We had a great holiday in Himachal Pradesh last summer. Vaishali and myself visited Dalhousie, Dharamshala, Manali, Spiti Valley and ended with Kalpa in Kinnaur district. In Kalpa our hotel had a large verandah where guests invariably spent their evenings talking to one another. On day two we met an interesting Israeli couple. When you meet an Israeli the discussion invariably veers to the Israel – Palestine issue. Vaishali and the Israeli guy were for Ahimsa – peace, be good to the Palestinians and they will let you live in peace. On the other hand the Israeli women and me were of the view that we abhor violence but will not hold ourselves back if the other side is out to kill us.
Three hours of arguments got us nowhere. The discussion then, moved to India, the Hindu Muslim problem. The Israeli said, Vaishali you people claim to be the land of Ahimsa, then how is it that, the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was murdered. He added, ‘We would understand if he were killed by a Muslim but he was killed by a fellow Hindu’. Could you tell us why was he killed? We were stumped! I had the answers but did not know from where to start.
Here it is for you. The article has five chapters. One talks of the Law of Causation in Vedanta, two contains excerpts from the book ‘May it Please Your Honor’ by Nathuram Godse, three tells you about Gandhi’s turnaround on the issue of partition between 1940-47 and why did he select Nehru as his successor, four has Sri Aurobindo’s views on Gandhi / Ahimsa and five leaves you with food for thought – relates the past to the present.
The books referred to are Vedanta Treatise by Swami Parthasarthy, The History and Culture of the Indian People published by the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan (this is the basic reference book), Sardar by Shri Rajmohan Gandhi, The Tragic Story of Partition by Shri Seshadari, Veer Savarkar by Shri D Keer and May it Please your Honor by Shri Nathuram Godse.
This article is dedicated to the Israeli couple who inspired me to put this piece together, Sardar Patel who united India as none other could have, Pandit Nehru for setting up the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indira Gandhi for her role in the liberation of Bangladesh, Rajiv Gandhi for initiating the telecom revolution in India, Shri L K Advani for redefining the way Hindus see themselves and lastly to the Indian Scientists for giving us Pokaran I and II – India’s nuclear bombs.
At the outset let me state two things. One, that violence is not a solution to the world’s problems. However, when we look at the world around us, now or before there is so much of it everywhere. If I have to survive keep gun dry is my motto. Two, I have been very honest in expressing reasons for Gandhi’s death. In today’s charged atmosphere being politically is important. For me hiding the truth only compounds problems.
Friends it is my belief that we must understand the reasons for events, for people behaving the way they do rather than run away from reality under the pretext of maintaining superficial harmony. Sooner or later the anger is bound to result in brutal action, the more one tends to suppress the greater the impact of subsequent action. If we do not explain to people the reasons for an event of this magnitude they would stand confused – be victims of misinformation and be unable to understand the present or empathize with feelings / behavior of others. It is not my nature to dismiss the actions of people without trying to understand why they have done what they have done.
Sorry for a long article but you might agree that finding answers to a complex topic needs lot of research and explanation. There are two versions on the site. One is the full article and two an abridged version. This is the shorter version. However, for you to get the full picture am listing below all the chapters as they appear in the full version. Where I have removed matter in the shorter version have said so as part of this essay.
The article has the following chapters.
1. Law of Causation contains the laws of destiny and karma as enunciated by Swami Parthasarthy in his book Vedanta Treatise. Next I have explained these laws in the context of Gandhi’s killing.
2. Defence against charge sheet contains excerpts from Godse’s book May it Please your Honor. Since this is a shorter version of the article am giving you the chapter number and telling you whether it is in this article or in the longer one.
a) Introduction gives you the backgrounds of the 9 accused in the Gandhi murder case.
b) 2.1 is Answer to Charge sheet.
c) 2.2 is Gandhi’s Politics x-rayed.
d) 2.3 is a continuation of 2.2.
e) 2.4 is Gandhiji and independence.
f) 2.5 is Frustration of an Ideal.
g) 2.6 is Climax of Anti-National Appeasement.
3. Turnaround tells you about Gandhi’s attitude towards the Khilafat Movement, Moplah Rebellion, murder of Arya Samaj leader Swami Shraddhananda, Partition, World War II, Subhash Bose. Next it gives you reasons Why Gandhi chose Nehru as his successor / Prime Minister.
4. The chapter gives you Sri Aurobindo’s views on Gandhi / Ahimsa. It contains excerpts from a book India’s Rebirth by Sri Aurobindo.
5. Food for Thought is a brief summary of the above along with a correlation to current events. It also raises some questions with suggested solutions.
Law of Causation
This part is based on quotes from a book by Swami Parthasarthy titled Vedanta Treatise. It has my words interspersed in between.
‘There is a cause for an effect and an effect for a cause. Functioning of cause-effect relationship is the law of causation. The law operating in all spheres of activities is the multifold laws of nature governing the world. Laws of nature are infallible. From the very beginning of the world cause-effect relationship was engrained in it. Coconut seed has always produced a coconut tree and coconut tree produced coconut seed. The phenomenon of this world is nothing but a play of cause and effect. Where there is no cause-effect functioning there is no world’.
Now friends would I have got the idea of writing this article if it were not for the discussion with the Israeli couple. The discussion was the cause, the effect is the article.
‘Law of Causation applicable to man falls under two heads. They are the law of destiny and the law of karma. Law of Destiny connects your past with your present status. Whereas the law of Karma deals with your past, present and future. The latter is complete and comprehensive since it explains your life in this world in entirety.
The Law of Destiny – the nature of man is the cumulative effect of all his past thoughts, desires and actions. Past activities are the cause. Present nature is the effect. This effect is called destiny. Your present is therefore a result of your past. Past activities are fait accompli. They have been concluded already. You cannot alter them. The result is set by those causes. Hence your present destiny is fixed irrevocably. You are a victim of your own past actions. If you had education in the past you are literate today, if not you are an illiterate. Once you pull the trigger in a gun the bullet must travel in the direction of the barrel you have set. You have no option thereafter. The bullet has left the barrel. It must take its course and strike the target.
You are the creator of your own destiny. People believe that destiny is pre-ordained by God. It is not so. God is the supreme power, which enables you to think, desire, and act. But God does not interfere with the nature of your thoughts, desires and actions. You are the architect of your actions. You make or mar your life. It would therefore be unfair to blame God for your destiny.
What you sow you reap. Your luck or fortune lies in your own hands. Nowhere else. Had it not been so religion would have no purpose to serve? Spiritual courses would have no meaning. Vedanta fixes the responsibility of your life upon yourself. You can mould your destiny in any manner you like.
God helps those who help themselves. This is the law of nature. When you put in the effort, when you fully deserve anything, you get it. But without effort, without deserving you will never get it. Vedanta says, Deserve only and you need not desire’.
Now let us try and relate the Law of Destiny with Gandhi. From around 1920 (avoiding specific dates because the thought is more important than history) Gandhi had worked actively for India’s freedom. His present status in 1948 was a result of his past, which was relentless pursuit of Ahimsa, Hindu-Muslim unity and Charkha. Gandhi got Indians including women and rural folk involved in the freedom movement as none other. It is because of such past actions that he was put on the pedestal that he was in 1948.
Then, you may wonder, Why was he killed? Gandhi believed that if India were to become free Hindu Muslim unity was paramount. In his wisdom, Gandhi realized that appeasement of the Muslim community was one of the ways this could be achieved. Let me rephrase what I am saying. Gandhi realized that the Hindu would have to be magnanimous towards the Muslims, help him overcome his backwardness and join the mainstream. Laudable objectives but in the process Gandhi alienated a section of the Hindu community.
What did Gandhi do or not do to alienate a section of the Hindu community to an extent that they decided to kill him? Chapters two and three shall provide answers to this question.
Chapter two has excerpts from the statement by Shri Nathuram Godse in the Court of the Special Judge, Red Fort, Delhi while chapter three contain events not covered in two or expands on them. Friends before we go ahead let us look at what Swami Parthasarthy has to say on the Law of Karma.
“The Law of Destiny explains your present with reference to your past. Law of Karma is an extension of law of destiny. Law of Karma explains the entire phenomenon of life on the basic principle of cause and effect. The law covers your past, present and future. It says that you are not only the product of your past but producer of the future. With reference to the past actions you are a product. Whereas with reference to the future you are a producer.
As it is you are bound by your own past. At the same time you are free to act, as you will. Freedom and bondage seem to co-exist in you. Therefore there are two elements in man. One is independent variable, free. Other is dependant, invariable, binding. The independent element is called Purushartha or self-effort. The dependant element is called Prarabdha or destiny.
You are free to choose either of the two elements. Your present destiny or fate is the result of your own choice of action in the past. Your prarabdha is a sum total of all your past purusharthas. Your destiny is the effect. Your self-effort is the cause of it. If your self-efforts in the past have all been positive your present destiny will be positive. If they have been negative your destiny will be negative. If your efforts have been partly positive and partly negative then your present destiny will take the same proportion”.
In this case Gandhi’s killing was the effect, his alienation of the Hindu community was the cause of his death.
“ It is your effort that makes the difference in your destiny. People do not understand this but attribute their success or failure to God. God is only the substratum of all activities. He has nothing to do with the mode of activity. God is like the sun above. Sun is the source of all activities. Sun provides energy to the saint and sinner alike. The same sun provides vitality to animals and plants as well. But all of them act according to their inner nature. You cannot blame the Sun with vice or virtue of men. So also God is above your activities and fruits thereof.
Your present destiny is the result of your self-effort. If you are a sensual man you pursue sensual activities. If you are a spiritual man you pursue spiritual activities. Does that mean your present choice of activity is influenced by your past? If that be so where does purushartha comes in? What does free-will mean? How does self-effort fit in the present tendency set by past activities? These questions have baffled serious thinkers on the subject. Vedanta gives a complete answer. The following e.g. should explain the relationship between prarabdha (destiny) and purushartha (self-effort).
A wall is painted yellow color. There is a tin of blue paint. Take a little of blue paint and apply it on the wall. Blue mixes with yellow to form green. Those who look at the wall directly do not see blue at all. They believe you are applying only green paint. But in fact you are applying only blue. Keep painting blue over and over again. The yellow gets neutralized and blue appears on the wall. Now compare blue paint to your free will or purushartha. Yellow background to your destiny or prarabdha. Just as blue is independent of yellow your free will is independent of your destiny. But when you apply your free will in the background of your destiny its effect is changed. The only way to assert your free-will is to keep on applying it. Sooner or later it neutralizes your destiny and establishes itself ”.
Similarly whatever destiny Gandhi came with he kept on working out of his free-will towards Hindu Muslim unity read as Muslim appeasement by some. His actions between 1920 and 1948 constitute blue paint and became deciders of his destiny – assaination. Thus his present of January 30, 1948 was a result of his past actions.
What are the acts by which Gandhi alienated sections of the Hindu community? Read On-