(1) Blessed Feelings of God's Presence
believe it to be possible for every human being to attain that blessed
and indescribable state in which he feels within himself the presence of
God to the exclusion of everything else.
I hold that complete realization is impossible in this embodied life. Nor
is it necessary. A living immovable faith is all that is required for
reaching the full spiritual height, attainable by human beings. God is
not outside the earthly case of ours. Therefore exterior proof is not
of much avail if at all. We must ever fail to perceive Him through the
senses, because He is beyond them. We can feel Him, if we will but
withdraw ourselves from the senses.
Seeing God face to face is to feel that He is enthroned in our hearts,
even as a child feels a mother's affection without needing any
demonstration. Does a child reason out the existence of a mother's love?
Can he prove it to others ? He triumphantly declares "It is". So must it
be with the existence of God. He defies reason. But He is experienced.
Let us not reject the experience of Tulsidas, Chaitanya, Ramdas and a
host of other spiritual teachers, even as we do not reject that of
There is not a moment when I do not feel the presence of a Witness,
whose eye misses nothing and with whom I strive to keep in tune.
If I did not feel the presence of God within me, I see so much of misery
and disappointment every day that I would be a raving maniac and my
destination would be the Hoogli.
(2) Vision of God
What is the vision of God? It does not mean seeing something with the
physical eye or witnessing a miracle. Seeing God means realization of
the fact that God abides in our hearts. The yearning must persist until
one has attained this realization, and will vanish upon realization.
Realization is the final fruit of constant effort. God is there in the
tabernacle of the heart.
We cannot see God with these eyes. God is spirit without body and is,
therefore, visible only to the eye of faith. If there are no evil
thoughts troubling our mind and no fears but constant cheerfulness in
our heart, that is an indication of God's presence in ourselves. Indeed
He is there at all times but we fail to notice His presence as we have
no faith, and thus undergo much suffering. When once we have cultivated
real faith, calamities cease to upset us.
who looks upon the universe as various facets of God, will certainly
have the beatific vision. All our knowledge and spiritual exercises are
fruitless, so long as we have not had this vision.
When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul
expands in worship of the Creator, I try to see Him and His mercies in
all these creations.
(3) His Light and Music
The fleeting glimpses that I have been able to have of Truth can hardly
convey an idea of the indescribable Lustre of Truth, a million times
more intense than that of the sun, we daily see with our eyes. In fact,
what I have caught is only the faintest glimmer of that Mighty
Effulgence. I feel the warmth and sunshine of His Presence.
sun in heavens fills the whole universe with its life-giving warmth. But
if one went too near it, it would consume him to ashes. Even so, it is
with Godhead. We become Godlike to the extent we realize non-violence;
but we never become wholly God.
firm belief is that He reveals Himself daily to every human being but we
shut our ears to the "still small voice". We shut our eyes to the Pillar
of Fire in front of us. I realize His omnipresence.
Divine! Music is incessantly going on within ourselves; but the loud
senses drown the Delicate Music which is unlike and infinitely superior
to any we can perceive or hear with our senses.
When this Inner Light corresponds with the promptings of the smaller
Inner Voice, then that flash has a mark of inspiration.
(4) The Inner Voice
The Inner Voice defies description. But sometimes we do feel that we
receive an inspiration from within. The time when I learnt to recognize
it may be called my prayer time, say about 1906. I recollect it. For the
rest, never did I feel at any time in my life that I had some new
experience. My spiritual growth has been unnoticed like the growth of
hair on our heads.
Nobody has to my knowledge questioned the possibility of the Inner Voice
speaking to some and it is a gain to the world even if one person's
claim to speak under the authority of the Inner Voice can be really
sustained. Many may make the claim but not all will be able to
substantiate it. But it cannot and ought not to be suppressed for the
sake of preventing false claimants. There is no danger whatsoever, if
many people could truthfully represent the Inner Voice. But
unfortunately there is no remedy against hypocrisy. Virtue must not be
suppressed because many will feign it. Men have always been found
throughout the world claiming to speak for the Inner Voice. But no harm
has yet overtaken the world through their short-lived activities. Before
one is able to listen to that Voice, one has to go through a long and
severe course of training, and when it is the Inner Voice that speaks,
it is unmistakable. The world cannot successfully be fooled for all
time. There is, therefore, no danger of anarchy setting in, because an
humble man like me, will not be suppressed and will dare to claim the
authority of the Inner Voice, when he believes that he has heard it.
is a fallible being. He can never be sure of his steps. What he may
regard as an answer to prayer may be an echo of his pride. For
infallible guidance man has to have a perfectly innocent heart incapable
of evil. I can lay no such claim. Mine is a struggling, striving,
erring, imperfect soul.
(5) Divine Messages
[There were two occasions when Gandhiji heard Divine- Messages. The
first was in 1933 and the second in 1936. Both were connected with the
problem of untouchability. Gandhiji tells us:]
first question that has puzzled many is about the Voice of God. What was
it? What did I hear? Was there any person I saw? If not, how was the
Voice conveyed to me? These are pertinent questions.
saw no form. I have never tried for it, for I have always believed God
to be without form. But what I did hear was like a Voice from afar and
yet quite near. It was as unmistakable as some human voice, definitely
speaking to me, and irresistible. I was not dreaming at the time I heard
the Voice. The hearing of the Voice was preceded by a terrific struggle
within me. Suddenly the Voice came upon me. I listened, made certain
that it was the Voice and the struggle ceased. I was calm. The
determination was made accordingly, the date and the hour of the fast
fixed. Joy came over me. This was between 11 and 12 midnight. I felt
Gould I give any further evidence that it was truly the Voice I heard
and that it was not an echo of my own heated imagination? I have no
further evidence to convince the sceptic. He is free to say it was all
self-delusion or hallucination. It may well have been so. I can offer no
proof to the contrary. But I can say this that not the unanimous verdict
of the whole world against me could shake me from the belief that what I
heard was the true Voice of God. . . . For me the Voice was more real
than my existence. (1933)
experience stands quite distinctly in my memory. It relates to my
twenty-one days' fast for the removal of untouchability. I had gone to
sleep the night before without the slightest idea of having to declare a
fast the next morning. At about 12 o'clock in the night something wakes
me up suddenly and some voice—within or without, I cannot say—whispers,
"Thou must go on fast." "How many days ?" I ask. It says: "Twenty-one
days." "When does it begin?" I ask. It says: "You begin tomorrow." I
went quietly off to sleep after making the decision. I did not tell
anything to my companions until after the morning prayer. I placed into
their hands a slip of paper announcing my decision and asking them not
to argue with me as the decision was irrevocable. Well, the doctors
thought that I would not survive the fast. But something within me said
I would and that I must go forward. That kind of experience has never in
my life happened before after that date.
This I know that all that glitters is not gold, and also that if a man
has really heard the Voice of God, there is no sliding back, just as
there is no forgetting it by one who had learnt to swim. The listening
in must make people's lives daily richer and richer. (1936)
(6) An Ideal Sage
That man alone can be called truly religious or moral whose mind is not
tainted with hatred or selfishness, and who leads a life of absolute
purity and of disinterested service; and that man alone can be called
truly wealthy or happy either. Only such man can do good to mankind; for
Truth is the foundation of all that is good and great. To a true servant
of humanity the question never arises as to the best form of service.
When we have realized the majesty of the Moral Law, we shall see how
little our happiness or unhappiness depends on health and success and
fame and the like. As has been said by Emerson, 'even the pains and
griefs of good men contribute to their happiness, while even the wealth
and fame of bad men cause misery to themselves as well as to the world'.
'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other
things shall be added unto you.'
is a real devotee who is jealous of none, who is a fount of mercy, who
is without egoism, who treats alike cold and heat, happiness and misery,
who is ever forgiving, who is always contented, whose resolutions are
firm, who has dedicated mind and soul to God, who causes no dread, who
is not afraid of others, who is free from exultation, sorrow and fear,
who is pure, who is versed in action and yet remains unaffected by it,
who renounces all fruit, good or bad, who treats friend and foe alike,
who is untouched by respect or disrespect, who is not puffed up with
praise, who does not go under when people speak ill of him, who loves
silence and solitude, who has disciplined reason.
Yogin is therefore one who reflects all these attributes in his life,
who, in the midst of raging storm and blinding spray, will keep his
vision of the sun undisturbed, who will look difficulties and death in
the face, who goes with the same mind to the shambles and the scaffold
and whose mind is so serene that thunder rocks him to sleep.