes:

1.Hinduism is a relentless pursuit of Truth. Truth is God and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued; and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.
2.I am a Hindu because it is Hinduism which makes the world worth living. I am a Hindu hence I Love not only human beings, but all living beings.

3.Hinduism has made marvellous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.

go protection

4.Belief in Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma): “I call myself a Sanatani Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth; I believe in the varnashrama dharma in a sense, in my opinion strictly Vedic but not in its presently popular crude sense; I believe in the protection of cow … I do not disbelieve in murti puja.” (Young India: June 10, 1921)

On Bhagavad Gita

5.The Teachings of the Gita: “Hinduism as I know it entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being … When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.” (Young India: June 8, 1925)

6.It is my firm opinion that Europe does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan’s successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips.
7.Hindu Dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more treasures you find.
gandhi- ignore

8.BY RAMARAJYA I do not mean Hindu Raj. I mean by Ramarajya Divine Raj, the Kingdom of God. For me Rama and Rahim are one and the same deity. I acknowledge no other God but the one God of truth and righteousness.
Whether Rama of my imagination ever lived or not on this earth, the ancient ideal of Ramarajya is undoubtedly one of true democracy in which the meanest citizen could be sure of swift justice without an elaborate and costly procedure. Even the dog is described by the poet to have received justice under Ramarajya. (YI, 19-9-1929, p. 305)

9.My Hinduism teaches me to respect all religions. In this lies the secret of Ramarajya. (H, 19-10-1947, p. 378)

10.Christ: “I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material interpretation is quite unacceptable. Metaphorically we are all sons of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of God … God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus.” (Harijan: June 3, 1937)

hate the sin

11.Conversion: “I believe that there is no such thing as conversion from one faith to another in the accepted sense of the word. It is a highly personal matter for the individual and his God. I may not have any design upon my neighbour as to his faith, which I must honour even as I honour my own. Having reverently studied the scriptures of the world I could no more think of asking a Christian or a Musalman, or a Parsi or a Jew to change his faith than I would think of changing my own.” (Harijan: September 9, 1935)
12.All Religions are True: “I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.” (Young India: January 19, 1928)

be th change