Gandhi and Truth

Today is Mahat­ma Gandhi’s birth­day and con­se­quent­ly the day of non­vi­o­lence. I would like to quote from the intro­duc­tion to Gandhi’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy. In between the text are pic­tures that Fred­dy took when he was climb­ing Mt Kenya in March.

Gandhi… I have giv­en the chap­ters I pro­pose to write the title of The Sto­ry of My Exper­i­ments with Truth. These will of course include exper­i­ments with non-vio­lence, celiba­cy and oth­er prin­ci­ples of con­duct believed to be dis­tinct from truth. But for me, truth is the sov­er­eign prin­ci­ple, which includes numer­ous oth­er prin­ci­ples.

 

This truth is not only truth­ful­ness in word, but truth­ful­ness in thought also, and not only the rel­a­tive truth of our con­cep­tion, but the Absolute Truth, the Eter­nal Prin­ci­ple, that is God.

SunThere are innu­mer­able def­i­n­i­tions of God, because His man­i­fes­ta­tions are innu­mer­able. They over­whelm me with won­der and awe and for a moment stun me. But I wor­ship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seek­ing after Him. I am pre­pared to sac­ri­fice the things dear­est to me in pur­suit of this quest. Even if the sac­ri­fice demand­ed be my very life, I hope I may be pre­pared to give it.

Mt Kenya(…) Often in my progress I have had faint glimpses of the Absolute Truth, God, and dai­ly the con­vic­tion is grow­ing upon me that He alone is real and all else in unre­al. Let those, who wish, real­ize how the con­vic­tion has grown upon me; let them share my exper­i­ments, and share also my con­vic­tion if they can.

P1220461The fur­ther con­vic­tion has been grow­ing upon me that what­ev­er is pos­si­ble for me is pos­si­ble even for a child, and I have sound rea­sons for say­ing so. The instru­ments for the quest of truth are as sim­ple as they are dif­fi­cult. They may appear quite impos­si­ble to an arro­gant per­son, and quite impos­si­ble to an inno­cent child.

Mt KenyaThe seek­er after truth should be hum­bler than the dust. The world crush­es the dust under its feet, but the seek­er after truth should so hum­ble him­self that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth. The dia­logue between Vasish­ta and Vish­vami­tra makes this abun­dant­ly clear. Chris­tian­i­ty and Islam also amply bear it out.

Source: M.K. Gand­hi, An auto­bi­og­ra­phy: The sto­ry of my exper­i­ments with truth.