Shrimad Rajchandra and Mahatma Gandhi
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On the day when he returned to India in Samvat Year 1947 after completing education in England, Mahatama Gandhi was introduced to Shrimad Rajchandra by Dr. Pranjivandas Mehta. Gandhi writes in his Autobiography - "The Story of My Experiments with Truth" about his first acquaintacne with Shrimad.
"...Dr. Metha introduced me to several friends, one of them being his brother Shri Revashankar Jagjivan, with whom there grew up a lifelong friendship. But the introduction that I need particulary take note of was the one to the poet Raychand or Rajchandra, the son-in-law of an elder brother of Dr. Metha, and partner of the firm of jewellers conducted in the name of Revashankar Jagjivan. He was not above twenty-five then, but my first meeting with him convinced me that he was a man of great character and learning. He was also a Shatavadhani (one having the faculty of remembering or attending to a hundred things simultaneously), and Dr. Metha recommended me to see some of his memory feats. I exhausted my vocabulary of all the European tongues I knew, and asked the poet to repeat the words. He did so in the precise order in which I had given them. I envied his gift without, however, coming under its spell. The thing that did cast its spell over me I came to know afterwards. This was his wide knowledge of the scriptures, his spotless character, and his burning passion for self-realization. I saw later that this last was the only thing for which he lived. The following lines of Muktanand were always on his lips and engraved on the tablets of his heart:
'I shall think myself blessed only when I see Him in every one of my daily acts; Verily He is the thread, which supports Muktanand's life.'
Raychandbhai's commerical transactions covered hundreds of thousands. He was a connoisseur of pearls and diamonds. No knotty business problem was too difficult for him. But all these things were not the centre round which his life revolved . That centre was the passion to see God face to face. Amongst the things on his business table there were invariably to be found some religious book and his diary. The moment he finished his business he opened the religious book or the diary. Much of his published writings is a reproduction from his diary. The man who, immediately on finishing his talk about weighty business transcations, began to write about the hidden things of the spirit could evidently not be a businessman at all, but a real seeker after Truth. And I saw him thus obsorbed in godly pursuits in the midst of business, not once or twice, but very often. I never saw him lose his state of equipose. There was no business or other selfish tie that bound him to me, and yet I enjoyed the closest association with him. I was but a briefless barrister then, and yet whenever I saw him he would engage me in conversation of a seriously religious nature. Though I was then groping and could not be said to have any serious interest in religious discussion, still I found his talk of absorbing interest. I have since met many a religious leader or teacher. I have tried to meet the heads of various faiths, and I must say that no one else has ever made on me the impression that Raychandbhai did. His words went straight home to me. His intellect compelled as great a regard from me as his moral earnestnes, and deep down in me was the conviction that he would never willingly lead me astray and would always confide to me his innermost thoughts. In my moments of spritual crisis, therefore, he was my refuge..."

Gandhiji regarded Shrimadji as his friend, philosopher and guide. He acknowledges the debt he owes to Shrimadji in his recollections of his friendship with Shrimadji. From 1891 to 1901 A.D. for a period of ten years they were best friends.
Gandhiji says that most of his lessons for self-improvement and on truth and non-violence, he has learnt from Shri Raichandbhai. Raichandbhai is one of the three personalities that have much impressed his mind, the other two being the writings of Tolstoy and Ruskin's `Unto this last'.
To love the murderer is one of the maxims of non-violence and Gandhiji had well learnt it from Shrimadji, who was full of sympathy, forgiveness and piety for all living beings.
Gandhiji says: "I have drunk to my heart's content the nectar of religion that was offered to me by Shri Raichandbhai. Raichandbhai hated the spread of irreligion in the name of religion and he condemned lies, hypocrisy and such other vices which were getting a free hand in his time. He considered the whole world as his relative and his sympathy extended to all living beings of all ages.
Shrimadji was an embodiment of non-attachment and renunciation. He has written only that which he has experienced. He has never allowed his poetic imagination to get ahead of truth and experience. There is therefore no artificiality in his writings. They come from the heart and appeal to the very heart of the reader. He used to keep diary and a pen with him in all his daily routine and he immediately wrote down important thoughts that occurred to him. I never remember any occasion when Shri Raichandbhai got lost or infatuated in any worldly matter."
"His living was simple. He was satisfied with whatever food was offered to him. He put on simple but clean clothes. He used to wear Dhoti, Peharan, Khesa and a turban. He used to sit on a Gadi on the floor in his shop or at home.
He was slow in his walk and he used to think while walking. There was a spark in his eyes, they were full of luster and steadiness. They declared the single-mindedness of his purpose. His face was round, his lips thin, nose not pointed nor flat, body single, height average, color darkish white and general appearance that of an idol in peace. His tone was so sweet that one would love to hear him more and more. His face was smiling and in full bloom and joy. It clearly declared the internal joy and peace. His language was so effective and measured that he was never found to be searching for words. Language was his maidservant. He was described by some as an incarnation of the Goddess of Learning, Saraswati. He never changed a word while writing a letter. He expressed his thoughts and meditations in fine and appropriate language.
This description befits only a self-controlled person. By renunciation the external forms one cannot be self-controlled. The real self-control is not an imposition, it is an inspiration and an internal illumination.
Complete non-attachment and renunciation is the gift of the soul. It should be spontaneous and from within and not sporadic or externally imposed. Very rare souls by virtue of their high spiritual attainments in their previous births possess these qualities in them. Only those , who actively try to keep away from all attachments from them, know how difficult it is to attain. Such a difficult achievement was easily found in Shri Raichandbhai. The first step to Self-realization is a cultivation of a spirit of complete non-attachment and it was natural in Raichandbhai.
People normally believe that truth-telling and successful business never go together. Shri Raichandbhai on the other hand firmly believed and advised that truth and honesty were not only useful but essential to all good business. Morality is not packed within a prayer book, it is to be practiced and lived in all stations of life. Religion and morality sustain both good life and good business. Though Raichandbhai never played tricks with others, he used to find them out quite easily when they were played by others. And he used to snub the persons using the tricks and force them to leave them.
While we are worldly souls, Shrimadji was quite other worldly or liberated from the worldly life. While we may have to take many further births, for Raichandbhai his present life may be the last. While we perhaps are running away from liberation, Raichandbhai was heading towards liberation with a tremendous speed. This speaks volume of Raichandbhai's self-effort.
Whoever will read his teachings and follow them may speed up his march to Self-liberation. From this is evident that Raichandbhai has written for the advanced and the initiate in religion and not for all and sundry.
While many Christian Missionary friends considered their religious duty to convert me to Christianity on the ground of its wonderful vows of charity, chastity, faith and hope, I made up my mind that I should first find out whether the religion of my birth namely Hinduism, gave me the message that I needed.
And I asked a few fundamental questions on Hinduism to Shri Raichandbhai by post and his replies were so logical, so appealing and convincing that I regained my faith in Hinduism and I was saved from conversion of religion. From that moment onwards, my respect and admiration for Raichandbhai increased with leaps and bounds and I considered him to be my religious guide till he lived."
"Religion does not mean religious differences and set beliefs. Religion does not mean cramming or reading of all religious texts or believing all what is said in them as gospel truth.
Religion is the spiritual quality of the soul. It is embedded in human nature in visible or invisible form. By religion we are able to know the duty of man, by it we are able to know our relations (or kinship) with other living beings. But all this requires the capacity to know one's self. If we do not know ourselves we cannot know others rightly. By religion one can know himself. Such a religion can be selected from wherever it is found. All students of comparative religion will testify to what is said about religion here. No religious scripture advises people to tell a lie or to practice falsehood. Nor does any religion advise violence.
Shankaracharya expressed the quintessence of all scriptures in the formula "Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya" that Brahma is the only reality, all else called the world and its differences are unreal or mixtures of truth and falsehood.
Koran Sharif declared that God is only one and He is the only real, and there is nothing else.
In Bible, Christ said: "I and my father are one. All the rest are only manifestations of the one God.
In the expression of the same perennial truth that Reality is only one without a second, many religious and philosophical brains have offered their perspectives and unfortunately their verbal differences have been the cause of much doubt, disbelief and despair for the laymen.
Those who are in earnest about their salvation should leave these differences and follow advice of the experienced Guru rather than be lost in the interpretations of the various religious texts.
We, as stepped in the world by consciousness, are already imperfect and we are trying to take the help of the imperfect scriptures thinking that they are less imperfect than ourselves. We are led by them to a certain limit but beyond it they leave us in the lurch and there we are to rely on spiritual experience alone and none else.
Our spiritual experience becomes our guide, illuminates our future path, assures our march and pushes us to the goal.
Shrimadji says in one of his poems i.e. Apurva Avasara, "The stage of experience which the All-seeing Mahavir saw in spiritual knowledge, He could not himself describe in full. I meditated on that very stage of spiritual experience but I found that I was also incompetent to describe it. I have a desire to describe it in full but for the present it has remained only as my cherished desire.
It is clear from the above that Atma or Self alone is to liberate itself. This truth is repeatedly declared by Shrimadji in many of his writings.
He had studied many religious books. He followed Sanskrit and Magadhi languages very well. He studied Vedanta, Bhagavata and Gita. He read the Jain scriptures as many as he could obtain. He had a fine style of reading and a method of quick grasping. He read Koran and Zand Avesta intranslations.
But he used to tell me that he had a soft corner for Jain philosophy and religion, for he strongly believed that soul-saving knowledge had reached its highest possible watermark in Jain philosophy and religion. Nonetheless, Shri Raichandbhai was never disrespectful to any other religion. He had also a partiality for Vedanta. To a Vedanti he might appear a thorough going Vedanti.
In his talks with me he never said that I should follow a particular religion for my salvation. He always advised me to purify my thoughts and behavior.
Looking to my habit and training of my childhood he encouraged me in my reading of the Bhagavata Gita, and he advised me to read among other books Panchikaran, Mani-ratna-mala, non-attachment chapter of Yoga Vashistha, first part of Kavya Dohana and his own composition of Mokshamala.
He repeatedly told me that the various religions are prisons in which men are prisoners. Whoever wants liberation should jump out of them and should not bear any religious mark on his body.
His simple advice is `live easily and in such a way that you can attain the Lord.' Akha Bhagat gave the same advice. Shri Raichandbhai never bothered with religious differences. They used to choke him."

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It is remarkable that Mahatma Gandhi had grown a close intimacy with Kavi Rajchandraji. Mahatmaji had expressed this experience of his life in very impressive language. He writes, "Tolstoy, Ruskin and Rajchandbhai  the three great personalities have influenced me much. Tolstoy through his book and correspondence Ruskin by his " UNTO THIS LAST!" and Rajchandbhai by his close contact. When I had grown up doubts about Hinduism, it was Rajchandbhai who helped me (to remain firm in my belief). In the month of July 1891, when I returned from England and reached Bombay, that I first met Rajchandbhai. Dr. Pranjivandas introducing him to me, as a Kavi (Poet), said, that inspite of being a poet, he is a partner with us in business. He is very wise, a 'SHATAVADHANI' also. I was simply amazed to hear this and out of curiosity read out to him a big list of words from various languages, which I had written beforehand for my convenience. After hearing me, Rajchandbhai repeated those words exactly in the same order as I read them. I was satisfied and wondered (at this extraordinary feat of memory). Indeed I had a great regard and impression about his faculty of memory. The wonder is that the Kavi had no knowledge of English and he was only 25 years old at the time. A student only of vernacular (normal) classes, yet he developed his wisdom and knowledge such that commanded respect from all ! My acquaintance with Kavi continued for long, as a " Gnyani” he was!


While Mahatma Gandhi was in South Africa, he came into the contact of the Christian Missionaries and had religious and philosophical discussions with them. As a result he had to face a mental storm which arose in his mind . He at once wrote to Kavi Rajchandra and sought his help to clear the doubtful points, which were troubling his mind. He put no less than 27 questions to the Kavi, which were duly answered. Since they have a particular importance and meaning because they come from two great geniuses, who India gave to world in this century, we reproduce a few of them for the benefit of our readers.


Q.- What is a soul and what are its functions ? Do the Karmas bound it ?

A.-Just as the pot, table etc. are material substances, similarly a soul is a conscious substance. But pots, tables etc. all material substances are transient impermanent. They cannot remain static in their nature through aall the ages : past, present and future. While on the other hand, soul retains all its characteristics, because it is permanent and eternal. ' Eternal ' is that substance which is not created by the processes of integration and disintegration. There is nothing to show that soul has been created by any such processes. We may make thousands sorts of combinations and permutation (alteration) of material objects, but it is impossible to create consciousness. It is a thing of common experience that if a particular characteristic is wanting in a substance, it cannot be created in it by undergoing it through innumerable processes of combination and permutation. Thus material objects, like pots, tables, etc. which are devoid of consciousness, can never be made to yield it in whatever way they are changed or processed. All these things will result in producing objects of the same materialistic order. It is thus established that soul which is characterized by the wise as a conscious substance, cannot be created from material objects like earth, water, air, and space, etc. The particular characteristic of soul is consciousness. Where it is not found, or which is devoid of it, that, of course, is a material substance. Animate and inanimate these two are eternal entities. Besides the above, there are other methods also for the eternity and immortality of soul. If you just ponder deep you yourself can well realize the permanence of soul. There is no harm or objection, rather it carries you to truth, to accept the fact that the feelings of pleasure & pain, the desire of getting free from them, thoughts and inspiration etc. are all experiences due to the existence of soul and that soul is primarily a conscious entity. Since such conscious feeling, willing and knowing are always present in soul, therefore, it is eternal. For a clear understanding of such philosophical questions, it is advisable for you to first read the Shaddarshana-samuchchaya which is being sent to you.

2. The soul in its pure conscious state, i. e. in the state of its self-realization, is the creator of its own inherent characteristics of knowledge, perception and samadhi i. e. spiritual equanimity. But in the state of its ignorance the soul becomes a creator of emotions like anger, conceit, deceit, greed etc. which are all foreign to it. Not only this much, under the influence of these emotions, soul through its instrumentality also becomes a creator of things like pot, table, etc. To put it more expressively, though soul is not the creator of the substratums of earth from which pots, etc. are prepared, yet it becomes a creator of processes which give new modifications to it. This latter state and functioning of soul is called 'Karma' i.e. action in Jainism, and ' Bhranti' i.e. illusion in the Vedanta. Other systems of Philosophy also refer to this state of soul by similar sort of terms. But solemn and serene thinking reveals the truth that in reality the soul is neither a creator of pot etc., nor of the emotions of anger, conceit etc. In fact, it is a creator of its own conscious characteristics of feelings, willing and knowing.

3.         The Karmas (actions) which are done in ignorance of one's own self, though in the beginning are merely seeds, yet at the time of maturity they turn into trees laden with heavy fruits. It is thus self-evident that the soul itself has to bear the fruits of its actions just as by giving a touch to fire you first feel its heat and then pain follows, similar is the state of the mundane soul. It also by coming in contact with earthly objects by its sensuous organs, first gives rise to emotions of greed, anger and deceit etc. and then as its fruits has to suffer the pangs of birth, death and old age. Please ponder well over these problems with a detached mind and if you have any doubts please rewrite to me. It is the detached mind, which gives strength for abstinence and control and ultimately leads the soul to Nirvana.


Q.-What is God ? Is He the creator of the universe ?

A.-I. Just see you and we, are all mundane beings bound with Karmas, i.e. our souls are in bondage of foreign matter and foreign impulses. The natural state of self with its intrinsic glory free from all karmas, aloof from all impurities and bondages is godhood. God is endowed with the fullness of peace, bliss and knowledge. This godhood is the inherent nature of self, but due to ignorance born of the bondage of karmas one is unable to have a vision thereof. However when one realizes the truth that self is altogether aloof from body and its limitations the dire fruits of actions, and this self is introspected by mind, then by and by one begins to realize its inner glory of omniscience etc. If you just make a minute survey of the value of all things around you, you will find that there is nothing to excel in the glory of your self. Thus we are led to conclude that 'God ' is a synonym of self. For this reason I have a firm conviction that God is self and self is God: God has no abode outside the self.

2.         God is not the creator of the universe. All the elements of nature such as atom, space etc. are eternal and uncreated. They have got their own substratum. They cannot be created from substances other than themselves. Perchance if one says that God has created them, this also does not look sound, because if God is a conscious being or consciousness is taken to be His characteristic, then how can atoms, and space etc. be conceived to have been born from Him ? It is quite impossible for the insentient to come out of the sentient. If we regard God also to be insentient, then it will become devoid of all its glory of peace, bliss and knowledge. just as it is impossible for material things to come out of God, similarly the conscious beings called Jivas cannot be born out of Him. If God is taken to be sentient-cum-insentient, then we will have to con. tent ourselves with universe by calling it to be God, because universe consists both of sentients and insentients. Perchance while admitting atoms, space etc. to be realities independent of God, you may assert that God is the giver of fruits of our actions, but this pro, position also will equally fail. On this part it would be advisable to consult " Shaddarshan.-Samuchchaya " which has dealt this topic at length.


Q.-What is Moksa (salvation) ?

A.-Moksa or salivation is the absolute liberation of self from anger, conceit, greed and other nescient propensities, which bind the soul with earthly coils and other limitations. There is a natural urge in life to be free from all bandages and limitations. A close consideration of this urge makes the truth of the above saying of the wisemen to be self evident.


Q.-It is possible for an embodied soul to know precisely whether he would attain Moksa or not ?

A.-Just as a man, whose hands have been tightly bound down with a rope, on being slowly and slowly loosened, feels a great relaxation from bondage and begins to perceive as if the rope has ceased to exist or exert any influence, similarly the soul which is bound down with various kinds of nescient emotions, on being slowly and slowly released from them, beings to feel the glory of salvation. The more and more the streaks of these emotions fade away, the more and more the soul shines in its luster untarnished with ignorance. As soon as there is a complete extinction of these nescient forces, soul even though it may be delineated by body it blooms out in its full splendor with a consciousness of freedom all round. Thus the soul though residing, in this body enjoys the blessings of salvation.


Q.-It is said in scriptures that a man after death goes to animal, mineral and vegetable lives according to his actions. Do you think it to be right ?

A.-When a soul on death leaves one body to occupy the other, he moves according to his accumulated Karma. In that state sometimes he takes up the animal life and sometimes the mineral one. In mineral state soul experiences the fruits of its karmas only with the help of the touch sense, leaving the other four senses. It does not mean that in mineral state soul becomes earth or stone, rather in this state soul assumes a physical shape akin to stone and itself resides there in an invisible from. Since in this state soul does not possess the other senses besides the touch sense, so it is called Prithvi-kaya-Jiva i. e. a soul with earth body and it is a ( Eka-indriya) one-sensed being. By and by after experiencing the fruits of his karmas, when it leaves that form to assume other forms of life then its earthly body made of stone is merely a heap of particles devoid if life, After the departure of soul it does not evince the instincts of hunger sex, fear & accumulation. Please mind, that a soul in mineral state is not absolutely mineral, it has got a living aspect also. It is all due to its own nescient tendencies, that a soul by their fruitification has to assume an order of life which is one-sensed in consciousness and stonish in physical appearance. It is not merely a stone or a boulder of earth. A soul sometimes assumes the animal form also, but thereby it does not become purely an embodied animal. To assume a bodily form is merely the putting of an apparel, it is not its nature. With regard to the 6th and 7th questions, it will be sufficient to say that stone or earth is not the doer of karmas, rather it is the soul, which is embodied therein, which is the doer of karmas, Inspite of its embodiment, the soul and body are as distinct from each other as milk and water are just as water and milk when mixed together look as one and the same but in reality water is water and milk is milk i. e. in their specialty both of them are Separate entities. Similarly though a soul in its onesensed mineral state, owing to the bondage of karmas looks like an inanimate stone, yet in reality the soul is soul and it retains its separate entity, for in that state also it experiences the urges of the instincts of hunger, sex, fear and accumulation which are invisible to a naked eye.


Q.-What is the Arya Dharma or the sublime religion ? Is it right that almost all the religions have originated from the Vedas ?

A.-I. While describing Arya Dharma, almost all Faiths claim to be the “Arya Dharma ". The Jainas call Jainism to be an " Arya Dharma the Buddhists declare Buddhism to be so and the Vedantis name the Vedanta as such. Thus it has become a common thing, but for the wise the " Arya Dharma " is that spiritual path which leads one to self-realization. It is indeed the Arya Dharma or the sublime religion.

2.         It does not seems possible that almost all the religions originated from the Vedas. The reason for this, as I understand, is, that the knowledge propounded by the Tirthankaras and other Teachers is far greater than that found in the Vedas. And this makes me to conclude that a perfect thing cannot be born from a limited one. Therefore it is not reasonable to presume that almost all religions originated from the Vedas. Vaishanavaism, etc. are of course certain religions which might have originated from the Vedas. No doubt the Vedas existed long before Mahavira and Buddha, the last propounders of Jainism and Buddhism, and we may grant a still greater antiquity to them, but this fact alone does not establish the suggested proposition, because time and truth do not go hand in hand. There is no logic in saying that whatever is antique is perfect and true and whatever is new is imperfect is untrue. As a matter of fact everything in its essence is eternal, but is subject to modification. There is nothing which is absolutely destructible or absolutely predicable. Thus there can be no objection in admitting that the principles enunciated by the Vedic, Jain and all other faiths are eternal, but this much alone does not serve our purpose. We have still to find which of these principles are strong and sound to make us achieve our aspirations of life.


Q.-Who composed Vedas? Are they eternal? If eternal, what does eternal mean ?

A.-I. It seems, the Vedas are old composition.

2 Any scripture in the shape of a book cannot be eternal, but of course if taken by their teachings every scripture is eternal; because there is not a single teaching which has not been announced by different people in different ways. Hinsa cult is, as old as the doctrine of Ahinsa. The thing worth consideration is its value, i.e. how far it is useful for the living beings. Undoubtedly both are eternal, truth as well as untruth, but the thing is that sometimes the untruth takes the upper-hand while at others, truth comes out triumphant.


Q-Who composed Gita ? It does not appear to be composed by God ? What is the proof of its being composed by God ?

A.-I. The above answers will be somewhat helpful in solving these questions provided. God is taken to mean an all-wise and all-knowing being. But if the conception of God is taken to mean an eternal, inactive and all-pervading entity like space, then of course it becomes quite impossible to conceive that such a God ever composed any book; because an act like composition of a book has a beginning and whatever has a beginning, cannot be said to be eternal.

2. It is said that Gita was composed by Veda-Vyasa and because it deals with the lessons given by Lord Krishna to Arjun, so primarily Lord Krishna is Said to be its author and this is all probable. This scripture is certainly very nice, and whatever teachings are contained in it they also are coming down to us from eternity. But it does not imply that its slokas (aphorisms)also are eternal; nor it is possible to say that these slokas were composed by an inactive God. An active embodied being alone can possibly be conceived to be their composer. In the light of the above discussion, there is no harm in believing that God is an all-wise; all-knowing, Being and the scriptures containing lessons taught by Him are Gods Book - “Ishwariya Shastra.”


Q-Is there any merit in performing bloody sacrifice ?

A.-The man only acquires demerit by slaughtering, sacrificing or causing the slightest pain to animals. It matters a little, whether the animal is killed for sacrifice or for the sake of God in a temple. It is true, that alms are given at the time of sacrifice, which are a source of gaining merit, but being associated with Hinsa i. e. injury to animals this sort of alms-giving also should not be consented to.



Q.-When it is said that Dharma or Religion is the highest thing, then is  there any harm in asking reasons for its superiority and validity ?

A.-To declare the superiority and validity of the teachings of Dharma without considering the reasons thereof is undoubtedly very harmful. for it will give rise to propagation of all sorts of things good or bad, meritorious and demeritorious. The validity or non-validity, superiority or otherwise of a thing can only be established by cogent and potent reasons. I think, only those teachings of dharma are best which prove themselves to be strong and sound in. destroying the cycle of births and deaths; and in realizing this pure and peaceful state of life.

13.    CHRISTIANITY DISCUSSED Q.-Do you know anything about Christianity? If so), what do you think about it ?

A.-I have ordinary information of Christianity, but it is a thing of common knowledge that the methods of thought and achievement of the Indian saves are different from those of the foreigners In Christianity soul is always believed to be dependent on others, even in the highest heaven it is not taken to be free from limitations and bondages. In its scriptures very little light has been thrown on the real intrinsic nature of soul. Nor there is any systematic description of the causes of birth, death & other various vicissitudes of life, nor it has dealt with the right ways and methods for the removal of those causes. For these reasons Christianity does not appeal to me to be the highest religion. This opinion of mine is not based on any religious prejudice. If you want to know anything further in this connection, I shall try to elucidate it.


Q-It is an article of faith with the Christians that Bible is the word of God and Jesus Christ is His son. What's your opinion about it ?

A.-This thing, of course, can be believed as an article of faith, but it cannot be established by proof. The same reasoning which I have advanced above to disprove the godly character of Gita and the Vedas can usefully be applied to Bible as well. You will keep in mind God is a perfect Being liberated from the cycles of birth and death, therefore a being who gets incarnated or takes birth can never be a God. As birth is the result of attachment and aversion and God is devoid of these blemishes so God can never be conceived to be assuming births and incarnations. allegorically, of course, Jesus can be taken to be a son of God , but rationally such a belief is untenable. How there can be a son to a liberated God ? If for sake of argument, it may be taken to be true, then how this birth will be conceived to have taken place. Still further if this relationship of father and son be taken to be eternal, then how this relationship will hold good ? All these things are worth consideration in this connection. As far as I think, these things when analyzed would never come true.


Q -The prophecy about Jesus in the old Testament has come out to be true. How do you explain it?

A.- It does not alter the position. It may be so, still we have to judge the validity of the testimony of both the Testaments. "Moreover such a Prophecy about Jesus' birth is no sound proof of his being an incarnation of God, because such prophecies of birth are possible to be made on the basis of astrology etc. It is also possible that Jesus birth might have been prophesied by some person by intuition, but in the absence of cogent proof it cannot be accepted. And such soothsayers cannot be held to be omniscient teachers. Such a prophecy appears to be based more on faith than any reasoning for there are so many difficulties in the way of its being accepted as true.


Q.-There are so many miracles about Jesus narrated in Bible, what do you say about them?

A.-It is quite impossible for a dead body to be resurrected by the entry of the soul which, has left it, or by some other soul. If such a thing begins to happen, then the whole science of causation of birth and death will come to an end. But there is no gainsaying the fact that various sorts of miraculous powers are achieved by spiritual discipline and yogic practices. It is all Within the pale of possibility that Jesus also might have attained several of these powers, but mind, such powers are far inferior to the glory of omnipotent soul. Glory and grandeur of soul is infinite. You may better discuss @s point when we meet.


Q.-Is it possible for us to know about our future and past births ?

A.-Yes, It is possible. Men of unblemished knowledge can know such things by intuition Even ordinary people can know them by logical reasoning. just as by looking, to the clouds & other symptoms of weather a rainfall can be ascertained, so by looking to the tendencies of a being, it is easy determine his previous set or life which led to his present birth. By this method, of course, it is likely that one may not be able to visualize the full picture of his previous life, still a good deal thereof can be known. Similarly from the above symptoms it is possible to ascertain ones future trends of life as well. The more minutely we go into. the details of one's life, the more vivid picture of his, future and previous births would come to light.


A.-So far as this question is concerned, it is already covered by the above answer.


Q.-You have named so many omniscient Teachers, well what is the proof of their being so.?

A.-If you ask this question, with particular reference to my experiences, then I would like to answer it in this way. .A man who has risen above his mundane state, develops in him such a divine life, that his very words, look and presence inspire in others the same sort of feelings of peace, bliss and excellence as felt by him." From this it. is natural to infer that he has attained Moksa or liberation. Besides my experiences there are so many scriptures to verify this truth.


Q.-What do you think about the final fate of the universe ?

A.-It is all unbelievable to me that one day the universe will be empty of souls & the drama of life will come to an end due to their liberation. To me the universe is a running concern. It is a system of double traffic of birth and death, of integration and disintegration. It will go on to be what it is today. Change of course is its law. The old order is being replaced by the new. If it grows in one part, it decays in the other. If we make a close study of this problem we would come to the conclusion that total destruction or Parlay of this universe is, but impossible. Universe does not mean this earth alone.

21.    Q.-Will there ever develop an equitable order out of the inequities of today?

A.-From the answer of this question if anybody tries to indulge in inequities, he should be discouraged from doing so at all events. Both equity and inequity are incessant tendencies but it is most desirable that we should every try to adopt equity and give up immoral ;and unjust ways of life, rather it is our duty to do so for the spiritual progress. It is inconceivable that all living beings will give up their inequities one day and equity will prevail, everywhere. It is a mere utopia to think that such a state of affairs will ever come.

22.    Q.-Is there such a thing as a total extinction of the universe ?

A.-If by pralaya you mean total extinction then such a thing is quite impossible, because there is nothing which is absolutely destructible. But if by parlay you mean an absorption of the universe into God etc., then it may be acceptable to some extent, but to my mind even this much doesn't appear to be possible. It is inconceivable that in some remote future all the souls and other objects of the universe will reach such a stage of similarity of change and uniformity of nature that they would all mingle together as one without any distinction bringing the whole show to an absolute rest. If once such a stage is reached, it is equally inconceivable, " how this uniformity will be disturbed to restart :activity ? " If by pralaya you mean an invisible diversity and a visible uniformity of souls, it would be equally untenable, for in the absence of bodies, there will be no medium of diversity in them. If you take your stand on the diversity of sex instincts of souls, we will have to presume that in Parlay all beings are one sensed. If we proceed on this presumption, the absence of other form of life i. e. two sensed or three sensed etc. in pralaya becomes inexplicable. In short the conception of the total extinction of the universe is altogether untenable.


Q.-Is it possible to get Moksa by Bhakti alone, without achievement of knowledge ?

A.-Bhakti or devotion leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to Moksa. Illiteracy is no hindrance to devotion & knowledge, for knowledge is the very essence of soul. The significance of devotion lies in the fact that it purifies knowledge and the pure knowledge leads to Moksa. According to my belief, there is no attainment of Moksa, without the acquisition of perfect knowledge. It needs no stress to pay, that perfect knowledge includes the knowledge of languages as well. Undoubtedly literacy is helpful in Moksa, but it is not compulsory to be literate to acquire knowledge of self.

 24.   Q.-How far is it true that Krishna and Rama :are the avatars or incarnations of God ? If so, what does the idea of avatars imply ? Were they God themselves or a part of God ? Will moksa be attainable by worshipping them ?

A.-I. I believe that Rama and Krishna were great personages. Since they were souls, they were certainly God also, and if they have annihilated their bandages of karma, there can be no dispute in their having attained Moksa as well. But I cannot accept the theory of a living being as a part of God, because there are thousands of things which militate against this idea. In the first instance thereby the well recognized differentiation between our mundane state of bondage and our cherished goal ,of emancipation will be put to nought. Secondly thereby all the nescient tendencies of life e. g. anger, greed, deceit and conceit etc. which are subduing the worldly beings will be equally attributable to God and if they are so attributed God will no longer remain God, he highest ideal of life. He will lose His Godhood and will become as one of the ordinary beings. Thirdly under this theory all worldly beings will become as perfect as God, and they will stand no need of exerting themselves for procurement of any ends of life. Moreover, they will no longer be liable for any fruits of their actions. When in face of such flaws and fallacies the above idea is not at all appealable, then how such great personages as Rama and Krishna can be taken as arts of God ? Though there is no harm in accepting that both of these great personages were God in embryo, yet it is to be considered whether perfect glory of Godhood had bloomed in them or not.

2.         The answer to your second part of question is very easy and you already know, that Moksa means the spiritual state of freedom from all kinds of attachment, aversion and ignorance, etc. So by whosoever teachings this pure state of freedom be attainable, his worship of course is most fruitful, because by devotion for him the devotee will necessarily contemplate upon the glorious and blissful state of the adored, will acquire faith in the similar ultimate state of himself and by practice will mold himself in the same set of life as that of the worshipful. Thus it will be possible for the devotee to attain Moksa as a result of his devotion to the worshipful. Except this no other forms of worship are advisable for the attainment of Moksa, Other forms may prove helpful to attract him to the true path, but it is not a certainly.

25 Q.-Who are Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesa

A.-It is possible that this terms might be representatives of the three fundamental functions of the universe VI" ". creation (Brahma.) disruption ( Mahesa and maintenance (Vishnu) : If so their personification as deities is well and good; or they might be allegorical names of some other trinity of aspects. [such as the three aspect of the primeval Lord Vrasabha : first as Vishnutbe great ruler who laid down foundation of state and society, second, as Mahesa, the Mahayogi who destroyed the worlds of birth, death and old age; thirdly as Brahma, the omniscient sage, who gave the knowledge of great truths of the eternal drama of life. Taken in this way the idea becomes intelligible, but the accounts as given in the Puranas do not at all appeal to me. My interpretation finds support from this fact also that there are many great truths which have been described in Puranas in allegorical forms for teaching by lessons. We should also try to derive benefit from the lessons of this allegory without entering into controversial matters about Brahma etc. To me this allegorical interpretation looks very nice.


Q.-If a snake comes. to bite us, what should we do ? Should we remain calm and silent and allow it to bite, or kill it outright to save ourselves ?

A -If I reply this question in the affirmative and say, let the snake bite, it would, of course, become a great problem; but anyhow for those, who have realized the truth that body is a transient thing, it would not be at all reasonable to kill a creature which is attached to body. So my reply to this question is that those who are anxious for their spiritual good, should, when con. fronted with such situation offer their body to snake rather than take out its life. You may well ask, " well, what about those who care a little for spiritual good .?" For such people my simple reply is that " let them wander in wretched forms like hell etc. How can one like myself advise them to kill a snake ? It is the non-Aryan attitude of mind which teaches the killing of serpents or other creatures. We should ever aspire to be free from such attitude even in dream. Such are my answers to your questions in short and here I close my letter. In the end I will advise you to closely study the book entitled " Shatdarshan Samuchchaya " and ponder over these answers a bit seriously. In case you need any thing further by letter, you may please just write to me. I shall then try to elucidate it. The best thing .of course is that we should meet together and have a personal talk about these questions.

Ever engaged in solemn thinking on the ultimate nature of self the greatest source of inspiration.


Offers respects

BOMBAY Kanvar Vadi 6, Saturday, Samvat 1950


Such were the questions & answers which were carried on between the two geniuses. Their value & importance is beyond question Originally they were written in Gujarati language and I think, it is the first occasion that they are rendered in English and are being reproduced here. I am glad to note that Bro. Jai Bhagwan Jain advocate of Panipat has very kindly revised, the English Translation, for which I am thankful to him. I am sure, these questions and answers will prove most interesting and instructive to the readers.


 “Mahatma Gandhi and Kavi Rajchandraji; Questions - Answered”, Translated by Brahmchari Sri Govrdhandas, Publisher: Shrimad Rajchandra Gyan Pracharak Trust, Ahemdabad.