the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action
Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Senior Gandhian Scholar, Professor, Editor and Linguist
Gandhi International Study and Research Institute, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09404955338, 09415777229
Mailing Address- C- 29, Swaraj Nagar, Panki, Kanpur- 208020, Uttar Pradesh, India
International Sanatorium and Mahatma Gandhi
It is a matter of joy to me that I am able to make this hurried visit. That you are in a beautiful building situated in pleasant surroundings must be a matter of recreation for you. As you have very properly remarked, this sanatorium should not be for merely healing the body but for promotion of international friendship. After all one finds that healing of the body plays a subordinate part in human experience. One may live down injury to the body but not the injury to the soul. And so it is a matter of keen joy to me that you are looking after things of the spirit also. I wish you many years of service, complete restoration to health and life of the inmates and useful international service thereafter.
Q. Does psychological influence promote healing?
A. I am afraid illness will remain with mankind so long as mankind exists. But I do believe that at present we are making a fetish of illness. If I had my way, I would reduce medical treatment to a minimum. I have enforced that rule not only in my life, but in the lives of hundreds of my companions. I believe that most of the illnesses we suffer from yield to hygienic treatment and I think that in life, which is beset with dangers, we should count with grave dangers also. And this has given us much consolation in illness. The rule is: let us not think of having services which millions in all parts of the earth cannot command. For instance, the favoured students and professors of medicine can have access to this, but not the millions who are suffering like you. I do not want to say this by way of criticism of the sanatorium, but I do want to say that I am not personally in love with sanatoria like these. Therefore I know full well that if millionaires of the earth emptied their wealth it would not be enough to build millions of sanatoria for people needing them. In reducing hygienic laws we should reduce them to such proportions that the poorest may observe them in their own lives and their own health. That brings us to psychological influence which promotes healing. I believe in this to a great extent. I believe a healthy mind presupposes a healthy body and, if you are to analyze medical students as you are illnesses that the flesh is heir to, you will find that most are avoidable and mind has a great part to play in creating illness and promoting it Whereas, instead of pampering ourselves, if we were tolerant, we might be able to shed these illnesses. This is a subject which, as some of you know, I have been studying or experimenting in as a quack for 35 years. I could therefore keep you engaged for hours in reciting my experiences.
Q. What is the moral significance of manual work?
A. I think so much of it that in institutions I have founded manual work is a sacred obligation for the inmates and he who does not do manual work steals food. He is not entitled to eat his portion of food, unless he has done sufficient manual work and I have not the slightest shadow of a doubt that when man shirks manual work, he stunts his moral growth. I have no doubt that, if we recognize the significance of manual work, many of the monstrosities would die a natural death. The law of bread labour was that that man was entitled to bread who worked for it. You find that law enunciated by Jesus when he said: thou shalt earn thy bread by the sweat of thy brow; and if this was literally followed, there would be very little illness on earth and little of hideous surroundings on earth.
Q. Is it not possible to live in Europe without compromise in accordance with your ideas?
A. Not impossible but difficult. But, however difficult the thing may be, it is necessary to make a heroic effort in order to translate the ideal into practice.