“ When I found myself drawn into the political coil, I asked myself what was necessary for me, in order to remain untouched by immorality, by untruth, by what is known as political gain. “ I came definitely to the conclusion that, if I had to serve the people in whose midst my life was cast and of whose difficulties I was a witness from day to day, I must discard all wealth, all possession. ”
“ I could not live for a single second without religion. Many of my political friends despair of me because they say that even my politics are derived from religion. And they are right. “ My politics and all other activities of mine are derived from my eligion.
“ I go further and say that every activity of a man of religion must be derived from his religion, because religion means being bound to GOD, that is to say, GOD rules our every breath. ”
“ For me, politics bereft of religion are absolute dirt, ever to be shunned. Politics concerns nations .. and that which concerns the welfare of nations must be one of the concerns of a man who is religiously inclined, in other words, a seeker after GOD and Truth.
“ For me GOD and Truth are convertible terms, and if anyone told me that GOD was a GOD of untruth or a GOD of torture, I would decline to worship Him. Therefore, in politics also we have to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. ”
“ I could not be leading a religious life unless I identified myself with the whole of mankind, and that I could not do unless I took part in politics.
“ The whole gamut of man’s activities today constitutes an indivisible whole. You cannot divide social, economic, political and purely religious work into watertight compartments.
“ I do not know any religion apart from human activity. It provides a moral basis to all other activities which they would otherwise lack, reducing life to a maze of ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’. ”
“ There is an indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it.
“ It is this unseen power which makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses. It transcends the senses. But it is possible to reason out the existence of GOD to a limited extent. ”
“ I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that change a Living Power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves, and re-creates. That informing POWER or SPIRIT is GOD. And since nothing else I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is. ”
“ To see the universal and all-pervading SPIRIT OF TRUTH face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. “ And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to truth has drawn me into the field of politics ; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means. ”
“ Identification with everything that lives is impossible without self-purification; without self-purification the observance of the law of ahimsa must remain an empty dream. GOD can never be realized by one who is not pure of heart.
“ Self-purification, therefore, must mean purification in all walks of life. And purification being highly infectious, purification of oneself necessarily leads to the purification of one’s surroundings. ”
“ I am but a poor struggling soul yearning to be wholly good .. wholly truthful and wholly non-violent in thought, word and deed ; but ever failing to reach the ideal which I know to be true.
“ It is a painful climb, but the pain of it is a positive pleasure to me. Each step upward makes me feel strong and fit for the next.
“ I am endeavouring to see GOD through service of humanity, for I know that GOD is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in every one.
“ Indeed, religion should pervade every one of our actions. Here ‘ religion ’ does not mean ‘ sectarianism ’. It means a belief in ordered moral government of the universe. It is not less real because it is unseen. This religion transcends Hinduism, Islam, Christianity etc. It does not supersede them. It harmonizes them and gives them reality. ”
“ There can be no manner of doubt that this universe of sentient beings is governed by a Law. If you can think of law without its Giver, I would say that the Law is the Lawgiver, that is GOD.
“ When we pray to the Law we simply yearn after knowing the Law and obeying it. We become what we yearn after. Hence, the necessity for prayer.
“ Though our present life is governed by our past, our future must by that very LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT be affected by what we do now.
“ To the extent, therefore, that we feel the choice between two or more courses we must make that choice. ” (Page 83)
“ Electricity is a powerful force. Not all can benefit from it. It can only be produced by following certain laws. It is a lifeless force. Man can utilize it, if he labours hard enough to acquire the knowledge of its laws.
“ The living force which we call ‘ GOD ’ can similarly be found if we know and follow ‘ HIS LAW ’ leading to the discovery of Him in us.
“ To seek GOD, one need not go on a pilgrimage or light lamps and burn incense before or anoint the image of the deity or paint it with red vermilion. For, He resides in our hearts.
“ If we could completely obliterate in us the consciousness of our physical body, we would see Him face to face. ”
“ GOD is not a person… GOD is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal. And yet, strangely enough, all are not able to derive either benefit from or shelter in the all-pervading living presence. ”
“ I believe that we can all become messengers of GOD, if we cease to fear man and seek only GOD’s Truth. I do believe I am seeking only GOD’s Truth and have lost all fear of man.
“ I have no special revelation of GOD’s will. My firm belief is that He reveals Himself daily to every human being. But, we shut our ears to the ‘ still small voice ’ .. we shut our eyes to the ‘ pillar of fire ’ in front of us. ”
“ I must go with GOD as my only guide. He is a jealous Lord. He will allow no one to share His authority.
“ One has, therefore, to appear before Him in all one’s weakness, empty-handed and in a spirit of full surrender, and then He enables you to stand before a whole world and protects you from all harm. ”
“ If I did not feel the presence of GOD within me, I see so much of misery and disappointment every day that I would be a raving maniac and my destination would be the Hooghli. ” (Page 88)
“ I am surer of His existence than of the fact that you and I are sitting in this room. Then, I can also testify that I may live without air and water but not without Him.
“ You may pluck out my eyes, but that cannot kill me.
But blast my belief in GOD, and I am dead. “ You may call this a superstition, but I confess it is a superstition that I hug, even as I used to do the name of RAMA in my child-hood when there was any cause of danger or alarm. That was what an old nurse had taught me. ”
“ Not until we have reduced ourselves to nothingness can we conquer the evil in us.
“ GOD demands nothing less than complete self-surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having.
“ And when a man thus loses himself he immediately finds himself in the service of all that lives. It becomes his delight and his recreation. He is a new man, never weary of spending himself in the service of GOD’s creation.
“ I am a servant of Mussulmans, Christians, Parsis and Jews as I am of Hindus. And a servant is in need of love, not prestige. That is assured to me so long as I remain a faithful servant. I have no desire for prestige anywhere. ”
“ Jesus, to me, is a great world teacher among others. He was to the devotees of his generation no doubt ‘ the only begotten son of GOD ’. Their belief need not be mine. He affects my life no less because. “ I regard him as one among the many begotten sons of GOD. In his own times he was the nearest to GOD. ”
“ What I mean by religion : It is not the Hindu religion, which I certainly prize above all other religions, but the religion which transcends Hinduism, which changes one’s very nature, which binds one indissolubly to the truth within and whichever purifies.
“ It is the permanent element in human nature which counts no cost too great in order to find full expression and which leaves the soul utterly restless until it has found itself, known its Maker and appreciated the true correspondence between the Maker and itself.
“ If a man reaches the heart of his own religion, he has reached the heart of the others too. ”
“ After long study and experience, I have come to the conclusion that (i) all religions are true (ii) all religions have some error in them (iii) all religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism, in as much as all human beings should be as dear to one as one’s own close relatives.
“ My own veneration for other faiths is the same as that for my own faith ; therefore, no thought of conversion is possible. ”
“ Let no one even for a moment entertain the fear that a reverent study of other religions is likely to weaken or shake one’s faith in one’s own.
“ The Hindu system of philosophy regards all religions as containing the elements of truth in them and enjoins an attitude of respect and reverence towards them all. This, of course, presupposes regard for one’s own religion.
“ Study and appreciation of other religions need not cause a weakening of that regard .. it should mean extension of that regard to other religions. ”
“ I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world. I believe that they are all GOD-given, and I believe that they were necessary for the people to whom these religions were revealed.
“ And, I believe that, if only we could all of us read the scriptures of the different faiths from the standpoint of the followers of those faiths, we should find that they were at the bottom all one and were all helpful to one another. ”
“ I do not believe in the exclusive divinity of the Vedas. I believe the Bible, the Koran and the Zend Avesta, to be as much divinely inspired as the Vedas.
“ My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired. I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense. ”
“ Temples or mosques or churches… I make no distinction between these different abodes of GOD. They are what faith has made them. They are an answer to man’s craving somehow to reach the Unseen. ”
- Material Excerpted from Spiritual India March-April 2009