Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav

Gandhian Scholar

Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India

Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338








I find that language but inadequately express one’s thought especially when the thought itself is confused or incomplete. My writing in the Navajivan was, I fancied, clear enough. But I observe that its translation has been misunderstood by many. The original too has not escaped the tragedy that has overtaken the translation. One great reason for the misunderstanding lies in my being considered almost a perfect man. Friends who know my partiality for the Bhagavad Gita have thrown relevant verses at me and shown how my threat to commit suicide contradicts the teachings which I am attempting to live. All these mentors of mine seem to forget that I am but a seeker after Truth. I claim to have found the way to it. I claim to be making a ceaseless effort to find it. But I admit that I have not yet found it. To find Truth completely is to realize oneself and one’s destiny, i.e., to become perfect. I am painfully conscious of my imperfections, and therein lay all the strength I possess, because it is a rare thing for a man to know his own limitations.

If I was a perfect man, I own I should not feel the miseries of my neighbours as I do. As a perfect man I should take note of them, prescribe a remedy and compel adoption by the force of unchallengeable Truth in me. But as yet I only see as through a glass darkly and therefore have to carry conviction by slow and laborious processes, and then too not always with success. That being so, I would be less than human if with all my knowledge of avoidable misery pervading the land and of the sight of mere skeletons under the very shadow of the Lord of the Universe, I did not feel with and for all the suffering but dumb millions of India. The hope of a steady decline in that misery sustains me; but suppose that with all my sensitiveness to sufferings, to pleasure and pain, cold and heat and with all my endeavour to carry the healing message of the spinning-wheel to the heart, I have reached only the ear and never pierced the heart, suppose further that at the end of the year I find that the people are as skeptical as they are today about the present possibility of attainment of swaraj by means of the peaceful revolution of the wheel; suppose further, that I find that all the excitement during the past twelve months and more has been only an excitement and a stimulation but no settled belief in the programme, and lastly suppose that the message of peace has not penetrated the hearts of Englishmen, should I not doubt my tapasya and feel my unworthiness for leading the struggle? As a true man, what should I do? Should I not kneel down in all humility before my Maker and ask Him to take away this useless body and make me a fitter instrument of service? Swaraj does consist in the change of government and its real control by the people, but that would be merely the form.

The substance that I am hankering after is a definite acceptance of the means and therefore a real change of heart on the part of the people. I am certain that it does not require ages for Hindus to discard the error of untouchability, for Hindus and Mussulmans to shed enmity and accept heart-friendship as an eternal factor of national life, for all to adopt the charkha as the only universal means of attaining India’s economic salvation and finally for all to believe that India’s freedom lies only through non-violence and no other method. Definite, intelligent and free adoption by the nation of this programme I hold as the attainment of the substance. The symbol, the transfer of power, is sure to follow, even as the seed truly laid must develop into a tree. The reader will thus perceive that what I accidentally stated to friends for the first time in Poona and then repeated to others was but a confession of my imperfections and an expression of my feeling of unworthiness for the great cause which for the time being I seem to be leading.

I have enunciated no doctrine of despair. On the contrary I have felt never so sanguine as I do at the time of writing that we will gain the substance during this year I have stated at the same time as a practical idealist, that I should no more feel worthy to lead a cause which I might feel myself diffident of handling. The doctrine of labouring without attachment means as much a relentless pursuit of truth as a retracing after discovery of error and a renunciation of leadership without a pang after discovery of unworthiness. I have but shadowed forth my intense longing to lose myself in the Eternal and become merely a lump of clay in the Potter’s divine hands so that my service may become more certain because uninterrupted by the baser self in me.

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