The time has now come to bring these chapters to a close. My life from this point onward has been so public that there is hardly anything about it that people do not know. Moreover, since 1921 I have worked in such close association with the Congress leaders that I can hardly describe any episode in my life since then without referring to my relations with them. For though Shraddhanandji, the Deshabandhu, Hakim Saheb and Lalaji are no more with us today, we have the good luck to have a host of other veteran Congress leaders still living and working in our midst. The history of the Congress, since the great changes in it that I have described above, is still in the making. And my principal experiments during the past seven years have all been made through the Congress. A reference to my relations with the leaders would therefore be unavoidable, if I set about describing my experiments further. And this I may not do, at any rate for the present, if only from a sense of propriety. Lastly, my conclusions from my current experiments can hardly as yet be regarded as decisive. It therefore seems to me to be my plain duty to close this narrative here. In fact my pen instinctively refuses to proceed further. It is not without a wrench that I have to take leave of the reader. I set a high value on my experiments. I do not know whether I have been able to do justice to them. I can only say that I have spared no pains to give a faithful narrative. To describe truth, as it has appeared to me, and in the exact manner in which I have arrived at it, has been my ceaseless effort. The exercise has given me ineffable mental peace, because, it has been my fond hope that it might bring faith in Truth and Ahimsa to waverers.
My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God
than Truth. And if every page of these chapters does not proclaim to
the reader that the only means for the realization of Truth is
Ahimsa, I shall deem all my labour in writing these chapters to have
been in vain. And, even though my efforts in this behalf may prove
fruitless, let the readers know that the vehicle, not the great
principle, is at fault. After all, however sincere my strivings
after Ahimsa may have been, they have still been imperfect and
inadequate. The little fleeting glimpses, therefore, 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. But
this much I can say with assurance, as a result of all my
experiments, that a perfect vision of Truth can only follow a
complete realization of Ahimsa.
To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face
one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a
man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of
life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field
of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet
in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do
with politics do not know what religion means.
Identification with everything that lives is impossible without
self-purification; without self-purification the observance of the
law of Ahimsa must remain an empty dream; God can never be realized
by one who is not pure of heart. Self-purification therefore must
mean purification in all the walks of life. And purification being
highly infectious, purification of oneself necessarily leads to the
purification of one's surroundings.
But the path of self-purification is hard and steep. To attain to
perfect purity one has to become absolutely passion-free in thought,
speech and action; to rise above the opposing currents of love and
hatred, attachment and repulsion. I know that I have not in me as
yet that triple purity, in spite of constant ceaseless striving for
it. That is why the world's praise fails to move me, indeed it very
often stings me. To conquer the subtle passions seems to me to be harder
far than the physical conquest of the world by the force of arms.
Ever since my return to India I have had experience of the dormant
passions lying hidden within me. The knowledge of them has made me
feel humiliated though not defeated. The experiences and experiments
have sustained me and given me great joy. But I know that I have
still before me a difficult path to traverse. I must reduce myself
to zero. So long as a man does not of his own free will put himself
last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation for him.
Ahimsa is the farthest limit of humility.
In bidding farewell to the reader, for the time being at any rate, I
ask him to join with me in prayer to the God of Truth that He may
grant me the boon of Ahimsa in mind, word and deed.