the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action
Mahatma Gandhi and his son Ramdas-II
Ramdas Gandhi was third son of Mahatma Gandhi. He was a freedom fighter. He had taken part in every freedom movement. He had sent many times jail by the British Government. He had not believed in eleventh wolves of Mahatma Gandhi. He opposed many times to Mahatma Gandhi on the poverty.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 8 January 1934 that I got both your letters. Do not worry about your having opened Manilal’s letter. You are free to open any letter. How can I possibly keep anything secret from you all. You fear your own shadow, fancying a whole lot of misfortunes. Both of you have resolved to stay on there and have the necessary experience. You should therefore stick to the place now. Go on cheerfully doing what you can and be happy. If you do that, you will certainly get over your diffidence. I may say I have now begun to understand why you suffer. Without knowing it, you are trying to appear better than you are wishing to do so, but you should check such a wish. One should not feel miserable at what one is. One should try to improve oneself but should not worry iPhone fails. That is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita’s teaching and therein lies true. Humility you have in ample measure but you feel sore in your mind fancying that you lack something. To do so is the very opposite of humility. Humility always makes one contented with what one is. Why should you, seeing someone’s palace, pull down your little hut? Why should you not think of your hut as much better than a palace? It is not true that those who live in palaces are happier than those who live in huts. Happiness consists in being contented.
Why need you feel sore over your inability to overcome your impure thoughts? Everyone in this humility world is full of blemishes. Out of countless persons who try to overcome their impure thoughts, only one succeeds in doing so. The vast majority should be satisfied with doing the best they can and leave the result to God.
You need not feel the least constraint in writing anything to me. You should make it a rule to write to me at least once a week. You will feel light in your heart if you do so. Never entertain such futile thoughts that you could not write to me because you were unworthy. Should you on your own think yourself unworthy, or feel so only if I thought you unworthy? Will you try to curb my thoughts? If God thinks me worthy, why should I think myself to be unworthy? God never regards anyone as unworthy. How, then, could parents with feet of clay think their offspring unworthy? Are they themselves likely to be so perfect that they can claim the right to judge their offspring and think them unworthy? No one is competent to judge who in this world is worthy and who is not. All of us being imperfect, we should bear with one another and do the best we can and purify ourselves. Parents have no right to sit in judgment over their offspring, nor has a husband the right to sit in judgment over his wife. This is implicit in ahimsa. Therefore overcome your sense of frustration and take heart.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 23 April 1934 that I received your letter. If you resolutely observe the rules of diet, the body will get properly built up. If necessary, undertake another fast. I have found from my experience of all my fasts, except one, that the body must get stronger after a fast. If my health suffered after my 14-days’ fast, the cause was purely my ignorance. Even today, I suffer the ill-effects of that deterioration in health. If my health had not suffered then, today my body would have been much stronger than it is. But that is a past story. My subsequent fasts have wiped out some of those ill-effects. But then, this is looking at my fasts purely from the point of view of their effect on health. What the man in the street or the Government would think about the matter should be irrelevant.
Religious decisions should be made independently of all other considerations. The ultimate result of such decisions cannot but be good. However, this is a matter of faith. It is my duty to induce you to think for yourself. Thus, our experience in the individual Satyagraha was that one after another the fighters began to weaken. Physically, almost all of them got tired. In that individual Satyagraha, all or most of those who took part in it were induced to do so by their faith in me. Since I myself am imperfect, no other result was possible. If the foregoing reasoning is correct, after knowing all that had happened I ought to have woken up. I did that and braving all risks announced my decision.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 11 May 1934 that I have your letter. I am sure you liked my walking tour.1 I am writing this in the early morning in a small village. You may give the baby girl whatever name you like. I have no preference in the matter. Vasumati keeps writing to me. I will send the news to Ba. You should also write to Lady Thakersey at her home address. You must have received my previous letter. You have rightly seen what Dr. Sharma is. Surendra too must have received my letter.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 25 June 1934 that Sharma must have arrived there. He will therefore tell you everything. If you wish to leave that place, there is no room for choice. Chorwad is the only choice left. Teethal is out of the question.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 12 September 1934 that Your wire has scared me. I at once wired Dr. Kanuga that he might remove you to whichever hospital he thought best. Vallabhbhai was with me when I sent the wire. I mentioned a hospital at his suggestion.
God will restore you. Keep repeating the name of Him whose das you are considered to be, that is, to whom your name signifies you are dedicated. Know that Ramanama is the only remedy that never fails. There is no remedy like peace of mind. Who has ever escaped birth, death, old age and disease? They are inseparable from the body. If, however, they are all equal in our eyes, all the four will be the same to us in spite of their being different. Now that you have started treatment under a doctor continue it. Sharma may give you company and nurse you. But as he has now learnt humility, he will not mind your being looked after by a doctor.
He may even welcome it. You cannot go to S. A. till you are fully recovered. The passport also will take some time. It will be in my hands at the earliest on the 23rd. You will get a boat ten days after that. That is quite a long time by our reckoning. By that time you will have perhaps completely recovered. This fever may eventually remove all the poison from your body.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 24 September 1934 that I don’t like your idea of paying Sharma. His services cannot be rewarded with money. You two have become friends. There can be no giving and receiving money between friends. I think he will feel offended if you offer to pay him. If he does accept, I would be surprised. His needs are being met and I have also been doing whatever else is necessary for him. You need not, therefore, worry about his economic condition. In fact I see from his letters that he would be fully satisfied if you are completely cured physically, mentally and spiritually and if you can testify that you were cured mainly through his instrumentality and that is as it should be. I would, therefore, advise you to give up the idea of paying him that sum. Having said this, let me repeat that you are a completely free agent and that the money belongs to you. If you think that giving it to him would be the best way of using it, by all means give it. You may rest assured that what pleases you will please me.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 27 September 1934 that whatever is happening is for the good. One gains all this by submitting to God’s will. Whatever happens, the mind that has offered up all the acts to the Lord never feels discontented. One who is conscious of the “I” is satisfied with nothing. Know that this contains all that is worth knowing. It is true, of course, that it is difficult to cultivate the attitude of offering up all the acts to the Lord. However, if after knowing the truth we ceaselessly strive to follow it in practice our contentment will go on increasing.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 6 October 1934 that I got your postcard. If you can live only on milk and curds and vegetables and fruit, your body is bound to improve. In any case you must not worry. I have written to you at length regarding cod-liver oil. If you could not follow it, ask me again. Do what you like. When one’s body is at stake, even one’s parents cannot lay down one’s dharma. Nobody can be forced to be good. Dharma is a matter of the heart. One should not copy anybody else in following it. You may, therefore, do without the least hesitation whatever seems good to you. Harilal seems to be going on well just now. He has gone to Rajkot. I get two or three letters from him every week. Sharma has not returned yet. I had told him to stay on as long as he thought necessary.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 19 October 1934 that I got your letter. You must have received my letters. I will take
care to write to you even from Bombay. You may take cod liver oil and eat eggs if you find it necessary to do so. If the doctor leaves the choice to you, between the two, eggs are preferable. Crores of rupees are spent in the preparation of codliver oil, and I do not know how much cruelty is involved in catching the fish. It seems to me to be a Satanic type of medicine. Eggs matured according to modern methods seem to be quite innocuous. We can see this for ourselves by making experiments, whereas we cannot prepare cod-liver oil ourselves. All the same, you know that I encouraged Prabhudas to take cod-liver oil, as also Radha and others. None of us can overcome the desire to live. There is neither sin no shame in this desire.
Cod-liver oil also is one of the means of keeping oneself alive. Even men who are reputed to be spiritually enlightened use it. Who am I, then, to stop you from taking it? This is a matter in which nobody should interfere in another’s case. Ultimately, everyone should be his own judge as to what his dharma is. You practice self-examination and are eager to acquire knowledge from others. I have, therefore, tried to tell you about both things as much as I know. You may now take either of them if and when it may be necessary to do so. Stay in the hospital as long as the doctor wants you to do so. All that experience will be useful to you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 5 November 1934 that I dare not send for you. How can I say that my treatment will surely benefit you? How can I experiment with you? Moreover, once you are here you will surely get involved in a number of things. After all, home is home. What one happens to see or hear cannot but affect one. Precisely for this reason I have left the matter entirely to you. At the moment I find my dharma of not opposing your wishes easy enough. It is the least likely to be wrong. Yet I would suggest this to help you to arrive at a decision. After much thinking I am inclined to select Poona. It has the best climate and good water. Lady Vithaldas has been pressing me for it. Try her treatment and as Ba would be with you, you will find the going easy. If you decide to go there you had better send Sumitra here. Nimu also would like to come over but if you want to take her with you, by all means do so. From all this you will see that I am inclined to keep you away from me. Make up your mind after considering my inclination for what it is worth. Don’t leave it to me. I do feel that you ought to come away from there. You may consult Dr. Jivraj at Bombay if he has the time. I would not mind, though, if you don’t. You are not going to come to the slightest harm. Never mind if you take time to recoup your strength. Don’t lose heart. Know that I am not at all opposed to your coming here if you like to do so. If you do come over I shall of course guide you as best as I can. But on the whole I like Mehta’s treatment.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 January 1935 that I have your letter. One ought not to stay where one feels oneself to be a burden on the hosts. I understand what you say about your having to find a separate room. I see that the Rs. 25 per month shall
not now be sufficient to meet your needs. You need not mind that. Your peace of mind is what matters most. I am writing to Jamnalalji but at the same time you also should talk to him frankly. He will immediately understand your need. Pyarelal writes and tells me that you are much better than you were at Wardha. I was pleased indeed to hear that. You must have got my letter in which I mentioned the suggestion made by the Delhi tailor. You need not get agitated by such a letter from me. You may do what you yourself wish to do. I will be perfectly satisfied with that. Your good lies in following the inclination of your own nature. You alone can know what will satisfy your nature.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 February 1935 that I got your letter. I too believe that your medicine will be your work. In what direction are you trying these days? Do those on whom you had pinned your hopes fulfill them?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 20 February 1935 that I received your letter. I get time for writing letters only before the Morning Prayer. I therefore reply to you before the prayer. Jamnalalji will of course see you today. I cannot say that I like the printing press work you have taken up. I would have liked your tailor’s job more. But what pleasure can I take in what 1 like? My pleasure lies in what you like and can do. You like the work you have taken up and so does Jamnalalji. Swami has liked it, too. I am therefore content. You would not have made money quickly as a tailor, but may do so from the printing press. Patil is a good man and is intelligent. It is therefore likely that he will acquit himself well. Your need just now is not only to keep your mind occupied but also to earn enough money. By all means take up the work and make a success of it. It cannot but give me pleasure if your health is restored; you stand on your own feet, and acquire self-confidence.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 23 March 1935 that I got your letter. I have only now read Patilji’s letter to J. He has been very much hurt. I have consoled him. It would of course have been better if you had told him in advance. But do not worry about it now. Do not enter into partnership with anybody until you have become quite proficient. I would suggest that you should try to get a job in a big press. Personally I do not like press work. If, however, you do wish to take up such work, first take up a job in a press and learn the work. My own preference still is for a tailor’s or a cobbler’s profession. Both are first-class professions. They have great room for artistic skill. Nimu can give you all possible help in that work. You may execute ‘a deed of partnership’1 with her. No loss is ever possible in these professions. But this is mere pretentious advice from me.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 13 April 1935 that I have received your note. Let me know when the thing is fixed up. I will be leaving for Indore on the l9th instant1 and return at the latest on the 25th.The silence2 will end not on the 14th morning but after the Morning Prayer on the 19th.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 April 1935 that I have your letter. You are very lucky, indeed. I am glad that your last enterprise has come to naught. It could not have continued. The difference between business and service is that in the latter income is limited and in the former it is unlimited. Business, of course, calls for hard work. You should therefore take up a job and learn what you wish to learn. You will acquire self-confidence if you learn some trade. If you take in a press, learn printing or composing. Then there are of course the crafts such as tailoring, shoe-making and carpentry. The easiest are tailoring and shoe-making. Both involve only stitching. After learning these crafts you may even do business in the field.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 29 April 1935 that I got both your letters. Even if you were to fail in following your own inclination, I would count that too, as success. If you do what I desire and succeed in that, it would be my success. But that would be of no profit to you. What you need just now is self-confidence.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 12 May 1935 that what keeps you happy will keep me happy, too. You will develop strength of character and understand your duty only by acting as you wish to. I do not worry. Sumitra has once again run back here. She will not get here the company of. She had in the Kanya Ashram. But she is getting along quite well.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 5 July 1935 that I understand now why you have taken up the printing-press work. May it give you satisfaction? My life has been spent in food and other experiments and the experiments will continue still. I believe they have done no harm either to me or to the world because, whenever I have discovered an error, I have corrected it. The neem leaves experiment was useful and is still continuing. Even the tamarind experiment has done me nothing but good. But I ate it in rather excessive quantity and therefore suffered for three quarters of an hour.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 13 August 1935 that I have your letter. Ultimately everyone lives as he is destined to. So you also will work according to your lights. But as there is destiny
so also there is effort and since it is in our hands to make efforts, we are taught not to rely on destiny. That is how the shloka “Action
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 17 November 1935 that Why, indeed, need you write to me. Kanu is fine. As I am writing this, he is cycling about. He eats quite well. He accompanies me on my evening walks. He is still coughing a little. Everybody says that Nimu has very badly gone down in health. If finally she does not keep well, send her over to me. Let her go to Lakhtar if she so wishes. Or, she may go to Sabarmati. You ought to observe regular eating habits. If you all constantly fall ill, it would be too great a price to pay for living in Bombay. I do wish that you should not pay such a price. What came of your plan for a store?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 21 December 1937 that I have your letter. Don’t believe newspaper reports unless you get a cable from me. If there is anything serious a cable will of course be sent. What you think about me is not correct. I believe that I am more vigilant than any other leader. This is, as I understand, the straight and simple cause of my blood-pressure. My non-attachment is less than what is meant by the Gita; I am full of feeling. I am always pained by anybody’s suffering. This is as it ought to be. And still I must remain non-attached. I have not yet mastered that art. It will not be nonattachment if I am not affected by others’ sufferings. The Gita asks us to endure cold and heat, joy and sorrow. It doesn’t say in so many words that a non-attached person never feels them. If, therefore, you said to me, ‘Bapu, you are not obeying the teaching of Mother Gita’, your charge would be tenable. But, as for physical rest, such as the pampering of the body, etc., I have been taking more than enough.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 10 January 1938 that doesn’t worry for me. There is one who worries for you, me, and everybody. Why, then, should we worry at all? And now I am improving, even though slowly. Do not trust the newspapers except Harijan. If you can live there peacefully, your health will improve even there. In any case, however, you will be able to earn a plain loaf of bread anywhere. If you become calm you will improve your health even there. Here you would feel embarrassed to eat as much as you wish whiles there everybody does and can do so. Such is the power of psychological atmosphere. How can one eat one’s fill without a sense of guilt in this poverty-stricken country? There you are far away. In a distant land one should forget things back home and adjust oneself to the surrounding atmosphere. I have not come across any human being who remains unaffected by his surroundings. I for one think there can be no such person. If there is any such person in a million, he must be a vatapi, that is, one who lives only on air. How can such a one permit himself to eat anything else? Does God eat?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 September 1938 that Today I just feel like addressing you as I did when you were a little child is still not ready with me. You have returned and you are welcome. I will leave from here for Delhi on the 19th. I shall be there for at least eight days. You may therefore go to Delhi directly from there or accompany me from here. I wish you to come here so that we may go to Delhi together. A conch-shell or a flute instead of a clock will do for Kanam for his [bag]4. You will then be safe. Bring from there a small conch-shell or flute. Let him blow the conch-shell or play on the flute. Bhansalibhai teaches him with all love.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 14 November 1938 that I got your letter. The Mysore job seems to me rather a difficult one. The Sardar thinks so too. He arrived today. Now we will discuss the matter tomorrow.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 18 May 1940 that How are you keeping now? Has the load on your mind lightened? Are you able to absorb yourself in your work? I hope you are not short of money, are you?
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 May 1940 that I wrote to you this morning and in the afternoon I received your letter. You have no cause to despair. Try for six months more and if
you fail even after that, you may certainly come over to me. If your health itself suffers, you ought to give up the service. You alone can say what your health is like. Go and consult Vallabhram Vaidya and improve your health.
Mahatma Gandhi talked on 28 January 1944 that Mr. Ramdas said that Government was taking unnecessary risk in detaining Mrs. Gandhi. The old man Gandhiji replied that there was a greater risk in releasing her. In case she was released and if she died, Government would be compelled to release him, which they did not like to risk. Mr. Ramdas said that it was his impression that Harilal, being an irresponsible man, might give in papers anything about the Palace, and hence Government were reluctant to give Harilal frequent interviews. Mr. Gandhi laughed and said: Perhaps I may take advantage of Harilal’s weakness and ask him to do something for me.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 3 August 1944 that I have gone through your letter. I hope Usha is all right now. In operations, our calculations do not prove true. Do not be in a hurry to come here. When everything is all right, you may pay a short visit. I am quite well.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 20 February 1945 that the enclosed letter is for all of you to see and then pass on to Sumi. How well written it is! Sita is making progress. I have a letter from Sumi but I regard it as one from Nimu because although in Sumi’s hand it was written at Nimu’s instance.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 18 March 1945 that you form opinions on incomplete information and feel unhappy. This has been your old habit. You must get rid of it. What wrong notions you have formed on the basis of Sushilabehn’s letter! I am not a person to waste myself physically and mentally. I do my work and am happy. I put my idea of education into practice in my own case. My fast it could not really be called a fast because I took fruit juice was purely physical. I did not find it unbearable. I did not agree to take glucose and so had the feeling of fasting. But that was only for a short time, as later on I had to take glucose. I can tell you more but this should suffice. Bear in mind that I take all possible care of myself. I hope Kanam is well.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 5 May 1945 that you have used reasoning in your letter which, however, does not appeal to me. You have a right to go to Dinshaw’s because he has made you his own. Dinshaw is imbued with the spirit of altruism, even towards the poorest. His is not an organization for the poor. Similarly it is not for the rich. However, both can go there as also those belonging to the middle class; that is possible because of Dinshaw’s good nature. Moreover, you had no right to use reasoning the way you have, for you had given me to understand that you were about to take long leave, or had taken it, and would be devoting a year to improving your health. Of course you will have yourself treated there and think of going to Dinshaw only after you have completely ruined your health. As you will yourself admit you could not perceive Dinshaw’s love for you. I therefore even now advise you to take one year’s leave and go to Dinshaw’s. As I have already told you, I shall manage to find your one year’s expenses from somewhere. I shall not pay from the Ashram funds but seek money for you from somewhere. I have forgotten what arrangement was made about the expenditure. However, explain that to me again and I will act accordingly. You have something that attracts older persons to you.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 7 March 1946 that Kanam writes and says that you have again fallen ill. You did not tell me so and I therefore did not believe him. He did well to inform me. You ought to get rid of the disease once for all. Write and tell me everything or ask Nimu to write. I am thinking of going to Bombay on the 12th. I will probably have to stay there for four or five days.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 26 March 1946 that I have started practicing nature cure in this village. I shall leave this place on the 31st for Delhi. As regards Dr. Mehta, nothing is certain. His clinic is being vacated. Hence I don’t think I can bring you here [for treatment]. The work at Uruli-Kanchan will continue in my absence. But you will not be satisfied. We wish to reach that stage of giving satisfaction to all the patients, but that will take time. Do the following: Ramanama with faith, hip-bath, friction-bath, sun-bath, pranayama and mudpacks on an empty stomach.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 28 October 1946 that I am writing this on my way to Bengal. I got your note. You had better preserve your health.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 10 January 1947 that I got your letter. I do believe that you will prove worthy of your responsibility. It will be enough if you maintain your health. Don’t at all worry about me. I am not starving. I allow myself the necessary facilities and also get them wherever I go. Manu has taken up a lot of work and I expect her to take upon herself further responsibilities as the days pass. I have asked her to write about her sharing the bed with me. I am dictating this letter after getting up at 3 o’clock. I am also preparing to introduce changes in this programme. I am still surrounded by darkness. I have no doubt whatever that it indicates a flaw somewhere in my method. Take it as though I had confined myself to this place to detect that flaw. It must lie somewhere in my practice of ahimsa. Could it be that I am nurturing only weakness in the name of non-violence! Weakness can take a number of forms, but it is meaningless to plunge into a discussion about it. That alone is true which we realize by experience. You may not therefore bother with it but try to do your own work as best as you can. That is enough for me. Kanu seems to be making good progress. He is gradually maturing. He must get rid of the cold; and I believe he will. I had a long letter from Nimu1 but now I shall not write to her. She should content herself with the understanding that a letter to you is also to her. If she attended to all her work there and still maintained her health, I would consider that she was doing my work.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 1 October 1947 that I have your frank letter. You have done well to write about yourself. To me it is a great thing that you have developed confidence in yourself. It will be enough if you improve your health. Happiness in the first place consists in keeping oneself healthy. But only if the term “oneself” is interpreted in the widest sense is this statement true. If it is interpreted too narrowly, only damnation will result.
You are fully entitled to write to me as you did concerning my fast; but you have not thought over it deeply. You might have had doubts about my earlier fasts, but you should not have the slightest doubt about the recent one. Even my opponents have welcomed it. No one has been compelled to do anything for fear of my death. The fast awakened their goodness. What dharma is it to behave as a brute towards a brute? The country and Hindu dharma are declining because of what is happening today. Think over this and write to me if you feel like it. I hope all of you are all right.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter to his son Ramdas on dated 22 December 1947 that someone did mention to me that you were coming. I forget who it was. I was glad that we were going to meet. But it is perfectly all right that you stayed back. What needs to be considered is whether you can rest while you are there. It is true that I crushed my finger. I had a sharp shooting pain which gave me a reeling sensation. It was nothing to worry about. In fact I had gone to a meeting2. The pain subsided in a minute or two and I addressed the meeting. When I got out of the car Brijkishan slammed the door without looking around and my finger which happened to be there got crushed. I am no doubt careful but even a careful person does meet with such accidents. Sumi3 has come here, along with another girl and a boy. It is about Radhakrishna. Hope all of you are well.