Page:A Brief Study of Mahatma Gandhi.djvu/7

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


Gandhi said, “I would suggest four things in order to make that possible: (1) All of you Christians, missionaries and all, should begin to live like Jesus Christ, (2) that you must practice your religion without adulterating it or toning it down, (3) that you make love central in your lives, for love is central in Christianity, and (4) you should study the non-Christion religions more sympathetically to find out the good that is in them in order to have a more sympathetic approach to the people.”

Gandhi offered these suggestions in full sincerity, and in them is embodied one of the greatest challenges ever given to the West.

In the turbulent days of non-cooperation in India, when the height of human passion and patriotism was reached, Gandhi issued the following statements to the Indian press. These words of Gandhi more than explain his understanding of the great religion of the Hindus and its universality when seen in its entirety:

“There is only one God for us all, whether we find him through the Bible, the Koran, the Gita, the Zindvesta or the Talmud, and He is the God of love and truth. I do not hate an Englishman. I have spoken much against his institutions, especially the one he has set up in India. But you must not mistake my condemnation of the system for that of the man. My religion requires me to love him as I love myself. I have no interest in living except to prove the faith in me. I would deny God if I do not attempt to prove it at this critical moment.

“Our non-violence teaches us to love our enemies. By non-violent non-cooperation we seek to conquer the wrath of English administrators and their supporters. We must love them and pray to God that they might have wisdom to see what appears to us to be their error. It must be the prayer of the strong and not of the weak. In our strength must we humble ourselves before our maker.

“In the moment of our trial and our triumph let me declare my faith. I believe in loving my enemies … I believe in the power of suffering to melt the stoniest heart … We must by our conduct demonstrate to every Englishman that he is safe in the remotest corner of India as he professes to feel behind the machine gun.”

This interpretation of his faith when applied to the movement he was leading, viz, non-violent non-cooperation with the British bureaucracy in India, at once explains both the material weakness and the spiritual strength of his position.

Labor.—Gandhi is a worker. His whole career has been distinguished by his extraordinary love for work that is productive, elevating and emanicipating. He abhors talk, and in all he has ever said he shows lack of oratory and rhetoric. No other leader of India has been so directly and staunchly associated with the cause of the Indian workers whether they be farmers or workers in the mills.

Mahatma Gandhi is opposed to industrialization of India because, like many opponents of industrialism in the West, he sees in it a serious obstacle to simple life. His stand against industrial progress is based on moral considerations rather than on economic principles. His deep interest in the human being makes him revolt against machinery—the modern monster—as he conceives it, which is grinding man down. About the workers in the mills he says:

7