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gandhi_collected works vol 43

gandhi_collected works vol 43

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Published by: Nrusimha ( नृसिंह ) on Jan 23, 2009
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VOL. 43 : 10 SEPTEMBER, 1928 - 14 JANUARY, 1929
September 10, 1928

Your letter about Ram Binod gives me much relief. I am sending copies to Jamnalalji and others. You do not say anything about re-ported purchases by Ram Binod. Is there any truth in those allega-tions?

I received the Bengali edition of Seven Months2. Is it selling
well? The English edition badly lacks an index. There are mis-
prints too.
How are you keeping in health and how is Guruji?
The Ashram is undergoing many drastic changes of which per-
haps Giriraj writes to you.
With love,
From a microfilm: S.N. 13654
September 10, 1928

I have your letter. But I have never held that one who is actually a soldier\u2014and not one in outward appearance should\u2018also be aj n a n i3. But I would certainly say that anyone who was not a soldier, or could not become one, could never be a jnani. The same is true about being ab r a h m a c h a r i. We do not see in life that anyone who has mastered one of his senses is necessarily a man of knowledge, but all of us hold that immorality is impossible in aj n a n i. I do not

1 In reply to his letter dated August 30, 1928, wherein he had absolved Ram
Binod of the charges of having misused funds placed at his disposal for khaddar work
in Berar2 Seven Months with Mahatma Gandhi, by the addressee
3 Man of knowledge

think I need to be aj n a n i to be able to put my hands on the shoulders of girls when walking without being disturbed by the touch. A father with many daughters who has pure feelings towards them may still be sunk in ignorance in other respects. He may even have impure feelings towards other women. It is but natural that I should have fatherly feelings for the girls in the Ashram. I have cultivated this state of heart over the years. Though I have, thus, pure feelings towards them as towards most women, I am not in a position to claim further that I have always experienced such pure feelings towards every woman. My present condition is cer-tainly pure, but, so long as I have not become completely free from every kind of impure feeling, I cannot say that I feel no fear about the future too. I have never believed or felt myself to be aj n a n i. On the contrary, I realize my state of ignorance every day. I have never felt that I am committing the slightest wrong in putting my hands on the shoulders of girls, for I know that they are but daughters to me. That being so, it is also not true that I have done them harm by my conduct. I have felt that through such intimacy I have entered their heart and that in consequence they have become purer in their feelings towards men. I have also considered the matter from the point of view of the effect of my conduct on society. There is certainly a belief among Hindus that even a father should shrink from touching his daughter. This seems to me a wrong notion, an enemy ofb r a h m a c h a r y a. Thatb r a h m a c h a r y a which enter-tains such fear is nob r a h m a c h a r y a . Rishyashringa\u2019s1

brahmacharya is not our ideal. Nevertheless, for the past three weeks I

have practically given up putting my hands on the shoulders of girls regarded as grown-up, for the doubt which occurred to you occurred also to other inmates of the Ashram. In such a matter I need not insist on my own point of view. Putting one\u2019s hands on the shoulders of girls cannot be a matter of principle, and therefore as soon as the issue was raised I discussed the matter with everyone and gave up the practice. \u2018The girls have felt a little hurt by this, but on the whole they are reconciled to it and in time will get completely reconciled. No one, of course, should imitate my practice. Anyone who has fatherly feelings towards girls will not shrink, when necessary, from touching them in a manner befitting a father and the world also will not censure him.

1 A character in theR a m a y a n a. He had no acquaintance with women and was
lured away by the first woman he met.
VOL. 43 : 10 SEPTEMBER, 1928 - 14 JANUARY, 1929

I do not understand what you write about . . .1 and why you are pained by the matter. You admit that you made a mistake in writing to him and advising him to follow my advice and in asking me to guide him. After that, where was the need for me to discuss the matter with you? Moreover, how could I believe that you could tell me anything more than what . . . would about his relation to his wife? Despite what you write and tell me, I believe that my advice to . . . was the right one. I have sent him there with the advice, and in the hope that, if he was sincere in the vow ofb r a h m a c h a r y a which he had taken in regard to his wife, he would even now observe it. He has gone there to demonstrate that he is a brother and a friend of his wife. This is my view of the matter, which he has completely under stood. If, instead of behaving as a brother, he acts like a husband, you may assume that his vow ofb r a h m a c h a r y a in regard to his wife was insincere. It was only waiting for an opportunity to be broken. I suppose you have not overlooked the fact that he was never free from impure feelings towards other women. If. . . still writes to you about himself, I suggest that you should come and see me in the matter. I had suggested this course to you even earlier. I think it best that you should give up the attempt to guide . . . independently. If you do not understand what I have said in this letter, ask me again. You should have no doubt at all, I have none, about the rightness of my advice to . . . If you have any, however, or feel any doubt later, ask me again and again.

I very much liked your caution regarding the common kitchen.
Our ideal of the Ashram is that even visitors should observe
brahmacharya while they stay in it. This rule is made categorical in

the new set of rules. That has naturally added to the number of those taking their meals in the common kitchen. How can we say that even those who take the vow ofb r a h m a c h a r y a are notb r a h m a c h a r i s of their own will? I, however, believe your statement that many have joined the common kitchen out of their respect for me. The kitchen has led to a new idea during the past few days. There is no suggestion that it should be abandoned, but a proposal is being discussed whether those who cannot sincerely be its members and cannot whole-heartedly adopt its other implications should not leave the Ashram.

I shall await your letter regarding the effect of the use of linseed
oil. How do you obtain fresh linseed oil? Do you obtain a day\u2019s or a
1 Name omitted

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