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21. Returned Forty Thousand Rupees
The Ashram had just started in those days. An astrologer named Girija Shankar Joshi used to visit Gandhiji very often. Once Bapuji said to him, “Since you come here regularly, why don’t you teach Sanskrit to the children here?’” He agreed to do so.
He was an astrologer. A lot of rich people in Ahmedabad trusted his knowledge of astrology. A person named Somalal wished to offer charity to Gandhiji. He sent forty thousand rupees with Joshi for building a school there.
Building a house was being planned when influenza broke out there. Nearly sixteen hundred people would die every day. It caused havoc. Bapuji told Joshi, “We won’t be able to build the house this year, neither the school building. So we would better send back the money Somalalbhai has donated.” Joshi said, “But he hasn’t asked it back.” Bapu said, “So what? The purpose for which he has given the money is not going to be served in near future. Then why keep the money with ourselves?” Joshi replied, “If not now, we would be building it some time later! This money would be useful then.” Gandhiji said, “Yes, but there would be some donor when it would be built. We should send the money back.” Joshi explained the matter to Somalalbhai. He said, “I have donated the money for good. I won’t take it back!”