To The Reader
I would like to say to the diligent reader of my writings and to others who are interested in them that I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent. In my search after Truth I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, and, therefore, when anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he has still faith in my sanity, he would do well to choose the later of the two on the same subject.
M. K. GANDHI
Harijan, 29-4-1933, p. 2
Readers of the Harijan are aware that in later years Gandhiji had come to believe that Ramanama was not only an effective aid in controlling the mind but was also an infallible remedy for most of the ills of the body. His writings about Ramanama therefore assumed a deeper significance during these years. While issuing this second edition we have taken the opportunity to add some later writings on Ramanama by Gandhiji to the original selection and have also added a chapter from Manubehn Gandhi's book — Bapu — My Mother. The chapter though forming part of Manubehn's diary is in fact a report of Gandhiji's devotion to Ramanama almost in his own words. We trust the additions will please all lovers of Gandhi ji's writings on Ramanama.
Gandhiji had been taught as a child to take Ramanama, i.e., the Name of Rama or God, when in trouble. As a Satyagrahi, or one who holds fast to Truth or God all the twenty-four hours of the day. Gandhiji discovered that God was his constant solace and support in every difficulty — physical, mental or spiritual. One of his earliest trials was in connection with the practice of brahmacharya or chastity. He tells us that Ramanama was his greatest help in resisting impure thought. Ramanama saw him through the agony of his fasts, and through all the lonely struggles of soul, which fell to his lot as a pioneer in the political, social, economic and religious spheres. But his last discovery, as he threw himself more and more on God was that Ramanama was a remedy also for physical ailments.
In his quest for Truth and eagerness to relieve human suffering, Gandhiji had long discovered simple, inexpensive methods of treating disease through fresh air, massage, baths, fasts, diet, earth-bandages and such like. These methods, he believed, were according to Nature, or in conformity with the laws of God. rather than the innumerable drugs manufactured today on a commercial scale, which, he held, had in the end a harmful effect on the human system.
But man being more than body, mere physical treatment of his ailments, Gandhiji was convinced, was not enough. The patient's mind and soul required to be treated also. When these were whole, the body of itself became whole. Gandhiji found that towards this end nothing was so efficacious as Ramanama, or a devout faith in, and reliance on. the Great Physician. When a man put himself completely in God's hands, lived according to God's laws in respect of food, personal hygiene, control of passions in particular and of self in general, and in respect of his relationships with his fellow men, Gandhiji was certain that he would be free from disease. It was ever towards such a state that he was himself striving, and to help others towards the same end he established the last of his institutions, the Nature Cure Clinic at Uruli Kanchan, where besides Nature Cure as practised by himself, the patients would be taught the efficacy of Ramanama. This little book seeks to put briefly before the reader Gandhiji's thoughts and experience in this regard in his own words.