Gandhi’s Take On Hinduism?
Intro: “The reason why Hinduism has survived is that the end which it sets before it was not development along material, but along spiritual lines. It tells everyone to worship God according to his own faith or dharma and so it looks at peace with all the religions.”?
|Hinduism according to Gandhi: Thoughts, Writings and Critical Interpretation, Orient Publishing, Pp 158,
Rs 195.00 ?
In this collection of select writings of Mahatma Gandhi, we get an insight into his thoughts and public discourses on Hinduism. Through a critical appraisal of this oldest living tradition, Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest thinkers-philosophers of the 20th century, shows why Hinduism has always been more than a religion – “It is a comprehensive way of life, a tradition by which people of India live. In spite of its all-inclusive character, it has a metaphysical core that is timeless and is intended to interpret reality to its people, to make life more meaningful, to provide them with a framework for the individual and social acceptance, and finally address their longing for ultimate freedom and salvation.” Going beyond the accepted and the historical boundaries of Hinduism, Gandhi identifies its acceptable and unacceptable overtones and associations, giving expression to its humane nature and beliefs.
Voicing his strong personal views on Hinduism, Mahatma Gandhi said, “I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures and therefore in avatars and rebirth. I believe that the varnashrama dharma in a sense, in my opinion is strictly Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense. I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than the popular and I do not disbelieve in idol-worship.” He clearly emphasised that he considered himself a Sanatani Hindu who believed in God, immortality of the soul, transmigration, the law of karma and moksha, in the practice of truth and ahimsa in daily life.
Gandhi said that the chief values of Hinduism lay “In holding the actual belief that all life (not only human beings, but all sentient beings) is one.” He added, “Hinduism is like the Ganges, pure and unsullied at its source, but taking in its course the impurities in the way. Even like the Ganges, it is beneficent in its total effect. It takes a provincial form in every province, but the inner substance is retained everywhere.”
In order to remove any doubts about his beliefs in Hinduism, Gandhi said that Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. “In it there is room for the writings of all the prophets of the world. It is not a missionary religion in the ordinary sense of the term. It has no doubt absorbed many tribes in its fold, but this absorption has been of an evolutionary imperceptible character. Hinduism tells everyone to worship God according to his own faith or dharma and so it looks at peace with all the religions.” He added, “Hinduism is a growth of ages. The very name, Hinduism, was given to the religion of the people of Hindustan by foreigners” and how right was when he said, “The reason why Hinduism has survived is that the end which it sets before it was not development along material, but along spiritual lines.”
There are many such golden truths which must be read to be understood and adopted in daily life.
-Manju Gupta?(Orient Publishing, 5A/8 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110002; www.orientpublishing.com)