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Gandhi on Hinduism

Opinions and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi on Hindusism

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Hinduism….. is the most tolerant creed because it is non-proselytizing and it is found capable of expansion today as it has been found in the past. It has succeeded, not in driving out (as I think it has been erroneously held), but in absorbing Buddhism. By reason of the Swadeshi spirit a Hindu refuses to change his religion, not necessarily because he considers it to be the best, but because he knows that he can complement it by introducing reforms.

Unfortunately, Hinduism seems to consist today merely in eating and not eating….Hinduism is in danger of losing its substance if it resolves itself into a matter of elaborate rules as to what and with whom to eat.

Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. In it, there is room for worship of all the prophets of the world. It is not a missionary religion in the ordinary sense of the term. Hinduism tells everyone to worship God according to his own faith or dharma, and so it lives at peace with all religions.

A man may not believe even in God and can still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after Truth and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst forth upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.

Hinduism is like the Ganges, pure and unsullied at its source, but taking in its course the impurities in the way. Even like the Ganges it is beneficent in its total effect. It takes a provincial form in every province, but he inner substance is retained everywhere.

The Gita is, in my opinion, a very easy book to understand. The general trend of the Gita is unmistakable. It is accepted by all the Hindu sects as authoritative. It is free from any form of dogma. In a short compass it gives a complete, reasoned, moral code. It satisfies both the intellect and the heart. It is thus both philosophical and devotional. Its appeal is universal. The language is incredibly simple.

Brahmanism that can tolerate untouchability, virgin widowhood, spoilage of virgins, stinks in my nostrils. It is a parody of Brahmanism. There is no knowledge of Brahman therein. There is no true interpretation of the scriptures. It is undiluted animalism. Brahmanism is made of sterner stuff.

The Gita is the Universal Mother. She turns away nobody. Her door is wide open to anyone who knocks. A true votary of the Gita does not know what disappointment Is. He ever swells in perennial joy and peace that passeth understanding.

Hinduism is not a religion. It is a way of life. Many who do not practice formal religion are nearer to this way of life than some who do.

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Taken from the book "The Wit and Wisdom of Gandhi" by Homer. A. Jack , a collection of Gandhi's speeches, writings, sayings, reflections etc, which Homer Jack has collected and edited. The "Young India" periodical , which Gandhi edited forms the main source. Homer Jack has referred to six issues of "Young India". The book is a publication of' The Perennial Press Bombay, 1961.

See Also:

  • Hinduism Potpourri -- Hindu mythology, point of views, pictures of deities, sages and stories.
  • Multimedia Mahatma -- Memorabilia, biography, excerpts from autobiography, photo archive and links; includes an interactive Ask Gandhi section


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