ANAND T. HINGORANI (1907), graduated from the Bombay University in 1929. He became an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi at an early age of 13 during the Non-co-operation movement of 1920 against the British rule, when he pledged himself to Swadeshi and life-long Khadi-wear.
At the age of 22, Hingorani personally came under the magic spell of Gandhi, when the latter visited Sind in February 1929. He came into still closer touch with the Mahatma when he attended the Lahore Congress in December 1929. There he was invited by Gandhi to join his Ashram Sabarmati. Hingorani gave up his law studies and became the inmate of Gandhi's Ashram in the first week of January 1930.
In the Salt Satyagraha of 1930, Hingorani was the only one from Sind to join Gandhi's historic Dandi March, in the course of which he was chosen by Gandhi himself to be his Personal Secretary for some time. Hingorani participated in all the Civil Disobedience movements of Gandhi and courted imprisonment for no less than five times. He also did Harijan, village and social work for several years, and was also the Editor of Gandhi's Harijan Weekly for a brief period.
Being a lover of Gandhi's writings from his very student days, he conceived an idea of collecting and systematising Gandhi's scattered writings under suitable heads in a series of attractive volumes. Gandhi highly appreciated his idea and blessed his effort. As a result, Hingorani launched his "Gandhi Series" in 1941, under which more than 50 titles have come out so far and met with unstinted acclaim all over the country and even abroad.
HINGORANI was fortunate to have enjoyed Gandhi's love in abundance. He is now 92, but even at this advanced age, he is energetically pursuing the mission of his life-to spread Gandhi's message all over the world.
Do you believe in God? If so, this book will greatly strengthen your belief and help to carry you further forward on your way to God-Realization. It will also inspire and elevate your soul and give to your life a new content, a new joy, and a new hope.
Are you an atheist? Even if you are one, you will undoubtedly profit by a perusal of this book. It will enable you to understand the limitations of reason, by which generally so much store is set by rationalists like you, and unfold to you the beauty and virtue of faith which is, however, not to be "undiscriminating or blind", if it is to serve its purpose. And it will also tell you why Gandhiji equates Truth with God and vice versa.
Do you feel puzzled and perplexed by the mystery of this universe, and the inscrutable ways of the Providence? Do you feel sometimes that God, who permits all sorts of evils, injustices, tyrannies, etc., to happen, cannot be a just or a benevolent God? Here is, then, the book for you which will help solve your doubts and dilemmas by revealing to you the true nature of God and the working of His Law. God is not a revengeful or heartless deity, as is supposed by some. "Only His ways", says Gandhiji, "are not our ways. When we know that God Himself is the mystery of mysteries, why should anything that He does perplex us?" And he further adds: "If He acted as we would have Him do, we would not be .His creatures and He our Creator.
" In short, this is a book for everyone-whether a believer in God, or a scoffer or an atheist. A dip into its pages will always prove spiritually invigorating and uplifting.
The Bhavan's "Gandhiana" consists of more than 80 books, some by Gandhiji himself and others on Gandhiji's life and teachings by eminent thinkers, writers, statesmen and co-workers like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Shri C. Rajagopalachari, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Dr. K.M. Munshi, Dr. R.R. Diwakar, Shri G.D. Birla, Shri U.N. Dhebar, Shri K. Santanam, Shri G. Ramachandran and admirers like Mr. Louis Fischer, Mr. James K. Mathews, Shri Anand Shanker Ray, Smt. Mrinalini Sarabhai, Dr. E.S. Reddy, Shri Sheshrao Chavan and Shri J.R. Kokandakar.
Of these, 24 books contain Mahatma Gandhi's own writings edited and arranged subject-wise by Shri Anand T. Hingorani with Gandhiji's blessings. Gandhiji was not given to undue praise but if one reads with devotion and diligence one can discern his mind. This is what he says about Sri Hingorani's pioneering efforts :
"I like Anand Hingorani's idea of collecting my writings, under suitable heads. The reader will not fail to appreciate the labour he has given to securing attractive printing and binding."
Conceived in the ferment of India's unique independence struggle and published during the historic, tumultuous pre-independence era, this series continue to be popular in the post-independence era too. When first published, the series elicited appreciation from many of the stalwart leaders of the nation like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pandit Nehru, Rajaji, Acharya Kripalani.
Now, during the 50th year of Mahatmaji's Martyrdom, the Bhavan prayerfully offers these 24 titles re-christened "Gandhi for 21st Century" as a reverential homage to Gandhi, the Vishwamanava, the Universal Man. We hope that the younger generation in India and overseas will derive benefit by reading about Gandhi, the Man and his Message which will help them re-mould their lives. The Mahatma is rightly acclaimed as the Sage of the Scientific Age.
The Bhavan tenders its grateful thanks to the 92 years young Shri Anand T. Hingorani and the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Mumbai and Gandhi Smriti and Darashan Samiti, New Delhi for being co-publishers of "Gandhi for 21st Century".
Our special thanks are due to Shri Atul Goradia and his team of workers at Siddhi Printers, Mumbai, for getting the books printed in record time, without sacrificing production values.
THIS second title in the "Pocket Gandhi Series" deals with the subject of prayer and as such may well be regarded as a companion volume to the first title: God is Truth. These both titles together contain the very fundamentals which governed Gandhiji's entire life and invested it with a spiritual beauty and grace all its own.
In Gandhiji's storm-tossed life, prayer was the only sheet-anchor that he relied upon in times of doubt, difficulty or distress. There was not an occasion of trial, when he felt he was going under, as it were, that he did not invoke the aid of prayer. And since his prayer sprang from the inmost depths of his heart, it was invariably heard by God-the Rock of Ages-who every time unfailingly came to his succour and saved him.
Here in this book the reader will find Gandhiji's personal testimony on prayer, its power and potency, its meaning and purpose, and the place it needs must occupy in our individual as well as collective life. With Gandhiji, prayer was a 'spiritual necessity, a sort of a purifying bath which washed the dirt off his soul and thus, rendering it clean and sweet, made it a fitter instrument for communion with the Divine. And it was his belief, based on personal experience, that just as food is indispensable for the maintenance of our physical body, so is prayer indispensable for the sustenance of our soul. In fact, he regarded prayer as the very bread of life and said: "He who has experienced the magic of prayer may do without food for days together, but not a single moment without prayer. For, without prayer there is no inward peace."
May Gandhiji's words sink into our hearts and serve to induce in us the spirit of true prayer, so that when 'helpers fail and comforts flee', we may instinctively turn our faces and our minds to that Eternal Source of Strength which never fails !
THE message of Love and Non-violence, embodied in this the third title of the "Pocket Gandhi Series," is as old as the hills. All the great teachers of mankind have preached it with varying emphasis from times immemorial.
But in this age of the nuclear bomb, when the world is in the grip of fear, hatred and violence of all sorts, this message of Love and Non-violence from Gandhiji comes with an added force and significance, and offers a welcome relief to the distressed minds of all the lovers of humanity. For, never before has the world stood in such a sore need of this message as now when it hovers so perilously on the brink of disaster that even a single false step is likely to spell its doom for ever.
Himself love-incarnate, Gandhiji has shown by his own example how to achieve victory over the forces of darkness and destruction, and convert even the so-called enemies into friends by power of love and by suffering in one's own person. Jesus' suffering had always drawn his deepest admiration, and he, too, walked the same thorny path for redeeming the humanity of its sins and sorrows.
According to Gandhiji, it is the Law of Love, i.e., Non-violence, that rules the world and sustains all life on this planet below. He, therefore, pleads for its acceptance and urges upon us all to follow it up at every level of our life-in our personal relations with others and also in bigger affairs. Of course, he does recognize the difficulty of practice. But, then, he asks: Are not all good and great things difficult to do? By tile grace of God, however, he says, they become easy to accomplish if there is a will on our part to do them.
Gandhiji's whole life has been a living sermon on love. He has left for us all a glorious heritage of triumphant non-violence. May we be worthy of it and try to, do our bit in ridding the world of the scourge of war, and violence, and building up a new non-violent society where
“Truth Triumphs Over Untruth;
Love Conquers Hate;
God eternally Triumphs over satan.”
WHAT is Satyagraha? Posing this question and answering it himself, Gandhiji says: "Just as the sun cannot be fully described even by the myriadtongued Sheshnaga, so also the sun of Satyagraha can-not be adequately described. And though we always see the sun but know really very little of it, even so we do ever seem to see the sun of Satyagraha, but we know precious little about it." And yet, here in these pages, the reader will find presented to him by Gandhij a very clear and convincing exposition of the Science of Satyagraha and its offshoots-Passive Resistance, Non-co-operation, Civil Disobedience and the like.
Though Gandhiji, with his innate sense of humility, has characterized this Science of Satyagraha as "still in the making," yet for us, the ordinary mortals, it seems to be all-sufficing. Satyagraha, as evolved, developed, prefected and applied by Gandhiji, has no parallel in the world; it has been such an inspiring force and an elevating influence that it has transformed the lives and conduct of millions and millions of people throughout the world and made of them men in the real sense of the word.
A Iherence to the eternal principle of Truth and insistence upon it by self-suffering constitute the fundamental basis of Satyagraha. Since it springs from Truth and Non-violence, Satyagraha is the activest force that one can ever have. This Truth-force, also called by Gandhiji Love-force or Soul-force, is far mightier than the mightest forces of the physical sciences. Whereas Satyagraha stands for the dignity of man and triumph of the spirit over body, love over hatred, truth over untruth, non-violence over violence, the physical forces, like those of the atom and nuclear bomb, stand for the reverse, death and destruction and brutalization of human nature.
Satyagraha rules out violence or coercion even of the subtlest type and is, therefore, capable of universal application. It can be applied with success in the domestic no less than in the public or political sphere. In fact, there is not a department of life where it cannot be offered with justification, provided, however, due care is taken to see that the person offering it is of the proper stamp and that the cause is just. For, Satyagraha cannot be offered in an unjust cause.
OF the books that deeply inspired and influenced Gandhiji and by its magic moulded his entire life, thought and action, assuredly the Bhagavad Gita occupies a pre-eminent place. On his very first acquaintance with it, while he was yet a law student in England in 1889, the book struck him as of 'priceless worth'.
This initial acquaintance was, however, made not through the original in Sanskrit, but through Sir Edwin Arnold's English rendering-The Song Celestial. Even so, it produced a powerful impact on his mind and, as the years passed and the spell of the Divine Song went on growing with the increasing understanding of its message and meaning, Gandhiji came to regard it not only as the book 'par excellence for the knowledge of Truth', but also of invaluable help in his 'moments of gloom'.
The Gita became for Gandhiji his 'dictionary of daily reference' to which he invariably turned for solace and guidance whenever he found himself confronted by doubts and difficulties, trials and troubles. Especially the last 19 verses of the Second Chapter, wherein are described the characteristics of a man of steadfast wisdom, gripped him so much that they got indelibly inscribed on the tablet of his heart. These verses were recited daily in his prayers and provided to him the key to the interpretation of the Gita.
Gandhiji's whole life was patterned on the lofty teachings of the Gita. And these teachings, according to him, are such as can be easily understood and enforced in one's life by all, to whatever race or religion they may belong, who are humble in spirit and who have 'fulness of faith' and 'an undivided singleness of mind'. It is because Gandhiji had all these qualities in an abundant measure that he succeeded so well in attuning his life to the highest truths laid down in the Gita. May we, too, taking a lesson from his noble life, endeavour to apply the teachings of the Gita in all our activities and thus introduce into our lives, like him, an element of 'perennial joy and peace that passeth understanding' !
The message of Jesus Christ, which is essentially the message of Love, is contained, according to Gandhiji, in his Sermon on the Mount. The same message, i.e., the Law of Love, is argued out in the Bhagavad Gita. Gandhiji did not make any difference between the two. To him it seemed that what the Sermon described in a wonderful language and in a graphic manner, the Gita reduced to a scientific formula. He derived equal joy and comfort from both. The spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, he said, competed on almost equal terms with the Bhagavad Gita for the domination of his heart.
Such passages in the Sermon on the Mount as: "Resist not him that is evil; but whoso smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also," and "Love your enemies and pray for them that persecute you, that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in Heaven," went straight to his heart and echoed something in him which he had learnt in childhood at school from one Gujarati verse, the purport of which was: "If a man gives you a drink of water and you give him drink in return, that is nothing. Real beauty consists in doing good against evil." The idea underlying this verse had made a powerful impression upon him, which was further deepened by the Bhagavad Gita and given a permanent form by Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You.
The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount-that of non-retaliation and non-resistance to evil-greatly endeared Jesus to Gandhiji and he felt that the Sermon was the whole Christianity for him who wanted to live a truly Christian life, that is, a life of a God-fearing man. The rich and radiant personality of Jesus cast a fascinating spell over him. "The gentle figure of Christ," he said, "so patient, so kind, so loving, so full of forgiveness that he taught his followers not to retaliate when abused or struck, but to turn the other cheek-it was a beautiful example, I thought, of the perfect man."
But while Gandhiji held Jesus in the highest esteem and regarded him as one of the greatest teachers of mankind, he, nevertheless, could not bring himself to subscribe to the Christian belief that he was the only son of God'. For, he argued that if God could have sons, all of us were his sons. Similarly, while he freely acknowledged the immense moral value of Jesus' teachings, he did not consider everything said in the Bible as "the final word of God or exhaustive or even acceptable from the moral standpoint."
That the noble message of the Prince of Peace should have suffered a distortion in the West was extremely painful to Gandhiji. He considered Western Christianity, in its practical working, as 'a negation of Christ's Christianity'. He deeply deplored its trend towards Mammon worship and confusing Jesus' teachings with what passed as modern civilization.
THE Law of Continence or Brahmacharya, as propounded and practised by Gandhiji, is not only what is ordinarily understood by the term, but vastly much more. It is not mere mechanical celibacy, it means "complete control over all the senses, and freedom from lust in thought, word and deed." Mere control of animal passion is not enough.
The observance of Brahmacharya has been considered to be extremely difficult, almost impossible, because we have understood the word in a very narrow, restricted sense. Ours is bound to be a vain effort if we attempt to control only one organ and allow free play to all the others. For, says Gandhiji: "To hear suggestive stories with the ears, to see suggestive sights with the eyes, to taste stimulating foods with the tongue, to touch exciting things with the hands, and then, at the same time, expect to control the only remaining organ, is like putting one's hands in a fire and then expecting to escape being burnt." He, therefore, advises practising simultaneous self-control in all directions, if the attempt is to prove successful.
It is well, however, to appreciate the distinction that Gandhiji draws between control and suppression of the senses. His definition of Brahmacharya means not suppression of one or more senses, but complete mastery over them all. The two states he holds to be fundamentally different. Says he: "I can suppress all my senses to-day, but it may take aeons to conquer them. Conquest means using them as my willing slaves. I can prick the ear drum and suppress the sense of hearing by a simple, painless operation. This is worthless. I must train the ear so that it refuses to hear gossip, lewd talk, blasphemy; but it is open to the celestial music, it will hear the most distant cry for succour from thousands of miles."
This training and ultimate conquest of the senses is comparatively easy of attainment by those who have realized the necessity of observing Brahmacharya in thought, word and deed. Such aspirants will find in this book not only the complete and comprehensive definition of true Brahmacharya, but also the ways and means of achieving the same. Gandhiji's rich and varied experiments in this regard will be of incalculable value to them and afford them all the necessary guidance and inspiration on their onward march to the goal. No doubt, it is an uphill task that needs a Herculean effort to accomplish it. But those who are gifted with abiding faith in themselves will not give up the effort in despair, but ever continue to put forth manly endeavour which, as Gandhiji says, is sure to win them Divine Grace in God's good time.
THIS is a companion volume to the previous title, viz., The Law of Continence or Brahmacharya. In this, Gandhiji tells us that life is not a bundle of "enjoyments and privileges," but a bundle of "duties and services"; that a man, being born in the image of God, must always strive to think and act in a godly way; and that, therefore, he must live a life of self-restraint rather than that of self-indulgence. This life of self-restraint, he further tells us, can accrue to one who has the courage to break away from the modern, highly materialistic mode of living which panders to our low instincts and desires. He deeply deplores the fact that "our food, our literature, our amusements, our business hours are all regulated so as to excite or feed our animal passions."
Stressing the sanctity of the marriage bond, he says: "Marriage loses its sanctity when its purpose and highest use is conceived to be the satisfaction of the animal passion without contemplating the natural result of such satisfaction." In an ideal marriage, he says, man and woman should unite only for progeny and not for pleasure. But if the union takes place solely for pleasure, then the couple must be ready to pay the inexorable penalty for their indulgence and gladly accept the responsibilities flowing from it. To refuse to face the consequences of one's acts, he regards as sheer cowardice.
Gandhiji, however, agrees that the regulation of birth is a good and necessary thing, but it must be accomplished, according to him, by good and moral means and not by resort to artificial and unlawful methods which lead to the "degradation of marriage and unbridled sexual enjoyment." He, therefore, recommends self-control as "the surest and only method of regulating birth-rate" and characterises birth control by contraceptives as a race-suicide. By "suicide" he does not necessarily mean the physical extinction of the race, but he means thereby that these methods bring about man's moral downfall and reduce him to a level even lower than that of the brute. In his view the contraceptives are not only immoral, but they are definitely an insult to womanhood. He holds woman in the highest esteem and strongly deprecates the tendency to look upon her as an object of lust. "Man must understand that woman is his companion and helpmate in life, and not a means of satisfying his carnal desire." And, to the woman he says that "she should realize her majesty and train herself to say 'NO' when she means it." He has no doubt whatever that the cultivation of this art of resistance on the part of women to the unwelcome approaches of their husbands will make for healthier and more harmonious relations between the two sexes and lead to their moral advancement.
Finally, Gandhiji warns us against the "strong wine of libertinism that the intoxicated West sends us under the guise of new truth and so-called human freedom." While being painfully conscious of the fact that self-control is not easily attainable, he nevertheless exhorts us not to be impatient and get ruffled by its slowness. If we sincerely follow the lessons of restraint that our forefathers and the greatest teachers among mankind have handed to us, Gandhiji believes that all will be well with us.
THIS is an abridged edition, under a new title, of the book To The Women that was brought out several years ago as a second volume in the popular "Gandhi Series". The book was then hailed, both by the public and the Press, as "a mine of information on women's problem", ` a ready reference book", and "a book full of challenges,-challenges meant for every thinking Indian". One noted journal even characterized it as "an intelligent guide to Indian women's heart"; and the other had this much to say about its contents: "In these pages, Gandhiji deals with the most intimate and difficult problems affecting women, with such marvellous understanding and delicacy that, at every turn, we open our eyes in admiration and reverence. The women of India will, for long, look through these pages, and many of them will find how problems that agitate and trouble them are reflected in these discussions and notes, and what rare solutions and suggestions they hold."
Though these contents have now inevitably undergone some pruning, necessitated by the exigencies of a limited space available in this pocket size edition, nevertheless, the reader must rest assured that due care has been taken to see that all the essential features of the old have been retained; and that nothing has been done to detract from the beauty and grace of Gandhiji's diction, or interrupt the sequence or the continuity of his ideas. Some new matter has, however, been added to bring the title up-to-date.
As regards the subject-matter, I think I can do no better than reproduce in full what I had then written by way of a preface to the old edition:
"In this volume, all the relevant matter pertaining to the women of India, taken from Gandhiji's various writings and speeches, has been presented in a way so as to give the reader as complete a picture as possible of Indian womanhood and its manifold needs and problems.
"Woman has been held to be the better-half of man. But Gandhiji goes further and acclaims her as 'the mother, maker and silent leader of man,' and regards her as 'the noblest of God's creation.' Those of us who are convinced of the truth of this estimate of woman and her role in society, will readily accord her the status that is hers as a matter of right, and revise our attitude towards her in conformity with such conviction.
"On the other hand, those who belong to the old conventional school of thought, and who have been nurtured through centuries past on prejudice and false arrogant assumption of man's superiority over woman, will naturally find it hard, if not impossible, to reconcile themselves to such an appraisal of woman. To such persons this book cannot be recommended too strongly. For, if Gandhiji's views, as unfolded in these pages, fail to achieve the miracle and bring about an immediate complete conversion, they will, it is hoped, at least set in motion such forces as would result in due course in the desired mental transformation.
"To the women of India, as, indeed, in some measure to the women of the world, this book will serve as a guiding light in their moments of need and trial. For, it touches every aspect of woman's life, political, social and domestic, not excluding even the intimately personal; and for every one of the doubts, difficulties and dilemmas of the fair sex, it prescribes a remedy that is at once compelling in character and elevating in effect."
SOME twenty-two years ago, a volume comprising Gandhiji's speeches and writings on the Hindu-Muslim unity was brought out by me in the library edition of the "Gandhi Series" under the title To The Hindus and Muslims. The present title is a condensed edition of the same which, besides containing all the worthwhile material of the old volume, also incorporates several new articles particularly pertaining to the period from 1942 to 1948 when Gandhiji fell a martyr to the assassin's bullet in the very cause of Hindu-Muslim unity which he had espoused with such a consuming passion throughout his long life.
Of the four main pillars of Swaraj of Gandhiji's conception, undoubtedly the Hindu-Muslim unity was the most important one, the other three being Khadi, Prohibition, and Removal of Untouchability. The Hindu-Muslim unity meant for him not unity only between the Hindus and Muslims, but between all those who regarded India as their home irrespective of the religion they followed. And this unity, in his view, was hardly worth anything if it did not prefer the interests of the smaller communities to its own. "Christians and Jews in India", he said, "are not foreigners, nor are Parsis. We must go out of our way to be friends to them and to serve and help them." To those who held the mistaken belief that, by virtue of the Hindus being in an overwhelming majority, India primarily belonged to them, he would say: "Hindustan belongs to all those who are born and bred here and who have no other country to look to. Therefore, it belongs to Parsis, Beni-Israels, to Indian Christians, Muslims and other non-Hindus as much as to Hindus." Again, "Both Hindus and Muslims are sons of India. All those who are born in this country and claim her as their Motherland, whether they are Hindu, Muslim, Parsi, Christian, Jain or-Sikh, are equally her children and are, therefore, brothers united together with a bond stronger than that of blood.
AS the title of this book suggests, there is no one high and no one low on this God's earth-all men are equal, all men are brothers. Notwithstanding the innumerable differences and dissimilarities in this phenomenal world of ours, there is, what Gandhiji calls, "the inner oneness" which pervades all 'life. The forms are many, he says, but the Informing Spirit is one. He compares humanity to a huge tree having countless branches and leaves through all of which throbs the same life. Although, therefore, the universe is full of endless variety, there is nevertheless "an all-embracing ,fundamental unity underlying the outward diversity." Men may differ, as certainly they do, in size, colour and quality, in material possessions and property, in talents and dispositions and what not, yet "the soul that is hidden beneath this earthy crust is one and the same for all men and women belonging to all climes."
The recognition and realization of this essential oneness of the human soul inevitably leads to the belief in the equality of man. This is how Gandhiji declares his own faith in such equality: "I believe implicitly that all men are born equal. All-whether born in India or in England or America or in any circumstances what-soever-have the same soul as any other. I consider that it is unmanly for any person to claim superiority over a fellow-being. He who claims superiority, at once forfeits the claim to be called a man."
Not only this idea of superiority and inferiority is "unmanly" in Gandhiji's view, but it is also repugnant to the most elementary principles of morality. He holds that it is even against the true spirit and genius of Hinduism. Thus, there can be no place for untouchability, as it is being practised to-day, in Hinduism. Indeed, it passes his comprehension that in this age of enlightened reason, of wide travel and comparative study of religions, there should be found people upholding "the hideous doctrine of treating a single human being as an untouchable, or unapproachable, or unseeable, because of his birth." How can there be born untouchable since all of us are sparks of the same Divine Fire? "If we believe", says Gandhiji, "that we are all children of one and the same God and that God is Truth and Justice, how can there be any untouchability amongst us, His children? God of Truth and Justice can never create distinctions of high and low among His own children." And he further adds that "just as in the eyes of parents all their children are absolutely equal. so also in God's eyes all His creatures must be equal.
IN this title are given, as exhaustively as possible, Gandhiji's views on Varnashrama Dharma which he regards as Hinduism's unique gift to the world. Varnashrama Dharma, according to him, is the Law of Our Being which, no matter howsoever much we may deny, cannot be abrogated. It is a universal law, like the Law of Gravitation, and equally inexorable. It governs the entire human family. Our ancient seers and sages discovered this law after incessant experiment and research. Indeed, it is a marvellous discovery of which we Hindus especially should feel particularly proud.
This Law of Varna defines man's mission on this earth, that is, to know his Maker. For the realization and fulfilment of this mission, it is imperative that man must not devote the chief part of his life, as Gandhiji says, "to making experiments in finding out what occupation will best suit him for earning his livelihood. On the contrary, he will recognize that it is best for him to follow his father's occupation, and devote his spare time and talent to qualifying himself for the task to which mankind is called." Thus the Law of Varna means that a man should follow the calling of his forefathers and, in this sense, it is the Law of Heredity as well.
Human society all the world over, consciously or unconsciously, is mainly divided into four classes according to the four ways of earning one's livelihood-one being the repositary of knowledge (Brahmin), the other that of power (Kshatriya), the third that of wealth (Vaishya) and the fourth that of service (Shudra). In obedience to the Law of Varna, each class has to discharge its functions and obligations in a spirit of duty and for the advancement and well-being of the society as a whole. These four fundamental divisions merely prescribe duties of men belonging to different vocations, they confer no privileges. All the occupations are equal and honourable. There is no such thing as inherited or acquired superiority. The scavenger enjoys the same status as a Brahmin. "All are born," says Gandhiji, "to serve God's creation-a Brahmin with his knowledge, the Kshatriya with his power of protection, the Vaishya with his commercial ability and a Shudra with bodily labour". But a Brahmin who prides himself upon his knowledge, looks down upon others with a contemptuous eye and refuses to labour with his hands, ceases to be a Brahmin. Similarly, others who claim a higher status by virtue of their special qualities and characteristics, also fall. All the classes stand on a basis of perfect equality. And because there is an essential identity and oneness of all that lives, the acceptance of this fact alone rules out the very idea of superiority and inferiority. "All men and women are born equal", says Gandhiji.
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