As 30th January is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s (Gandhiji’s) Death Anniversary, I wish to share his “Experiments with truth”
Genre : Autobiography/inspirational
The book is divided into 5 parts. My Experiments with Truth (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).
The first part is his journey from Birth , Childhood, Child Marriage with Kasturba, Death of his father, and famous misgivings. This chapter contains several anecdotes which are taught at school for character building. Also, he speaks of the authoritative husband he was, and his insecurities. Nursing his father, he would often think of Kasturba and the associated lustful emotions. Gandhiji is one of us, but what transformed him? As you move on to the second part which begins with his journey to South Africa for studying law where an equivocal Gandhiji transforms into a confident person. Battling his vices, he reforms into a public servant. In few occasions, he saves an indentured labourer, Subramaniam, who is beaten by his master. Gandhiji, through his various practices connects with life and with common people.
The third part, is Gandhiji’s return to India, to serve the public. On a certain occasion where he had to clean washrooms (toilets), he does it with no hesitation. On family front, he convinces Kasturba and his three children to learn gujrati before moving on to other languages of study. Though Harilal resists, the other kids follow suit. Gandhiji consumes only Satvik Ahaar, as he believes that the food we consume affects our mind. He stops drinking milk as 1. It is the right of the calf and 2. It stimulates the vice, lust.
The fourth part speaks of continuing his food habits and also, experimenting with truth in the Bar (Court). Gandhiji took cases which supported truth. On one occasion when the client was a false one and he knew it in the court, he refused to fight the case. He fights for the passengers in the third class train and apart from his own sacrifice, Kasturba;s sacrifice are elaborated in separate chapters.
In the fifth part, Gandhiji takes a tour to Kumbh Mela, Lakshman Jhula, where he is overwhelmed by the irony in the religious practice, where one side, the festivities are taking place, another side, animals are being sacrificed. The book ends with a farewell from Gandhiji and he surmises we know what happened after 1921 as now his life is public. Hope this book takes your life into a fresh chapter.
The book from Page 1, is a journey which will take you on a journey lest you read the book sans prejudice. While walking with Gandhiji through the puffs of smoke, eating meat at the riverside, stealing money, it feels as if Gandhiji was not an angel dropped from heaven but a phoenix moulded with his self control chiseled the vices. Experiences, aplenty maketh a man. Gandhiji proves it right by going through many such experiences. The book is all about how a lascivious Gandhi ji becomes a Brahmacharya. How a meat-eater, though through force, became a vegetarian by choice.
Following the truth, experimenting with it and discovering the power of the mind. Following tenets like 1. Satya 2. Dharma and most importantly 3. Humanity, Gandhiji takes you on a self-reflective slow moving journey. Also, he speaks of movements like civil Disobedience, Non-coorperation, Jallian wala Bagh Massacre and various landmarks of Indian Freedom history, yet the main subject remains Gandhiji’s resilience, persistence within to transform himself to serve better.
Recommended for all those who wish to experiment with truth and triumph in their experiments. One can apply these rules, any day. Happy Journey through this book.
Experiments with Dietics
As I searched myself deeper, the necessity for changes both internal and external began to grow on me. As soon as, or even before, I made alterations in my expenses and my way of living, I began to make changes in my diet. I saw that the writers on vegetarianism had examined the question very minutely, attacking it in its religious, scientific, practical and medical aspects. Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man’s supremacy over the lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man.
On the boat going to Rangoon I was a deck passenger. If excess of attention embarrassed us in Sjt. Basu’s house, grossest inattention, even to the elementary comforts of deck passengers, was our lot on the boat. What was an apology for a bath room was unbearably dirty, the latrines were stinking sinks. To use the latrine one had to wade through urine and excreta or jump over them. This was more than flesh and blood could bear. I approached the Chief Officer without avail. If anything was lacking to complete the picture of stink and filth, the passengers furnished it by their thoughtless habits. They spat where they sat, dirtied the surroundings with the leavings of their food, tobacco and betel leaves. There was no end to the noise, and everyone tried to monopolize as much room as possible. Their luggage took up more room than they. We had thus two days of the severest trial. On reaching Rangoon I wrote to the Agent of the Steamship Company, acquainting him with all the facts. Thanks to this letter and to Dr. Mehta’s efforts in the matter, the return journey though on deck was less unbearable.
Satvik Ahaar – Simple Vegtarian food containing no stimulants which arouse the senses for pleasure
Brahmacharya – one who observes celibacy