Page:Speeches And Writings MKGandhi.djvu/22

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to the world the logical background of that reconciliation. Leaving aside the question of this exceptional case, I do not think that there has been any more vital and inspiring contribution to ethical truth, in our own generation, than Mr. Gandhi's fearless logic in the practice of ahimsa. Sir Gilbert Murray's article in the Hibbert Journal has made this fact known to the larger world of humanity outside India.

A second intellectual conviction is the paramount use of religious vows in the building up of the spiritual life. Personally, I find it far more difficult to follow Mr. Gandhi here. Especially I dread the vow of celibacy which he, not unfrequently, recommends. It appears to me unnatural and abnormal. But here, again, he has often told me, I do not understand his position.

The further convictions, which are expressed in his writing, concerning the dignity and necessity for manual labour, the simplification of society, the healing powers of nature as a remedy for all disease, the Swadeshi spirit, the false basis of modern civilisation, all these will be studied with the deepest interest. They will be seen, through Mr. Gandhi's Speeches, in a perspective which has not been made evident in any other writer. For, whatever may be our previous opinion, whether we agree or disagree with Mr. Gandhi's position, he compels us to think anew and to discard conventional opinion.

It is necessary to add to these very brief notes (which I had already published in an earlier edition of this book) a statement with regard to Mahatma Gandhi's intellectual position on the subject of the "British Constitution" and the "British Empire".

I have heard him say, again and again, to those who were in highest authority: "If I did not believe that racial equality was to be obtained within the British Empire, I should be a rebel."

At the close of the great and noble passive resistance struggle in South Africa, he explained his own standpoint in Johannesburg, in his farewell words, as follows: —