Hinduism According to Gandhi

Hinduism According to Gandhi

A critical interpretation of the oldest living tradition by one of the greatest thinker-philosopher of the twentieth century.

Hinduism has always been more than just a religion; it is a comprehensive way of life, a tradition by which people can live.

In spite of its all inclusive character, it has a metaphysical core that is timeless and is intended to interpret reality to its people, to make life more meaningful, to provide them with a framework for their individual and social existence, and finally address their longing for ultimate freedom and salvation.

Going beyond the accepted and the historical boundaries of Hinduism, Gandhi identifies its acceptable and unacceptable overtones and associations, and gives expression to its humane nature and beliefs — an interpretation every bit original and to be accepted on its own terms.

'Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and in attempts to believe a certain doctrine or a dogma, but in realizing, in being and becoming.' — Swami Vivekananda

Publisher's Note

Hinduism was not founded by any individual; it has evolved naturally and therefore remains gloriously undefined. At best Hinduism is a working hypothesis of human conduct adapted to different stages of spiritual development and different conditions of life.

In the words of Dr S Radhakrishnan, 'It is more a way of life than a form of thought... The theist and the atheist, the skeptic and the agnostic may all be Hindus if they accept the Hindu system of culture and life. Hinduism insists not on religious conformity but on a spiritual and ethical outlook of life...'

Gandhi was not a scholar of Hindu religion, and did not consider himself fit to interpret Hinduism except through his own experience. He applied his own intellect and reason to the Hindu way of life. In the Jan. 12, 1934 issue of Harijan he wrote, ‘...I have no hesitation in putting before the public, with utmost confidence, the conclusions I have reached regarding certain fundamentals of Hinduism.'

This book is thoughtful selection of Gandhi's writings, thoughts and public discourses on Hinduism. Many of his expressions were spontaneous and unrehearsed. In an effort to retain the essence of his thinking and make it more readable, the original text has been respectfully abridged at a few places. However every effort has been made to be as close to the original meaning as is possible.

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