October 2nd is the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. In his memory,
we bring you the text of a talk by Prof. G.Venkataraman sometime
ago over Radio Sai, as a part of the series MUSINGS FROM PRASHANTINILAYAM.
This is our humble tribute to the Mahatma.
GANDHI AND HIS MESSAGE
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prasanthinilayam.
second of October is the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Many
years ago, this day used to be observed with great fervour
in India. But now, Gandhi is slowly slipping out of the radar
screen as they say. And this is the very same man, about whom
Einstein said, as well as I can remember, "Centuries
hence people would scarce believe that such a man actually
walked on earth, in flesh and blood."
Today, I would like to say something about Mahatma Gandhi,
not because he is the Father of the Indian Nation but because
he is one person who took Sathya and Dharma very seriously,
all the time, every single moment of his life.
would like to begin with a Spiritual Message to Humanity recorded
by Gandhi in 1930 or 1931 - I do not exactly remember which
year. That was the year when Gandhi went to England to attend
what is known as the Round-Table Conference, convened by the
British Government to find out about the demands for political
freedom that Indians were making. This was Gandhi's second
and last visit to England. His first was in the nineteenth
century, when he went there to study law. At that time he
was a mere student, but now he was hailed as a Mahatma, and
given respect even by the British, though often most grudgingly.
Gandhi's Message was made into a gramophone
record and we had one in our house. It was the favourite of
my father and indeed of all us. I have heard it many, many
times, and in those days I knew the whole text by heart. It
is such a beautiful speech, that I now wish to share it with
you. Unfortunately, I cannot play for you Gandhi's voice but
I shall give you the text of that famous Message. Basically,
it is all about God. This is what Gandhi said:
|"There is an indefinable mysterious power that
pervades everything. I feel it, though I cannot 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 the senses. It transcends the senses. But it is
possible to reason out the existence of God to a limited
Even in ordinary affairs, we know that people do
not know who rules or why and how he rules; and yet
they know that there is a power that certainly rules.
In my tour last year in Mysore, I met many poor villagers
and found upon enquiry that they did not know who ruled
Mysore. They simply said that some God ruled it. If
the knowledge of these poor villagers was so limited
about their ruler, I, who am infinitely lesser in relation
to God than they to their ruler, need not be surprised
if I do not realise the presence of God, the King of
Kings. Nevertheless, I do feel as the poor villagers
felt about Mysore, that there is orderliness in the
Universe. There is an unalterable law governing everything
and every being that exists or lives.
It is not a blind law for no blind law can govern
the conduct of living beings. And thanks to the marvellous
researches of Sir J.C.Bose, it can now be proved that
even matter is life. That law then, which governs all
life, is God. Law and the Lawgiver are one. I may not
deny the Law or the Lawgiver because I know so little
about it or Him. Just as my denial or ignorance of an
earthly power will avail me nothing, even so my denial
of God and His Law will not liberate me from its operation.
Whereas, humble and mute acceptance of Divine authority
makes life's journey easier, even as the acceptance
of earthly rule makes life under it easier.
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 things together, that creates, dissolves and
recreates. That informing power or spirit is God. And
since nothing else that I see merely through the senses
can or will persist, He alone is.
Is this power benevolent or malevolent? I see it
purely as benevolent for I can see that in the midst
of death, life persists, in the midst of untruth, Truth
persists, and in the midst of darkness, Light persists.
Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth and Light. He
is Supreme Good. But He is no God who merely satisfies
the intellect, if He ever does. God to be God must rule
the Heart and transform it. He must express Himself
in every smallest act of His votary. This can only be
done through a definite realisation, more real than
the five senses can ever produce.
Sense perceptions can be, and often are, false and
deceptive, however real they may appear to us. Where
there is realisation outside the senses, it is infallible.
It is proved not by extraneous evidence but in the transformed
conduct and character of those who have felt the real
presence of God within. Such testimony is to be found
in the experiences of an unbroken line of prophets and
sages in all countries and climes. To reject this evidence
is to deny oneself. This realisation is preceded by
an immovable faith.
He, who would in his own person test the fact of
God's presence, can do so by a living faith. And since
faith itself cannot be proved by extraneous evidence,
the safest course is to believe in the Moral Government
of the world and therefore in the supremacy of the Moral
Law, the Law of Truth and Love. Exercise of this will
be the safest, where there is a clear determination
summarily to reject all that is contrary to Truth and
I confess that I have no argument to convince through
reason that which transcends reason. All I can advice
is not to attempt the impossible. "