Mahatma Gandhi, A Rare Rationalist

The world knows that Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian nation, the legendary leader of the non-violent struggle for India’s freedom and an apostle of non-violence was a deeply religious thinker and a unique statesman of simplicity the human history has ever seen. He was a committed believer in God and performed religious rituals daily. And he was rare rationalist too!

He was a martyr to the cause of human brotherhood                                                                                                        Follower of Faith

He says:
‘Reason is powerless to know Him. He is beyond the reach or grasp of reason.’
‘If we exist, if our parents and their parents have existed, then it is proper to believe in the Parent of the whole creation.’

This is an irrational approach to the concept of God and is a traditional view of the Faith.                                                                                                                                                                                              Rare Rationalist                                                                      At the same time, Mahatma Gandhi is progressive, rational, humanist and secular.

He says:                                                                                                                                            ‘To me, God is truth and love: God is ethics and morality; He is above and beyond all these. God is conscience. He is even the atheism of the atheist……He simply is to those who have faith. He is all things to all men.’

‘Since faith cannot be proved by extraneous evidence, the safest course is to believe in the supremacy of the moral law, the law of truth and love.’

‘My belief in the Hindu scripture 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’

‘But those, who want to deny His(God’s) existence, are at liberty to do so.’

Mahatma Gandhi’s words are simple, unambiguous and self-explanatory.

That means, inter alia, no harmful consequences will follow if they have no faith in God. God does not punish them. God is not a punitive divine power.        

But He is the universal symbol of the highest human values like love, goodwill, justice and humaneness towards all human and other life.

Romain Rolland, the French Nobel laureate defines Mahatma Gandhi’s rational outlook in these words in his  Mahatma Gandhi:

‘His religion must satisfy his reason and correspond to the dictates of his conscience’

Mahatma Gandhi was a liberal, a rationalist in a  rare sense, a noble humanist and not a fundamentalist. His sole concentration was on human welfare and on nothing beyond that. His view of the human life is unconcerned with the unknown world of heaven or hell. Faith in God is inessential for human happiness, spirituality, and culture.

He introduced the world to a new path in the human life-a path of non-violence in human activity and fight against injustice and oppression(satyagraha) in society.                                                                                        We need to follow him now both in word and deed. The world always needs him.