18. What God has meant to me
I have not seen Him, neither have I known Him. I have made the world’s faith in God my own, and as my faith is ineffaceable, I regard that faith as amounting to experience. However, as it may be said that to describe faith as experience is to tamper with truth, it may perhaps be more correct to say that I have no word for characterizing my belief in God.
Autobiography, (1940), p. 341
I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity, for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in every one.
Young India, 4-8-1927, pp. 247-48
It is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, who, as I fully knew, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them.
Autobiography, (1948), p. 8
What I want to achieve,–what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years,– is self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Moksha. I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal. All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the political field, are directed to this same end.
Autobiography, (1948), pp. 4-5
On all occasions of trial He has saved me. I know that the phrase 'God saved me' has a deeper meaning for me today, and still I feel that I have not yet grasped its entire meaning. Only richer experience can help me to a fuller understanding. But in all my trials–of a spiritual nature, as a lawyer, in conducting institutions, and in politics,–I can say that God saved me. When every hope is gone, ‘when helpers fail and comforts flee’, I find that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. Supplication; worship, prayer are no superstition they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.
Autobiography, (1948), p. 96
I have no special revelation of God’s will. My 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.
Young India, 25-5-1921, pp. 161-62
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. But even the sunsets and sunrises would be mere hindrances, if they did not help me to think of Him. Anything which is a hindrance to the flight of the soul, is a delusion and a snare; even, like the body, which often does hinder you in the path of salvation.
Young India, 13-11-1924, p. 378
I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.
Young India, 26-12-1924, p. 430
God saves me so long as He wants me in this body. The moment His wants are satisfied, no precautions on my part will save me.
Bapu’s Letters to Mira, (1949), p. 91
I am in the world feeling my way to light ‘amid the encircling gloom’. I often err and miscalculate.... My trust is solely in God. And I trust men only because I trust God. If I had no God to rely upon, I should be, like Timon, a hater of my species.
Young India, 4-12-1924, p. 398
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 Hooghli.
Young India, 6-8-1925. p. 275
I know the path. It is straight and narrow. It is like the edge of a sword. I rejoice to walk on it. I weep when I slip. God’s word is: ‘He who strives never perishes.’ I have implicit faith in that promise. Though, therefore, from my weakness I fail a thousand times, I will not lose faith but hope that I shall see the Light when the flesh has been brought under perfect subjection as some day it must.
Young India, 17-6-1926, p. 215
I have had my share of disappointments, uttermost darkness, counsels of despair, counsels of caution, subtlest assaults of pride, but I am able to say that my faith,–and I know that it is still little enough, by no means as great as I want it to be,–has ultimately conquered every one of these difficulties up to now. If we have faith in us, if we have a prayerful heart, we may not tempt God, may not make terms with Him.
Young India, 20-12-1928, p. 420
My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth.. ..The little 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 gleam 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.
Young India, 7-2-1929, p. 42
Prayer has been the saving of my life. Without it I should have been a lunatic long ago. My autobiography will tell you, that I have had my fair share of the bitterest public and private experi-ences. They threw me into temporary despair, but if I was able to get rid of it, it was because of prayer. Now I may tell you, that prayer has not been part of my life in the sense that truth has been. It came out of sheer necessity, as I found myself in a plight when I could not possibly be happy without it. And the more my faith in God increased, the more irresistible became the yearning for prayer. Life seemed to be dull and vacant without it.
Young India, 24-9-1931, p. 274
I started with disbelief in God and prayer, and until at a late stage in life I did not feel any thing like a void in life. But at that stage I felt that as food was indispensable for the body, so was prayer indispensable for the soul. In fact food for the body is not so necessary as prayer for the soul. For star-vation is often necessary in order to keep the body in health, but there is no such thing as prayer-starvation.. ..In spite of despair staring me in the face on the political horizon, I have never lost my peace. In fact I have found people who envy my peace. That peace, I tell you, comes from prayer; I am not a man of learning but I humbly claim to be a man of prayer.
Young India, 24-9-1931, p. 274
I am giving you a bit of my experience and that of my companions when I say that he who has experienced the magic of prayer may do without food for days together but not a single moment without prayer. For without prayer there is no inward peace.
Young India, 23-1-1930, p. 25
I have learned this one lesson – that what is impossible with man is child’s play with God, and if we have faith in that Divinity which presides on the destiny of the meanest of His creation, I have no doubt that all things are possible; and in that final hope, I live and pass my time and endeavour to obey His will.
Young India, 19-11-1931, p. 361
I must go with God as my only guide. He is a jealous Lord. He will allow no one to share His authority. One has, therefore, to appear before Him in all one’s weakness, empty-handed and in a spirit of full surrender, and then He enables you to stand before a whole world and protects you from all harm.
Young India, 3-9-1931, p. 247
I am impatient to realize the presence of my Maker, who to me embodies Truth, and in the early past of my career I discovered that if I was to realize Truth, I must obey, even at the cost of my life, the law of Love.
Nation’s Voice, p. 319
God is the hardest taskmaster I have known on this earth, and He tries you through and through. And when you find that your faith is failing or your body is failing you, and you are sinking, He comes to your assistance somehow or other and proves to you that you must not lose your faith and that He is always at your beck and call, but on His terms, not on your terms. So I have found. I cannot really recall a single instance when, at the eleventh hour, He has forsaken me.
Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, (1933), p. 1069
I will not be a traitor to God to please the whole world.
Harijan, 18-2-1933, p. 4
God having cast my lot in the midst of the people of India, I should be untrue to my Maker if I failed to serve them. If I do not know how to serve them I shall never know how to serve humanity.
Young India, 18-6-1925, p. 211
And as I know that God is found more often in the lowliest of His creatures than in the high and mighty, I am struggling to reach the status of these. I cannot do so without their service. Hence my passion for the service of the suppressed classes. And as I cannot render this service without entering politics, I find myself in them.
I recognize no God except the God that is to be found in the hearts of the dumb millions. They do not recognize His presence; I do. And, I worship the God that is Truth or Truth which is God, through the service of these millions.
Young India, 11-9-1924, p. 298
My God is myriad-formed and while sometimes I see Him in the spinning wheel, at other times I see Him in communal unity, then again in the removal of untouchability; and that is how I establish communion with Him according as the spirit moves me.
Harijan, 8-5-1937, p. 99
I am surer of His existence than of the fact that you and I are sitting in this room. Then I can also testify that I may live without air and water but not without Him. You may pluck out my eyes, but that cannot kill me. You may chop off my nose, but that will not kill me. But blast my belief in God, and I am dead. You may call this a superstition, but I confess it is a superstition that I hug, even as I used to do the name of Rama in my childhood when there was any cause of danger or alarm. That was what an old nurse had taught me.
Harijan, 14-5-1938, p. 109
My aspiration is limited. God has not given me the power to guide the world on the path of non- violence. But I have imagined that He has chosen me as His instrument for presenting non-violence to India for dealing with her many ills. The progress already made is great. But much more remains to be done.
'Harijan, 23-7-1938, p. 193
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.
Harijan, 24-12-1938, p. 395
I have never found Him lacking in response. I have found Him nearest at hand when the horizon seemed darkest–in my ordeals in jails when it was not all smooth sailing for me. I cannot recall a moment in my life when I had a sense of desertion by God.
Harijan, 24-12-1933, p. 395
Rightly or wrongly, I know that I have no other resource as a Satyagrahi than the assistance of God in every conceivable difficulty, and I .would like it to be believed that what may appear to be inexplicable actions of mine are really due to inner promptings. It may be a product of my heated imagination. If it is so, I prize that imagination as it has served me for a chequered life extending over a period of now nearly over fifty-five years, because I learned to rely consciously upon God before I was fifteen years old.
Harijan, 11-3-1939, p. 46