Selected Letters of Gandhi : Part-2

A collection of Mahatma Gandhi letters.

Chapter-36: Equimindedness

I confess that I do not feel the same afflatus as you do, for I do not share the view that you hold about the brahmanical influence. Whilst the Brahmanas have undoubtedly a great deal to answer for, I am sure that they have been much more sinned against than sinning. Every religion has produced its own Brahmanas. That they have not been known as such makes no difference. Our Brahmanas would, I think, compare favorably with the others. At the same time I am not in love with the caste system with all its ignorant restrictions. I do believe in varnashram without the restrictions superimposed upon it about interning and intermarriage and the idea of superiority and inferiority. I believe with Vivekanand that Shankara never drove Buddhism from India for he was himself a Prachchhamna Bauddha [ crypto-Buddhist ]. He merely rid it of the bad things that were creeping into it, and prevented its alienation from Hinduism. In my opinion nowhere has the influence of the teaching of Buddha been more abiding than in India. Nevertheless I would go with you the whole distance in saying that we need again a very thorough cleansing.

Recorded under October 27, 1932; ibid., p. 181