For Global Peace with Social Justice in a Sustainable Environment
Ramdas Gandhi was the third son of Mahatma Gandhi. He was born in South Africa at 1896. He was very different his parents and his brothers. He never adjusted to the idealistic poverty imposed by his father. He had taste for hunting. He took part in the cremation of Mahatma Gandhi with his brother Devdas Gandhi. He had taken part in Indian independence movement.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 27 November 1909 that I write this letter to you as I do not know when we shall meet. Do not be angry with me if I have not brought anything for you. There was nothing I liked. What could I do if nothing European appealed to me? I like everything Indian. The people of Europe are good, but their way of life is not good. I shall explain to you in detail when we meet. Do not be upset if I go to jail; rather you should rejoice. I should be where Harilal is. I must live there even for the sake of the struggle. Be cheerful. I want to see you stout and strong.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 March 1913 that Ramdas and Devdas also study fairly well, but they have developed no interest in their studies.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 13 July 1913 that I have your letter. You need not feel shy in writing to me freely. I have no desire to put any kind of pressure on you. Go on expressing freely your views. I see no difficulty in your taking a salary from Phoenix. Now Phoenix will not get help from the public. It has to depend for its ventures entirely on subscriptions. Still, if you do not wish to continue in the press, you may do what you want after consulting Ch. Manilal and Mr. West.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 August 1917 that I still have two of your letters to answer. Do not give up the Morning Prayer. And I want you to remember Indian dates. I have to go to Champaran again. Take care of your health. You write nothing about it. You will have received my previous letters. It does not cause me pain that your thoughts are turning towards marriage. I shall certainly help to the extent I can if you will accept my choice. I am looking around for a girl. No money must be spent on marriage. There will be some little expenditure, but that hardly matters. One thing is certain. You must marry only after you have begun to earn. I do not think it will be difficult for you to find some means of livelihood. My advice is this: for the present you should with a steady mind continue to work for Indian Opinion. Make the position of the paper sound. Only when you find that it can carry on without you should you come away. If you can find independent means of livelihood there and can side by side work for Indian Opinion, there can be no objection to it. Consult Mr. West
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 20 December 1917 that you will have received all my letters to you. Accept whatever bitter experiences you have to go through. I have great faith in you. You are pure of heart, so you will not be trapped anywhere. There is nothing wrong in working for a tailor. Remove its impurity by your purity and the tailor’s profession will become even higher than that of the lawyer. If you learn tailoring along with selling clothes, there is nothing wrong even in that. It requires a sharp eye to learn cutting. A good tailor requires much artistic ability. Do freely whatever you think appropriate. Preserve your health and your character and I shall be satisfied. Manilal will be tested now. If you want to go to his aid, do go. I have suggested to him that he should continue to publish Indian Opinion even if he should be all alone. He will send to you my letter to him for your information. If he does not, ask for it.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 27 February 1918 that I keep worrying about you these days. I detect a note of despondency in your letters. It seems you feel the want of education. You feel, too, that you have not settled down to anything. If only you were with me, I would take you on my lap and comfort you. In the measure in which I fail to make you happy, I think I must be wanting in something. There must be something lacking in my love. Please think of any wrongs I may have done as unintended and forgive me. Children are entitled to much from their parents, being all submission to them. A mistake on the part of the parents will ruin their lives. Our scriptures place parents on a level with God. It is not always that parents in this world are fit to carry such responsibility. Being but earthly, they pass on the legacy to their children and so from generation to generation mere embodiments of selfishness come into this world. Why should you think that you are an unworthy son? If you are so, don’t you see that that would prove that I was unworthy? I don’t want to be reckoned as unworthy; how could you be so then? You may work for money, but you will not sacrifice truth for its sake and, though you have been thinking of marriage, you will exercise your judgment; and hence I, for my part, will always think of you as a worthy son.
You need not ask my forgiveness. You have given me no reason to be unhappy. I want you to come over to me after your experiments there are over. I shall do my part to see you married. If you want to study, I shall help you. If you but train your body to be as strong as steel, we shall see to the rest.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 1 June 1918 that I very much wish to write to you but cannot do so because of much pressure of work. Two letters from you have remained unanswered. I feel sad when writing to you is delayed. Of course we both think of you every day.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 July 1918 that I received your letter. It is certainly regrettable that you have to leave service again and again. It will be good if you don’t make a change now. Umiyashankar was telling me that your accommodation can easily be arranged in his shop. There will be no harm if you go there. You can certainly come to me whenever you want. Go to England if they send you from there. There is nothing wrong in that either. Besides Sorabji is now gone. I cannot forget him. The moment I am idle innumerable recollections of Sorabji flood me. If it is your wish that you should go to England for studies and then work in South Africa you may do so. The course there is indeed tough. If you had been here and if you had agreed, I would have sent you to the War. I have come to realize that this is our paramount duty.
A young man must learn self-defiance. I have not forgotten the insults inflicted upon you by that Pathan. I had defended you but that gave me no satisfaction. How can you understand ahimsa fully at this tender age? It is possible that some extraordinary young man may acquire the knowledge early and become an ocean of compassion. But generally a young man must know how to defend himself. Ahimsa is the extreme limit of human strength. It is not a quality of weak or cowardly persons. What do they know of ahimsa?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 16 January 1919 that after some days I am again trying to write you. I am still unable to write, but l feel like writing to you and so am writing this. You complain about absence of letters from me, but I have been regular in dictating letters to you. There is so much confusion on the steamship that sometimes letters even get lost in transit. Just as some others did not get the letters I wrote to them, you also may not have got them. It is not right, whenever you fail to get a letter from me, to assume that I must have been displeased by something you did or wrote. It is not in my nature to get hurt over such things. Moreover, you have done or said nothing which might have displeased me.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 1 June 1919 that I have your letter. Surely, I do dictate letters for you. Hardly does a month pass without one. You have done well in taking up service with Mohanlal. I know, of course, that you will not abuse his generosity, his goodness and his love which you describe so well. But I want more, that you should be twice as painstaking and careful at a place such as his and make some return for that love. There is as much disadvantage as advantage in serving under a relative or a friend. The advantage is that we may have certain facilities in such a place which would not be available elsewhere; the disadvantage is that we may abuse the facilities because of his goodness and yield to the temptation of shirking work. I should like you to be most careful. I also want to say, at the same time, that I have no fear on your account.
I know from experience that you deserve to be loved and are sure that you will earn nothing but a good name there. Attend to everything in the shop as if the shop were your very own.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 26 September 1919 that Today I have sat down to write to all of you brothers. I am here in a beautiful city in Madras Presidency. The atmosphere is excellent. This city, Coimbatore, is at a height of their thousand feet. Today is my silence day. It is 26th of September.
I take it that you will read the letter to Manilal which I have just finished.2 If Manilal does not send it to you, ask him to do so and also send this letter to him. If I do not write to all of you brothers, I am sure you will not think that I do not remember you. There may be a reason why I do not write. But you can have no reason not to write.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 18 August 1924 that I have been constantly thinking of you on the way and here. I have been pondering how your mind may be set at rest. But no one can bring peace to another. One can only help to a certain degree. For the rest, one can find satisfaction only within oneself. Further, “The mind alone is the cause of bondage or freedom for man” and “the mind is its own place. It can make a hell of heaven and a heaven of hell.”
Thus have sung various seers and it is true. You too must find solace by following this rule. You will. Be patient in the meantime, “Make merry today, who knows of the morrow” sang Mirabai when confronted by sorrows. An atheist would take it in its gross meaning and would be tempted to indulge in physical pleasures. A devotee like Mira would find merriment only in devotion to God, in the path of service and in innocent joy. If there is God, worrying about Time is His concern.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 17 September 1924 that you will have heard about my atonement before this reaches you. Do not be scared; concentrate on your studies. If you cannot have patience, do run up here. But it would be best to be patient. I am sure of it. Why should we feel unhappy on account of physical pain? But while there is life in the body, we must take the maximum work out of it. The fast is at least for 21 days.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 25 May 1925 that I am encolosing herewith the letter you wanted to be returned. You must have read the story of Nanda.1 Meet poet Hansraj, and ask him to read that story twice or thrice, and then compose a poem about it. I wish to publish the poem if it comes out well. If he finds the task beyond his capacity, let me know. The purpose is to sing it from house to house and also among the untouchables.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 5 June 1925 that I had written that as a general rule when we had a difference of opinion with our superior officers, we should obey the officers. I had written this with Devchandbhai1 in mind. He is in charge of the work there. You have asked for double the quantity of cotton. If Devchandbhai does not agree, do not be disheartened. Accept his decision cheerfully. Thus alone can an individual or a nation rise. There are occasions when one must seek forgiveness not from another but from one’s inner self. The transformation in the heart can cause miracles. Sometimes seeking forgiveness does harm rather than good. If I have still not made you understand this do ask me. Harilal sees me often. I meet him and talk to him very gently.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 17 June 1925 that I am waiting for a train at Khulna. On reaching Khulna from Barisal by steamer I received a telegram that Deshbandhu Das1 was no more. I am deeply shocked; because we had come very close at Darjeeling2. My anguish has a selfish cause: But it is there and I am not able to get over it. I have sent a few telegrams. After debating whether I should eat or fast I came to the conclusion that it would be proper to eat. And then of course there was the meeting here. I attended it.4 But for that meeting I would have gone straight to Calcutta. At the meeting I broke down although I did my best not to. After that I had no desire left to write. So I span. Spinning brought comfort. Then I bathed and ate. Then the post was brought. It included your letter and many others. I went through them. And now I have sat down to write to you, because this is the most convenient time.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 27 July 1925 that I have stopped writing with the right hand altogether. I shall give it rest and see. There is no reason at all to worry. I had asked you if you were getting the Ashram Samachar. Even though there is no reply from you, I am sending you the issues lying with me. You have now begun to figure in the press. I am sending the enclosed cutting for your amusement. May your present work bring you perfect inner peace and may you have a long and healthy life. In your spiritual growth lies my own spiritual growth; because some of my notions of spiritual growth rest on the growth of you four brothers. There can be a mistake in my calculations, but so far my predictions have proved correct. I do not believe at all that the children of virtuous parents must necessarily be sinful. I am experiencing my four states in you four brothers. I have here given expression to a subtle thought and told you of a rule of the world.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 6 September 1925 that I have received your letter. I think I have already written to you about the Sangh. Having a Sangh means getting people together. It is your job to collect people, if God grants you satisfaction there and if you can concentrate on the work. You have the capacity to attract people. It is on people that the Sangh must depend. If the Sangh is created and people devote themselves to it, other people will be drawn to it. But the basis is still people. I have already written to you to this effect.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 29 January 1926 that I recovered some strength today and so I write to you this, my first letter. The right hand will again have to be rested; hence I shall have mostly to dictate. Mahadevbhai has kept you informed from time to time about my health. This time the fever was fairly high and quite prolonged. It has come down since four days ago. Milk too has been discontinued since four days ago; I had it last on Sunday, the next two days I was on water, honey and lemon juice. For the last two days I am taking oranges and grapes. I shall take milk from today. There is nothing to worry on my account.
How nice if you could say the same thing about yourself. It is in your own power to bring down your mental fever. Will you not do this? What precisely is it, after all? You must delve deep, search your heart and come to a decision. What can you have in Bombay or in Calcutta? What is worth having lies in your own heart? Explore it; it has hills and dales and infinite riches. This inexhaustible treasure will never diminish however much you may take from it. What does Amreli lack if only you control your mind? Having resolved to stay there, how can you now go back on it? You are wanted there; make it your sphere of triumph. I would not like it at all if you ran away from there defeated and beaten. Hence forward I shall unfailingly try to send the injections. Write to me daily.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 April 1926 that No letter from you after your last postcard. I may be said to have some leisure today because the Week is over. I have been, however, busy with the Committee meetings as soon as the Week was over. The Parishad Committee met yesterday; and again today. Now the Vidyapith Committee.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 17 May 1926 that I got your letter here. I read your letter to Devdas in Bombay. When will you get over your sense of despondency? Devdas is quite well. Today is Monday. I think I will be able to return by Wednesday. Have you received the entire amount in cash? Let me know how much the total amount came to. I think the money received on account of khadi should be credited to the Ashram. The account will be kept more strictly.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 1 June 1926 that Manilal has given me all the information about you. It is his impression that you have been doing excellent work. I hope you are keeping quite fit. Do not be lazy and do not forget to write to me. The visit to Finland may be taken to be as good as cancelled. When do you intend to come over here?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 25 July 1926 that I have your letter. My impression is that no letter of yours has remained unanswered. Maybe I have not replied to your last letter, I am not sure if I did. But I am under the impression that I replied to that letter too. I have fully understood what you say about agriculture. I do not mean that every rich man ill-treats his labourers. What you have observed in Kathiawar is certainly found in many other places, too, but the vast majority carries on their farming in the manner I have described. That of course does not mean that in agriculture the labourer cannot but be exploited. A well-informed cultivator who has had long experience of farming can successfully carry on and earn enough for his purpose, even if he pays his labourers generously. I think that such a person would need adequate capital; that has been my experience and others’ too.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 12 October 1926 that I have your letter after a long time. You have taken difficult vows. May God be your help? Certainly it is my earnest wish that you should dedicate yourself wholly to khadi. But plunge into the work only when you think it right. There is no doubt that khadi is our Kamadhenu. If I can make myself totally passionless in this life, you and the others will not look for any livelihood save khadi. I hope you are well.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 5 November 1926 that I have your letter. A Happy New Year to you all and may all your wishes be fulfilled. I am not aware of Diwali or any other festival. All the days are either festivals or days of gloom. If our soul is blissful, then it is festival. If the soul in pursuit of passion is sad, it is a day of gloom in spite of it being a festival. Ba is now fully recovered.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 6 December 1926 that I got your letter. Where there is faith and straightforwardness, success follows sooner or later. Can one admire sufficiently Abbas Saheb’s5 straightforwardness? His faith is equally great, and so circumstances continue to favour him. Tell Abbas Saheb that I liked Rehana6 very much this time. I spent hours with Mirabai. Soheli also met me at Baroda. She is grown up now and is engaged and so she was feeling very shy. She did not even talk to me. Manilal1 will land in Bombay on the 11th. Most probably Omar Seth will insist upon his getting off at Porbandar.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 7 February 1927 that I have been getting your letters. You should improve your health a great deal. Today we are here in the midst of Gomatibehn, Kishorelalbhai and Tulsi Maher. And here too is Nathji.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 10 April 1927 that I received your letter of complaint only today on my arrival in Bombay. A detailed letter may never get written because of my procrastination, so I write a brief one right away. You still continue to regret that you have no formal education. You must get over it. In my programme of action it is of least importance. If you come, you can be of help in innumerable ways. You can even work on a salary if you so wish. I would make use of you in spinning and weaving and make you independent. I would also use you for the service of the country. But there are many other jobs apart from these. There is the work of the press, of the school, of Hindi. Many people, big and small, are helping me. I am sure that you too can join them. But I wish that you should do only what gives you satisfaction.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 30 April 1927 that I have your letter. It is very good that you have started. The letter from Khushalbhai is nice; please let me know what you wrote in reply to him. Service does include one’s interest. One who serves with a pure heart is always provided for by God. It certainly is an inexhaustible source of learning. No sincere worker has 1 The concluding paragraph of the letter appears in the manuscript of Mahadev Desai’s Diary under this date.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 4 June 1927 that you will have to struggle. Manliness consists in struggling. It is such struggling that moulds us. Hence be fearless and fight on. Never lose heart, and, if the enemy succeeds in throwing you down though you may have fought with all your strength, do not get dejected in the least. Be on your feet again and resume the fight. When we do not share responsibility for our defeat, we have no cause at all for shame, for then our defeat is no defeat. You should be very vigilant so that you may not have involuntary emission during sleep, and, if you feel the desire aroused at any hour during the night, you should without a moment’s delay, get out of bed immediately and drink some cold water, then sit in cold water and pour a jug of cold water over the genitals.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 1 August 1927 that I have read your letter to Devdas. Write to me whatever you notice about Kanti and Rasik, but I don’t want you to worry about it. We should not worry about a task which has not fallen to our lot even if it is urgent or personal. This is what the Gita and our dharma teach us. Either one should regard nothing as personal or only that which is with one on hand and devote oneself to it. One should not worry even about one’s own father if he is far away and should have faith in God that He is the protector of all and He employs whomever He wishes as His instrument. This rule holds good even when one’s father is close by and someone else is engaged in attending on him and one has some other work to do. What applies to the father also applies to a brother, a nephew, the wife, a son and others. You are in the Ashram only to learn your job and to pick up whatever you can from its atmosphere. While doing so you may see or hear many other things.
But your duty requires you only to pass on this information to some responsible person. It is only in this way that we can live in peace in society. We cannot afford to sit in judgment upon the world. You have good experience of the Divine wrath there.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 11 August 1927 that You have no reason at all to be anxious on account of Kantilal. You must have known of the step I have taken. I have already written to you that you should never worry about a matter which does not concern you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 15 August 1927 that these smaller floods come to warn us. There will surely be the final deluge. None need doubt it. The magic of this illusory world makes a man forget all his sorrows. This is doubtless an advantage but that man wins who, mindful of the deluge and persuaded of the transience not only of him but of the world, lives his life in a detached way. To gain this mastery constitutes man’s highest achievement. Truly speaking, all of us are condemned to death the moment we are born, and yet why do we all the young, the old and the children drown ourselves in sensual pleasures? It is obvious that we do revel in them, but we should ask it with all the more earnestness.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 22 December 1927 that I have your letter. You are needlessly worried. I am hopeful that health will be restored. But if it does not happen and I remain bed-ridden then. I began this letter four days ago. Just then the doctor arrived and it was left there. I now take it up in Madras where I arrived today. We shall see about that. For the present let us resolve that on the Vasant Panchami day you will be entering a new life and shouldering a new responsibility in the name of God and with His help.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 12 May 1928 that I have your letters. In my view, there is hardly a young man as
fortunate as you. I have been watching you from your childhood and I have felt that God has created you for great service. There can be many kinds of service. But you have been destined to serve the sick. You have to serve me as well as Ba, Sundaram, the Naidu brothers, etc. I have never had the feeling that you have shirked that service. Your lack of faith in the atman hinders you, makes you indifferent but it also make you humble. So, I welcome the fact that you are called upon to serve Kanti.1 I know that even if you did not ask for it, you certainly welcome it. Keep writing to me daily.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 June 1928 that I received your letter. There can be no discourtesy in anything you write. Rather, I welcome such letters from you. It is possible that the work I am doing may continue only so long as I live. Even so, what? I should do what seems clear as daylight to me and not leave the burden of making changes in it on those who come after me. They will do what they are able to do. If they wish to introduce changes, they will do so, or would wind it up altogether if they so wish. The Ashram cannot exist without a common kitchen for all.
How can I agree to your going for formal education? But then you know you are quite free to do as you please. I keep you tied to myself with the soft string of love. You have to stretch it just a little to break it
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 23 July 1928 that Rasik has written to me that you have been put in charge of the kitchen and that in consequence the work has been proceeding very smoothly. You do have the requisite qualities for that work. In answer to a query from Girirajji one Monday in January I had written that the person in charge of a kitchen which stresses self-control must possess the qualities of a sthitaprajna. I am now more confirmed in that view. Such a person should always be alert. He must not get angry. He must put up with everybody’s anger. He must treat everyone alike. It will not do if he serves nice things to some and worthless things to others. His mistakes can have grave consequences.
If he does not have an orderly mind his work will suffer. If he has not conquered the palate he will prevent other people acquiring restraint. And he steals. Therefore, running a kitchen based on the principle of restraint is like demonstrating the meaning of the verses about detachment. One thing which is not required in running a kitchen with restraint is scholarship. But God’s grace is so bountiful that scholarship is required in very few jobs. No freedom is possible without prudence. Millions have achieved salvation without scholarship.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 September 1928 that I have received your letter. I will not reply fully to it just now. The bell for prayer has been struck. If you are content to aquit yourself well in doing the duty which may have come to you unsought, a good many of the knotty problems will get solved. Solving such problems one by one will result in all of them being solved.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 7 October 1928 that your letters serve just the purpose of giving information about the services you have rendered. I have learnt more about the causes of fever from Vallabhbhai. If the fever is not related to the wound, there is nothing to fear. You did well in saving an anna. But due to an oversight on my part, I spent one anna in posting the same letter to Manilal. That means a day’s wage of a spinner is lost. But hardly anyone atones for that. One cannot go to heaven without dying oneself. I cannot atone for my sins through representatives. I have to do it myself. The true atonement for one’s sin is not to commit that sin again. I have to find the remedy to make up for my negligence. In fact, I have found it out. Let us see when it bears fruit.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 4 December 1928 that I have received your letters. There was not the least note of disappointment in my letter. There was no reason either, for me to be from the contents, it is evident that this letter was written about the same time as the one to the addressee dated December 17, 1928, but since Gandhiji here does not mention the likelihood of his leaving Wardha, it presumably preceded that letter.
I should like both of you to find time to go out for walks. I look upon it as your good fortune that old people come to you and you have opportunities of nursing the ill. Do write to me regularly. How can you be lazy about it?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 19 September 1929 that I had not given up hope of hearing from you. I now have your letter. I would not exactly call it a letter, but never mind the world knows from experience that when parents do not get letters from their grown-up sons, it is a sign that the latter are happy and contented. Therefore, when parents receive no letters from their children, they should feel happy rather than distressed. That is what I had assumed in your case.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 6 January 1930 that We arrived here on Saturday night1 without any mishap during the journey. Write and tell me how you are keeping. Is Lakshmidasbhai’s dietetic experiment still going on? How is Jivandas? Has he returned? If not, where is he? Ba will leave tomorrow for Vijapur. Nimu is there, and so is Manu, as also Kashi. She is therefore keen to go there. Manilal has gone to Akola. He will return with Sushila in a few days.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 8 January 1930 that I got your letter. I am sending it on to Ba. I am writing to her to keep herself ready to let Nimu leave whenever you desire her to be with you. For myself, I do approve of your wish. I quite understand Nimu’s desire. I should like that from their very childhood, Sumitra, Savitri, Rumbha and Bachu should grow up with you and according to your manner of living and, therefore, I am wholly with you in the suggestion you have made. Ba is simple-hearted and will immediately agree. Keshu being ill has been sent away to Devdas in Calcutta. He is better now. Santok and Radha, too, had left this place without consulting me. If I had known of their intention to leave, I would have asked Devdas not to go.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 January 1930 that Manilal and Sushila left for Vijapur yesterday. Manilal said he
would return in two or three days bringing with him Ba and Nimu from there. If you wish, I can arrange for Nimu to be sent with somebody. Someone or the other keeps going from here to Bardoli. I write this only from the point of view of saving expense. If you are thinking of coming here just to take Nimu with, it is not at all necessary to do so and it will save so much of your money. I am not very eager to see you so that you need come here on that pretext for, how am I to find time even to have a look at you, let alone talk with you? I will be satisfied if I know that all of you are living in peace and contentment, and are doing your duty wherever you are. For my part, I am furiously thinking about some way of starting the fight. If the government lets me remain free this year, something big is bound to happen. If, on the other hand, they arrest me, would not that by itself count for something?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 13 October 1930 that As long as you are free, I must get a letter from you every week. How is your health? Do you digest food properly? Do you still take medicine? What work have you taken up? How is Nimu? And Sumitra? What happened about the khadi implements centre? The real test will be now. But there is nothing which we did not expect.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 17 October 1930 that I got your letter. Why pine over what you do not get? Formerly, prisoners were not allowed to receive any visitors. Now they have relaxed the rule somewhat. For the present, therefore, I receive visitors. Is it not our principle that once we are in prison, we must not mind if we are not permitted to receive visitors? Rather, that is a matter of honour for a prisoner. If we think this way, we would not feel hurt.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 November 1930 that I have your letter. Many children suffer when they cut teeth. Hence it is nothing strange that she does too. But her cold should go. Somebody should carry her and walk in the sunshine. The head should be kept covered. This will warm up the skin and make it less sensitive. I believe the cold will then disappear.
Once you have formed the habit of keeping accounts, you don’t find it a burden to do so and discover through experience the very great value of the practice. Whether or not one’s life is peaceful should make no difference in this matter. There are some things which we should try hard and learn to do with a peaceful mind even in the midst of highly distracting circumstances. Write to me regularly once a week.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 22 April 1931 that I am guilty in regard to all you brothers. I get letters from you but do not write. I could hardly talk with Manilal and Sushila. What sort of a father am I? I am writing this while waiting for the train for Bardoli. Ba and Devdas are at Bombay. The marriage of Lakshmi and Jivandas was celebrated yesterday. I shall be at Bardoli for some eight days. Write to me there. My health can be considered good. Let me know your programme too.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 5 May1931 that I got your letter. You may by all means go to Almora. But you will get three hundred rupees only. Ask Manibhai to give the amount to you and debit it to my account. Show this letter to him. If, afterwards, you find the amount not enough, write to me. Do not spend much on warm clothes. There also, it is not so cold in this season. Moreover, you will get some warm clothing even there. Some warm thing to cover you with will suffice.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 6 June 1931 that I am not able to write to you at all. Do not give whole milk to Sumitra. Add a measure of water to it. After adding water warm it and instead of sugar add honey to it. Her stomach should be very lightly massaged with oil every day. Mothers in these parts vigorously exercise their children. If Nimu or you do not know it, you should learn it. It is very useful. Laying the child flat on the back, raise and bend the legs so that the toes touch the forehead. The knees should not bend. Do you understand what I mean? The baby should be held tightly by the feet upside down for a minute or a half. The exercise should be given while putting the child to sleep or in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 11 August 1932 that I understand that you have not yet resolved to give up cinnamon and cloves. I intend to write to Nimu. If she has already taken a vow, I will not press her to give it up. I will only explain what her dharma is. I think that one should not press anybody to give up a vow like this. The effect of such persuasion on a person is to tempt him to give up his firmness and in consequence his mind becomes weak.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 2 October 1932 that there is no doubt that the vow which you contemplate is excellent. If you have arrived at the decision independently on your own, there is no need to discuss the matter with Nimu for the present. Your peace of mind is bound to have its effect on her. That is the beauty of brahmacharya. The need for mutual discussion arises when both are equally weak in mind, but equally eager to practice self-control also; for, then, the resolution of one partner helps the other.
When one partner has made up his or her mind, he or she will not discuss the matter with the other, as his or her self-control will of itself work on the other. This is only to tell you my own experience in the matter, and you are free to act as you think best. In such matters other people’s wisdom does not avail one much. In such a holy resolution you can of course take my blessings for granted, but take the vow only after you are released from prison. Many have given up the vows they made while in prison. The two environments are different.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 26 October 1932 that Constant reflection will strengthen your resolution. If you analyses each word of the Gita in detail and reflect over its meaning, that itself will give you more than enough strength. That is what I find happens to me. Do you try and understand the Gita in the original Sanskrit? Do you study Sanskrit? Among other books, Tolstoy’s essays. Imitation of Christ is worth reading. You must read an account of the life of the Buddha, and The Light of Asia, if you can understand it. It will of course be very good if you read the Ramayana. There is a booklet in Hindi entitled Brahmachayra which is very good. If you wish to read it, I will get it from the Ashram and send it to you. There is a collection of articles by me entitled Nitinashne Marge, which also is worth reading. For the present, this reading list is enough. Instead of worrying how you will be able to carry out your resolution, tell yourself that you are bound to succeed in carrying it out and that God will help you. Fix this thought firmly in your mind and keep yourself absorbed in your work. Do not be
impatient even in reading. If you do not follow anything, read it over again. It does not matter if this takes more time. Even if you do not remember what you read, do not brood; always remain cheerful. Do not worry however slow your progress is. One day you will find everything easy. Do not do anything at the cost of your health. Put only as much burden on your mind as it can bear.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 7 November 1932 that I am replying to your letter today. I had wanted to reply to it much earlier, but while searching for verses from the Gita as desired by you, I thought that it would be better if I selected at one time all such verses which you could follow in life without difficulty. I could do that today, and send with this the verses which I have selected. I have mentioned the chapter and number of the verse in each case, so that you can also look up the Gita and see where the verse occurs. You will see that all the verses appeal directly to the heart and are easy even for children to understand, and also that the Lord has assured not once but several times that He himself will awaken knowledge in the man who cultivates bhakti for Him and will provide his needs. Bhakti means selfless service of every living creature, in all of whom dwells the Lord. This includes repetition of Ramanama for one’s own peace of mind. Moreover, you will see that even the verses selected from Chapter VI contain what I wish to teach you just now. The verses from Chapter XI are the sublimest part of Arjuna’s sublime praise of the Lord. And the last verse of Chapter XVIII explains the reward of studying the Gita and of an earnest effort to put its teaching into practice. That is, where there is Shri Krishna, who stands for perfect knowledge, and Arjuna, who stands for action informed with knowledge, everything else will follow. If you meditate over these verses, you will see that one must never worry. A student of the Gita ought not to worry any time. We are enjoined to offer up everything as sacrifice to the Lord. Everything means everything without exception. Do you think anybody who does that would carry a load of worries in his head?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 6 December 1932 that Are you able to follow the “Ram Gita”? Its central idea is bhakti and its fruit. Pure bhakti is bound to lead to non-attachment and true knowledge. If bhakti does not produce such results, it is not true bhakti but mere sentimentality. True knowledge means the discrimination between the essential and the non-essential. The booklearning that does not give this power of discrimination is not knowledge but bookishness. You can see that once this is realized and the “Ram Gita” grasped accordingly, all worry and impatience disappear.