You have been frightened by Raojibhai as he was by me. He read too
much into my words.
No, my ideals have not changed. Despite my bitter experiences in India,
my conviction remains the same as ever, that we have but little to
learn from the West. The evils I have seen here have made no change
in my fundamental idea nor has this war. The old idea has developed
into something purer. I have certainly not come to feel that we shall
have to introduce Western civilization. Nor do I suppose that we shall
have to take to drinking and meat-eating. To be sure, I have felt,
in all seriousness, that Swaminarayana2 and Vallabhacharya3 have robbed
us of our manliness. They made the people incapable of self-defence.
It was all to the good, of course, that people gave up drinking, smoking,
etc.; this, however, is not an end in itself, it is only a means.
If a smoker happens to be a man of character his company is worth
cultivating. If, on the contrary, a man who has never smoked in his
life is an adulterer, he can be of little service. The love taught
by Swaminarayana and Vallabh is all sentimentalism. It cannot make
one a man of true love. Swaminarayana and Vallabh simply did not reflect
over the true nature of non-violence. Non-violence consists in holding
in check all impulses in the chitta.3It comes into play especially
in men's relations with one another. There is not even a suggestion
of this idea in their writings. Having been born in this degenerate
age of ours, they could not remain unaffected by its atmosphere and
had, in consequence, quite an undesirable effect on Gujarat. Tukaram
and Ramdas had no such effect. The Abhangas4 of the former and the
shlokas5 of the latter admit ample scope for manly striving. They,
too, were Vaishnavas. Do not mix up the Vaishnava tradition with the
teaching of Vallabh and Swaminarayana. Vaishnavism is an age-old truth.
I have come to see, what I did not so clearly before, that there is
non¬violence in violence. This is the big change which has come
about. I had not fully realized the duty of restraining a drunkard
from doing evil, of killing a dog in agony or one infected with rabies.
In all these instances, violence is in fact non-violence. Violence
is a function of the body. Brahmacharya6 consists in refraining from
sexual indulgence, but we do not bring up our children to be impotent.
They will have observed brahmacharya only if, though possessed of
the highest virility, they can master the physical urge. In the same
way, our offspring must be strong in physique. If they cannot completely
renounce the urge to violence, we may permit them to commit violence,
to use their strength to fight and thus make them non-violent. Non¬violence
was taught by a Kshatriya7 to a Kshatriya.
The difference between the West and the East is what I have explained
to be, and it is a great one. The civilization of the West is based
on self-indulgence, ours on self-control. If we commit violence, it
will be as a last resort and with a view to lokasangraha.8 The West
will indulge in violence in self-will. My taking part in (the movement
for) a Parliament and similar activities is not a new development;
it is quite an. old thing and is only intended to ensure a check on
these bodies. You will see this if you read my article on Mr Montagu's
scheme. I simply cannot bring myself to take interest in the movement,
but I can spread my ideals by working in it. When I saw that I could
continue in it only by sacri¬ficing my ideals, I decided to retire
from the movement.
I think you have your reply in what I have said. I cannot explain
much when I am there for a day and so I have set down the thing in
writing. This will enable you to think and ask me questions, if fresh
doubts occur to you.
I continue to be in Navagam. I wanted to leave from here today, but
perhaps I may not be able to do so.