The Gandhi-King Community

For Global Peace with Social Justice in a Sustainable Environment

Manilal Gandhi was second son of Mahatma Gandhi. He was born on 28 October 1892 in Rajkot. He went to South Africa in 1897 with his parents. He worked in Phoenix Ashram with his father and his others friends. He assists in publication of Indian Opinion. He remained editor until his death. He died in aged 63 on 4 April 1956 in Durban, South Africa. He was married in 1927 with Sushila Mashruwala. He had two daughters, Sita, Ela and one son Arun.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Chhaganlal Gandhi on dated 23 January 1902 that also writes to me how Manilal is faring.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Parsee Rustomjee on dated 1 March 1902 that Manilal studies privately; he has not been admitted into any specific standard at school.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Devchand Parekh on dated 6 August 1902 that I am very glad to learn that Manilal is doing so well.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Chhaganlal Gandhi on dated 30 June 1903 that Proper arrangements should be made in regard to the accommodation and education of Manilal and Gokuldas in Bombay. But if Manilal is not willing to stay behind, let him also join you. It will be good if Gokuldas continues his studies in Bombay.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Chhaganlal Gandhi on dated about 5 January 1907 that you should try not to take Manilal from the English desk if possible. It is necessary to give him regular training. There is a great deal of force in Mr. West’s argument with regard to him.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Chhaganlal Gandhi on dated 29 January 1907 that I have sent Manilal the Sanskrit book he wanted. What does he propose to do with it? Please let me know how he is getting on with his studies, how he is working in the Press, etc.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Chhaganlal Gandhi on dated 7 February 1907 that I am still trying to make arrangements for the Hamidia Society I know that Manilal is weak in his arithmetic. Please give him adequate attention.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Mahatma Gandhi on dated 21 November 1907 that I do not think that I have ever before written you in English. Today, I must perforce do so, instead of writing in Gujarati. I am sending the Ramayana and verified Gita to-day. Please have the Ramayana properly bound. See that it is not afterwards damaged. You should learn to use books, as well as everything you have, with care. Next time I come there I hope to examine you and to receive
satisfaction. You should know most of the jail verses by heart. Maganlal should really coach a choir. There should be no difficulty in giving a short time now and then to such work. You can suggest it to him. Read this letter to him. Please let me know what use you are going to make of the Ramayana. Who is going to explain the meaning, or do you propose to read the verses without understanding them?

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Mahatma Gandhi on dated 25 March 1909 that I have a right to write one letter per month and receive also one letter per month. It became a question with me as to whom I should

write to. I thought of Mr. Ritch, Mr. Polak and you. I chose you, as you have been nearest my thoughts in all my reading. As for myself I must not, I am not allowed to, say much. I am quite at peace and none need worry about me.

I hope mother is now quite well. I know several letters from you have been received but they have not been given to me. The Deputy Governor however was good enough to tell me that she was getting on well. Does she now walk about freely? I hope she and all of you would continue to take sago and milk in the morning.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 21 June 1909 that

I have no time to write to you in Gujarati today. I enclose Mr. Dada Osman’s account. You should read it and forward your reply. Let mother also see it. Please remember that everything that you get from the East Indian Trading Co., adds to the debt. You should send your reply, not directly to me in England, but to Miss Schlesin1, who will forward it to me, if I leave today. With reference to Purshottamdas, I hope that you will implicitly obey him, and remove from your mind the impression that you cannot learn there. You should do the best

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 10 August 1909 that I have received your letter. There is little hope of any settlement; I am therefore writing this on Tuesday, for there is likely to be a greater pressure of work on me than before. The words in your letters are sometimes incomplete. You will do better if you form the habit of reading the letters after writing them. As regards having another tank, my advice is that you should carry on for the present without buying a new one. The rains will now set in and it will be possible to carry on with one tank. Meanwhile, I hope to be able to go there. We shall see to it then. I am glad that you have given up worrying about your studies. The more I observe things here, the more I feel that there is no reason to believe that this place is particularly suited for any type of better
education. I also see that some of the education imparted here is faulty. How-ever, there is a constant desire in my mind that each of you should be able to come and stay here for a while at least. If we go on doing our duty properly, we need not worry about the future. Your studying there earnestly would be your preparation for coming here. Mr. West’s mother is just 150 miles away from London and yet she has never visited this city. The distance between London and Louth is only three and a half hours.

That there are more fruit trees on the land than we can look after shows our lack of competence. You should grow only so much as you can look after yourself.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated End of August 1909 that I shall consider myself fortunate if your mind is perfectly quiet, if you are thoroughly absorbed in your work and if you are doing your studies without any distractions. I do not think it necessary for you to come to this country in a hurry. People here appear to be very degenerate. We shall talk more about this when we meet. That you are doing the work of teaching children is a very noble thing.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 1 September 1909 that I get your letters regularly. I was again invited to dinner by Mrs. Freeth4 this week. She enquired about you all. She also asked for a photograph of you all and also of the Phoenix settlement. Please send her whatever you may have of these. I have written5 to Ba also. Mrs. Freeth is a good-natured lady and has much affection for me. The Government of Bombay considered it undesirable for the Sheriff to convene the meeting in his official capacity, after the passing of the South Africa Union Bill.

I hope you keep your tools in proper trim. I also hope sufficient dust is being spread over night-soil. It is necessary to cultivate the habit of keeping all the surrounding area clean. Mr. Kallenbach writes that this time he had put up with us. I hope you attended to all his needs. Let me know what arrangements you had made for his bath and toilet. You must be realizing the necessity of keeping ready the lavatory which Kitchin used always. I am writing all this to you as you are the sanitary inspector of the house. You have not written to me as to what you have learnt.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 9 September 1909 that received your letter. I am sorry that Mr. Kallenbach incurred the expenditure. But I know that he cannot be prevented from doing so. It would be better not to let him know our requirements when he inquires about them. I am sorry that Chi. Harilal is not with you; but I believe that his duty for the present is to stay in the Transvaal. I have no information about your studies. As Mr. Cordes is having boils, I hope you are visiting him at his place and attending upon him.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 17 September 1909 that I was extremely glad to read your letter of the 21st ultimo about Mr. West. I read the letter twice. I felt proud of you and thanked God that I had such a son. I wish you to remain such forever. To do well to others and serve them without any sense of egoism this is real education. You will realize this more and more as you grow up. What better way of life can there be than serving the sick? Most of religion is covered by it. We have to keep a detached mind about the chicken soup, etc., given to Mr. West. You know my ideas in the matter. I would have preferred Ba’s passing away without the soup; but would not have allowed it to be given to her without her consent. The body should not be dearer than the soul. He who knows the soul, and also knows that it is different from the body, will not try to protect his body by committing violence. All this is very difficult indeed; but he who has imbibed very noble ideas easily understands it and acts accordingly.

The belief that the soul can do good or evil only when it is encased in a body is quite mistaken and terrible sins have been and are being committed owing to it. I want you to be free from it. There is no such law that the soul can be known only at an advanced age. Many old men pass away without knowing the soul, while persons like the late Raichandbhai have been able to realize the self even at the age of 8. Mistakes are made and sins committed despite such knowledge; but these can be eliminated after very careful thought. The body has been given to us for curbing it.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 27 September 1909 that You got nervous at the question, “What are you going to do?” If I were to answer on your behalf, I would say that you are going to do your duty. Your present duty is to serve your parents, to study as much as you can get the opportunity to do and to work in the fields. You need not worry about the future; your parents are doing that for you. You will take it upon yourself when they will be no more. You must be definite on this point at least that you are not going to practice law or medicine. We are poor and want to remain so. Money is required only for maintenance. He who works with his hands and feet gets his livelihood. Our mission is to elevate Phoenix; for through it we can find our soul and serve our country. Be sure that I am always thinking of you. The true occupation of man is to build his character. It is not quite necessary to learn something special for earning one’s livelihood. He who does not leave the path of morality never starves, and is not afraid if such a contingency arises.

Give up all worry; do whatever study you can there. While writing this I feel like meeting and embracing you; and tears come to my eyes as I am unable to do that. Be sure that Bapu will not be cruel to you. Whatever I do, I do it because I think it to be in your interest.  You will never come to grief, for you are doing service to others.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 12 October 1909 that the service you are rendering to Mr. West and others is the best study for you. He who does his duty is all the while studying. You say that you had to leave your studies; but it is not so. You are certainly studying when you are serving. It would be correct to say that you had to give up reading books. There is no harm in thus leaving studies. One can get academic education later on, one cannot say that one will get an opportunity of serving others later on. Let this be inscribed in your heart that, since your mind is pure, you will not fall ill while serving others. And even if you fall ill, I will not worry. You and I, all of us, will achieve perfection only by being molded in this manner. Learning to live a good life is in itself education. All else is useless.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 22 October 1909 that I see that you have again begun to be worried about your education. Can you not give an answer to the question, “What class are you in?” Henceforward you may say that you are in Bapu’s class. Why does the idea of study haunt you again and again? If you think of study for earning your livelihood, it is not proper; for God gives food to all. You can get enough to eat even by doing manual labour. Moreover, when we want to die in Phoenix or in some similar mission, why should there be any thought of earning at all? If you want to study for the sake of service to the country, why, you are already doing so. If you want to study in order to have self-knowledge, you have only to learn to be good. Everyone says you are a good person. Only one thing remains. You may want to study in order to be able to do more work. There is no need to hurry about it. Do whatever you can in Phoenix. We shall see to it later on. Please give up all worry if you are sure that I am taking all the necessary care of you.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 24 November 1909 that It was good you asked the question about Phoenix. First of all, we shall have to consider how we can realize the self and how serve our country. After we do this, we can explain what Phoenix is. For realizing the self, the first essential thing is to cultivate a strong moral sense. Morality means the acquisition of virtues such as fearlessness, truth, celibacy and so on. Service is automatically rendered to the country in this process of cultivating morality.

Phoenix is of great help in this process. I believe that it is very difficult to preserve morality in cities where people live in congestion and there are many temptations. That is why the wise have recommended solitary places like Phoenix. Experience is the real school. The experience you have had in Phoenix you could not have got elsewhere. Thoughts about realizing the self, again, could only occur to you there. The very fact that you have asked me such a profound question when you are a mere child shows your merit. The credit of your having been able to nurse Mr. West and others also goes to Phoenix. As most of the people in Phoenix are just beginners, you may find faults all round you. They may be there. Phoenix is not perfect but we wish it to become so.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 2 December 1909 that So long as you are firm in morals and discharge your duties, I for one shall have no worry at all about your studies. If the injunctions and observances prescribed by the Shastras are practiced, it will be enough for my purpose. I shall be helpful to you if you want to make further progress in your academic studies, either as a hobby or to be better equipped [for work]. I will not find fault with you even if you do not do it. However, if you decide upon a particular course of action, try to stick to it. Let me know what things you are doing now the press; also when you get up in the morning, what work you do in the field, etc.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 27 November 1911 that I have your letter. I had asked you what faults Mr. Sam had found with the Farm but you have forgotten to answer. There is no need at all to worry about my health. As my hair is cut very short, you felt that I was in bad health. It doesn’t ever happen that I go to sleep at midnight and get up at three. Mostly I go to bed at 11 and get up by about 5.30 or 6. There is nothing extraordinary about this. You ought therefore to be free of worry on my score. I still believe that I can work longer than any of you. It may be that I can’t stay up late. The lady beside me is the Mayor’s wife.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 6 April 1912 that I have your letter. I do not mind your writing to me about Virji and Sam. Of course you do right to let me know whenever you notice shortcomings. Personally, however, I would rather you noted people’s virtues than their faults. The latter, all of us are full of, so that we would do well to find out people’s virtues and think of only these. It is possible to form this habit. So long, however, as you have not succeeded in doing so, do not hesitate to tell me of whatever faults you see [in people]. If things are what you represent them to be, I too feel that they are both wasting their time. About the press, too, your criticism may be justified. But turn your mind to the counsel in the Gita: “What is apariharya that for which one has no remedy one must resign oneself to.” If you do your duty, you will feel contented. The world will go its ways in spite of our having done our duty. How can we prevent that? Even to think that we can would be conceit. I have with me what your Carlyle says on this. Only recently I read in it some profound observations, which I shall reproduce for your benefit some other time.

Mr. West and others are coming here. This may possibly make you feel a little more nervous still. But you should not be afraid. Mr. West’s coming here is all to the good. It was necessary for him to meet me.

Do not let anything disturb your studies. On Monday, we have sports for the children. We got the parents to donate prizes. Fifty other people will also attend. I wish you were here on an occasion like this.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 13 April 1912 that Since Mrs. Pywell2 and others took all that trouble over you, it is not surprising that you should have been so deeply moved. Your undisciplined ways have been causing me much concern. I should like you to make every effort to submit yourself to discipline. I saw your photograph. You’re out and out English dress is not of a kind to please me. Even the collar starched? Certainly, you must have clean dress. But it does not go with our way of living to dress like a fastidious Englishman. It would even be better if you made it a rule to wear the Indian-style cap. Do not be dismayed by criticism of you in these matters. You may ignore what I say if it does not appeal to you. I do not want you to change your way of life just to please me. You need change only if my argument convinces you and you feel you are strong enough to act on it.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 18 January 1913 that Ideas ought to come up and great changes must take place in my way of

life. But I will not do anything that might cause you apprehension. It is your duty not to lose hope. You can rise only through supreme effort. And when you have done that you will attain limitless effulgence. It is a great enterprise. You are competent to undertake it, for all souls have the same attributes. If only you lift the veils, you can see for yourself your powers. The key to this life is in the yamaniyamas. I wish to write of these hereafter. I have other things to say, but there is now no time. I have corrected the verse from the shataka. Look at it carefully. If you don’t follow, ask again. Always, ponder what you read. Do not utter a syllable or set down a word nor do a single deed without taking thought.

David Ernest and others are coming today.

 

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 18 September 1913 that I have your letters. Today too I don’t have time to write much. Ba and others have been arrested in Volksrust. They were to attend court yesterday.2 I am, however, waiting for a telegram to know what happened. I wanted to pass on the news to you, but I haven’t got any so far. The more disappointed you are, the more miserable I shall be. I have not budged from the promise I made to you. I have made no great change. It cannot make me unhappy, surely, to cultivate inward serenity. I do not suffer by being bound by vows; rather, I feel happy. It is ignorance on your part to be concerned on this account. I can be unhappy only if you misbehave. Whether I am happy or otherwise depends on how you behave. By thinking about what I do, you cannot remove my suffering. You can make me happy if you think of your duty.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 4 January 1914 that I was delighted to receive your letter. In the first place, ever since my discharge I have had not a minute’s rest and I hardly get full sleep any day? In the second place, there were so many to whom I should have written, that I thought I would neglect you all and you would understand the reason why; but your letter compels me to write to you. I think that, on your discharge, you will see both mother and me. Ramdas is looking well and has done well. Devdas has proved a hero. He has developed a sense of responsibility which was unexpected. Purbhoodas did almost equally well, but he is not as quick as Devdas. All the women folk are well and are looking forward to meeting you all. I am sorry that you were not able to read much. I think that, if you approach the Magistrate for more books, he will grant you the permission and you may remind him that you had all the books you desired granted to you at Johannesburg and elsewhere.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 3 February 1914 that I have had two letters from you. I am also sorry I had no talk with you. No doubt, I was very much hurt that you ate chillies. It is possible that you will not feel the effects just now. But never forget that tamasic food2 cannot but have an evil effect. I am sure it will do you good in future if you discipline your senses. For all that from the reference to Andrews in the letter, it appears to have been written when Manilal Gandhi accompanied Andrews as secretary on the latter’ tour of Natal

between January 30 and February 5, 1914. Spicy, salted food; liable to stimulate the qualities of tamas or darkness, animality.

I can see, there has been no spiritual gain to you through your experience of jail. You have great need to cultivate thoughtfulness. It is a rare gain to have come into contact with Mr. Andrews. I should like you to take the fullest advantage of the occasion by preserving the utmost purity. So far, Mr. Andrews has expressed himself perfectly satisfied about you.

Keep an account of every pie you spend. Have no shame about doing any work for Mr. Andrews. You may even massage his calves. Having done so once myself, I know that he probably finds it agreeable. Polish his shoes and tie up the laces. You must not forget to write to me every day. Maintain a diary of meetings with all persons and the developments from day to day.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 28 February 1914 that I have your letter. I know that you are sorry. You haven’t the courage to answer when someone asks you why you went away. It shouldn’t be difficult for you to say that you were sent away to live by yourself because fathers did not like your ways. You should realize that in releasing you from attendance on Ba and asking you to go, in 1914 after his departure from South Africa on February 21.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 4 March 1914 that I have your letter. You ought not to have hidden from me the fact that you lost the tin of water. Just think how much care I take even in regard to such things and take a lesson from it. But that lesson you will take only if you lay open your heart before me. You will not be able to learn anything so long as you try to hide your mistakes from me, even for a moment. Be sure that hiding or secrecy is a form of untruth, which is like poison in the system. A poison turns other healthy substances also into poison. Even a grain of arsenic is enough to render milk unfit for drinking. Insist on getting up at 4 a. m. always. If it is very cold, sit in the house, cover yourself liberally but do get up early. You may go to bed as early as you like; I do not mind that.

As regards food, you may have three meals a day if you feel the necessity. You need not control yourself in the matter of taking food. It is enough if you observe some rules regarding the articles of food. Ba is somewhat better today; but still the crisis is not over. She is bed-ridden.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 14 March 1914 that I have not delayed in the least in writing to you. It seems I write wrong addresses. It happened in the case of Jamnadas. The same thing happened in the case of Schlesin also. I shall hereafter read the addresses again. Ba is now getting better. You must have seen what I wrote about

Bapa in my letter to Kallenbach. Do write a letter to Chi. Samaldas. You need not be disturbed by the intrigues that are being hatched there. No man can hasten or delay my death even by a minute. The best way of saving oneself from death is to go seeking it.

It is no doubt our duty to take care of our life in a general way. More than this we need not do. We should rather welcome death whenever it

comes. It will not matter if you do not try to save time by discontinuing

to cook for yourself. Let things go on as at present. I think it will take three hours at least. You can save time only if you make more changes in your diet. It is not necessary to make the changes for the present. I have written to Kallenbach also accordingly. Send the list of your books again to Phoenix.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 19 March 1914 that

I hope it was after careful thought that you made the changes in diet you have done. See that whatever you do is not done in a hurry to be given up afterwards, and remembered merely as a dream. Some of it at least must endure for the whole of your life. You have introduced so big a change that you may perhaps find yourself in the same state you were in at the end of chaturmas. There is only one way to guard oneself against excessive eating, viz., to serve out the full quantity for oneself in advance and put away the utensils containing the rest before sitting down for the meal. Ba is all right.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 22 March 1914 that

I have been getting your letters. I see that you’re going over there has been for the best. And it is as well that you are alone. You are too quick in making changes. I wish some of them at least endure. It will be enough if your habits become regular there. Personally, I think it will be best if you come along with me. There will be no difficulty if 20 of us are together on the ship. I certainly don’t think Jekibehn will be able to stay with me at any rate for some time after we reach India. It is my desire to see you esteemed in India as a brahmachari of a high order, your conduct so naturally well-disciplined that it cannot but produce an impression on others. This will require hard work, study and purity in you. No impression can be made by doing anything with the deliberate object of producing one. If, however, the things which commend themselves to one are best, they will impress.

You must, therefore, make your own choice and consider what you want to do. You must then cling to the thing till death. I am sending Chi. Harilal’s letter for you to read. Think over the wretched state he has been reduced to. The fault is not his, but mine. During his childhood, I followed a way of life none too strict in its rule and he is still under its influence. Tear off the letter after reading it.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 3 April 1914 that the changes you have introduced are excellent. If you keep them up, you may do yourself much good. I have heard a great deal about the moral effects of getting up early. Why should you be afraid of April 1? Chaitra Sud  is looked upon as a sacred panchami1, which means that you have introduced the change on an auspicious day. In the last analysis, we alone can make fools of ourselves. If we have spirit enough in us, no one dare make a fool of us. The morning hours should be devoted to the most important activities. It will do if you make it a rule to do a large number of sums in arithmetic. I shall be able to tell you more lately. I am sending some books for you. Learn Sanskrit also very well. Ba takes wheat coffee without milk. Except for that, she is on a fast. She is confined to bed. It seems her edema will go down. I cannot say what the final outcome will be.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 12 April 1914 that

Whatever Mr. Kallenbach’s hour for going to bed, you must follow one rule alone. And the same about eating. Here is the meaning of the sentences which you could not understand: “All acts done in a purely legalistic spirit (in accordance with the literal. The date was supplied by Raojibhai Patel.

The Gita has a verse to the same effect, which you may ponder over. “The Vedas keep on the plane of the three gunas; be thou, Arjuna, beyond that gunas.This is what Shri Krishna said to Arjuna. This does not mean that one need not do the duties prescribed in the Shastras. It means rather that doing them is not quite enough, that one must understand their hidden significance, their aim, and go beyond the actions themselves. The man who renounces the prescribed duties and professes himself a barren Brahmavadin will have no footing anywhere. He will have lost the support provided by the Shastras while the foundation of inward illumination has not yet been built, so that he is bound to fall. St. Paul therefore told the Galatians: “Do perform the acts enjoined by the scriptures; but you will remain under a curse, if you have no faith in the teachings of the Lord Jesus and do not follow his teachings.” The same meaning is to be read in “bond maid” and “free woman”. Bond means bandhan. Scriptures are compared to the mother in flesh, who, it is pointed out, has the status of a slave so that her children are also born slaves. Faith, which means bhakti, is described as a divine mother, whose children are angels. Read the sentences which precede and follow in the light of this explanation and tell me whether you follow them properly or not. Corinthians means that sin is the sting of death that, in other words, that a sinful man alone feels death as a sting. For the virtuous, it is the means of attaining moksha. The second line means that mere dry knowledge of the scripture has the power of a curse. We observe this at every step.

Hundreds of sins are committed in the name of scripture. The meaning of Romans V, 20 is simple enough. Scripture made its appearance again and led to more crimes. As the load of sins increased, however, God’s grace also increased in like measure. That is, even in such evil times, men were found who broke themselves free from the chains of dry learning and, teaching the way of bhakti, brought out the hidden meaning of scripture; this was God’s grace.

 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Here “are” denotes the future and “through” should be taken to mean “by acting according to”. Think twice before introducing changes by way of reform in your life. But I wish that, having once adopted a change, you would cling to it like a leech. Love the virtues of Mr. Kallenbach. Know his weakness when you see it and keep yourself away from it. The latest change you have introduced has not been adopted after due thought. You are not bound to adopt all the changes which Mr. Kallenbach may make. You must learn to think independently for yourself and stick to your judgement. It will not matter if, in doing so, you sometimes go wrong. You are even entitled to oppose my views after you have honestly thought over a matter; in cases in which it seems right to oppose me, opposition becomes your duty. It is my earnest desire that you should understand the idea of moksha and aspire for it. This will never come about, however, till you develop a capacity for independent thinking and firmness of mind. At present, you are in the condition of a creeper. It assumes the shape of the tree over which it spreads. That is not what the atman does. The atman is free and, in its essence, omnipotent.

“It is desire, anger, born of the quality of rajas, all-devouring and sinful; know it to be the enemy.”1 This is the reply that Shri Krishna gave to Arjuna when the latter asked him what it was that drove man to commit sin against his will. It means this: “The cause of sin is desire, anger, which has its origin in the quality of rajas; is all devouring and drives men to sins without number. Know it, for certain, to be the enemy.” This is an established truth. Hence you should have remained quiet when Mr. K. lost his temper. When one’s elders get angry, one should be gentle and not answer back; if forced to reply, one should say: “I will correct myself; please forgive me this time.” There is no admission in this of one’s having acted wrongly on purpose. Later, when the person has calmed down, one may politely put one’s doubt to him, if one has any. You can ask Mr. K., when he is himself, how it was wrong to serve apples picked from a lot which was getting rotten.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 17 April 1914 that

Ba is, now at any rate, on the way to recovery again. Even there, I cannot but think; it will prove a rewarding practice to sit down on the floor to eat. You should clean the place where you sit down, so that no one could object. We have made it a practice to sleep on the floor and so we may have our meal as well. It should be enough if you mop the floor where the meal is to be served. One would feel it awkward if one had to start doing this after going to India. There is humility in sitting on the floor for a meal; it will mean, moreover, that we are adopting a practice followed by crores of people. It is few who have their meals at the table.

My diet consists of 18 dates, 9 bananas, three sic uncooked groundnuts, four amatungulu and two lemons, with two spoonful’s of oil added. I take a quantity of coconut kernel which I can chew.

Tomatoes being dear, they have been ordered only for such as cannot do without them. Not everyone lives on one meal a day. Raojibhai and I alone follow the practice. Ramdas carried on with it for a month. On Mondays and Fridays, everyone goes without salt.

I do not know why people do not fast on the tenth instead of the eleventh day of each fortnight; it seems obvious, however, that going without the usual food at least one day in a fortnight purifies body and mind. We want to have the palate under control but, falling short of complete success, we atone for the failure once in a fortnight.

Moreover, we commit numerous sins mentally and hence by balancing the account once a fortnight we realize our abject state. To observe the ekadashi, it is not enough merely to keep a fast; the day should be spent, rather, in reflecting over matters of faith. I have already asked two books to be sent to you. The Gita transcribed by you will be in addition to these. “Such passeth from all ‘plaining’ to blest nirvana” is a translation of as shantimadhigachchhati1. It means, he attains to peace. He who has given up all desires, who is free from the sense of “I” and “mine”, who is unconscious of his identity as a separate being, attains peace. In the word “plaining” occurring in the English [translation] above, ‘ex’ has been left out, so that the word is “explaining”. Such a man escapes from all concerns (objects of desire and pursuit) to the happy state of nirvana.

One who rises early should make no exception on Sundays. If we do, we shall anxiously await the coming of a Sunday. If, therefore, you seriously want to form the habit, you must get up at the same time on

Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to Manilal on dated 28 May 1914 that I have your letter. While you express your regret, you say in the selfsame letter that on that very day you had forgotten to serve so important an item as the vegetable. You say it was left out, without explaining how it happened. Who is to blame? Why did you entrust the task to anyone else? You should have yourself carried the vegetable you had lovingly cooked. You may as well take a lesson from this. There is no need to be sorry for what is past and over, but it is important that one should learn something from it. While there, learn from its reference to the publication of the Indians’ Relief Bill, which took place on Thursday, May 28, it is evident that the letter was written the same day.

devoted to your duty and cultivate self-discipline. This cannot be achieved, however, unless one thinks. Have regard for everyone there, think of the good qualities in others, rather than their weaknesses, and be mindful of your own shortcomings. Instead of gossiping away your time, keep thinking. A single moment wasted is so much [time] lost from one’s life and so much stolen from God. Understand this and use every moment well. See that your body becomes tough.

The Bill has been published and is likely to come up next week. One does not know, though. There has been no meeting yet with General Smuts.

 

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