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152. Gandhiji's Favourite Hymns

[The following were among the favourite hymns of Gandhiji and they were usually sung at his prayer-gatherings.]

The True Vaishnava

He is a real Vaishnava, who "feels the suffering of others as his own suffering. He is ever ready to serve, and is .never guilty of overweening pride. He bows before everyone despises none, preserves purity in thought, word and deed. Blessed is the mother of such a son: in every woman he reveres his mother. He preserves equanimity and never stains his mouth with falsehood, nor touches the riches of another. The bonds of desire cannot hold him. Ever in harmony with Ramanama, his body in itself possesses all the places of pilgrimage. He knows neither desire nor dis­appointment, neither passion nor wrath.

— Narasimh Mehta


The Path of Love

"The way of the Lord is open only to heroes, to cowards it is fast shut.

"Give up thy life and all that thou hast, so thou mayst assume the name of the Lord.

"Only he who leaves his son, his wife, his riches, and his life, s.hall drink from the vessel of God.

"For in truth, he that would fish for pearls must drive into the deepest depths of the sea and take his life in his hands.

"Death affrights him not: he forgets all the misery of body and soul.

"He who stands hesitating on the bank and fears to dive, gains nought.

"But the path of love is trial by fire. The coward shrinks back from it. 

"He who dares the leap into the fire, attains to ever­lasting bliss."

- Pritama


My Heartfelt Prayer

"Lord, preserve me from looking on things which arouse evil thoughts. It were better for me to be blind.

"Lord, preserve me from soiling my lips with impure words. It were better for me to be dumb.

"Lord, preserve me from hearing any word of slander and insult. It were better for me to be deaf.

"Lord, preserve me from looking with desire on any of those who should be my sisters. It were better for me to be dead."

- Tukaram


Lead Kindly Light

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on;

The night is dark, and I am far from home;

Lead Thou me on.

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou

Shouldst lead me on;

I loved to choose, and see my path; but now

Lead Thou me on.

I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still

Will lead me on,

O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone;

And with the morn those Angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

- Cardinal Newman


The Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous Cross

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

Save in the Cross of Christ, my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His Blood.

See from His Head, His Hands, His Feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingling down;

Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown ?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, Who won for sinners grace

By bitter grief and anguish sore,

Be praise from all the ransom'd race,

Forever and ever more.

- I. Watts


Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee;

Let 'the Water and the Blood,

From Thy riven Side which flow'd,

Be of sin the double cure,

Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

 

Not the labours of my hands

Can fulfill Thy law's demands;

Could my zeal no respite know,

Could my tears for ever flow,

All for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

 

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy Cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress;

Helpless, look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the Fountain fly;

Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

 

While I draw this fleeting breath,

When my eyelids close in death,

When I soar through tracts unknown,

See Thee on Thy Judgment Throne;

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.

— A. M. Toplady


The Sermon on the Mount

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteous­ness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

- Gospel of Mathew