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The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi

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Item Code: NAJ754
Author: R.K.Prabhu and U.R.Prabhu
Publisher: Navajivan Publishing House
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 8172291493
Pages: 613
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.0 inch x 6.0 inch
Weight 690 gm
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About The Book

The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi presents to the reader the quintessence of Gandhiji's thought and philosophy.

The proofs of the original edition were submitted to Gandhiji in 1944, and were read by him. A committee which he had appointed to scrutinize the compilation expressed the opinion that it would constitute "a new Gita, a new Bible". The book came out, with Gandhiji's approval, in March 1945. A second edition became necessary in October 1946.

Reviewers and critics were unanimous in their appreciation of the book. It was included in all selective Gandhi bibliographies, and cited and quoted in numerous important books on Gandhiji since published. It has become an authoritative source-book. The UNESCO sponsored publication: All men are Brothers (1958) drew a substantial part of its material from The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi.

Translations of the book have appeared in Indian languages Mahatmara Manoranga (1947 and 1952), in Kannada, by R. R. Diwaker; Gandhijinche Manas (1949), In Marathi by Annasaheb Sahasrabuddhe and Madhav Purshottam Limaye, and Manas-theertha (1958), in Konkani, by Ramchandra Narayan Nayak.

The book has been out of print for the last six or seven years, during •which time Prabhu and Rao worked on bringing the text up-to-date. The revised and enlarged edition incorporates Gandhiji's thoughts during 1946-48, the crucial last years of his life and work. It is thus a faithful, authentic and comprehensive presentation of the mind of one who has been described as "the greatest Indian since Gautama the Buddha and the greatest man since Jesus Christ" and "as the greatest man of the 20th century".



It gives me pleasure that a new, revised and enlarged edition of The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, edited by Shri Prabhu and Shri Rao is being published by the Navajivan Trust. The first two editions of the book were very popular and its translations had appeared in several languages.

In the new edition, Gandhiji's thoughts in the last few years of his life have been incorporated. Thus the book has been brought uptodate.

"Who, indeed, can claim to know the mind of the Great?" is a famous saying of the Poet Bhavabhuti. Gandhiji was a great man; nevertheless, he had laid bare his mind in its fulness before the world. For his part, he had permitted no secrecy. Even so, I must confess, the last chapter of his life, which I have called the "Swarga-rohan Parva", or the chapter of the "Ascent to Heaven", remains a mystery to me. Indeed, in my eyes, it stands equal to the last phase of Lord Krishna's leela To unravel its mystery, it may become necessary for Gandhiji himself to be born again. Till then, I hope, this book will be an essential help for understanding Gandhiji's mind to those who are striving to establish Sarvodaya and are searching for Truth.




To judge a great man or to decide his place in history, during his life-time, is not easy. Gandhiji had once observed: "Solon found it difficult to pronounce on a man's happiness during his life; how much more difficult it must be to adjudge on a man's greatness?" On another occasion, speaking of himself, he had said: "It will be time enough to pronounce a verdict upon my work after my eyes are closed, and this tabernacle is consigned to the flames." Nineteen years have now passed since he died-a martyr.

His death was mourned by the entire world, surely as no other death in human history. Grief at his passing away was enhanced by the manner of it. As one observer put it, his assassination would be remembered for centuries to come. The Hearst Press of the United States believed that its emotional impact upon the world at the time had no parallel in human annals since the similar martyrdom of Lincoln. It could aptly be said also of Gandhiji that "he now belongs to the Ages". One recalls Jawaharlal Nehru's memorable words on that somber night: "Alight has gone out of our lives", d sentiment which the New York Times, on January 31, 1948, underscored, adding that it remained for the inexorable hand of history to write down the rest. What, then, will history's verdict be on Gandhiji?

If contemporary opinion is to be regarded, Gandhiji would be placed side by side with the greatest men of human history. While E. M. Forster believed that he was likely to be considered the greatest man of our century, Arnold Toynbee is convinced that he certainly is. Dr. J. H. Holmes offered a more concrete estimate when he described Gandhiji as "the greatest Indian since Gautama the Buddha and the greatest man since Jesus Christ". In the hearts of his people, however, he is likely to be enshrined as the Mahatma, or, more endearingly, as Bapu-the 'Father of the Nation' who led it to freedom-through a bloodless revolution.

What attributes in Gandhiji constituted the fibre of greatness? He was not merely a great man; rather, he was both a great and a good man-a combination which, as a critic put it-is too rarely achieved and too little appreciated. One recalls George Bernard Shaw's laconic comment: "It is dangerous to be too good."

History will also record that this little man •held tremendous-almost unparalleled-sway over the minds of his fellow men. Strangely, for that command was backed by no sanctions of temporal power or the might of arms. The clue to this enigma, if enigma it was, lay in Gandhiji's personal character and example, according to Lord Halifax who, as Viceroy during the days of Gandhiji's Salt Satyagraha, came very close to understanding him. It was that strength of character and of practice, as distinguished from precept, that enabled Gandhiji to influence so deeply the thought of his generation. Indeed, Prof. L. W. Grensted holds that Gandhiji's greatness lay not in his achievement, but in his character. To this Philip Noel-Baker would add purity of motive and self- less devotion to the cause in which he believed.

But this, surely, is not all the reason for Gandhiji's unprecedented ascendancy. Reginald Sorensen, to cite again contemporary testimony, believed that if Gandhiji exercised an influence beyond calculation not only in India but upon our modern age, it was because he bore witness to the power of the spirit and sought to implement it in his political activities. Here, then, in his re- affirmation of faith in the human spirit as well as in his introduction of spiritual values and techniques in mundane matters lies the uniqueness of Gandhiji. It is in this con- text that Dr. Francis Neilson says of Gandhiji: "A Diogenes in action, a St. Francis in humility, a Socrates in wisdom, he reveals to the world the utter paltriness of the methods of the statesman who relies upon force to gain his end. In this contest, spiritual integrity triumphs over the physical opposition of the forces of the State."

Gandhiji had pitted against the organized might of the State the pure strength of Non-Violence and Truth. And he had won. But the gospel of Non-violence and Truth which he had preached and practised was no new philosophy. He had indeed admitted, nay even claimed, that it was "as old as the hills". Only, he had resurrected that philosophy and used it on a new plane. In conformity with his belief that Truth, as a living principle, has growth and as such, is bound to reveal to any earnest votary of it, newer and newer facets of it, he claimed to have discovered new dimensions and new potencies in the principle of Non-violence. True, that principle was only the obverse of that of Truth; but, for that very reason, inseparable from it. Gandhiji had made it his life-mission to bring home to his fellow men all over the world the conviction that there is no salvation for them, whether as individuals, communities or nations, unless they tread the path of Non- violence and Truth.

That path in politics implied-and implies-what one critic put as a revolution much more radical than any other, because it meant that we must change the whole order of personal or political life, or change nothing. But, for Gandhiji there was or could be no wall of separation between the personal and the public, the inner and the outer life of man. In this respect he stood clearly apart from and above most of the world's politicians and states- men. And therein lay the secret of his strength.

Gandhiji has himself observed that whatever power, whatever influence he had possessed or exercised had been derived from religion. Stafford Cripps had perhaps this fact in mind when he remarked that there has been no greater spiritual leader in the world of our time. Manchester Guardian, on January 31, 1948, summed up this aspect of Gandhiji's personality when it wrote; "He is, above all, the man who revived and refreshed our sense of the meaning and value of religion. Though he had not the all- comprehending intellect or the emotional riches which can construct a new philosophy or a new religion, yet the strength and purity of his moral urge were clearly derived from deep religious feelings."

The world today admittedly stands on the verge of disaster that may well be irretrievable. The reason: the constant ideological conflict, the fierce race hatreds that may lead to wars more terrible than any in history, and the ever-present threat of nuclear proliferation, involving the possibility of unimaginable destruction. Thus situated, mankind has to make its choice-for its sheer survival-between the moral and the material forces. The latter are leading humanity headlong on the road to self-annihilation. Gandhiji shows the other road, because he represents the moral forces. Maybe, it is no new road. But it is the road which the world has either forgotten so long or has not had the courage to take, and which it can now ignore only at the cost of its very existence.

Here in this book of his own words, the Mahatma speaks, and speaks for himself, with no interpreter between him and the reader, for none is necessary. Western people have sometimes expressed difficulty in understanding him. Note, for instance, Horace Alexander's statement that, in some ways, Gandhiji's deep metaphysical reasonings could be very baffling to the Anglo-Saxon mind. This volume offers basic material for understanding Gandhiji's mind on matters moral, social, political and spiritual. The advanced student of psychology, however, may need to probe deeper into the fundamental origins and sources of Gandhiji's motivation and conduct. To him this work can only be a source of reference.

The present revised and enlarged edition appears over twenty years after the earlier ones. It incorporates what they could not: the thought and philosophy of Gandhiji's crucial final years: 1946-48, when he rose to the transcendental heights of the human spirit-above caste, creed, party, and even country. Then he belonged, more truly than ever, to all humanity. For, in those years which led him inevitably to the supreme denouement of martyrdom in defence of his faith, he preached and practised the religion of humanity, the religion by which alone mankind can survive. And it is because of this that the views and opinions which he had expressed in those last years assume for us and posterity a sanctity and a valedictory finality which make them indispensable to the comprehension of the totality of his mind. Their assimilation in the present volume has involved the introduction of some new chapters and the enlargement of several of the old ones.

Again, the earlier editions suffered somewhat from the exclusion largely, if not wholly, of most of his thoughts on problems of purely Indian interest. This was done on grounds both of limitations of space and the needs of the wider readership abroad. The defect needed to be remedied if the personality and vision of Gandhiji had to be understood in their fulness. In his eyes, India had a mission for the world, and he had wanted her to be at once the example and the exponent of his philosophy. This India of his dreams is now presented in an almost entirely new section: "Freedom and Democracy".

There has also been a noticeable re-organization and re-arrangement of the material which is calculated to fulfil better the aim and purpose of the book.

The compilers' grateful acknowledgments are due and are here made to the publishers of all the books, periodicals etc., from which the material has had to be drawn in the preparation of this volume. The compilers are deeply grateful to Acharya Vinoba Bhave for writing a foreword of great significance to the new edition.

It remains only to add a personal note. This preface appears, it will be seen, under the initials of only one of the compilers. For, the other is no more. R. K. Prabu, life-long student and faithful exponent of Gandhiji's teachings, friend, philosopher and guide to many including his collaborator, passed away on January 4. This was before the preface to the new edition could be drawn up and the book itself published. For much of what has been written here, therefore, the responsibility is that of the surviving compiler; likewise, the blame for that which ought to have been said, but is not. Yet, both responsibility and blame stand somewhat mitigated in that the present writer had recourse to the random jottings and lucubrations, as Prabhu called them, conveyed in his letters almost to the last day.

For thirty years the present writer has been privileged to enjoy Prabhu's friendship and, for quite some of them, active collaboration with him. No tribute that he can pay, therefore, may be adequate in his own eyes: for a similar reason, none that he pays may appear wholly impartial in those of the readers.

Prabhu was the originator of the "grand" Gandhi project which was to encompass this and several other volumes of Gandhiji's thought and philosphy. Only three, however, could materialize from the joint labours. Fortunately, Prabhu by himself produced several others big and small, all published by Navajivan. It is for the serious student of Gandhian literature to evaluate Prabhu's contribution to it. His collaborator must content himself with acknowledging his debt to one who gave him his inspiration, initiation and association.

Two very special and unsolicited observations as to Prabhu's place in the field of Gandhi compilations may, however, be cited here. One, Gandhiji's own, made to the compilers during a memorable interview on June 27, 1944, at the Nature Cure Clinic in Poona: "You are saturated with the spirit of my writings." The other by a notable philosopher-interpreter of Gandhiji: Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who, in a personal message of condolence on Prabhu's death, wrote: "The publication of his work on Gandhiji will be a good reminder to us all of his main life-interest."




  I: Of Myself  
1 Neither Saint Nor Sinner 3
2 My Mahatmaship 11
3 I Know The Path 17
4 My Mission 23
5 The Inner Voice 31
6 My Fasts 34
7 My Inconsistencies 37
8 My Writings 39
  II: Turth  
9 The Gospel of Truth 42
10 Truth Is God 47
11 Truth And Beauty 55
  III. Fearlessness  
12 The Gospel of Fearlessness 59
  IV. Faith  
13 The Gospel of Faith 63
14 The Meaning of God 70
15 Ramanama 80
16 Prayer The Food of My Soul 84
17 My Hinduism Is Not Exculsive 92
18 Religion And Politics 101
19 Temples And Idolatry 104
20 The Curse of Untouchability 107
  V: Non-Violence  
21 The Gospel of Non-Violence 112
22 The Power of Non-Violence 121
23 Training For Non-Violence 125
24 Application of Non-Violence 128
25 The Non-/violent Society 130
26 The Non-Violent State 134
27 Violence And Terrorism 138
28 Between Cowardice And Violence 142
29 Resistance to Aggression 145
30 The Choice Before India 152
31 India And The Non-Violent Way 157
32 India And The Violent Way 161
  VI: Satyagraha  
33 The Gospel ofSatyagraha 164
34 The Power of Satyagraha 173
35 Non-Co-Operation 179
36 Fasting And Satyagraha 184
  VII: Non-Possession  
37 The Gospel of Non-Possession 187
38 Poverty And Riches 193
39 Daridranarayan 196
  VIII: Labour  
40 The Gospel of Bread Labour 198
41 Labour And Capital 205
42 Strikes: Legitimate And Illegitimate 511
43 Tillers of The Soil 517
44 Choice Before Labour 221
  IX: Sarvodaya  
45 The Gospel of Sarvodaya 223
46 The Philosophy of Yajna 228
47 This Satanic Civilization 231
48 Man Machine 234
49 The Curse of Industrialization 241
50 Socialism 245
51 A Socialist Pattern of Society 251
52 The Communist Creed 253
  X: Trusteeship  
53 The Gospel of Trusteeship 257
54 Non-Violent Economy 263
55 Economy Equality 266
  XI: Brahmacharya  
56 The Gospel of Brahmacharya 272
57 The Marriage Ideal 278
58 Children 281
59 Birth-Control 283
60 Women's Status And Role In Society 290
61 Sex Education 299
62 Crimes Against Women 301
63 The Ashram Vows 303
  XII: Freedom And Democracy  
64 The Gospel of Freedom 311
65 What Swaraj Means To Me 317
66 I Am Not Anti-British 322
67 Ramarajya 326
68 Kashmir 327
69 Foreign Settlements In India 328
70 India And Pakistan 331
71 India's Mission 334
72 Essence of Democracy 338
73 The Indian national congress 349
74 Popular Ministeries 355
75 India of My Dreams 359
76 Back To The Village 361
77 All-Round Village Service 365
78 Panchayat Raj 371
79 Education 377
80 Linguistic Provinges 385
81 Cow Protection 387
82 Co-Operative Cattle Farming 391
83 Nature Cure 393
84 Corporate Sanitation 396
85 Communal Harmony 398
  XIII: Swadeshi  
86 The Gospel of The Charkha 403
87 Meaning of Swadeshi 410
  XIV: Brotherhood  
88 The Gospel of Love 416
89 All Life Is One 424
90 No Cultural Isolation For Me 430
91 Nationalism Internationalism 435
92 Ragialism 440
93 War And Peace 442
94 Nuclear War 447
  The Way To Peace 451
  The World of Tomorrow 458
  XV: Obiter Dicta 461
  Sources 498
  Sourge References 501
  Chronology 527
  Glossary 546
  Index 554

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